Government proposes first carbon limits on power plants

I wonder if Southern Company was the company singing the praises of the new EPA regulations.  Southern Company through Mississippi Power’s new demonstration lignite coal plant in Kemper County, Mississippi will be voluntarily participating in the proposed EPA CO2 regulations and plays an pro-active roll in helping the EPA gain the numbers needed to implement the new regulations.

 

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON | Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:19pm EDT

(Reuters) – The Obama administration proposed on Tuesday the first rules to cut carbon dioxide emissions from new U.S. power plants, a move hotly contested by Republicans and industry in an election year.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal would effectively stop the building of most new coal-fired plants in an industry that is moving rapidly to more natural gas. But the rules will not regulate existing power plants, the source of one third of U.S. emissions, and will not apply to any plants that start construction over the next 12 months.

The watering down of the proposal led some ardent environmentalists to criticize its loopholes, but a power company that has taken steps to cut emissions praised the rules.

While the proposal does not dictate which fuels a plant can burn, it requires any new coal plants to use costly technology to capture and store the emissions underground. Any new coal-fired plants would have to halve carbon dioxide emissions to match those of gas plants.

“We’re putting in place a standard that relies on the use of clean, American made technology to tackle a challenge that we can’t leave to our kids and grandkids,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told reporters in a teleconference.

Jackson could not say whether the standards, which will go through a public comment period, would be finalized before the November 6 election. If they are not, they could be more easily overturned if Obama lost.

Republicans say a slew of EPA clean air measures will drive up power costs but have had little success in trying to stop them in Congress. Industries have turned to the courts to slow down the EPA’s program.

Some Democrats from energy-intensive states also complained. “The overreaching that EPA continues to do is going to create a tremendous burden and hardship on the families and people of America,” said Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia.

REGULATORY CERTAINTY

The EPA’s overall clean-air efforts have divided the power industry between companies that have moved toward cleaner energy, such as Exelon and NextEra, and those that generate most of their power from coal, such as Southern Co and American Electric Power.

Ralph Izzo, the chairman and CEO of PSEG, a utility that has invested in cleaner burning energy, said the rules provide a logical framework to confront the emissions. The rules provide the industry with “much needed regulatory certainty,” that is needed to help guide future multi-billion dollar investments in the U.S. power grid, he added.

Under the new standards, coal plants could add equipment to capture and bury underground for permanent storage their carbon emissions. The rules give utilities time to get those systems running, by requiring they average the emissions cuts over 30 years. Still, the coal-burning industry says that carbon capture and storage, known as CCS, is not yet commercially available.

Jackson said the EPA believes the technology will be ready soon. “Every model that we’ve seen shows that technology as it develops will become commercially available certainly within the next 10 years”.

The National Mining Association said the rules can only hurt industry. “This proposal is the latest convoy in EPA’s regulatory train wreck that is rolling across America, crushing jobs and arresting our economic recovery at every stop

The portion of U.S. electricity fired by coal has slipped from about 50 percent to 45 percent in the last few years as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and other drilling techniques have allowed access to vast new U.S. natural gas supplies.

NO PLAN FOR EXISTING PLANTS

The EPA is the main tool President Barack Obama has left to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which he pledged at an international climate meeting to cut by about 17 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels.

But the agency’s moves are also met by challenges by industry in the courts and have been under withering criticism from Republicans, who have made environmental regulations a big campaign theme ahead of the November 6 elections.

Environmentalists are part of Obama’s base and the administration has tried to walk a tightrope with its “all of the above” energy strategy that includes tougher energy regulations and support for renewable energy, while also supporting drilling for oil and gas.

Greens who were stung by Obama’s decision last September to delay a major smog rule, mostly cheered the EPA on Tuesday.

“The bottom line for our country is that cleaner power will cut harmful carbon dioxide pollution, protect our children and help secure a safe prosperous future,” said Vickie Patton, the general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund.

But others bemoaned a concession to industry that left existing plants without limits. The EPA’s Jackson said the agency has no current plans to issue rules on those plants, which backers of climate action say are essential to tackle climate change.

