The resolution reinstating rules aimed at limiting climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas drilling now goes to the White House for President Joe Biden's signature.
Action on methane was one of just three Trump-era rules targeted by the Democratic-controlled Congress under the review law, a sharp contrast to 14 Obama-era rules repealed by congressional Republicans in the first year of the Trump administration. (Source: AP, Various Media, 26 June, 2021)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane,
The Clean Air Task Force, the Environmental Defense Fund and other environmental organizations have called on the Biden administration to pledge a 40 pct or more reduction in U.S. methane emissions by the end of the decade as part of its recommitment to the Paris Climate agreement.
On Oct. 1, 2019 we reported: The U.S. Department of the Interior (DoI) has announced its decision to ease Obama-era , 2016, regulations on methane leaks which the Trump administration describes as "burdensome on the private sector" restrictions on oil and gas industry."
Under the Waste Prevention Rule, oil and gas producing companies were required to inspect their wells twice yearly and repair reported leaks within 30 days. The rollback of the regulation means companies are no longer obliged to check their wells and equipment more often than annually and have 60 days instead of 30 to complete repairs.
Though not as long-lived as CO2, methane prevents as much as 80 pct more heat from escaping in the first 20 years of its release. Methane leaks are the largest drawback of the otherwise environmentally friendly switch from coal to natural gas as a source of energy. Natural gas releases half as much carbon dioxide when burnt.
The rationale behind Trump's rollback on methane leaks restrictions was largely economic. It is estimated that drillers would save $734 million to $1 billion over the next 10 years. (Source: Various Media, ICN, 29 Apr., 2021)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Obama , Methane Emissions,
As part of this goal, the U.S intends to triple our adaptation finance by 2024.. The Biden Administration will work closely with Congress to meet these goals. U.S. agencies, working with development partners, will prioritize climate in public investments, enhance technical assistance and long-term capacity, align support with country needs and priorities, and boost investments in adaptation and resilience. For example, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will release a new Climate Change Strategy in November 2021. The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) will update its development strategy to not only include climate for the first time, but also to make investments in climate mitigation and adaptation a top priority. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) will adopt a new Climate Strategy in April 2021, centered on investing in climate-smart development and sustainable infrastructure, and aims to have more than 50 pct of its program funding go to climate-related investments over the next five years. Treasury will direct U.S. executive directors in multilateral development banks (MDBs) to help ensure MDBs set and apply ambitious climate finance targets and policies, in partnership with other shareholders.
U.S. departments and agencies will enhance strategic coordination on providing and mobilizing international climate finance and technical assistance to ensure the complementarily of agency efforts, instruments, and expertise. Departments and agencies will increase collaboration and adopt best practices on incorporating climate considerations into their international work and investments, such as screening all projects for climate-related risks to ensure they are resilient.
The court ruled "Federal agencies cannot ignore more accurate scientific information when it is available and The agencies) failed to fully consider the social cost of carbon on every ton of greenhouse gasses emitted." In 2017, then President Trump ordered agencies not to use social cost of carbon estimates developed at the end of the Obama administration.
On his first day in office, Biden ordered government agencies to account for damages caused by increased greenhouse gas emissions. "An accurate social cost is essential for agencies to accurately determine the social benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions when conducting cost-benefit analyses," President Biden's order noted. (Source: Rocket Miner, Various Media, AP 6 Jan., 2021)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Coal, Carbon Emissions, Social Cost of Coal,
Implementation of the initiative is expected to eliminate more than 3 million tpy of CO2 from the pipeline project's operations -- equivalent of removing approximately 650,000 cars from the highway. TC Energy is expected to spur an investment of over $1.7 billion in communities along the Keystone XL footprint creating approximately 1.6 GW of renewable electric capacity, according to the release.
By implementing this initiative, Keystone XL will allow responsibly produced Canadian oil to be safely transported into the United States from many producers who have set their own net zero emissions goals. Canadian Oil Sands producers have cut emissions intensity by 21 pct in recent years and they are expected to fall another 27 pct by 2030.
Net zero emissions will be achieved when the pipeline is placed into service by purchasing renewable energy from electricity providers the purchase of renewable energy credits (REC) or carbon offsets.
The pipeline would carry heavy Canadian tar-sands oil from Alberta to refineries and ports on the Texas Gulf of Mexico via connections in the U.S. Midwest.
