Total emissions of the six main greenhouse gases in 2010 were equivalent to 6,822 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. The report indicates that overall emissions have grown by over 10 percent from 1990 to 2010.
The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2010 is the latest annual report that the United States has submitted to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. EPA prepares the annual report in collaboration with experts from multiple federal agencies and after gathering comments from stakeholders across the country.
The inventory tracks annual greenhouse gas emissions at the national level and presents historical emissions from 1990 to 2010. The inventory also calculates carbon dioxide emissions that are removed from the atmosphere by “sinks,” e.g., through the uptake of carbon by forests, vegetation and soils. (EPA)
More on the greenhouse gas inventory report
These results undercut the environmental rationale for the proposed NaturalGas Act, which would provide federal support for converting America’s heavy-truck fleet to run on natural gas. But they underscore the appeal of rules about to be finalized at the EPA, which would require natural gas producers to prevent leaks from wells, pipelines, storage tanks and other infrastructure. The rules are designed to reduce the release of volatile organic compounds that formdangerous smog, but the EPA estimates that they would also result in the collection of 3.4 million tons of methane annually, a quarter of current methane emissions from the sector.
China and other emerging markets have less oil on tap to provide for domestic demand than Western counterparts. China's total oil stocks, both strategic and commercial, are enough to cover only about 40 days of domestic usage, analysts estimate. By comparison, the U.S.'s strategic and commercial stockpile can cover the country's needs for 94 days. (WSJ, 4/11/2012)
Industry fears the rules could lead to hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of annual delays for industry projects on public lands, and warns of “onerous” reporting requirements. The presentation also cites concerns that Interior could deny fracking from occurring at wells that have already been drilled.
Fracking involves high-pressure injections of water, chemicals and sand into rock formations to open up seams that enable trapped gas to flow. The method, along with advances in horizontal drilling technology, is enabling a U.S. gas production boom but bringing pollution fears along with it.
Environmental groups are pushing for stronger federal oversight on several fronts, including the repeal of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that exempted fracking from EPA Clean Water Act rules.
Iidustry recommendations for the looming Interior rules include adoption of the format used by FracFocus — a voluntary disclosure database run by the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission — for the required federal disclosures. The industry groups support current state-level requirements and recommend that Interior should use the FracFocus system “instead of attempting to create a different, costly and unnecessary new reporting process.” They also say there is no need for a “national well construction model.”
Federal officials have signaled that they could let companies disclose the required data through FracFocus, which is currently a voluntary registry.
The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing separate air emissions rules for wells developed with hydraulic fracturing, and studying fracking’s effect on water supplies. (The Hill, 4/9/2012)
|Fly Ash Pond|
"In the absence of national standards requiring safe disposal, coal ash has been dumped in thousands of unlined and unmonitored ponds, landfills, pits and mines. The result has been the widespread release of hazardous pollutants from coal ash to water, air and soil, endangering human health and the environment."
The groups, who filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, say EPA is violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by failing to update its regulations.The complaint says the waste streams contain “large quantities” of arsenic, lead, mercury and other toxins linked to neurological, developmental and other health problems.
EPA floated draft rules almost two years ago laying out options for regulation of the wastes. The coal industry and many coal-state lawmakers are seeking to prevent EPA from going with the tougher of the two options: regulating the materials under the hazardous waste title of RCRA, which is Subtitle C.
The push for coal ash rules stems in part from a late 2008 spill from a breached storage pond in Tennessee. The accident dumped 5.4 million cubic yards of the liquid material into and around a nearby river, destroying and damaging several homes.
