Saturday, May 30, 2009
We get apoplectic every time we hear about using bed nets to prevent malaria too. Or spraying a little insecticide 'in the house' to keep the mosquitoes away. Please. Americans would not go for these ridiculous 'solutions' for one minute. Neither should Africans. If outsiders want to help, work to eliminate the malaria carrying mosquitoes completely and then cease or significantly reduce the use of DDT. Bed nets are poor substitutes for the effective and efficient use of DDT to save lives. Bill & Melinda Gates should not worry about what the politically correct will think about them. Children are dying while they fund bed nets. (WSJ, 5/30/09)
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
1) Protection from Electricity Price Increases: The electricity sector will receive 35% of the allowances, representing 90% of current utility emissions. Local electric distribution companies, whose rates are regulated by the states, will receive 30% of the allowances, which they must use to protect consumers from electricity price increases. Merchant coal and long-term power purchase agreements will receive 5% of the allowances. These allowances will be distributed according to a formula recommended by the utility industry and will phase out over a five-year period from 2026 through 2030.
2) Protection from Natural Gas Price Increases: Local natural gas distribution companies, whose rates are regulated by the states, will receive 9% of allowances, which they must use to protect consumers from natural gas price increases. These allowances will phase out over a five-year period from 2026 through 2030.
3) Protection from Home Heating Oil Price Increases: States will receive 1.5% of allowances for programs to benefit users of home heating oil and propane. These allowances will phase out over a five-year period from 2026 through 2030.
4) Protection of Low- and Moderate-Income Households: 15% of allowances will be auctioned each year and the proceeds of these allowances will be distributed to low- and moderate-income families to protect them from other energy cost increases. These allowances will be distributed through tax credits, direct payments, and electronic benefit payments and will not phase out.
Full House Energy & Commerce Committee Allowance Allocation Proposal
5) Environmental Justice Allowance Reserve (EJAR) to address the racial 'Hot Spots' issue. These allowances would come from a special reserve, similar to the current Acid Rain Program Renewable Energy and Conservation Reserve, when the initial allowance allocation is made. They would be awarded to utilities and others that undertake environmental justice practices and programs designed to mitigate local pollution, increase the installation of pollution control equipment, promote community education and enhance health-related activities. [Full Description]
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
1) reduce national GDP roughly $350 billion below the baseline level;
2) cut net employment by 2.5 million jobs (even after accounting for new "green" jobs); and
3) reduce earnings for the average U.S. worker by $390 per year.
NBCC President and CEO Harry Alford, left, said the findings add to a growing body of evidence that demonstrates cap-and-trade would make American consumers poorer and the products they buy more expensive. He added the NBCC study finds there will be little, if any, environmental impact to justify the high price U.S. families will have to pay, since the trading system will deliver virtually negligible changes in global CO2 emissions so long as developing nations such as China and India don't buy in.
AAEA supports cap & trade but agrees with NBCC that China and India need to be participants in any global climate change program.
The case was a challenge to an EPA rule regulating cooling-water intake structures at power plants. To minimize the adverse impact on aquatic life (which could otherwise be trapped against the intake structure or, if small enough, sucked into the pipes themselves), the Clean Water Act requires the intake structures to use the “best technology available,” without specifying what factors the EPA should consider in determining what constitutes the “best technology available.”
Judge Sotomayor explained:
“assuming the EPA has determined that power plants governed by the Phase II Rule can reasonably bear the price of technology that saves between 100-105 fish, the EPA, given a choice between a technology that costs $100 to save 99-101 fish and one that costs $150 to save 100-103 fish. . . could appropriately choose the cheaper technology on cost-effectiveness grounds.”On this issue, Sotomayor remanded to the EPA, finding it “unclear” how the EPA had arrived at its conclusions and, in particular, whether the EPA had improperly weighed costs and benefits.
Sotomayor also held that the EPA could not consider restoration measures - such as restocking fish to compensate for fish killed by an intake system - when determining the best technology available for a particular power plant. Sotomayor wrote that “[r]estoration measures are not part of the location, design, construction, or capacity of cooling water intake structures, and a rule permitting compliance with the statute through restoration measures allows facilities to avoid adopting any cooling water intake structure technology at all, in contravention of the Act’s clear language as well as its technology-forcing principle.” Finally, Sotomayor also determined that, at a minimum, EPA’s determination that the CWA provision at issue applies to existing and new facilities was a reasonable interpretation of the statute.
