Tag Archive for 'U.S. Global Change Research Program'

Tow Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  As everybody in the world knows the U.S. Global Change Research Program released two major, related reports on Friday, reports required by the Global Change Research Act.  The reports were released slightly ahead of schedule, originally expected in December.  The reports are the “Fourth National Climate Assessment” and the “2nd State of the Carbon Cycle.”  Most news excerpts are likely from the report summaries which provide easy – and endless – sound-bites allowing an editor to find whatever sentence he or she may need to make whatever point she wants: that we’re doomed or we’re not doomed, or indeed, noting that CO2 levels (at least in the US) have stabilized and are trending downward.  These are important reports, deserving close attention – from everybody.  Important, though, is not the same as helpful, at least from a policy sense.  But that’s another discussion.
*  Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) phone jangled off the hook last week with calls mostly from people in white-hot opposition to a 2.1-mile natural gas Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company project (TGP is based in Texas) that would “construct, install, modify, operate, and maintain certain pipeline and compression facilities located in Massachusetts and Connecticut.”  TGP refers to this as the “261 Upgrade Projects.”  Whew… One if by land, two if by sea, three if by pipeline.  The Old North Church tower is almost on fire.  The 261 Project would upgrade equipment and reduce emissions.  It would fit mostly within existing rights-of-way, avoiding residential areas.  It would ease capacity in New England markets.  Doesn’t matter.  261 opponents cite global warming, they expect public policies that move away from fossil fuels to actually be implemented, not just talked about (imagine that!).  They warn of danger, referencing the September explosion in Lawrence, MA.  They claim that if leaks were captured from existing infrastructure the 261 Project wouldn’t be needed.  This is ground-zero for how/whether pipelines and energy advance or not, in the Northeast.  Stay tuned.
*  Note to bees and pollinators: hang on!  EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced on November 8 that it planned to start preliminary research on EPA’s Office of Pesticides support of states’ Managed Pollinator Protection Plans, designed to reduce pesticide exposure to bees.  When announced, OIG was setting up initial meetings, starting with requests from EPA for a current list of each State’s primary pollinator contacts.  You may recall that the Department of Agriculture in June 2017 hosted a “listening session” on bees and their place – really their viability – within an increasingly bizarro world.  Listening involved a lot of talk but not much action by DoA.  Maybe EPA’s work will be different.
Have a great Monday and a great week!

Tom Ewing
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513-379-5526 voice/text

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update


*  “Evidence from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans, collected by scientists and engineers from around the world, tells an unambiguous story: the planet is warming, and over the last half century, this warming has been driven primarily by human activity—predominantly the burning of fossil fuels.”  You’ll recall that assessment from the U.S. Global Change Research Program, established by Presidential Initiative in 1989, a program that coordinates climate work among 13 federal agencies.  Last week the GCRP said that Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), “Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States” remains on track for release in December as required by Congress.  Procedurally, this is a somewhat confusing program of reports, sometimes seeming like reports about reports.  A draft of Volume II was released last year. A complete Assessment is due every four years; the last report was released in 2014.  Should be an interesting release.
*  The Department of Commerce International Trade Administration has reestablished the Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee (ETTAC), first chartered in 1994. ETTAC advises on the development and administration of policies and programs to expand U.S. exports of environmental technologies, goods, and services.  DOC is also looking for people to serve on the Committee, from companies or trade associations.  There are eight focus areas: Air pollution control and monitoring; Analytic devices and services; Environmental engineering and consulting; Financial services; Process and pollution prevention technologies; Solid and hazardous waste management technologies; and Water and wastewater treatment technologies.  Nominations are due by Oct. 19.
*  Okay, end of 3rd quarter and time to update the admittedly very rough measure – the number of pages in the Federal Register – of how big Big Gubmint’s getting to be.  End of this quarter: 49,263 pages.  Last year – 45,677 pages.  Hmmmm… better clean off those cheaters and get in some good light – that’s another 3,586 pages or about an additional 15 pages per bidness day for your reading pleasure.  Simetomes aftr a wile thet #9 font kan mkae youur eyez seeee a lidtle phunny…*:D big grin

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

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  EPA seeks comments on the “Recommended Best Practices for Environmental Reviews and Authorizations for Infrastructure Projects.”  These recommendations were published last January in a report by the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council.  Now EPA wants to know whether any of the ideas are generally applicable on a delegation or authorization-wide basis to permitting under FAST-41.  A covered project is any activity “in the United States that requires authorization or environmental review by a Federal agency,” mostly big-ticket projects ranging from transportation to waterways to pipelines.  Comments are due November 20.
*  Federal agency reports are being released almost daily in response to various Presidential Executive Orders addressing energy independence and economic growth.  The reports identify possible regulatory changes that could unburden energy and economic development while still meeting all legal environmental, safety and natural resource demands.  FERC’s is one of the reports that came out last week.  It focuses actions in four jurisdictional areas: (1) hydropower licensing; (2) LNG facility, and natural gas pipeline and storage facility siting; (3) eastern states’ centralized electric capacity market policies and (4) electric generator interconnection policies.
*  The U.S. Global Change Research Program announced updates on three reports.  First, the final release of Volume I of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, with a focus on the United States.  It presents a direct conclusion: Based on extensive evidence, it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”  Second, the public draft of Volume II, “Climate Change Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States,” is available for public review and comment; deadline is January 31, 2018.  Third, the draft of the “2nd State of the Carbon Cycle Report” is also available for review and comment; deadline is January 8, 2018.  The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) was established by Presidential Initiative in 1989 and mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990. 

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