Former President Barack Obama had killed the $8 billion Keystone XL project saying that it would cause emissions linked to climate change and do little for U.S. drivers. President Donald Trump resurrected the 830,000 barrels-per-day project two months after taking office in 2017. Incoming Pres. Jor Biden has indicated he will kill the project almost immediately upon entering the White House.
(Source: Keystone XL, PR, 17 Jan., 2021) Contact: KeystoneXL, Richard Prior,, Pres., CEO, 866-717-7473, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.keystonexl.com
"Unfortunately, changes that were made to CAFE credits, which are Corporate Average Fuel Economy credits that the automakers received for years to make flex fuel vehicles, was changed during the Obama Administration to be phased out for flex fuel vehicles. They really aimed at incentivizing electric vehicles.
"We knew this was coming ... We have seen it in the last few model years, but we are really down to just 11 models of flex fuel vehicles coming from just Ford and General Motors. That's a strong dive from where we once were at 80 different models across eight manufacturers.
"We're sure doing all we can to reverse that trend. There were some recent comments to the federal government on how to incentivize the return of those vehicles. I also think there is just genuine consumer interest. The automakers are no doubt hearing from more people. We have record people converting their vehicles to make them flex fuel now than we have ever seen. It's an astonishing new market."
According to the RDA, only 11 flex fuel models will be on the market in 2021 with five of those models available only to fleet purchasers. (Source: RFA, Iowa Agribusiness Radio, 9 Dec., 2020) Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, Robert White, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Blend, Renewable Fuels Association, Flex Fuel, Biofuel,
"However, this pandemic does not provide decision makers with a license to haphazardly reverse decades of environmental progress and climate change laws. Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening as the administration is seemingly using the pandemic as a 'red herring' to gut numerous laws. This misguided attempt to undermine climate change policy is particularly troublesome especially when considering that 64 pct of Americans believe climate change is a serious threat and/or a crisis.
"Surfrider believes it is unconscionable to gut environmental laws while most Americans are deeply concerned about the global pandemic and will be less likely to engage in civics. Not only are these rollbacks underhanded, but they contribute more air and water pollution which will impact residents with health conditions, making them more susceptible to Covid-19. A new Harvard study found that air pollution can be significantly linked to higher rates of death in people with Covid-19.
"It should be noted that some rollbacks were proposed prior to Covid-19, and are part of a broader pattern of environmental deregulation under the Trump administration. Yet, the most recent rollback is particularly troubling because it dramatically weakens vehicle emissions standards that were hard-fought over the past decade. Another attempt to undermined climate change efforts came when the administration proposed to revoke California's authority's to set higher air quality standards than the federal government. Of course, California promptly sued and the case is making its way through the courts.
"The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a paramount environmental law that mandates climate change review, has also become another target. The Trump administration brazenly proposed a rule that climate change impacts should not be considered under NEPA. The proposal has met significant opposition in Congress where a Democrat and Republican co-authored a bipartisan sign on letter opposing the administration's plan. Moreover, the courts have a long history of requiring government agencies and businesses to weigh climate change impacts during decision-making and implementing large projects.
"Then there are oil and gas production rollbacks. For years, the DoI has drastically weakened offshore drilling safety regulations. To add insult to injury, the administration launched a controversial plan to open up roughly 90 pct of U.S. waters to oil drilling, which Surfrider and our partners have helped stall. Most recently, the administration auctioned off 78 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil/gas producers despite cries to halt sales until after the pandemic.
"Right now, our global community is experiencing two crises -- Covid-19 and climate change -- and we should be applying the same lessons to each crisis. While times have been challenging the past several weeks, there are positive lessons to embrace that relate to climate change:
Needless to say, it shouldn't take a global pandemic for us to make bold reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The threats posed by climate change have become abundantly clear and the solutions are right in front of us. Please join Surfrider in opposing environmental rollbacks and urging our government leaders to take bold action on climate change.
(Source: Surfrider Foundation, Sefanie Sekich-Quinn, Blog, 23 April, 2020) Contact: Surfrider Foundation, Stefanie Sekich-Quinn, California Policy Manager, email@example.com,
More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,
Under DOE's new rule, federal appliance energy efficiency upgrades must be "significant" -- defined under the rule as saving at least 0.3 quads of energy over 30 years or improving energy use by at least 10 pct above existing standards.
