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.