From The Associated Press, Wednesday, January 12, 2011:
Under pressure from some members of Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is easing up on regulating global warming pollution from facilities that burn biomass for energy.
The agency says it needs more time to figure out whether biomass is a green fuel.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Wednesday notified members of Congress who complained that new rules regulating industrial carbon dioxide emissions would make it hard to develop new biomass energy plants that burn trees and branches thinned out of forests.
Developing biomass energy is part of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber’s plan for putting people back to work by thinning forests at high danger of wildfire.
The EPA’s decision excludes biomass from a rule requiring large polluters to reduce their heat-trapping pollution.
From The Tundra Drums, Tuesday, December 21, 2010:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is forming a new tribal committee to provide tribes with an opportunity for greater input on issues related to toxic chemicals and pollution prevention, the agency said in a press release.
The move is part of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s priority to build strong tribal partnerships and expand the conversation on environmental justice.
EPA is establishing a National Tribal Toxics Committee (NTTC) that will give tribes a forum for providing advice on the development of EPA’s chemical management and pollution prevention programs that affect tribes. Given the uniqueness of tribal cultures, communities and environmental problems, the forum will help EPA better tailor and more efficiently address a variety of issues, including preventing poisoning from lead paint, expanding pollution prevention and safer chemical initiatives in Indian country, and better evaluating unique chemical exposures on tribal lands.
“This new committee will help increase our already close collaboration and communication with federally recognized tribes and intertribal organizations on critical issues relating to chemical safety and pollution prevention that affect Native peoples,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We are committed to reducing toxic exposures and increasing pollution prevention among tribal communities, and to respecting tribal sovereignty, culture and heritage.”
From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Wednesday, December 15, 2010:
Federal environmental regulators said Friday a bridge proposed to span the Tanana River represents too big of an environmental risk.
The concern may not stop the project, which has attracted strong advocacy from public officials in the Interior, but it represents at least a crimp in the plan. Managers hope to start construction next year on a bridge-and-levee project that could last four years.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wrote its letter of objection Friday to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It follows a similar letter sent in November and arrives alongside similar concerns from several other public agencies.
The Corps is processing a permit application for the project’s sponsor, the Alaska Railroad Corp. The railroad, with funding from the Department of Defense and the state Legislature, wants the bridge to help the military, a major client, get year-round access to huge military training grounds south of the river.
The 3,300-foot bridge would be the longest in the state.
From The New York Times, Tuesday, August 10, 2010:
Congress focuses on whether the Environmental Protection Agency should go where no federal regulators have gone before and regulate greenhouse gases. But the agency did something more prosaic on Monday, albeit something it has not done effectively for the last 15 years or so: it put more than 100 cement kilns on notice that they will have to spend almost $1 billion annually to clean up the pollution they put into the atmosphere.
That’s the agency’s estimate. A statement by the Portland Cement Association, a trade group, put the cost at “several billion dollars.”
The E.P.A. estimates that the new rules will eliminate 92 percent of the mercury and fine-particulate emissions from cement kilns (more than 10 percent of the national total). The rule will also save 960 to 2,500 lives annually starting in 2013, not to mention avert hundreds of cases of bronchitis and 1,500 heart attacks, the agency said.
From The New York Times, Thursday, January 7, 2010:
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed a stricter standard for smog-causing pollutants that would bring substantial health benefits to millions of Americans while imposing large costs on industry and local governments.
The standard would replace one set by the Bush administration in March 2008, which has been challenged in court by state officials and environmental advocates as too weak to adequately protect human health and the environment.
From The Associated Press, Saturday, January 2, 2010:
Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell wants the Environmental Protection Agency to halt its effort to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Parnell says the proposed regulations would bury Alaska’s businesses, institutions and state environmental agencies in paperwork without accomplishing its goal.
Parnell says he wants the EPA to wait on the rules until Congress comes up with a solution to the greenhouse gas problem.
People in the business of weatherizing homes are expecting to profit from the new economic stimulus plan. The federal aid package sets aside $5 billion worth of spending for making homes and buildings more energy-efficient. The idea is to save energy, create jobs — and even perhaps slow global warming.
Click here to read and/or listen to the whole story.
For more information about weatherization in Alaska, click here to be directed to the PORTAL.
From the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office, posted on 2/18/09, retrieved on Friday, March 6, 2009:
President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 17, and the tax section of the act provides greater tax credits for clean energy projects at homes and businesses and for the manufacturers of clean energy technologies. For homeowners, the act increases a 10% tax credit for energy efficiency improvements to a 30% tax credit, eliminates caps for specific improvements (such as windows and furnaces), and instead establishes an aggregate cap of $1,500 for all improvements placed in service in 2009 and 2010 (except biomass systems, which must be placed in service after the act is enacted). The act also tightens the energy efficiency requirements to meet current standards. For residential renewable energy systems, the act removes all caps on the tax credits, which equal 30% of the cost of qualified solar energy systems, geothermal heat pumps, small wind turbines, and fuel cell systems. The act also eliminates a reduction in credits for installations with subsidized financing.
Click here to read the whole posting, and to link to additional Federal documents.
From the Washington Post on Monday, January 26, 2009:
President Obama today declared a national goal of ending dependence on foreign oil and promised new U.S. leadership in the fight against global warming as he announced a series of steps aimed at making American cars more fuel efficient and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In remarks at the White House at the start of his second week in office, Obama called on Congress to pass a massive stimulus package that he said would help “create a new American energy economy.” And he directed federal agencies to reexamine two policies that could force automakers to produce more fuel-efficient cars with reduced tailpipe emissions.
From the New York Times on Wednesday, January 14, 2009:
Lisa P. Jackson, chosen to head the Environmental Protection Agency, said at her confirmation hearing Wednesday morning that her first task would be to restore scientific and legal integrity to an agency battered by charges of political interference and coziness with industry.
Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times
“If I am confirmed, political appointees will not compromise the integrity of E.P.A.’s technical experts to advance particular regulatory outcomes.”LISA P. JACKSON
But she evaded questions on whether as administrator of the E.P.A. she would immediately grant authority to California and 16 other states to regulate vehicle tailpipe emissions, promising only a speedy review of the issue. Nor did she directly answer questions on whether and how the agency would address regulation of carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act, an authority granted the E.P.A. by the Supreme Court in 2007.