The Constellation Energy Group 3rd nuclear nuclear debacle clearly does not help our case. That was ugly. Brutal. As nasty a divorce as we have observed in any sector. Electricite de France (EdF) is now left to put together the pieces from that prenup to try to get new reactors built in the USA. The Center stands ready to assist them in any way we can to accomplish this mission, both in the USA and abroad. In the USA, our take is that it might be easier to build with a new partner in New York or Mississippi than to build in Maryland. Our assessment is that the divorce probably did not leave a good taste in the mouth of either partner for Maryland. And this distresses us because our president lives in Maryland and presented statements before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in support of Calvert Cliffs 3.
We hope that EdF will find a partner in Exelon an/or Entergy because both are very good companies and have excellent records in operating nuclear power plants. We mentioned Mississippi because we believe Port Gibson, Mississippi would be an excellent site for EdF to build its EPR. In addition to Constellation-owned units of Ginna and Nine Mile Point in New York, Entergy also has the nearby James Fitzpatrick Reactor that could use another unit or two at that site. Ideally 3 more units could be added to those 3 sites.
Sigh. We have been at this for 10 years and the future is not looking very good for new nuclear power plants. And to be honest, we are more than a little concerned about the current aging fleet of reactors. And so is the nuclear industry. That is why they presented statements at the recent Gulf oil spill hearings. The Center will continue with its aggressive and enthusiastic support for building new nuclear power plants. (The Baltimore Sun, 10/30/2010)
The Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy was incorporated 25 years ago on November 20, 1985. How time flies. Although not well known, our organization has been incredibly busy with significant accomplishments along the way. We spent most of the first eight years of the 21st Century operating more through our outreach arm, the African American Environmentalist Association. Sulaiman Mahdi, founding member and Director of our Southeastern Regional Office in Atlanta, came up with that name 25 years ago and we are proud to be the first African American-led environmental organization that is still operating.
We basically targeted climate change as the most important environmental issue to concentrate on and promoted plug in fuel cell hybrdi electric vehicles combined with nuclear power plants as our lead strategies for fighting the global warming menace. We did conservation, green jobs and efficiency during the last 15 years of the 20st Century.
The organization remained small on purpose because of my personal circumstances: single parenthood [divorce/full custody of a 2-year old] and acute asthma that has tried to kill me often since I became chronic starting in 1991. Complete respiratory failures in 1991 and 1996 that landed me in the ICU for four days each time. Oh the hunger when I came out each time. I commited to keeping myself alive so that I could raise my son. I succeeded. My son is now 18 years old and has been accepted to attend South Carolina State University.
I will list some of our many accomplishments on November 20th. It has been an interesting ride. And it aint over yet. The future is looking more exciting than ever. We are trying to build power plants. [Also see Autobiography]
Also earlier this week, Constellation and EDF agreed to a deal that gives EDF full ownership of its new nuclear development called Unistar, which is seeking to build a third reactor at Calvert Cliffs. Constellation withdrew from negotiations with the Department of Energy over a federal loan guarantee deemed crucial for the $9.6 billion project. Constellation took a write-down of $86.3 million, or 43 cents per share, for its Unistar investment.
Under the agreement reached with EDF on Tuesday, Constellation will sell its 50 percent stake in Unistar nuclear development company to the French company for $140 million. Constellation owns the nuclear plants with its French partner EDF Group, which bought nearly half of that business two years ago amid a financial crisis
Constellation reaffirmed its 2010 earnings guidance range of $3.05 per share to $3.45 per share. (The Baltimore Sun, 10/29/2010)
EPA Administrator Names Executive Director for New Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has named John H. Hankinson, Jr. to be the executive director of the newly established Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. President Obama signed an executive order earlier this month establishing the task force, which will coordinate efforts to implement restoration programs and projects in the gulf coast region. Jackson, a New Orleans native, was named as chair of the task force due to her considerable involvement in the Obama Administration’s immediate response efforts following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and her knowledge and extensive experience in environmental issues – factors that will be central in spurring actions to help to restore the region’s ecosystem while providing important support for the economy.
