Friday, September 30, 2011

Department of Labor Green Jobs Innovation Fund Threatened

House Republicans announced draft spending legislation Thursday that would block any fiscal year 2012 funding for the Labor Department’s Green Jobs Innovation Fund. The proposed restriction comes as Republicans are attacking federal green-jobs efforts following the meltdown of Solyndra, the California solar company that went bankrupt several weeks ago despite receiving a $535 million Energy Department loan guarantee in 2009.

The White House fiscal 2012 budget request seeks $60 million for the Labor Department's Green Jobs Innovation Fund, an increase of $20 million from 2010 levels.

In response to the demand in local and regional labor markets, states and local workforce investment areas across the country are interested in expanding training opportunities in green industry sectors and occupations to help workers get better jobs and increase compensation. Through competitive grant opportunities, the Green Jobs Innovation Fund will help workers receive job training in green industry sectors and occupations and access green career pathways,” the Labor Department’s proposal states.

The U.S. Department of Labor established the Green Jobs Innovation Fund competition to support opportunities for workers to receive job training in green industry sectors and occupations. Through this competition, the department will award approximately $40 million to support five to eight grantees with awards ranging from $5 million to $8 million each. Eligible applicants will include national and statewide organizations with local affiliates that have existing career training programs and will benefit a minimum of six communities per grant.

These funds will enable training providers to develop programs that incorporate green career pathways by forging linkages between Registered Apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, and/or integrating the delivery of technical and basic skills training through community-based partnerships. The grants are tied to the Labor Department's vision of increasing the number of individuals completing training programs with industry-recognized credentials and increasing the number of individuals completing training programs for employment in green jobs.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to view the online tutorial "Grant Applications 101: A Plain English Guide to ETA Competitive Grants." They can register at to access the solicitation for grant applications. (The Hill, 9/29/2011, DOL)

Grant information

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant Tour


By Norris McDonald

I went on my fourth tour of the Indian Point Energy Center yesterday, which is the location of the Indian Point nuclear power plants.  I toured both reactor plants (Units 2 and 3).

I fell in love with Indian Point the first time I saw her (2001).  She is a wonderful facility sitting on the bank of the Hudson River with beautiful mountains in the background.  On the train going up to the plant, it was early morning and the clouds were hanging low, clinging to trees on the  mountaintops.  I love that train ride.  It is very peaceful and beautiful. 

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant

Upon arriving at Peekskill, I decided to look around a bit because I was about an hour and a half early.   Peekskill is a bucolic town.

For some reason I decided to walk to the plant site.  I usually just take a taxi.  It appeared to be 3 or 4 miles away and I walk at least 12 miles a week.  I walked past a yacht club and down a back street about a mile, then had to cut through the woods to get to the train tracks (MTA/Amtrak), where I walked another mile and cut through an area to get back to a street that led to the plant.  It is beautiful around the plant.  Fall is beginning and the leaves were beginning to change.  There are wetlands nearby.  Just before I got to the perimeter fence for the site, I saw two deer.  And they saw me and started to run.  One stopped to eyeball me and I waved.  The deer just looked at me for a moment before it disappeared into the woods. 

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant

I walked past the natural gas pipeline right of way that runs through the Indian Point site.  After about 3 miles of walking, the last mile to the plant was uphill.  I could see the highpower lines that come out of the site and knew that I was near.  When I walked inside I was sweating profusely.  I had a pack on my back that carries my nebulizer.  After letting officials know that I was there, I went into the bathroom, washed up and changed clothes.

Frank Fraley, Norris McDonald at Spent Fuel Pool
Patrick Falciano, President, Nuclear Renaissance Services, conducted the orientation and the tour.  He always does an incredibly  thorough job.  The tour group today consisted of Frank Fraley, President, Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce and myself.  Entergy spokesman Jerri Nappi also joined us on the tour.  I am always amazed by the scanning and security involved in entering a nuclear power plant site.  But I don't discuss those details.  We observed the dry casks housing spent nuclear fuel.  We also examined the Ristroph fish (fish screen) protection system down by the river.

Frank Fraley, Norris McDonald in Control Room Simulator
I have toured 9 nuclear power plants all over the United States, one nuclear power plant and a nuclear fuel reprocessing facility in France and two nuclear plants in China.  This was Mr. Fraley's first tour of a nuclear power plant.  It was an excellent tour and included some additional stops that were not included on my other 3 tours: backup generator building and control room.  The site has multiple backup power generation sites that are more than adequate to provide power for cooling water in case of emergencies.  We went to the spent fuel pool room.  We went into both generation buildings. I love these tours because I always learn something new.

