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September 16 News: White House Delays EPA Climate Rules, But Is Still “Very Much Committed” to Them

By Stephen Lacey and Joe Romm on September 16, 2011 at 2:15 pm

"September 16 News: White House Delays EPA Climate Rules, But Is Still “Very Much Committed” to Them"

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JR:  The White House is still “very much committed” to greenhouse gas reductions the way NBC was “Committed to Keeping Conan O’Brien” on the network in January 2010.  Too harsh?  Just wait and see.

EPA seeks to quell climate concerns as greens fret

The Environmental Protection Agency sought to quell concerns Thursday that climate change regulations will face the same fate as an ozone rule that the White House scuttled this month.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said Wednesday that the agency would miss an end-of-September deadline to propose greenhouse gas standards for power plants, but insisted the rules are still on track.

She told San Francisco radio station KQED on Thursday that the agency will “absolutely” continue moving ahead with the standards. EPA officials say they will announce a new schedule shortly.

EPA is seeking to rebut the notion that the delay stems from White House or other influences outside the agency. Jackson told KQED that the delay was “not at all” a political decision, while spokeswoman Betsaida Alcantara told E2 that “we are very much committed to proposing the standards.”

I’d be slightly more reassured if they were committed to implementing the standards…..

The delay comes as greenhouse gas regulations and other EPA rules are under attack from Capitol Hill Republicans, who have called them “job killers.”

The rules were scheduled to be proposed by Sept. 30 under a legal agreement between EPA and a group of environmentalists and states that had sued the agency under former President George W. Bush, who opposed climate regulations.

Environmental groups issued a flurry of statements Thursday decrying the new delay.

“Every day we delay cleaning up our nation’s power plants fattens polluter profits and shrinks our chances of tackling the climate crisis. Today’s decision suggests that when it comes to uncontrolled carbon pollution, the administration appears content with business as usual,” said Joe Mendelson, the policy director for climate and energy programs at the National Wildlife Federation.

Rachel Cleetus, senior climate economist for Climate and Energy at  the Union of Concerned Scientists, has  written a good analysis, “Yet Another Disappointing Delay in Climate Rules.”  She notes, “the original deadline had been July 26, 2011″ and writes:

… power plants will have many cost-effective options to comply with Clean Air Act regulations without affecting reliability, affordability or general economic well-being. These include: investing in energy efficiency, increasing the share of renewable sources of energy, and greater reliance on natural gas. The coal plants most likely to shut down are old, dirty, and inefficient, and account for a small fraction of total generating capacity in the U.S. Furthermore, these changes would take place over a period of years (most likely the remainder of this decade), thus the industry would have ample time to plan for replacements in a manner that preserves reserve margins.As Philip D. Moeller (Commissioner of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) said in his testimony to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on September 14, “The electric industry can plan to meet whatever EPA regulations become final. This nation has complied with EPA regulations in the past, and we can do it in the future, given enough time and information.”

No, the NBC-Conan analogy isn’t really a good one because  I do think the administration will issue CO2 standards.  I’m just willing to bet that the Dynamic De-Regulators, Bill Daley and Cass Sunstein, will ensure that they are relatively meaningless, with virtually no impact on existing plants and thus no possibility of actually reducing electric utility greenhouse gas emissions.  Any takers?

China leads world in green energy investment

Global investment in renewable energy jumped 32% in 2010 to a record $211bn (£130bn; 149bn euros), according to the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011 report.

Published jointly by the UN Environment Programme and the Frankfurt School of Finance, it shows that China has become the largest investor in renewable energy projects.

But the country still faces grave cases of pollution despite progress in cutting down on the number of new coal-burning power stations during the last five years.

According to Zhang Lijun, vice-minister of environmental protection, coal consumption increased by a billion tons between 2006 and 2010.

“And it is likely to see another one-billion-ton rise in the coming five years,” he adds.

China Demands ConocoPhilips Clean Up its Spill

China has told US oil giant ConocoPhillips to step up its efforts to seal leaks and clean up a spill off its north coast after finding oil was still leaking into the sea, state media reported Friday.

ConocoPhillips said last week it had halted production at its Penglai 19-3 oil field, China’s biggest and the source of the leak into Bohai Bay that has caused public anger and led to accusations of a cover-up.

But China’s State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said it had carried out checks over the past week and found that oil was still leaking near a drilling platform in the field.

“(The platform) is continuing to show this phenomenon (of leaking) after a relatively long period of time. This shows the source has not been effectively sealed,” the state Xinhua news agency quoted an unnamed SOA official as saying.

The SOA called on ConocoPhillips and its Chinese partner, CNOOC, to “continue to thoroughly seal the oil source and continue to clean up oil pollution on the sea,” it said.

Crews continue Kalamazoo River oil spill cleanup

Crews are continuing cleanup work from last year’s more than 800,000 gallon oil spill that contaminated southern Michigan’s Kalamazoo River.

The Battle Creek Enquirer reports that this week crews were seen in heavy concentration on and near Morrow Lake.

Enbridge Inc. failed to meet a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency deadline that had been set for Aug. 31 to clean up oil submerged in the Kalamazoo River. Officials have said that the cleanup effort from the July 2010 spill could extend beyond this year.

The spill occurred from a portion of an Enbridge pipeline running from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario.