As the executive director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, Hankinson – who will report directly to Administrator Jackson – will coordinate interagency efforts, oversee staff and outreach efforts develop a regional ecosystem restoration strategy and ensure that science underpins the task force’s efforts. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida will each have a state representative on the task force. The representatives will be selected by the governors of each gulf state and then appointed by President Obama, along with one senior official from each of several federal agencies, including the departments of Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce and Transportation. The task force will also integrate local stakeholders, representatives from affected tribes, and the scientific and academic communities. The task force will have a presence in each of the gulf states, in addition to Washington, D.C.
Administrator Jackson will hold the first meeting of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force on November 8 in Pensacola, Fla. More information about that meeting will be announced as it becomes available.
View President Obama’s executive order
DOT, EPA Propose the Nation’s First Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Trucks and Buses
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced the first national standards to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses. This comprehensive national program is projected to reduce GHG emissions by about 250 million metric tons and save 500 million barrels of oil over the lives of the vehicles produced within the program’s first five years.
Overall, NHTSA and EPA estimate that the heavy-duty national program would provide $41 billion in net benefits over the lifetime of model year 2014 to 2018 vehicles. With the potential for significant fuel efficiency gains, ranging from seven to 20 percent, drivers and operators could expect to net significant savings over the long-term. For example, it is estimated an operator of a semi truck could pay for the technology upgrades in under a year, and save as much as $74,000 over the truck’s useful life. Vehicles with lower annual miles would typically experience longer payback periods, up to four or five years, but would still reap cost-savings.
EPA and NHTSA are providing a 60-day comment period that begins when the proposal is published in the Federal Register. The proposal and information.
As part of the process of developing this proposed rulemaking, NHTSA has prepared a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for its proposed fuel efficiency standards. The draft EIS compares the environmental impacts of the agency’s proposal with those of a number of regulatory alternatives. Comments may be submitted on the Draft EIS through January 3, 2011, and information on the submission of comments for this document may be found at the NHTSA web address listed above.
Scoping Visit 1
Center Planning To Build Biomass Electricity Plant in Mississippi
The Center and National Clean Fuels (NACF) engaged in their second scoping trip in Mississppi, which is part of the process for their planned construction of a 10 megawatt biomass-to-electricity plant in Port Gibson, Mississippi. The team included our Center President Norris McDonald and Center Vice President Derry Bigby, NACF President Maurice Stone and Al Dyson, president of Dyson Engineering and Technical Services, Inc. The Rudy Shields Green Electric plant is projected to begin operating in 2012.
|Bigby, Dyson, McDonald, Stone|
|Bigby, McDonald, Dyson, Stone|
|Stone, Dyson, McDonald, Bigby|
Photo Credits: Dexter Dyson
|Substation at Alcorn State University|
|Dyson Engineering President Al Dyson at Entergy Port Gibson Substation|
|Alcorn State Methane Gas Line (note solar panel)|
|Lunch at The Old Country Store|
w/ Port Gibson Mayor Fred Reeves (2nd from right) and Charles Shepphard (far right)
|NACF President Maurice Stone at Alcorn State Farm Area|
Scoping Visit 3
|Photo Credit: Andy Wong|
Xi is from Shaanxi province and has long been assumed to be the successor to President Hu Jintao, top left.
Hu will step down as Communist Party leader in 2012 and as president the following year. (Wash Post, 10/19/2010)
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The purpose of the project is:
1. To support civil society organizations in the rural areas and the Government of Kenya to participate meaningfully in the climate change debates at the international level, including Conferences of Parties (COP).
2. To strengthen the civil society to campaign for good policies that are designed to help Kenya’s poor to adapt to climate change
3. To re-examine the present critique of the economic development as a main source of environmental crises;
4. To explore the thought and representations of crisis awareness of rural Kenya, especially on ecological aspects;
5. To determine the ways in which mitigation ideas of the relationship between humanity, nature and science provide a starting point for a renewal of environmental ethics and for rethinking ideas of sustainability
Medical Advisory Support Services for the Maringo Community in Kenya
Objectives of the Project:
The objective of this project is therefore to organize a medical seminar that will be delivered freely to a target group. It is planned that this medical seminar will follow up with arranging for the implementation of a medical camp where minor illnesses could be treated and sensitization on key medical issues can be addressed. The main beneficiaries will be the youth and parents of Maringo village who have greater trust on ‘Mwarubaini” for its popularity on having a capability to treat forty diseases as confirmed by herbal doctors.