(Source: US DOE, Heartland Institute, 12 Mar., 2020)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Appliance Efficiency, Energy Efficiency,
"Commit to reducing emissions throughout the world, including providing $200 billion to the Green Climate Fund, rejoining the Paris Agreement, and reasserting the United States' leadership in the global fight against climate change. Transform our energy system to 100 percent renewable energy and create 20 million jobs needed to solve the climate crisis." -- Sen. Bernie Sanders, 16 years as Vermont's congress member in the House of Representatives.
"Restore America's leadership in fighting the global climate crisis and propel the U.S. toward a 100 pct clean energy future while making environmental justice a national priority. Ensure 100 pct of new vehicles are pollution-free by 2035, 'green' our buildings and invest in projects to reduce and protect against climate impacts, including wildfires." -- Michael Bloomberg, NY business tycoon, philanthropist and three term mayor of New York City.
"We must turbocharge our efforts to address climate change and ensure that every American has access to clean drinking water, clean air, and an environment free from pollutants. Reduce greenhouse emissions and speed the transition to low-carbon shipping aviation and electric cars." -- Joe Biden, Former senator from Delaware and two-term Vice President under President Barak Obama.
The above talking points are sourced from each candidate's website. Each candidate's position is posted in no particular order of preference and no endorsement for any candidate is intended.
More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,
To refresh your memory, on Dec 11, 2019, we quotes "The Donald" as saying --
"It (standard light bulb) gives you an orange look, I don't want an orange look. Being a vain person, that's really important to me." -- Trump commenting on his administration's move to kill the Obama administration's light bulb energy efficiency standards.
More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency, Light Bulb Efficiency, Trump,
The 45Q tax credits were initially established under President Barack Obama's administration in 2008 and later enhanced in 2018 to promote the development of carbon capture projects throughout the United States.
In October, the Trump DOE announced it would not impose the new rules, framing the decision as one of choice for consumers who were already moving in the direction of energy-efficient bulbs on their own. The department doubled down Friday, with a notice in the Federal Register that it has determined tougher restrictions on general service incandescent lamps "would not be economically justified." When Trump signed the rollback in October, he criticized the rules for forcing consumers to buy a "much more expensive bulb that doesn't have a good-looking light."
The Trump plan to roll back the tighter rules was challenged in court by 15 states -- NEW YORK, CALIFORNIA, COLORADO, CONNECTICUT, ILLINOIS, MARYLAND, MAINE, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, NEW JERSEY, NEVADA, OREGON, VERMONT, and WASHINGTON, the COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,and the CITY OF NEW YORK. The NRDC has joined multiple environmental groups in a separate lawsuit. To date, the courts have allowed the rollback to proceed. (Source: Cronkite News, Arizona State University, 27 Dec., 2019)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Lightbuld Efficiency,
The President was equally candid in his comments on new automobile quality, emissions and efficiency; "Frankly they don't work very well (because of standards which California put in place). Right now the cars are made out of papier-mache, and ours are actually, we allow steel content." -- the President stumbled.
More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump, Light Bulb Efficiency,
The coalition contends the EPA's unlawful proposal to rescind the Obama era methane regulation will threaten public health and the environment by increasing extremely harmful methane emissions, smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), benzene, formaldehyde and others.
The Obama era 2015 rule is projected to reduce 300,000 tons of methane, 150,000 tons of VOCs, and 1,900 tons of hazardous air pollutants in 2020 alone. The rule will protect the environment and save businesses money with a net benefit of $35 million in 2020 and $170 million in 2025. On the other hand, the EPA's estimates show their planned proposal will increase methane emissions and VOCs by hundreds of thousands of tons through 2025!
Joining AG Healey are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well as the City of Chicago, the City and County of Denver, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. (Source: Office of Mass. AG, STL News, 23 Nov., 2019) Contact: Office of Mass. AG, (617) 727-2200, www.mass.gov/orgs/office-of-attorney-general-maura-healey
More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane, Methane Emissions, EPA Methane Emissions Rollback,
California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom didn't miss a beat when he responded from Sacramento saying the Trump DOJ move was a "political vendetta" and only one in a series of acts against a liberal state government that has brought more than 30 environmental lawsuits alone, most of them to stop the rollbacks of climate change regulations enacted under the Obama administration.