It has bee three decades since EPA last reviewed the coal ash disposal standards and over three years since the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston spill. In 2010, power plants used unsafe and leak-prone coal ash ponds to dispose of wastes containing 113.6 million pounds of toxic metals, a nearly ten percent increase from 2009. Yet EPA’s proposed standards for safe disposal, including a plan to close down ash ponds within five years, have gone nowhere. (The Hill, 4/5/2012)
Crude oil inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage hub, the delivery point for the NYMEX light-sweet crude oil futures contract, are up by 12.0 million barrels (43%) between January 13, 2012 and March 30, 2012. This was the largest increase in inventories over an 11-week period since 2009. The inventory builds can be partly attributed to the emptying of the Seaway Pipeline, which ran from the Houston area to Cushing, in advance of its reversal. While Cushing inventories are now approaching the record levels of 2011, the amount of available storage capacity at Cushing is much greater now than it was a year ago, relieving some of the pressure on demand for incremental storage capacity.
Historically, the Seaway Pipeline delivered crude oil from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Cushing, where it then moved to the refineries connected by pipeline to the storage hub. In November 2011, Enbridge Inc. acquired a 50% share in the pipeline from ConocoPhillips; at this time, Enbridge and joint owner Enterprise Product Partners announced they would reverse the direction of the pipeline to flow from Cushing to the Gulf Coast. Currently, the pipeline is expected to deliver 150,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) from Cushing to the Gulf Coast beginning in June 2012. The companies plan to expand Seaway's capacity to 400,000 bbl/d in 2013 and to 850,000 bbl/d in 2014.
In early March, approximately 2.2 million barrels from the Seaway pipeline was emptied into Cushing storage in order to prepare for the pipeline's reversal. This accounts for about 20% of the build in inventories during this period. However, even without the emptying of Seaway, inventory builds over the past months have been particularly steep compared to the five-year average. As of January 13, Cushing inventories stood at 28.3 million barrels, slightly below their seasonal five-year average. After the 12.0-million-barrel increase, inventories were almost 11 million barrels above their average level, the largest such variation to average since June 2011. This is largely due to flows into Cushing as a result of increasing production in the mid-continent region. (DOE-EIA)
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for industrial categories that cause, or significantly contribute to, air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare. Oil and gas production, processing, transmission and storage are significant sources of VOCs, which contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone (smog). The law requires EPA to review new source performance standards every eight years.
The proposal would cut smog-forming volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by nearly one-fourth across the oil and gas industry, including a nearly 95 percent reduction in VOCs emitted from new and modified hydraulically fractured gas wells. This significant reduction would be accomplished primarily through use of a proven technology to capture natural gas that currently escapes to the air.
Owners/operators of reciprocating compressors would have to replace rod packing systems every 26,000 hours of operation.
Pneumatic controllers:Pneumatic controllers are automated instruments used for maintaining a condition such as liquid level, pressure, and temperature at wells, gas processing plants, compressor stations, among other locations. These controllers often are powered by high-pressure natural gas. These gas-driven pneumatic controllers may release natural gas (including VOCs and methane) with every valve movement, or continuously in some cases.
For new or replaced pneumatic controllers at gas processing plants, the proposed limits would eliminate VOC emissions. These limits could be met through using controllers that are not gas-driven.
For controllers used at other sites, such as compressor stations, the emission limits could be met by using controllers that emit no more than six cubic feet of gas per hour. (The Hill, 4/2/2012, EPA)
Approves 1st Applications For Registration of Ethanol to Make E15
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the first applications for registration of ethanol for use in making gasoline that contains up to 15 percent ethanol – known as E15. Ethanol is a renewable fuel that can be mixed with gasoline. For over 30 years ethanol has been blended into gasoline, but the law limited it to 10 percent by volume for use in gasoline-fueled vehicles. Registration of ethanol to make E15 is a significant step toward its production, sale, and use in model year 2001 and newer gasoline-fueled cars and light trucks.
To enable widespread use of E15, the Obama Administration has set a goal to help fueling station owners install 10,000 blender pumps over the next 5 years. In addition, both through the Recovery Act and the 2008 Farm Bill, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Department of Agriculture have provided grants, loans and loan guarantees to spur American ingenuity on the next generation of biofuels.