Frank Fraley, Norris McDonald in Generating Room

DEC Issues Proposed Fracking Regulations

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued proposed regulations Wednesday to regulate the natural gas drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking. A draft 1,537-page environmental impact statement on hydrofracking, issued last month, is still undergoing a public comment period. Public comment on both the draft rules and the impact statement expire Dec. 12, which could then allow DEC to make both documents final. That could allow drilling permits to be issued.

Hydrofracking relies on an high-pressure blend of chemicals, water and sand into deep underground rock formations to release trapped bubbles of natural gas. Opponents are concerned drilling could damage air and water quality, while the industry asserts the practice is safe.

Public hearings for the proposed regulations and impact statement are set for Nov. 16 at Dansville Middle School Auditorium, 31 Clara Barton St., Dansville; Nov. 17 at The Forum Theatre, 236 Washington St., Binghamton; Nov. 29 at Sullivan County Community College, Seelig Theatre, 112 College Road, Loch Sheldrake; and Nov. 30 at Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St., New York City. All hearings are from 1 to 4 p.m, and from 6 to 9 p.m. (TimesUnion, 9/29/2011)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

OIG Report on EPA's Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Finding

Today, the EPA Inspector General released a report on the procedural review of EPA’s Greenhouse Gases Endangerment Finding. Below are EPA’s statement, OMB’s letter to the Inspector General, and a link to the
Inspector General’s report.

What the Office of Inspector General (OIG) found:

EPA had the TSD reviewed by a panel of 12 federal climate change scientists. This review did not meet all OMB requirements for peer review of a highly influential scientific assessment primarily because the review results and EPA’s response were not publicly reported, and because 1 of the 12 reviewers was an EPA employee.
No supporting documentation was available to show what analyses the Agency conducted prior to disseminating the information.

What OIG Recommended:

(1) revise its Peer Review Handbook to accurately reflect OMB requirements for peer review of highly influential scientific assessments,

(2) instruct program offices to state in proposed and final rules whether the action is supported by influential scientific information or a highly influential scientific assessment, and

(3) revise its assessment factors guidance to establish minimum review and documentation requirements for assessing and accepting data from other organizations. EPA stated that its response to the final report will address OIG recommendations.
EPA’s Statement:

“We appreciate the important role played by the Inspector General’s Office and will give the recommendations of this report the utmost consideration.  The report importantly does not question or even address the science used or the conclusions reached – by the EPA under this and the previous administration – that greenhouse gas pollution pose a threat to the health and welfare of the American people. Instead, the report is focused on questions of process and procedures. While we will consider the specific recommendations, we disagree strongly with the Inspector Generals’ findings and followed all the appropriate guidance in preparing this finding.

EPA undertook a thorough and deliberate process in the development of this finding, including a careful review of the wide range of peer-reviewed science. Since EPA finalized the endangerment finding in
December of 2009, the vast body of peer reviewed science that EPA relied on to make its determination has undergone further examination by a wide range of independent scientific bodies. All of those reviews have upheld the validity of the science.”
OMB’s Statement from a letter to the EPA Inspector General:

"As we clearly stated in our letter to the Inspector General several months ago, OMB - the author of the guidance - is confident that EPA reasonably interpreted the direction provided and is complying
EPA Inspector General‘s Report on the Procedural Review of EPA’s Greenhouse Gases Endangerment Finding Data Quality Processes

Incandescent Light Bulb Phase Out

On December 19, 2007, President George Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) that established the set of standards for common incandescent light bulbs requiring them to use about 25% to 30% less energy than today’s lamps—and at least 60% less energy by 2020.

Specifically, EISA mandates a phase out of the least efficient general service incandescent lamps through a combination of wattage caps and minimum efficiency performance standards. These phase outs begin January 1, 2012 (referring to date of manufacture) for lamps with higher lumens and wattage, and they progress until 2014.

