Friday, February 27, 2009

$25 Billion In Electric Car Loans Not Yet Being Used

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has $25 billion to make loans to produce electric vehicles. Unfortunatedly, although these loans have been available since 2007, no money has been allocated so far. The Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan program, established in 2007, has received applications from 75 companies, including start-ups as well as the three Detroit automakers. The loans also are intended to help fulfill President Obama's campaign promise of putting one million electric cars on American roads by 2015. DOE Secretary Stephen Chu announced that the first loans would be made by late April or early May.

The Energy Department accepted 25 loan applications by the December 31 deadline. Another $2 billion is coming to DOE from the $787 billion stimulus package. That money will be used to develop the advanced battery technology needed to power electric cars, batteries more durable, safer and cheaper than anything available today.

G.M. and Chrysler have applied for a combined $13 billion from the Energy Department, must wait until the end of March for the Obama administration to decide whether the companies’ restructuring plans would make them viable. With credit markets tight, the program represents a source of financing to develop electric-vehicle technology. General Motors is requesting $8.3 billion, earmarking a portion for the Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid. Ford is asking for $5 billion for a variety of electric car retooling programs and Chrysler is asking for around $5 billion. (NYTimes, 2/27/09)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obama Budget Proposes Cutting Yucca Mountain Budget

President Obama's FY 2010 Budget Request would cut funding for the proposed nuclear-waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. A document accompanying Mr. Obama's proposal said funding for the project "will be scaled back to those costs necessary to answer inquiries from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, while the Administration devises a new strategy toward nuclear-waste disposal." (WSJ 2/26/09) Center President Norris McDonald is pictured at left at the exit of the Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada.

The Center, through its work with the Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition (NFRC), is proposing that nuclear waste should be taken out of the U.S. Department of Energy altogether with responsiblity transfered to a new agency that would only manage such products. NFRC is proposing to amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (42 U.S.C. 10101) to establish the United States Nuclear Waste Management Agency (NWMA) to manage all Federal and civilian spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste management programs currently under the control of the United States Department of Energy. NWMA would also establish and operate low-level radioactive waste receipt, supplementary segregation, treatment and burial or monitored/retrievable storage facilities on a fee basis. It would promote spent nuclear fuel reprocessing as a viable technology to aid in achieving and maintaining our national security and National Energy Policy goals. It would also expedite the ability to significantly reduce the total volume of radioactive waste designated for disposal in a Federal geologic repository at Yucca Mountain.

More Taxes/Fees on Oil Companies in 2010 Obama Budget

In its $3.55 trillion FY 2010 Budget Request, the Obama administration proposes to raise about $32 billion over 10 years from oil and gas companies. This includes a repeal of tax breaks for domestic production and new charges on oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico. The FY 2010 Obama budget request calls for about $13 billion over 10 years in new charges on oil and gas companies from the repeal of a tax deduction for domestic production. The Obama administration also proposed a new excise tax on oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, which would raise about $5 billion over the next 10 years. The White House also has plans to charge user fees to oil companies for processing oil and gas drilling permits on federal lands to ensure that federal taxpayers receive their fair share. (WSJ, 2/26/09)

Department of Energy FY 2010 Budget Request

The FY 2010 Budget Request for the U.S. Department of Energy is $26.3 billion. Funding Highlights:

• Begins to build a new economy that is powered by clean and secure energy through funding provided in the 2010 Budget and the $39 billion provided for energy programs in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

• Provides significant increases in funding for basic research and world-leading scientific userfacilities to support transformational discoveries and accelerate solutions to our Nation’s most pressing problems – including the development of clean energy.

• Supports economic investment and positions the United States as the world leader in climate change technology.

• Accelerates the transition to a low-carbon economy through increased support of the developmentand deployment of clean energy technologies such as solar, biomass, geothermal, wind, and low-carbon emission coal power.

• Builds on the $11 billion provided in the Recovery Act for smart grid technologies, transmission system expansion and upgrades, and other investments to modernize and enhance the electric transmission infrastructure to improve energy efficiency and reliability.

• Supports and encourages the early commercial deployment of innovative, clean energy technologies through loan guarantees.

• Reduces security risks through the detection, elimination, and securing of nuclear material and radiological sources worldwide while maintaining the safety, security, and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile.

• Continues the Nation’s efforts to reduce environmental risks and safely manage nuclear materials.

Source: U.S. Government FY 2010 Budget Request (OMB)

EPA FY 2010 Budget Request Largest In Agency's History

The Obama administration today proposed a budget of $10.5 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the largest in the agency’s 39-year history. The increase of $3 billion from last year will further ensure the protection of public health and the environment for all Americans. Last week, President Obama announced the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which includes $7.22 billion for EPA-administered projects and programs to protect human health and the environment. Some key highlights of 2010 budget initiatives include:

· $3.9 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund grants to support approximately 1,000 clean water projects and 700 drinking water projects - this year’s largest single investment. In addition to the funds recently invested through the ARRA, this funding is a critical step in addressing the water infrastructure needs in thousands of communities across the country. EPA will work with state and local partners to develop a sustainability policy, including management and pricing, conservation, security and a plan for adequate long-term state and municipal funding for future capital needs.

· A new $475 million, multi-agency Great Lakes Initiative to protect the world’s largest fresh water resource. EPA will coordinate with federal partners, states, tribes, localities and other entities to protect, maintain and restore the chemical, biological and physical integrity of the lakes. EPA and its partners will address invasive species, non-point source pollution, habitat restoration, contaminated sediment and other critical issues.