Obama “should stand by EPA Administrator Jackson and her team as they push corporate polluters to reduce the CO2 spewing from smokestacks today,” said Kyle Ash of Greenpeace.

An industry analyst said the proposal gives power companies a break as the rules would not regulate the existing plants subject to other EPA rules on mercury and other emissions. “We think this is very reassuring news to an industry on the cusp of investing billions to meet,” those other limits, said Christine Tezak, an energy policy analyst at R.W. Baird & Co.

“Moving forward, it will be important for EPA to address carbon emissions for existing power plants as well,” said Kevin Kennedy, the U.S. climate director at the research group World Resources Institute. “Existing plants represent a significant opportunity to improve efficiency and reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.”

 

Original post Here

EPA Lawsuits Question Basis, Procedures Behind EPA’s “Endangerment Finding”

EPA’s Global Warming Juggernaut Challenged in Court

Lawsuits Question Basis, Procedures Behind EPA’s “Endangerment Finding
February 27, 2012

Washington, D.C., February 27, 2012 – EPA’s economically ruinous plans for regulating greenhouse gas emissions are being challenged in federal court this week by a broad array of states and private parties, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Science and Environmental Policy Project, and FreedomWorks.  A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Tuesday and Wednesday in a set of cases challenging EPA’s decision to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as pollutants under the Clean Air Act.  The court will also review a series of major EPA regulations based on that decision.

The petitioners argue that EPA acted arbitrarily and illegally in a number of respects:  it ignored the severe shortcomings of climate models; it illegally adopted the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; and it refused to reopen its proceedings in the wake of Climategate.  The agency also ignored the fact that its incredibly costly regulations will have no detectable impact on global temperature.  Despite their extraordinary economic impacts, their much-ballyhooed benefits will in fact amount to zero.

“The fact that the court is devoting two days to hearing these cases demonstrates the importance of these legal questions.  But from a political standpoint, there’s even more at stake,” said CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis.   “In 2010, after two decades of global warming advocacy, Congress declined to give EPA explicit authority to regulate greenhouse gases when Senate leaders pulled the plug on cap-and-trade legislation.  EPA’s insistence on going forward with its command-and-control agenda despite this defies both history and logic.”

Last year, EPA’s own Inspector General found that the agency based its 2009 “Endangerment Finding” (that emissions from greenhouse gases endanger the public health and welfare) on a flawed and inadequate assessment of climate science, and that EPA’s peer review methodology did not meet OMB requirements for highly influential scientific assessments.  (See EPA IG Report)

HERE for More

New Electric Smart Meters in Mississippi Can Be Removed or Blocked

Use the letter below to forbid smart meter installation (or modify the letter to demand the meter be removed).

From:
Energy Customer’s Name
Street Address
City State Zip

To:
Energy Provider
Street Address
City State Zip

Date of letter

NOTICE OF NO CONSENT TO TRESPASS AND SURVEILLANCE, NOTICE OF LIABILITY

Dear (Energy Provider) and all agents, officers, employees, contractors and interested parties,