The comprehensive EISA also includes increased fuel efficiency standards for new automobile fleets (to 35 mpg by 2020), updated efficiency standards for electric motors, and requirements for federal agencies to reduce their energy consumption by 30% by 2015. (Today's Facility Manager, August 2011)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

House Passes Bill To Block EPA Regulations

The Center opposes the bill

John Sullivan
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Friday, sponsored by Representative John Sullivan (R-Okla), that would block a number of broad regulations to reduce unhealthy air emissions. House Republicans have targeted Environmental Protection Agency air rules, believing they would kill jobs and cost businesses billions of dollars in a weak economy.

The Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation, or TRAIN, was passed 249 to 169. It was supported by fewer than 20 Democrats. The legislation has no chance of passage in the Democratic-controlled Senate.  The legislation proposes to delay certain EPA regulations by setting up an interagency panel led by the Commerce Department.The panel would be tasked with assessing the impact of EPA rules
on the economy, thus delaying their implementation.

The vote would delay until at least February 2013 the effective dates of two clean-air regulations that the EPA was planning to phase in next year. One of those sets of regulations, the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology Rule, would limit the discharge of acid gases and toxins such as mercury and arsenic from coal and oil-fired power plants. To meet EPA standards, the plants would have to install equipment
to help clean emissions of those pollutants. The second set of regulations — the Cross-State Air Pollution
Rule — would limit power-plant emissions in 28 states that pollute other states with smog and soot. That rule, according to the EPA, would avert 13,000 to 34,000 premature deaths each year nationwide while generating billions of dollars in annual benefits to the U.S. economy.

Critics said that the regulations would place costly burdens on the private sector, raise electricity bills and make the recession. (Wash Post, 9/24/2011)

Energy Dept Finalizes 3 loan guarantees totaling $624 million

The Department of Energy finalized three loan guarantees on Friday totaling up to $623.9 million. The Obama White House is working to finalize about a dozen loan guarantees as part of a program funded under the 2009 stimulus law that is set to expire at the end of the month. The loan guarantees are for advanced energy projects such as wind, solar and biofuels. None of the three loan guarantees are for solar projects.

The Energy Department finalized on Friday:

$168.9 million partial loan guarantee to Granite Reliable Power for a wind project in New Hampshire;

$350 million to Ormat Nevada, Inc. for a geothermal power project in the state; and

A $105 million loan guarantee to POET for a cellulosic ethanol

The Obama White House remains committed to investing in clean green jobs energy projects. (The Hill, 9/23/2011)

What kinds of projects have received loan guarantee commitments under Sections 1703 and 1705 of Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005? The 22 projects that have received loan guarantee commitments (conditional or final awards) include nuclear generation, energy efficiency, solar generation, solar manufacturing, battery storage, energy storage, wind generation, wind manufacturing, advanced biofuels, transmission, and geothermal. (Energy Forum, 5/10/2011)

Friday, September 23, 2011

EPA Before House Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations

Lisa Jackson
Administrator Lisa P. Jackson,

Testimony Before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations



Chairman Stearns, Ranking Member DeGette and Members of the Subcommittee, I appreciate the opportunity to be here today to testify on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulatory process.

Few of the regulations that gave us huge gains in public health were uncontroversial at the time they were developed. Most major rules have been adopted amidst claims that they would be bad for the economy and bad for employment.

In contrast to doomsday predictions, history has shown, again and again, that we can clean up pollution, create jobs, and grow our economy all at the same time. Over the same 40 years since the Clean Air Act was passed, the Gross Domestic Product of the United States grew by more than 200 percent.

Some would have us believe that “job killing” describes EPA’s regulations. It is misleading to say that enforcement of our nation’s environmental laws is bad for the economy and employment. It isn’t.

Families should never have to choose between a job and a healthy environment. They are entitled to both.

We must regulate sensibly - in a manner that does not create undue burdens and that carefully considers both the benefits and the costs. However, in doing so, we must not lose sight of the reasons for implementation of environmental regulations: These regulations are necessary to ensure that Americans have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. Americans are no less entitled to a safe, clean environment during difficult economic times than they are in a more prosperous economy.

Natural Gas Storage in Salt Caverns

Salt caverns account for 23% of U.S. underground natural gas storage daily deliverability

The U.S. has three primary types of underground natural gas storage facilities: depleted fields, aquifers, and salt caverns. Depleted natural gas fields provide by far the largest share of natural gas storage capacity and together with aquifer storage are used primarily to meet seasonal delivery needs. Most new storage facilities built since 2007 have been salt caverns. Salt caverns, which are largely located in the producing region, represent a rapidly growing share of U.S. natural gas storage deliverability. Although salt caverns account for only 7% of total working natural gas capacity, they can be rapidly cycled and deliver up to 23% of total natural gas from underground storage on a given day.

