Perspectives; Thoughts; Comments; Opinions; Discussions

Posts tagged ‘epa’

Trump EPA finalizes rule to gut Obama coal plant regulations


Written by Josh Siegel | June 19, 2019 12:00 AM | Updated Jun 19, 2019, 10:23 AM

The Trump administration finalized Wednesday its much-anticipated rule gutting President Barack Obama’s signature plan for reducing carbon emissions from coal plants to combat climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency released its replacement of Obama’s Clean Power Plan with a modest rule intended to encourage efficiency upgrades at coal plants to help them exist longer and emit less pollution.

“ACE will continue our nation’s environmental progress and will do so legally and with respect for the states,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said at a press conference Wednesday, where he was joined by White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, other administration officials, and Republican members of Congress from coal states. “The ACE rule will incentivize new technologies so coal plants can be part of our energy future.”

The Trump administration plan, known as the Affordable Clean Energy or ACE rule, encourages states to allow utilities to make heat rate improvements in power plants, enabling them to run more efficiently by burning less coal to produce the same amount of electricity. Under current rules, power plants must undergo new pollution reviews when they upgrade facilities, making it prohibitively expensive.

The rule is not projected to meaningfully reduce emissions, and is expected to have little effect on the actions of electric utilities that are already switching away from expensive coal to cheaper natural gas and renewables without a federal regulation.

The focus on regulating power plants individually is a rejection of the Clean Power Plan, which allowed for efficiency upgrades, but also sought to push the overall power sector to switch away from coal to natural gas and renewables.

The Clean Power Plan required states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 32% below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Trump administration rule, unlike the Clean Power Plan, does not set a specific target for the power sector to reduce carbon emissions, giving states the authority to write their own plans for reducing pollution at individual plants.

In choosing to replace the Clean Power Plan, rather than repeal it outright, the EPA is acknowledging the federal government is legally obligated to regulate carbon emissions that cause climate change. Environmentalists and Democratic states, however, plan to sue the Trump administration, arguing the rule does not meaningfully fulfill the bare-bones requirement of the Clean Air Act since it would not significantly cut carbon emissions by keeping alive coal plants with efficiency improvements that would otherwise retire.

Carbon emissions rose in 2018 for the first time in eight years.

“What a responsible administration would do is strengthen the Clean Power Plan, not kill it,” said David Doniger, senior strategic director of the Climate and Clean Energy Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which will be among the groups suing the EPA. “We will attack this because it attempts to cripple the Clean Air Act as a tool to tackle climate change.”

Courts never ruled on the legality of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan — even though the Supreme Court stayed the rule.

Trump’s EPA, and conservative state attorneys general who filed suit, argued that Obama’s approach was expansive and illegal.

The relevant section of the Clean Air Act, section 111(D), says carbon pollution regulations must reflect “the best system of emission reduction” — without defining what that means. The Trump administration, critics say, is seeking to have the federal courts enshrine its narrow view of law.

“They are looking to define the limits of EPA’s regulatory authority,” said Jeff Holmstead, a former deputy administrator of the EPA in the George W. Bush administration and energy industry attorney who agrees with the Trump administration’s approach. “The ACE rule can establish what EPA can do when it comes to regulating emissions from the power sector.”

EPA says the new rule will reduce carbon emissions by as much as 35% below 2005 levels in 2030 — similar to projections for the Clean Power Plan — but most of that would occur from market forces absent any regulation. EPA, in a fact sheet accompanying the rule, projects ACE will cut carbon emissions 11 million tons by 2030, but that’s only about a 0.84% reduction compared to what would occur with no regulation.

A senior EPA official, briefing reporters Wednesday, acknowledged some coal plants will increase emissions over their lifetime if they apply efficiency improvements and operate longer, rather than retire.

“It will yield virtually no reductions in C02 emissions,” said Joseph Goffman, an environmental law professor at Harvard University who was a chief architect of the Clean Power Plan, speaking on a phone call with reporters. The EPA is looking to “simply be a grudging cheerleader for what the utility sector is doing anyway, not for climate change reasons, but simply for business reasons,” he added.

Large utilities that are transitioning off coal have said EPA’s effort to encourage efficiency upgrades at coal plants will not inspire them to alter plans to switch to cleaner energy.

“We are on our path. We are going to stay on our path,” Dominion CEO Thomas Farrell told the Washington Examiner this month at a utility industry conference.

Coal has fallen from 55% of power produced by Dominion to 11%, he said, helping the company stay on track for its goal of reducing emissions 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.