The industry plaintiffs filed petitions for certiorari, which the Supreme Court granted in April 2008 to review the cost-benefit issue. AAEA attended the December 2, 2008 Oral Arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court. By a vote of 6-3, the Court reversed. In an opinion by Justice Scalia, the majority deemed “[i]t . . . eminently reasonable to conclude that” the CWA’s silence with regard to determining the best technology available “is meant to convey nothing more than a refusal to tie the agency’s hands as to whether cost-benefit analysis should be used, and if so to what degree.” [Source: Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) Blog], (Photo: Pace University)
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
AAEA is recommending that TVA should reprocess this sludge on site for reuse of the fly ash to produce concrete.
The choice of these communities for disposal of the waste raises environmental justice concerns, since almost 41% of Taylor County’s population is African-American and more than 24% of its residents live in poverty, while Alabama’s Perry County is 69% African-American with more than 32% of its population in poverty, according to the latest census data. Residents had no voice in the decision-making process, given that there was no opportunity for public comment. (Grist)
Monday, May 18, 2009
Maurice Stone is CEO of National Clean Fuels (NACF). NACF projects include vertically integrated technologies aimed at delivering energy savings, renewable fuels and clean fuel technologies to its clients. In addition, the company aims to implement projects that reduce dependence on foreign oil while delivering environmentally friendly products to consumers.
Mr. Stone earned his B.S. degree in electrical engineering, with a minor in Finance from Memphis State University in 1981. He also received training, certifications, and diplomas in Finance, Marketing, and Business Administration from IBM’s Corporate Training School (Endicott, NY; Cambridge, MA; and Irving, TX) in 1982.
1) Benjamin T. Jealous, President and Chief Executive Officer of the NAACP,
2) Calvin G. Butler, Esq., Vice President of State Legislative and Government Affairs, ComEd, Inc,
3) Milton Carroll, Chairman of the Board, CenterPoint Energy, Inc.,
4) Carolyn L. Green, Vice President for Health, Environment, and Safety, Sunoco, Inc, and
5) Dr. Esther Silver-Parker, Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs, Wal-Mart, Inc.
They join 13 other members of the Commission, which is comprised of leading experts representing government, health, industry, civil rights, academia, labor, consumer protection and environmental protection.
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is one of the nation’s leading research and public policy institutions and they primarily focus on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Moreover, the first family could demonstrate their commitment to backyard chickens by putting a small chicken coop in their 1,100-square-foot vegetable garden at The White House. We do not believe the DCRA regulations apply to The White House. And even if they do, how would DCRA enforce a ban on backyard chickens at The White House? Would DCRA send in a team to seize the chickens?
The Park Service already removed the raccoons from The White House lawn. We are now concerned that any possible incursion by groundhogs or moles could be met with similar resistance. The Obamas could have an upscale chicken coop constructed in their garden [see photo at left, courtesy: Tatertots and Jello]. We are sure the first family would enjoy those fresh eggs. (WashPost, 5/14/09)
Thursday, May 14, 2009
“Since beginning his career as a National Park Service ranger 47 years ago, Bob Stanton has dedicated his life to improving the conservation and management of our treasured landscapes and national icons. The Department of the Interior will benefit greatly from his vast experience, extraordinary management skill, and dedication to our public lands.”Concluding a long career with the National Park Service, Stanton served as the agency’s director from 1997 to 2001. As director, he oversaw major planning and resource preservation programs at the White House, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Gettysburg, and other national parks and inaugurated and oversaw the National Resource Challenge, a plan to revise and expand the agency’s natural resource programs. Since 2001, he has served as an executive professor at Texas A&M University and a visiting professor at both Howard University and Yale University. He also has provided consulting services to the National Resources Council of America on increasing cultural diversity in conservation organizations and programs. From 1988-1997, Stanton served as the regional director of the Park Service’s National Capital Region, which includes 40 national park units in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area and surrounding states.
Stanton is a graduate of Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas and has received honorary doctorate degrees from Texas A&M, Unity College, Southern University, and Huston-Tillotson.
The GCCW Act would create 100,000 “green” living wage jobs and training opportunities for Gulf Coast residents and displaced people to rebuild critical infrastructure, restore natural flood protection and increase energy efficiency. This important legislation allows the federal government to partner directly with local leaders and non-profits to address remaining recovery challenges while building resilience to climate change, mitigating the effects of future deadly storms and confronting poverty. It also addresses the challenges faced by internally displaced, elderly, disabled, women, low income, immigrant and minority communities.
