Environmental Regulation

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “I’m on the same side as Jimmy Hoffa and the AFL- CIO on this. The Teamsters and the AFL-CIO want the Keystone Pipeline right now. The president has been talking about creating jobs. This is ready to go immediately. All it requires is his sign off. The president is posturing here.”

December 11, 2011

“McConnell [said] that his Democratic counterpart, Majority Leader Harry Reid, and the president may want to check with their base before threatening to hold up a House version that calls for tying an extension of the tax holiday to a “shovel-ready” project like the transnational pipeline.”

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No deal reached at the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa

December 11, 2011

“The nightmare package of measures outlined in the treaty that came out of the Durban Climate Summit has failed, with the outcome instead being a promise to work towards implementing the measures over the next decade. Make no mistake, sanity won the battle in this instance, but the war goes on.”

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At the UN Climate Summit in Durban, South Africa, the United Nations proposes an ‘International Climate Court of Justice’ under a bureaucracy of world government that would force countries to pay “climate debt” and reparations to third world nations to pay for carbon cuts

December 11, 2011

“- The treaty calls for the west to achieve a 50% CO2 emissions reduction within the next eight years, as well as a “more than 100%” reduction by 2050.

- The text calls for a 2 degree Celsius drop in global temperatures.

- The process will be enforced by an “International Climate Court of Justice” under a bureaucracy of world government that will force western nations to pay “climate debt,” as well as reparations to third world nations to pay for carbon cuts that wouldn’t be as drastic.”

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House of Representatives passes legislation preventing the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating ‘farm dust’

December 8, 2011

“The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act, H.R. 1633, which would prevent the EPA from issuing any new rule over the next year that regulates coarse particulate matter or “nuisance dust,” passed in a 268-150 vote. Like other environmental bills the GOP has brought forward this year, the bill enjoyed some support from Democrats: 33 voted along with Republicans in favor of the bill.”

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Canada considers jettisoning the Kyoto Protocol, which would save the country $6.7 billion in three years

December 3, 2011

“Canada, which has the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves, would be the first of 191 signatories to the Kyoto Protocol to annul its emission-reduction obligations. While Environment Minister Peter Kent declined to confirm Nov. 28 that Canada is preparing to pull out of Kyoto, which may ease the burden for oil-sands producers and coal-burning utilities, he said the government wouldn’t make further commitments to it.”

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The week before Thanksgiving, Congress passed and Obama signed into law legislation lifting the prohibition on horse-slaughter plants, thus essentially legalizing horse slaughtering in the U.S.

December 1, 2011

“The domestic ban didn’t end horse slaughter but instead shifted the site of butchery to Mexico and Canada – which meant increased abuse or neglect as the horses were shipped out of the country and beyond the reach of U.S. law.

The ban had been imposed in 2006 when Congress defunded the government’s ability to inspect plants that butchered horses for consumption. Without inspections, the meat couldn’t be sold, and the industry withered.”

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Guardian: Global Agreement the best way to reach a consensus on tackling climate change

November 27, 2011

“As world leaders and scientists assemble next week for COP 17 in Durban, the main the focus of discussion will be the Kyoto protocol and the need for a binding international agreement on climate change. This is a redundant exercise. The real driver for change in climate negotiations is the call for voluntary national commitments that was issued in 2009 at COP 15 in Copenhagen.”

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Mayor of Groesbeck, Texas: Town will run out of water in two weeks

November 24, 2011

“Groesbeck Mayor Jackie Livingston said the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department told town officials at a City Council meeting late Monday they could run the line through Fort Parker State Park. But she said construction on the line would not begin until the written contract is received, which should take less than a week.

Towns throughout Texas have been struggling with dwindling reservoirs and water resources as a historic drought parches the state.
Livingston said the town of 6,500 people about 100 miles south of Dallas normally draws water from a nearby river. The river, however, has run dry and the town has purchased a four-month supply of water from a rock quarry seven miles away. Contractors have promised they could have the pipeline built within four days, Livingston said.”

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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for compromise to agree upon a comprehensive climate deal

November 16, 2011

“UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Monday expressed his hope that governments at COP-17 in Durban will find a compromise on the Kyoto Protocol to make a broader comprehensive climate agreement possible in the future.

“Durban must complete what was agreed last year in Cancun,” he said at Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF)-2011 conference held in Dhaka.

The two-day CVF began on Monday, aimed at reaching consensus on various climate issues and working together at COP-17 to be held in Durban, South Africa on November 28.

Ban called for scaling up the climate financing through launching the Green Climate Fund agreed last year in Cancun. He said Governments must lead the way to catalyze the 100 billion U.S. dollars per annum from public and private sources that was pledged to 2020.”