If you intend to install a “Smart Meter” or any activity monitoring device at the above address, you and all other parties are hereby denied consent for installation and use of all such devices on the above property. Installation and use of any activity monitoring device is hereby refused and prohibited. Informed consent is legally required for installation of any surveillance device and any device that will collect and transmit private and personal data to undisclosed and unauthorized parties for undisclosed and unauthorized purposes. Authorization for sharing of personal and private information may only be given by the originator and subject of that information. That authorization is hereby denied and refused with regard to the above property and all its occupants. “Smart Meters” and digital meters violate the law and cause endangerment to residents by the following factors:
1. They individually identify electrical devices inside the home and record when they are operated causing invasion of privacy.
2. They monitor household activity and occupancy in violation of rights and domestic security.
3. They transmit wireless signals which may be intercepted by unauthorized and unknown parties. Those signals can be used to monitor behavior and occupancy and they can be used by criminals to aid criminal activity against the occupants.
4. Data about occupant’s daily habits and activities are collected, recorded and stored in permanent databases which are accessed by parties not authorized or invited to know and share that private data by those who’s activities were recorded.
5. Those with access to the smart meter databases can review a permanent history of household activities complete with calendar and time-of-day metrics to gain a highly invasive and detailed view of the lives of the occupants.
6. Those databases may be shared with, or fall into the hands of criminals, blackmailers, corrupt law enforcement, private hackers of wireless transmissions, power company employees, and other unidentified parties who may act against the interests of the occupants under metered surveillance.
7. “Smart Meters” are, by definition, surveillance devices which violate Federal and State wiretapping laws by recording and storing databases of private and personal activities and behaviors without the consent or knowledge of those people who are monitored.
8. It is possible for example, with analysis of certain “Smart Meter” data, for unauthorized and distant parties to determine medical conditions, sexual activities, physical locations of persons within the home, vacancy patterns and personal information and habits of the occupants.
9. Your company has not adequately disclosed the particular recording and transmission capabilities of the smart meter, or the extent of the data that will be recorded, stored and shared, or the purposes to which the data will and will not be put.
10. Electromagnetic and Radio Frequency energy contamination from smart meters exceeds allowable safe and healthful limits for domestic environments as determined by the EPA and other scientific programs.

I forbid, refuse and deny consent of any installation and use of any monitoring, eavesdropping, and surveillance devices on my property, my place of residence and my place of occupancy. That applies to and includes “Smart Meters” and activity monitoring devices of any and all kinds. Any attempt to install any such device directed at me, other occupants, my property or residence will constitute trespass, stalking, wiretapping and unlawful surveillance and endangerment of health and safety, all prohibited and punishable by law through criminal and civil complaints. All persons, government agencies and private organizations responsible for installing or operating monitoring devices directed at or recording my activities, which I have not specifically authorized in writing, will be fully liable for a fee of $100,000.00 for any violations, intrusions, harm or negative consequences caused or made possible by those devices whether those negative consequences are provided by “law” or not.

This is legal notice. After this delivery the liabilities listed above may not be denied or avoided by parties named and implied in this notice. Civil Servant immunities and protections do not apply to the installation of smart meters due to the criminal violations they represent.

Notice to principal is notice to agent and notice to agent is notice to principal. All rights reserved.

Signature

Smart Meter

Smart Meter (Photo credit: Duke Energy)

 

Barclays Closes US Carbon Desk is Southern Company’s Mississippi Power Latest Cap-And-Trade Setback

Barclays Closes US Carbon Desk In Latest Cap-And-Trade Setback: ‘A major European bank closed its US carbon trading business this week in sign that 2012 is a “make-or-break” year for cap-and-trade’

By

A major European bank closed its US carbon trading business this week in a sign that 2012 is a “make-or-break” year for cap-and-trade programs designed to fight climate change.

London-based Barclays determined the US carbon market, currently comprised of a handful of states, is too small to justify the expense of a dedicated trading desk in New York, according to sources familiar with the decision. Barclays was a major player in US greenhouse-gas trading programs on the East and West coasts and remains active in Europe’s carbon market, the largest in the world. Seth Martin, a Barclays spokesman, declined to comment.

Barclays Global Investors headquarters on Howa...

Image via Wikipedia

“That is not good news for carbon-dioxide trading, especially not in the US,” says Gary Hart, a market analyst for ICAP Energy and a veteran pollution-rights trader. “There’s such uncertainty around the use of carbon cap-and-trade programs.”

The carbon cap-and-trade concept, which regulates the greenhouse gases linked to climate change by letting companies buy and sell pollution allowances, has suffered a major reversal of fortune since President Barack Obama’s election in 2008. Obama pushed Congress to create a national carbon market, by some estimates worth roughly $100 billion a year. The proposed market, similar to the European Union Emissions Trading System, caught the attention of major financial institutions, such as Barclays and JP Morgan, which saw U.S.-issued carbon allowances as a potentially lucrative new commodity.

