Posted on June 29, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Conservative majority ruling puts thousands of lives at risk
Mercury from the Craig Station power plant in northwest Colorado pollutes lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The EPA will have to go back to the drawing board if it wants to regulate toxic mercury emissions from factories and power plants, as the U.S. Supreme Court today voided the agency’s 2012 regulations that were set to take effect this year.
In a divided five-four ruling, the court sided with heavy industry and fossil-fuel burning power plants, saying that the EPA should have considered the costs of the regulations as part of its initial evaluation. The EPA had argued that those costs would be evaluated at the next step of the regulatory process.
Mercury is a global pollutant that has been detected in California’s coastal fogs. In a national assessment, the U.S. Geological Survey found unhealthy mercury levels in 25 percent of all U.S. Streams. And near Hawaii, scientists say mercury concentrations in yellowfin tuna have been increasing 3.8 percent a year. Researchers have even documented signs of environmental stress in Alaskan sled dogs who primarily eat mercury tainted fish. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, Environment, EPA mercury standards, mercury pollution, Supreme Court of the United States | 3 Comments »
Posted on June 26, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New pollution controls will cut emissions at the Four Corners power plant.
Settlement includes requirements for regional public health and environmental mitigation projects
FRISCO — One of the dirtiest coal-burning power plants in the country will be required to upgrade pollution controls, cutting thousands of tons of harmful sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions.
The $160 million cleanup at the Four Corners Power Plant, located on the Navajo Nation near Shiprock, New Mexico, comes under a court-ordered Clean Air Act settlement between the EPA and several Arizona and New Mexico-based utility companies.
The total combined emission reductions secured from the settlement will exceed 2 million tons each year, once all the required pollution controls are installed and implemented. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, coal, Environment, Four Corners air quality, Four Corners Power Plant, Navajo Nation, Nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Oil and gas operations on public and tribal lands produce 21 percent of national emissions from gas production.
Study says easy fixes available to stop methane leaks
FRISCO — Methane emissions from oil and gas operations on federally managed public lands and tribal lands totaled more than 1 million tons in 2013, accounting for about 12 percent of total methane emissions across the U.S.
That methane was worth about $360 million at current gas prices, showing how oil and gas companies are squandering a valuable public resources and polluting the atmosphere, according to a new economic study released by the Environmental Defense Fund. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, climate change, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, global warming, oil drilling | Tagged: climate change, Environment, greenhouse gases, methane pollution, public lands | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 10, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
‘The main barriers are social, political and getting industries to change …’
FRISCO — Getting the U.S. completely off its addiction to fossil fuels may seem daunting, especially if the goal is a relatively quick switch to renewable energy sources. But there’s more and more scientific evidence showing it can be done with existing technology, and without causing a lot of economic pain.
The U.S. could achieve the transition by 2050, say two California scientists who have outlined a plan for all 50 states to make the switch to renewable energy sources.
The advantages are pretty clear: Combating climate change, eliminating mortality and disease linked with air pollution, creating new jobs and stabilizing energy prices to the benefit of consumers. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, energy, Environment, global warming, renewable energy | Tagged: climate change, enery politics, Environment, public health, public policy, renewable energy | 2 Comments »
Posted on June 7, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A snapshot of ozone conditions in early June 2015.
Scientists say more monitoring will be crucial for regulators
FRISCO — Proposed new standards for harmful ozone pollution could present a big challenge for air quality managers at the state and local level. More monitoring is needed to help tell apart local sources from ozone that’s generated elsewhere, Boulder-based scientists wrote last week in Science.
Last November, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed lowering the primary ozone standard from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 or 65 ppb, based on ozone’s known effects on children, the elderly, and people who have lung diseases such as asthma. A decision by the EPA Administrator is expected in October 2015. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, Environment, EPA, ozone, public health | Leave a comment »