Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

* The US House is busy again this week on energy and environment issues with the Select Subcommittee on Chatter holding a hearing entitled, “Midterm Review and Update on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Program and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Motor Vehicles,” Thursday, September 22, at 10 a.m. in HVC-210 of the Capitol Visitor Center. The hearing will examine the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program and greenhouse gas (GHG) standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

* If you are a cow, you might be feeling a little beat up on lately, considering all of this messy methane business and global warming. Like it’s your fault, right, that Americans love milk and cream cheese and ice cream and hamburgers (make mine a cheeseburger). The US Dairy Production Stabilization Act of 1983 authorizes a national program for dairy product promotion, research and nutrition education. Is that in the same contradictory policy-class as tax breaks and subsidies to help expand petroleum and coal operations? Cow, uh, vapors and manure are significant sources of methane, a compound far worse than CO2 for trapping heat. USDA reported last week that in 2014, total milk production was 206,586 million pounds. California and Hawaii: 42,366.9 million pounds. I can’t comprehend those numbers, but how do you get this to change in a world with hungry people?

* A trillion tons. That’s the atmospheric limit for CO2 (and equivalent) concentrations. Since 1750 humans have added 600 billion tons. Beyond a trillion? Don’t think about it. And don’t get complacent about ratcheting way back to stop the next 400 billion. In fact, it can’t happen without CCS – carbon sequestration and capture. These are some of the lessons in an excellent webinar – “A Better Life with a Healthy Planet: Pathways to Net-Zero Emissions” – available from the CCS Institute, presented by David Hone, Chief Climate Change Adviser for Shell and a board member and former Chair of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA). Mr. Hone’s presentation is engaging, analytical, big-picture and jargon free. Watch it.

Have a great Monday and a great week!

Tom Ewing

Long After…

 

Baby & GShortly after reading this we will be going to the polls to vote for the next president, senators, representatives, and a list of others national, state and local officials who we will select to represent us, manage our government and provide us the security to live the life defined and guaranteed by our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

I have lived through and remember 18 presidential elections and have exercised my privilege, responsibility and right to vote in 15 of these. (At one time the voting age was 21) Without doubt this has been the least professional, most un-American-like of all the presidential elections in my lifetime. From the shorelines of other countries, we are not so shining an example. As an American, one who served in the U.S.A.F. for four years, this bothers me.

The things I take away from this election cycle are not good and reflect poorly on so many aspects of what was once a proud way of life. To me its discouraging when you can’t trust or believe in the integrity of your news sources, government agencies, political parties, the candidates and a host of others.

I am not alone in this feeling of being discouraged; this feeling of being betrayed. Read the comments following the endless string of articles on every phase and facet of this election. They echo this feeling of near despair. I don’t remember a time when we have been more polarized on so many issues.

The other day a light shined under this cloak of personal darkness; an email; a message; a reminder; a refresher…

ong-afterUnfortunately I don’t know who deserves the credit for having written the above noted comments. The author reminds us of why this country is; what we as a nation stand for; what we as a people must do.

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

  • Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will testify at a meeting this week of the US House Subcommittee on Energy and Power. Hearing title: “The Department of Energy’s Role in Advancing the National, Economic, and Energy Security of the United States.” Date/time: Thursday, September 15, 10 a.m. in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Very likely, even though one will need to squint and struggle to see through swirling haze and smoke and other nefarious gases, the hearing should still provide an important glimpse into the not too distant future…
  • Last June, EPA announced it would review its regs covering emissions of hazardous air pollutants from mobile sources – usually passenger cars and light trucks. This would actually update existing regs, to assess whether controls are adequate or should be revised. This review is supposed to end in November. Interestingly, it appears that no one had any comments on this potentially difficult and controversial subject. Whaddya think – just too much going on?
  • Whew… it’s getting scary out there my peeps; not for children. It’s terrible when you get your dockets mixed up. Check out this citizen’s comments (edited just slightly) somehow within the Fish & Wildlife Service files, regarding a draft Endangered Species Act (ESA) policy:

“Dear CDC, there will be no mandatory vaccines, period. You’ve already given me SV40… Nobody, but nobody is going to give me anymore vaccines, least not till I’m too feeble to get away… Things were quite clearly spelled out in the Nuremburg code. It’s quite obvious you’re all in bed with big pharma and the CDC is full of people who stand to profit.”
Uh… would somebody please call Nurse Ratched..?Need research/reporting/writing help?