Today’s action follows an extensive technical review required by law. Registration is a prerequisite to introducing E15 into the marketplace. Before it can be sold, manufactures must first take additional measures to help ensure retail stations and other gasoline distributors understand and implement labeling rules and other E15-related requirements. EPA is not requiring the use or sale of E15.
Ethanol is considered a renewable fuel because it is generally produced from plant products or wastes and not from fossil fuels. Ethanol is blended with gasoline for use in most areas across the country. After extensive vehicle testing by DOE and other organizations, EPA issued two partial waivers raising the allowable ethanol volume to 15 percent for use in model year 2001 and newer cars and light trucks.
E15 is not permitted for use in motor vehicles built prior to 2001 model year and in off-road vehicles and equipment such as boats and lawn and garden equipment. Gas pumps dispensing E15 will be clearly labeled so consumers can make the right choice.(EPA)
|Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station|
Two Southern Company reactors in Georgia also received the NRC's blessing last month. The Georgia reactors will be built at the Plant Vogtle site.
Chairman Gregory Jaczko was the lone dissenting vote. He believes the commission should have required compliance with any changes the agency adopts in light of Japan's 2011 nuclear accident.
The two reactors are to be built by Scana unit South Carolina Electric & Gas and state-owned utility Santee Cooper. The reactors will serve customers of both utilities. The license approved Friday clears the way for construction of the two reactors, which will sit next to an existing unit at the Virgil C. Summer nuclear station in Jenkinsville, S.C.
Scana said it would complete one 1,117-megawatt unit in 2017 and another of the same size the following year. The reactors are designed by Toshiba Corporation unit Westinghouse Electric Company
Both the Scana and Southern power plants will operate in regulated markets, where state boards that support the nuclear expansion will allow the companies to recover their costs on customers' electricity bills during construction of the facilities. (WSJ, 3/30/2012)
Coal consumption by the U.S. electric power sector in 2012 is expected to fall below 900 million short tons for the first time since 1996 as the electric industry increased its use of natural gas for power generation, EIA projected in its March Short-Term Energy Outlook.
Coal demand by the power sector is projected to decline by nearly 5% this year to about 884 million short tons, the lowest level since 1995. The decline in coal consumption reflects, in part, the continued switch by the electric industry to natural gas. Power sector demand for natural gas is expected to grow by almost 9% this year to a record high of 22.7 billion cubic feet per day. Coal use by the power sector is projected to rise slightly in 2013 but remain below the 2011 level.
As a result, the share of U.S. power generation fueled by natural gas is projected to rise from 24.8% in 2011 to 27.1% this year. Conversely, the share of electricity generation from coal is projected to drop from 42.2% to 40.4%.
These projections include the prices of natural gas and coal, as well as assumptions about temperatures, that are key drivers in the need for electric generation. If prices or temperatures differ significantly from those included in the projections, then the amount of electricity generated by coal and natural gas would likely be different from the projections shown in the STEO forecasts.
The power sector consumes about 92% of U.S. coal production. Other large users of coal are coking plants involved in the steelmaking process and industrial users such as cement and paper manufacturers. (EIA)
The Center for Environment, Commerce and Energy (Center) established a partnership with the Greater Union Baptist Church (GUBC) to operate an environmental tour called the “Compton To Catalina Program,” which will take students and other young people from Compton, California to Catalina Island. The Center and the California Center for EconomicInitiatives (CCFEI) are also partnering under the Compton To Catalina Program to expose Comptonyouth to boat repair and to provide technical training services.
The Center will be initiating its Compton-To-Catalina Program on Saturday, April 21, 2012, which is the day before Earth Day. The program will begin with a press conference at the Greater Union Baptist Church in Compton, California. Participants will then travel to Long Beach, California to board the Catalina Express to make the one hour trip to the island. Once on Santa Catalina Island, the participants will board the Nautilus to observe underwater life around the island. Finally, participants will tour Southern California Edison's Pebbly Beach Generating Station, the island's primary electricity generation source.