Increased Access For Women in Kenya
Access to education for girls remains a challe
nge in Kuria district due to poverty, retrogressive cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and a general negative attitude towards educating girls. It is important that these causes are addressed to ensure gender equity in education. This program works towards eliminating the root causes of inequalities in access to education.
|Spruce Mine No. 1|
The Center opposes mountaintop removal. Mountaintop removal involves dynamiting the tops off mountains to get at the coal beneath while dumping the resulting rubble, known as spoil, into nearby valleys and streams. In this aerial photo, part of the work already done at the site of the Spruce Mine can be seen alongside Pigeonroost Hollow, at right. Photo by Vivian Stockman, flyover courtesy of Southwings.
In its review, the E.P.A. found that the project would bury more than seven miles of the Pigeonroost Branch and Oldhouse Branch streams under 110 million cubic yards of spoil, killing much in them and sending contaminants downstream.
Arch Coal is challenging the recommendation and says it plans to spend $250 million on the project, creating 250 jobs and tens of millions of dollars in tax revenues in a struggling region. The E.P.A. believes the construction of waste ponds as well as other discharges from the Spruce No. 1 mining operation would spread pollutants beyond the boundaries of the mine itself, causing further damage to wildlife and the environment. Arch Coal had proposed to construct new streams to replace the buried rivers, but the E.P.A. said they could not reproduce the numbers and variety of fish and plant life supported by the indigenous streams. (NYT, 10/15/2010)
By Norris McDonald
The Center supports building a third nuclear reactor at Calvert Cliffs. So does Maryland's Congressional delegation. The governor too. And my state needs the emission free electricity that would come from the plant. Yet, right at a time when I was awaiting the Obama administration's announcement of a loan guarantee for the project, Constellation walks away from the loan guarantee and serves divorce papers on its nuclear partner. The Constellation Energy Group and Electricity de France (EdF) nuclear marriage is unraveling in the most unpleasant of ways. Constellation wants to get out for $1 and EdF is seeking a new mate. Lawyers don't build nuclear power plants.
we supported the EdF purchase over Warren Buffet's purchase in 2009. We knew Buffet would not 'go all the way' and build a new plant. Fortunately, Constellation listened to our advice. And now this.
Exelon and Entergy are excellent companies and have outstanding records in operating nuclear power plants. If the Constellation split is permanent (and we suspect it is), then either of these companies would be acceptable to us in providing the emission free electricity Maryland needs for the rest of the 21st Century. We believe there could also be a positive economy of scale by building a fourth reactor at the Calvert Cliffs location. Finally, we would love to have equity in a 3rd reactor.
Scoping Visit 1
Scoping Visit 2
Scoping Visit 3
Prior research by the Kellogg School of Management has found $3 trillion in unfunded legacy liabilities from state-sponsored pension plans. However, new research finds additional liabilities from municipalities that magnify the growing public pension crisis. In a new report issued today by the Kellogg School, economists estimate an additional $574 billion in unfunded liabilities from pension plans at the city and county levels.
In many cities, these unfunded promises will be a long-standing and substantial burden for municipal revenues. For example, even if all other spending was shut down, the city of Chicago would need to allocate about eight years of dedicated tax revenues to cover pension promises it has already made.
Six major cities have current pension assets that can only pay for promised benefits through 2020: Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville and St. Paul. An additional 18 cities and counties, including New York City, Detroit, Cook County in Illinois and Orange County in California would be solvent through 2020 but not past 2025. According to Rauh, it is clear that state and local governments in the U.S. are not far from the point where these pension promises will impact their ability to operate. (Joshua Rauh)
Maryland & States Grapple With Unfunded Pension Funds
In addition, the Annapolis, Maryland-bsed company says it will keep the waste from being spread as fertilizer on farm land, where it can run off into waterways. Reducing farm runoff is one of the key strategies in a new, tougher federal strategy to restore the Chesapeake Bay, a strategy that has prompted concern from agriculture interests over its costs. (The Daily Record, 10/14/2010)
|William Reilly, Bob Graham (Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP)|
The Louisiana Shrimp Association noted that:
"Unprecedented use of toxic dispersants during the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster without prior scientific study and evaluation of the effects to the Gulf of Mexico marine ecosystems and human health was a horrific mistake that should never have been allowed to happen."
