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.

EIA’s Natural Gas Production Data

This special report by the Energy Information Administration examines the stages of natural gas processing from the wellhead to the pipeline network through which the raw product becomes ready for transportation and eventual consumption, and how this sequence is reflected in the data published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The discussion will be helpful to users of the data published by EIA in the Natural Gas Annual and Natural Gas Monthly, in particular, and industry analysts interested in gaining a better understanding of the production process.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sound Health 2008

This report by Long Island Sound Study informs the public on the environmental issues affecting Long Island Sound. It provides information on water quality, the abundance of animal and plant life in the Sound, and trends in land use along the shore.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Oil and Gas Management: Federal Oil and Gas Management and Revenue Collection in Need of Stronger Oversight and Comprehensive Reassessement

This Government Accountability Office (GAO-09-556T) testimony before the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives by Frank Rusco, Director Natural Resources and Environment focuses on findings from a number of recent GAO reports on federal
oil and gas management. GAO has made numerous recommendations to Interior, which the agency generally agreed with and is taking steps to address. However, two important issues remain unresolved. Specifically, GAO made one recommendation and one matter for Congressional consideration that together call for a comprehensive reevaluation
of how Interior manages federal oil and gas resources. Interior has not undertaken such a comprehensive review and until this is done, the public cannot have reasonable assurance that federal oil and gas resources are being appropriately managed for the public good.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Alternatives to Traditional Transportation Fuels 2007 (Part II - User and Fuel Data)

This report (Part II) contains data on the use of alternative fueled vehicles (AFVs) and the amount of fuel they consume. AFVs are on-road U.S. vehicles that operate on fuels other than motor gasoline or diesel. Information on the supply of AFVs is contained in Part I.

Alternatives to Traditional Transportation Fuels 2007 (Part I - Supplier Data)

These tables represent the number of onroad alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) and hybrid vehicles made available by both the original equipment manufacturers and aftermarket vehicle conversion facilities for 2007 and projected for 2008. These data include gasoline-electric and diesel-electric hybrids which are published separately from electric fuel type categories because they fall outside the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT92) definition of an AFV. The Department of Energy (DOE), which has EPACT92 implementation authority, ruled that gasoline- and diesel-electric hybrids are not “alternative fuel vehicles.”

Wildland Fire Management: Actions by Federal Agencies and Congress Could Mitigate Rising Fire Costs and Their Effect on Other Agency Programs

This tesitmony by Robin M. Nazzaro, Director Natural Resources and Environment, published as Government Accountability Office Report (GAO-09-444T) dated April 6, 2009 states that sharply rising costs of managing wildland fires have led the Forest Service and Interior agencies to transfer funds from other programs to help pay for fire suppression and, according to agency officials and others, may also be reducing the total funds available to agency programs unrelated to fire.

As GAO has reported, there are several steps the agencies could take, and actions Congress could consider, that could mitigate the rising costs of wildland fire management and its effect on the agencies’ other programs.

>Although the agencies have, among other actions, improved decision-support tools for helping officials select appropriate strategies for fighting individual wildland fires, the agencies continue to lack both an agencywide strategy for containing fire suppression costs and a broader long-term wildland fire management strategy that identifies options, along with associated funding, for reducing excess vegetation and responding to fires—what GAO has termed a cohesive strategy.

>The agencies could develop a better method of estimating the suppression funds requested, as GAO recommended in 2004. Better estimates in a given year could reduce the likelihood that the agencies would need to transfer funds from other accounts, yet the agencies continue to use an estimation method with known problems.

>In addition, Congress may wish to consider establishing a reserve account to fund emergency wildland firefighting, which could reduce the need for the agencies to transfer funds. The advantages and disadvantages of several alternative funding approaches were discussed in GAO’s 2004 report. Congress considered at least two bills in 2008 proposing establishment of a reserve account, but neither bill passed. One of those bills was reintroduced in March 2009.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Guidance on the Development, Evaluation, and Application of Environmental Models

The Council for Regulatory Environmental Modeling developed this document (EPA/100/K-09/003) dated March 2009 to provide a simplified, comprehensive resource for modelers across the Agency on best modeling practices. When adhered to, the guidelines will help to ensure the quality, utility and regulatory relevance of the models that EPA develops and applies and the transparency of modeling analyses and model-based decisions.

Annual Energy Outlook 2009

The Annual Energy Outlook 2009 (AEO2009) presents projections and analysis of US energy supply, demand, and prices through 2030. The projections are based on results from the Energy Information Administration's National Energy Modeling System. The AEO2009 includes the reference case, additional cases examining energy markets, and complete documentation.