Bernie Sanders: What Wall Street doesn’t want us to know about oil prices

The top six financial institutions in this country own assets equal to more than 60 percent of our gross domestic product and possess enormous economic and political power. One of the great questions of our time is whether the American people, through Congress, will control the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, or whether Wall Street will continue to wreak havoc on our economy and the lives of working families.

I represent Vermont, a rural state where many workers drive long distances to jobs that pay $12 an hour or less. Many seniors living on fixed incomes heat their homes with oil during our cold winters. These people have asked me to do all that I can to lower outrageously high gasoline and heating-oil prices. I intend to do just that.

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19 Responses to September 16 News: White House Delays EPA Climate Rules, But Is Still “Very Much Committed” to Them

  1. prokaryotes says:

    Uranium Exports
    Auditors raise U.S. nuclear authorities sloppiness http://tiny.cc/4sivk

  2. prokaryotes says:

    Prolonged Drought Continuing Across Southern Plains (Animation) http://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/MediaDetail.php?MediaID=840&MediaTypeID=2

  3. prokaryotes says:

    German Electric Car Battle
    One very clear message: German carmakers are taking electric cars seriously. Finally. http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1066009_german-electric-car-battle-audi-a2-v-bmw-i3-v-benz-b-class-e-cell-v-vw-golf-blue-emotion

  4. Sasparilla says:

    Well, the delay is totally expected. And if they delay it till after the 2012 elections the GOP will be able to turn it around before the industry has to spend any money (besides lobbying) – perfect, just what they want.

    Here’s the nightmare scenario – they decide they’ll use this to show they are supportive of business (like the Ozone overruling) thinking this will get them votes and money – and make it absolutely worthless – squandering the only politically viable tool we have to restrict CO2 emissions (for the foreseeable future)…a total sweep in 3 years.

    I’m afraid this is what you’re hinting at Joe – I hope this isn’t what happens.

  5. prokaryotes says:

    Welsh mine tragedy claims lives of four men

    It appears that one of the men had set a charge to break through to new seams of coal. But the explosion apparently blew through a wall into an old waterlogged shaft. Water poured in flooding the shaft where the men were working. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/sep/16/welsh-mine-tragedy-four-men

  6. prokaryotes says:

    The Titanic disaster meant a life of shame for its CEO. Not so BP’s Tony Hayward

    ‘Moving on’ from the Deepwater Horizon environmental catastrophe, Tony Hayward is now set to make millions from a Kurdistan oil deal
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/sep/16/bp-tony-hayward-deepwater-horizon

  7. prokaryotes says:

    Protesting in D.C. leads to arrest, but student is proud of environmental work http://www.cm-life.com/2011/09/16/student-arrested-at-dc-oil-protest/

  8. Colorado Bob says:

    Pakistan flooding by numbers
    1000 – millimetres of rainfall in last three months. Average yearly in the districts is 150 millimetres.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/8766170/Pakistan-flooding-by-numbers.html

  9. Steve Bloom says:

    Joe, how dare you question the Administration’s commitment to getting votes next year based on claims of commitment to doing something later!? Their commitment is complete. :)

    Hmm, I wonder of there’s a correlation between the extent to which first-term presidents make this sort of commitment and their propensity to get re-elected? I would suspect it’s strongly negative.

  10. prokaryotes says:

    Newfoundland’s second consecutive year with a hurricane
    If Maria strikes Newfoundland as a hurricane, this will be the province’s second consecutive year with a hurricane strike, something that has never occurred since hurricane record keeping began in 1851. Last year, Hurricane Igor killed one person on Newfoundland, and damage exceeded $100 million, making Igor the most damaging tropical cyclone in Newfoundland history. A summary of the impact of Igor prepared by Environment Canada put it this way:

    “Hurricane Igor and its severe impacts certainly represent a rare event in Newfoundland history which has been described as the worst in memory. In statistical terms, this was effectively a 50 – 100 year event depending on how one chooses to define it. There are no hurricanes/post tropical events of this magnitude striking Newfoundland in the modern era. Hurricane Juan in Nova Scotia was the last Atlantic Canadian hurricane to cause extreme damage. Prior to the naming of hurricanes, the 1935 Newfoundland Hurricane 75 years ago was of similar intensity.”
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1931

  11. Paul Magnus says:

    Climate Portals

    UK will miss carbon targets by wider margins each year, study shows
    http://www.guardian.co.uk
    Without radical policy measures, it will be impossible for the coalition to ‘make a reality out of rhetoric’

    The growth of CO2 emissions by airlines will work against any fall in commercial and household emissions, says Cambridge Econometrics. It notes targets to cut emissions by 20% from 1990 to 2010 were “decisively missed”.

    • Paul Magnus says:

      The UK is already 3-5x more efficient that the US.

      The only way the US can achieve anything like what is needed to reduce its CO2 in the time scales dictated is by implementing a state of emergency.

  12. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me one hundred times…shame’. The Obama obituary.

  13. Chris Winter says:

    Concerning a recent study on Himalayan “benchmark” glaciers:

    http://www.nicholas.duke.edu/thegreengrok/himalayanglaciers

  14. Chris Winter says:

    http://www.amazon.com/Evidence-Based-Climate-Science-opposing-emissions/dp/0123859565

    Evidence-Based Climate Science: Data opposing CO2 emissions as the primary source of global warming
    Don Easterbrook
    Elsevier, September 2011
    978-0123859563

    The single customer review on Amazon demolishes it.