Friday, May 23, 2014

AAEA Supports 21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiatives Act of 2014 (H.R. 4526)

Letter below is being circulated by the signatories
Dear Colleagues:
In order to help our economy rebound and to address the levels of unemployment that are still too high in many communities, we would like to request your support on H.R. 4526, the 21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiative Act of 2014.
This bipartisan jobs bill will not require any new funding and would provide a pathway to employment for minorities and other historically underrepresented communities in the energy sector. Led by the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, the bill calls for the Department of Energy to outline a comprehensive strategy for initiating collaboration between the DOE, Education, and Labor departments, as well as industry, schools, community colleges, universities, labor unions, workforce development organizations, and other stakeholders in order to engage, inform, train, and recruit minorities for the energy jobs of the present and future.
Other highlights of the bill include:
· Encourage collaboration with representatives from within the energy industry (oil, gas, coal, nuclear, utility, pipeline, renewable, nuclear) to identify the areas of highest need in each sector and to develop guidelines for the skills necessary to develop a workforce trained to go into those sectors.
· Promote collaboration with schools, community colleges, universities, workforce training organizations, national laboratories, unions, and the energy industry in order to ensure that the nation’s education system is equipping students with the skills, training, and technical expertise necessary to fill the employment opportunities vital to managing and operating America’s energy industry.
· Promote and encourage STEM education as it relates to job opportunities in energy-related fields of study in schools, community colleges, and universities nationally.
· Provide information, guidance, and resources for schools, workforce development centers, and community colleges seeking to train or re-train candidates looking to go into the skilled, semi-skilled, and highly-skilled energy jobs in order to provide them with the skills and certifications necessary to fill these jobs.
· Encourage and foster collaboration, mentorships, and partnerships between organizations (unions, industry, schools, community colleges, workforce development organizations, universities) that currently provide effective job training programs in the energy field and institutions (schools, community colleges, workforce development programs, universities) that seek to establish these types of programs in order to share best practices and approaches that best suit local, state, and national needs.
Over the next five to ten years the energy industry will lose up to 50% of its current workforce due to attrition and retirements, so it is vital that we are informing our constituents about these opportunities and training them to enter into these well-paying energy jobs and careers. Please join us in cosponsoring the 21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiative Act of 2014, which represents a Win for the Industry, a Win for our Communities, and a Win for the Economy as a whole!
To sign onto the bill as a cosponsor please contact John Marshall (Rep. Rush’s office) at or (202)225-4372. Thank you and we hope to have your support.
Bobby L. Rush, Ranking Member, Energy & Power Subcommittee                               
Ed Whitfield, Chairman, Energy & Power Subcommittee       
Bill Johnson, Member, Energy & Commerce Committee

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Obama Designates Organ Mountain as National Monument

Two years ago, President Obama set an ambitious goal: to attract 100 million international visitors to the United States each year by the end of 2021. More than 70 million travelers from around the world visited the U.S. in the last year alone -- and they spent more than $180 billion.

It is one of the reasons he designated a new National Monument in New Mexico yesterday -- permanently protecting nearly 500,000 acres as part of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks.

Monday, May 19, 2014

EPA Finalizes 316 (b)

Standards to Protect Fish, Aquatic Life from Cooling Water Intakes 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today finalized standards to protect billions of fish and other aquatic life drawn each year into cooling water systems at large power plants and factories.

 This final rule is required by the Clean Water Act to address site-specific challenges, and establishes a common sense framework, putting a premium on public input and flexibility for facilities to comply.

There are three components to the final regulation.

  • Existing facilities that withdraw at least 25 percent of their water from an adjacent waterbody exclusively for cooling purposes and have a design intake flow of greater than 2 million gallons per day are required to reduce fish impingement. To ensure flexibility, the owner or operator of the facility will be able to choose one of seven options for meeting best technology available requirements for reducing impingement.
  • Facilities that withdraw very large amounts of water – at least 125 million gallons per day – are required to conduct studies to help the permitting authority determine what site-specific entrainment mortality controls, if any, will be required. This process will include public input.
  • New units at an existing facility that are built to increase the generating capacity of the facility are be required to reduce the intake flow to a level similar to a closed cycle, recirculation system. Closed cycle systems are the most effective at reducing entrainment. This can be done by incorporating a closed-cycle system into the design of the new unit, or by making other design changes equivalent to the reductions associated with closed-cycle cooling.

An estimated 2.1 billion fish, crabs, and shrimp are killed annually by being pinned against cooling water intake structures (impingement) or being drawn into cooling water systems and affected by heat, chemicals, or physical stress (entrainment). To protect threatened and endangered species and critical habitat, the expertise of the Fish & Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service is available to inform decisions about control technologies at individual facilities.

The national requirements, which will be implemented through National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, are applicable to the location, design, construction, and capacity of cooling water intake structures at these facilities and are based on the best technology available for minimizing environmental impact. The rule establishes a strong baseline level of protection and then allows additional safeguards for aquatic life to be developed through site-specific analysis, an approach that ensures the best technology available is used. It puts implementation analysis in the hands of the permit writers so requirements can be tailored to the particular facility.

