Tag Archive for 'MARAD'

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  On April 2 USDA and EPA kicked off “Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month.”  Unbelievably, in the US, more than one-third of all available food goes uneaten through loss or waste!  One third!   Food is the single largest type of waste in daily trash.  On April 1 President Trump issued a Presidential Message addressing food waste.  Next week EPA will host an event that will announce additional joint agency actions to reduce food waste, including ways for localities and states to become more active on this set of issues.  The agencies are asking for corporate and business leaders to join their peers who have already made a public commitment to reducing food loss and waste in their U.S. operations by 50 percent by the year 2030.
*  In March I referenced a major deep-water port project getting started in Texas.  An interesting comment came in last week by an affected property owner first claiming lax notification for people directly impacted.  But that was small potatoes compared to her subsequent comments.  She wrote that it seems unbelievable that such a project could even be considered, much less proposed, “given all the warnings recent events have shown (about?) the hazards of similar projects.”  (Seems she left out a word…)  But her sentiment is clear:  Fears from the recent Houston storage tank fire.  A submerged leak in the Louisiana Gulf.  The proximity to wildlife preserves.  “Can you not imagine,” she writes to MARAD, “the impact when 28 miles of underwater line is involved was a leak to occur, to say nothing of the impact of installation? Is there no ‘saturation point’ for potential pollution and Gulf disruption for this area?”  Hmmmm….
*  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposes to establish a “nonessential experimental population” (NEP) of the California condor in the Pacific Northwest.  An NEP could facilitate reintroduction of California condors to the region and provide for “allowable legal incidental taking of the California condor” within a defined NEP area. “Take” or “taking” is the official word for, uh, killing – not casually, of course, but unavoidable deaths associated with otherwise legal activities that can proceed only if project managers have done everything possible to avoid situations in which a “take” might occur.  The NEP would include northern California, northwest Nevada, and Oregon. FWS writes that “the best available data indicate that reintroduction of the California condor into the Pacific Northwest is biologically feasible and will promote the conservation of the species.”  Regulatory restrictions are considerably reduced under an NEP designation.  However, FWS explains that regulatory flexibility can make a reintroduction process more palatable to apprehensive stakeholders. “We have seen stronger support for conservation efforts when stakeholders are involved and have a voice in the process.”  Comments are due by June 4.
“reply” or
513-379-5526 voice/text

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update


*  Connecticut news sources report that a citizen-based group called “Rescue Candlewood Mountain” has filed suit to stop a project called Candlewood Solar, one of those projects in which winners are hard to find.  People want solar and renewables but there are plenty of “buts” developing out there with individual projects.  According to the Hartford Courant, about 70 acres of prime forest will be razed for this project and environmental officials are concerned how that clear-cutting might affect another 788 acres of unfragmented forest.  It’s not clear whether that 70 acres includes access roads, staging areas, transmission pathways and limits to site access.  The Courant reports that one big concern, and a sense of unfairness, is that the project was filed three days before a new law in CT to protect forests and farmland.  Yet what are energy companies supposed to do?  There’s great pressure to build renewable generation, to buy the power, to add it to the grid.  Projects won’t be on the moon.  There likely will be thousands of these relatively small projects all strung together to power New England.  Candlewood Solar is only 20 megawatts.  And keep in mind ISO NE’s statistic that actual production from solar photovoltaics (PV) is expected to be about 8% of nameplate capacity.
*   Speaking of renewables New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Quality sent comments to BOEM’s docket regarding off-shore wind turbines in the New York Bight, the section of the ocean from mid-NJ northeast to the far end of Long Island.  NJ’s comments are another example of “strong support” for wind energy but DEQ then proceeds to request fish and fishery studies regarding project impacts on just about every finned creature in the sea.  One idea mentioned in NJ’s comments is for a mitigation fund to pay fishermen who may lose their livelihood.  Not sure who would pay into that fund but everybody could go fishing with that can of worms!*:D big grin
*  Plenty of oil.  At the other end of the energy spectrum, Texas Gulf Terminals filed an application with MARAD and the Coast Guard to construct and operate a deepwater port (DWP) for the export of oil located approximately 12.7 nautical miles off the coast of North Padre Island, TX.  There has to be at least one public hearing with these kinds of applications and there is a strict timeline to get it done.  The hearing has to be held within 240 days after regulators judge the application complete.  Then, within 45 days of that hearing, the Governor must approve/disapprove.  MARAD can set license conditions and schedule another public meeting.  A final decision is required within 90 days of the final hearing.  The DWP would include the loading of various grades of crude oil at flow rates of up to 60,000 barrels per hour.  Approximately eight Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) vessels (or equivalent volumes) would be loaded per month.

Tom Ewing
reply” or
513-379-5526 voice/text