Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Tuesday, January 16, was the end of the public comment period for EPA’s proposed “Repeal of Carbon Dioxide Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units,” aka the Clean Power Plan.  The proposed repeal was published last spring – April 4.  Regulations.gov shows receipt of 321,115 comments by the deadline; very likely that number will go up as this docket is updated.  Right now, if you have the time, you can read the 8,352 comments that are available!  So far 41 comments are filed in response to EPA’s proposal to replace the Clean Power Plan.  That comment period ends Feb. 26.

*  ISO New England released a scary report about regional power demand and supply.  NE power system reliability is heavily dependent on LNG and electricity imports.  More renewable resources can help lessen the region’s fuel-security risk but are likely to drive coal- and oil-fired generation retirements, requiring high LNG imports to counteract the loss of stored fuels.  The problem, though, is that power officials can’t get the approvals necessary to build natural gas and LNG pipeline and storage infrastructure.   In effect, NE is being strangled.  With no fuel, but high demand, utilities will have no choice but to implement, uh, “load shedding,” i.e., rolling blackouts; how pleasant.  The ISO evaluated 23 scenarios, by the year 2023, about how it might work through winter demands vs. winter capacity.  19 scenarios result in load shedding.  ISO New England says it will “discuss this study with stakeholders, regulators, and policymakers throughout 2018.”  Seems like they need to do more than talk.

*  Here’s a chance to get in the future.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking for comments regarding barriers to testing vehicles with Automated Driving Systems (ADSs) and “certain unconventional interior designs.”  And no, that does not include a design like your friend’s old Chrysler Imperial with a cutting-edge dashboard, slide-out record player (…uh, sorry ’bout y’all who don’t know what a record player is…).  The NHTSA comments are for vehicles without a “steering wheel, brake pedal or accelerator pedal.”  Sometimes important. (But what about the clutch?)  If you do help with this testing keep in mind how you work with a horse you don’t know too well: from the side, don’t stand in front or back. *:D big grin

Tom Ewing
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