The final rule establishes requirements under the Clean Water Act for all existing power generating facilities and existing manufacturing and industrial facilities that withdraw more than 2 million gallons per day of water from waters of the U.S. and use at least 25 percent of the water they withdraw exclusively for cooling purposes. This rule covers roughly 1,065 existing facilities –521 of these facilities are factories, and the other 544 are power plants. The technologies required under the rule are well-understood, have been in use for several decades, and are in use at over 40 percent of facilities. (EPA)

More information

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Pollution in Metro Atlanta

"Patterns of Pollution"

A Report on Demographics and Pollution in Metro Atlanta

The report analyzes publicly available information to identify eight types of air, water, and land pollution and compares this pollution information with demographic data on people living in the 14-county region.

The Patterns of Pollution report identifies 5 pollution hotspots in the metro Atlanta area. The mapping portion of the project also includes an interactive map that allows you to find pollution points near where you live in metro Atlanta.

Simply click the link below, enter an address in the the 14-county metro Atlanta area, and pull up a report of sources of pollution near that address.

Key findings from the report:
  • Minority rates rise with the number of nearby pollution sources. Areas with a minority population 50 percent or higher have more than double the number of pollution sources than areas where minorities make up less than 10 percent of the population.
  • Households in which English is not the primary language, designated as “linguistic isolation” by the U.S. Census Bureau, are more than twice as likely to live in a high pollution area.
  • Areas with linguistic isolation rates over 20 percent have more than three times as many pollution sources in close proximity on average as blocks where less than 5 percent of households are linguistically isolated.
  • Areas with poverty levels above 20 percent contain on average almost six pollution sources, compared to areas with poverty rates under 5 percent that have only two.
  • Areas with vacant housing rates above 15 percent have three times as many pollution sources as areas with rates below 5 percent.

Download the full report by clicking the button below.  (Greenlaw)

 - See more at:

Monday, May 05, 2014

Who's In Danger: Race, Poverty and Chemical Disasters

A Report by the


May 2014

More than 134 million Americans live in the danger zones around 3,433 facilities in several common industries that store or use highly hazardous chemicals. Millions more people work, play, shop, and worship in these areas.  But who are the people that live daily with the everpresent danger of a chemical disaster?

The report is the first public accounting of the demographic characteristics of populations within the “vulnerability zones” of entire industry sectors that manufacture chemicals, treat water or wastewater, produce bleach, generate electric power, refined petroleum, produce pulp and paper, or otherwise have large numbers of people living in the path of a potential worst-case chemical release. It also shares the stories of some of these communities.

The new research presented in this report finds that residents of chemical facility vulnerability zones are disproportionately Black (African American) or Latino, have higher rates of poverty than the U.S. as a whole, and have lower housing values, incomes, and education levels than the national average.  The disproportionate or unequal danger is sharply magnified in the “fenceline” areas nearest the facilities.


The analysis produced striking fndings about the fenceline zones nearest to the facilities, where residents live closest to hazardous chemicals and with the least time to react in the event of a catastrophic release.

  • Residents of the fenceline zones have home values 33% below the national average. Avereage household incomes in the fenceline zones are 22% below the national average.
  • The percentage of Blacks in the fenceline zones is 75% greater than for the U.S. as a whole, while the percentage of Latinos in the fenceline zones is 60% greater than for the U.S. as a whole.
  • The percentage of adults in the fenceline zones with less than a high school degree is 46% greater than for the U.S. as a whole, and the percentage of adults in the fenceline zones with a college or other postsecondary degree is 27% lower than for the U.S. as a whole.
  • The poverty rates in the fenceline zones is higher than for the U.S. as a whole.

Showtime Presents: "Years Of Living Dangerously"

Hollywood celebrities and respected journalists span the globe to explore the issues of climate change and cover intimate stories of human triumph and tragedy.

Guy Williams Recognized For Environmental Work

Guy Williams, president and CEO of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, is all about rebuilding Detroit's neighborhoods into a safe, healthy, clean and green landscape.


Thursday, May 01, 2014


Real Time Air Monitoring

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted your outdoor air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you. The AQI focuses on health effects you may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air. EPA calculates the AQI for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act: ground-level ozone, particle pollution (also known as particulate matter), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. For each of these pollutants, EPA has established national air quality standards to protect public health. For Information regarding indoor air quality please visit the Indoor Web site.

The AIRNow Web site

The U.S. EPA, NOAA, NPS, tribal, state, and local agencies developed the AIRNow Web site to provide the public with easy access to national air quality information. The Web site offers daily AQI forecasts as well as real-time AQI conditions for over 300 cities across the US, and provides links to more detailed State and local air quality

Web sites.
Air Quality Forecasts - Nationwide daily air quality forecasts provided
by State and local Air Agencies for over 300 major U.S. cities.

Air Quality Conditions - Nationwide and regional real-time ozone air
quality maps covering 46 US States and parts of Canada. These maps are updated daily every hour.

About the Data

The air quality data used in these maps and to generate forecasts are collected using either federal reference or equivalent monitoring techniques or techniques approved by the state, local or tribal monitoring agencies. Since the information needed to make maps must be as "real-time" as possible, the data are displayed as soon as practical after the end of each hour. Although some preliminary data quality assessments are performed, the data as such are not fully verified and validated through the quality assurance procedures monitoring organizations use to officially submit and certify data on the EPA AQS(Air Quality System). Therefore, data are used on the AIRNow Web site only for the purpose of reporting the AQI. Information on the AIRNow web site is not used to formulate or support regulation, guidance or any other Agency decision or position.  (AIRNow)