Ohio-based American Electric Power, one of the nation’s largest utilities, has similar views on the Trump pitch, even though it opposed the Clean Power Plan. It aims to reduce coal use from nearly half its electricity mix to 27% by 2030, while cutting its carbon emissions 80% by 2050.

“AEP’s long-term strategy remains focused on modernizing the power grid, expanding renewable energy resources and delivering cost-effective, reliable energy to our customers,” Tammy Ridout, an AEP spokeswoman, told the Washington Examiner.

Indeed, many coal plants across the industry are too old to make upgrades worth investing in. Others have already done the efficiency work EPA outlines in its proposal, utility industry analysts say.

Trump EPA’s coal plan could be most beneficial for smaller utilities, like co-ops that provide energy to rural consumers. These utilities aim to keep rates as low as possible because many of their users are low-income, and it would cost less to upgrade an existing coal plant than to invest in a new facility.

“The final ACE rule gives electric cooperatives the ability to adopt evolving technology and respond to market and consumer demands while continuing to serve as engines of economic development for one in eight Americans,” said Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative, a trade group representing more than 900 co-ops in 47 states.

MORE Politically INCORRECT Cartoons for April 10, 2018


How Trump Maintains Anti-Regulatory Momentum


waving flag disclaimerAuthored by Luke Popovich | Updated 28 Feb 2017 at 7:36 AM

URL of the original posting site: http://www.lifezette.com/polizette/how-trump-maintains-anti-regulatory-momentum/

One of the themes emerging from the new Trump administration is a focus on overturning onerous regulations currently smothering American industries. It’s a laudable goal, since government rules bear so heavily on middle-class job creation.

On Feb. 24, the president signed an executive order tasking officials with peeling back excess regulation. The president still faces a fairly big problem, however, since behind each regulatory door he opens, there are two more doors.

Essentially, the Obama administration spent its second term cooking up a wide array of environmental measures that were both ideologically conceived and bureaucratically cumbersome. And nowhere was such red tape stretched more aggressively than in the quest to keep coal and minerals in the ground.

Already, President Trump has followed through on some of his campaign pledges. For example, he signed a congressional resolution overturning the Obama-era “stream rule.” This massive rule simply duplicated existing measures to monitor coal mining and land reclamation. Thus, canceling the rule will not meaningfully impact environmental standards already in place. But it will lift the hefty costs intended to punish mining firms simply for extracting a carbon-based source of energy.

That’s merely step one for the Trump administration, though. There’s more to do. 


/* */

 

 

 

First off, there’s the leasing moratorium imposed on coal reserves on federal lands. Even though federal coal accounts for 42 percent of total U.S. coal production — while being responsible for 40 percent of total coal-generated electricity in 2014 — the Interior Department decided last year to shut down new coal leases for three years.

This smacks of political payoffs to activists since taxpayers receive 39 cents from every dollar earned from federal lease sales while the net global “carbon contribution” from federal coal is negligible. The moratorium solved a problem no one had. The good news is that this moratorium can be lifted by the new Interior Department secretary as easily as it was imposed by his predecessor. Thus, after Ryan Zinke is confirmed for his post at the Interior Department, he could move quickly to end the moratorium.

Also in the administration’s purview is the Obama administration’s “Clean Power Plan” (CPP), the carbon reduction rule currently tied up in the D.C. Circuit Court. In essence, the CPP represents the zenith of regulatory ambition — a total transformation of the nation’s energy grid, engineered by an environmental agency hoping to impose the very cap-and-trade regime that Congress repeatedly rejected. The CPP is still breathing, but barely; it isn’t legally binding until the D.C. Circuit decides its dubious legality. But Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has reiterated his intention to scrap the plan — an encouraging prospect for the millions of Americans living in states that depend heavily on electricity from reliable and affordable coal-based power

And finally, there’s the blundering excess of the financial assurance requirement that Obama’s EPA hoped to impose on hard-rock mining companies. It is already standard practice for mining firms in the United States to post financial assurances for the reclamation, closure, and post-closure costs of any mining site. But the EPA simply decided to duplicate these requirements, even though the process is already being managed successfully by state regulators as well as by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

Why would the EPA want to increase the financial burden on mining companies by requiring them to lay out additional capital for the same costs they’ve already covered? Because green activists have waged an ideological campaign opposed to mining, and the EPA simply acquiesced to their agenda. Ignored by these same environmentalists is their reliance on the very metals and minerals they would keep in the ground.

Trump Should End Obama Coal Lease MoratoriumNew energy production on federal lands will generate affordable electricity for the entire country Smartphones, for example, contain more than 40 metals and minerals extracted from state-of-the-art mining operations. And solar panels and wind turbines require copious amounts of bauxite, boron, cadmium, copper, cobalt, iron, molybdenum, etc. The new financial assurance requirement is another example of an environmental agenda lacking any real-world practicality.