In its draft report on the use of dispersants, the commission staff concluded that they could not say EPA acted "unreasonably" in its decision to use massive volumes of dispersants, "because federal agencies had failed to plan adequately" and they simply knew too little to make a better informed decision. The Center agrees with the commission's conclusion. The commission is chaired by Bill Reilly and Bob Graham.
The EPA responded to the petition with a statement saying that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson "has made clear that one of the lessons of this spill is that we need to learn more about the use and long-term impact of dispersants" and that she is "committed to revising the 15-year old process by which these products end up on the National Contingency Plan Product Schedule," and had committed $2 million to conduct additional research. (NOLA.com, 10/13/2010)
As stocks plummeted two years ago, so did the pension fund's balance sheet. With liabilities exceeding $50 billion, the fund now has little more than $31 billion in assets. Against the $15 billion owed for health care and other benefits, the state has less than 1 percent on hand.
Maryland is one of 19 states facing serious long-term problems. The state's pension fund was fully funded in 2002; now assets are just 65 percent of liabilities. It is one of just eight that has made no real progress in restoring the health of its retiree benefit plan
A state commission has started looking into the problem and is set to make recommendations this year. Some painful choices are going to have to be made. (Wash Post, 10/13/2010)
EPA Grants E15 Waiver for Newer Vehicles
A new label for E15 is being proposed to help ensure consumers use the correct fuel
Without the increase, some speculate the U.S. will not be able to meet a congressional mandate requiring 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel to be blended into the domestic fuel supply by 2022.
The waiver applies to fuel that contains up to 15 percent ethanol – known as E15 – and only to model year 2007 and newer cars and light trucks. This represents the first of a number of actions that are needed from federal, state and industry towards commercialization of E15 gasoline blends. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson made the decision after a review of the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) extensive testing and other available data on E15’s impact on engine durability and emissions.
A decision on the use of E15 in model year 2001 to 2006 vehicles will be made after EPA receives the results of additional DOE testing, which is expected to be completed in November. However, no waiver is being granted this year for E15 use in model year 2000 and older cars and light trucks – or in any motorcycles, heavy-duty vehicles, or non-road engines – because currently there is not testing data to support such a waiver. Since 1979, up to 10 percent ethanol or E10 has been used for all conventional cars and light trucks, and non-road vehicles.
Additionally, several steps are being taken to help consumers easily identify the correct fuel for their vehicles and equipment. First, EPA is proposing E15 pump labeling requirements, including a requirement that the fuel industry specify the ethanol content of gasoline sold to retailers. There would also be a quarterly survey of retail stations to help ensure their gas pumps are properly labeled.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 mandated an increase in the overall volume of renewable fuels into the marketplace reaching a 36 billion gallon total in 2022. Ethanol is considered a renewable fuel because it is produced from plant products or wastes and not from fossil fuels. Ethanol is blended with gasoline for use in most areas across the country.
The E15 petition was submitted to EPA by Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers in March 2009. In April 2009, EPA sought public comment on the petition and received about 78,000 comments.
The petition was submitted under a Clean Air Act provision that allows EPA to waive the act’s prohibition against the sale of a significantly altered fuel if the petitioner shows that the new fuel will not cause or contribute to the failure of the engine parts that ensure compliance with the act’s emissions limits. (EPA, WSJ, 10/13/2010)
The Volt is a bit more like a conventional hybrid gas-electric car such as Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius, however, the current Prius cannot be plugged in to recharge. After the batteries are drawn down, the Volt has a gasoline engine that kicks in to power a generator, which creates electricity to keep the car's electric motor turning. The Volt, like other coming electric cars, has a big battery pack that allows it to travel 25 to 50 miles purely on battery power.
Some are trying to make a big out of the regular gasoline engine 'assist,' even though GM has noted that it did not share all the details until now because the information was competitive and they were awaiting patent approvals. GM never before said there was a mechanical link between the gasoline engine and the drive train. (WSJ, 10/13/2010)
The cost of upgrading pipelines likely would be passed on to consumers and could mean higher rates for the San Francisco company's roughly four million natural-gas customers. Regulators have no current estimate of the program's cost.