The Compton To Catalina Program is being operated thanks to a grant from Southern California Edison.
The purpose of the program is to expose young people from Compton to the Pacific Ocean and an incredibly beautiful island. People take it for granted that the vast majority of these kids never get on the water and many people live their entire lives without directly experiencing the Pacific Ocean even though they live within five or ten miles of it. We believe that such early exposure to this environment could lead to a lifelong environmental stewardship ethic.
The Center, GUBC and CCFEI are providing important environmental and technical services to theyouth of Compton, California. This partnership will provide a rich environmental experience forparticipants. We will engage as manychurches, schools and other institutions as possible and we will also appeal to the greater LosAngeles community to support the program.
Call us today if you are interested in supporting this program: 443-569-5102 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The territory includes both National Harbor, the 300-acre mixed-use development on the banks of the Potomac River; and Rosecroft Raceway, the recently reopened harness racetrack in FortWashington.
Presumably, the 'high-end' casino would be located on the tract of land that runs parallel to the the Beltway at Indian Head Highway.
The Center was the only environmental group to support the original National Harbor development and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge replacement.
Natural gas is composed largely of methane, which is 21 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Unlike the oil spilled from BP’s Macondowell in the Gulf ofMexico in 2010, the Total leak is primarily natural gas that dissipates in the air. But the gas in the well is known as sour gas because it contains toxic, flammable hydrogen sulfide as well as gas liquids that have created small surface sheens.
Drilling a relief well, one possible solution, would be difficult because any rig would have to keep its distance from the gas leak. Total said the leak began Sunday after work was done on an old well linked to a production platform in the Elgin field, 150 miles east of Aberdeen. By Monday morning, the companyhad evacuated all 238 people from the platform.
Drilled in a little over 300 feet ofwater, theTotal well reached far below the ocean floor and the reservoir set records for high pressure conditions and high temperatures — about 190 degrees centigrade — when it was drilled in 2003. The field was discovered in 1991. Total is being being careful to avoid igniting the gas. The worst accident in the North Sea took place in 1988, when 167 people died in an accident at the Piper Alpha oil platform (Wash Post, 3/28/2012)
Right now there are no limits to the amount of carbon pollution that future power plants will be able to put into our skies – and the health and economic threats of a changing climate continue to grow. Currently, there is no uniform national limit on the amount of carbon pollution new power plants can emit. As a direct result of the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling, EPA in 2009 determined that greenhouse gas pollution threatens Americans’ health and welfare by leading to long lasting changes in our climate that can have a range of negative effects on human health and the environment.
The proposed standards can be met by a range of power facilities burning different fossil fuels, including natural gas technologies that are already widespread, as well as coal with technologies to reduce carbon emissions. The proposed rule — years in the making and approved by the White House after months of review — will require any new power plant to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricity produced. The average U.S. natural gas plant, which emits 800 to 850 pounds of CO per megawatt, meets that standard; coal plants emit an average of 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt.
The agency is seeking additional comment and information, including public hearings, and will take that input fully into account as it completes the rulemaking process. EPA’s comment period will be open for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. (EPA, Wash Post, 3/26/2012)
On December 29, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (Judge O’Neill) issued two rulings that struck down California’s low carbon fuel program and enjoined its further enforcement. At least some commentators believe California’s recently-adopted cap-and-trade rules under AB32 could be similarly enjoined if the same types of challenges are brought. Following is a summary of the decisions and an explanation of how the rulings in Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, et al. v Goldstene, et al. CV-F-09-2234 could be applied to the AB32 cap-and-trade program.
|Signing of Executive Order S-1-07. January 18th, 2007, Sacramento, California|
One of several programs under the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) implemented by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) was a low carbon fuels program intended to reduce the “carbon intensity” of motor fuels. Carbon intensity (CI) is a calculated number for specific categories of motor fuels and motor fuel substitutes (such as biofuels) that takes into account the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), including indirect emissions associated with production and transportation.
