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  
513-379-5526 voice/text