Monday, December 7, 2009

Port of Spain Climate Change Consensus: The Commonwealth Climate Change Declaration

This Declaration of consensus by the Commonwealth nations seeks a binding international agreement to reduce greenhouse gases.

Energy-Water Nexus: Many Uncertainties Remain about National and Regional Effects of Increased Use of Biofuel Production on Waer Resources

This Government Accountability Office Report (GAO 10-116) dated November 2009 finds that the extent to which increased biofuels production will affect the nation’s water resources depends on the type of feedstock selected and how and where it is grown. For example, to the extent that this increase is met from the cultivation of conventional feedstocks, such as corn, it could have greater water resource impacts than if the increase is met by next generation feedstocks, such as perennial grasses and woody biomass, according to experts and officials.

The Impact of Sustainability on Commercial Real Estate Transactions

This BNA webinar features Holland & Knight LLP partners Amy Edwards (Washington, D.C.) and Jennifer Hernandez (San Francisco) in a discussion of their perspectives on the impact of sustainability on commercial real estate in the United States. This 90-minute Webinar will address:

Green building policies and climate change actions adopted in various states and regions across the nation;
Best practices for reducing GHG emissions from buildings;
Energy benchmarking methodologies;
Preparation of sustainable communities strategies.

Date: Monday, December 14, 2009
Time: 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM (ET)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Understanding the Decline in CO2 Emissions in 2009

This Report by the Engery Information Administration dated October 2009 finds that projected carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels in the Short-Term Energy Outlook, October 2009, fall by 5.9 percent in 2009 compared with 2008 (Table 1). Coal accounts for 63 percent of the total decline in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels this year. Projected coal CO2 emissions fall by 10.1 percent in 2009, primarily because of lower consumption for electricity generation. Forecast lower natural gas and petroleum emissions this year make up 7 percent and 30 percent of the projected total decline in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, respectively.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

North American Leaders’ Declaration on Climate Change and Clean Energy

This Declaration by the United States, Canada, and Mexico dated August 10, 2009 reads in full:

We, the leaders of North America reaffirm the urgency and necessity of taking aggressive action on climate change. We stress that the experience developed during the last 15 years in the North American region on environmental cooperation, sustainable development, and clean energy research, development, and deployment constitutes a valuable platform for climate change action, and we resolve to make use of the opportunities offered by existing bilateral and trilateral institutions.

We recognize the broad scientific view that the increase in global average temperature above pre-industrial levels ought not to exceed 2 degrees C, we support a global goal of reducing global emissions by at least 50% compared to 1990 or more recent years by 2050, with developed countries reducing emissions by at least 80% compared to 1990 or more recent years by 2050.

We share a vision for a low-carbon North America, which we believe will strengthen the political momentum behind a successful outcome at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC meeting this December, and support our national and global efforts to combat climate change. To achieve our low-carbon development goals, and consistent with our respective circumstances and capacities, we agree to the following:

We will work together as we set and implement our own ambitious mid-term and long-term goals to reduce national and North American emissions;

We will work together to develop our respective low-carbon growth plans;

We underscore the importance of developing and strengthening financial instruments to support mitigation and adaptation actions and welcome in this regard the proposal by Mexico of a Green Fund. We will conduct further work on the proposal and will consider other views presented for scaling-up financing from both public and private sources;

We will cooperate and exchange experiences in climate change adaptation in order to better integrate adaptation into national, sub-national, and sectoral planning to reduce vulnerabilities to climate change;

We will develop comparable approaches to measuring, reporting, and verifying emissions reductions, including cooperating in implementing facility-level greenhouse gas reporting throughout the region;

We will build capacity and infrastructure with a view to facilitate future cooperation in emissions trading systems, building on our current respective work in this area; and

We will collaborate on climate friendly and low-carbon technologies, including building a smart grid in North America for more efficient and reliable electricity inter-connections, as well as regional cooperation on carbon capture and storage.
Working in key sectors can help accomplish our emission reduction goals. With this in mind, we will:

Work together under the Montreal Protocol to phase down the use of HFCs and bring about significant reductions of this potent greenhouse gas;
Cooperate in sustainably managing our landscapes for GHG benefits, including protecting and enhancing our forests, wetlands, croplands and other carbon sinks, as well as developing appropriate methodologies to quantify, manage and implement programs for emission reductions in this sector;

Reduce transportation emissions, including by striving to achieve carbon-neutral growth in the North American aviation sector in the context of global action;
Pursue a framework to align energy efficiency standards in the three countries in support of improved national energy efficiency and environmental objectives; and

Work to reduce GHG emissions in the oil and gas sector, and promote best practices in reducing fugitive emissions and the venting and flaring of natural gas.
In order to facilitate these actions, we will work cooperatively to develop and follow up on a Trilateral Working Plan and submit a report of results at our next North American Leaders Summit in 2010.

Wildlife and Forestry in New York Northern Hardwoods: A Gide for Forest Owners and Managers

This guide produced by the New York Audubon Society shows "how wildlife is related to different forest conditions in the northern hardwood forests of upstate New York. The manual supplies science-based information about how different methods of timber management (i.e., logging) change wildlife habitats, and how wildlife communities
change (and how they may be similar) across different forest conditions.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Economic Effects of Legislation to Reduce Greenhouse-Gas Emissions

This Congressional Budget Office Report (Pub. No. 4001) dated September 2009 makes the following key points:

-Climate change is an international problem. The economic impacts of climate change are extremely uncertain and will vary globally. Impacts in the United States over the next 100 years are most likely to be modestly negative in the absence of policies to reduce greenhouse gases, but there is a risk that they could be severe.

-The economic impact of a policy to ameliorate that risk would depend importantly
on the design of the policy. Decisions about whether to reduce greenhouse gases
primarily through market-based systems (such as taxes or a cap-and-trade program)or primarily through traditional regulatory approaches that specify performance or technology standards would influence the total cost of reducing those emissions and the distribution of those costs in the economy.

-Reducing the risk of climate change would come at some cost to the economy. For example, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concludes that the cap-andtrade provisions of H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA), if implemented, would reduce gross domestic product (GDP) below what it would otherwise have been—by roughly ¼ percent to ¾ percent in 2020 and by between 1 percent and 3½ percent in 2050. By way of comparison, CBO projects that real (inflation-adjusted) GDP will be roughly two and a half times as large in 2050 as it is today, so those changes would be comparatively modest.

In the models that CBO reviewed, the long-run cost to households would be smaller than the changes in GDP. Projected GDP impacts include declines in investment, which only gradually translate into reduced household consumption. Also, the effect on households’ well-being of the reduction in output as measured by GDP (which reflects the market value of goods and services) would be offset in part by the effect of more time spent in nonmarket activities, such as childrearing, caring for the home, and leisure. Moreover, these measures of potential costs imposed by the policy do not include any benefits of averting climate change.

-Climate legislation would cause permanent shifts in production and employment away from industries focused on the production of carbon-based energy and energy-intensive goods and services and toward the production of alternative energy sources and less-energy-intensive goods and services. While those shifts were occurring, total employment would probably be reduced a little compared with what it would have been without a comparably stringent policy to reduce carbon emissions because labor markets would most likely not adjust as quickly as would the composition of demand for different outputs.

-CBO has estimated the loss in purchasing power that would result from the primary
cap-and-trade program that would be established by the ACESA. CBO’s measure reflects the higher prices that households would face as a result of the policy and the compensation that households would receive, primarily through the allocation of allowances or the proceeds from their sale. The loss in purchasing power would be modest and would rise over time as the cap became more stringent and larger amounts of resources were dedicated to cutting emissions, accounting for 0.2 percent of after-tax income in 2020 and 1.2 percent in 2050.

-The expected distribution of the loss in purchasing power across households depends importantly on policymakers’ decisions about how to allocate the allowances. The allocation of allowances specified in H.R. 2454 would impose the largest loss in purchasing power on households near the middle of the income distribution. Which categories of households would ultimately benefit from the allocation of allowances is more uncertain in 2020 than in 2050. A large fraction of the allowances in 2020 would be distributed to households via private entities, and the distribution of the allowance value would depend on whether those entities passed the value on to customers, workers, or shareholders. In contrast, most of the value of allowances in 2050 would flow to households directly.

Eleventh Annual Institute on Public Utility Law

This CLE program sponsored by the New York State Bar Association features expert speakers. The faculty represent corporate attorneys, government agencies, and leading law firms will cover some of the latest developments in these areas, as described in the agenda. There will be breakout sessions during the program so that those present may select the topic that interests them most. Attendees will receive a detailed set of course materials prepared by the faculty. Utility legal staff, regulators, and all practitioners representing energy and telecom providers are strongly encouraged to attend.

Friday, October 16, 2009
State Bar Center
One Elk Street
Albany, NY
(518) 463-3200

Energy Policy Act of 2005: Greater Clarity needed to Address Concerns with Categorical Exclusions for Oil and Gas Development Under Section 390

This Government Accountability Office Report (GAO-09-872) dated, September 2009, finds that Section 390 categorical exclusions were used to approve approximately 6,100 of 22,000 applications for drilling permits (about 28 percent) and about 800 other actions—mostly modifications to existing permits—from fiscal years 2006 to 2008.

GAO is reporting about 1,150 more instances in which BLM approved section 390 categorical exclusions than had been reported by BLM headquarters, largely because many field offices erroneously used single decision documents to approve multiple oil and gas wells. While section 390 categorical exclusions increased the efficiency of certain operations, some BLM field offices benefited more than others. The differences in benefits stem from a variety of factors and circumstances, such as whether an office had recent and site-specific National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation.