“2012 could possibly be the make-or-break year” – Hart

But Obama later backed away from cap-and-trade when it floundered in the US Senate. That left a state-run carbon market in the US Northeast, where prices have crashed by more than 40 percent since 2008 and one of its members, New Jersey, quit the program entirely. Another state-level carbon market, estimated to be worth about $9 billion a year, was scheduled to start in California this year. But it was delayed until 2013 amid a legal challenge from environmental-justice activists who oppose carbon trading.

Even Europe’s carbon cap-and-trade program, in place since 2005, has been rocked by tax-fraud and computer-hacking scandals. Since Obama’s election, carbon prices there have plummeted about 60%, according to Paris-based environmental-trading exchange BlueNext, amid weak economic growth.

After a troubled few years on both sides of the Atlantic, carbon cap-and-trade advocates need to start turning things around this year, Hart says. “2012 could possibly be the make-or-break year,” he says.

Cap-and-trade supporters can already look forward to some wins in 2012. Australia plans to start a carbon tax in July, which will transition to a carbon market over three years, and Europe’s cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases is expanding to include emissions from aircraft. In the US Northeast, the states of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are conducting a comprehensive review of their cap-and-trade market this year, and may recommend changes that lead to higher carbon prices.

But Hart says carbon-market observers will mostly be watching California this year to see if its environmental officials stick with the revised 2013 start date for the state’s cap-and-trade program. Few things could boost the carbon cap-and-trade concept more than the active involvement of California, the most populous U.S. state and ninth-largest economy in the world, Hart says. “That would keep it on life support, at least,” he says.

Here

HAPPY Start in 2012 for America in their Fight Against EPA’s U.N. Regulations

Happy new year to report the voluntary UN Kyoto Protocols are on hold so 2 coal plants can keep in operation.  Keep up the pressure America.

Luminant to keep units online as court halts EPA rule

Luminant Generation Co. will continue operating two coal-fired electricity units it had previously planned to close now that a federal court temporarily halted a pollution regulation from being implemented, the company said Friday.

In September, Luminant said it would idle two units that provide 1.2 gigawatts of capacity at its Monticello power station in Titus County this coming Sunday to comply with the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.

A federal three-judge panel on Friday granted some utilities’ and states’ request for a temporary stay on the rule, which would have required power plants in 28 states, including Texas, to cut smog- and soot-forming emissions that can cross state lines starting Sunday.

The Dallas-based company, Texas’ largest electricity generator, said in a statement the stay “allows Luminant’s Monticello units 1 and 2 to continue operating and providing needed generation for the Texas electric market.”

Luminant said it can also prevent an unspecified number of worker layoffs and continue operating some lignite coal mines it had planned to shut down.

But since the stay is temporary, Luminant “intends to continue closely evaluating business and operational decisions,” it said.

In early December, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s main grid operator, projected that power reserves would fall below its desired minimum target in 2012 because several power-generating units would be absent and power demand would tick up.

ERCOT’s press office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

But President Trip Doggett, who has long expressed concerns about the rule’s compliance timeline, said recently ERCOT would meet its minimum power-reserves target if Luminant’s units were indeed operating.

Some of Texas’ U.S. lawmakers also blame the cross-state rule for raising the risk of blackouts on the state’s main grid. EPA and environmental groups reject those concerns, saying the agency’s clean-air rules have never caused power reliability problems.

The court didn’t rule on the merits of the regulation, the EPA said in a statement. “EPA firmly believes that when the court does weigh the merits of the rule it will ultimately be upheld,” the agency said.

Additionally, the EPA said it was disappointing that the stay was granted in light of the agency’s recently proposed tweaks to the rule.

The agency has said the proposed increase in allowed emissions for 10 states, including Texas, and a two-year delay in a cap on interstate emissions trading would help ease utilities’ transition into the rule.

A number of utilities and states including Texas and Luminant challenged the cross-state rule in federal court. Texas’ suit alleges that the state wasn’t given enough notice and comment on its inclusion for certain pollution reductions.

The court’s decision to stay the rule “is a prudent one that now gives the court time to review the regulation and its burdensome effects on Texas,” state Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a statement.

