Tom Ewing’s Environmental Report

* On September 28 US EPA announced that Cincinnati and Columbus met the Clean Air Act requirements to be declared in attainment with the 2008 ozone standard! Wow! That’s significant for two metro areas that have struggled with ozone for 40 years. Two days later, on September 30, OEPA Director Craig Butler sent a letter to USEPA telling the feds that Cincinnati and Columbus would be nonattainment for the new 2015 standard. Here’s the thing: nobody cares – just the way US EPA wants it because then the whole ozone empire, and all of the wealth that gets sucked into endless studies and legal foggery and lawsuits and health claims stays on autopilot. Very helpful for retirement planning, if you’re inside the fortress.

* You’ve heard, of course, of Ozone Park, the neighborhood in Queens, in New York City? What’s in a name, right? Well, consider this: Ozone Park was chosen, in the 1880s, to “lure buyers with the idea of refreshing breezes blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean to a park-like community, with ozone meaning not the alternate form of oxygen,” but “fresh healthy air, especially from the sea.” (Thank you Whikipedia!) All dat, right dere in Queens, whoodda thawt?

* At the end of September FHWA published a request for comments about how current laws pertaining to commercial activities at Interstate rest areas should be interpreted and applied in “consideration of advancements in technology and the interests of the States.” You likely know that trade organizations for the gas station and convenience store industries keep a VERY close eye on such ideas. Here’s one concern: the foot-in-the-door theory, i.e., using Interstate facilities to help assure fueling for the few vehicles, now, that use electricity or hydrogen or butane, a customer base of no value to the otherwise delightful commerce so predictable at every Interstate exit. Within its text FHWA posits a sample idea: maybe rest areas should allow sales of local produce. Yeah, right. Can’t you just see an Amish hitch trotting along the shoulder of I-80 with a load of pumpkins for the Thanksgiving crowd and all the friendly peeps backed up for a couple of miles or so as those big Belgians back into the right retail slot?

Have a great Monday and a great week!

Tom Ewing

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Report

* At the end of August EPA extended, for 30 days, a public comment period seeking information on anaerobic digestion facilities processing wasted food. EPA was seeking insight and info regarding best practices for “sustainable food management programs” which includes keeping food waste out of landfills. This is important to avoid methane emissions and, of course, it’s a good way to generate a versatile fuel that can be used on-site or to generate electricity or treated further and used for transport. EPA didn’t get any new comments; in fact, the docket shows just 3 comments total, since this issue opened. This is supposed to be an expanding waste management program for municipalities.

* Trucks, though, draw more attention, and passion. Check out this driver’s comments (unedited) on a proposal by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to set “speed limiting devices” on big trucks. “All these regulations and rules is like going in front of a parole board you’re put away already all they going to do is slap some handcuffs leg shackles. Add 20 more years for your next parole hearing. Why waste your time or your breath. All of us truckers are just Pawns and Patsys in this unfree United States of America.”

* Here are two headlines from the same page recently on Google News: 1. “Reservoirs play substantial role in global warming;” 2. “Greenhouse gas impact of hydroelectric reservoirs downgraded.” Well, that’s helpful for all us little peeps out here trying to do the right thing. *

Tom Ewing

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Report

* I’ll be attending the Lake Erie “Project Icebreaker” meeting this week in Lakewood, OH. This is a unique project, for a number of reasons. It’s a pilot wind energy project backed by US DOE, now seeking funding for design, permits, construction and decommissioning. PI is the result of at least five years of work by the Lake Erie Energy Development Company, which includes the City of Cleveland, business groups and public sector partners in Pennsylvania. The meeting gives the public a chance to comment on the the scope of a required Environmental Assessment. The Corp of Engineers and the Coast Guard are DOE partners. (Send a text if you want to meet afterwards and track down Cleveland’s finest: a Great Lakes Brewing Co. Burning River Pale Ale. First round’s on me…)

* Ever heard of NACEPT? The National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology? It was established by EPA in 1988 “to provide independent advice to the EPA Administrator on a broad range of environmental policy, technology and management issues.” The Council has scheduled an October 17 teleconference to discuss a draft report regarding actions that EPA should take in response to technological and sociological developments in the area of citizen science. WHAT? Citizen science… I’m trying to find out… Unfortunately the citizen science draft for 10/17 is not yet ready for review. Advise if you want an update.

* EPA opened a new initiative last week called “The National Port Strategy Assessment: Reducing Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases at U.S. Ports.” This is an effort to reduce greenhouse gases and other emissions from diesel-powered ships, trucks and other port equipment at all port types and sizes through a variety of strategies and cleaner technologies. EPA writes that “this is great news for the roughly 39 million Americans who live and breathe near these centers of commerce.” (Hopefully it’s just as great for the peeps who still have jobs there *:)) laughing!) I’m not sure if this is linked to the citizen scientists mentioned above but in an older document (Nov., 2015, not that old) titled “Environmental Justice Research Roadmap” citizen science is repeatedly referenced as a tool helpful for regulators seeking to address air quality problems at ports. Citizen science…hmmmm… gotta think about that…


Tom Ewing
513-379-5526 voice/text

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.