Yes, just when they needed it they
made up found some new science – thought the dog had eaten it, you know? But there it was…
As Ozone Decision Looms, EPA Finds Stronger Science
By GABRIEL NELSON of Greenwire
Recent studies suggest that smog-filled air kills more people and causes more breathing problems than previously thought, U.S. EPA scientists say in a new draft paper, but due to a procedural twist, the findings can’t be taken into account as Administrator Lisa Jackson decides whether to set stricter limits than the George W. Bush administration chose in 2008.
The new research provides stronger evidence that short-term spikes in ground-level ozone can cause premature death, according to the 996-page scientific assessment, which was released late Friday. And on top of that, EPA scientists found evidence that long-term exposure could lead to more premature deaths — a conclusion that was not reached when the agency last reviewed the state of smog science in 2006.
It is well-established that ozone can have health effects at the current limit of 84 parts per billion (ppb), which still has not been met in parts of the Northeast, much of Southern California and industrial cities such as Houston. According to the assessment, recent studies found a robust link between health effects and smog levels below either the current limit or the standard of 75 ppb that was selected by the last administration.
Environmental and public health groups said the most recent studies show why the Obama administration should move this summer to tighten the national limits on smog even further, as EPA originally proposed doing last year (Greenwire, Jan. 7, 2010). (Greenwire)
Why else would they be recycling the old radon boogeyman?
An air of danger: EPA warns of radon risks
By ANDREW DENNEY
Thursday, March 10, 2011
One in 15 U.S. homes contains high levels of a gas that is thought to be the second-leading cause of lung cancer — after smoking — and causes more than 21,000 deaths a year.
The colorless, odorless killer is called radon, and it is the product of the breakdown of uranium in soil. The gas can seep upward into cracks and holes in the foundations of buildings, where it can accumulate. Radon also can sneak into a home through well water, and, in a small percentage of buildings, the building materials themselves can contain radon.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, radon accumulated inside a building reaches a dangerous quantity when it is measured at 4 picocuries per liter and the building’s inhabitants are exposed to the gas for years.
The risk of developing lung cancer from radon exposure is much higher for smokers.
Robert Dye, an environmental scientist with the EPA, said there is no clear profile of homes that are more likely to contain high levels of radon. The gas can occur in houses of any age and value and anywhere in the United States. (Columbia Tribune)
You know, it would be much easier to support UVa’s assertion of “academic freedom” and their allegedly noble stand if they hadn’t simply handed over, without protest of any kind, the documents and communications of another UVa academic – those of Patrick Michaels, to that well-known defender of Virginia’s public monies, Greenpeace.
Virginia Supreme Court will hear Cuccinelli global warming case
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s case seeking records on climatologist Michael Mann is headed before the full state Supreme Court – eventually.
The state’s highest court granted Cuccinelli’s appeal arguing that a circuit court erred in setting aside the attorney general’s demands for records under the state’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act last year.
Albemarle County Circuit Court Judge Paul M. Peatross set aside the civil investigative demands, akin to a subpoena, on the grounds that Cuccinelli provided no “objective basis” that Mann, the creator of the infamous “hockey stick” graph charting a spike in global temperatures, defrauded taxpayers by obtaining research grants.
Cuccinelli, a global warming skeptic, wants the university to turn over e-mails and documents related to Mann, now a professor at Penn State University. UVa., meanwhile, has maintained that the investigation threatens academic freedom.
“We are pleased that the court has granted our appeal,” Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein wrote in an email. “We look forward to fully briefing the case and arguing it before the full court.”
Cuccinelli is also re-filing another demand for the documents in response to Peatross’s ruling. (Washington Examiner)
NASA Finds Polar Ice Adding More to Rising Seas
PASADENA, Calif. — The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass at an accelerating pace, according to a new NASA-funded satellite study. The findings of the study — the longest to date of changes in polar ice sheet mass — suggest these ice sheets are overtaking ice loss from Earth’s mountain glaciers and ice caps to become the dominant contributor to global sea level rise, much sooner than model forecasts have predicted.
The nearly 20-year study reveals that in 2006, a year in which comparable results for mass loss in mountain glaciers and ice caps are available from a separate study conducted using other methods, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets lost a combined mass of 475 gigatonnes a year on average. That’s enough to raise global sea level by an average of 1.3 millimeters (.05 inches) a year. (A gigatonne is one billion metric tons, or more than 2.2 trillion pounds.)
