Tuesday, January 18, 2011

President sends early Valentine to U.S. Chamber of Commerce


It is clearly intended to head off congressional opponents of regulation. But will it simply be perceived as a show of weakness?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

EPA backpedals again... gives special ghg deal to biomass industry

The ag and forest industries are popping the champagne.

This is yet another EPA concession to its critics in Congress. Still unknown: will this reduce congressional attacks -- or merely be blood in the water?

Cathy Milbourn



January 12, 2011

EPA to Defer GHG Permitting Requirements for Industries that Use Biomass

Three-year deferral allows for further examination of scientific and technical issues associated with counting these emissions

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing its plan to defer, for three years, greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting requirements for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from biomass-fired and other biogenic sources. The agency intends to use this time to seek further independent scientific analysis of this complex issue and then to develop a rulemaking on how these emissions should be treated in determining whether a Clean Air Act permit is required.

“We are working to find a way forward that is scientifically sound and manageable for both producers and consumers of biomass energy. In the coming years we will develop a commonsense approach that protects our environment and encourages the use of clean energy,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Renewable, homegrown power sources are essential to our energy future, and an important step to cutting the pollution responsible for climate change.”

By July 2011, EPA plans to complete a rulemaking that will defer permitting requirements for CO2 emissions from biomass-fired and other biogenic sources for three years. During the three-year period, the agency will seek input on critical scientific issues from its partners within the federal government and from outside scientists who have relevant expertise. EPA will also further consider the more than 7,000 comments it received from its July 2010 Call for Information, including comments noting that burning certain types of biomass may emit the same amount of CO2 emissions that would be emitted if they were not burned as fuel, while others may result in a net increase in CO2 emissions. Before the end of the three-year period, the agency intends to issue a second rulemaking that determines how these emissions should be treated or counted under GHG permitting requirements.

The agency will also issue guidance shortly that will provide a basis that state or local permitting authorities may use to conclude that the use of biomass as fuel is the best available control technology for GHG emissions until the agency can complete action on the three-year deferral in July.

In a separate but related letter, EPA is notifying the National Alliance of Forest Owners that it will grant its petition to reconsider the portion of the May 2010 tailoring rule that addresses the same issue.

CO2 emissions from biomass-fired and other biogenic sources are generated during the combustion or decomposition of biologically based material. Sources covered by this decision would include facilities that emit CO2 as a result of burning forest or agricultural products for energy, wastewater treatment and livestock management facilities, landfills and fermentation processes for ethanol production.

On January 2, 2011, air permitting requirements began for large GHG emitting industries that are planning to build new facilities or make major modifications to existing ones. These facilities must obtain air permits and implement energy efficiency measures or, where available, cost-effective technology to reduce their GHG emissions. This includes the nation's largest GHG emitters, such as power plants and refineries. Emissions from small sources, such as farms and restaurants, are not covered by these GHG permitting requirements.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

US Chamber of Commerce continues its legacy of opposing environmental progress

It is disappointing, but not a shock, that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has assailed federal regulations in its annual address. Please note below.

For many years, the Chamber of Commerce has been a force opposed to public health and environmental progress. It puts political ideology above the facts. It ignores the historic record that clean-air controls create jobs.

(It seems like only yesterday – and this was 1976, mind you -- that I was watching a Chamber lobbyist unveil what people called “meatball maps” – a map of the United States with giant red circles all over it. The Chamber claimed then that the Clean Air Act would prevent economic development in these red areas – basically, throughout the nation. The Chamber was wrong then, and it is wrong now.)

We hope and trust that President Obama will not fall for the Chamber’s reactionary approach.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 11, 2011

Contact: Tita Freeman 202-463-5682

U.S. Chamber President Looks Toward an

Improving Economy, Promotes Plan to Spur Job Creation

In Annual State of American Business Address, Donohue Outlines

How to Turn Economic Recovery Into a Jobs Recovery

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In his annual State of American Business address, U.S. Chamber

of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue was cautiously optimistic about

the state of the economy and outlined a four-point plan to put jobless

Americans back to work.

... “We face an array of potentially serious risks that at any moment could send us

back in the wrong direction,” Donohue continued. His speech outlined four

immediate priorities that the Chamber will address to boost America’s

competitiveness in the global economy:

1. Regulatory restraint and reform—Work to reform the regulatory process—to

restore some badly needed balance, restraint, and common sense. We will

also stand up a new group to tell the story to the American people about

the massive costs of excessive regulations on jobs and their personal and

economic freedom…

Friday, January 07, 2011

Clean coal... or dirty energy?

A documentary, as noted in The Guardian

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Guest posting: study clean air science online

[This is a guest posting by Kayla Tanner]

Study Clean Air Science Online

In today’s world of arguing; disagreeing and general bickering it’s nice to know of a few topics that everyone can agree upon. One of them is the need for clean air.

Many may have different views on how to approach reversing the damage already caused to the air by various sources of pollution. But everyone can definitely agree that they enjoy breathing.

How To Clean Up the Air

As with most endeavors, approaching the issue of cleaning up our air is best undertaken by first establishing a basis in education. This of course includes the gaining of ongoing knowledge and the educating of others in steps that can be taken that will insure cleaner air now and in the future.

Obviously an undertaking such as educating the entire world is a large proposition to say the least. But every venture begins with a first step. So it would be wise to consider making the first step one that involves educating yourself.

Educational Options

The most obvious of options to choose where gaining knowledge is concerned in any field is to undertake a course of self-study. In other words, you’d be wise to consider the internet, public library, local book stores and reliance upon your own common sense in order to gain knowledge on topics concerning how to clean up the air and clean air in general. However, other available options should also be considered.

Obviously enrollment at a college or university would help you enormously in the gaining of knowledge in clean air studies and the sciences attached to the subject overall. But often such educational pursuits prove impractical for many reasons.

For example, leaving home to go off to college is not usually viable for those with families, jobs and any number of life’s other obligations to be considered. And even if the college or university you choose to learn from offers the appropriate courses in clean air sciences and related fields you’re looking for on a commuter basis that does not require living arrangements on campus, they will obviously cause you to make room in your life’s schedule for physical attendance within a timetable of their choosing where traditional enrollment is involved.

There is also the issue of cost involved when considering traditional enrollment at most institutions of higher learning. The price of tuition alone is high enough to give most working people a nosebleed. Then add to that the need for housing costs and other living expenses if you choose to live on campus, and you will more than likely find the cost of such an education to be out of your reach (unless your name happens to be Kennedy, Getty or Rockefeller).

There is of course the possibility of acquiring student loans and various grants. But these seldom cover the entire tab for a college education.

More Practical Educational Options

Presently we live in a world of electronic communication that is nearly instantaneous. And this is a plus where access to education in fields such as clean air studies and related sciences are concerned. More specifically, the most practical approach for most seeking additional education involves the investigation of online schools.

Most educators believe that online schools represent the future of education, as we know it. However, there is a stigma mistakenly attached to them by many who equate such internet study to an electronic incarnation of disreputable correspondence schools of the past. But such negative thinkers couldn’t be more mistaken.

Even as you read this, most every educational institution on our planet is offering degrees that can be acquired (at least in part) via their online schools and courses of study. And such learning institutions obviously include a myriad of science schools that can help any dedicated individual further their education in the area of clean air.

Monday, January 03, 2011

From National Journal "Expert" Blog