Saturday, April 29, 2006
The new litigation revisits the question of whether EPA has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide, which is the leading greenhouse gas. The other litigants include: New York City, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin and three environmental groups. (photo just for show. Carbon dioxide is colorless)
Friday, April 28, 2006
DOT used innovative reforms to address these problems in its recent light truck rule, but does not have the legal authority to apply those reforms to passenger cars. President has asked Congress for the authority to reform car CAFE standards consistent with the approach taken with the light truck rule issued March 29.
CAFE is the average fuel economy, expressed in miles per gallon, of a manufacturer's fleet of passenger cars or light trucks made in America. The 'Energy Policy Conservation Act,' enacted into law by Congress in 1975 and creating CAFE, was passed in response to the 1973-74 Arab oil embargo More Information On CAFE: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/cafe/overview.htm
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Of course, as usual, some big boys will happily maximize profits in our wonderful capitalist system. Andersons, Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and Pacific Ethanol will build the appropriate liquor stills to produce the ethanol from corn. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires the U.S. to use 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2012. About half that capacity is currently available. President Bush recently talked about gasoline prices at the Renewable Fuels Association.
The symbolic win in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit did provide another opportunity for the anti-Bush media to smear the President's EPA with headlines such as, "More Lawlessness at EPA." AAEA hates this litigation dance, whether it involves clean air or water regulations. Such litigation is an industry inside the Beltway but never seems to lead to cleaner water or air. Massive retrofits and huge public works projects and not litigation will clean up the 'other river.'
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
AAEA is impressed that Constellation is pursuing a nuclear power future by proposing to build new capacity at the current Calvert Cliffs location. They also purchased two nuclear power plants in upstate New York. If the planned merger is completed, Constellation will become the nation's third-largest nuclear operator. We like this business model because it is going in the direction of utilizing technology to directly reduce carbon dioxide, smog, acid rain and mercury emissions. The Maryland Public Service Commission should approve the merger request. (Constellation Energy Group is Baltimore Gas & Electric's parent company).
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
1) making sure consumers and taxpayers are treated fairly,President Bush called for investigating possible price gouging, ordered a temporary halt to deposits in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and directed the Environmental Protection Agency to grant temporary waivers of local clean-fuel requirements to relieve gasoline shortages in some parts of the country. President Bush opposes a windfall profits tax on oil companies and so does AAEA. President Bush also called for using more ethanol.
2) promoting greater fuel efficiency,
3) boosting our oil and gasoline supplies, and
4) investing aggressively in alternatives to gasoline.
Friday, April 21, 2006
The framework for rate relief for Marylanders includes:
1) No interest for consumers who choose to participate in the program; 2) Initial rate cap of 19 percent on July 1, 2006; 3) 25 percent rate cap on June 1, 2007, and a transition to market rates by Jan 2008; 4) 85 percent increase over FY 05 of State and federal assistance for low-income families; 5) Opt-in, which will allow customers to affirmatively choose to be in the program.
Consumers may opt to participate in the phase-in or begin paying the 72 percent increase immediately in July. A monthly $15 charge for the deferred payment will be added for two years to the bills of the utility's 1.2 million customers who participate in the plan. Consumers opting for the phase-in would pay about $49 more on the average bill by June 2007 and $63 more a month by January 2008. The average bill will increase from $92 to about $110 in July. It will increase another $4 in January and another $21 in June 2007. It will rise about $10 more in January 2008 to reach market prices.
Customers who opt out of the phase-in program would pay the full 72 percent increase beginning July 1, which would be about $48 more on the average bill. Rates could increase more if market prices continue to rise during the phase-in period.