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Obama Administration will explore a new route for the Keystone XL Pipeline, thus delaying final approval until after the 2012 election

November 11, 2011

“The Obama administration plans to announce on Thursday it will explore a new route for a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, delaying a final approval beyond the 2012 U.S. election, sources briefed on the matter said.

The decision would be a victory for environmentalists, many of whom oppose the pipeline, and a setback for TransCanada Corp, whose $7 billion Keystone XL project is seen as the most important North American oil pipeline plan for decades.

One source familiar with the matter said that studying a new route for the pipeline would likely take 12-18 months, putting a final decision after President Barack Obama’s bid for re-election on November 6, 2012.

If the administration explores a new route, “it’s a huge victory, and it would probably be the biggest environmental gift that President Barack Obama has given us,” said Tony Iallonardo, a spokesman at the National Wildlife Federation.”

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After 53 seconds, Rick Perry fails to name three Departments he would cut despite his rhetoric insisting on abolishing Departments of the Executive Branch

November 10, 2011

In tonight’s Republican Debate, Texas Governor Rick Perry was given the opportunity to name three Federal Executive Departments that he would abolish in office. After naming the Commerce and Education Departments, he suggests the Environmental Protection Agency as a third. Once informed that the EPA is not a Federal Executive Department, he failed to name a third to cut.

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The Interior Department releases an offshore drilling plan open to Arctic Drilling but keeping the Atlantic and Pacific off limits

November 10, 2011

“Arctic waters would be open to new oil and gas development under an Obama administration proposal that keeps the Pacific and Atlantic coasts off-limits to more drilling.

The Interior Department’s offshore leasing plan, released Tuesday, attempts to steer a middle course — and goes too far in the view of environmental groups and not far enough in the eyes of House Republicans.

The proposal omits Atlantic and Pacific coast areas that the George W. Bush administration sought to open to drilling. But it also calls for three lease sales off the coast of Alaska in environmentally fragile areas that have become a much-contested frontier in energy production.

“This five-year program will make available for development more than three-quarters of undiscovered oil and gas resources estimated on the [Outer Continental Shelf], including frontier areas such as the Arctic, where we must proceed cautiously, safely and based on the best science available,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.”

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Demand response and advanced energy metering use increasing but far from being standard

November 8, 2011

“Demand response and advanced energy metering are spreading rapidly across the US, although both have some way to go before become standard features of the nation’s electricity system.

As of June 2011, 13.4 percent of electricity meters in the US — 9.7 million in all — featured advanced “smart” technologies, compared to 8.7 percent in 2009, according to the sixth annual update on demand response and advanced metering from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In fact, counting advanced meters that have been installed but not activated yet, the penetration of smart meters could be as high as 18 percent as of September of this year.

A large number of those advanced meters, around 7.2 million, were deployed thanks to 2009 federal stimulus funds. By the time stimulus-funded programs are completed, that figure is expected to reach 15.5 million.

The FERC report further cites projections from the Institute for Electric Efficiency indicating that, by 2015, the US will have some 65 million smart meters deployed.”

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Cost of health-related problems due to climate change estimated at $14 billion

November 8, 2011

“A study released Monday looked at six climate change-related events in the United States – three of them specific to the Inland region – and found that the cost of health problems, lost work and deaths totaled about $14 billion.

The work by scientists from the Natural Resources Defense Council, a New York-based environmental action group, and UC San Francisco was published in Health Affairs, a public health journal funded by The People-to-People Health Foundation.

Though other studies have estimated future health costs related to climate change, this is the first to look at the outcomes of specific weather events, said co-author Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, a staff scientist in the health and environment program at the council’s San Francisco office.

The aim of the study, she said, is to prompt policy makers to prepare for future problems. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, the group is calling for such measures as expanding programs for mosquito surveillance and control to reduce the cases of West Nile virus and implementing warning systems for heat waves.”

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Less Developed Countries prepared to defend their current stances on greenhouse gas emissions at the Durban Climate Change Conference in Copenahgen

November 8, 2011

“As nations prepare for the most crucial conference on climate change in Durban end of this month, every developing country attending the meeting may not make any fundamental change in their negotiation points.

The rigidity will be born out of the realization that they, as developing nations and least developed countries (LDCs), (as they are aptly described in the Kyoto Protocol (KP) on Climate Change), contributes less to the Green House Gases (GHGs) responsible for the global warming.

The argument has always been that the Industrialized nations, (the Kyoto’s Annex 1) countries contributed more than 95% of the GHGs and so they should equally bear the brunt of financing the mechanisms that will make the developing and LDCs adapt and overtime lessen the impacts of climate change on their people.

This has been the crux of the disagreement since Kyoto came into legal reality on February 16, 2005 almost 8 years after it was negotiated in 1997.”

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