BLM’s use of section 390 categorical exclusions has frequently been out of compliance with both the law and BLM’s guidance. First, GAO found several types of violations of the law, including approving more than one oil or gas well under a single decision document, approving projects inconsistent with the law’s criteria, and drilling a new well after time frames had lapsed. Second, GAO found numerous examples—in 85 percent of the field offices sampled—where officials did not correctly follow guidance, most often by failing to adequately justify the use of a categorical exclusion. A lack of clear guidance and oversight contributed to the violations and noncompliance. While many of these are technical in nature, others are more significant and may have thwarted NEPA’s twin aims of ensuring that BLM and the public are fully informed of the environmental consequences of BLM’s actions.

Energy and Water Development: FY2010 Appropriations

This Congressional Research Service Report (R40669) dated August 26, 2009 discusses The Energy and Water Development appropriations bill provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Energy (DOE), and a number of independent agencies. Key budgetary issues for FY2010 involving these programs may include:
• the distribution of Corps appropriations across the agency’s authorized planning,
construction, and maintenance activities (Title I);
• support of major ecosystem restoration initiatives, such as Florida Everglades
(Title I) and California “Bay-Delta” (CALFED) and San Joaquin River (Title II);
• funding for the proposed national nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain,
Nevada (Title III: Nuclear Waste Disposal);
• several new initiatives proposed for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
(EERE) programs (Title III); and
• Funding decisions in DOE’s Office of Environmental Management.
Energy and Water Development funding for FY2009 was included in the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-8). In addition, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, the “Stimulus” Act, P.L. 111-5) included funding for numerous programs in the Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Department of Energy, to be expended in FY2009 and FY2010.

Electric Power Storage

This Congressional Research Service Report (R40797) dated, September 8, 2009, summarizes the technical, regulatory, and policy issues that surround implementation
of electric power storage (EPS).

Electricity storage is one of several non-traditional technologies and methods of meeting power demand that are of current Congressional interest (others include distributed generation, renewable power, and demand response). EPS and these other alternatives do not fit the traditional power industry paradigm, which involves reliance on large scale central power plants and long distance transmission lines to meet demand. This raises the question of how quickly and effectively the power industry and its regulators will be willing to pursue and deploy new
approaches. Electricity storage is also currently a relatively high cost technology, another factor which could delay its deployment.

The report identifies several areas for possible cfongressional oversight, including:
• Power industry and state regulator acceptance of storage technologies.
• Integration of storage into transmission system planning, including integration of
renewable power into the electricity grid.
• Federal executive agency focus on EPS as a solution to power system needs.
• The application of incentives for electric power storage development included in
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA; P.L. 111-5).

The report discusses how the provisions of several pending bills relate to the development of electric power storage, including S. 1091, the Storage Technology of Renewable and Green Energy Act of 2009 (STORAGE Act); H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES); and S. 1462, the American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009 (ACELA).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wildland Fire Management: Federal Agencies Have Taken Important Steps Forward, but Additiona, Strategic Action Is needed to Capitalize on Those Steps

This Government Accountability Office Report (GAO-09-877) dated September 2009 finds that the Forest Service and the Interior agencies have improved their understanding of wildland fire’s ecological role on the landscape and have taken important steps toward enhancing their ability to cost-effectively protect communities and resources.

However, much work remains. GAO has recommended several key actions—including development of an overarching fire management strategy—that, if completed, would substantially improve the agencies’ management of wildland fire. Nonetheless, the agencies have yet to:
• Develop a cohesive strategy laying out various potential approaches for addressing the growing wildland fire threat, estimated costs associated with each approach, and the trade-offs involved. Such information would help the agencies and Congress make fundamental decisions about an effective and affordable approach to responding to fires.
• Establish a cost-containment strategy that clarifies the importance of containing costs relative to other, often-competing objectives. Without such clarification, GAO believes managers in the field lack a clear understanding of the relative importance that the agencies’ leadership places on containing costs and are therefore likely to continue to select firefighting strategies without duly considering the costs of suppression.
• Clarify financial responsibilities for fires that cross federal, state, and local
jurisdictions. Unless the financial responsibilities for multijurisdictional fires are clarified, concerns that the existing framework insulates nonfederal entities from the cost of protecting the wildland-urban interface—and that the federal government would therefore continue to bear more than its share of the cost—are unlikely to be addressed.
• Take action to mitigate the effects of rising fire costs on other agency programs. The sharply rising costs of managing wildland fires have led the agencies to transfer funds from other programs to help pay for fire suppression, disrupting or delaying activities in these other programs.
• Better methods of predicting needed suppression funding could reduce
the need to transfer funds from other programs.

Arming for the Cleantech Revolution: The United States Prepares Landmark Federal and State Legislation to Save the Climate and the Economy

This Teleconference sponsored by the ABA's The Cleantech and Climate Change Committee (CTC3) will lead a discussion on federal and state legislation designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions, stimulate the economy, and strengthen our energy independence. The panelists will explore the risks, opportunities, and interrelationships among federal assistance, in the form of loan guarantees, tax incentives and grants, low carbon fuel standards, renewable portfolio standards, cap and trade schemes, and energy efficiency, to implement cleantech projects and finance technological innovation. In addition, they will examine the Obama Administration’s first six months with regard to implementation of its national energy policy, in conjunction with efforts in the House and Senate and in the states and regions across the country.

The experts will provide a timely and unique look into new and potentially revolutionary energy and environmental laws that will significantly affect our domestic economy and our relationships with trading partners abroad. Finally, the panelists will speculate on the potential success and failure of these policies in the short term to jump start the economy, and in the long-term to respond to the tremendous mitigation and adaptation challenges of climate change.

Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Format: Teleconference and Live Audio Webcast
Duration: 90 minutes
1:00 PM-2:30 PM Eastern 12:00 PM-1:30 PM Central
11:00 AM-12:30 PM Mountain 10:00 AM-11:30 AM Pacific

Chemical Products and Toxic Torts at a Crossroads: New Developments, Significant Trends, and a View into the Future

This ABA Regional CLE Workshop is an interactive seminar involving nationally known plaintiffs’ lawyers, members of the judiciary, in-house counsel and defense-oriented trial lawyers who will discuss new developments and significant trends in toxic and mass torts involving chemicals and industrial products, including a look at the impact of a post-Bush, recessionary world on pending and future litigation, the use of biomonitoring and toxicogenomics to determine medical causation, the evolution of environmental justice and nuisance theories, and the next wave of litigation involving household products.

September 11, 2009
8:00 AM – 3:30 PM

at: Exxon Mobil Corporation, Houston, TX
Registration Deadline: September 7, 2009

Tax Incentives for the “Green” Industry

This BNA live audioconference covers available tax incentives for green industries and understanding how to take advantage of them.

This includes:
Overview of Available Tax Incentives
Tax Credits
Eligibility of Taxpayers To Take Advantage of the Incentives
The Energy Production Tax Credit
The Energy Investment Tax Credit
Electing a Tax-Free Grants In Lieu of Tax Credits
Special Depreciation and Deductions

Date: Thursday, September 10, 2009
Time: 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. ET

Smart Growth for Coastal and Waterfront Communities

The Environmental Protection Agency in partnership with NOAA, Rhode Island Sea Grant, and the International City/County Management Association, EPA has released Smart Growth for Coastal and Waterfront Communities. This interagency guide builds on existing smart growth principles to offer 10 specific development guidelines for coastal and waterfront communities.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Testing the Waters 2009: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches

This annual report on beachwater quality is produced by the National Resources Defense Council. NRDC used a five-star system to rate a selection of popular beaches across the country. NRDC evaluated 200 popular beaches, some with multiple segments that are monitored separately. In total, 344 beach water quality sampling points from these 200 beaches are rated.

The Impact of Transactional Energy Disclosure Regulations and Sustainability Due Diligence Requirements on Commercial Real Estate Transactions

This CLE teleconference sponsored by the Bureau of National Affairs covers ASTM International's new standard for the collection and disclosure of energy use information associated with buildings involved in real estate transactions. Given the fact that ASTM developed environmental due diligence standards in the early 1990s that set the framework for later policy and regulations, it is likely the new ASTM standard will serve as a precursor for the development of green building due diligence standards. ASTM WK24707, Guide for Building Energy Performance Disclosure, is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee E50.02 on Real Estate Assessment and Management.

The teleconference will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. (ET).

Public and Private Municipal Financing of Renewable Energy Projects and Green Expenditures

This CLE Teleconference program sponsored by the American Bar Association will take place on Wednesday, September 30 at 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern Time.

This teleconference will explore the various ways municipal bonds can be utilized in connection with the public and private development of new energy technologies and renewable energy projects. Our panel will identify and discuss the panoply of municipal bonds available to finance the different types of energy facilities including Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds, Qualified School Construction Bonds, Solid Waste Exempt Facility Bonds, Build America Bonds, Recovery Zone Facility Bonds, Cogeneration Exempt Facility Bonds and Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds etc.

Assessing the Costs of Adapting to Climate Change

The review of previous studies by the International Institute for Environment and Development dated August 2009 concludes that this re-assessment of the UNFCCC estimates for 2030 suggests that they are likely to be substantial under-estimates. The purpose of this report is to illustrate the uncertainties in these estimates rather than to develop new cost estimates, which is a much larger task than can be accomplished here.

The main reasons for under-estimation are that: (i) some sectors have not been included in an assessment of cost;
(ii) some of those sectors which have been included have been only partially covered; and
(iii) the additional costs of adaptation have sometimes been calculated as ‘climate mark-ups’ against low levels of assumed investment.

Residual damages also need to be evaluated and reported because not all damages can be avoided due to technical and economic constraints.

