Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Political science: – “The last few meetings have been troubling to me because they seem rather than forum for constructive dialogue, they’ve become public shaming of EPA, particularly Office of Pesticide Programs, and sometimes members of the PPDC, and when members speak up, their comments and sometimes mode of their questions and even ridiculed on social media.”  Doesn’t make exact, literal sense because it’s from a voice transcription service – but the core message is clear: bullying at scientific meetings, in this case at EPA’s May meeting of the Pesticide Program Advisory Committee.  Importantly, that Committee meets next week for a two-day session in Washington.  Contamination is obvious.
*  The Transcontinental gas pipeline starts at Texas’ Gulf Coast and runs like an aorta northeast to New York and New Jersey.  The Williams Companies are trying to expand Transco, to meet the Megalopolis’ gas demand for heating and power.  This is called the NESE project – Northeast Supply Expansion, with new pipeline segments on land, starting in Pennsylvania to New Jersey and then underwater, via NJ’s Raritan Bay, to a Staten Island junction for National Grid service into New York City.  The project includes a new 32,000 HP compressor station in NJ.  Wow.  NESE is taking a beating.  From recent comments, you’d think this wasn’t a natural gas pipeline but a serpent built to discharge nerve gas into kids’ playgrounds.  Service is supposed to be ready by winter 2020.  The Northeast, coming soon: very dark, very cold, or very very expensive.
*  The Secretary of Energy is required to conduct an electric transmission congestion study every three years and to prepare the study in consultation with affected states and regional reliability organizations. The study focuses on specific indications of transmission constraints and congestion and consequences. It reviews a specific time frame – e.g., historical trends over the past few years, and looking forward three to five years. The study is based entirely on publicly-available data and transmission-related documents.  DOE announced the study in August; the public comment period closed in October.  Then, last week, DOE reopened the comment period for 15 days, closing Nov. 1.  This is important stuff, raising all sorts of concerns, for example, about what the electric grid was built for versus what is expected going forward with new and different generation in new and different places, or put another way, largely built for coal, nuclear, oil and gas but expected to work for solar, wind and various distributed generation sources.
Tom Ewing
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