· A $19 million increase for the greenhouse gas emissions inventory and related activities that will provide data critical for implementing a comprehensive climate change bill. EPA’s funding for climate change investments is the foundation for working with key stakeholders and Congress to develop an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions approximately 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.

· Strengthening EPA’s core research, enforcement and regulatory capabilities. The budget request also proposes reinstating the Superfund excise taxes that expired. Reinstating the Superfund taxes would collect over $1 billion annually to fund the cleanup of the nation’s most contaminated sites.

Source: EPA

FY 2010 Budget Request

President Obama & CO2 Allowance Auction Program

The Center supports a cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide (CO2) and we solve the environmental justice 'hot spots' issue through our Environmental Justice Allowance Reserve reocmmendation. The Center has also formulated an Elderly Allowance Reserve. The Center believes the CO2 cap-and-trade program should be modeled on the successful Clean Air Act Acid Rain Program.

In the Acid Rain Program Allowances were allocated for each year beginning in 1995. Phase I included certain electricity generating units. EPA allocated allowances at an emission rate of 2.5 pounds of SO2/mmBtu (million British thermal units) of heat input, multiplied by the unit's baseline mmBtu (the average fossil fuel consumed from 1985 through 1987). In Phase II, which began in the year 2000, EPA expanded the group of affected sources to include virtually all units over 25 MW in generating capacity. EPA allocated allowances to each unit at an emission rate of 1.2 pounds of SO2/mmBtu of heat input, multiplied by the unit's baseline. Beginning in 2010, the Act places a cap at 8.95 million on the number of allowances issued to units each year. This effectively caps emissions at 8.95 million tons annually and ensures that the mandated emissions reductions are maintained over time. (EPA)

To supply the auctions with allowances, EPA set aside an Auction Allowance Reserve of approximately 2.8 percent of the total annual allowances allocated to all units. During Phase I, when the allocated allowances totaled 5.7 million allowances annually, 150,000 allowances were withheld every year for auctions. During Phase II, when allowance allocations total 8.95 million allowances annually, 250,000 allowances were withheld annually for auctions.For the first 13 years, the auctions were conducted for EPA by the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). CBOT was not compensated by EPA for its services nor allowed to charge fees. Beginning with the fourteenth annual auction in March 2006, CBOT chose to stop administering the auctions for EPA. This means EPA now handles all aspects of the auctions. (EPA)

The Center believes President Obama should pattern his cap-and-trade program after the Acid Rain Program. All stakeholders agree the Acid Rain Program was a complete success. The CO2 cap-and-trade program could be equally successful if it is modeled after the Acid Rain Program.

President Obama currently wants to auction the initial allocation of allowances and use the proceeds to fund renewable energy projects and provide additional payments to low-income families to help them pay for any increase in utility bills. Proceeds from the auction would come in to the federal government and then would pay for about $150 billion worth of spending on various low-carbon technologies over 10 years; the rest of the money raised would be refunded to the people, especially vulnerable families, communities and businesses to help the transition to a clean-energy economy. We believe this recommendation is too complex and will also be politically bludgeoned at a 'carbon tax.'

Center Registration in EPA Acid Rain Program

Center Registration in EPA NOx Program

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

President Obama Addresses Joint Session of Congress

Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery

Address to Joint Session of Congress

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 [Energy]

"It begins with energy.

We know the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the 21st century. And yet, it is China that has launched the largest effort in history to make their economy energy efficient. We invented solar technology, but we’ve fallen behind countries like Germany and Japan in producing it. New plug-in hybrids roll off our assembly lines, but they will run on batteries made in Korea.

Well I do not accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders – and I know you don’t either. It is time for America to lead again. Thanks to our recovery plan, we will double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years. We have also made the largest investment in basic research funding in American history – an investment that will spur not only new discoveries in energy, but breakthroughs in medicine, science, and technology.

We will soon lay down thousands of miles of power lines that can carry new energy to cities and towns across this country. And we will put Americans to work making our homes and buildings more efficient so that we can save billions of dollars on our energy bills. But to truly transform our economy, protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy.

So I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America. And to support that innovation, we will invest fifteen billion dollars a year to develop technologies like wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks built right here in America.

As for our auto industry, everyone recognizes that years of bad decision-making and a global recession have pushed our automakers to the brink. We should not, and will not, protect them from their own bad practices. But we are committed to the goal of a re-tooled, re-imagined auto industry that can compete and win. Millions of jobs depend on it. Scores of communities depend on it. And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it.
None of this will come without cost, nor will it be easy. But this is America. We don’t do what’s easy. We do what is necessary to move this country forward."

IPCC Chairman Testifies Before Senate EP&W Committee

United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chairman R.K. Pachauri presented testimony today before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee at a hearing entitled, “Update on the Latest Global Warming Science.” Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer and Ranking Minority committee member James Inhofe went after each other on the science of climate change and global warming. Chairwoman Boxer also went after Princeton Physics Professor William Happer for supporting Inhofe's anti global warming view by stating that a unit related to him had received $1 million in grants from ExxonMobil over the past 10 years. Senator Inhofe slammed the science of the other three witnesses.