Summary of Decisions
Judge O’Neill’s decisions found that the LCFS program violates the interstate commerce clause of the United States constitution. The commerce clause is interpreted to bar states from imposing restrictions on commerce that adversely affect the ability of out-of-state persons to conduct business within another state. The judge’s analysis is important in assessing the potential implications for other AB32 programs, such as cap-and-trade.
The two tests applied to state regulation under the commerce clause are the strict scrutiny test and the balancing test. If a state law facially discriminates against out-of-state businesses, the strict scrutiny analysis assesses whether the law is necessary to achieve a valid state objective and is the least restrictive method of doing so. The balancing test applies if the state law is not facially discriminatory, but has an adverse effect on interstate commerce. Under a balancing test, the court would determine whether the burden imposed on interstate commerce is “outweighed” by the interests sought to be achieved by the state.
Judge O’Neill concluded that the LCFS program is facially discriminatory against out-of-state fuel substitutes because the scoring methodology for carbon intensity assigns a higher CI to Midwestern biofuels than it does to locally-produced fuels because of the distances involved in delivery and the heavier use of coal in Midwestern electricity production. The court found that the factors used to calculate CI are not related to in-state activities or fuel composition, but are related to behaviors outside of California. Judge O’Neill likened such regulation to an attempt to regulate activity (e.g., emissions of GHGs) in other states. The judge effectively found that the discriminatory effect of the program was the relevant factor, regardless of whether the regulatory methodology was superficially neutral.
After finding that the LCFS program facially discriminates against out-of-state biofuels, Judge O’Neill applied the strict scrutiny analysis. He found that the program was adopted to serve a legitimate state interest (reducing GHG emissions to combat global warming), but concluded that the state had not borne its burden of showing that the LCFS program was the least discriminatory program that would have served the purpose. He suggested, for example, that a tax or a fuel standard or efficiency standards could have been imposed to reduce GHG emissions from motor fuels. (UC Davis, Marten Law, 1/25/2012)
|Chantelle and Mike Sackett|
|U.S. Supreme Court 2012|
The decision raises a host of questions for environmental lawyers and their clients, both in the government and the regulated community. For example:
- Will the Justice Department require a greater level of review of EPA orders, knowing it is more likely to have to defend them?
- Does the Sackett decision apply retroactively to allow parties already complying with an enforcement order to now challenge that order?
- Will parties currently in negotiation with EPA regarding compliance with an enforcement order now see benefit in appealing – or at least threatening to — in the hope of gaining a tactical advantage?
- What kind of burden will the decision place on EPA and state agency personnel, who will likely now have to devote more resources to preparing for litigation?
- Will filing an APA challenge succeed in tolling the accrual of penalties? If the challenge is unsuccessful, will penalties run from the date of the order or the date of final resolution of the challenge?
- To what extent will state-level enforcement actions under delegated programs be impacted?
The decision is a setback for federal regulators in a case that has been closely watched by the mining industry and environmental groups opposed to a form of mining called mountaintop removal. The EPA revoked the permit for Arch's Spruce Mine No. 1 in rural Logan County, W.Va., in January 2011, arguing that the potential harm to streams and watershed areas surrounding the project could be significant. The permit had previously been issued by the Army Corps of Engineers in 2007. It was the first time since the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972 that the EPA had canceled a water permit for a project after it was issued.
Judge Jackson sided with the company's argument that the EPA lacked the authority to modify or revoke the water permit. "The Court concludes that the statute does not give EPA the power to render a permit invalid once is has been issued by the Corps," Judge Jackson wrote. (WSJ, 3/23/2012)
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., left, joined with the California Public Utilities Commission to announce a $120 million dollar settlement with NRG Energy Inc. that will fund the construction of a statewide network of charging stations for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), including at least 200 public fast-charging stations and another 10,000 plug-in units at 1,000 locations across the state. The settlement stems from California’s energy crisis.