Have a great Monday and a great week!

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

 

* Hard to believe but today, September 6, is the day that States were to hand in programmatic decisions for EPA’s Clean Power Plan – you remember that, right? Last February, the Supreme Court stayed the Plan, allowing federal courts to review the merits of the rule. The legal action starts up soon with oral arguments scheduled in the United States Court of Appeals DC Circuit. The schedule allows just a little over three and a half hours for attorneys to cover five main issues.

* A while ago I noted California’s E-Trip program – the requirement for certain employers in the San Joaquin Valley to survey and monitor and record how their employees get to work. This is an air pollution control strategy, officially and formally placed in the State’s SIP – in other words, federally enforceable. Ozone levels hit hard this summer in CA. The SJV Air Pollution Control District has scheduled three “marketing classes” for employers to “learn the basics about communicating with your employees about the eTrip Rule and air quality.” Whaddya think…? I bet this is really popular!

* Last June, the Federal Trade Commission requested public comments on a revised “Guide Concerning Fuel Economy Advertising for New Automobiles.” In July, FTC extended the comment period to September 7, tomorrow. So far, just four comments posted on FTC’s docket. This is important because one focus is on the accuracy of claims regarding ethanol, electrics and hybrids, a touchy subject, for many reasons.

 

Tom Ewing
tfewing1@yahoo.com

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

Good Morning:

* Death by a thousand cuts. That’s the only way to describe the interminable, glacier-paced “progress” for Red Rock-Joule Biofuels, stuck in the kind of regulatory slow mo that likely requires RR’s health plan to have Ativan in the lunch room (don’t even mention shareholders). Last week, though, after about a year, RR’s new hometown of Lakeview, OR, approved a roughly 60-acre urban growth boundary revision, possibly making room for RR’s new biofuels refinery. That’s 60 acres in a county with 8,358 square miles (New Jersey: 7,419 sq. miles). The good-mood therapists likely have opened their own happy room at DOE HQs too because RR is one of the companies that’s supposed to be way out front in the manufacture of alternate jet fuels. You’ll recall DOE’s financing help for Red Rock, Emerald and Fulcrum announced back in 2014. So far – not one drop of fuel.

* Smoke too much? California is developing a comprehensive inspection and maintenance program for heavy-duty vehicles, gross weight over 14,000 pounds. Implementation starts “in the post-2020 timeframe.” Draft materials are out for review. The state offers a quick vehicle-assessment test: you look at a printed, grey-scale strip-chart indicating various exhaust opacity, from 20% to 70%. Then, a driver performs a “snap-acceleration engine test” and you check compliance by comparing the exhaust smoke to the chart on the page. Before starting the engine, though, you might want to read this manual, it’s a snap, really – just 43 pages.

* Time flies! October 1st is the due date for state governors to present to USEPA the status of county compliance with the new ozone standard. Ozone has been a non-issue in some areas this past summer. Elsewhere, it’ll be a nail-biter regarding the new standard of 70 ppb. This starts a new round of area designations: attainment or non-attainment, and, subsequently, new or different or more stringent controls on NOx and VOCs. But nobody will get to relax too much because the Govs will use summertime data from 2013, -14 and 15. The Administrator, however, making her/his judgement a year later, in Oct. 2017, will use different data – from 2014, -15 and 16. Got that?

 

Tom Ewing
tfewing1@yahoo.com