Witness Panel:

R.K. Pachauri PhD Chairman United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Christopher Field PhD Director, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University Co-chair of Working Group II (Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability [including North America]), United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Howard Frumkin MD, MPH, DrPH Director, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

William Happer PhD Professor of Physics Princeton University

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Court Limits FERC Power To Override States on Power Lines

The Center supports increasing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's power to override state decisions on transmission lines when it is in the national interest. But the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, issued a ruling on February 18th that limits the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's power to override state decisions on transmission lines. The ruling was related to a proposed $2.1 billion, 190-mile high-voltage power line in upstate New York. Not-In-My-Back-Yard (NIMBY) opponents feel the New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI) line is not needed and would adversely affect communities and the environment.

NYRI wants to build a 1,200-megawatt line from the Utica area south through seven upstate New York counties to bring power to the New York City area. The Department of Energy has designated the proposed power line route as one of two "national interest energy transmission corridors" where Washington officials can approve new transmission lines over the objections of local and state authorities in certain circumstances. Under the court ruling, FERC would not have jurisdiction if the state denies the project within one year of filing of the application with the state. But if the state denies it after one year has expired, FERC would have jurisdiction. NYRI claims the application was filed with the state one year ago, which means the court ruling will have no bearing on NYRI's ability to seek FERC intervention if the state denies the application. The state Public Service Commission, however, lists the filing date as Aug. 8, 2008, because that's when the application was accepted as complete by the agency. That means FERC would not be able to intervene unless the PSC has failed to issue a decision by Aug. 8, 2009.

An administrative law judge will hold hearings from March 16 to April 16 and later render a decision that the commission could accept or reject. The commission hasn't set a timetable for action. (

President Obama's Energy & Climate Bills Should Include

President Obama's energy and global warming bills should complement each other by placing a mandatory cap on carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions and raise automobile fuel economy standards to 42 miles per gallon. We support a cap-and-trade program but do not support auctioning the initial allowances that are the 'currency' of the program. Auctioning the initial allowances to the utilities instead of allocating them free is a back door tax because the expense will just be passed on to ratepayers by the utilities. It makes the program too complex to have the allowance funds to go to the federal government to then be used for renewables projects and paying the energy bills of low-income households. The Obama administration should copy the EPA Acid Rain Program. Botched electricity utility deregulation is already increasing prices for customers.

The Obama administration also appears to be backing off of using the Clean Air Act to regulate CO2 through EPA promulgation, preferring instead to rely on specific Congressional legislation to address climate change mitigation. We agree with this approach. The 42 m.p.g fuel standard in an energy bill will cover transportation global warming mitigation and will also cover EPA's waiver request from California, which wants to implement its own standard that would exceed the Energy Policy Act of 2005's 35 m.p.g. Such legislation will also cover the northeastern states' Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and such initiatives in other areas of the country.

Finally, we need an international climate change treaty that includes China and India as a precursor to our own climate change legislation. If we do not have cooperation from these countries, it will not matter what we do to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Such a treaty should also be harmonized with Kyoto II that will be considered in Copenhagen later this year.

316(b): Secret Weapon To Destroy Nuclear & Coal Plants

After the furor over 911 subsided and the terrorism argument was no longer viable as a way to scare the public about nuclear power plants, traditional environmentalists have turned to a new weapon: A Clean Water Act regulation that could possibly require nuclear and coal plants that use 'once through' cooling water to build huge cooling towers. This is a shut down scenario and traditional environmentalists know it. Unfortunately, shutting down once through nuclear plants will significant hurt our fight against global warming. And shutting down the coal plants will leave us without enough electricity to power our society.

The Center is in the forefront of protecting America's nuclear fleet from this menace. Court rulings and EPA regulations are still going back and forth over the 316(b) regulation relating to 'best technology available' for protecting river, lake and ocean fish. Ristroph Screen technology is the best technology available. Center staff are pictured at right standing near such screens at a nuclear power plant water intake area. Although some fish eggs and larvae are what are called impinged and entrained on screens and through the cooling system, electricity power plants pose little danger to the overall fish populations.

The Center has a long history of fish protection and river clean ups. We have conducted numerous river tours, creek walks and water testing. These activities have included macroinvertebrate species tests using kick seins (see photos above). We will continue to work to protect fish populations and assure that America has sufficient electricity to maintain the American way of life. We will also continue our work to mitigate global warming by promoting the safe use of nuclear power.

Monday, February 23, 2009

President Obama Nominates Deputy EPA Administrator

UPDATE: Jon Cannon Withdraws. President Obama's nominee for U.S. EPA's second highest post abruptly pulled out of the Senate confirmation process today (3/25/09) because of an investigation into the nonprofit group (America's Clean Water Foundation) where he once served on the board of directors. (NYT, 3/25/09)

President Obama announced his intent to nominate Jonathan "Jon" Z. Cannon, left, for Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Cannon is currently a professor of environmental law as well as the director of the Environmental and Land Use Law Program at the University of Virginia. Cannon has served as senior counsel at Beveridge & Diamond law firm. Prior to joining the University of Virginia, Cannon served in numerous positions within the EPA during the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton administrations, eventually rising to general counsel.

Cannon has served at EPA as Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Administrator for the Office of Administration and Resources Management, general counsel, Cannon was deputy general counsel for Litigation and Regional Operations, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Civil Enforcement, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Office of Solid Waste Emergency Response (OSWER), Acting Assistant Administrator for OSWER, Assistant Administrator for Administration and Resource Management and Chief Financial Officer. Cannon graduated with a BA from Williams College in 1967 and a J.D. from University of Pennsylvania in 1974.