Mining matters greatly to the future security of the United States, however. And it’s not just the reliable, affordable energy that coal provides. Or the critical minerals needed for 21st century technologies. There’s also the thousands upon thousands of good-paying, middle-class jobs on the line, and the economic impacts for industry and manufacturing.

 

This is why the Trump administration must continue to root out regulations that were conceived in an ideological vacuum — with little to justify their massive impact. Dismantling an anti-coal regulatory edifice, and ending the blanket hostility to mining, will do much to secure affordable energy and a stronger industrial base for America.

Luke Popovich is vice president for external communications at the National Mining Association (NMA).

Trump Freezes EPA Grants to Liberal Pet Projects


waving flagAuthored by Edmund Kozak | Updated 25 Jan 2017 at 7:25 AM

URL of the original posting site: http://www.lifezette.com/polizette/trump-freezes-epa-grants-to-liberal-pet-projects/

epa

Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency have reportedly been instructed to freeze all of the agency’s contracts and grant programs until officials in the new administration can conduct a top-to-bottom review.

“Right now we are in a holding pattern. The new EPA administration has asked that all contract and grant awards be temporarily suspended, effective immediately. Until we receive further clarification, this includes task orders and work assignments,” an internal email originally obtained by Pro Publica said.

In 2013, the EPA gave $84,000 to a researcher at the University of Michigan to study the effectiveness of using churches to promote environmental causes.

“The EPA awards more than $4 billion in funding for government grants and contracts each year,” Fox News reported on Tuesday.

A brief look at how some of that money was being spent under the Obama administration paints a clear picture as to why the new administration may be looking at an overhaul: In some cases, the Obama EPA has offered textbook case studies in how to waste taxpayer money on ideologically motivated projects.

> In 2014 the University of California, Riverside received $15,000 to create technology to reduce carbon emissions from those infamous scourges of the environment: barbecues. That same year, researchers at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University were given $15,000 of taxpayers’ money to build a pond on a roof, complete with a floating island.
/* */

> Also in 2014, the EPA awarded $15,000 to the University of Tulsa to create a system that monitored how much water hotel guests used while showering. The proposal made the rather Orwellian promise that the “technology will … assist hotel guests in modifying their behavior.”

> As creepy and ideologically motivated as that grant may have been, at the very least it attempted to address domestic water waste. The agency gave $1.5 million to the University of Colorado and the National Center for Atmospheric Research to study pollution caused by residential cooking — in Africa.

> In 2013, the EPA gave $84,000 to a researcher at the University of Michigan to study the effectiveness of using churches to promote environmental causes.

“Climate change — which affects traditional faith-based efforts to improve human health, mitigate poverty and redress social inequity — is inspiring religious organizations to advocate for clean air and water, restore ecosystems, and conserve resources,” the grant stated. “This project seeks to understand the empirical experiences of faith-based environmental efforts within communities.”REALLY

> The EPA seems to really like the idea of using churches as political propaganda centers. In 2015, the Washington Free Beacon reported that the EPA gave a $30,000 “environmental justice grant” to a Unitarian church that has preached against “white privilege” and called America “structurally racist.”

While not spending money in foreign countries and encouraging pastors to promote radical environmentalism, the EPA also seems to have spent considerable funds trying to answer questions to which the collective wisdom of the human experience already knows the answer.

> In 2014, the EPA gave a post-grad student at the University of Oregon $84,000 to study the link between plants and people, and whether or not living in densely populated urban areas with little to no vegetation is unhealthy (it is).More Evidence

While it is not yet known if current contracts will also be affected by the grant freeze, militant environmentalists across the country are undoubtedly pulling out their hair in fury at the news that no longer will the EPA spend money on liberal pet projects. Responsible Americans who wish their tax money be spent prudently, however, are likely to support the freeze.picture1

Obama’s EPA Spending MILLIONS Overseas


waving flagAuthored by Ethan Barton, 11/23/2015

URL of the original posting site: http://dailycaller.com/2015/11/23/obamas-epa-spending-millions-overseas

U.S. President Barack Obama nominates air quality expert Gina McCarthy to lead the Environmental Protection Agency in the East Room of the White House in Washington. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3EKGZ

U.S. President Barack Obama nominates air quality expert Gina McCarthy to lead the Environmental Protection Agency in the East Room of the White House in Washington. REUTERS/Larry

President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency has doled out nearly $25 million to foreign nations and entities — including many countries with terrible environmental track records through 135 separate grants. Officials at the EPA defend the awards to international organizations and foreign governments since 2009.obama- Marxist tyrant

“Our limited international investments are focused where we can have the biggest environmental protection return,” EPA spokeswoman Melissa Harrison tells The Daily Caller News Foundation. “International grants allow the U.S. to engage internationally and address serious trans-boundary and global environmental problems affecting the public health and environmental quality of the US and its citizens.”Delusional Mental Illness Gibberish

International grants represent less than one percent of the agency’s annual grant-making total, she says.