The EPA, defending its rule, has said Texas was part of a similar George W. Bush-era rule that a court sent back to the agency to rewrite; the cross-state rule is the Bush-era regulation’s replacement.

While Texas was included only for smog-season emission cuts when the new rule was proposed, the agency put the Lone Star State into the full rule when it was finalized on the basis of comments and feedback from state utilities and officials, said Gina McCarthy, EPA assistant administrator.

For now the EPA will transition back to the Bush-era rule “as seamlessly as possible,” the agency said.

The Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental group, said it was disappointed with the ruling but vowed it “will continue to vigorously defend these vitally important reductions of harmful smokestack pollution against the legal attacks brought by large power companies and states such as Texas.”

“The pollution reductions at stake are some of the single most important clean air protections for children, families and communities across the eastern half of the United States,” Vickie Patton, general counsel for the EDF, said in an emailed statement.

The EPA has said the cross-state rule would save up to 34,000 lives a year starting in 2014 and have annual benefits of up to $280 billion versus annual costs of less than $1 billion. Environmentalists say the rule would help address non-attainment of U.S. smog and particulate-matter air standards in the downwind states where the power-plant pollution drifts.

Luminant and other utilities had plenty of time to prepare for the EPA’s recently finalized environmental regulations because they were years in the making, Jim Marston, head of the Texas office of the EDF, said earlier this month.

The EPA and some analysts also have said Luminant could have switched fuels, bought emissions allowances and ramped up pollution controls to comply with the cross-state rule instead of idling the two power-generating units.

The environmental group’s Texas branch didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

Blackouts Expected as Obama’s War on Fossil Fuels Heat Up

http://platform.twitter.com/widgets/hub.1324331373.html

Experts Discuss Obama’s War On Fossil Fuels — And Coming Blackouts

Energy experts discuss Obama’s war on fossil fuels and the potential for rolling blackouts all over the U.S. in the near future — due to EPAedicts.

Here

Coal Mining Faces Devastation From Ken Salazar’s New Edict

Weeks after the infamous BP oil spill in late-April 2010, the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the agency that managed leasing and regulation, was split up into three parts.

Addressing the reorganization, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, said: “We will be able to strengthen oversight of the companies that develop our nation’s energy resources.” He addressed a perceived conflict of interest between departments due to the leasing and regulatory functions being in one agency—one brings in revenue and one regulates (and perhaps punishes) the businesses generating the income.

His mid-May 2010 actions bring his new Secretarial Order to reorganize a different agency into question.

On October 26, 2011, Secretary Salazar signed Secretarial Order 3315 that will consolidate the  within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The Order states that “fee collections” and “regulation, inspection and enforcement, and state program oversight” will now be integrated—the very tasks split out within the MMS reorganization.

Because this new order seems in direct contradiction to the 2010 SO 3299, it raises suspicion as to the true purpose of the agency reorganization—especially since the impacted industry is the administration’s favorite villain—coal.

SO 3315 was announced to the surprise of most in the industry and to those in OSM. Charlie Boddy, a mining and government relations consultant with more than 40 years in the industry and former VP of government relations with Usibelli Coal Mine Inc., said when he first heard the announcement, he thought it was a joke. “It is,” he said, “without a doubt, the most bizarre proposal to come out of the Obama Administration.”

The fact that there was no consultation with the stakeholders, states, or Congress raises additional concerns. If there was a desire to work with the industry, the general belief is that they would have been involved. The order’s surprise element can’t mean good things for coal mining.

On November 4, as a part of a hearing on an investigation into a re-write of the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule, Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO) stated: “In addition, we will also discuss the recent Secretarial Order requiring the merger of the Office of Surface Mining with the Bureau of Land Management. A proposal I am deeply concerned about impacting the ability of the nation’s ability to access our vast coal resources. Furthermore there are clear statutory limitations prohibiting the OSM from leasing or promoting coal, which is a key responsibility of the BLM.”