"Carbon pollution knows no borders, and the Trump administration's abysmal record of denying climate change and propping up big polluters makes cross-border collaboration all the more necessary. This latest attack shows that the White House has its head in the sand when it comes to climate change and serves no purpose other than continued political retribution," Gov. Newsome noted.
(Source, Office of Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom, NY Times, Various Media, Oct, 2019) Contact: Office of Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom, https://twitter.com/GavinNewsom, www.gov.ca.gov; California Air Resources Board, Melanie Turner, Information Officer, (916) 322-2990, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.arb.ca.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News Cap-and-Trade, California Cap-and-Trade, California Air Resources Board ,
According to the filing, Trump's Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule undermines efforts already under way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by investing in renewable energy, electric vehicle infrastructure and energy efficiency and other clean technologies.
ACE allows states three years to devise their own plans to cut emissions mainly by encouraging coal-fired power plants to improve efficiency.
The coalition members include: Con Edison, Exelon Corp, National Grid, PG&E Corp, Public Service Enterprise Group Inc, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Seattle City Light, Sacramento Municipal Utility District and New York Power Authority.
(Source: Con Edison, Guardian, Reuters, 16 Sept., 2019)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Power Companies Climate Coalition, Obama Clean Power Plan, Affordable Clean Energy Plan ,
The proposed rule will reverse standards enacted under President Barack Obama that require oil and gas operations to install controls on their operations to curb the release of methane at the well head and in their transmission equipment, including pipelines, processing and storage facilities.
Despite EPA estimates the proposed changes would save the oil and natural gas industry between $17 million and $19 million a year, Shell, Exxon, BP and other major fossil fuels players are opposing the proposed rollback and urging the current standards be kept in place.
(Source: EPA, Various Media, Wash. Post, 29 Aug., 2019)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane, EPA,
While Trump downplayed, denied and generally ignored climate change, his Pentagon continued to follow a the task force's "climate change adaptation roadmap" to protect against catastrophic storms that put coastal bases at tremendous risk. For example, Naval Station Norfolk, in Virginia -- headquarters of the Atlantic Fleet -- sea levels have risen nearly 15 inches since World War I. The facility floods about 10 times annually, a number estimated to rise to 280 events per yearby the year 2100, according to a report by The Union of Concerned Scientists.
Former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and retired Marine Corp General and Trump Sec. of Defense James Mattis have warned against the possible catastrophic effects of climate change and the need to address it, relative to the military, but apparently to no avail. (Source: Navy Times, 27 Aug., 2019)
More Low-Carbon Energy News U.S. Navy, Climate Change,
The suit claims the Trump Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule will prolong the country's reliance on coal power, hinder states that pursue cleaner electricity generation, will not curb rising power plant carbon emissions and will prolong the operation of dirtier coal plants. (Source: HPMG News, Various Media, Reuters 13 Aug., 2019)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Affordable Clean Energy ruke, ACE Rule, Carbon Emissions, Climate Change, Trump, Obama Clean Power Plan,
In a response to an April 10 letter from Grassley, Energy Secretary Rick Perry indicated that EPA had, on at least one occasion, issued an exemption when his department recommended no exemption and ignored recommendations to grant only partial exemptions in other cases. Perry also noted that the agency has not changed how these analyses are applied or scored from the prior Obama Administration.
Perry also noted that he was aware of instances in which DOE recommended a partial or even no exemption for certain refineries, yet EPA subsequently granted a full exemption. This contradicts former oil industry lobbyist and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's claim before Congress that EPA simply followed DOE's recommendations.
As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance
Under Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was been denied. (Source: DOE, FeedStuff, 29 July, 2019)
More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS, "Hardship Waiver", Pruitt,
According to the report, "The United States federal government needs to continue with the (Obama) Clean Power Plan and not dismantle it, as the current (Trump) administration is attempting to do, to significantly reduce emissions from the power sector, which accounts for roughly 40 pct of the U.S. emissions footprint."
The UCS scientists are asking the federal government to not only wean the nation off of fossil fuels, but develop plans for people to adapt to extreme heat. "The clock is ticking to reduce emissions. If nothing is done, we may have to get ready for an unrecognizably hot future" the report says.