Iran To Test Commercial Nuclear Plant

Iran plans to operate its first nuclear power plant this year and is performing tests this week at the 1,000-megawatt reactor. The Bushehr plant is being built by the Russian state company Atomstroiexport, which also supplies enriched uranium for the plant's operation. The Russian program with Iran is similar to our Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) program that helps other nations use commercial nuclear power while protecting against proliferation of nuclear weapons. The spent uranium has to be returned to Russia. If Iran sticks to its commercial use of nuclear power to generate electricity, it should be a valuable asset to the Iranian people.

According to the United Nations, Iran is cooperating well with U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency nuclear inspectors. Iran would have to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty, kick out international inspectors, break U.N. seals on batches of uranium and shut down dozens of U.N. cameras that monitor nuclear sites across the country in order to start producing nuclear weapons. The Center agrees with U.S. and Israeli policies that production of nuclear weapons by Iran is unacceptable. (The Washington Post, 2/23/09)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hillary Clinton, South Korea & Nuclear Power

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited South Korea this week stopping in Seoul to dicuss North Korea, climate change and trade issues. Yet North Korea complicates the constructive use of nuclear power by being provocative. The North detonated a low-yield nuclear device in October 2006. That device was developed through the reprocessing of plutonium. Yet North Korea allows inspections of its nuclear facilities to get removed from Washington's list of nations that sponsor terrorism and then they renege. Unfortunately, these actions hurt programs such as the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), which promotes the international peaceful use of commercial nuclear power.

South Korea has four commercial nuclear power stations that contain 20 reactors with six reactors under construction that will come on line between 2010 and 2016 and two more planned. About 45% of South Korea's electricity is produced using nuclear power. (Wiki)

The Center hopes the Obama administration will continue with the GNEP Program. The Center participated in a Korea broadcasting program to discuss nuclear power. Center President Norris McDonald is interviewed for the program "Science Cafe," about the pending Nuclear Renaissance. The interview was conducted by a Korean production crew on December 1, 2007. See the video below:

Energy Measures in American Recovery & Reinvestment Act

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes:

$16.8 billion for the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The funding is a nearly tenfold increase for EERE, which received $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2008.$2.5 billion will support EERE's applied research, development and deployment activities, including $800 million for the Biomass Program, $400 million for the Geothermal Technologies Program, and $50 million for efforts to increase the energy efficiency of information and communications technologies. $400 million will support efforts to add electric technologies to vehicles.

$5 billion will go towards the Weatherization Assistance Program, and the act also increases the eligible income level under the program, increases the funding assistance level to $6,500 per home, and allows new weatherization assistance for homes that were weatherized as recently as 1994.

$4 billion to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to rehabilitate and retrofit public housing, including increasing the energy efficiency of units, plus an additional $510 million to do the same for homes maintained by Native American housing programs. HUD will receive an additional $250 million to increase the energy efficiency of HUD-sponsored, low-income housing.

$2 billion in EERE funds toward grants for the manufacturing of advanced battery systems and components within the United States, as well as the development of supporting software. The battery grants will support advanced lithium-ion batteries and hybrid electric systems.

$300 million will support an Alternative Fueled Vehicles Pilot Grant Program, and an additional $300 million will support rebates for energy efficient appliances, while also supporting DOE's efforts under the Energy Star Program.

$3.2 billion will go toward Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants, which were established in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, but were not previously funded.

$3.1 billion of EERE funds will go toward the State Energy Program for additional grants that don't need to be matched with state funds.

$500 million to the Department of Labor to prepare workers for careers in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

$6 billion to support loan guarantees for renewable energy and electric transmission technologies. The funds are expected to guarantee more than $60 billion in loans.

$4.5 billion to theU.S. General Servies Administration (GSA) to convert federal buildings into high-performance green buildings.

$100 million for the Energy Conservation Investment Program within the Department of Defense, as well as another $100 million for energy conservation and alternative energy projects at facilities of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.

$300 million to cover the costs of acquiring greener motor vehicles for federal vehicle fleets, including hybrids, electric vehicles, and plug-in hybrid vehicles.


FERC approves EdF purchase of Constellation Energy

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has authorized the $4.5 billion purchase by EdF Development Inc. (Electricite de France SA) of an ownership interest in the nuclear generation and operations business of Constellation Energy Group Inc. (Constellation Energy). The Commission also approved the terms of an agreement that gives Constellation Energy the option but not the obligation to sell its ownership interests in various non-nuclear generating plants and certain associated jurisdictional assets to EdF Development at agreed prices aggregating up to $2 billion. FERC found the transactions are consistent with the public interest under the Federal Power Act: they will not adversely affect competition, rates or regulation, and will not result in cross-subsidization of a non-utility associate company, or the pledge or encumbrance of utility assets for the benefit of an associate company that is inconsistent with the public interest.

EdF Development is a unit of Electricite de France SA, which is 85 percent owned by the government of France. Constellation Energy’s nuclear generation operations are held by Constellation Nuclear, a wholly owned subsidiary, which provides corporate and engineering services for all of the company’s nuclear generation but no services directly to the public. Under the transactions contemplated by a Master Agreement, EdF Development will acquire a 49.99 percent ownership interest in Constellation Nuclear, provide a $1 billion up-front cash investment in Constellation Energy in the form of non-voting, non-convertible cumulative preferred stock, and provide Constellation Energy with additional liquidity support, if needed by Constellation Energy, of up to $2 billion through exercise of the put options. The closing of the sale of the ownership interest in Constellation Nuclear is expected in late 2009. The put options relating to Constellation Energy’s non-nuclear assets will remain in effect until the end of 2010. Constellation Energy and EdF International, a unit of EdF Development formed to conduct international business, also executed an agreement that provides EdF International with the right to nominate one director to Constellation Energy’s board, expanding the board from 12 to 13 directors. EdF International owns 8.52 percent interest in Constellation Energy, acquired through open market stock purchases. (Source: FERC)

EPA Tracks Its Stimulus Package on New Website

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a website to report how they will spend their share ($7.2 billion) of the economic stimulus money. Approximately $6 billion will go as loans to states to upgrade waste and drinking-water infrastructures. The current EPA budget is approximately $7 billion.

