Supreme Court Issues Decision on EPA's GHG Tailoring Rule

- by Erin Voegele, June 24, 2014, Biomass Magazine

On June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision on the U.S. EPA’s Tailoring Rule. While the court invalidated a portion of the rule, it essentially held up EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for certain facilities, specifically those required to obtain a Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit due to the emission of other regulated pollutants. The court’s ruling, however, did nothing to address the uncertainty faced by those in the biomass industry with regard to the EPA’s treatment of biogenic emissions.  

In its decision, the Supreme Court indicated that the EPA exceeded its statutory authority when it interpreted the Clean Air Act to require PSD and Title V permitting for stationary sources based on their GHG emissions. “Specifically, the agency may not [GHGs] as a pollutant for purposes of defining a ‘major emitting facility’ (or a ‘modification’ thereof) in the PSD context or a ‘major source’ in the Title V context. To the extent its regulations purport to do so, they are invalid. EPA may, however, continue to treat [GHGs] as a ‘pollutant subject to regulation under this chapter’ for purposes of requiring [best available control technology (BACT)] for ‘anyway’ sources,” wrote the Supreme Court in its decision.

Cowardly Climate Report Urges Business as Usual

- by Shannon Wilson, Eco Advocates Northwest
 
The National Climate Assessment Report released by the Obama administration in May revealed some harsh truths about the climate chaos our species is facing. However, a studious reading of the report will show that it merely provides cover for business as usual, greenwashes the Democratic Party, and promotes destructive solutions such as turning our remaining natural forests on public lands into bioenergy feed lots for industry.
 
The Obama Climate Assessment asserts that current worldwide emissions of 34 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year can be allowed to peak at 44 billion tons by 2045. This is counterintuitive — and many scientists might say it’s outright insane, based on the information that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other scientists reveal in peer-reviewed research from around the world.

On Biomass, EPA Should Follow the Science

Other than the author's support for so-called "sustainable" biomass, overall a decent piece. - Josh

- by William H. Schlesinger, June 18, 2014, The Hill

In America’s Southeastern states, there’s a booming energy trend that’s as big a step backward as imaginable.

In fact, it stretches back to the time of cavemen. Power companies are burning trees to produce energy, a deeply misguided practice that’s razing precious forests, producing fuel dirtier than coal and boosting carbon pollution right when we need to sharply curb this key contributor to climate change.

Solar Power Heats 90% of Community's Homes...in Canada

- Drake Landing Solar Community

The Drake Landing Solar Community (DLSC) is a master planned neighbourhood in the Town of Okotoks, Alberta, Canada that has successfully integrated Canadian energy efficient technologies with a renewable, unlimited energy source - the sun.

The first of its kind in North America, DLSC is heated by a district system designed to store abundant solar energy underground during the summer months and distribute the energy to each home for space heating needs during winter months.

Biomass Combustion: Harmful at Any Scale [The Biomass Monitor: June 2014]

June 2014 issue of The Biomass Monitor: "Biomass Combustion: Harmful at Any Scale" 

In the June 2014 issue of The Biomass Monitor (the world's leading publication tracking the health & environmental impacts of "biomass" energy):

-"Biomass Combustion: Harmful at Any Scale"

-"A Victim of Woodsmoke Pollution”

-"Dirty Wood Heaters”

...and more!!!

Please share the June 2014 issue of The Biomass Monitor with your friends, colleagues, and neighbors!

CLICK HERE to subscribe to monthly emails from The Biomass Monitor.

EPA: Carbon Rules Could Ensure Nuclear Power's Survival

[Another reason why the dirty energy resistance needs to band together. -Josh]
 
- by Julie Wernau, June 18, 2014, Chicago Tribune
 
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said Tuesday that the federal agency's proposed carbon rules are designed to boost nuclear plants that are struggling to compete.
 
“There are a handful of nuclear facilities that because they are having trouble remaining competitive, they haven't yet looked at re-licensing (to extend their operating lives). We were simply highlighting that fact,” McCarthy said at a round-table discussion with business leaders in Chicago.

Radioactive Leaks Found at 75% of US Nuke Sites

- Associated Press, June 21, 2011, CBS

Radioactive tritium has leaked from three-quarters of U.S. commercial nuclear power sites, often into groundwater from corroded, buried piping, an Associated Press investigation shows.

The number and severity of the leaks has been escalating, even as federal regulators extend the licenses of more and more reactors across the nation.

Tritium, which is a radioactive form of hydrogen, has leaked from at least 48 of 65 sites, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission records reviewed as part of the AP's yearlong examination of safety issues at aging nuclear power plants. Leaks from at least 37 of those facilities contained concentrations exceeding the federal drinking water standard -- sometimes at hundreds of times the limit.