Evaluation of the work of the Work of the Forest Governance Learning Group 2005-2009

This report prepared for the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) dated August 2009 describes the Groups researcher in working with forest community groups and policy makers in ten countries in Africa and Asia explains a novel way to improve the flow of social and environmental benefits from tropical forests, according to an independent evaluation of an International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) project published today. With forests set to take center stage in a new global deal to tackle climate change, there is a desperate search underway for proven ways to improve governance to ensure that forest resources are managed for the public good.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

National Parks: America's Best Idea

This six part television series produced by Ken Burns was filmed over the course of more than six years at some of nature's most spectacular locales — from Acadia to Yosemite, Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, the Everglades of Florida to the Gates of the Arctic in Alaska — "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" is nonetheless a story of people: people from every conceivable background — rich and poor; famous and unknown; soldiers and scientists; natives and newcomers; idealists, artists and entrepreneurs; people who were willing to devote themselves to saving some precious portion of the land they loved, and in doing so reminded their fellow citizens of the full meaning of democracy. It is a story full of struggle and conflict, high ideals and crass opportunism, stirring adventure and enduring inspiration, set against the most breathtaking backdrops imaginable.

Electric Power Flash - August

The Monthly Flash Estimates of Electric Power Data (“Flash Estimates”) is prepared by the Electric Power Division, Office of Coal, Nuclear, Electric and Alternate Fuels, Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. Department of Energy. Data published in the Flash Estimates are compiled from the following sources: Form EIA-826,“Monthly Electric Utility Sales and Revenues with State Distributions Report,” Form EIA-906, “Power Plant Report,” Form EIA-920, “Combined Heat and Power Plant Report,” and Form EIA-923, “Power Plant Operations Report.”

More Extreme HeatWaves: Global Warming’s Wake Up Call

This report from the National Wildlife Federation dated 2009 argues that global warming will bring more extreme heat waves. As the United States warms another 4 to 11°F on average over the next century, we will have more extremely hot summer days. Every part of the country will be affected.

Urban areas will feel the heat more acutely because asphalt, concrete, and other structures absorb and reradiate heat, causing temperature to be as much as 10°F higher than nearby rural areas.

Urban air pollution will be exacerbated by more extreme heat. Warm, sunny conditions accelerate the formation of ground-level ozone, a major component of smog. Even if air pollution is improved, as required by the Clean Air Act, global warming could mean an extra 10 parts per billion (ppb) of ozone during heat waves in the Midwest and Northeast, forcing some cities to take even more aggressive steps to meet the 75
ppb ozone standard.

Heat waves disproportionately impact the very old and very young, as well as people who are poor, have asthma or heart disease, or live in big cities. With often diminished health and a greater likelihood of living alone, the elderly are especially vulnerable. As the U.S. demographics shift toward an older and more urban population, efforts to protect these at-risk communities from extreme heat will become increasingly important.

Natural habitats and agriculture are also vulnerable to extreme heat. More extreme temperatures are already pushing wildlife and their habitats beyond their normal tolerance levels. Heat-related declines have been documented for wild salmon and trout, moose, and pika. Livestock and crops have lower productivity and increased mortality associated with heat stress and drought.

We can reduce the severity of heat waves and their impacts on vulnerable people. Curbing global warming pollution as much and as quickly as possible is an essential first step. Shifting to clean solar energy is an especially promising option because sunlight is plentiful during heat waves, when electricity demand for air conditioning peaks. At the same time, we must make our cities cooler and greener; for example, introducing more green space — parks, trees, and “green” roofs — can
greatly reduce the urban heat island effect. Furthermore, cities must implement public health measures to reduce the impact of extreme heat that we can not avoid.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rebuilding America: A National Policy Framework for Investment in Energy Efficiency Retrofits

This August 2009 report by the Center for American Progress and the Energy Future Coalition is an examination of how the United States can build a low-carbon economy by harnessing energy efficiency as our “first fuel.” By retrofitting existing homes and businesses, we can cost-effectively reduce end-use waste and pollution, and at the same time jump start an economic recovery, create good jobs, and give consumers real energy cost savings—even as we ensure a safer, healthier, and more secure future by combating global warming.

This report sets a goal of developing an energy efficiency industry that will retrofit 40 percent of our nation’s building stock, or 50 million buildings, within the next 10 years. This project would require over $500 billion in public and private investment, and create approximately 625,000 sustained full-time jobs directly and indirectly throughout the decade. Rebuilding America’s buildings for energy efficiency will reduce energy use, household bills, and global warming pollution by 20 to 40 percent for 50 million homes and small businesses, all while generating $32 billion to $64 billion in annual consumer energy cost savings.

U.S. Solar Energy Demand Dynamics: Financing Structures, Government Incentives, and Market Drivers for Solar Photovoltaics Projects: 2009-2015

This report by Pike Research, a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets, is the result of extensive interviews with both end-users and manufacturers conclude that for sustained growth in the U.S., incentives must be increased at the federal level.

Due largely to the credit crisis, funding for solar projects has been tight. In the U.S., this has particularly been the case, because banks are unwilling to lend to projects that have undetermined cash flows.

The five-year outlook is that the combination of federal and state incentives and falling module prices will work together to dramatically increase demand in the U.S.

This Pike Research report examines demand-side dynamics for solar PV projects in depth, analyzing government incentives, financing structures, and internal rates of return on a state-by-state level. Cost components for solar project development are quantified in detail, and the report also includes forecasts for leading solar PV markets around the world in addition to the U.S., providing a clear and actionable view of the size and timing of market opportunities.

Fishery Management Plan for Fish Resources in the Artic Management Area

This plan dated August 2009 prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and approved by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce will prohibit the expansion of commercial fishing in federal Arctic waters until researchers gather sufficient information on fish and the Arctic marine environment to prevent adverse impacts of commercial harvesting activity on the ecosystem. The Arctic Fishery Management Plan will be implemented through regulations to be published in the Federal Register. Fisheries managers have identified Arctic cod, saffron cod, and snow crab as likely initial target species for commercial fishing in the region.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Prohibitions On Market Manipulation in Subtitle B of Title VIII of The Energy Independence Act of 2007

In this document, the Federal Trade Commission (“Commission” or “FTC”)
issues its Statement of Basis and Purpose (“SBP”) and final Rule, pursuant to Section 811 of Subtitle B of Title VIII of The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (“EISA”).1 The final Rule prohibits any person, directly or indirectly, in connection with the purchase or sale of crude oil, gasoline, or petroleum distillates at wholesale, from (a) knowingly engaging in any act, practice, or course of business – including the making of any untrue statement of material
fact – that operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon any person, or (b) intentionally failing to state a material fact that under the circumstances renders a statement made by such person misleading, provided that such omission distorts or is likely to distort market conditions for any such product.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Climate Change Policy: Preliminary Observations on Options for Distributing Emissions Allowances and Revenue Under a Cap-and-Trade Program

This testimony by the Government Accountability Office (GAO-09-950T) dated August 4, 2009 states that the method for allocating allowances in a cap-and-trade program can have significant economic implications for the government, regulated entities, and households.

The government could allocate these allowances to regulated entities in three main ways. First, it could auction all of the allowances and collect a significant amount of revenue that it could use, for example, to compensate households affected by the cap-and-trade program. Second, it could give away the allowances to entities affected by the program and thereby transfer the value of the allowances to those entities. Third, the government could give away some allowances and auction the rest.

According to the economic literature and economists we interviewed, regardless of the mechanism for distributing allowances, consumers will bear most of the costs of a cap-and-trade system because most regulated entities will pass along their increased costs in the form of increased prices; however, these costs could be largely offset depending on how revenues are used.

Available literature and economists we interviewed point to five main options for distributing a program’s allowance revenues, although numerous other options exist. First, the government could lower the overall cost of the cap-and-trade program to the economy through accompanying reductions in taxes on income, labor, or investment. Second, auction revenues could be distributed to households through lump-sum payments, which could offset the higher consumer prices resulting from a cap-and-trade program and mitigate any disproportionate impacts on low-income households. Third, the government could expand the scope of the Earned Income Tax Credit to further benefit low-income working families. Fourth, the government could compensate regulated entities and their shareholders for lost profits by allocating them free allowances. Finally, revenues might be used to fund climate-related programs, such as research on low-carbon technologies, or used to support climate change mitigation activities in developing nations.

Energy Market and Economic Impacts of H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009

This report by the Energy Information Administration, Office of Integrated Analysis and Forecasting, U.S. Department of Energy dated August 2009 responds to a request from Chairman Henry Waxman and Chairman Edward Markey for an analysis of H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA). ACESA, as passed by the House of Representatives on June 26, 2009, is a complex bill that regulates emissions of greenhouse gases through market-based mechanisms, efficiency programs, and economic incentives.

Key findings are:
1. Given the potential of offsets as a low-cost compliance option, the amount of reduction in covered emissions is exceeded by the amount of compliance generated through offsets in most of the main analysis cases (Figure ES-1).

2. The vast majority of reductions in energy-related emissions are expected to occur in the electric power sector.

3. If new nuclear, renewable, and fossil plants with CCS are not developed and deployed in a timeframe consistent with emissions reduction requirements under ACESA, covered entities are expected to respond by increasing their use of offsets, if available, and by turning to increased natural gas use to offset reductions in coal generation.

4. Emissions reductions from changes in fossil fuel use in the residential, commercial, industrial and transportation sectors are small relative to those in the electric power sector.

5. GHG allowance prices are sensitive to the cost and availability of emissions offsets and low-and no-carbon generating technologies.

6. ACESA increases energy prices, but effects on electricity and natural gas bills of consumers are substantially mitigated through 2025 by the allocation of free allowances to regulated electricity and natural gas distribution companies.

7. ACESA increases the cost of using energy, which reduces real economic output, reduces purchasing power, and lowers aggregate demand for goods and services. The result is that projected real gross domestic product (GDP) generally falls relative to the Reference Case.

8. The free allocation of output-based allowances reduces the impact of ACESA on energy-intensive, trade- vulnerable industries.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Use of Offsets to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

This Congressional Budget Office Brief dated August 3, 2009 states that while reducing greenhouse gases often focus on limiting the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity or power cars and trucks, yet a variety of other actions—
including disposing of waste in different ways, changing methods of farming, and lessening deforestation—could also reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Energy Markets: Refinery Outages Can Have Varying Gasoline Price Impacts, but Gaps in Federal Data Limit Understanding of Impacts

This report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO-09-700) dated July 2009 argues that while some unplanned refinery outages, such as those caused by accidents or weather, have had large price effects, GAO found that in general, refinery
outages were associated with small increases in gasoline prices.