The Governor also announced that he has signed an executive order laying the foundation for 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on California’s roadways by 2025.
The settlement announced today resolves ten-year-old claims against a subsidiary of Dynegy Inc., then a co-owner with NRG of the portfolio of power generating plants currently owned by NRG in California, for costs of long-term power contracts signed in March 2001. NRG assumed full responsibility for resolving this matter in 2006 when NRG acquired Dynegy's 50% interest in the assets. One hundred million dollars from the settlement will fund the fast-charging stations and the installation of the plug-in units and electrical upgrades, at no cost to taxpayers. The remaining twenty million dollars will be directed to ratepayer relief. For more information on the settlement, please contact the CPUC.
The network of charging stations funded by the settlement will be installed in the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, the Los Angeles Basin and San Diego County. This new infrastructure network is a breakthrough in encouraging consumer adoption of electric vehicles and will contribute significantly to achieving California’s clean car goals.
In January, CARB voted to require the largest automakers to derive 15 percent, or about 1.4 million, of their annual California sales from electric vehicles and other zero or near-zero emissions vehicles by 2025.
The Executive Order issued today by the Governor sets the following targets:
• By 2015, all major cities in California will have adequate infrastructure and be “zero-emission vehicle ready”;
• By 2020, the state will have established adequate infrastructure to support 1 million zero-emission vehicles in California;
• By 2025, there will be 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road in California; and
• By 2050, virtually all personal transportation in the State will be based on zero-emission vehicles, and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector will be reduced by 80 percent below 1990 levels.
AB 32, the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act, calls for a 30 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The goal of 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 was set by an executive order signed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Last year, Governor Brown signed SB X1-2, which directed the California Air Resources Board to adopt regulations setting a 33 percent renewable energy target.
Copied below is the full text of the Governor’s Executive Order:
WHEREAS California is the nation’s largest market for cars and light-duty trucks; and
WHEREAS the transportation sector is the biggest contributor to California’s greenhouse gas emissions and accounts for approximately 40 percent of these emissions; and
WHEREAS California should encourage the development and success of zero-emission vehicles to protect the environment, stimulate economic growth and improve the quality of life in the State; and
WHEREAS California is a leader of technological innovation, including the innovation necessary to produce commercially successful zero-emission vehicles; and
WHEREAS California attracts over half of the nation’s venture capital for clean technology and ranks high among the states in the number of workers and facilities supporting the clean-car industry; and
WHEREAS California is leading the nation in enacting laws and establishing policies and programs that are reducing greenhouse gases, protecting air and water quality, promoting energy diversity and supporting low-carbon alternative fuel technologies; and
WHEREAS zero-emission vehicles provide multiple benefits in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, such as reducing conventional pollutants, operating quietly and cleanly, allowing home refueling and lowering operating and fuel costs; and
WHEREAS California should support and encourage car manufacturers’ plans to build and sell tens of thousands of zero-emission vehicles in California in the coming years.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor of the State of California, do hereby issue the following orders to become effective immediately:
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that all State entities under my direction and control support and facilitate the rapid commercialization of zero-emission vehicles.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the California Air Resources Board, the California Energy Commission, the Public Utilities Commission and other relevant agencies work with the Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative and the California Fuel Cell Partnership to establish benchmarks to help achieve by 2015:
• The State’s major metropolitan areas will be able to accommodate zero-emission vehicles, each with infrastructure plans and streamlined permitting; and
• The State’s manufacturing sector will be expanding zero-emission vehicle and component manufacturing; and
• The private sector’s investment in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure will be growing; and
• The State’s academic and research institutions will be contributing to zero-emission vehicle research, innovation and education.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that these entities establish benchmarks to help achieve by 2020:
• The State’s zero-emission vehicle infrastructure will be able to support up to one million vehicles; and