Under the title, "Plans and Reports," the site currently states:

"In the future, this page will contain links to our Agency Recovery Plans, Recovery Program Plans, and other agency- and program-specific reports required by the Recovery Act."

EPA appropriations section of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009:
ENVIROMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL. For an additional amount for ‘‘Office of InspectorGeneral’’, $20,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2012.HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE SUPERFUND For an additional amount for ‘‘HazardousSubstance Superfund’’, $600,000,000, which shallbe for the Superfund Remedial program: Provided, That the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (Administrator) may retain up to 3 percent of the funds appropriated herein for management and oversight purposes. LEAKING UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK TRUSTFUND PROGRAM For an additional amount for ‘‘Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund Program’’,$200,000,000, which shall be for cleanup activities authorized by section 9003(h) of the Solid Waste Disposal Act: Provided, That none of these funds shall be subject to cost share requirements under section 9003(h)(7)(B) of such Act: Provided further, That the Administrator may retain up to 1.5 percent of the funds appropriated herein for management and oversight purposes. STATE AND TRIBAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS (INCLUDING TRANSFERS OF FUNDS) For an additional amount for ‘‘State and Tribal Assistance Grants’’, $6,400,000,000, which shall be allocated as follows: (1) $4,000,000,000 shall be for capitalization grants for the Clean Water State Revolving Funds under title VI of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and $2,000,000,000 shall be for capitalization grants under section 1452 of the Safe Drinking Water Act: Provided, That the Administrator may retain up to 1 percent of the funds appropriated herein for management and oversight purposes: Provided further, That funds appropriated herein shall not be subjectto the matching or cost share requirements ofsections 602(b)(2), 602(b)(3) or 202 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act nor the matching requirements of section 1452(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act: Provided further, That the Administrator shall reallocate funds appropriated herein for the Clean and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (Revolving Funds) where projects are not under contract or constructionwithin 12 months of the date of enactmentof this Act: Provided further, That notwithstandingthe priority rankings they would otherwise receive under each program, priorityfor funds appropriated herein shall be given toprojects on a State priority list that are ready to proceed to construction within 12 months of the date of enactment of this Act: Provided further, That notwithstanding the requirements of section603(d) of the Federal Water Pollution ControlAct or section 1452(f) of the Safe Drinking Water Act, for the funds appropriated herein, each State shall use not less than 50 percent of the amount of its capitalization grants to provideadditional subsidization to eligible recipientsin the form of forgiveness of principal, negative interest loans or grants or any combination of these: Provided further, That, to the extentthere are sufficient eligible project applications,not less than 20 percent of the funds appropriated herein for the Revolving Funds shallbe for projects to address green infrastructure,water or energy efficiency improvements orother environmentally innovative activities: Provided further, That notwithstanding the limitationon amounts specified in section 518(c) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, up to 1.5percent of the funds appropriated herein for theClean Water State Revolving Funds may be reserved by the Administrator for tribal grants under section 518(c) of such Act: Provided further,That up to 4 percent of the funds appropriated herein for tribal set-asides under the RevolvingFunds may be transferred to the Indian Health Service to support management and oversight of tribal projects: Provided further,That none of the funds appropriated hereinshall be available for the purchase of land or easements as authorized by section 603(c) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act or for activitiesauthorized by section 1452(k) of the Safe Drinking Water Act: Provided further, That notwithstanding section 603(d)(2) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and section1452(f)(2) of the Safe Drinking Water Act, fundsmay be used to buy, refinance or restructure the debt obligations of eligible recipients only wheresuch debt was incurred on or after October 1,2008;(2) $100,000,000 shall be to carry out Brownfields projects authorized by section104(k) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response,Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980:Provided, That the Administrator may reserveup to 3.5 percent of the funds appropriated herein for management and oversight purposes:Provided further, That none of the funds appropriated herein shall be subject to cost share requirements under section 104(k)(9)(B)(iii) of such Act; and(3) $300,000,000 shall be for Diesel EmissionReduction Act grants pursuant to title VII, subtitle G of the Energy Policy Act of 2005: Provided, That the Administrator may reserve up to2 percent of the funds appropriated herein for management and oversight purposes: Provided further, That none of the funds appropriated herein for Diesel Emission Reduction Act grants shall be subject to the State Grant and Loan Program Matching Incentive provisions of section793(c)(3) of such Act. ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISION, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY(INCLUDING TRANSFERS OF FUNDS) Funds made available to the EnvironmentalProtection Agency by this Act for managementand oversight purposes shall remain availableuntil September 30, 2011, and may be transferred to the ‘‘Environmental Programs and Management’’account as needed.

DOE Secretary Stephen Chu on Spending Stimulus Money

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu has publicly stated that he expects the agency to distribute 70% of the roughly $40 billion provided under the economic-stimulus legislation by the end of 2010. Secretary Chu has stated that loan guarantees to companies implementing alternative energy projects that would otherwise have trouble raising financing from private sources would be awarded by April or May of this year.