To make the needed deep emissions cuts, the reports recommends the U.S. implement a suite of federal and state policies, including: an economy wide price on carbon; policies to cut transportation sector emissions, including increasing fuel economy and heat-trapping emissions standards for vehicles; increased investment in low-carbon public transportation; policies to cut buildings and industrial sector emissions; policies to increase carbon storage in vegetation and soils, including through climate-friendly agricultural and forest management practices; increased investment in emissions and climate change related R&D; measures to cut methane, nitrus oxide, and other major non-CO2 heat-trapping emissions; and policies to help a rapid transition to low-carbon economies.
Download the Killer Heat in the United States -Climate Choices and the Future of Dangerously Hot Days report HERE
(Source: Union of Concerned Scientists, wusf Public Media, 18 July, 2019) Contact: Union of Concerned Scientists, Ken Kimmell, Pres., (617) 547-5552,
More Low-Carbon Energy News Union of Concerned Scientists, Climate Change,
"It's very interesting that a rule that purports to be trying to reduce pollution -- by their own projection -- might increase it. There is a part of the proposal that would allow coal plants to update, allowing them to run longer without putting any pollution controls on. That's kind of a life extension project for coal plants.
"So a policy that says that it's supposed to be reducing pollution actually increases it under certain projections. And I think a court might have a hard time with that and say how could this be defended as a rational plan." -- Jody Freeman, Former Obama White House Counselor for Energy and Climate Change; founder of the Harvard University Environment and Energy Law Program (Source: NPR News, 12 July, 2019)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Obama Clean Power Plam news, Trump Afordable Clean Energy Plan news,
"The Trump administration's finalized Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule is a major victory for America's middle class, many of whom work in energy intensive industries like manufacturing and mining. It also represents a boon to America's least fortunate for whom energy costs represent a significant part of their budget. All Americans would have been harmed by the Obama administration's legally flawed Clean Power Plan. It would have dramatically increased the cost of electricity and was predicted to reduce global warming by only 0.018 degrees Celsius by 2100, an amount far too small to be measured.
"After Congress rejected proposed cap-and-trade legislation, the Obama administration crafted the Clean Power Plan to force states into regional cap-and-trade plans. President Trump's plan disallows such plans for compliance and focuses, instead, on improving the efficiencies of individual plants.
"The Clean Power Plan claimed to seek a 32 pct reduction in CO2 emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, at an estimated compliance cost of $9 billion. The US Chamber of Commerce estimated a more realistic $75 billion in compliance costs. The Rule was met with bipartisan opposition by 27 states who won a Supreme Court stay of the Rule in 2016.
"The Clean Power Plan was also completely unnecessary. Thanks to the Trump administration's commonsense approach, emissions have fallen by 28 pct since 2017 and are forecast to be reduced 35 pct by 2030. At a compliance cost of $0.3 billion for the ACE rule, these gains were at 250 times less cost than the previous administration's alternative." -- The MacIver Institute
The MacIver Institute is joined by the Caesar Rodney Institute, the Center of the American Experiment, the Commonwealth Foundation, the Independence Institute, John Locke Foundation, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, the Rio Grande Foundation, and the Roughrider Policy Center in supporting the ACE.
(Source: MacIver Institute, June, 2019)
Contact: The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy
Brett Healy, President
608.588.6477, email@example.com, www.maciverinstitute.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News Obama Clean Power Plan, Trump, Affordable Clean Energy,
"In Europe, wood pellets and wood chips are recognized as low carbon fuels because a full life-cycle analysis shows that under well-crafted (and necessary) sustainability criteria, the combustion of those fuels is carbon neutral. The supply chain carbon footprint accounting, given that fossil fuel are used in transportation and in the electricity used to upgrade the biomass into pellets, typically yields an 85 percent or more reduction in net CO2 added to the atmosphere. Because of the carbon benefits, biomass derived fuel makes up about 60 percent of the total renewable energy in the EU28." -- William Strauss, Pres, FutureMetrics, June 24, 2019
Bethel, Maine-based FutureMetrics released the above statement criticizing the Trump Administration EPA's Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Program for its treatment of biomass and calling the program's discussion of how to measure CO2 emissions "misguided."