The pace at which the polar ice sheets are losing mass was found to be accelerating rapidly. Each year over the course of the study, the two ice sheets lost a combined average of 36.3 gigatonnes more than they did the year before. In comparison, the 2006 study of mountain glaciers and ice caps estimated their loss at 402 gigatonnes a year on average, with a year-over-year acceleration rate three times smaller than that of the ice sheets. (JPL)
Ooh! It’s twice as bad as we thought! Or not, since satellite altimetry (not models) show that sea levels are not increasing at an accelerated rate, so where’d the water go? Wait! Let us start the next scare: World’s water disappearing! Computer animation at eleven! (also at 1:00, 2:00, 2:15…). This PlayStation® Climatology is so tedious.
Global Warming Could Severely Impact U.S. Military Operations, Says Texas A&M Researcher
COLLEGE STATION, March 10, 2011 – Changing global climate due to on-going and projected warming have great potential to impact U.S. naval forces worldwide, according to a panel report issued today that includes a Texas A&M University researcher
A warming climate presents national and homeland security challenges that will require the U.S. military to adopt a new way of doing business according to the report, National Security Implications of Climate Change for U.S. Naval Forces. The report, issued by the National Research Council and requested by the Chief of Naval Operations, paints an ominous picture of disputes over national boundaries and exclusive economic zones, strains on naval capabilities due to increasing disaster assistance demands, vulnerabilities of naval coastal facilities to sea level rise, greater demands on America’s international maritime partnerships, and a shortfall in naval capabilities and personnel trained to operate in the Arctic, says Mahlon “Chuck” Kennicutt II, professor of oceanography who was a member of the committee that authored the report. (Texas A&M)
House Panel Approves Measure to Block EPA Carbon Rules
A Republican-led House panel approved a measure today that would block U.S. Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse-gas rules and reject the agency’s finding that carbon-dioxide emissions endanger the public.
The House Subcommittee on Energy and Power approved the legislation, which will be sent to the full House Energy and Commerce Committee, by voice vote. A similar bill in the Senate hasn’t been taken up yet.
President Barack Obama’s EPA is under fire from Republicans and some Democrats who say the rules will hurt the economy and do nothing to help the environment. The agency began regulating emissions blamed for climate change in January after Congress failed to pass cap-and-trade legislation, in which companies would buy and sell a shrinking supply of pollution rights.
“EPA’s regulations are a back-door attempt by unelected bureaucrats to implement the highly unpopular cap-and-trade legislation that was rejected last year,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican and sponsor of the bill, said before today’s vote. (Bloomberg)
Health Groups Gird for Fight Over EPA’s Power-Plant Toxics Rules
By GABRIEL NELSON of Greenwire
With the Obama administration required to put its plan for reducing toxic air pollution from coal-fired power plants on the table a week from today, the American Lung Association and other public health groups have started an early push to explain why U.S. EPA shouldn’t flinch on the long-delayed rules.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is under a legal deadline to release a proposal by March 16 and finalize it by November. Environmentalists and public health groups are pushing her to make the rules far stricter than the George W. Bush administration’s Clean Air Mercury Rule, a cap-and-trade program that aimed to cut mercury pollution by about 70 percent but did not place limits on other types of toxic emissions.
According to a report (pdf) released yesterday by the Lung Association, the technology needed to control all of the toxic pollutants is already in wide use, and in most cases, it cuts emissions by more than 90 percent. Currently, the power sector produces about 40 percent of U.S. mercury emissions and 76 percent of acid gases, the report says. (Greenwire)
Peabody CEO blames Texas blackouts on lack of coal-fired capacity
Houston–10Mar2011/703 pm EST/003 GMT
The head of Peabody Energy, the largest US coal producer, Thursday blamed the rolling blackouts that hit Texas earlier this winter on a lack of coal-fired baseload generating capacity in the state.
“If we go for a long time without building baseload coal [generators], you’ll get an unreliable electricity supply like the state of Texas now has,” Gregory Boyce CEO of the St. Louis-based company told the CERAWeek 2011 conference in Houston.
Boyce made the case for coal as the fuel of choice for generation for the foreseeable future and used the February blackouts and outages in Texas as a cautionary tale.
“Texas found itself in the surprising position of having to import power from Mexico because of a lack of reliance on coal-fired baseload and problems with gas and wind and transmission,” Boyce said. (Platts)
Posted in Coal, Energy, Wind
A fear of fracking may slow natural gas trend
By JENNIFER A. DLOUHY
March 9, 2011, 8:05PM
Natural gas could be a major source of low-cost electricity nationwide, as an upsurge in domestic production drives costs down and looming environmental mandates encourage utilities to retire power plants that run on dirtier-burning coal.