Doc Hastings (R-WA), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, issued the following statement: “I have serious concerns about this Secretarial Order to suddenly and dramatically alter the management of coal mining and the multiple-use of Western BLM lands. The Obama Administration has not made secret its desire to put an end to America’s coal-mining industry, and this appears to be one more step in that direction.”

Because of the “bombshell” nature of the announcement, the administration’s attitude toward the coal industry, the totally different missions of the OSM and the BLM, and the fact that they operate under different specific provisions and acts of Congress, the proposed merger can only be considered suspect.

In an internal memo to the DOI team, Secretary Salazar states: “This integration reflects our ongoing commitment to good government” and claims that it is about “Doing more in a limited budget environment.”

The OSM is a little agency by comparison to the BLM. OSM’s 2011 budget appropriation is about $160 million compared to more than $1.1 billion for BLM. OSM has about 500 employees, compared to 10,000 at BLM. “In the scheme of government fat, OSM is one of the tiniest little targets you can take aim at,” said Kathy Karpan, a former OSM director. “It’s a little, tiny entity that would be lost at BLM.”

Industry sources fear that OSM will be lost inside the BLM and view the move as a way to make coal mining more difficult; to delay permitting. Normally a coal mine can be permitted through OSM in less than a year. Permitting of a hard rock mine through the BLM can take 7-10 years.

The OSM primarily deals with mines on private or Indian lands—mostly in the east. They cooperate with the states. They do regulation.

The BLM primarily deals with federal lands—mostly in the west. They have little experience with private lands or state agencies. They generate revenues.

Like last year’s SO 3310 that circumvented Congress’ unique ability to designate Wilderness Areas by creating a new “Wild Lands” designation, SO 3315 brings authority into question. Insiders believe that a reorganization of this magnitude requires congressional action.

Some industry groups are taking a wait-and-see approach: “It may be a good idea, but no one really knows.” Coal mining companies are still evaluating, but initial reactions are not supportive.

History tells us that we do not need to “wait and see.” The longer there is silence, the harder it will be to reverse the order, which is scheduled to become effective December 1, 2011—following consultation with applicable congressional committees and will remain in effect until “amended, superseded, or revoked, whichever occurs first.”

While this may seem like a little issue in light of all the big problems we are facing in America, it is one more in a string of power grabs designed to take away authority from the states and move it to the federal government—meaning more centralized power. Don’t let them slip it in until “revoked.” Call Congress and stop SO 3315 before it starts.

Ultimately, less coal mining means job cuts, higher electricity prices, and a diminished America.

EPAABUSE.COM

$437 million spent on MN lignite coal plant Now Closing

My opinion: Closure will not happen to our Mississippi Lignite CO2 experimental plant because the ratepayers are contracted to pay the expenses and losses.  Dooping the ratepayer will protect this money pit form similar demise.

What it’s like being a scientist in the GOP-led Legislature

By Don Shelby | Published Thu, Dec 8 2011 8:59 am

After intense lobbying by Great River Energy, the compliant Republican-led state Legislature approved lifting the restrictions on coal-fired power plants. Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the measure, but last-minute negotiations left in place a provision that allowed electricity from North Dakota’s coal-fired Spiritwood plant to be imported into Minnesota.

Now, despite the political maneuvering, the Spiritwood plant is being shutdown. Great River Energy, which spent $437 million to build the lignite coal plant, says an unforeseen set of economic conditions in the energy field and customer base makes the project impractical to operate.

State Rep. Kate Knuth told me, “We spent a lot of time in the Legislature debating and passing the lifting of restrictions on the importation of coal fired electricity — just for this project.”

Rep. Kate Knuth

kateknuth.orgRep. Kate Knuth

Knuth is in her third term in the Legislature. She is a DFLer from New Brighton. She voted against lifting the restrictions. Knowing her background, one has a right to have expected her opposition. She is a rare sort of politician. She is a scientist.

She is getting her doctorate at the University of Minnesota as a conservation biologist. Her science resume is full of interesting things. She was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Oslo and picked up her masters of science at Oxford. She currently coordinates the Boreas Environmental Leadership Program at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.