Large price increases occurred when there were large outages; for example, in the
aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. However, large price increases were rare, and on average, outages were associated with small price increases.

Factors influencing price volatility included whether the gasoline was branded—gasoline sold at retail under a specific refiner’s trademark—or unbranded—gasoline sold at retail by independent sellers.

Another factor that affected the size of price increases associated with
outages was the type of gasoline being sold. Some special blends of gasoline
developed to reduce emissions of air pollutants exhibited larger average price
increases than more widely used and available conventional gasoline,
suggesting that these special gasoline blends may have more constrained
supply options in the event of an outage.

Existing federal data contain gaps that have limited GAO’s and Department of
Transportation’s (DOT) analyses of petroleum markets and related issues.

Eutrophication: Sources and Drivers of Nutrient Pollution

This Report from the World Resources Institute dated June 2009 argues that nutrient over-enrichment of freshwater and coastal ecosystems, or eutrophication, is a rapidly growing environmental crisis.

Worldwide, the number of coastal areas impacted by eutrophication stands at over 500. In coastal areas, occurrences of dead zones, which are caused by eutrophic conditions, have increased from 10 documented cases in 1960 to 405 documented cases in 2008. In addition, many of the world’s freshwater lakes, streams, and reservoirs suffer from eutrophication; in the United States, eutrophication is thought to be the primary cause of freshwater impairment. Many of our largest freshwater lakes are entrophic, including Lake Erie (United States), Lake Victoria (Tanzania/Uganda/Kenya), and Tai Lake (China).

The increase in eutrophication is the result of human activities. Major sources of nutrients to freshwater and coastal ecosystems include wastewater, agriculture, and atmospheric deposition of nitrogen from burning fossil fuels.

Sustaining California Agriculture in an Uncertain Future

This report by the Pacific Institute dated July 2009 argues that California’s future is increasingly uncertain. Competition over limited water resources continues
and climate change is increasing climate variability. With existing technologies, management practices, and educational and institutional resources, we can reduce agriculture’s vulnerability to water supply constraints and improve its long-term sustainability.

The report concludes with a series of key political, legal, and economic initiatives that would promote more productive and, ultimately, more sustainable water management in California. One of the many challenges to studying water issues in California is the lack of a consistent, comprehensive, and accurate estimate of actual water use. The failure to accurately account for water use contributes directly to the failure to manage it sustainably. Efforts should be implemented immediately to improve our understanding of actual water use in the agricultural sector.

U.S.-China Memorandum of Understanding to Enhance Cooperation on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment

This Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and China provides for both countries to pursue areas of cooperation where joint expertise, resources, research capacity and combined market size can accelerate progress towards mutual goals. These include, but are not limited to:

1) Energy conservation and energy efficiency
2) Renewable energy
3) Cleaner uses of coal, and carbon capture and storage
4) Sustainable transportation, including electric vehicles
5) Modernization of the electrical grid
6) Joint research and development of clean energy technologies
7) Clean air
8) Clean water
9) Natural resource conservation, e.g. protection of wetlands and nature reserves
10) Combating climate change and promoting low-carbon economic growth

Investing in Our Future: The Economic Case for Rebuilding Mid-Atlantic Fish Populations

This report by the Pew Trust Environmental Group prepared by John M. Gates dated 2009 provides a new analysis of the potential economic benefits of rebuilding depleted fish populations in the Mid-Atlantic. The study estimates direct economic benefits by comparing status quo management scenarios with scenarios where populations would have been rebuilt by 2007.

For both commercial and recreational fishing sectors, rebuilding populations of black
sea bass, bluefish, butterfish and summer flounder by 2007 would have generated an
additional $570 million per year in perpetuity in direct economic benefits.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

EPA Chemical Assessments: Process Reforms Offer the Potential to Address Key Problems

This testimony by the Government Accountability Office (GAO-09-774T) dated June 11, 2009 states:

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) contains EPA’s scientific position on the potential human health effects of exposure to more than 540 chemicals.

In March 2008, GAO reported that the viability of the IRIS program is at risk because EPA has been unable to complete timely, credible chemical assessments or decrease its backlog of ongoing assessments. In addition, assessment process changes EPA had recently made, and other changes it was considering at the time of GAO’s review, would have further reduced the timeliness, credibility, and transparency of IRIS assessments.

Overall, EPA’s May 2009 IRIS assessment process reforms represent significant improvements and, if implemented effectively, would be largely responsive to GAO’s March 2008 recommendations.

The independence restored to EPA under the new process will be critical to ensuring that EPA has the ability to develop transparent, credible IRIS chemical assessments.Overall, the viability of the IRIS program will depend on effective and sustained management and oversight, especially given the number of factors that can impede the progress of IRIS assessments.

Great Outdoors America: The Report of the Outdoor Resources Review Group

This report by the Outdoor Resources Review Group dated July 2009 states that are multiple opportunities to bring about lasting change to enhance the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and offers the eight recommendations:

1. Congress should permanently dedicate funding for the LWCF at the highest historical authorized level.

2. To overcome fragmentation among multiple programs at multiple levels, geospatial
planning tools should be fully utilized to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and
transparency with which the LWCF and other public and private funds are spent.

3. Public and private organizations should aggressively promote recreation and nature
education for America’s youth so as to engage them early in realizing the lifelong
health and other benefits from participating in outdoor activities.

4. Federal, state, and local agencies should continue to promote and support privatesector stewardship through public-private partnerships, joint funding, extended tax benefits for conservation easements, and other incentives.

5. Federal and other public agencies, as the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management are doing, should elevate the priority for regional- or landscape level conservation in their own initiatives and through partnerships across levels of
government, and with land trusts, other nonprofit groups, and private landowners to
conserve America’s treasured landscapes.

6. A new nationwide network of Blueways and water trails along rivers and coastal
waterways should be established through public-private partnerships among federal,
state, and local agencies, nonprofits and private landowners.

7. Any national program to reduce greenhouse gases should include funding to adapt
resource lands and waters to the ecological impacts of climate change.

8. Current structures and funding for outdoor resources are insufficient to meet the needs of a growing population.

Clean Water Infrastucture: Design Issues Funding Options for a Clean Water Trust Fund

This testimony by the Government Accountability Office (GAO-09-893T) dated July 15, 2009 states: GAO identified a number of options that could generate revenue for a clean water trust fund, but several obstacles will have to be overcome in implementing these options, and it may be difficult to generate $10 billion from any one option alone.

Wildland Fire Management: Federal Agencies Have Taken Important Steps Forward, but Additional Action Is Needed to Address Remaining Challenges

This Government Accountability Office Testimony (GAO-09-906T) dated July 21, 2009 states that:

The Forest Service and Interior agencies have taken important steps toward enhancing their ability to protect communities and resources by seeking to (1) make communities and resources less susceptible to being damaged by wildland fire and (2) respond to fire so as to protect communities and important resources at risk while also considering both the cost and long-term effects of that response.

Despite the agencies’ efforts, much work remains. GAO has previously recommended several key actions that, if completed, would substantially improve the agencies’ management of wildland fire. Specifically, the agencies should:

•Develop a cohesive strategy laying out various potential approaches for addressing the growing wildland fire threat.

•Establish a cost-containment strategy that clarifies the importance of containing costs relative to other, often-competing objectives.

•Clarify financial responsibilities for fires that cross federal, state, and local jurisdictions.

•Take action to mitigate the effects of rising fire costs on other agency programs.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hardrock Mining: Information on State Royalties and the Number of Abandon Mine Sites and Hazards

This Government Accountability Office testimony (GAO-09-854T) dated July 14, 2009 reports that the royalties the states assess often differ depending on land ownership and the mineral being extracted with the actual amount assessed for a particular mine depending not only on the type of royalty, its rate, and exclusions, but also on other factors, such as the mine’s location relative to markets.

Using a definition of abandoned that the GAO provided, states reported that there are at least 161,000 abandoned hardrock mine sites in their states, and these sites have at least 332,000 features that may pose physical safety hazards and at least 33,000 sites that have degraded the environment.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Energy and Water: Preliminary Observations on the Lnks Between and Biofuels and Electricity Production

This Government Accountability Office testimony dated July 9, 2009 (GAO-09-862T) explains that the effects of producing corn-based ethanol on water supply and water
quality are fairly well understood, less is known about the effects of the next
generation of biofuel feedstocks.

Water usage in the corn-based ethanol conversion process has been declining and is currently estimated at 3 gallons of water per gallon of ethanol, the amount of water consumed in the conversion of cellulosic feedstocks is less defined and will depend on the process and on technological advancements that improve the efficiency with
which water is used.

Clean Air Act: Preliminary Observations on the Effectiveness and Costs of Mercury Control Technologies at Coal-Fired Power Plants

This testimony by the Government Accountability Office (GAO-09-860T) dated July 9, 2009 explains that substantial mercury reductions using mercury control technology systems commercially and in tests were achieved with all three main types of coal and on boiler configurations that exist at nearly three-fourths of U.S. coal-fired power plants.

2009 Sunscreen Guide

This report by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research organization rates sunscreen products.

Identification of Priority Classes of Facilities for Development of CERCLA Section 108(b) Financial Responsibility Requirements.