Biomass Combustion: Harmful on any Scale

- by Cathy Baiton, Only Clean Air

In the same way that industrial biomass combustion can seriously jeopardize public health and the environment in communities, residential and smaller-scale commercial biomass burning also have adverse impacts on health and air quality in neighborhoods.

In many cities and towns, increased wood burning, both indoor and outdoor, has become a potentially year-round source of urban and semi-rural air pollution, whether from highly polluting outdoor wood boilers, needless “recreational” outdoor burning in warmer seasons, or avoidable fireplace or wood stove smoke in cooler months.

Residential smokestacks have even fewer pollution controls than industrial technologies, and people are exposed so directly in the confines of an urban neighborhood, where smoke particles can be trapped between trees, buildings, and other structures and can seep easily into nearby houses, even through closed windows and doors. Studies have found that as much as 70 percent of outdoor smoke pollution can enter surrounding homes, posing health risks to neighbors. Indoors, particle concentrations can build to levels that are dangerously high.

Energy Justice Now - A Forum for the Dirty Energy Resistance [June 2014]

Check out the inaugural June 2014 issue of Energy Justice Network's new publication, Energy Justice Now!
 
In the June issue of Energy Justice Now (a forum for the dirty energy resistance):
 
 
 
 
...and more!!!
 
Please share the June 2014 issue of Energy Justice Now with your friends, colleagues, and neighbors!
 
Subscribe to monthly email issues of Energy Justice Now here.

On the Dirty Energy Policy Front

- by Mike Ewall, Energy Justice Network

While Energy Justice Network's work is mainly focused on helping you win grassroots victories, we've had to weigh in on some state and national policies that would have major consequences for how many bad ideas need to be fought. Misguided policies aiming to limit coal or climate pollution continue to push (fracked) gas and biomass/waste incineration as false solutions. We encourage you to look over some of the well-documented comments we put together and to borrow from them in your own work, as needed. 

EPA's CO2 Rule for New Fossil Fuel Power Plants: thank you to the nearly 600 of you who responded to our action alert in May, telling EPA that loopholes for "clean coal" / carbon sequestration, natural gas, biomass and waste incineration are unacceptable! 

Department of Energy Subsidies for Incinerators: a Solyndra-related program to provide billions in loan guarantees to renewable energy and energy efficiency would subsidize trash and biomass incinerators and biofuels, even though the program is required to fund only technologies that reduce greenhouse gases. These technologies are among the worst greenhouse gas emitters! Within just six days, over the 3-day Memorial Day weekend, we pulled together 131 groups on a sign-on letter challenging this, including about 100 grassroots or state/regional groups from 27 states plus DC and Puerto Rico as well as about 30 national / international groups, including some of the big greens: Clean Water Action, Earthjustice, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace USA and Sierra Club.

COMING UP: EPA's CO2 Rule for Existing Fossil Fuel Power Plants: this rule just came out this week, and is riddled with loopholes as we expected. We're concerned that this rule does far too little (nearly 2/3rds of the reductions required by 2020 over 2005 emissions levels were already accomplished without any rule!), and that it could do more harm than good by encouraging a switch from coal to fuels more polluting than coal for the climate, like natural gas and biomass/waste incineration. Biomass is 50% worse than coal for the climate; trash incineration 2.5 times worse.

The plan also would keep open risky and dangerous old nuclear power plants that the industry recently decided it wants to close, and subsidize the building of new reactors, sucking up the money we need for a genuine transition to clean energy. Coal is already on the decline without a CO2 rule due to activism and geology (we've used much of it up and the remainder is getting too expensive to extract). This rule is so weak that it'll do less than what would happen anyway, but could make things worse if we don't beat down these false solutions.

EPA's Waste-to-Fuels (WTF) Deregulation: We're working with Earthjustice and the Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance (GAIA) to figure out how to stop this dreadful trend to redefine wastes into unregulated "fuels" that can be burned in any of about one million boilers in the nation's industries, schools, hospitals and other businesses.

In the States: We've commented and testified on several flawed energy and waste bills in Maryland that would encourage biomass and waste incineration, none of which passed by the end of this year's session. We've also recently commented on Maryland's incinerator-friendly draft Zero Waste Plan and filed comments on New York's new Energy Plan.  Feel free to borrow from our comments in your own advocacy.  We're also working with the Washington, DC City Council to ban styrofoam and adopt a zero waste plan that would start curbside composting, make electronic waste recycling more responsible, and end the city's use of incinerators.

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