• The costs of zero-emission vehicles will be competitive with conventional combustion vehicles; and
• Zero-emission vehicles will be accessible to mainstream consumers; and
• There will be widespread use of zero-emission vehicles for public transportation and freight transport; and
• Transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions will be falling as a result of the switch to zero-emission vehicles; and
• Electric vehicle charging will be integrated into the electricity grid; and
• The private sector’s role in the supply chain for zero-emission vehicle component development and manufacturing State will be expanding.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that these entities establish benchmarks to help achieve by 2025:
• Over 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles will be on California roads and their market share will be expanding; and
• Californians will have easy access to zero-emission vehicle infrastructure; and
• The zero-emission vehicle industry will be a strong and sustainable part of California’s economy; and
• California’s clean, efficient vehicles will annually displace at least 1.5 billion gallons of petroleum fuels.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that California target for 2050 a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector equaling 80 percent less than 1990 levels.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that California's state vehicle fleet increase the number of its zero-emission vehicles through the normal course of fleet replacement so that at least 10 percent of fleet purchases of light-duty vehicles be zero-emission by 2015 and at least 25 percent of fleet purchases of light-duty vehicles be zero-emission by 2020. This directive shall not apply to vehicles that have special performance requirements necessary for the protection of the public safety and welfare.
This Order is not intended to, and does not, create any rights or benefits, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, against the State of California, its agencies, departments, entities, officers, employees, or any other person.
I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this Order be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given to this Order.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 23rd day of March 2012.
EDMUND G. BROWN JR.
Governor of California
Secretary of State
|Lisa P. Jackson|
|John R. Norris|
Testimony of John R. Norris
Commissioner Norris Bio
Testimony of Anthony Clark
Based on its review of the currently available scientific information and the current secondary NAAQS for NOx and SOx, EPA is retaining the existing NOx and SOx secondary standards to address the direct effects on vegetation of exposure to gaseous oxides of nitrogen and sulfur in the air (e.g., decreased growth and foliar injury). The existing secondary standards are:
For NO: 0.053 ppm (parts per million) averaged over a year; and
For SO: 0.5 ppm averaged over three hours, not to be exceeded more than once per year.
This final rule recognizes that the existing secondary NOx and SOx standards do not provide adequate protection from these harmful deposition-related effects. While there is strong scientific support for developing a multi-pollutant standard to address these deposition-related effects, EPA does not yet have enough information to set a multi-pollutant standard that would adequately protect the diverse ecosystems across the country.
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set NAAQS for "criteria pollutants." Currently, six major pollutants are criteria pollutants. In addition to sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides, the criteria pollutants include ozone, lead, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter. The law also requires EPA to review the standards periodically and revise them if appropriate to ensure that they provide the requisite amount of health and environmental protection and to update those standards as necessary. (EPA)
To download a copy of the final rules [NOx & SOx]
From New York to Philadelphia, refineries that turn oil into gasoline have been idled or shut permanently because their owners are losing money on them.
Commodities markets are forecasting rising prices. Gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange are up 22% this year, and settled Friday at a 10-month high of $3.3569 a gallon. Average pump prices tend to follow futures by a few weeks, averaging about 70 cents a gallon more, after taxes and transport costs. Based on futures, retail prices should average above $4 a gallon soon.
Oil and fuel products come into New York by tanker and pipeline. Much of the oil originates in the Atlantic basin from places like Nigeria and the North Sea. It is then refined into gasoline. The East Coast imports gasoline, too, although that is expensive.
Philadelphia-based Sunoco, which refines and sells fuel, said it will shut its plant in that city by July if it doesn't find a buyer. Known in the industry as "Sunoco Philly," the refinery is the oldest and biggest on the East Coast. It first turned crude into fuel in 1870, 38 years before Henry Ford sold his first Model T. (WSJ, 3/16/2012)
European airlines as well as Airbus may soon bear the brunt of a trade war, particularly because Russia is one country that wants the EU to reverse its decision to include foreign airlines in the ETS.