This notice by the EPA under 40 CFR Part 320 [EPA-HQ-SFUND-2009-0265; FRL-8931-7]identifies hard rock mining as a regulatory priority. "EPA is by this notice identifying classes of facilities within the hardrock mining industry for which the Agency will first develop financial responsibility requirements under CERCLA Section 108(b). For purposes of this notice, hardrock mining facilities include those which extract, beneficiate or process metals (e.g., copper, gold, iron, lead, magnesium, molybdenum, silver, uranium, and zinc) and non-metallic, non-fuel minerals (e.g., asbestos, gypsum, phosphate rock, and sulfur)."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Two Recent Studies of Regional Differences in the Effects of Policies That Would Price Carbon Dioxide Emissions

This Congressional Budget Office document dated July 9, 2009 reports that two teams of experts—one affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and one affiliated with Resources for the Future (RFF)—have estimated regional differences in the effects of policies that would increase the prices of fossil fuels in rough proportion to the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted when they are combusted, as would occur under a cap-and-trade program.

NBER’s analysis finds relatively small differences in the effect on households across
regions of the country (see Figure 1). In the analysis, increased expenditures account for the largest share of average household income (1.9 percent) in the East South Central region and the smallest share (1.5 percent) in the West North Central region. Most of the regional differences stem from differences in the amount of energy that households consume directly (such as gasoline, electricity, natural gas, and home heating oil) rather than indirectly (such as fossil fuels used in the production of food, clothing, and other items).

An analysis by RFF examines the effects of an emission price of $20.91 per metric
ton of CO2 using households’ expenditure patterns and income levels in 2006.2 The
analysis accounts for both regional variation in the consumption of goods and services and regional differences in the amount by which electricity prices would increase as a consequence of the policy. Using a model that incorporates changes in the supply of and demand for electricity, RFF estimates that the price of electricity would increase by as little as 7 percent in California and by as much as 27 percent in the Ohio Valley.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Alliance; Wester Resource Advocates, Western Watersheds Project, County of San Miguel, Colorado v. Dept of Interior

This compaint seeks to block the placement of electrical transmission lines over federal lands.

Climate Trade Change measures: Estimating Industry Effects

This Testimony by the Government Accountability Office (GAO-09-875T) finds that estimating the potential effects of domestic emissions pricing for industries in the United States is complex. If the United States were to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, production costs could rise for certain industries and could cause output, profits, or employment to fall. Within these industries, some of these adverse effects could arise through an increase in imports, a decrease in exports, or both. However, the magnitude of these potential effects is likely to depend on the greenhouse gas intensity of industry output and on the domestic emissions price, which is not yet known, among other factors.

Estimates of adverse competitiveness effects are generally larger for industries that are both relatively energy- and trade-intensive. In 2007, these industries accounted for about 4.5 percent of domestic output. Estimates of the effects vary because of key assumptions required by economic models. For example, models generally assume a price for U.S. carbon emissions, but do not assume a similar price by other nations. In addition, the models generally do not incorporate all policy provisions, such as legislative proposals related to trade measures and rebates that are based on levels of production.

Climate Change Trade Measures: Considerations for U.S. Policy Makers

This report to Congress by the Government Accountability Office examines how greenhouse gas emissions pricing could potentially affect the international
competitiveness of U.S. industries, and to examine trade measures being considered as part of proposed U.S. climate change legislation. The report shows that estimating these effects is very problematic and depends upon many variable both internal and external.

Bottled Water: FDA Safety and Consumer Protections Are Often Less Stringent Than Comparable EPA Protections for Tap Water

This Report (GAO-09-861T) of testimony from the Government Accountability Office argues that the FDA’s regulation of bottled water when compared with EPA’s regulation of tap water, reveals key differences in the agencies’ statutory authorities and that states’ requirements to safeguard bottled water often exceed those of FDA, but are still often less comprehensive than state requirements to safeguard tap water.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wildlife in a Changing World: An analysis of the 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

This International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) supplement to the IUCN Red Book covers the statistics behind the bare listing in the Red book and broadens the discussion to include ecological support for endangered and threatened species.


This agreement by the G-8 nations in partnership with developing nations sets fortht he understanding that world temperature rise should not exceed 2 degrees Celsius by 2050. However, no short terms measures to assure such an outcome were agreed to.

Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector and Congressional Action

This report by the Congressional Research Service (7-5700) dated June 19, 2009 finds that the agriculture sector is a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which many scientists agree are contributing to observed climate change and that agriculture is also a “sink” for sequestering carbon, which might offset GHG emissions by capturing and storing carbon in agricultural soils.

Congress is currently considering a range of climate change policy options, including GHG emission reduction programs that would either mandate or authorize a cap-and-trade program to reduce GHG emissions. In general, the current legislative proposals would not require emission reductions in the agriculture and forestry sectors. However, several GHG proposals would allow farmers and landowners to receive emissions allowances (or credits) and/or generate carbon offsets, which could be sold to facilities covered by a cap-and-trade program.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), produced this report that discusses the impacts of sea-level rise on the physical characteristics of the coast, on coastal communities, and the habitats that depend on them. The report also examines multiple opportunities for governments and coastal communities to plan for and adapt to rising sea levels.

Best Practice Approaches for Characterizing, Communicating, and Incorporating Scientific Uncertainty in Decisionmaking

This report from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, also titled Final Report of Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.2, sets forth how uncertainty with regard to scientific understandings of climate change can best be transmitted in a fashion that understood by the great public.

Fact Sheet: Coal Combustion Residues (CCR) - Surface Impoundments with High Hazard Potential Ratings

This fact sheet by the Environmental Protection Agency list 44 coal slurry impounds that are highly susceptible to failure that could cause the loss of human life.

In response to an EPA information request on units handling wet or slurried CCRs, electric utilities have so far identified a total of 427 units managing slurried CCRs. Forty-four (44) of these units at 26 different locations have been assigned a high hazard potential rating, using the criteria developed by the National Dam Safety Program for the National Inventory of Dams. Hazard potential ratings are generally assigned by the State Dam Safety officials.

The National Inventory of Dams hazard potential ratings address the potential consequences of failure or misoperation of the dam. A high hazard potential rating indicates that a failure will probably cause loss of human life. The rating is not an indication of the structural integrity of the unit or the possibility that a failure will occur in the future; it merely allows dam safety and other officials to determine where significant damage or loss of life may occur if there is a structural failure of the unit. EPA’s assessment of the 26 facilities that have units with high hazard potential ratings continues to be an Agency priority. EPA has conducted on-site assessments, which are undergoing Agency review, at 11 of these facilities. The remaining 15 of these facilities have had state inspections within the past 12 months and EPA will be reviewing the reports from those inspections. EPA plans to make public the results of our assessments as soon as they are completed.

Comments on Draft Technical Support Document for Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act

This document by Alan Carlin dated March 16, 2009 is based on a (Technical Support Document) TSD Draft of March 9, 2009 which were not included in the document purportedly because they were critical of the conclusions that supported of climate change theory and the need for the reduction of Greenhouse Gases.

The paper states "As of the best information I currently have, the GHG/CO2 hypothesis as to the cause of global warming, which this Draft TSD supports, is currently an invalid hypothesis from a scientific viewpoint because it fails a number of critical comparisons with available observable data. Any one of these failings should be enough to invalidate the hypothesis; the breadth of these failings leaves no other possible conclusion based on current data. As Feynman (1975) has said failure to conform to real world data makes it necessary from a scientific viewpoint to revise the hypothesis or abandon it (see Section 2.1 for the exact quote). Unfortunately this has not happened in the global warming debate, but needs to if an accurate finding concerning endangerment is to be made."

The Arctic Climate Change and Security Policy Conference

This Report produced by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace presents the The Arctic Climate Change and Security Policy Conference Final Report and Findings (December 1–3, 2008 at Dartmouth College Hanover, New Hampshire USA).

The report finds that the pace of change in the Arctic due to global climate conditions demands that greater attention be focused on the region, its needs and the issues surrounding its development over the near and intermediate term. The implications for U.S. citizens in the region and important U.S. security, economic, environmental, and political interests as a result of changes in the Arctic are profound.

The Peak Oil Debate

This article by Laurel Graefe in the November 2009 issue of the Federal Researve Bank of Atlanta's Economic Review (Volume 94, Number 2, 2009) finds that a "number of factors cloud the energy outlook: Estimates of remaining resources are typically given as a range of probabilities and are thus open to interpretation. Variations also occur in estimates of future oil production and in the ways countries report their reserve data.

The lack of a common definitional framework also confuses the debate. The author provides definitions of frequently used terms, delineating types of reserves
and conventional versus nonconventional resources. She also discusses how technological innovations, government policies, and prices influence oil production.
Regardless of the exact timing of peak oil production, the world must address
the challenge of adapting to a new model of energy supply.

Perhaps the world would be better served, the author notes, if the peak oil debate could be more solution-oriented, focusing on discovering the best way to transition to a world with less conventional oil rather than locking horns about discrepancies in terminology."

Clean Water Infrastructure: A Variety of Issues Need to Be Considered When Designing a Clean Water Trust Fund

This Government Accountability Report (GAO-09-657) dated May 2009 that in designing and establishing a clean water trust fund, stakeholders identified three main issues that would need to be addressed: how a trust fund should be administered and used; what type of financial assistance should be provided; and what activities should be eligible to receive funding from a trust fund.

Estimated Changes in Revenues and Direct Spending under H.R. 2998

This Congressional Budget Office document sets forth the U.S. budgetary impact of the "Cap & Trade" bill as recently passed by the House of Representatives. This bill now must be passed by the Senate.

Communities Tackle Global Warming: A Guide to California’s SB 375

This publication by the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) dated June 2009 is a guide to California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, or SB 375, the nation’s first legislation to link transportation and land use planning with global warming.

The report claims that locating homes closer to jobs and transportation choices creates walkable communities and can improve quality of life, reduce commute times and cut millions of tons of global warming pollution. It also features a photo simulation of how communities could come alive after mixed-use development and improved street design bring pedestrian activity into the area."