The ACE program, which replaces Obama's Clean Power Plan, specifies that biomass co-firing is not compliant with the ACE program. Contact: FutureMetrics LLC, William Strauss, 207-824-6702, 207-357-8708 Cell,
More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA, Woody Biomass, Wood Pellet, CO2 Emissions,
As absurd and politically motivated as it may appear, the EPA's new rule could, by the agency's own admission, result in 1,400 more premature deaths by 2030 than the Obama-era plan it will replace.
The Obama Clean Power Plan, which was never officially implemented, would have prevented 3,600 premature deaths a year, 1,700 heart attacks and 90,000 asthma attacks, as well as cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 32 pct compared to 2005 levels, according to analysis conducted by the Obama era EPA.
The Trump administration's plan is a shamefully thin- veiled move to support the coal industry, as promised in his election campaign. Environmental groups and several states who see Trump's action as detrimental to clean air and efforts to fight the climate crisis have already given notice of impending action against the Trump plan.
(Source: EPA, Various Media, 19 June, 2019)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Obama Clean Power Plan, Coal, Carbon Emissions,
Hallador and Pruitt are urging the Indiana republican controlled legislature to include language in the budget bill that would prohibit the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission from considering Obama-era regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions in the commission's decisions about rates and other issues that could impact the future of coal-generated electricity in the state.
Hallador claims Obama clean air regulations are the reason coal costs more than wind, solar and natural gas. They also claim that once President Trump and current EPA head and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler are finished gutting the Obama clean air regulations, the price of coal will drop. According to U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) US coal consumption has plummeted to its lowest levels in nearly 40 years and more coal-fired power plants closed in the first two years of the Trump administration than during President Obama's entire first term.
As readers may recall, Pruitt resigned from the EPA in July 2018 after an 18-month tenure best remembered for the seemingly mass handout of Renewable Fuel Standard "hardship" waivers to refineries, spending and ethical scandals. As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance.
(Source: Hallador Energy Company, The Environmental Working Group, 23 April, 20190 Contact: Hallador Energy Company, (303) 839-5504, www.halladorenergy.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News Scott Pruitt, Coal,
As previously reported in September 2018, the EPA proposed plans that would weaken a 2016 Obama administration rule by permitting companies to reduce attempts to inspect and repair pipelines and wells that leak methane. The recent proposal is anticipated to allow drillers to conduct inspections annually and allow 60 days to complete necessary repairs.
Oil and gas well methane leaks account for 10 pct of the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The gas has over 80 times the heat-trapping potential of CO2 in the first 20 years of its escape into the atmosphere, according to the EPA.
(Source: Royal Dutch Shell, All Chem Research, 14 Mar., 2019) Contact: Royal Dutch Shell, www.corporate-office-headquarters.com/shell-oil-company
More Low-Carbon Energy News Royal Dutch Shell, Methane, Methance Leak,
Environment America's Clean Energy Associate Allie Astor issued the following statement:
"The Trump Administration's short-sighted and backward-thinking rollback of these energy saving standards for light bulbs is terrible for the environment. These rules would have eliminated as much pollution as taking 7 million cars off the road. By revoking these important energy saving regulations, we're ignoring the pervasive threats of climate change and environmental degradation caused by our wasteful energy practices. The DOE may be offering a public hearing, but they need to make sure they are listening to all the voices who are against this rollback plan." (Source: Environment Amercia, PR, 28 Feb., 2019}
Contact: Environment America, Allie Astor, (303) 801-0581, (202) 683-1250, https://environmentamerica.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency, Environment America,
According to the Center for Biological Diversity's senior council Bill Snape, " Senator Feinstein's climate resolution is outmoded and cynical politics at its worst. It's more of the same half-measures and loopholes for polluting industries that have failed us for more than three decades. Feinstein can't hide behind this anemic proposal to avoid supporting the real Green New Deal. She needs to get with it or get out of the way," Snape added.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. (Source: Center for Biological Diversity, PR, 25 Feb., 2019) Contact: Center for Biological Diversity, Bill Snape, (202) 536-9351, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.biologicaldiversity.org; Sen, Dianne Feinstein, (415) 393-0707,www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (929) 388-6141, https://twitter.com/Ocasio2018
Editor's Note: The New Republic commented on Sen. Feinstein's encounter with school children as follows:
"The children pleaded with Feinstein to be 'brave' and to think about their future. "We're the ones who are going to be impacted," one girl pleaded. The 85-year-old (Sen. Feinstein) insisted she understood, citing her seven grandchildren, but then dashed the schoolchildren's hopes. "I've been in the Senate for over a quarter of a century." she said, "and I know what can pass and I know what can't pass." Later, Feinstein put out a statement calling climate change one of her top priorities and released a draft resolution of her alternative to the Green New Deal."