Almost four years after Hurricane Katrina, our nation’s largest natural disaster, America’s Gulf Coast remains a domestic human rights crisis. As we approach the 2009 Hurricane Season beginning June 1st, levees remain vulnerable, tens of thousands of people have not been able to return home, schools, hospitals and transportation infrastructure remains damaged, and residents continue to struggle for access to affordable housing and living wage jobs.
The GCCW Act will efficiently allocate funds for job creation and infrastructure development, two significant recovery needs, by avoiding layers of governmental red tape and dispersing funds directly to the entities, regardless of sector, which are ready to do the work. The legislation will establish a pilot project not just for rebuilding the Gulf Coast from the 2005 hurricane season, but will also provide a community driven recovery plan for any and every part of America where natural or other disasters occur. Passing HR 2269 would be a bold stand for the basic human rights of displaced and low-income Gulf Coast residents, including the right to participate in the recovery, the right to return home with dignity and safety, and the right to decent work opportunities
HR 2269 was introduced in the U.S. House yesterday afternoon by Representatives Zoe Lofgren (CA), Rodney Alexander (LA), Joseph Cao (LA), Charlie Melancon (LA), Gene Taylor (MS), Bennie Thompson (MS), John Conyers (MI), Barbara Lee (CA), John Lewis (GA), Peter Stark (CA), and Charlie Rangel (NY).
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
By Norris McDonald
It's official. We are big fans of the new EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. We've had a chance to look her over from her confirmation hearing to recent budget and stimulus package hearings. And our verdict is in: Lisa P. Jackson is not only super cool, but super smart. And to top that off she's nice and approachable too. Not everybody in this town thinks that just anybody can walk up and talk to them. But in Jackson we're talking megastar with a heart. President Obama is cool, but Administrator Jackson, dare we say it, could be cooler. Sorry Mr. President, but your EPA administrator is every bit as cool as you.
Her performance before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee at her confirmation hearing was the preview. I sat there thinking, "who is this woman and why has this talent been kept out of the limelight for so long?" Well Administrator Jackson is out there now. And the world had better get ready because she's just getting warmed up. Her command of facts, figures, policy and science is astounding. And she's not afraid to take questions from the public. I figured she would give her speech at the recent EPA budget briefing and leave like her predecessor, but she stayed and answered questions. Her answer to my question was precise, as were her answers to other questions. Okay, enough before the cynics start whining and describing this praise as 'green nosing.' But aint nothing [double negative intentional] wrong with acknowledging talent when you see it. And I see it clearly in our nation's environmental chief.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
AAEA is recommending an Environmental Justice Allowance Reserve (EJAR) to address the racial 'Hot Spots' issue. These allowances would come from a special reserve, similar to the current Acid Rain Program Renewable Energy and Conservation Reserve, when the initial allowance allocation is made. They would be awarded to utilities, automakers and others that undertake environmental justice practices and programs designed to mitigate or prevent price shocks, increase the installation of pollution control equipment, promote community education and enhance health-related activities. Utilities and automakers could choose to work with organizations and businesses that conduct environmental justice activities related to climate change mitigation and reductions in emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury.
AAEA has been registered in the EPA Acid Rain Program for years.
The EJAR program will leverage allowances and resources to promote environmental justice practices and projects designed to:
Increase the installation of pollution control equipment,
Promote community education and
Enhance health-related activities.
EPA could alert businesses, mayors, states, civil rights groups, environmental justice organizations, Congress and the general public about innovative methods for participating in this program, enhancing electricity production, auto emissions reductions and protecting constituent communities.
Allowances are fully marketable commodities. Once allocated, allowances may be bought, sold, traded, or banked for use in future years. Allowances may not be used for compliance prior to the calendar year for which they are allocated.
Participation in the EJAR will clearly show that a utility or automaker is exceeding emission compliance. Significant participation in the EJAR will indicate that utilities, automakers and others are not Hot Spot plants or disproportionate emissions contributors to vulnerable communities.