Agencies of Change: Exploring Institutional Reform at the FCC and the FERC

This program is given as part of the ABA Annual Meeting (registration for individual programs is available) and will take place at Friday July 31, 2009 8:30 – 10 am
at the Gold Coast, Bronze Level, West Tower Hyatt Regency Chicago, IL.

The program description is:

A look ahead to explore possible changes at the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the new Administration. A panel of experts will discuss institutional reform at both agencies, including potential modifications to their organization, structure, and processes, and the impact of such changes on communications and energy regulation.

Energy Alternatives and Incentives for Clean Energy

This program is offered as part of the ABA Annual Meeting (registration for individual programs is available) will take place at Thursday July 30, 2009
2:00 – 3:30 pm at Columbus Hall AB, Gold Level, East Tower Hyatt Regency Chicago, IL.

The program description is:

This session will focus on a group of practitioners who are dedicated to the development of the nation's alternative energy resources to meet America's domestic energy demands in an environmentally responsible manner while reducing the nation's dependence on imported energy sources and stimulating state and national economic development – all in a challenging and ever-shifting regulatory environment.

The Panel will share their thoughts on trends/ developments in specific environmental regulatory programs that intersect with alternative energy projects, specifically recent trends in regulation for nuclear, wind, and solar permitting and site assessment. Further, there will be a discussion regarding tax incentive programs specifically geared towards alternative energy projects. Finally, the panel will round out with “real life” experience of the Illinois Power Agency (“IPA”) and some of the issues that the IPA faces in meeting the mandatory "cost effective" renewable energy component of centralized energy purchases.

The Antarctic Treaty System and Beyond: Global Science Diplomacy in Action

This CLE program offered as part of the ABA Annual Meeting (registration for individual programs is available) may also be titled "Antarctica – What Does the Future Hold?" will be held on Thursday July 30, 2009 3:45 – 5:15 pm at Columbus Hall AB, Gold Level, East Tower Hyatt Regency Chicago, IL.

The program description is:

Antarctica - a cold, forbidding place with no indigenous or permanent residents - is a continent without formal nation-state governance as we typically think of it. Yet seven countries assert claims, some overlapping, to parts of the continent. The Antarctic Treaty System (“ATS”), a series of treaties and other binding rules, is the only “regulatory” system in place attempting to deal with the governance of the continent and to prevent the misuse of Antarctica for strategic or resource purposes.

With the increasing global demand for a diminishing pool of resources, the question of the optimal governance system for Antarctica presents an interesting launch point for this engaging discussion of law, science, and diplomacy. Specifically, panelists will explore the viability of the ATS and discuss alternatives to provide better environmental protection for the continent.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Clean Energy-Environment Guide to Action: Policies, Best Practices, and Action Steps for States

This Environmental Protection Agency publication (EPA430-R-06-001) provides information on how states may save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by adopting clean energy practices in their facilities, operations and vehicle fleets. States spend about 10 percent of their operating budgets on energy bills, yet these costs can be greatly reduced by implementing well-designed energy management and greenhouse gas reduction programs.

Clean Energy Economy

Pew Center on the States found that jobs in the clean energy economy grew at a national rate of 9.1 percent, while traditional jobs grew by only 3.7 percent between 1998 and 2007. There was a similar pattern at the state level, where job growth in the clean energy economy outperformed overall job growth in 38 states and the District of Columbia during the same period. The report also found that this promising sector is poised to expand significantly, driven by increasing consumer demand, venture capital infusions, and federal and state policy reforms.

2002 National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment

The EPA has just released the results of its 2002 national-scale assessment of air toxics emissions (NATA). The purpose of the national-scale assessment is to identify and prioritize air toxics, emission source types and locations which are of greatest potential concern in terms of contributing to population risk. EPA uses the results of these assessments in many ways, including: working with communities in designing their own local-scale assessments, setting priorities for improving data in emissions inventories, and helping direct priorities for expanding and improving the network of air toxics monitoring.

Water, Climate Change, and Sustainability: Challenges and Solutions

This BNA audioconference features: Tom Curtis—Deputy Executive Director of Government Affairs, American Water Works Association; G. Tracy Mehan III—Principal, The Cadmus Group Inc.; Kathy Robb—Partner, Hunton & Williams LLP, and Director of the Water Policy Institute; and David Struhs—Vice President of Environmental Affairs, International Paper.

The 90 minute session will cover how climate change is affecting the water sector, proved insight on opportunities for federal funding of green infrastructure, assess proposed programs and initiatives to address sustainable development and conservation programs, identify the roles of federal, state, and local authorities in developing and implementing responses to the impact of climate change on water resources and understand how litigation is impacting water law and regulation.

Environmental Justice Resource Guide

This publication produced by the Environmental Protection Agency's Region 9 (EPA-909-R-09-001) provides information and access to EPA’s funding sources, training opportunities, and technical and program assistance. The guide highlights recent successes in communities affected by environmental injustices and references some of the tools these communities have used to achieve results.

This publication will also help organizations, agencies, and academics who
work with Environmental Justice (EJ) communities to recognize opportunities
to help their constituents.

Department of the Interior, Mineral Management Service: "Renewable Energy and Alternate Uses of Existing Facilities on the Outer Continental Shelf"

GAO reviewed the Department of the Interior, Mineral Management Services's (MMS) new rule on renewable energy and alternate uses of existing facilities on the Outer Continental Shelf. GAO found that (1) the final rule establishes a program to grant leases, easements and rights-of-way (ROW) for renewable energy project activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), as well as certain previously unauthorized activities that involve the alternative use of existing facilities located on the OCS. The final rule establishes the methods for sharing revenues generated by this program with nearby coastal States. Finally, this rule is intended to ensure the orderly, safe, and environmentally responsible development of renewable energy sources on the OCS; and (2) the MMS complied with the applicable requirements in promulgating the rule.

Energy Markets: Estimates of the Effects of Mergers and market Concentration on Wholesale Gasoline Prices

This Government Accountability Office report (GAO-09-659) dated June 2009 found three mergers were associated with statistically significant increases or decreases in wholesale gasoline prices. Specifically, GAO found that the mergers of Valero Energy with Ultramar Diamond Shamrock and Valero Energy with Premcor, which both involved the acquisition of refineries, were associated with estimated average price increases of about 1 cent per gallon each. In addition, GAO found that the merger of Phillips Petroleum with Conoco, which primarily involved the acquisition of oil exploration and production assets, was associated with an estimated average decrease in wholesale gasoline prices across cities affected by the merger of nearly 2 cents per gallon. This analysis provides an indicator of the impact that petroleum industry mergers can have on wholesale gasoline prices. Additional analysis would be needed to explain the price effects that GAO estimated.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Clean Energy Economy

The Pew Charitable Trusts has produced a report showing the growth of clean energy jobs in the U.S. economy and found that the emerging clean energy economy is creating well-paying jobs in every state for people of all skill levels and educational backgrounds.

Between 1998 and 2007, jobs in the clean energy economy grew at a national rate of 9.1 percent while traditional jobs grew by only 3.7 percent. By 2007, more than 68,200 businesses across all 50 states and the District of Columbia accounted for more than 770,000 jobs, despite a lack of sustained government support in the past decade.

Statistical Review of World Energy 2009

This statistical Report by BP (the multinational energy company) finds that global oil consumption declined by 0.6% in 2008, world natural gas consumption grew by 2.5% and was the fastest growing fuel for the sixth consecutive year, and that world primary energy consumption grew by 1.4% in 2008. Significantly, it found that global proved oil reserves in 2008 fell by 3 billion barrels to 1,258 billion barrels, with an R/P ratio of 42 years. Declines in Russia, Norway, China and other countries offset increases in Vietnam, India and Egypt.

Green Investing: Towards a Clean Energy Infrastructure

This Report by the World Economic Forum dated January 2009 finds that Clean energy technologies are becoming increasingly cost-competitive with fossil-based energy. A
carbon price will eventually level the playing field, but in the meantime clean energy solutions require support from policy-makers.


EnergyOcean is the world’s leading conference and exhibition focused on renewable ocean energy. Technologists, financiers and policymakers from around the world gather at this event to learn of the opportunities, challenges and solutions in this industry. Hear more than 60 expert presentations and network with industry leaders by attending and exhibiting at EnergyOcean 2009. The event takes place in Rockport, Maine June 16-18, 2009.

Solar Decathalon

For three weeks in October 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy will host the Solar Decathlon—a competition in which 20 teams of college and university students compete to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house. The Solar Decathlon is also an event to which the public is invited to observe the powerful combination of solar energy, energy efficiency, and the best in home design.

The 2009 Solar Decathlon brochure summarizes the upcoming competition and describes why the Solar Decathlon is so important to promoting solar energy—and to providing the Decathletes with unique training for green jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Exact dates of the 2009 event are:

Oct. 8-16—Teams compete in 10 contests
Oct. 9-13—Houses are open to the public
Oct. 15-18—Houses are open to the public
Oct. 19-21—Teams disassemble their houses

Emerging Issues in the U.S. Organic Industry

This report by the United States Department of Agriculture (Economic Information Bulletin No. EIB-55) dated June 2009 finds that consumer demand for organic products has widened over the last decade. While new producers have emerged to help meet demand, market participants report that a supply squeeze is constraining growth for both individual firms and the organic sector overall.

Partly in response to shortages in organic supply, Congress in 2008 included provisions in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act (2008 Farm Act) that, for the first time, provide direct financial support to farmers to convert to organic production. This report examines recent economic research on the adoption of organic farming systems, organic production costs and returns, and market conditions to gain a better understanding of the organic supply squeeze and other emerging issues in this rapidly changing industry.

Aviation and Climate Change: Aircraft Emissions Expected to Grow...

This Government Accountability Office Report dated June 2009 (GAO-09-554) finds that aviation currently accounts for about 2 percent of human-generated global carbon dioxide emissions, the most significant greenhouse gas—and about 3 percent of the potential warming effect of global emissions that can affect the earth’s climate, including carbon dioxide. IPCC’s medium-range estimate forecasts that by 2050 the global aviation industry, including aircraft emissions, will emit about 3 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions and about 5 percent of the potential warming effect of all global human-generated emissions.