The Ehrlich administration also made a deal to reduce electricity-rate increases of 39 percent by Potomac Electric Power Co. (Pepco) and 35 percent by Delmarva Power. Those rates will be phased in over a year, with a 15 percent increase in June and a 15.7 percent increase in March. The administration's agreements with BGE, Pepco and Delmarva must be approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Jim Reinsch, American Nuclear Society
Amelda Arnold, Mayor, Port Gibson, Mississippi
Norris McDonald, AAEA President (Complete Speech Below)
Michael Stuart, Young Generation in Nuclear
James Miller, Claiborne County Administrator
Scott Peterson, Nuclear Energy Institute
George Williams, VP Grand Gulf Nuclear Station
Monday, April 17, 2006
Saturday, April 15, 2006
A pump at the back of the house provided the best tasting groundwater in the world and the outhouse was not too far away. We weren't above walking the seven miles into town and a two mile round trip walk to the local store was a treat. I remember the excitement I alway felt when we left the paved road to get on the dirt road to my grandma's house. My brother and I would announce ouselves because grandma kept a small arsenal next to her bed and under her pillow. I did my first hunting there and skinned and ate the kills. Riding tractors, hanging tobacco in barns, and running around barefooted are all great memories. Watching hogs get shot in the head, their throats slit and hung upside down to bleed out provided a more realistic picture of how we get meat to eat. And the most interesting thrill was to see a chicken get its head wrung off by hand and watch it hop around for about 5 minutes. Our relatives probably got as much entertainment from our fascination (we were considered 'city slickers') as we got from watching the chicken hop around without its head. The process of learning how to boil the chicken to make it easier to get the feathers off was a true education. There were chicken coops for eggs and lye soap was made for washing. There were cows for milk and my grandmother would can enough beans, fruit, and provisions to make it through the winter. She also dried peppers and kept the hog meat in a freezer.
Yes my grandmother was a real environmentalist. It wasn't about policy or research or lobbying. It was about living off of the land and putting in a good long hard day of physical work. Happy Earth Day grandma. And thank you for the lessons in true environmentalism. Posted by AAEA President Norris McDonald.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Black-on-black murder and global warming are the two most important environmental issues in the black community today. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X would have never anticipated the carnage currently devastating black communities all over the country. Environmental justice Godfather Dick Gregory and environmental movement initiator Walter Fauntroy are also clearly challenged in addressing these twin environmental evils. We at AAEA believe that some good old fashioned family values might not get us 'back to the garden,' but sure couldn't hurt in strengthening the family unit, which would benefit the black community. Nuclear power plants and plug-in fuel cell hybrid electric vehicles would prevent smog and global warming. They could also provide new large-scale entrepreneurial opportunites. Familiar family techniques combined with old and new technologies could revitalize Earth Day. Elimination of black-on-black murder and global warming would make everyday Earth Day.
Port Gibson, Mississippi hopes to get Entergy to build a new facility there and Gaffney, South Carolina hopes Duke Power will revitalize their town. Other small towns across America would love to have a new commercial nuke. Mother Earth's atmosphere has high hopes too. Considering that electricity demand is expected to grow by at least 50% by 2025, such local development will not only stimulate local economies but will also prevent global warming and will not produce any mercury particles or smog forming gases.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Eagle-On-Eagle Crime: Martha Attacked, George Alone With Offspring While Martha Recovers At Veterinary Hospital
George was left as a single eagle-dad to care for two bald eagle eggs about to hatch. The construction workers are assisting George by catching fish so he can spend more time at the nest. Setphanie Spears is an environmental specialist working on the bridge project and assisting Martha and George. The eagles have received extensive media coverage.
Who Is Afraid Of Virginia Wolf? Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton would fit right in that nest.
Update: May 25, 2006 - - The press is reporting that Martha is back in theUpdate: May 8, 2006 - - Martha is healed and was released in
nest with George. Then what happened to the hussy home wrecking eagle that
attacked Martha and was keeping George's nest warm during Martha's
recuperation? We think government officials, probably from the Fish &
Wildlife Service, probably intervened and kicked the hussy out and placed
Martha back in.
Middletown, Delaware. We guess the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service made this decision to protect Martha from the home wrecking hussy eagle that attacked her and then took up residence with George. AAEA is concerned about this decision and might notify the Maryland Department of Natural Resources about the possibility of evicting the hussy and restoring Martha to her rightful place.
Update: The female eagle that attacked Martha is now courting
George. They could couple soon. George could not handle being a single Dad warming the nest and hunting for food alone for himself and the brood and during a cold spell the eaglet hatchlings expired. Humans will probably attempt to intervene in Mother Nature's cruel and ironic reality to somehow reunite Martha with George when she gets out of the hospital.