“The Obama administration views climate change with such religious fervor they are turning EPA bureaucrats into global climate change missionaries armed with foreign aid grants,” Open The Books founder Adam Andrzejewski tells TheDCNF.

“It matters how EPA is spending taxpayer dollars and our oversight of the agency’s grants and grant management is ongoing,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton

Upton’s committee discovered in 2011 the EPA was sending millions of tax dollars overseas and also prompted a 2015 investigation into the agency’s grant oversight.

“A September report from the nonpartisan watchdog Government Accountability Office (GAO) sounded the alarm that EPA lacks an effective strategy to address grant management,” the Michigan Republican says. “As we move forward, EPA must address the problems identified in the GAO report and follow their recommendations.”

Russia and China are the largest recipients of EPA grants when excluding international groups, such as the United Nations Environmental Programme and the World Health Organization (WHO), according to TheDCNF analysis of more than 100,000 grants.grants

Tied for the largest foreign grant is a $1 million award to a Washington state-based Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to reduce black carbon emissions from diesel sources in the Russian Arctic. Russia is nearly finished building a large military base in the region, but a laboratory spokeswoman says the project didn’t examine military vehicles, TheDCNF previously reported.

The other $1 million grant was awarded to the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) to manage a program that finances “Arctic Council projects addressing mitigation of black carbon emissions from diesel combustion,” according to the EPA.

NEFCO finances green growth investments and projects primarily in Russia, Ukraine, Pelarus, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland as well as climate projects across the world,” according to the institution’s website.

maps

Those $1 million grants tie PNNL and NEFCO as the third biggest EPA recipients among international organizations. Those two grants alone also equate to almost half the foreign grant spending by EPA under Obama’s predecessor, President George W Bush.

The U.N.’s Environmental Programme and WHO are the top recipients, collecting $2.1 million and $1.5 million, respectively, according to TheDCNF analysis.

When international organizations are included, Switzerland rakes in the most EPA grant dollars with $1.8 million.

Of the 13 EPA grants to the country, 12 went to either WHO or a U.N. program. The remaining grant – worth $190,000 – was awarded to the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China to “strengthen China’s capacity to improve performance in five areas of environmental management,” including air and water.Delusional Mental Illness Gibberish

It’s unclear why the grant listed Switzerland as the “recipient country.”

A CollectionIn God We Trust freedom combo 2

Why Did the Environmental Protection Agency Spend $1.4 Million on Guns?


waving flagReported by Ed Feulner / / October 30, 2015

Open the Books found that the agency has spent millions of dollars over the last decade on guns, ammo, body armor, camouflage equipment, unmanned aircraft, amphibious assault ships, radar and night-vision gear, and other military-style weaponry and surveillance activities.(Photo: Skyhobo/iStock)

Even those of us who have worked in Washington for many years and become accustomed to the inner workings of government can still be amazed by what lurks behind the curtain sometimes. Case in point: the Environmental Protection Agency. Most Americans have at least heard of the EPA, even if they have only a dim notion of what the agency actually does. It tends to skate along under the radar, unless something unusual happens, such as the toxic spill that turned the Colorado’s Animas River orange last August. Of course, what really made the spill unusual is that the EPA itself caused it.

Otherwise, Americans don’t hear much about the agency. So many of them would probably be as unpleasantly surprised as I was by a new report by Open the Books, a nonprofit group that promotes government transparency. Its look into the EPA’s spending habits is alarming, to put it mildly.

The first thing that strikes you is the EPA’s spendthrift ways. Even if times were flush and government coffers were overflowing (which is far from the case), the agency spends money like it’s expecting the Second Coming next week. The Open the Books audit covered tens of thousands of checks the EPA wrote from 2000 to 2014, with hundreds of millions going toward such things as luxury furnishings, sports equipment, and “environmental justice” grants to raise awareness of global warming.