While airlines currently rely on a range of improvements, such as fuel-efficient engines, to reduce emissions, some of which may have limited potential to generate future reductions, experts we surveyed expect a number of additional technological, operational, and alternative fuel improvements to help reduce aircraft emissions in the future. However, given expected growth of commercial aviation as forecast by IPCC, even if many of these improvements are adopted, it appears unlikely they would greatly reduce emissions by 2050.

A number of policy options to address aircraft emissions are available to governments and can be part of broader policies to address emissions from many sources including aircraft. Market-based measures can establish a price for emissions and provide incentives to airlines and consumers to reduce emissions. These measures can be preferable to other options because they would generally be more economically efficient. Such measures include a cap-and-trade program, in which government places a limit on emissions from regulated sources, provides them with allowances for emissions, and establishes a market for them to trade emissions allowances with one another, and a tax on emissions. Governments can establish emissions standards for aircraft or engines. In addition, government could increase government research and development to encourage development of low-emissions improvements.

Maps: Exploration, Resources, Reserves, and Production

The maps created by the Energy Information Administration show the location and estimated reserves of oil, natural gas, shale, coal bed methane in the United States.

Federal Energy and Fleet Management: Plug-in Vehicles Offer Potential Benefits, but High Costs and Limited Information Could Hinder Integration...

This Government Accountability Office Report dated June 2009 (GAO-09-493) finds that Plug-ins will be expensive relative to other vehicles until battery costs come down and challenges such as achieving economies of scale are met. These high upfront costs will prevent agencies from including plug-ins in large numbers in their fleets without additional funding. Furthermore, agencies will also be hindered from incorporating plug-ins because of uncertainties regarding their performance, the maintenance and reliability associated with the vehicles’ batteries, and the resale value of the vehicles. Exploring the option of leasing the vehicles directly from manufacturers could help mitigate these risks and allow agencies to experiment with how well the vehicles perform within their fleet.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


This Report to Congress submitted to the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate by U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) in Consultation with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Compliance with Section 714 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-140, H.R.6) finds:

First, a proposed regulatory framework must recognize carbon dioxide (CO2) as a commodity, resource, contaminant, waste, or pollutant.

Second, carbon sequestration may potentially conflict with other land uses including existing and future mines, oil and gas fields, coal resources, geothermal fields, and drinking water sources.

Third, a proposed statutory and regulatory framework must recognize the long-term liability of any permitting decision to sequester CO2 and the required commitment for stewardship of facilities over an extended period of time. The scope of liability and term of stewardship will be among the longest ever attempted, lasting up to thousands of years or more.

And lastly, geological carbon sequestration on split estate lands or lands where the surface is managed by other Federal agencies presents other complications due to ownership issues of pore space and limitations that may need to be placed on surface and subsurface uses to ensure integrity of storage.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sustainable Consumption Facts and Trends from a Business Perspective

This study produced by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, dated December 2008, says that current global consumption patterns are unsustainable. It is becoming apparent that efficiency gains and technological advances alone will not be sufficient to bring global consumption to a sustainable level; changes will also be required to consumer lifestyles, including the ways in which consumers choose and use products and services.

Business needs to work more closely with consumers in terms of the sustainable use of products, communicating the added value of sustainable products and enabling behavior changes.”

Consumers are increasingly concerned about environmental, social and economic issues. They say they are willing to act on those concerns. However, the report finds that willingness often does not translate into sustainable consumer behavior because of factors such as availability, affordability, convenience, product performance, skepticism and force of habit.

The report identifies three key categories for business to mainstream sustainable consumption: innovation (coming up with new products that maximize societal value while at the same time minimize environmental costs), choice influencing (providing information that helps consumers to choose and use products more sustainably) and choice editing (the removal of “unsustainable” products and services from the marketplace in partnership with other interested groups).

To show the urgency for such business innovation, the report lists the drivers of global consumption patterns (rapid population growth, the rise in global affluence and a culture of consumerism among higher income groups) as well as the resulting impacts on people and planet.

Looking ahead, the business leaders involved in the report called for talks with groups such as retailers, marketers, policy-makers, NGOs and consumer groups to increase levels of transparency and information on products to make it easier to find the right response to achieve the necessary changes in consumption patterns and lifestyles.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Complying With Environmental Laws in Europe-Teleconference/Webinar

This webinar offered on June 3, 2009 is designed for international, corporate, real estate, environmental and litigation attorneys who have clients conducting business in the European Union that could be impacted by existing and emerging environmental laws, this seminar features environmental lawyers and risk management experts located in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Speakers will discuss the most significant environmental laws and exposures in their respective countries including the European Union Environmental Liability Directive (ELD). The ELD along with existing EU regulations will make operators financially responsible for activities that damage the environment. Several ELD claims are presently being processed in various EU jurisdictions and include significant cost exposures for cleaning up environmental damage.

Privatizing the Cleanup of Hazardous Sites: How the New Jersey Approach Transforms the Field

When New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine signed into law the Site Remediation Reform Act on May 6, he set in motion the long-awaited reform of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's site remediation program. This new law transforms how New Jersey manages the cleanup of its contaminated sites by authorizing the NJDEP to accept certifications of "licensed site remediation professionals," or "LSRPs," that a contaminated site has been adequately investigated and cleaned. Previously, NJDEP was directly responsible for the cleanup of contaminated sites.

New Jersey joins Connecticut and Massachusetts in allowing private outside contractors to supervise the remediation of contaminated sites. Other states are expected to look at the NJ law as a model for similar programs.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

International Energy Outlook 2009

The International Energy Outlook 2009 (IEO2009) published by the U.S. energy Information Administration presents an assessment by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the outlook for international energy markets through 2030. U.S. projections appearing in IEO2009 are consistent with those published in EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2009 (AEO2009), (March 2009).

The Outlook finds that world marketed energy consumption is projected to grow by 44 percent between 2006 and 2030, driven by strong long-term economic growth in the developing nations of the world. The current global economic downturn will dampen world energy demand in the near term, as manufacturing and consumer demand for goods and services slows. However, with economic recovery anticipated to begin within the next 12 to 24 months, most nations are expected to see energy consumption growth at rates anticipated prior to the recession. Total world energy use rises from 472 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2006 to 552 quadrillion Btu in 2015 and then to 678 quadrillion Btu in 2030.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Climate Change and Water

This Technical Paper by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) dated June 2008 sets forth the potential impact of climate change on the world's water resources; including glaciers, rain water, surface water and oceans.

Virtual Energy Forum

This online conference for renewable energy and energy-efficient practices in businesses is coming in late June, and to attend, all you need is a computer.

The Virtual Energy Forum is a two day online-only event focused on how leading companies can adopt better energy management practices to cut costs, while at the same time adopting clean energy alternatives -- presenting alternative energy technologies, policies, and best practices in a live, interactive environment. The event is designed to meet the needs of corporate energy executives in a way that is not possible with physical events, webinars or other means.

Virtual Energy Forum will next take place on June 24th and 25th, 2009 with all new speakers, track presentations, virtual booths and informational resources from the top institutions and individuals in the field.

Presentations will cover the following tracks:
- Keynotes
- Global Energy Projects
- Utility Profiles
- Renewable Energy
- Energy Management
- Smart Buildings

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Discussion Draft: Addressing Nanomaterials as an Issue of Global Concern

This draft prepared by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) dated May 2009 provides the legal frameworks and scientific issues surrounding nanotechnology and places in a global arena addressing the needs of north and south and developed and developing nations.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Principles of Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Handbook

This handbook published by the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) (view publication description here) dated April 2009 outlines some of the important considerations in designing, implementing and evaluating effective environmental enforcement and compliance programs. It serves as background reading for the training course on the Principles of Environmental Enforcement and Compliance. In 1992, the USEPA created this course in response to a request by Poland’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry. The Netherlands’ Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment contributed significantly to the development of this course. Since its first delivery in 1992, the Principles course has been given hundreds of times in countries throughout the world.

Successful implementation of environmental requirements requires significant effort and forethought. Changes in behavior are difficult to accomplish on both a societal and personal level. No one formula exists for achieving compliance. There is merely trial, evaluation, and adaptation to find the most effect compliance strategies for any given situation. Nevertheless, a reliable framework for designing compliance assurance programs has emerged based on the experiences of countries around the world. The information in this handbook derives from these experiences.

Endangered Species Act: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has Incomplete Information about Effects on Listed Species from Section 7 Consultants

This report by the government Accountability Office (GAO-09-550) dated May 2009 finds that the Service lacks a systematic means oftracking the monitoring reports it requires in biological opinions and does not know the extent of compliance with these requirements. The Service also lacks a systematic method for tracking cumulative take of most listed species. Out of 497 listed species in the western states, GAO identified 3 species for which the Service has a formal, Web-based database for tracking cumulative take: northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet,and bull trout. GAO identified 7 more species for which Service biologists developed informal means to track cumulative take.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Remarks by the President on National Fuel Efficiency Standards

These are the remarks, dated May 19, 2009, by President Obama in announcing the new CAFE/CO2 automobile standards.

Automakers Support President in Development of National Program for Autos

This statement by the Auto Alliance sets for the auto industry's support for President Obama's new CAFE/CO2 auto standards.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Complying With Environmental Laws in Europe-Teleconference/Webinar

This Webinar prosented by the New York State Car Association is designed for international, corporate, real estate, environmental and litigation attorneys who have clients conducting business in the European Union that could be impacted by existing and emerging environmental laws, this seminar features environmental lawyers and risk management experts located in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Speakers will discuss the most significant environmental laws and exposures in their respective countries including the European Union Environmental Liability Directive (ELD). The ELD along with existing EU regulations will make operators financially responsible for activities that damage the environment. Several ELD claims are presently being processed in various EU jurisdictions and include significant cost exposures for cleaning up environmental damage.