Update: Oct 3, 2006 It is being reported that Martha has now injured
her wing. She has again been shipped off for treatment, leaving George
alone. No word on the home wrecking hussy eagle that replaced Marth after
U.S Fish & Wildlife Service Coverage (Martha Recovers)
Friday, April 07, 2006
The Healthy Air Act requires carbon dioxide reductions by having Maryland join a multistate program called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI sets goals for states to reduce carbon dioxide. Companies will be able to sell or trade their carbon dioxide allowances. Maryland is an "observer" of RGGI, participating in policy discussions, but not agreeing to make reductions. The law allows the state to withdraw from the regional consortium after January 1, 2009 if reliability and cost issues become a problem.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Although it is generally agreed that this is a good program, it is controversial because it would require Congress to amend the 1954 Atomic Energy Act to permit the sale of uranium to India. India is potentially a $100 billion nuclear reactor market. India has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is a requirement for receiving nuclear power plant materials and technical assistance from the U.S. India wanted to be designated as a nuclear power under the NPT without signing the treaty. It was refused. Only the U.S., Russia, China, France and Great Britain are official nuclear weapons states. All other nuclear states except Pakistan, India and Israel signed the agreement. The administration will not seek approval from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) until congress approves the sale. The NSG is a 45-nation consortium that seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear related exports.
NPT states reject developing nuclear weapons in exchange for civilian nuclear technology. India already has almost 50 nuclear bombs and has or is building 22 nuclear power plants. And 14 of India's 22 nuclear plants would be subject to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The eight other reactors and any future reactors are off limits and could be used for producing fissile materials for military purposes. Secretary Rice was on Capitol Hill to defend the proposal, which is controversial because the announcement was made before Congress was briefed. Secretary Rice was aggressively challenged on this point while presenting testimony before the Senate Foreign Relationss Committee. Additional Information: NRC & the Atomic Energy Act. DOE & the Atomic Energy Act. EPA & the Atomic Energy Act.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Wehrum got heat at the Senate Environment & Pulbics Committee Hearing (3-5-06) over mercury, the Clear Skies Initiative and complaints from 7 of 10 EPA regional offices over a regulatory proposal. AAEA supported the Clear Skies Initiative, the Bush Administration is the first to regulate mercury and the regional office criticism is healthy feedback and should not derail the nomination.Wehrum has served as Counsel to the Assistant Administrator and earlier in his career served as an environmental attorney at Latham & Watkins as well as at Swidler & Berlin. Mr. Wehrum received his bachelor's degree from Purdue University and his JD from Widener University.
Update: April 26, 2006 - - Senate Environment and Public Works CommitteeJim Gulliford has been the Region 7 administrator for the EPA since 2001. He had 25 years of rofessional experience administering environmental programs in the agricultural and mining areas and was named director of the Division of Soil Conservation when the Department of Soil Conservation merged into the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
approved William L. Wehrum’s nomination as assistant EPA administrator
for air and radiation on a vote of 10-8 along party lines.
Monday, April 03, 2006
The new company will be called Constellation Energy and maintain headquarters in Juno Beach, Fla., and Baltimore. The merger would create a company with operations all along the U.S. East Coast with more than 30,000 megawatts of power generation and give FPL access to Constellation's merchant energy plants. The deal would expand FPL’s nuclear and coal power assets because about half of the electricity at Constellation's plants is generated by nuclear and about a third by coal. The deal would also broaden FPL's geographic reach because, in addition to its base in Maryland, Constellation controls power plants in New York, California, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
The utility companies will probably sue if the legislature intervenes to prevent the merger. Critics of the legislature's plan describe it as 'ex post facto' regulation, laws that are applied retroactively and penalize action that was legal when originally taken. The merger was initiated under existing law.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
President Bill Clinton imposed a 10 parts per billion standard for arsenic at the 11th hour on his way out the door and a brouhaha erupted when President Bush suspended the standard. Congress voted to keep the new standard and the compliance deadline was January 2006. The new proposal permits drinking water to have arsenic levels of 30 parts per billion. The current law says improvements cannot cost water systems more than 2.5 percent of the median U.S. household income (about $1,000 per household) while the new EPA proposal would cost no more than $300 per household. EPA does not regulate drinking water wells that supply water to fewer than 25 people. Private well owners are own their own.