The explosion is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. (WSJ, 10/13/2010)
|Napolitano, Salazar, Obama|
The massive spill changed the deepwater offshore drilling enterprise forever because it was the biggest environmental disaster in the history of the United States. Rig operators must demonstrate they can comply with a lengthy list of new safety regulations designed to prevent a repeat of BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster. Several independent government panels are still investigating what caused the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion. The accident killed 11 people.
Michael Bromwich, head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement will need time to make sure that drilling plans comply with the new rules. (WSJ, 10/13/2010)
Current Deepwater Operators (as of June 2010)
I have come to China to mark 30 years of environmental partnership between our two nations. The environmental issues of this generation – from local concerns about pollution in water and air, to global concerns about climate change – have made our ability to work together more crucial than ever. That is why my first official action on this trip was to join Minister Zhou to renew the official cooperation between the US and China.
One of the top priorities on our list is combating climate change by limiting pollutants. Yesterday, I helped opening a Regional Air Quality Meeting in Beijing, under which EPA will work with MEP to address climate forcing pollutants like methane and NOx. Climate change is a concern for both the US and China, and we must consider both environment and economic factors. President Obama and I have continued to emphasize that a strong economy and a clean environment must go hand-in-hand.
I just finished a boat tour of your Pearl River, in which I discussed the challenges and progress in addressing water pollution with the Director General of the Guangdong Environmental Protection Board. Clean water is an essential part of every community. China’s rivers stretch across the country, providing vital resources to hundreds of millions. The health of those waters is integral to the health of your people, to the health of your environment, and to the health of your economy.
President Obama hopes Congress will get to his $50-billion "roads, railways and runways" program by or before December. The White House also hopes the 'roads, railways and runways' plan will create middle-class jobs in manufacturing and construction. The president described the plan from the Rose Garden, which included a report estimating that more than half of the new jobs would come in construction, where unemployment figures are higher than 17%. To pass the measure, the president needs to win over Republicans, who generally have opposed his suggestions for government spending as a way out of the country's economic malaise.
President Obamais pictured with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in the Rose Garden at the White House. (L.A. Times, 10/12/2010) (Mark Wilson / Getty Images / October 11, 2010)
Lisa P. Jackson signs Memorandum of Understanding with China on Environmental Protection
|Lisa P. Jackson|
Under the MOU, EPA will continue to collaborate with China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) on the prevention and management of air pollution, water pollution, pollution from persistent organic pollutants and other toxics, hazardous and solid waste, and the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental law.
The MOU, which was a renewal of an MOU that expired in 2008, also provides opportunities distinct from existing agreements on science and technology cooperation and establishes a joint committee that is co-chaired by EPA’s administrator and China’s environmental protection minister. The joint committee meets every two years, and the next meeting will be hosted by Administrator Jackson in Washington, D.C. on November 16-17, 2010. At the meeting, MEP and EPA officials will review progress made during the last two years and approve work plans for the next two years.
More information about Administrator Jackson’s mission in China
More information about EPA’s International Priorities
Federal agencies are required to create inventories of greenhouse gas emissions by Jan. 31, 2011, under Executive Order 13514. The inventory must include emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydroflourocarbons, perfluorocarbon gases and sulfur hexafluoride.
The guidance clarifies many questions officials have had, such as which agencies are responsible for reporting emissions at shared or leased facilities (the ones that pay the utility bills) and stipulates that agencies also must report emissions associated with government-owned/contractor operated facilities, known as GOCOs.
It also describes buildings that could be excluded from the inventory, such as privately owned structures located on federal land or military installations.
Agencies must report all direct GHG emissions from sources owned or controlled by the agency within what is known as Scope 1, which includes emissions resulting from power generation, vehicle fleets, manufacturing processes and fugitive emissions, such as leaks from landfills or wastewater treatment plants on federal property.
In addition, agencies must account for Scope 2 emissions -- those that occur elsewhere as a result of agency activities, such as emissions at power plants supplying electricity to a federal facility.