The current DOE budget is about $25 billion. (WJS, 2/20/09)

Thursday, February 19, 2009


T. Boone Pickens, right, is sponsoring a SUMMIT ON GREEN ENERGY on Monday, February 23 at 10:15 a.m.ET. [see Pickens Plan website]. The “National Clean Energy Project: Building the New Economy” is being hosted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund and will focus on developing a plan and key guiding principles to lead the transformation of U.S. energy policy and to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, and others will join T. Boone Pickens and other esteemed participants at this event.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is the event’s Honorary Chair. The forum will focus on modernizing and expanding the electricity grid, integrating energy efficiency and distributed generation into operation and regulation, rapidly increasing transmission capacity for renewable energy and reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil by examining short- and long-term solutions to replace foreign oil with domestic resources to fuel vehicles and trucks, including natural gas.

EPA Senior Policy Appointments

Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has announced that Robert Sussman and M. Allyn Brooks-LaSure will be part of her senior staff. Bob will serve as Senior Policy Counsel within the Immediate Office and Allyn as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Public Affairs.

Bob brings to EPA a wide and varied environmental background. He is a former Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he was a member of the Center’s Energy Opportunity Team focusing on issues of climate change and energy policy. Prior to CAP, Bob was a partner at the law firms of Latham & Watkins, where he headed the firm’s environmental practice in the District of Columbia for 10 years, and Covington & Burling, where he worked with a wide range of companies and trade associations on all aspects of energy and environmental policy. During the Clinton Administration, Bob was appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate as Deputy Administrator of EPA, where among other duties he served as the Chief Operating Officer and Regulatory Policy Officer of the Agency. Bob is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale College and a graduate of the Yale Law School, where he was an Editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Allyn served as the spokesperson for, and senior staff member of, the Save Darfur Coalition, where he directed their media operations and outreach efforts. In addition, he served as the Press Secretary and Spokesperson for Senator Robert Menendez and as Spokesperson to then-Senator John Corzine. He also has extensive experience working as the Public Relations Account Manager for The Caraway Group, Inc. Allyn has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. (Source: EPA Office of Public Liaison

Center Supports Oil Sands Production Using Nuclear Power

President Barack Obama's visit to Canada this week is highlighting the Canadian oil sands issue. Virtually all traditional environmental groups oppose the production of oil sands in Canada based on land, air and water use concerns. The Center believes these concerns can be adequately addressed and mitigated. The land can be reclaimed, the carbon dioxide footprint can be almost completely reduced by using nuclear power as the energy source instead of natural gas or the oil sand itself and water can be piped in and recycled. Although critics will howl, Canadian imports of oil into the United States are too important to simply ban the practice of obtaining oil from Canadian tar sands. President Obama should adopt our recommendations concerning Canadian oil sands.

The Center also recommends a USA/Canadian partnership for the construction of Energy Defense Reservations (EDR) at certain Canadian oil sands production sites. The Center is promoting EDR for the USA as a way to produce multiple useful products, including oxygen for oxycombustion at coal plants, hydrogen for fuel cell production and the conversion of carbon dioxide into gasoline using the Fischer-Tropsch method. We accept the greenhouse gas emissions penalty of use of the motor fuel in cars and trucks, but society is going to drive cars and trucks that emit carbon dioxide anyway. So such penalty is neutralized. We recommend the military as the primary user of the fuel with any remainder going into the marketplace. (wiki)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

China and Russia Sign Oil Deal

China reached a long-term deal to lend $25 billion to two Russian energy companies in exchange for an expanded supply of Russian oil. State-owned OAO Rosneft, Russia's biggest oil producer, and OAO Transneft, its oil pipeline operator, will split the $25 billion in loans from China Development Bank. In exchange, Russia will provide China with an additional 15 million metric tons of crude oil a year. (WSJ, 2/18/09)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

EPA Administrator Orders Review of Key Clean Air Document‏

EPA today granted a petition for reconsideration of a Bush Administration memo regarding the scope of the Clean Air Act. The interpretive memo, put forward by then-EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson in December 2008, addresses when the Prevention of Significant Deterioration program applies to carbon dioxide, a chief greenhouse gas. Concerns were soon raised about the (PSD) memo’s potential impact on American communities and neighborhoods. The Sierra Club and other parties in early January petitioned EPA to reconsider the Johnson memorandum. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson stated:

“I am granting this petition because we must learn more about how this memo affects all relevant stakeholders impacted by its provisions. This will be a fair, impartial and open process that will allow the American public and key stakeholders to review this memorandum and to comment on its potential effects on communities across the country. EPA’s fundamental mission is to protect human health and the environment and we intend to do just that.”
EPA will review the Johnson memo to ensure that it is consistent with the Obama Administration’s climate change strategy and interpretation of the Clean Air Act. While conducting this review, EPA will abide by the three core principles outlined by Administrator Jackson:

1) Overwhelming transparency,

2) Adherence to the rule of law, and

3) Science-based policies and regulations.

To facilitate a transparent, impartial and fair review, EPA will seek comment from the general public on this memo and its potential impact on American communities. This public comment period is consistent with the recommendations of the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) and allows for a measured, inclusive approach to reviewing this memo. The EAB last year held that EPA had not adequately articulated why its interpretation of the PSD program did not apply to carbon dioxide. Today’s action is the latest in a series of steps intended to ensure EPA policies and procedures are consistent with EPA’s overall mission to protect human health and the environment. Response letter to the Sierra Club Source: EPA Press Release.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Center Testifies At NRC Hearing In New York

The Center presented testimony at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) hearing on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) at Colonial Terrace in Cortlandt Manor, New York on February 12, 2009. The hearing was on the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants, Supplement 38, Regarding Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit Nos. 2 and 3, Draft Report for Comment Main Report.

