Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  DOE is shaking up the empire in 2018.  The Agency made at least three significant announcements last week: First, it will commit $18.5 million to develop a new consortium for off-shore wind energy research. Second: investing up to $100 million within the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA‑E) latest “OPEN” funding opportunity directed at finding “American energy entrepreneurs and researchers to show us the next breakthrough in energy security.” Third, big-time reorganization focusing on four priorities: U.S. energy dominance; protecting energy and national security; advancing innovation; and improving outcomes in environmental management.

*  The Oregon Department of Energy and the Public Utility Commission are developing a comment letter regarding EPA’s Clean Power Plan. OR has a draft set of comments for review; the public can comment (due Jan. 5) on the comments. The draft contains a number of non-fossil energy projects said to be making headway in Oregon. Hopefully, they all come to fruition. But the draft does not make clear: Why should OR’s local interest justify the national imposition of the CPP? Oregon can build on hydroelectric projects started decades ago, subsidized by taxpayers from sea to shining sea. It’s a lot more difficult for many other states.

*  MA seeks big carbon reductions. There’s a draft proposal out there now regarding transportation in MA and ways to get people out of their cars. I haven’t taken a close look at it yet; it’s on the list for Christmas day.*:D big grin But, interestingly, EPA recently proposed approval of 5000 new parking spaces at Logan Airport.  Federal approval for parking?  Apparently, back in the day, parking at Logan was deliberately kept in check so that people would take transit or carpool, a move formally placed in the State’s SIP – the state implementation plan, the iron-clad document that controls and enforces and fines any and every aspect of a state’s air quality plan (think CPP, and why people don’t like it).  Any change to a federally approved SIP requires EPA’s approval, for anything.  Apparently, the parking limit didn’t work for air pollution goals.  Now, full-circle, the 5000 new spaces are for “environmental reasons,” of course, to decrease VOC, NOX, and CO (no mention of CO2) so people don’t keep driving and driving until they find a parking space!

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