Questions that will be addressed and discussed include:

How is the ELD being implemented and enforced within the EU? What is the claims history for the ELD?

What liability exists under the 1996 Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive and 2006 Waste Disposal Directive?

What are the biggest concerns for environmental loss in a given country?

What is next in Europe?

What waste permits are required?

When and where does a company need to demonstrate satisfactory financial security and how can these requirements be met?

Are NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) a significant threat?
What risk management techniques are available to mitigate the effect of environmental loss?

When and where is environmental insurance compulsory?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Storage of Captured Carbon Dioxide Beneath Federal Lands

This Report (DOE/NETL-2009/1358) dated May 8, 2009 by the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory examines the potential for CO2 storage under federal lands. The reports finds that the storage resource beneath Federal lands ranges between 126 and 375 billion metric tons. The vast majority of Federal lands are west of the Mississippi. Of the estimated storage potential beneath Federal land in the United States, 68 percent can be found in the stratigraphy of Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas.

The single most important challenge to utilizing Federal lands for storage of captured CO2 is regulatory. Experience from oil and gas operations provides an important guide and basis for development of regulations and procedures for CO2 storage operations. A regulatory framework will help to define expectations for the operator, regulator, and insurer. The EPA and the states of Washington and Wyoming have provided an important yet only initial effort in the regulatory arena.

Implementing Amendments to Agreement on Border

Executive Order 13380 of June 17, 2005

First (1st) Round of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Comments to USEPA on the Proposed Findings

This document (EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0171-0124) posted by the Environmental Protection Agency states quotes: “The Administrator believes that the scientific findings in totality point to compelling evidence of human-induced climate change, and that serious risks and potential impacts to public health and welfare have been clearly identified, even if they cannot always be quantified with confidence. The Administrator’s proposed endangerment finding is based on weighing the scientific evidence, considering the uncertainties, and balancing any benefits to human health, society the environment that may also occur.”

The document created by the Office of Management and Budget goes on to question whether the EPA Administrator has any basis for that statement. This document has been the subject of a great deal of discussion.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Center for the State of the Parks: Park Assessments: Great Basin National Park

This report by the Center for the State of the Parks dated March 2009 finds that natural resources at the park are in “good” condition, with a score of 81 out of 100. The park currently has “good” air quality and “excellent” water quality, but they are threatened by power plants and groundwater withdrawals, respectively, and past grazing practices and fire suppression have degraded park habitats. Staff are working to restore some areas.

Overall conditions of Great Basin National Park’s known cultural resources rated 66 out of a possible 100, indicating “fair” conditions. While the addition of a cultural resources manager in 2003 has greatly benefited Great Basin, additional staff are needed for all programs to assist with baseline research, archaeological surveys, and museum and archival collections upkeep.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

EPA Lifecycle Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Renewable Fuels

This Technical Report (EPA-420-F-09-024) by the Environmental Protection Agency dated May 2009 analyzes the lifecycle GHG impacts of the range of biofuels currently expected to contribute significantly to meeting the volume mandates of EISA through 2022, including those from domestic and international sources.

EPA Does Not Provide Oversight of Radon Testing Accuracy and Reliability

This Report (No. 09-P-0151) dated May 4, 2009 states that recent studies on radon – while not nationwide in scope – have identified problems with the accuracy of radon testing devices. Also, a recent New England study identified problems with the quality of laboratory analyses of radon testing. Nonetheless, a key 2009 EPA publication on the Agency’s Website continues to state that radon testing devices provide reliable measurements of indoor radon levels. In its 2009 A Citizen's Guide to Radon: The Guide to Protecting Yourself and Your Family from Radon, EPA states:

MYTH: Radon testing devices are not reliable and are difficult to find.
FACT: Reliable testing devices are available from qualified radon testers and companies.

However, EPA does not have data within the last 10 years to support that radon test kits or testers are reliable.

Potential Impacts of Climate Change on the United States

This report by the Congressional Budget Office (No. 3044) dated May 2009, discusses the potential changes in weather patterns, agriculture, coastal erosion, biodiversity, and changes in other aspects of the environment that may occur with rising global temperatures due to excessive greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Monday, May 4, 2009

EnergySmart Schools

This no-cost Advanced Engergy Design Guide Webinar put on by the Department of Energy provides an overview of the Advanced Energy Design Guide (AEDG) for K-12 School Buildings, including recommendations based on climate zones to achieve 30% energy savings over baseline standard in both new and renovation building projects. The Webinar was presented live on April 16, 2009.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pace Environmental Notes -- April 2009

Here is this month's Pace Environmental Notes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

International Trade and Competitiveness Issues in Climate Change Policy

This ABA teleconference takes place on April 28 between Noon and 2pm. The conference discusses how climate change policy is interrelated with trade and competitiveness issues, and what lies ahead on the state, national, and international levels.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Biofuel Policies and Programs

This Report by the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor finds that traditional biofuels like corn-based ethanol and soy-based biodiesel serve a useful purpose. However, land constraints and economic considerations limit the extent to which traditional biofuels can replace petroleum-based fuels. Cellulosic ethanol appears to have significant environmental and energy advantages over corn-based ethanol, but questions remain about its economic viability and its potential land use and environmental impacts.

Friday, April 17, 2009

DOE Webcast April 22 for State and Local Officials: Renewable Energy on Contaminated Lands

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Technical Assistance Project (TAP) for state and local officials is offering a webcast on how to develop renewable energy projects on contaminated or old industrial sites, also known as "brownfields." The presentation will take place Wednesday, April 22, from 3:00 to 4:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and is titled "Taking it from Brown to Green: Renewable Energy on Contaminated Lands."

In addition to learning how to identify brownfield sites where renewable energy projects are feasible, you will hear about case studies in the Southwest and learn about tools that support project development. Finally, you will be able to ask questions of the presenters and interact with them after the event on the TAP webcast Blog.

Superfund: Greater Enforcement and Reporting are Needed to Enhance Cleanup at DOD sites

This Report (GAO-09-278) from the Government Accounatbility Office dated March 2009 states that of the 985 DOD sites requiring cleanup of hazardous substances, EPA has oversight authority of the 140 on the NPL; the remaining 845 non-NPL sites are overseen by other cleanup authorities—usually the states. A review of 389 non-NPL DOD sites showed that EPA decided not to list 56 percent because it determined the condition of the sites did not satisfy the criteria for listing or because it deferred the sites to other programs, most often the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act––another federal statute that governs activities involving hazardous waste.

However, DOD does not have agreements for 11 sites, even though they are required under CERCLA. It was not until more than 10 years after these sites were placed on the NPL that EPA, in 2007, pursued enforcement action against DOD by issuing administrative orders at 4 of the 11 sites.

Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2007

This report (EPA 430-R-09-004) by the Environmental Protection Agency dated April 15, 2009 states that from 1990 to 2007, total emissions of CO2 increased by 1,026.7 Tg CO2 Eq. (20.2 percent), while CH4 and N2O emissions decreased by 31.2 Tg CO2 Eq. (5.1 percent) and 3.1 Tg CO2 Eq. (1.0 percent), respectively.

During the same period, aggregate weighted emissions of HFCs, PFCs, and SF6 rose by 59.0 Tg CO2 Eq. (65.2 percent). From 1990 to 2007, HFCs increased by 88.6 Tg CO2 Eq. (240.0 percent), PFCs decreased by 13.3 Tg CO2 Eq. (64.0 percent), and SF6 decreased by 16.3 Tg CO2 Eq. (49.8 percent). Despite being emitted in smaller quantities relative to the other principal greenhouse gases, emissions of HFCs, PFCs, and SF6 are significant because many of them have extremely high global warming potentials and, in the cases of PFCs and SF6, long atmospheric lifetimes.

Conversely, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were partly offset by carbon sequestration in forests, trees in urban areas, agricultural soils, and landfilled yard trimmings and food scraps, which, in aggregate, offset 14.9 percent of total emissions in 2007. The following sections describe each gas’ contribution to total U.S. greenhouse gas
emissions in more detail.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Land Trust Alliance: Northeast Regional Conference

Connect, engage, and get recognized by sponsoring the 2009 Northeast Land Trust Conference in the heart of the Hudson River Highlands on Friday April 17.

The Northeast Regional Conference offers you two days of learning and networking, including half and full-day seminars, networking and roundtable discussions.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Climate Planning for Campuses: A How To Guide

This Wiki provided by the Association for the Advancement of Sustaqinability in Higher Education offers college administrators information to assist climate action planning teams at schools that are well versed in campus climate issues and well along in the CAP process as well as those who are just beginning in this endeavor -- and may be wondering where to start and what to do to bring their campuses into environmental compliance.

American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment

This Commitment authored by a group of college presidents urges the College Presidents signing the Commitment are pledging to eliminate their campuses’ greenhouse gas emissions over time. This involves:
- Completing an emissions inventory
- Within two years, setting a target date and interim milestones for becoming climate neutral.
- Taking immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by choosing from a list of short-term actions.
- Integrating sustainability into the curriculum and making it part of the educational experience.
- Making the action plan, inventory and progress reports publicly available.

Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Dept. of the Interior and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

This memorandum clarifies the agencies’ respective jurisdictional responsibilities for leasing and licensing renewable energy projects on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf and should accelerate the implementation of offshore alternative energy sources.

Green Pricing and Net Metering Programs 2007 Edition

This Report by the Energy Information Administration on Green Pricing shows the number of customers in green pricing programs increased by 192,795 to 835,651 in 2007. Green pricing/marketing programs allow electricity customers to voluntarily pay the additional costs for renewable energy through direct payments on their monthly bills. In return, the electricity provider guarantees that it will provide either directly or by contract that amount of renewable-based electricity.