Under the EU program, any airline operating at an EU airport must hold special credits to offset its carbon-dioxide emissions since the start of this year. Airlines have said their inclusion in the ETS, which already covered many EU industries, will cost them billions of dollars annually.
European law makers Thursday backed the inclusion of all airlines in the ETS in a vote in the European Parliament in the French city of Strasbourg. Even though the vote is only a political indication with no legal implications, it is significant because the Parliament is throwing its weight behind legislation that has pitted the EU against 23 other countries angry about the carbon-dioxide trading plan. In a joint declaration statement Feb. 22 after a meeting in Moscow, the countries argued that the EU's unilateral imposition of the ETS program will lead to market distortions and unfair competition.
Last month, China banned its airlines from taking part in the ETS plan. (WSJ, 3/15/2012)
Highlights from the top oil-producing states in 2011 included:
- Texas. The Eagle Ford shale formation in south Texas contributed to gains in the state's oil production, which averaged 1,425 thousand barrels per day (bbl/d), the highest level since 1997.
- Alaska. Oil production fell for the ninth year in row, averaging 563 thousand bbl/d.
- California. Oil production averaged 535 thousand bbl/d, the lowest level in at least three decades.
- North Dakota. Preliminary data indicate increasing oil production from the Bakken formation pushed North Dakota ahead of California in December as the third biggest oil-producing state. North Dakota's oil production averaged 535 thousand bbl/d in December 2011 and 419 thousand bbl/d for the year.
- Oklahoma. Oil production averaged 204 thousand bbl/d during 2011, topping 200 thousand bbl/d for the first time since 1998. (DOE-EIA)
Coal's Share of Total U.S. Electricity Generation Fall Below 40% in Nov & Dec
Although still the largest single fuel for electricity generation, coal's share of monthly power generation in the United States dropped below 40% in November and December 2011. The last time coal's share of total generation was below 40% for a monthly total was March 1978. A combination of mild weather (leading to a drop in total generation) and the increasing price competitiveness of natural gas relative to coal contributed to the drop in coal's share of total generation.
Natural gas prices have dropped significantly this winter, leading the generators in some states (such as Ohio and Pennsylvania) to significantly increase the share of natural gas-fired generation. Natural gas combined-cycle units operate at higher efficiency than do older, coal-fired units, which increases the competitiveness of natural gas relative to coal.
Total electricity generation was down 7% in December 2011 compared to December 2010 (see chart below). Despite this decline, generation from natural gas rose 12% to 86 terawatthours. Coal-fired generation, however, fell by 21% between December 2010 and December 2011, to 132 terawatthours. (DOE-EIA)
EPA’s ASPECT program is capable of remotely detecting chemicals and radiation using an array of state-of-the-art chemical and radiological detectors, high resolution digital photography, video and GPS technology combined with sophisticated software applications. The end product is an identified chemical agent, radioisotope or image that is geospatially located and transmitted via SATCOM from the aircraft to decision makers on the ground, just minutes after a flyover.
Program staff will be available to provide informational tours of the aircraft and to answer questions about the program and its capabilities.
WHO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
WHAT: ASPECT Program Open House
WHEN: Wednesday, March 14, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST
WHERE: Hap Arnold Center at the College Park Airport
1909 Corporal Frank Scott Drive
College Park, Md. 20740
The deal creates one of the nation’s largest energy companies, with about 100,000 business and public sector customers and 1 million residential customers, and with operations in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.
Constellation’s shares will no longer be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Chicago Stock Exchange, and will cease trading before the market opens Tuesday.
The new company will keep the Exelon name and remain headquartered in Chicago. But, the Constellation name will live on as the companies’ competitive power division, which will be headquartered in a $120 million building to be constructed at Harbor Point in Baltimore. Constellation will move from its current headquarters on Pratt Street at the Inner Harbor. (The Daily Record, 3/12/2012)