The second thing that hits you is where the rest of the money goes. The headline of an op-ed by economist Stephen Moore in Investor’s Business Daily sums it up well: “Why Does the EPA Need Guns, Ammo, and Armor to Protect the Environment?” And not just a few weapons. Open the Books found that the agency has spent millions of dollars over the last decade on guns, ammo, body armor, camouflage equipment, unmanned aircraft, amphibious assault ships, radar and night-vision gear, and other military-style weaponry and surveillance activities.

“We were shocked ourselves to find these kinds of pervasive expenditures at an agency that is supposed to be involved in clean air and clean water,” said Open the Books founder Adam Andrzejewski. “Some of these weapons are for full-scale military operations.”

Among the EPA’s purchases:

  • $1.4 million for “guns up to 300mm.”
  • $380,000 for “ammunition.”
  • $210,000 for “camouflage and other deceptive equipment.”
  • $208,000 for “radar and night-vision equipment.”
  • $31,000 for “armament training devices.”EPA Tyranny

The list goes on. It’s filled with the kind of equipment you’d expect to be purchased by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, not an agency ostensibly designed to protect the environment.

But as it turns out, armed, commando-style raids by the EPA are not unheard of. One such raid occurred in 2013, in a small Alaskan town where armed agents in full body armor reportedly confronted local miners accused of polluting local waters. Perhaps the agency is gearing up for more operations like that one?

If so, the EPA wouldn’t be all that unique. According to the Justice Department, there are now 40 federal agencies with more than 100,000 officers authorized to carry guns and make arrests. They include the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.Comming Soon 02

The EPA audit underscores the need for serious budget cuts at the agency. In July, before the Colorado spill and the Open the Books report, environmental policy expert Nicolas Loris called on Congress to shrink the EPA’s budget, outlining several specific cuts that could be done immediately and with no detrimental effect on the environment.

“The proposed cuts outlined here merely scratch the surface of a rogue agency that has wildly spent and regulated outside its purview,” Loris concluded. After reviewing the Open the Books report, who can disagree?EPA monster 2

Originally published in The Washington Times.

Armed In God We Trust freedom combo 2

Did the EPA try to create its own militia?


waving flagPosted by on October 22, 2015

A congressional committee will investigate reports that the Environmental Protection Agency wasted billions of dollars, including an effort to create its own militia with a prosecution arm to mirror the FBI’s.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, told Watchdog.org that a House committee will dig into allegations the EPA bought designer furniture and sporting goods equipment, and handed out hefty employee bonuses and grants to foreign countries – including China.

The charges are outlined in a recent report by Open the Books, a non-profit dedicated to transparency and oversight of government spending. The group analyzed agency spending beginning in 2000.

Despite budget sequestration, which mandated cutbacks and no raises, the EPA has  thrived with its $8.13-billion budget, up $500 million from 2009. In fact, every president has increased the budget since Ronald Reagan in 1981.

“How can the EPA justify spending taxpayer dollars on questionable items like luxury furnishings and sports equipment?” asked Smith. “The agency also appears to have funneled millions of dollars to organizations outside the U.S. The EPA needs to remember they are accountable to the American taxpayer and should justify every dollar they spend.”EPA Monster

Smith, who heads the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, reviewed a copy of the Open the Books report provided by Watchdog, and said the committee “intends to investigate the possible misuse of public funds.”

The EPA is already on Smith’s bad side for withholding requested documents pertaining to the Animas River spill in Colorado as the committee prepared for a Sept. 9 hearing. During the hearing, an EPA official told the committee the Gold King Mine was walled off as a result of a cave-in. In fact,  the EPA created the barricade, which allowed water to collect behind it — bursting when a hole was drilled, mine owner Todd Hennis told Watchdog.

Lawmakers in that hearing and another committee from the Senate blasted the EPA for its heavy-handed military-style treatment of citizens and companies who inadvertently create spills by “running them out of business” and “forcing them to go bankrupt.”EPA monster 2

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said the EPA should be contacting the FBI for heavy-duty law enforcement action if any is needed.

Regardless, some-200 EPA “special agents” have the “latest state-of-the-art ‘policing’ gear such as ‘guns and ammunition up to 300MM,’ ‘camouflage and other deceptive equipment,’ ‘night vision,’ ‘unmanned aircraft,’ ‘radar,’ ‘body armor,’ ‘surveillance equipment,’ ‘mobile GPS monitors,’ and (they) train and investigate frequently alongside joint projects with Homeland Security,” the report said.Tyranney Alert

Click here to read more from Watchdog.org.

The EPA and other federal agencies are out of control, constitutionally and otherwise. It’s time to bring them back in line. An Article V Convention of States can restore the Founders’ vision of a limited federal government and curb the power of this and other overreaching federal agencies.

Click here to get involved!

In God We Trust freedom combo 2

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: