Friday, July 31, 2009

USEC: Gets No DOE Loan Guarantee - Halts Uranium Plant

The American Centrifuge Plant was to include approximately 11,500 AC100 machines that were to be housed in existing buildings at the Piketon, Ohio site, below right.
USEC Inc, the nation’s only domestic uranium enrichment firm, will halt its half-finished $5 billion uranium enrichment plant in Ohio. USEC needed a $2 billion Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee to proceed with construction of its American Centrifuge Plant, located on land leased from DOE in Piketon, Ohio. USEC has spent $1.5 billion on the project, which is meant to replace the aging enrichment plant that USEC leases from DOE in Paducah, Ky.

DOE “encouraged USEC to withdraw its application for loan guarantee funding,” which DOE provides to various types of energy projects with clean air properties.

DOE will offset the job losses at the 750-employee centrifuge construction effort by spending $150-$200 million more to accelerate cleanup efforts at the contaminated Piketon site.

Last month, USEC’s government service division reached an agreement with Duke Energy, Areva, UniStar Nuclear Energy LLC and a local development group to pursue construction of a new nuclear power plant at Piketon. The new reactor project is unaffected by DOE’s loan guarantee decision. Three companies with potential interest in USEC assets are Urenco—the German-Dutch-UK uranium enricher—Areva, and EnergySolutions, the diversified Utah-based nuclear cleanup firm.

Meanwhile, USEC’s main competitors, Urenco Ltd., Areva and General Electric, are moving to build enrichment plants in the United States.Urenco is building a uranium enrichment plant in Eunice, N.M., and Areva has applied for a DOE loan guarantee for a new plant it plans to build at Idaho Falls. GE has teamed with Japan’s Hitachi and Canada’s Cameco Corp. in a laser enrichment plant to be built in Wilmington, N.C. (The Energy Daily, 7/29/09)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

CFTC: Speculators Caused Oil Price Spike Last Summer

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will issue a report in August that points to speculators as playing a significant role in driving up oil prices last year. Even though last year the CFTC said oil-price swings came primarily from swings in supply and demand. Financial investors (sepculators) bet on the direction of commodities prices by buying contracts tied to indexes. Due to the misguided assessment last year, CFTC will probaly adopt new rules to limit the amount of investments in commodities by big institutions betting on their direction purely for financial gain.

This speculation is usually normal on Wall Street, but the problem is that speculators should not make it more costly for consumers to access heating oil, gasoline, food and other essentials. Proponents of index speculation say these parties have added liquidity to markets. They blame price fluctuations on supply and demand and say attempts to regulate speculation are foolhardy and could drive investors to less-regulated venues. Investors may also buy derivatives, not directly traded on futures exchanges, that let them make contrary bets to offset their risks. Crude-oil prices surged in July 2008 to a record $145 a barrel, then dropped to about $33 in December. Oil now trades at around $68 a barrel. (WSJ, 7/28/09)

Center Supports The Clean Water Protection Act, H.R. 1310

The Center opposes mountaintop removal.

The Clean Water Protection Act, H.R. 1310, was introduced by Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) on March 4, 2009 and amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) to define "fill material" to mean any pollutant that replaces portions of waters of the United States with dry land or that changes the bottom elevation of a water body for any purpose and to exclude any pollutant discharged into the water primarily to dispose of waste.

For years, the Clean Water Act allowed for the granting of permits to place 'fill material' into waters of the United States, provided that the primary purpose of the 'filling' was not for waste disposal. The intention was to prevent industries such as coal mining from using the nation's waterways as waste disposal sites. That changed in 2002, when the Army Corps of Engineers, without Congressional approval, altered its longstanding definition of 'fill material' to include mining waste. This change accelerated the devastating practice of mountaintop removal coal mining and the destruction of more than 1,200 miles of Appalachian streams.

H.R. 1310 restores the original intent of the Clean Water Act to clarify that fill material cannot be comprised of mining waste. The legislation has 154 cosponsors and has bipartisan support. (

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

3rd Hearing in 2009 on Kingston Ash Accident

The Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment met on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 to consider the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Ash Slide. The subcommittee received testimony from representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the TVA Office of Inspector General, and engineering firms.

The purpose of this hearing is to receive updates as to the status of the Kingston ash slide cleanup efforts, and also analysis of the root cause of the Kingston surface impoundment collapse. The subcommittee is chaired by Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tx), right.

Hearing Link

Witness Panel

The Honorable Mathy Stanislaus

Mr. Tom Kilgore

Mr. William H. Walton, P.E., S.E.

The Honorable Richard Moore

Mr. William S. Almes P.E.

Monday, July 27, 2009

$25 Billion To Help GM Recover & Produce Efficient Cars

General Motors Company (GM) has applied for more than $10 billion in Department of Energy funds, according to a spokesman for the company. Such loans would further extend the taxpayer commitment to GM's reorganization. The Treasury Department has already committed at least $50 billion in direct bailout funds to GM, and billions more to its affiliates, such as supplier Delphi Corp. and lender GMAC LLC through the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The DOE has thus far withheld putting funds into GM because of the auto maker's bankruptcy and financial troubles. Securing those funds are a component of GM's shorter-term liquidity assumptions and is factoring into its plans in order to meet its capital requirements in the future.
The DOE has offered as much as $25 billion in assistance to auto makers trying to build and develop more fuel-efficient products. Ford Motor Company and other auto makers have been granted such funds, even though GM and Chrysler have not due to concerns related to those companies' viability.

The government's new "cash for clunkers" program is fueling hopes that it will generate enough interest to lift auto sales. According to the Department of Transportation, nearly 16,000 auto dealers signed up to participate in the program since Friday, the first day that the government made available cash vouchers for trading in old cars for more fuel-efficient ones. (WSJ, 7/27/09)

Cardin & Alexander Seek To Ban Mountaintop Removal

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md), left, and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn), right, have introduced legislation (Alexander-Cardin Appalachian Restoration Act- S. 696) to ban mountaintop-removal coal mining. They hope to stop the removing ountaintops in West Virginia and Kentucky and prevent a resurgence of the practice in Tennessee. Tennessee produced 2.3 million tons of coal last year, compared with 158 million tons in West Virginia and 120 million tons in Kentucky.

The bill would effectively end mountaintop removal by amending the Clean Water Act to prohibit the dumping of mining waste in streams. It would allow other types of open-pit, surface mining.

The Center opposes mountaintop removal and supports the Alexander-Cardin legislation.

Alexander has introduced legislation with Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) to reduce the sulfur, nitrogen and mercury emissions of coal-burning power plants, which provide about 60 percent of Tennessee's power. Alexander supports coal and has described it as "an essential part of our energy future," and he has pushed for "a mini-Manhattan project" for research into carbon capture and sequestration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal plants. Alexander is also a big proponent of nuclear power, which provides a third of Tennessee's energy. He also supports wind energy in general, but opposes proposals for wind farms in the Appalachian Mountains. (Wash Post, 7/26/09)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Price of Natural Gas and Coal

Today, natural gas for August delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 14.5 cents to settle at $3.695 a million British thermal units. This is still 60% lower than a year ago.

The front-month Nymex contract for Central Appalachia coal is trading around $45 a ton, down 50% from a year ago.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

EPA's Jackson Announces Associate Administrators

U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has announced three key appointments to the senior staff at EPA: Lisa Heinzerling, who has been named Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation (OPEI); David McIntosh, who has been appointed as Associate Administrator for the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations (OCIR); and Seth Oster, who recently assumed the position of Associate Administrator for the Office of Public Affairs (OPA). All three appointments are effective immediately.

Ms. Heinzerling, right, has spent the past months as Administrator Jackson's chief advisor on climate issues, helping move EPA's efforts forward at a critical time. At OPEI, Ms. Heinzerling will also continue to play a role advising Administrator Jackson on climate matters.

Mr. McIntosh, left, has spent the past months working as a principal advisor to Administrator Jackson on legislative climate issues, and now assumes overall responsibility for government relations at the national, state and local levels. He has an extensive background on Capitol Hill and on environmental and energy issues generally.

Mr. Oster, right, brings to the EPA and the Office of Public Affairs broad experience from both inside and outside of government. In directing the work of OPA, he will play a vital role in leading EPA's efforts to reach out to new communities and constituencies, promoting environmental education initiatives and generating public support for EPA’s mission. (EPA)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Is Copenhagen Becoming A Warm Up Act?

The delay in the U.S. Senate until September to consider climate change legislation combined with significant environmental group opposition to Waxman/Markey [American Clean Energy & Security Act (ACES)], is setting up the stage for the U.S. to not have a legal framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions going into the international climate change meeting in Copenhagen in December.

US Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing, right in photo, believes the Copenhagen talks won't fail, but told that they "will likely be inadequate." Pershing's comments [summarized] before the Committee on America's Climate Choices, which Congress directed the National Academy of Science to convene:

Instead of December's meeting in Copenhagen, Pershing expects real components of climate change to come from 2010 meetings, likely to be held in Mexico. Recommendations from Copenhagen, however, should provide what Pershing called "real space for doing an agreement." Whatever results from global climate talks, Pershing expects it be different from the Kyoto Protocol's reliance on a central authority to assign greenhouse caps. Instead, the next global plan likely would begin with development of various domestic plans, which ultimately would be amassed into a single global deal. The U.S. can't look to blame the world for lack of progress on climate talks. Indeed, the lack of comprehensive climate legislation in the U.S. has other nation's holding their cards. It's generally agreed that the U.S., as the biggest emitter, must take the lead. Then, the U.S. must reach an agreement with China, which is not far behind the U.S. in emissions.

[Photo: Pershing on right with his boss, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern]

(, 7/14/09)

[Pershing Remarks at June 12 Bonn Meeting]

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Waxman Markey Cap & Trade Superior To Price & Tax

Some environmental groups and climate activists* recently held a briefing in Washington, DC to express their support for an energy price increase and tax bill instead of a climate bill. Their bad idea for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) is to raise the price of electricity through increasing taxes on it and redistributing money back to the public. Huh? Why not just reduce taxes? And pass the much superior Waxman/Markey climate legislation [passed House 219-212], which puts a cap on CO2 emissions. Admittedly Waxman/Markey is not perfect but it is a great start on reducing emissions that cause climate change. The Center opposes using unreasonable price increases as a conservation tool. The Senate needs to pass an improved version of Waxman/Markey and forget about price shocking and taxing our way into societal chaos.

The energy price increase and tax activists believe cap-and-trade tries to hide the carbon price, which gives opponents license to make outrageous claims about its cost. So the activists promote a fictitious 'revenue-neutral carbon tax,' which they believe would provide a clear price signal. Everything is wrong with this approach. It would increase prices on everything and then, according to its proponents, redistribute revenues back to the public to offset price increases and higher taxes. In reality it would speed us into double digit unemployment, interest rates and create out of control inflation. The plan is a prescription for years of recession and quite possibly depression.

Although the Waxman-Markey critics believe that approach would fail to reduce CO2 emissions enough to prevent catastrophic warming, they should understand that it does not matter what we do if India and China do not reduce their emissions. We need to serve as an example for India and China. Moreover, Western nations need to show goodwill in this area to emerging nations.

Critics believe the trading component of cap-and-trade -- buying and selling permits to release CO2 -- would also create a trillion-dollar market in carbon futures and derivatives that could crash financial markets again. We disagree. We believe it would create a vibrant global competition for installation of innovative technologies.

* Friends Committee on National Legislation, Progressive Democrats of America, The Clean Coalition, Price Carbon Campaign, Dr. James Hansen, climate scientist; Dr. Robert Shapiro*, Co-founder and Chairman of Sonecon and the U.S. Climate Task Force, and former U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce; Cecil Corbin-Mark, Deputy Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice and Co-Coordinator of Environmental Justice Leadership Forum on Climate Change; Professor Janet Milne of Vermont Law School, contributing author of "The Reality of Carbon Taxes in the 21st Century," Brent Blackwelder, President of Friends of the Earth, moderated. The briefing was hosted by the Carbon Tax Center, Climate Crisis Coalition, and Citizens Climate Lobby. (Earth Times, 7/13/09, Climate Crisis Coalition; Citizens Climate Lobby; Carbon Tax Center)

Senate E & NR Committee Examines Mine Reclamation

The hearing received testimony examining S.796, Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2009 and S.140, Abandoned Mine Reclamation Act of 2009. Excerpt from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, right, at the hearing:
Balance is also an important concept as we discuss reform of the Mining Law of 1872. While the responsible development of our mineral resources is critical to both our economy and our environment, this statute has not been updated in 137 years. In those years, much has changed. It is time to ensure a fair return to the public for mining activities that occur on public lands and to address the cleanup of abandoned mines. We must find an approach to modernize this law and ensure that development occurs in a manner consistent with the needs of mining and the protection of the public, our public lands, and water resources. It is time to make reform of the Mining Law part of our agenda of responsible resource development.

Much has been said about the role the General Mining Law of 1872 played in settling the western United States, how it provided an opportunity for any citizen of the country to explore public domain lands for valuable minerals, to stake a claim if the mineral could be extracted at a profit, and to patent the claim. Numerous commodities are mined, under the authority of the General Mining Law, to provide the raw materials essential for the manufacturing and building industries. According to the BLM, the 5-year average for new mining claims staked annually under the law is approximately 76,000, with a current total number of claims at nearly 400,000. These claims generated almost $60 million in federal revenue-- mostly from the fees collected by BLM -- in fiscal year 2008.

Our domestic gold mining industry alone directly or indirectly creates more than 66,000 jobs and nearly $2 billion in earnings annually. The U.S. is the second largest producer of gold and copper in the world, and the leading producer of beryllium, gypsum, and molybdenum. In my view, our own security depends on maintaining a viable domestic mining industry. Metals and minerals are also needed to support development of renewable energy. As the U.S. Senate undertakes reform of the 1872 Mining Law, patent reform, and the environmental consequences of modern mining practices must be addressed in meaningful and substantive ways. In addition, the American taxpayer should receive a fair return for the extraction of these valuable resources and should expect the federal government to develop a reliable process providing for the cleanup and restoration of lands where the responsible party is unable or unavailable to do so, including a Good Samaritan provision.

Senate E & PW Committee Climate Change Hearing

Note: Consideration of climate/energy legislation has been delayed for consideration until September.

The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee held a hearing today entitled, “Transportation’s Role in Climate Change and Reducing Greenhouse Gases.”

Panel 1:

The Honorable Ray LaHood Secretary U.S. Department of Transportation
The Honorable Regina McCarthy Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation U.S. EPA

Panel 2

Ralph Becker Mayor Salt Lake City, Utah
David Bragdon President Portland Metro Council
Steve Winkelman Director of Adaptation and Transportation Programs Center for Clean Air Policy
Ray Kuntz Chief Executive Officer Watkins and Shepard Trucking

Monday, July 13, 2009

G8 Supports Emissions Cuts: Developing Countries Object

The G8 agreed last week at its annual summit to support a goal of cutting global emissions by 50% by 2050 and of reducing emissions in wealthy countries by 80%. The problem though is that the G8 failed to get developing countries to accept an emissions reductions target of 50% by 2050. Representatives from emerging nations have expressed frustration that developed countries have not committed to mid-term targets or pledged financial or technological transfer to developing nations. The emerging nations believe the proposed long-term targets are meaningless. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon criticized leaders for failing to make deeper commitments. (Frank Maisano, 7/13/09)

Stephen Chu and Gary Locke Go To China For Energy

Energy Secretary Steven Chu, left, and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, right, are vidsiting China this week to discuss building a China-US clean energy center. It would be the first nation-level center between China and the US to promote the use of clean energy. The two secretaries will highlight the potential for mutually beneficial relationships in the clean energy sector and opportunities for American green technology companies to get business in China. Priorities will include clean coal technology, carbon capture and storage, a smart grid, hybrid and electric vehicles, energy efficiency and renewable energies.

Most of the events will be in Beijing, but additional travel is scheduled outside the capital city. One event is visiting China's landmark Future House Community Project, established as part of that nation's ongoing effort to address its environmental problems and skyrocketing energy demand. Future House demonstrates the latest advances in energy efficiency, environmental compatibility, and sustainability. Future House USA is one of ten homes, each being built by a different nation, begun in conjunction with the 2008 'Green' Olympics, held in Beijing. Included in the technology at Future House is a state-of-the-art geothermal heat pump system developed, manufactured and installed by ClimateMaster of Oklahoma City, OK, in the USA. ClimateMaster is the global leader in the design and manufacture of water-source heat pumps, the core technology used in geothermal heating and cooling systems. (China Daily, 7/13/09, Frank Maisano, 7/13/09)

Larry Irving Joins Hewlett-Packard

Larry Irving, left, will join computer services company Hewlett-Packard Co. on Sept. 8 as vice president of global government affairs. He was an assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information under President Bill Clinton and oversaw the National Telecommunicatiosn and Information Administration. For the past 10 years he ran his own consulting firm, which offered strategic planning and consulting services to domestic and international telecommunications and information technology companies, non-profit organizations and foundations.

Mr. Irving will supervise the worldwide government affairs operation from Washington. He will be responsible for shaping public policy and building relationships worldwide with government officials, community leaders, non-governmental organizations and business partners.

Mr. Irving iss credited with coining the term "digital divide." Early in his career his legislative affiars director for the late Congressman Mickey Leland.

Mr. Irving holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northwestern University ourside Chicago and is a law graduate of Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., just down the road from HP’s world headquarters. Mr. Irving was president of the Stanford Law class of 1979. (The Washington Times, 7/13/09, Photo courtesy TWT)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Hidden Health Hazards in Your Business

Most people are aware of the health dangers of outdoor air pollution, but don't realize that air pollution in their homes, offices, and schools also can have significant health effects. However, recent studies have shown that people are exposed to higher concentrations of air pollution for longer periods of time inside buildings than outside them. The fact is, indoor air pollutant levels may be two to five times higher, and occasionally up to one hundred times higher, than outdoors.

Indoor Air Pollutants

Indoor air pollutants come in all different forms, and many of the more hazardous environmental contaminants go unseen and unnoticed. Elements such as VOCs, formaldehyde, and even mold growing from structural leaks, can all lead to health hazards. Some common known sources of air pollution include:

Asbestos - Building materials, such as insulation containing asbestos are known to be hazardous to health. Asbestos is a mineral fiber that can still be found in many older homes. Inhaling tiny asbestos fibers can increase the risk of lung cancer and other lung diseases. Pipe coverings, flooring, shingles and roofs are likely places to find asbestos.

VOCs - Paints containing VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), get released into the air as paint dries. While long term effects are still unclear, the EPA has concluded that some VOC’s are suspected carcinogens.

Formaldehyde - Furnishings, including flooring, wet or damp carpets, and cabinets or furniture made from certain processed wood products. Many products also include formaldehyde According to the EPA, formaldehyde

Structural leaks - Rain and high humidity can bring moisture indoors, creating dampness, mold and mildew. Mold aside, dampness alone is associated with higher risk of wheezing, coughing and asthma symptoms. Check your roof, foundation and basement or crawlspace once a year to catch leaks or moisture problems and route water away from the building's foundation.

Ventilation - Proper ventilation is one of the best ways to improve air quality, (provided that the outside air is not worse than indoor air). High levels of moisture in your home increase dampness and the growth of mold, which not only damage your home but threaten health. Dampness and mold are linked to increased wheezing, coughing and asthma attacks in people with allergies.

Flooring - Avoid using carpet whenever possible. Carpet traps unhealthy particles -- including chemicals, dust mites, pet dander, dirt and fungi - and vacuuming can make them airborne. If you do have carpets, use a HEPA (high efficiency particle air) vacuum cleaner to ensure better air quality. Hard surface flooring, like wood, tile or cork can be readily cleaned by damp mopping.

The Solution

Usually the most effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate pollution sources or reduce their emissions. Some sources, such as those containing asbestos, can be sealed or enclosed. Other sources, like gas stoves and furnaces, can be adjusted to decrease the amount of emissions. Banning smoking near exits and substituting less toxic cleaning supplies, art materials, and paints also can reduce indoor air pollution.

Improving ventilation is another approach to lowering concentrations of indoor air pollutants. Fans that exhaust to the outdoors can be used in bathrooms, kitchens, laboratories, copy and print rooms, and cleaning-supply storage rooms. Some buildings need additional outdoor air brought in by way of fans, open windows, or improved ventilation systems.

Air purifiers also can improve indoor air quality. Furnaces and portable air cleaners can filter particles out of the air in homes. Gaseous contaminants can be removed by more sophisticated filtering. Air purifiers vary in their ability and range, with commercial air cleaners covering an expanse of 1000 feet and removing biological contaminants. For compact office settings, there are room air filters can be equally as powerful for smaller settings, such as 400 sq. feet, and can come equipped with both HEPA and carbon filters

In the long term, people exposed to indoor air pollution may develop cancer, respiratory diseases, or heart disease. For this reason, it becomes all the more critical to do everything in your ability to safeguard your health and the longevity of your employees. It is also a common known fact that healthier employees are more productive. As such, an investment in the air quality of your employees is an investment in your business.

By: Air Purifier Home

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Al Franken Comes To Washington


By Norris McDonald

I greeted Al Franken and his wife Franni, right, this morning in the Hart Senate Office Building just before his private reception on the 9th floor. They were very pleasant and spent a moment with me as I congratulated him on his win and wished him a great future in Washington, D.C. Franni is just as enthusiastic in person as she is on television and they both are easily approachable. I told the prospective senator that I was on the way to the climate bill hearing in the Environment and Public Works Committee. Franken's swearing in was scheduled for 12 noon and the committee wanted to finish its business in order to get down there for the ceremony.

It was a big day for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Four members of the Obama administration were appearing before the committee: Stephen Chu--DOE, Ken Salazar--Dept of Interior, Tom Vilsack--Dept of Agri, and Lisa P. Jackson--EPA. [Opening Remarks & webcast] It was a very good hearing and the climate bill was thoroughly examined. I greeted Secretary Chu and EPA Administrator Jackson immediately after the hearing.

Lisa Jackson, Tom Vilsack, Ken Salazari, Stephen Chu

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

DOE Cancels GNEP Environmental Impact Statement

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has decided to cancel the preparation of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS).

Via Federal Register notice, DOE announced that it has decided to cancel the GNEP PEIS because it is no longer pursuing domestic commercial reprocessing. The Center supports domestic commercial reprocessing.

Fortunately, the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 provides $145 million for the continuation of research and development (R&D) on proliferation-resistant fuel cycles and waste management strategies. As described in the President's Fiscal Year 2010 budget request, the Department's fuel cycle R&D's focus is on long-term, science-based R&D of technologies with the potential to produce beneficial changes to the manner in which the nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear waste is managed.

The Center is promoting a Nuclear Waste Management Agency that would take nuclear waste managment out of the Department of Energy and place it in this independent agency.

(Federal Register)

Center Supports Sotomayor Supreme Court Nomination

Although we completely disagree with Sonia Sotomayor's decision regarding cooling water intake structures (CWIS) for current electricity plants, we support her nomination by President Obama to be America's next U.S. Supreme Court justice. The Supreme Court has already ruled on the cooling water issue and now it is in the hands of EPA. The Center, through AAEA, is fighting for the rights of children, minorities and the elderly with asthma over concerns about fish egg kills from impingement and entrainment at electricity power plants that use once through cooling technology. We believe that a U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor would show a greater appreciation for asthma victims than fish eggs in any future ruling.

The Supreme Court needs its first Latina justice. She is also uniquely qualified to hold the position. Americans sometimes do not like to discuss race in such decision-making, but it is precisely the exclusion of Latinos on the Supreme Court that is ameliorated by this enlightened nomination. We believe that Justice Sotomayer will be sensitive to environmental considerations that address environmental justice issues versus deep ecology puristic fish egg protection when adjudicating climate/air/water/energy/fauna issues. The Center is on the cutting edge of this issue and would be happy to brief nominee or Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor on the cooling water intake issue.