The guidance also includes a phased approach for reporting indirect emissions known as Scope 3, such as those occurring as a result of employee travel or commuting, for example. Because reliable data are more difficult to develop in Scope 3 emissions, the guidance notes a substantial portion of these emissions won't be captured in the initial inventories. (Government Executive, 10/6/2010)
|The New York Times|
Project Development team:
Bob Mitchell - Trans-Elect
Rick Needham, Dan Reicher - Google
John Breckenridge - Good Energies
Richard Straebel - Marubeni
Markian Melnyk - Atlantic Wind Connection
The system, known as the Atlantic Wind Connection, includes a 350-mile underwater line that could remove some critical obstacles to wind power development along the East coast. Before any wind farms are built, the cable would channel existing supplies of electricity from southern Virginia, where it is cheap, to northern New Jersey, where it is costly, bypassing one of the most congested parts of the North American electric grid while lowering energy costs for northern customers.
Good Energies, an investment firm specializing in renewable energy, along with Google, have each agreed to take 37.5 percent of the equity portion of the project. Trans-Elect is a Maryland-based transmission-line company that proposed the venture. Marubeni is a Japanese trading company that has taken a 15 percent stake in the venture. Trans-Elect said it hoped to begin construction in 2013. If they hold on to their stakes, that would come to an initial investment of about $200 million apiece in the first phase of construction alone. Trans-Elect estimated that construction would cost $5 billion, plus financing and permit fees. The $1.8 billion first phase, a 150-mile stretch from northern New Jersey to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware could go into service by early 2016. The rest would not be completed until 2021.
While several undersea electrical cables exist off the Atlantic Coast already, none has ever picked up power from generators along the way. The system’s backbone cable, with a capacity of 6,000 megawatts, equal to the output of six large power plants, would run in shallow trenches on the seabed in federal waters 15 to 20 miles offshore, from northern New Jersey to Norfolk, Virginia. Within three miles of the shore, regulatory control is from the state. The plan is to harvest electricity from turbines in an area where the wind is strong but the tall towers would barely be visible.
Four connection points — in southern Virginia, Delaware, southern New Jersey and northern New Jersey — would simplify the job of bringing the energy onshore, involving fewer permit hurdles. In contrast to transmission lines on land, where a builder may have to deal with hundreds of property owners, this project would have to deal with a maximum of just four, and fewer than that in its first phase.
The PJM Interconnection, the regional electricity group that would have to approve the project and assess its member utilities for the cost, has no integrated procedure for calculating the value of all three tasks the line would accomplish — hooking up new power generation, reducing congestion on the grid and improving reliability. (NYT, 10/12/2010)
By Norris McDonald
Having promoted conservation and weatherization since 1980, I was delighted to support the Green Jobs Act of 2007. Being the first environmentalist to publicly support nuclear power in the United States in 2000, I was delighted that legislation assisting the technology we supported in 2005 became law (Energy Policy Act). I attended the signing in Albuquerque, New Mexico as a special guest of the White House. Unfortunately, although billions have been poured into creating green jobs, such jobs are not readily identifiable and did not help in an American economic recovery. Similarly, although the nuclear industry has almost every conceivable subsidy and support from the U.S. government, the nuclear renaissance I so enthusiastically promoted is not going to happen [notwithstanding its global warming mitigation benefits].
Now proponents of each area will disagree with me and that is fine. But they know the reality of the situation just as I do. So what are we to do? If nuclear power plants are too expensive to build and wind and solar cannot meet our continuous bulk electricity needs, how can we meet new capacity? Conservation and efficiency are fine too, but American economic health is based on growth. And growth requires more energy, regardless of the amount of conservation and efficiency retrofits.
It appears that natural gas will slip into the gap created by carbon dioxide concerns from coal, the expense of new nuclear plants and the inability of alternatives and efficiency to meet new growth demands. We have been down this road before and the price fluctuations for natural gas should be a real concern, particularly when it will be used to produce base load electrical power.
I will continue to push a combination of green jobs and nuclear power. Heck, nuclear jobs are green jobs too. But I am not optimistic that they will have the huge impact that I hoped and worked for during the past few decades.
Constellation's nuclear partner, Electricite de France (EdF) is left out in the cold by this unilateral decision.
The Center supports the construction of a third reactor at Calvert Cliffs.
Constellation and French power company Electricite de France are partners in Unistar, a joint venture that had intended to make the new Calvert Cliffs reactor the first of a fleet of identical units around the country. They filed the loan guarantee application in July 2007. Unfortunately, the escalating cost of building nuclear reactors have made nuclear power projects "unworkable." EDF appears to have been surprised by Constellation "unilateral decision to withdraw from the project. EDF remains committed to pursuing new nuclear [power plants] in the U.S.