Norris McDonald and John McCormick presented testimony on behalf of the Center.

Center staff also toured Indian Point nuclear power plant the next day. Tour participants included Dan Durett, Director-New York, Derry Bigby, Vice President and Norris McDonald, President--pictured above with the spent fuel pool in the background.

Norris McDonald Video

John McCormick Video

Friday, February 13, 2009

World's Largest Solar Power Deal Announced By SCE

Southern California Edison and BrightSource Energy have signed the world’s largest solar deal. The agreement on a series of contracts for 1,300 megawatts of solar thermal power, is enough to serve nearly 845,000 homes. The first of these solar power plants, sized at 100 megawatts and located in Ivanpah, California, could be operating in early 2013 and is expected to produce 286,000 megawatt-hours of renewable electricity per year. BrightSource will build and place in commercial operation each of its plants as quickly as permitting and infrastructure allow. The full 1,300 megawatts of projects will produce 3.7 billion kilowatt-hours of clean energy and avoid more than two million tons of carbon dioxide emissionsannually – the equivalent of removing more than 335,000 cars from the road.

BrightSource Energy’s proprietary Luz Power Tower 550 (LPT 550) energy system is built on proven “power tower” technology. The system uses thousands of small mirrors called heliostats to reflect sunlight onto a boiler atop a tower to produce high temperature steam. The steam is then piped to a conventional turbine which generates electricity. In order to conserve precious desert water, the LPT 550 system uses air-cooling to convert the steam back into water.The water is then returned to the boiler in an environmentally-friendly closed cycle. This fully integrated energy system is designed to offer the highest operating efficiencies and lowest capitalcosts in the industry.

This program is designed to help smaller renewable generators contribute to reaching California’s aggressive renewable energy andenvironmental goals. It also provides a faster, simpler way for renewable projects under 20 megawatts to sell their power to utility customers.
The current renewables portfolio includes:

• 1,137 megawatts from wind.

• 906 megawatts from geothermal. SCE and BrightSource Energy Sign World’s Largest Solar DealPage 3

• 356 megawatts from solar.

• 185 megawatts from biomass.

• 332 megawatts from small hydro.

Senator Bernie Sanders To Chair Green Jobs Subcommittee

Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt) will chair the new Subcommittee on Green Jobs, which will be part of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Senator Sanders also serves on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The economic recovery legislation provide billions of dollars in energy block grants that states can use to increase the energy efficiency of homes, offices and government buildings.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

EPA Delays Effective Date of NSR Rule To Review Reg

To allow time for further review, a January 15, 2009 New Source Review final rule specifically regarding the air permitting program’s “aggregation” policy will not take effect before May 18, 2009. EPA is staying the effective date for 90 days to reconsider the rule in response to the current Office of Management and Budget memorandum regarding regulatory review, and also in response to a Natural Resources Defense Council petition for reconsideration.

New Source Review is a pre-construction permitting program to ensure air quality is maintained when factories, industrial boilers and power plants are built or modified. The program ensures that state-of-the art emission control technology is installed at new plants or existing plants that are undergoing a major modification. Aggregation refers to the grouping of multiple, related physical or operational changes into a single project for evaluating requirements under the New Source Review program. (More)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Smart Grid and Wind Turbines Could Cost $820 Billion

A new report states that a new national smart grid would cost up to $100 billion and building the wind turbines needed to generate the desired amount of power would cost about $720 billion. The money would be spent over a 15-year period. The report says that if the U.S. wants to get 20% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2024, a new electricity transmission system would be needed, including 15,000 circuit miles of extremely high voltage lines. The system would be laid alongside the existing electric grid infrastructure, start in the Great Plains and Midwest -- where the bulk of the nation's wind resources are located -- and terminate in big cities along the East Coast. Wind currently provides less than 1% of the electricity produced today.

The report was prepared by the Midwest Independent System Operator, SERC Reliability Region, PJM Interconnection LLC, the Southwest Power Pool, the Mid-Continent Area Power Pool and the Tennessee Valley Authority. These organizations are responsible for electric-system reliability in roughly half the states. (The WSJ, 2/9/09)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Can Department of Energy Spend The Money Fast Enough?

There is about $40 billion proposed for Energy Department (DOE) programs in the economic-stimulus package. The question is: can it be spent fast enough to help get the economy going again? Bureaucracies by their very nature move slowly. The money has to go from the federal government to the states and that is another level of bureaucracy before bids can be let and contracts awarded. Although DOE might aspire to get the money into the economy faster, let's hope it goes better than the car loan money passed by Congress last year.

According to The Wall Street Journal: "[DOE] is already coming under pressure from some lawmakers to set a time line for dispersing a separate $25 billion in loans from an Energy Department program for the struggling automobile industry. Most of DOE's $25 billion annual budget is concentrated in maintaining the nation's nuclear stockpile, cleaning up former weapons plants and doing basic scientific research." So DOE will be handling about two times as much money extra money than it normally handles in its own annual budget.

