Tag Archive for 'Energy Information Administration (EIA)'

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Last October, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum titled “Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West.”  It set streamlining demands for major western water projects, including work underway within the Columbia River Basin – more specifically, an Environmental Impact Statement and Biological Opinion originally due in 2021.  The President said: too slow, git-‘r-done faster.  Last week the co-lead agencies – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration – announced that their plan to speed things up was approved by the White House Council on Environmental Quality.  Work will be finished next year – 2020.  “The agencies now are revising project details in order to reach the new completion date.”  It looks like the work pace quickens for tasks related to “Public Comment Review and Synthesis” and “Prepare Final EIS and Identify Preferred Alternative.”  The final EIS should be out in June 2020 rather than the previous, much more exact deadline of March 26, 2021.
*  Next week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) will release the findings of its Annual Energy Outlook 2019 (AEO), including long-term projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices, including cases that address alternative assumptions regarding U.S. economic growth rates, domestic energy resources and technology, and world oil prices. Additionally, EIA will present its January 2019 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).  This news release will really be an event, a presentation, and discussion by top EIA officials followed by an expert panel discussion on the issues within the new Outlooks.  Panelists are from the Bipartisan Policy Center, EPRI and FERC.
*  PFAS* monitoring continues in Michigan.  State and County officials retested 21 private residential wells in Otsego, MI.  Fortunately, there was no presence of fearsome dioxins in most of the wells that had previously tested positive.  Only one well showed trace amounts – the highest level was 0.13 parts per quadrillion (ppq), far below drinking water standards.  Wells were tested for PFAS around the former Menasha Corporation Landfill in Otsego.  Good news: All residential well samples came back negative for PFAS.  This investigation continues.  Next phase: testing soil samples for dioxins and PFAS.
*”PFAS,” or PFAs,” is an acronym for perfluoroalkyls, which are a group of man-made chemicals that are not found naturally in the environment, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These are industrial chemicals used in manufacturing.

Tom Ewing
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Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

NOTE: The President will reportedly visit greater Cincinnati this week as part of his national infrastructure push.  Call or email if you need boots on the ground for that event.

*  The President’s team writes in a brief infrastructure summary document that “the current system is not working” and “the federal government inefficiently invests in non-Federal infrastructure.”  That’s worth thinking about: “inefficiently invests.”  The summary lists 4 key principles to guide smarter spending, not just spending more money.  The initiative has broad scope: including air traffic control issues, the Inland Waterways Trust Fund and streamlining and expediting environmental reviews.  As topics, these have been problems for years.  Will Congress work with the President to, uh, actually get something done…?
*  The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported last week that Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) auction prices for CO2 emission allowances are the lowest since 2014, a critical indicator – for many reasons.  RGGI is a nine-state cap-and-trade program in the Northeast and New England.  Low natural gas prices and state renewable energy demands resulted in CO2 emissions far below the allowable cap, hence the weak demand for allowances.  And that’s after the cap was reduced in 2014 by about 45% from its 2009 level!  The CO2 auction last March raised $43.1 million (from ratepayers, of course) which the states can use for “a variety of purposes,” including energy related programs.  RGGI’s next meeting is June 27, in New York City.

*  Oregon starts hearings this week on a bill giving the Oregon Transportation Commission an important new charge: to “study issues related to improving this state’s transportation system.”  Deadline: September 25, 2019.  Wow – get out the magnifying glass!  The House bill is a half-page document.  But an accompanying index is 8 pages.  What?  Oh – proposed amendments total 298 pages!  (In which “taxes” and “fees” appear 532 times. *:D big grin ) One legislative must-do: “Adopt a statewide transportation strategy on greenhouse gas emissions to aid in achieving the (State’s) greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.”Tom Ewing’s

Tom Ewing tewing@regulatoryclarity.com  
513-379-5526 voice/text

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

* Oregon is a state to watch because it is an indicator of how or what individual states might do as federal energy and environmental policies likely change, particularly regarding CO2/greenhouse gases and climate change. In February, OR’s state environmental agency completed its outline of how CO2 cap and trade could start in Oregon. And indeed, cap and trade bills have since been introduced in both the OR House and Senate; committee hearings start this week. In addition, legislators will consider a tax on fuels and energy, with the tax dependent on the “carbon intensity” of the fuel.

* Dams, reservoirs and human-made water systems have been at the top of the scary news list over the last few weeks. Oroville in California is most well-known but related questions of water and water policy are pressing through many regions of the country. The Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works holds a hearing this Wednesday on “Flood Control Infrastructure: Safety Questions Raised by Current Events.”

* The Energy Information Administration (EIA) had to push back regarding politicized charges from two national web publications. EIA writes no-way regarding reports by ProPublica (Child’s Play: Team Trump Rewrites a Department of Energy Website for Kids, February 17, 2017) and republished by The Atlantic (A Government Website for Kids Scrubbed Its Climate Warnings). The web sites allege that EIA changed information as a result of political pressure from the new administration. EIA denies this and it is seeking retractions. “Contrary to the headlines and content of the articles, EIA has never been contacted by anyone in the new administration regarding the content of any part of EIA’s website,” said EIA Deputy Administrator Howard Gruenspecht, who also currently serves as the Acting Administrator. Read the full press release here.

Tom Ewing