The Green New Deal basically sets goals for measures to cut carbon emissions from electric power generation to transportation to agriculture. The bill calls for a "10-year national mobilizations" toward accomplishing a series of goals, including "meeting 100 pct of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources." The ultimate goal is to stop using fossil fuels entirely, as well as to transition away from nuclear energy.
Presently, power plants spend up to $9.6 billion per to control mercury emissions, but the regulations that reduce mercury pollution only provides $6 million in direct benefits, according to the EPA. However, the same controls that reduce mercury also reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which are precursors to fine particle pollution, haze and ozone. These additional benefits were worth up to $89 billion in reduced fine particle pollution and $360 million in avoided climate change impacts, according to the Obama-era EPA.
Most utilities are already in compliance with the 2012 mercury rule by installing costly pollution controls that limit emissions of mercury and other pollutants. The agency proposed retaining current mercury emissions standards.
(Source: Dairyland Power Cooperative, Crosse Tribune, Jan., 2019) Contact:
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, https://dnr.wi.gov/contact
More Low-Carbon Energy News , Emissions, Mercury Emissions, EPA ,
In 2015, the Obama administration determined that partial carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the best system of emission reduction (BSER) for new coal units.
The Trump EPA now proposes that the best system of emission reduction is the most efficient commercially-viable coal boiler combined with best industry practices. Under the new EPA proposal, new coal power plants would have to meet a standard of 1,900 pounds of CO2 per MWh rather than the current more stringent standard of 1,400 pounds per MWh. The Trump EPA's proposal is based on an updated analysis of the cost and geographic availability of CCS.
Presently, only two utility-scale CCS power plants in existence: Petra Nova in Texas and Boundary Dam in Saskatchewan.
The Obama administration 2015 regulation imposed CO2 limits on new and modified coal-fired power plants that could not be met without installing some kind of carbon-capture technology. The Trump EPA proposed replacement would reportedly raise allowable CO2 emissions from new and modified coal power plants without employing CCS technology while ensuring utilities use other advanced technologies to ensure coal is burned cleanly and efficiently.
Since 2010, power plant owners have either retired or announced plans to retire at least 630 coal plants in 43 states -- nearly 40 pct of the U.S. coal fleet, according to data by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. (Source: EPA, Various Media, Bloomberg, 5 Dec., 2018) Contact: American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, www.energyandpolicy.org/american-coalition-clean-coal-electricity
More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA, Coal, CCS, CO2, Carbon Emissions,
The Obama administration 2015 regulation imposed CO2 limits on new and modified coal-fired power plants that could not be met without installing some kind of carbon-capture technology. The Trump EPA proposed replacement would reportedly raise allowable CO2 emissions from new and modified coal power plants without employing CCS technology while ensuring utilities use other advanced technologies to ensure coal is burned cleanly and efficiently. Since 2010, power plant owners have either retired or announced plans to retire at least 630 coal plants in 43 states -- nearly 40 pct of the U.S. coal fleet, according to data by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. (Source: EPA, Various Media, Bloomberg, 5 Dec., 2018)
Contact: American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, www.energyandpolicy.org/american-coalition-clean-coal-electricity; EPA, Office of Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epas-acting-administrator
More Low-Carbon Energy News Coal, Carbon Emissions,
"In the first year of the Trump administration, we've seen a 2.7 pct reduction in CO2 from 2016 to 2017. I'm not aware of a formal process within the administration" (to incorporate it into decision-making) Wheeler said. Wheeler noted "a 14 pct reduction in CO2 emissions in the United States since 2005," a time frame dominated by the 2009-2017 Obama administration which implemented strict environmental policies that influenced the reversals that the Trump administration seeks to take credit for while at the same time seeking to amend, reverse or eliminate.