Stimulus Package Pie Chart

Stimulus Package Pie Chart

(House Bill H.R.1)

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

New York Times, Economix

Hillary Clinton To Visit China, Japan and South Korea

Beginning February 15, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Japan, South Korea, and China. Clinton will focus on climate change in her meetings with officials in China. The list of priorities are those that can provide fast results, including: low emissions coal technologies, improving energy efficiency and conservation, developing an advanced electric grid, promoting renewable energy, quantifying emissions and financing low-carbon technologies. The Center intends to participate in these areas and we will be promoting expanded use of nuclear power. We believe an accelerated program to deploy China's Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) technology is an attractive method for complementing carbon dioxide reduction with economic growth.

The Center traveled to China in 2007 to visit Tsinghua University's PBMR research reactor and standard nuclear power plants in Guangdong Province near Hong Kong. We believe standard reactors and PBMRs should be part of the discussions. We hope to engage Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and other administration officials in promoting this agenda.

The Asia Society and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change issued a joint report, "Common Challenge, Collaborative Response: A Roadmap for U.S.-China Cooperation on Energy and Climate Change," which lays out a "road map" for U.S.-China cooperation on climate change -- a project that was co-chaired by Steven Chu, now energy secretary have issued a joint report laying out a "road map" for U.S.-China cooperation on climate change -- a project that was co-chaired by Steven Chu, now energy secretary. (WashPost, 26/09) The report calls for initial engagement at a presidential summit, but also outlines some of the critical project areas that should be jointly explored through practical collaboration by officials at other levels of government as well as by the private sector.

Areas where direct collaboration is expected to yield the quickest and most substantial results on reducing greenhouse gas emissions have been given highest priority. Priority areas of collaboration include:

Deploying Low-Emissions Coal Technologies. The likelihood that both the United States and China will continue to rely heavily on coal for many years to come necessitates immediate and large-scale investments in the research, development, and deployment of new technologies for the capture and sequestration of carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Improving Energy Efficiency and Conservation. Both the United States and China have significant potential to lower their carbon emissions through low-cost, and even no-cost, energy efficiency and conservation measures that would have considerable impact on each country’s “carbon footprint” and energy security.

Developing an Advanced Electric Grid. Both the United States and China rely on outdated, decentralized, and inefficient electrical transmission systems. Both countries could profit from research, development,and adoption of new “smart grid” technologies capable of enabling these systems to handle larger quotients of low-carbon energy from episodic, but renewable sources of power more cheaply and efficiently.

Promoting Renewable Energy. There is an obvious need for both countries to develop a far broader deployment of solar,wind, and other renewable sources of energy in order to de-carbonize their respective electricity systems, expand their low-carbon economies, and thereby diminish their carbon emissions per unit of GDP.

Quantifying Emissions and Financing Low-Carbon Technologies. To help facilitate cooperation in the above areas, it will be important to continue to jointly address the cross-cutting issues of quantifying and projecting emissions, and financing technology development and deployment.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Senate Stimulus Bill: Energy and Environment

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the $900 billion American Investment and Recovery Act (S. 336) on January 26, 2009. The Senate Finance Committee passed a $522 billion tax package that includes $31 billion in tax incentives for renewables and energy efficiency. On January 28, the House of Representatives passed the $819 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,(H.R. 1) by a vote of 244 to 188. Negotiations are currently going on between Senate Republicans and the White House to get the Senate bill passed. If the Senate passes S. 336, the House and Senate will then reconcile the bills.

H.R. 1 includes $72 billion for clean energy programs, and another $20 billion for clean energy tax incentives. S. 336 includes $78 billion in renewables, $50 billion in loan guarantees, which includes loans going for nuclear plants and coal-to-liquids. Coal gets $4.6 billion in the Senate economic stimulus bill. It includes $2 billion for the development of "near-zero emissions" power plants, $1 billion for the Department of Energy's Clean Coal Power Initiative, and $1.6 billion for carbon capture at industrial plants. [Grist] [Center For American Progress]

Boxer Press Conference on Global Warming Principles

Senator Barbara Boxer held a press conference today to discuss global warming principles that will be used to craft legislation intended to mitigate the most serious environmental issue facing the world today. The press conference was held in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EP&W) room (Dirksen 406).

Chairwoman Boxer emphasized that America should not delay passing climate change mitigation legislation due to fears about an economic recession. She also did not specify when the legislation would be introduced. Senator Boxer said a bill could be introduced in three weeks or by the end of the year before the Copenhagen meeting on global warming mitigation in December.

To watch a video of the press conference, click HERE.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Wind Energy Grows By Record 8,300 MW in 2008

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said the U.S. wind energy industry shattered all previous records in 2008 by installing 8,358 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity (enough to serve over 2 million homes. The growth in 2008 expanded the nation’s total wind power generating capacity by 50%. The new wind projects will avoid nearly 44 million tons of carbon emissions, the equivalent of taking over 7 million cars off of the road. In all, wind energy generating capacity in the U.S. now stands at 25,170 MW, producing enough electricity to power the equivalent of close to 7 million households.

Iowa, with 2,790 MW installed, surpassed California (2,517 MW) in wind power generating capacity moving into second place behind Texas (7,116 MW) . Minnesota, with 1,752 MW and Washington, with 1,375 MW round out the top five states in terms of capacity installed. Colorado and now Oregon have both moved into the group of states with more than 1,000 MW installed, which now counts seven states.

About 85,000 people are employed in the wind industry today, up from 50,000 a year ago, and hold jobs in areas as varied as turbine component manufacturing, construction and installation of wind turbines, wind turbine operations and maintenance, legal and marketing services, and more. About 8,000 of these jobs are construction jobs. The share of domestically manufactured wind turbine components has grown from under 30% in 2005 to about 50% in 2008. State-by state installation information.

Source: Frank Maisano