Monday, May 11, 2009
ESTIMATES of Local Spending
Districts across the country would receive billions of dollars to modernize, upgrade, repair and green America’s schools under legislation approved on May 6 by the House Education and Labor Committee. By a vote of 31 to 14, the Committee passed H.R. 2187, the 21st Century Green High Performing Public School Facilities Act, which would make critical investments to provide more students with modern, healthier, more environmentally-friendly classrooms. It would also support hundreds of thousands of new construction jobs and invest more than half a billion dollars for school facility improvements in the Gulf Coast, where many schools still face considerable damage caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
“For too long, students and teachers have suffered in school buildings that are literally crumbling, posing direct threats to their safety, health and learning,” said U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the Committee. “This legislation presents us with a vital opportunity to help boost student achievement, enhance teachers’ effectiveness, and create good jobs that transition us toward a clean energy economy – all at once.”For years, schools have been hundreds of billions of dollars short of what it would take to bring them into good condition. In 2009, the American Civil Society of Engineers gave U.S. schools a “D” on its national infrastructure report card. According to a recent report by the American Federation of Teachers, it would cost almost $255 billion to fully renovate and repair all the schools in the country. Congress recently endorsed this type of investment by enacting the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which allows school districts to use funds they receive under the state fiscal stabilization fund for school modernization, renovation and repair projects.
H.R. 2187 would authorize $6.4 billion for school renovation and modernization projects for fiscal year 2010, and would ensure that school districts quickly receive funds for projects that improve schools’ teaching and learning climates, health and safety, and energy efficiency. To further encourage energy efficiency and the use of renewable resources in schools, the legislation would require a percentage of funds be used for school improvement projects that meet widely recognized green building standards. It would require that 100 percent of the funds go toward green projects by 2015 – the final year of funding under the bill. The legislation would also create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and help improve local economies. According to calculations by the Economic Policy Institute, the legislation would support 136,000 jobs. Recent studies also show that school quality has a direct, positive impact on residential property values and can improve a community’s ability to attract businesses and workers.
[Source: Committee Press Release]
Saturday, May 09, 2009
One recent discovery was that halogenated sorbents can significantly reduce the cost of carbon treatment in flue gas streams. Elemental mercury is more difficult to capture on activated carbon than oxidized forms of mercury.
While the use of halogenated sorbents has been a significant breakthrough, there are still significant opportunities ahead to reduce the cost of carbon treatment in this application. These opportunities include technologies to recycle the carbon and further reduce the amount of carbon used, improving sorbent performance in high sulfur dioxide (SO2) applications and developing cement-friendly sorbents that minimize the effect of the carbon being present in the fly ash. (More)
(Pollution Engineering, January 2007, Calgon Carbon Corporation)
Friday, May 08, 2009
Juanita D. Miller, left, is a longstanding public servant. To drag her name through the mud over 'Bernie Madoff' tips' is beyond the pale. And frankly we cannot help but point out that these little jewels over pennies are oftentimes aimed at black people. Okay go ahead and scream if you like, but we can think of many such examples. The new EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson does not get this kind of ink and she is responsible for the distribution of a $10 billion budget - - something around $6 billion going to water infrastructure improvements. The WSSC budget is one billion dollars and The Washington Post is comparing who spent more lunch money among the commission board. No wonder newspapers are having trouble staying in business.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
The nuclear energy industry has taken the same trajectory as the environmental movement in terms of post-1970s effectiveness. The environmental movement peaked in 1985 in the middle of President Ronald Reagan's two terms. They went from rabbit hole paper filled offices around Capitol Hill to K Street offices that looked just like the corporations they accused of polluting the environment. Today you can't tell the difference between The Nature Conservancy offices and those of ExxonMobile. Now there is not anything necessarily wrong with going upscale. In fact, we just located on K Street ourselves. But the environmental groups lost their way after about 1989 and the 1990 Earth Day revival did not rejuvenate the movement. In fact, two newbie enviros declared the movement dead after the 1990s. I would say that it was arrogance that led to the demise of the environmental movement. Their elitist operations and policy positions ran out of steam after the major environmental laws were passed. They were left to count their money and be salvaged by the global warming issue.
The commercial nuclear energy industry was at their height in 2005 two decades after the height of the environmental movement. The nuclear power industry had almost everything it wanted in terms of streamlined regulations and government subsidies. It has even more now but the great renaissance that was being proclaimed is now in great doubt, even with every possible constraint to new building being removed. But Wall Street went south and the price tag for a new nuclear plant has the industry scratching its head about who will get a license and announce a new build first. It is ironic that the same global warming issue that salvaged the environmental movement is the same issue that 'keeps hope alive' for the nuclear power industry. Yet arrogance seeped into the nuclear power industry over the past four years or so, just as it did in the environmental movement in the mid 1980s. Our personal gripe is, just as it was and is with the elitist environmental movement, how they treat 'the least of these.' It is an indicator of how they will be treated by society at large.
