Thursday, December 26, 2013

EPA, Environmental NGOs Appeal Alt Agricultural Storm Water Decision

 I don't usually blog about about the cases I'm involved in, so here is a link to  a Bloomberg article that reports on the appeal of Judge Bailey's decision by EPA and others to  the Fourth Circuit. It is largely correct, although  the first  appeals came in to me on December 20, 2013, not the 23rd, and while the case number for theEPA appeal is correct, the cases have all been consolidated under Case No. 13-2527.

Monday, November 18, 2013

West Virginia DEP Recycling Electronics in Charleston November 23

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is conducting a free electronics recycling event for the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Saturday, Nov. 23, at the DEP headquarters building in Charleston. The building is located at 601 57th St., S.E., Charleston, WV, 25304.

The DEP’s Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan (REAP) and MRM Recycling are sponsoring the e-cycling event to make it easy for the public to responsibly dispose of electronic devices.

Devices that will be accepted on Nov. 23 include:

televisions, computers, printers, copiers, zip drives, video game devices, electronic cables, laser and multifunction scanners, fax machines, laptops, mice, keyboards, speakers, Web cams, monitors, cables, hard drives, circuit boards, cell phones, CD players and tape players.

Devices that will not be accepted include: kitchen appliances, refrigerators, washers, dryers, freezers, microwaves, air conditioners, lamps, CDs, DVDs, floppy disks, magnetic tapes, household batteries, fluorescent bulbs and home thermostats.

All materials will be recycled through 2TRG, which provides secure data destruction.

For more information call 1-800-322-5530.

Climate Equity Proposal Would Disproportionately Reduce US Emissions

Less developed nations have come up with a new proposal for reducing greenhouse gas  emissions.  They are suggesting that wealthier nations, who are more responsible for existing  levels of GHGs because of their historic emissions, make disproportionate reductions in GHGs in order to meet future targets.  Since that couldn't be done without greatly interfering with wealthy nations' economies, it appears to be a nonstarter. See the article from Alex Morales of Bloomberg here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

WV Attorney General Leads Troops in Attack on EPA

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey took the lead in drafting  an amicus brief that was signed off on by eight other state attorneys general.  The brief supported  a circuit court's rejection of EPA's interstate air pollution rule. A press release from his office describes it this way: 
West Virginia’s amicus, or friend of the court, brief argues that EPA exceeded its authority under the federal Clean Air Act when the agency promulgated a rule in 2011 announcing new air pollution cuts and imposing federal implementation plans on states. The brief argues the CAA requires the EPA to give states an opportunity to decide how to meet new air pollution standards. 
West Virginia is joined on the brief by a bipartisan group of attorneys general representing the states of Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. The brief supports fifteen other states, as well as industry groups and labor organizations, who sued EPA on this issue in 2011. In August 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the regulation, saying that it “exceeds the agency’s statutory authority.” The Supreme Court agreed to review the rule earlier this year. 
An article  from Jessica Karmasek is here.  The brief that was filed (and it is well-written) is here.

Marcellus Ethane Headed Out of the Area

We had big hopes for a cracker  that would use Marcellus  ethane and  other natural gas liquids to make plastic, and help restart our chemical industry.  That was especially true after Shell announced its plans to build a cracker in Pennsylvania.  Now Shell appears to have shelved its plans, and MarkWest is making plans to send up to 400,000 bbl per day  down to the Gulf Coast, where there's lots of existing petrochemical capacity, or northwest to Canaday.   I have heard  the ethane is used in Canada to mix with viscous tar sand oil to make it thin enough to flow through pipelines.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Climate Change and the Food Supply

This from economist Don Boudreaux, responding to an article in the New York Times that climate change is going to pose a danger to the world's food supply:
You report that "Climate change will pose sharp risks to the world’s food supply in coming decades" ("Climate Change Seen Posing Risk to Food Supplies," Nov. 2) - with the premise that this impending calamity requires aggressive government curtailment or modification of industrial capitalist activities. 
Color me skeptical. Wherever industrial capitalism has flourished over the past three centuries it has eliminated for the first time in human history the millennia-long curse of recurrent famines. Today, food is in short supply only in societies without market institutions and cut off from global trade. (The people suffering the greatest risk now of fatal shortages of food are true locavores, such as the North Koreans and the Somalis.) Relatedly, some of the worst famines in modern times - most notably, in Stalin's Soviet Union and Mao's China - have been caused by the hubris of government officials curtailing market forces with command-and-control regulations.
The greatest risk to the world's food supply is not the industrial capitalist activities that environmentalists are keen to curtail. Rather, the greatest risk is the trust that many currently well-fed westerners blithely put in government to rein in the only force in human history that has proven successful at eliminating starvation: market-driven capitalism.

thanks to Bishop Hill 

No Bids on Solar Auction

You'd hate to throw a party, and no one comes.   That appears to be the situation with the first auction of rights to develop a solar energy facility on federal land. No bidders showed up for the solar auction at San Luis Valley, CO.  Some cited the uncertainty of the cost of  mitigation that might be required for development at the site, or a lack of a market for the power at the cost of generation.   It's further proof that solar power is still not competitive with fossil fuels, unless subsidies are available.