Posted on October 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
EPA challenged on decision to designate polluted region as unclassifiable
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Environmental advocates and the EPA are facing off in a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. today over air quality in Utah’s remote Uinta Basin, where ozone levels often exceed standards set to protect human health.
In a weird twist to the case, the fossil fuel industry is claiming that its own air pollution data is of poor quality and unreliable, and shouldn’t be used by the EPA to designate the Uinta Basin as a nonattainment area, despite the fact that the area regularly sees some of the highest ozone pollution levels in the country.
At issue in the oral arguments is the EPA’s refusal to designate the Uinta Basin as a nonattainment area despite monitoring showing serious air quality degradation in northeastern Utah. The EPA’s decision to designate the area as unclassifiable is a clear violation of the Clean Air Act, according to WildEarth Guardians, one of the groups involved in the case. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, fracking, oil and gas drilling, ozone, public health, Uinta Basin | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 2, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A classic North American monsoonal flow of moisture, moving clockwise around an area of high pressure.
‘Human activity has played a significant role in altering the seasonal monsoon rainfall on which billions of people depend’
FRISCO — A 10 percent drop in overall monsoon rainfall in the northern hemisphere during past 50 years is outside the range of natural climate variability, Scottish researchers said after a detailed analysis of weather data.
After accounting for all the variables, the scientists said that emissions produced by human activity caused the drop. Tiny air particles from man-made sources — known as anthropogenic aerosols — were the cause. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: aerosols, air pollution, climate change, monsoon | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 1, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Oil and gas drillers must to more to protect the airsheds they operate in.
Air quality worsening in rural areas affected by fracking
FRISCO — Dangerously high levels of winter ozone pollution in parts of Utah can be traced directly to chemicals released into the air by oil and gas exploration. The volatile organic compounds, common byproducts of fossil fuel exploitation, get trapped under atmospheric inversion layers and sunlight reflected by snow sparks the chemical process that forms the corrosive gas.
For example, in 2013, ozone in Ouray, Utah, exceeded the national air quality standards 49 times during the winter season. By contrast, in the densely populated, urban area of Riverside, California, the standards were exceeded about half that amount that same year, but during the summer. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, Environment, Fossil fuel, fracking, ozone | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 8, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
U.S. airlines have long lobbied against any measures aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft, but they won’t be able to dodge new EPA pollution regulations developed under the authority of the Clean Air Act.
Agency targets spring 2016 to make initial findings
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — U.S. airlines may soon be required to at least start thinking about cutting their carbon footprint.
Aviation accounts for about 11 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. transportation sector and is one of the fastest-growing sources of carbon pollution, rising between 3 percent to 5 percent a year. Carbon emissions from global aviation will quadruple by mid-century without action. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: air pollution, airlines, climate change, EPA, greenhouse gases | 6 Comments »
Posted on August 2, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Holistic evaluation of impacts needed
In areas where shale-drilling/hydraulic fracturing is heavy, a dense web of roads, pipelines and well pads turn continuous forests and grasslands into fragmented islands. Photo courtesy Simon Fraser University PAMR.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO —Fracking battles often develop over neighborhood concerns about pollution, but that local focus may mean that we’re losing sight of the bigger picture. On a landscape level, the current and projected scale of shale gas exploitation poses a huge threat to ecosystems, as each individual well contributes to air, water, noise and light pollution.
Those impacts need to be examined on a cumulative level, scientists said in a new study that calls for scientists, industry representatives and policymakers to collaborate closely on minimizing damage to the natural world from shale gas development. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment | Tagged: air pollution, ecosystems, Environment, fracking, water pollution | 3 Comments »
Posted on June 29, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
The Four Corners Power Plant in a 1972 photo via Wikipedia.
Global warming impacts, health of Native American communities at issue in new federal study
FRISCO — President Obama may be all about tackling global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions these days, but that message hasn’t trickled to to various government agencies, including the Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, which last week released a draft environmental study on continued operation of the Four Corners Power Plant and Navajo Mine Energy Project.
The giant coal-burning facility is one of the biggest sources of heat-trapping greenhouse gases and other toxic air pollutants in the country, yet the draft study, which would permit continued operation for another 25 years, appears to ignore any option besides business-as-usual, according to environmental groups, who say they will challenge the federal government because it failed to look at impacts on climate and to wildlife and people. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment | Tagged: air pollution, energy, Environment, Environmental justice, Four Corners Power Plant | Leave a comment »