Her knowledge of science, as well as her party affiliation, usually finds her in the minority. In her position on Energy Subcommittee, as well as the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee, she is often disregarded by her Republican colleagues.

I asked her if she really liked it in that political kitchen.

“I’ll tell you why I’m a politician,” she said. “I think we need politicians who are willing to look at the evidence and think about our values and future. We need more politicians who are proud to be working together to create a better future.” 

Ideology ahead of science
Politicians in Minnesota’s Legislature and in the U.S. Congress grab headlines by openly taking positions against established science. According to Shawn Otto in his book “Fool Me Twice — Fighting the Assault on Science in America,” politicians are putting party ideology ahead of scientific evidence.

I asked Knuth whether she sees that at the Minnesota Capitol. “I don’t think our elected officials are looking at the evidence clearly about the physical realities in which we live. To not look at that evidence is a disservice to the public. It can have serious consequences for our country and our world.

“Our national security depends on looking at the evidence and understanding it,” Knuth adds.

As an example, polls continue to show that the majority of Americans believe there is still a scientific debate over global warming, while polls of published climate scientists show a 97 percent agreement that the planet is warming and humans are causing it by burning fossil fuels and poor land practices.

Scientists have been trying to figure out what that is happening. More and more information is coming out showing a direct link between the anti-science political motives and contributions from the fossil fuel industry. It seems big oil and coal have better public relations agents than scientists. The belief in the idea that there is still a debate over the fundamentals of climate change has also been traced to fossil fuel front groups. Knuth says she and her colleagues regularly receive publications denying the science from the conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation, among others.

‘Politics requires patience’
I asked Knuth if she sometimes wanted to pull her hair out when she is forced to listen to her opponents in the Legislature misrepresent the known science. “Politics requires patience,” she says. “The whole system is set up to allow huge numbers of politicians to deny physical reality.”

Knuth says she hopes she can continue to have an open conversation with her science-denying colleagues. “I keep hoping we will see heroes emerge in this debate. Am I sometimes angry and frustrated? Yes. But I intend to work with individuals to help shift the system.”

But is Knuth willing to take on Republicans on the battlefield of the economy? I asked her whether the scientific argument isn’t falling on the ears of people who are only listening to news of an improving economy.

“If we don’t have to go to other states and other countries for our fuel, that is a great economic advantage for Minnesotans,” she says.

Knuth points out that Minnesota has no natural gas, no coal, no oil and no uranium. “But we do have abundant wind, a surprising amount of solar energy and a bunch of really smart people who want to go to work to build the next generation of energy,” she says.

The opposition at the Legislature to renewable energy leaves Knuth puzzled. “So I don’t get, as a legislator, why you would promote sources of power that we have to import from out of state, and send our money out of state, and be reliant on other places for our energy systems.

“If we can concentrate on energy-efficiencies and conservation,” she says, “we don’t have to build expensive, old technology power plants. That would be a savings for us in both the long and short term.”

She adds: “I haven’t even mentioned the benefits to our lakes and rivers and to our agriculture.  The health benefits of cleaner energy are an economic savings in itself.”

Knuth is sometimes frustrated and angry as a scientist working among non-scientist politicians — but she is happy to be in the statehouse. “I don’t think there is a better time to be a politician in this country than right now,” she says. “There are big problems facing us, and we are being asked to come up with the solutions.  So while it is often frustrating, it is incredibly invigorating to be there. And when we turn it around, it is going to be really fun.”

Kate Knuth says she believes in politics and leadership. She says, “I hope more young people see that being a politician is something they might strive for — and to see it as something noble.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell Rep. Knuth that her last statement was not based on the current state of the evidence.

Here

EPA Moves Forward with GHG Regulations for Power Plants

November 9, 2011

EPA Moves Forward with GHG Regulations                    for Power Plants

POWERnews

The Obama administration on Tuesday posted a notice on the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) website that indicates the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has filed a copy of proposed rules to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new, modified, and existing power plants.