The administration has approved only one conditional loan guarantee for a nuclear power project and that went to a Georgia plant to be built by Southern Company, which under state law can begin to recover costs while the plants are under construction. There are serious environmental justice issues at the proposed Vogle plant proposal in Georgia. Unlike Georgia, Maryland regulations say that power plant construction costs can be passed through to customers only once the plant is operating.
Constellation and EDF, a major shareholder in Constellation, also have a major conflict over whether Constellation can force EDF to buy several older fossil fuel power plants for $2 billion.
Shares in Electricite de France SA slid as much as 1.5 percent to $43.43 on the Paris stock exchange on Monday after the French state-owned utility’s U.S. partner, Constellation Energy Group, pulled out of a project to build the first of a new generation of nuclear power plants in Maryland. (Wash Post, 10/9/2010, The Daily Record, 10/11/2010))
* Robert F. Kennedy Jr., president of Waterkeeper Alliance and environmental advocate for over 20 years.
* Dr. Dorothy Robyn, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Installations & Environment, Department of Defense
* Robert Peck, Commissioner, Public Buildings, U.S. General Services Administration
The full speaker list and program can be viewed at GOVgreen.org and register. There's also a panel on using social media, called "Moving Beyond Government to Engage Citizens in GreenGov Conversations and Results", featuring Jeffrey Levy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Cammie Croft of the Department of Energy, Todd Solomon of the Department of Transportation and Bev Godwin of the GSA. A special crowdsourcing site has been set up for submitting questions to the panel.
During the trip, Administrator Jackson will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with her counterpart from China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, open the Regional Air Quality Meeting in Beijing; visit the world’s largest electronic waste site; and host a town hall meeting with students at Sun Yat-sen University.
For 30 years, the United States and China have engaged in a wide range of cooperative activities aimed at increasing energy efficiency; reducing emissions of pollutants, toxics, and greenhouse gases; limiting threats to public health caused by pollution; and creating a foundation for long-term environmental sustainability. EPA and MEP have been at the forefront of environmental collaboration and are looking to build on past successes to jointly address environmental challenges.
HIGHLIGHTS OF ADMINISTRATOR JACKSON’S CHINA VISIT (all times local)
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 10
5:30 p.m. Joins MEP Minister Zhou Shengxian for renewal ceremony for EPA Memorandum of Understanding with MEP, Beijing, China
MONDAY, OCTOBER 11
9:30 a.m. Delivers opening remarks at Regional Air Quality Meeting, Beijing, China
4:30 p.m. Tours electronic waste site, Guiyu, China
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 12
11:00 a.m. Holds town hall with university students on “30 Years of U.S.-China Cooperation on the Environment,” Guangzhou, China
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 13
9:15 a.m. Delivers opening remarks at corporate environmental stewardship seminar, Shanghai, China
11:00 a.m. Attends event to highlight success of EPA-Shanghai EPB AirNow, International pilot project,
Center Trip To China 2007
President Obama Signs Executive Order Officially Forming Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force
EPA's Jackson to oversee national transition from emergency response to coastal recovery in the gulf
Jackson was a key part of the Obama Administration’s immediate response efforts following the oil spill, and her deep expertise in environment-related issues will be central in spurring actions that help to restore the region’s ecosystem while providing important support for the economy.
President Obama today signed the executive order formally creating the task force. Its mission is to coordinate efforts to implement restoration programs and projects in the gulf coast region. The task force also will coordinate with the Department of Health and Human Services on public health issues and with other federal agencies on ways to enhance the economic benefits that ecosystem restoration will bring to the region.
It will have five state representatives, appointed by the president upon recommendation of the governors of each gulf state, along with one senior official each from many federal departments and agencies, including the departments of Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and Transportation. The task force may also include representatives from affected tribes.
The executive order follows the release last week of the long-term restoration proposal, written by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus -- an aggressive plan that included a call for dedicated funds to support the gulf coast’s environmental and economic recovery. Included in the Mabus report was a recommendation for Congress to authorize a Gulf Coast Recovery Council to manage the overall restoration efforts in the gulf coast. The president created the task force to enhance the coordination and implementation of important restoration efforts, even before Congress acts.
View the Executive Order