"I think we really need to take a hard look at where the markets are going, where technology is going, where innovation is going, and what has driven the reduction in CO2, and we need to give credit for that CO2 reduction," Wheeler said.
Wheeler added that although he respects the efforts of career government scientists who worked on the report, he noted that the work was begun under the Obama administration and that the Trump administration did not play a part in the work. "We did not review it. I did not see the National Climate Change Assessment report until it was released," Wheeler proclaimed, the implication being that it was in some way lacking in credibility with the the Trump administration's touch.
Download the National Climate Assessment report HERE. (Source: Office of EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, 28 Nov., 2018) Contact: Office of EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epas-acting-administrator
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But environmentalists say that burning trees releases CO2 previously trapped inside the plant. And when forests are cleared to produce energy, it can take them decades to regrow, if they ever do. The result is a power source that can generate more carbon dioxide emissions than the coal it is sometimes meant to replace.
On the down side, the EPA's own science advisers have warned that assuming biomass emissions are carbon neutral "is inconsistent with the underlying science."
The federal agencies joint letter is in response to a provision Congress added to a spending bill directing federal agencies to establish policies that "reflect the carbon neutrality of forest biomass for energy production." Even before that directive, under former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, the agency declared that it generally considered burning biomass for energy as carbon neutral.
The EPA has also proposed giving utilities credit for cutting carbon dioxide emissions when they replace some coal in power plants with biomass -- a substitution that would qualify as an efficiency upgrade under the EPA's proposed relaxation of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan curbs on greenhouse gas emissions from electricity.
(Source: HoumaToday, Herald, Various Media, Nov., 2018)
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The EIA attributes this drop to a declining demand for energy, a move to renewable energy, an abundance of inexpensive natural gas and dropping coal consumption.
According to Union of Concerned Scientists President Kenneth Kimmell, "the trend is expected to continue despite President Donald Trump's efforts."
Although full details of the auto giant's proposal are not yet available, the GM proposal is thought to be based on current standards now required in California and nine other states. Under those rules, GM must sell a minimum of around 2,200 fully electric vehicles in California this year, or about 1.1 percent of the roughly 200,000 cars, trucks and SUVs that it normally sells in the state each year.
Under a regulation finalized by the EPA in the waning days of the Obama administration, the fleet of new automobiles would have to deliver 36 mpg by 2025 -- 10 mpg higher than the current requirement.
(Source: GM, Washington Post, Various Media,26 Oct., 2018) Contact: GM, Mark Reuss, Exec. VP Product Development, www.gm.com/contact-us.html
More Low-Carbon Energy News Vehicle Emissions,
MacCracken was commenting on the Trump administration's freezing Obama era federal fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks manufactured after 2020. MacCraken served as a senior scientist at the US Global Change Research Program between 1993 and 2002. (Source: NY Post, 1 Oct., 2018)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Vehicle Emissions, GHGs.CO2,
The broadly supported Clean Power Plan is a cost-effective and flexible approach to reduce power plant emissions and would have helped reduce carbon pollution by approximately 350 million tonnes (M) by 2030.
According to the EPA, the Trump administration's Affordable Clean Energy Rule is 90 to 97 pct weaker than Obama's Clean Power Plan and will do little to curb emissions -- less than the closing of a single large coal power plant -- by 2030.
(Source: Washington State Governor Jay Inslee Website, Access Washington, 1 Oct., 2018) Contact: Office of Washington Sate Gov. Jay Inslee,
Communications Office, Tara Lee,
(360) 902-4136, www.governor.wa.gov
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Un the Waste Prevention Rule, oil and gas producing companies were required to inspect their wells twice yearly and repair reported leaks within 30 days. The rollback of the regulation means companies are no longer obliged to check their wells and equipment more often than annually and have 60 days instead of 30 to complete repairs.
Though not as long-lived as CO2, methane prevents as much as 80 pct more heat from escaping in the first 20 years of its release. Methane leaks are the largest drawback of the otherwise environmentally friendly switch from coal to natural gas as a source of energy. Natural gas releases half as much carbon dioxide when burnt.
The rationale behind Trump's rollback on methane leaks restrictions was largely economic. It is estimated that drillers would save $734 million to $1 billion over the next 10 years.
(Source: IR Insider, 26 Sept., 2018) Contact: US DOI, www.doi.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News U.S. Department of the Interior, Methane,