The EPA sent the regulations governing Greenhouse Gas New Source Performance Standard for Electric Generating Units to the OMB, as is consistent with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA (2007), the landmark ruling that included GHGs within the Clean Air Act’s definition of air pollutants, said EPA spokesperson Betsaida Alcantara in a statement.

“EPA will work with OMB throughout the interagency review process and will issue the proposal when this review is complete,” she said. “EPA has engaged in an extensive and open public process to gather the latest and best information. The agency is fully considering this input as it develops smart, cost-effective and protective standards.”

The agency will be soliciting additional comment and information at the time that it proposes the new source rule and will take that input fully into account as it completes its process for this rule, she added.

The EPA had missed a court-imposed deadline to propose the rules by July 26, 2011, to more thoroughly review public comment on draft rules. In September, just weeks before its self-imposed deadline of Sept. 30, 2011, the EPA again deferred the proposal, not specifying a new date.

The agency had been expected to finalize the rule by May 26, 2012, as required by a December 2010 settlement agreement between the agency, several states, and environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the Environmental Defense Fund.

The review by the OMB could take up to 90 days.

Mississippi Power’s Coal Plant Science Now Under IG Investigation

The fraudulent Science behind the EPA promoted CO2 capturing Coal Plants is now under investigation by the Inspector General.  Thank God!  Maybe we can save the country we love from having every freedom stripped from us  by removing the power from the United Nations via reorganizing the EPA. 

The UN uses the EPA and other organizations to over regulate America under the guise of environmentalism.  Their underlying goal has nothing to do with the environment.  Please search Agenda 21.

Oh, but don’t worry Mississippi electricity users, Southern Company and Mississippi Power shareholders will not lose money because  our Public Service Commissioners, Bentz and Posey, voted to place losses on the backs of the ratepayers.

EPA Skirting Proper Scientific Process In Air Pollution Rules

Warns Of IG Investigation

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, sent a letter last night to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson inquiring if the Agency adhered to the requirements of the Data Quality Act while crafting the rule for hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired electric generating units, known as the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule.

This letter comes on the heels of a report by the EPA Office of Inspector General, released September 28, 2011, which revealed that EPA did not follow the Data Quality Act or its own peer review procedures while issuing the Technical Support Document (TSD) for the endangerment finding – a finding that greenhouse gases harm public health and welfare. “In the wake of the recent EPA IG report, which revealed that EPA short-circuited record-keeping and scientific peer review procedures leading up to its endangerment finding, it appears that EPA has cut corners on the proposed  Utility MACT rule,” Senator Inhofe said.  “Our investigation found that the peer review procedures for the Utility MACT Technical Support Documents are inadequate.

Indeed, EPA’s own Science Advisory Board criticized the Agency for ‘missing or poorly explained’ data and methods.  Given the cost and reliability effects of the proposed rule, it is critical that EPA be held accountable for the process leading up to the decision to regulate.

“Utility MACT is projected to be one of the most expensive rules in the Agency’s history.  It will cost billions of dollars, significantly increase electricity rates, cause a large number of plant closures, and, along with the Cross-State rule, destroy nearly 1.4 million jobs.  Cutting corners on a rule with such devastating effects on our economy is unacceptable.

“I look forward to EPA’s response on this important matter, and if the information is not forthcoming, I will request that the EPA IG conduct an investigation.”

Specifically, Senator Inhofe’s Senate Environment and Public Works Committee staff found that the peer review process for the Utility MACT Technical Support Documents, entitled National-Scale Mercury Risk Assessment Supporting the Appropriate and Necessary Finding for Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Generating Units (Mercury Risk Assessment) and Non-Mercury HAP Case Studies Supporting the Appropriate and Necessary Finding for Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Generating Units (Non-Mercury Case Studies) was inadequate.

The Mercury Risk Assessment has been criticized for incoherence and conflicting data, and EPA has yet to seek peer review for the Non-Mercury Case Studies.  EPA’s improper “peer review” of these critical studies, along with its failure to adhere to the proper procedures for the endangerment finding TSD calls into question the scientific integrity of EPA’s decision-making process. HERE

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