"This is an issue I worked on in the Senate, and I'm pleased that we are now able to close this chapter in the agency's history and move on. My hope is that the farmers and their families who were denied access to USDA loans and programs will be made whole and will have the chance toPresident Obama with Black Farmers Assoc Pres John Boyd
rebuild their lives and their businesses."
The Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights will collaborate with the other agencies to develop and implement a proposal for data collection across USDA, make sure all complaints are incorporated as part of one data system; and develop USDA policy and training to ensure that all complaints are received and dealt with in a consistent manner within a specific timeframe. The full text of the memo.
In 1999, the USDA entered into a consent agreement with black farmers in which the agency agreed to pay farmers for past discrimination in lending and other USDA programs. Thousands of claims have been adjudicated, but thousands of other claims were not considered on their merits because problems with the notification and claims process hindered some farmers' ability to participate. To deal with the remaining claims, Congress provided these farmers another avenue for restitution in the 2008 Farm Bill. For those who have claims that were not considered on the merits because the claim was found not to be timely, the 2008 Farm Bill provided the right to file a new claim in federal court. The total amount offered by the federal government, $1.25 billion, includes $100 million that served as a "place holder" in Section 14012 of the Farm Bill.This announcement comes on the heels of a memorandum released two weeks ago by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack detailing an aggressive plan to promote civil rights and equal access at USDA. The memo announced the following:
The temporary suspension of all foreclosures within the Farm Service Agency's farm loan program, which will not only aid farmers facing economic hardship but will also provide the opportunity to review the loan granting process for possible discriminatory conduct; the creation of a Task force to conduct a review of a sample of program civil rights complaints that have been processed or that are currently being processed - the complaints and inquiries total over 14,000, including over 3,000 that have not been processed; and Granting greater authority to USDA's Office of Civil Rights.
Peterson spokesperson/attorney Andre Gingles recently faced the pubic and was given an earful. Our guess is that this will be an uphill battle. There isn't a gasoline island anywhere near this location and some fear it could become an East Coast stop for trucks and cars from major Interstate Highway 95. Something like two percent of America's commerce passes across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which is near National Harbor. The proposal to put something like 18 gasoline pumps and a convenience store at the site is controversial. We have no idea where the local government officials will come down on this issue. But although National Harbor is Prince George's County's Times Square and Hollywood Walk of Fame combined, we sense deep seated opposition to the gasoline station proposal.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
AAEA does not have a position on the terminal, but is working with Turner Station to mitigate negative environmental consequences on this local minority community. However, we have been extremely disappointed in how AES has treated this community.
MDE will reconsider its decision if AES provides all of the necessary information and completes the consultation requirements. State and local officials have opposed the project since AES announced its plans in 2006. The state has made several unsuccessful attempts to derail it with legislation that would either ban the project from environmentally sensitive areas or from within five miles of residences, but only federal regulators have the authority to site LNG terminals.
MDE’s concerns include the company’s plans to dredge 3.7 million cubic yards of contaminated sediments material from the Baltimore harbor to be processed and sold. MDE said the company has not signed a contract with any firm to purchase the material, and there is no certainty that the material will be sold. The possibility remains that the processed dredged material will be stockpiled at the terminal, which does not have adequate space or pollution control measures for the large volume of material that would be stockpiled. Dredging a 118-acre area about 45 feet deep would allow the company’s tankers to turn around in the basin next to the terminal.
MDE believes dredging deeper than 30 feet in the harbor would create the potential for 33 percent of the total water volume to be depleted of oxygen, eliminating a habitat for aquatic life. AES has proposed building the facility on the site of the former Bethlehem Steel shipyard, where ships would unload the super-chilled liquefied natural gas. Several rare, threatened and endangered species, including sea turtles, sea whales and the Maryland darter, could be affected by the dredging and stream crossings that AES has proposed, according to MDE.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted preliminary approval to the project in January, but development will not begin until AES meets the 169 requirements laid out by the agency. (Maryland Daily Record, 4/4/09)
Saturday, May 02, 2009
We are still angry that she, nor her exclusionist former associate D'Vera Cohn, never quoted environmentalist legend Damu Smith during his 15 years at Greenpeace, and his death would not have been covered in The Washington Post if nonenvironmental reporter Darryl Fears had not covered it. (Wash Post, 5/1/09)