But energy experts and executives at the CERAWeek conference in Houston on Wednesday described a landscape of obstacles still standing in the way of natural gas producers. Chief among them: public fears about water contamination from the hydraulic fracturing process that is essential to unlocking natural gas in U.S. shale formations.
The natural gas industry also is struggling to shed the fuel’s reputation as an unreliable power source prone to boom-or-bust cycles and volatile prices — a big hurdle to getting electric utilities to ink long-term gas agreements.
“The message is just getting out there that there is a lot of supply,” said Guy Buckley, a vice president of corporate development at Spectra Energy, a natural gas pipeline and storage company.
But it will take a while to convince power utilities that low natural gas prices – now about $4 per million British thermal units – are here to stay.
“You’ve got to change some of these big decision-makers like power generators, and those decisions will get made as they become more secure that the shale gale is real, it’s here and that prices are reasonable,” Buckley said.
Nuclear Power Industry Sues U.S. Over Fee For Waste
The U.S. nuclear industry this week sued the Energy Department to suspend a fee imposed by the federal government for managing the radioactive spent fuel produced by America’s nuclear power plants.
Congress created the fee in 1982 to help pay for a central storage site for nuclear waste to be located underneath Yucca Mountain near Las Vegas. The Obama administration abandoned the project and the nuclear industry does not think the fee is still needed.
The lawsuit seeks to suspend collection of the fee, levied at a rate of 0.1 penny for every kilowatt-hour consumers pay on electric bills.
The fee brings in $750 million a year for the Nuclear Waste Fund held at the U.S. Treasury, which now has a balance of more than $24 billion.
The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, was brought by the Nuclear Industry Institute trade group and 16 of its members, which are mostly utilities that operate nuclear power plants. (Reuters)
Government (illegally?) defunds Yucca Mountain but keeps charging industry (consumers, really) and it becomes necessary for industry to sue? Color me old fashioned but that sounds dangerously like taxation by misrepresentation. Could be a bit of Boston history about something like that.
House Republicans To Push Series Of Energy Bills
Republicans in the House of Representatives said on Thursday they would seek to combat rising oil and gasoline prices with a series of bills this year aimed at spurring domestic energy production.
For years, Republicans have urged an “all-of-the-above” approach to easing U.S. dependence on foreign oil by fostering more development of domestic oil, natural gas and nuclear power. They also have said that alternative energy sources should be part of the mix.
“The average price for a gallon of gas is on its way to $4,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters, complaining that Obama administration energy policies will push gasoline prices higher by regulating carbon dioxide emissions.
“Republicans have a plan to help lower gas prices and create new jobs,” he added. (Reuters)
Oil companies with ready-to-go wells fed up with permitting process
In early February, Shell Alaska announced it was dropping any plans to drill in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea in 2011. According to Vice President Pete Slaiby, the decision was based on the recent remand of air permits by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Shell has been waiting five years to be given the go-ahead to drill.
Since 2005, the company has paid about $3 billion for leases to drill off the coast of Alaska. But after the BP oil spill last April, more than 4,000 miles away in the Gulf of Mexico, all drilling plans were put on hold per orders from the Department of Interior.
Shell isn’t the only company with ready-to-drill wells that is being prevented from drilling by the regulatory process that emerged from the BP oil spill. Hercules Offshore, a Houston-based oil company, has a developmental well in the Gulf of Mexico that has been ready since last April. (Amanda Carey, The Daily Caller)
This week the world discovered people even nuttier than global warmists, hippies created a cereal killer, and can Earth Hour shut down Facebook? (Daily Bayonet)
‘Wasteful’ Tests for Mad Cow Disease Questioned
By Günther Stockinger
Ten years after the epidemic threatened Europe, German beef cattle are still being tested for BSE, to the tune of millions of euros a year. Some experts call the practice a waste. The disease never took hold on German farms, and regional politicians believe there are more effective ways to keep livestock safe. (Spiegel)
No proof of drug industry sway on WHO in pandemic: report
GENEVA | Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:52am EST
Independent experts who examined the World Health Organisation’s handling of the H1N1 pandemic said on Thursday they had found no evidence of drug industry influence on the U.N. agency’s decision-making in the crisis.
But in a draft report made public, the panel said WHO had failed to recognize and manage conflicts of interest among some experts on its advisory Emergency Committee who had disclosed their ties to pharmaceutical companies. (Reuters)