Tag Archive for 'GHG'

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

* Musical science: Harmony. On March 22 EPA and DOT announced reconsideration of the mid-term evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions standards for model year 2022-2025 light duty vehicles. EPA regulates GHG. But DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sets fuel economy standards. EPA finished its work and, in January, unilaterally set new fuel standards since that’s really the only way (right now) to control GHG. However, NHTSA’s evaluation was not ready and it pushed back. EPA’s GHG review is supposed to evaluate impact on fuel economy and “a national harmonized program.” EPA, naturally, wanted the solo part. Now a new choral directed yanked ‘em off stage, so to speak. A review will restart. EPA’s new Final Determination is due no later than April 1, 2018, likely to be arranged as a duet or maybe even an ensemble. You can be sure those engines will be purring with complex harmonies…

* DOE’s Electricity Advisory Committee meets this week in Arlington, VA. The agenda covers a range of issues critical for the critical changes that electricity planners say are required to transition the US from old-school power systems to an integrated system able to move almost as fast as the electrons themselves, and provide enough power for the transportation sector. The Internet of Things is a central agenda item – there are a lot of things that use electricity. Other topics focus on smart grids, power delivery, storage and presentation of MIT’s Utility of the Future Study.

* Colonialism. Energy agencies in California released a final Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative report last month. It’s a difficult read (mostly because it’s written in the docu-speak language) but it is chock full of important information. Transmission is a critical concern, such as a California “intertie” to wind projects in Wyoming and New Mexico! (What if Chicago, about equidistant, wants Wyoming’s wind power?) Meanwhile, while donor states get spiked and laced with oh-so-scenic generation and transmission infrastructure the report also tells of local prohibitions on renewable energy in San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Solano Counties, the CA end-points sucking up the energy produced 1000 miles away! What?

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

* On 01/20, Reince Priebus, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, sent a Memo – “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review.” Priebus directed a 60 day stay for regulations published in the OFR (Office of Federal Register) but not yet, by date, effective. The purpose: to “review questions of fact, law, and policy.” There are exceptions – for “emergency situations or other urgent circumstances relating to health, safety, financial, or national security matters.” EPA published a list of 30 such regs, stayed until March 21, 2017. Many deal with local air quality issues. Some have national scope. None raises the specter of gutting the Clean Air Act or any other environmental statutes.

* Individual states could become new theaters of climate/energy action. Oregon, for example, is prepping to consider a market-based CO2 cap and trade program. OR’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will submit a report to legislators on cap and trade when the new session starts Wednesday, February 1. DEQ lays out options and choices for lawmakers. Some legislative Committee agendas are already set. Two big starting topics: wood smoke fires and extra days off from school because snow is crushing the state.

* Many states, of course, have programs to limit and reduce greenhouse gases (GHG), although California gets most of the attention. In addition to a “Global Warming Commission,” Oregon has many GHG programs: an energy facility siting standard, voluntary gas and electric utility/ratepayer programs, a zero emission vehicle mandate, an electric utility renewable portfolio standard and a utility coal import moratorium. However, in its Draft cap and trade report DEQ writes that the state is not on track to meet its 2020 goals, with GHG emissions projected to exceed the 2020 goal by approximately 11 million metric tons or 22%. “Absent additional state or federal policies, (the Commission) expects this gap to grow in the future and result in Oregon falling well short of its long-term GHG reduction goals.” What’s not working? More importantly, why?

Tom Ewing

Truck Fuel Consumption And GHG Regulations Proposed

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a joint notice of proposed rulemaking calling for both fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction standards applicable to medium- and heavy-duty trucks. This rulemaking was mandated by a 2007 law passed by Congress and an Executive Order issued by President Obama earlier this year. Public comments on the proposal are due to the agencies January 31, 2011.

The NTEA has been very active throughout the development of this proposal, and the unique concerns of final-stage manufacturers of work trucks have been significantly addressed.

The NTEA worked continuously to educate those writing the proposed regulations about the work truck industry. In doing so, the Association:

  • Stressed the vital nature of the work these trucks need to do and the process by which they are produced and sold.
  • Demonstrated how one chassis could be used to build numerous different trucks that may be used in very different ways.
  • Explained how body and equipment manufacturers interact with their distributors and the role of the chassis manufacturers in the production process.
  • Emphasized that vocational/work trucks need to be regulated very differently than long-haul tractors and that it would be unnecessarily complex and counterproductive to involve final-stage manufacturers and body/equipment manufacturers in the compliance process.

In their explanation of the just-published proposal, the EPA and NHTSA agree with the NTEA’s concerns and point out that involving body manufacturers and distributors in the compliance framework of this proposed rule would be too complex and that the widely divergent body styles and differing end uses of these trucks would make generalized body improvements of little value.

The proposed rule would create three categories with separate fuel consumption and GHG reduction regulations for each category. The categories are:

1. Combination Tractors 
2. Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks and Vans 
3. Vocational Vehicles

Class 7 and 8 Combination Tractors Generally, these vehicles are meant for long-haul use and are manufactured in such a way that the engine and chassis manufacturers can control compliance with new fuel efficiency and emissions regulations. The EPA and NHTSA have concluded that achieving reductions in GHG emissions and fuel consumption from combination tractors requires addressing both the cab and the engine, and the EPA and NHTSA are each proposing standards that reflect this conclusion.

Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks and Vans This category includes 8,501-14,000-lb. pickups and vans (excluding medium-duty passenger vehicles already regulated under corporate average fuel economy, known as CAFE). These vehicles will be subject to more of a CAFE-type regulation – a whole vehicle regulation expressed as grams/mile for GHGs and gallons per 100 miles for fuel consumption based on weight based measures such as payload and towing capacity and the presence of 4wd. The chassis manufacturers will be responsible for meeting an annual fleet average.

The EPA and NHTSA recognize that some of these vehicles will be used in the work truck industry and will be completed or altered by companies like NTEA members. As such, they propose to move any incomplete vehicles in this weight category to the vocational truck category and leave in this category cab-chassis that would also be completed by final-stage manufacturers in a manner similar to strip chassis.

In recognition of the NTEA’s concerns, the EPA and NHTSA propose that for those cab-chassis still subject to these CAFE-like regulations, the chassis manufacturers can treat these vehicles as equivalent to the complete van or truck product from which they are derived. The second-stage manufacturers would not be subject to any new requirements under this provision.

Vocational Vehicles The EPA and NHTSA point out that the diversity of body configurations and work uses of the trucks produced by companies such as NTEA members require regulations separate from standard pickup trucks or long-haul tractors.

The EPA and NHTSA propose that in this vocational vehicle category, the chassis manufacturers be the focus of the proposed GHG and fuel consumption standards. As they point out, a focus on the body manufacturers would be much less practical, since they represent a more diverse set of manufacturers and the part of the vehicle that they add has a very limited impact on opportunities to reduce GHG emissions and fuel consumption (given the limited role that aerodynamics plays in the types of lower-speed operation typically found with vocational vehicles.)

Summary Combination tractors would be subject to engine and full vehicle standards that begin in the 2014 model year. The proposed rules would require up to a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and fuel consumption by the 2018 model year.

Heavy-duty pickups and vans would be subject to separate gasoline and diesel standards affecting the engine and full vehicle. The proposed rules would phase in starting in the 2014 model year and require up to a 10% reduction for gasoline vehicles and 15% reduction for diesel vehicles by the 2018 model year. Second-stage manufacturers would not be subject to any new requirements.

Vocational vehicles would be subject to engine and tire standards starting in the 2014 model year that aim to achieve up to a 10% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by the 2018 model year. Second-stage manufacturers would not be subject to any new requirements.

Source: National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA)

U.S. Industrial Sector Stands Alone in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The American Materials Manufacturing Alliance (AMMA), a group of energy-intensive, trade-exposed industries (EITEs) that includes The Aluminum Association, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), and Portland Cement Association (PCA) today reported that between 1990 and 2008, industrials was the only sector of the U.S. economy in which greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fell.  By contrast, during the same time period, GHG emissions rose in the commercial, electricity, residential, transportation and agricultural sectors.  Last week the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. industrial GHG emissions fell more than three percent in 2009 – an “unprecedented” reduction for the industrial sector for a single year.

Driven largely by energy efficiency improvements, U.S. industrial GHG emissions fell 5.9 percent between 1990 and 2008. Meanwhile, commercial GHG emissions went up 36.9 percent, electricity increased 30 percent, residential increased 27.3 percent, transportation increased 21.6 percent and agriculture increased 11.3 percent.

“We’re proud of the industrial sector’s proven record of enhancing energy efficiency and reducing GHG emissions, and we’re committed to further improvement,” said Cal Dooley, ACC president and CEO.   “Just last week, we honored twelve member companies  for implementing energy-efficiency improvements in 2009 that saved enough energy to power all the homes in a city the size of Dayton, Ohio, for one year.  Use of chemistry products in renewable energy and energy efficiency applications such as solar panels, wind turbines, building insulation and lightweight vehicles helps the rest of society save energy and reduce their GHG emissions, too.”

“We’ve taken the initiative to improve performance in energy efficiency, and we’ve reduced GHG emissions well beyond what would have been required under any international agreement” Tom Gibson, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute, said.  “Since 1990, the steel industry has reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent. Before the onset of the recession, we were making more steel in the U.S. than we had ever before and we were doing it with and less energy and fewer emissions.”

“Energy efficiency is a smart strategy to help improve the environment while reducing operating costs and retaining good American jobs,” said Donna Harman, president and CEO of the American Forest and Paper Association.  “America’s forest products industry embraced renewable energy early on and today generates two-thirds of our own power on site from carbon-neutral, renewable biomass.  Our members have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions per ton of product by 14 percent since 2000, and while we are proud of the accomplishments we’ve made so far, we can achieve more with the right policies that protect our international competitiveness.”

“We’re proud of the improvements that our members have made in reducing their carbon footprints. The products that come from aluminum are contributing to energy savings and our manufacturing facilities are increasingly efficient,” stated Aluminum Association President Steve Larkin.

“The United States cement industry is dedicated to producing a superior product while addressing challenging manufacturing policies and procedures to improve energy efficiency.  This not only impacts our emissions and costs, but makes our communities better places,” said Brian McCarthy, Portland Cement Association president and CEO.  “The actions taken by our plants are at the forefront of manufacturing technology and position the industry as a key contributor to the development of the latest energy expertise.”