Salt cavern storage has several advantages.

• Flexibility. Salt cavern facilities operate under very high pressure, which means they can quickly accept (inject) or deliver large amounts of gas to the pipeline grid (deliverability). As a result, these facilities are well-suited to meeting short-term changes in demand or supply.

• Cycling. Salt cavern operators can move natural gas in and out of these facilities more frequently, usually up to 6-12 cycles per year, compared to traditional, seasonal gas storage where customers inject in the summer and withdraw in the winter.

• Requires less base natural gas. Salt cavern storage needs less base gas (the permanent inventory needed just to maintain adequate operational pressure) and has a higher proportion of "working gas," the gas that can be accepted from or delivered to customers. This lower base requirement partially offsets the higher capital costs associated with salt cavern facilities.

Salt cavern construction is relatively expensive and differs from the conversion of depleted fields and aquifers. To start, an operator locates a suitable salt bed (typically, wide and shallow salt formations found in Northeastern, Midwestern, and Southwestern states) or salt dome (typically, very deep salt formations that are usually less than one mile in diameter found in Gulf Coast states). The operator then excavates the site to form a cavern, usually by pumping highly-pressurized water into the salt layer to dissolve the salt and create a cavern (often called cavern leaching or solution mining). After leaching, the operator can remove the brine and commence operations.

Salt caverns differ from other storage options in that the salt walls and cap of the caverns are impermeable under higher pressures. In addition, if excavated to a certain depth, geologic pressure can help a storage cavern to be "self-healing," allowing any cracks that may occur to seal quickly.

Source: DOE, U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Annual Respondent Query System.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Senate E&PW Committee Approves Gulf Oil Spill $$$ to Gulf

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved legislation Wednesday that would direct billions of dollars in fines from last year’s oil spill to Gulf Coast states to help restore the region.  The legislation mandates that 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties eventually imposed on BP or other companies deemed responsible for the spill go to five Gulf states.

BP and the other companies deemed responsible for the spill face billions of dollars in penalties. If BP is deemed negligent under the Clean Water Act by the courts, the company will have to pay $1,000 for every barrel of oil spilled into the Gulf. If the courts find that BP was grossly negligent, the company will have to pay $4,200 per barrel.

Last year's spill spewed about 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf, meaning BP could face fines ranging from $5.4 billion to $21.1 billion. (The Hill, 9/21/2011)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


One call out of the blue — $500,000 — No strings

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today named 22 new MacArthur Fellows for 2011. Working across a broad spectrum of endeavors, the Fellows include an architect, a sports medicine researcher, a cellist, a developmental biologist, a radio producer, a neuropathologist, a conservator, a poet, a technologist, and a public historian. All were selected for their creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future.

The recipients learned, through a phone call out of the blue from the Foundation, that they will each receive $500,000 in no-strings-attached support over the next five years. MacArthur Fellowships come without stipulations or reporting requirements and offer Fellows unprecedented freedom and opportunity to reflect, create, and explore. The unusual level of independence afforded to Fellows underscores the spirit of freedom intrinsic to creative endeavors. The work of MacArthur Fellows knows neither boundaries nor the constraints of age, place, and endeavor.

Among the recipients this year are –

• a radio producer engaging a new generation of listeners with audio explorations of scientific and philosophical questions that recreate the thrill of discovery (Jad Abumrad);

• a sports medicine researcher advancing the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of sports-related brain injuries to improve the safety of athletes of all ages (Kevin Guskiewicz);

• a technologist and electrical engineer inventing low-cost, easy to deploy sensor systems to enable users to track household energy consumption and to make buildings more responsive to our needs (Shwetak Patel);

• a clinical psychologist deepening understanding of self-injury and suicide among adolescents and adults in the interest of saving lives and influencing mental health care in our society (Matthew Nock);

• an architect integrating conventional materials, bold yet functional designs, and ecological technology in a wide range of striking structures (Jeanne Gang);

• a parasitologist decoding the genomes of virulent human pathogens that cause rare diseases and threaten the lives of millions in the developing world (Elodie Ghedin);

• a long-form journalist crafting richly illuminating accounts of ordinary people in such rapidly changing societies as Reform Era China (Peter Hessler);

• a percussionist and composer infusing Latin jazz with bold new energy and sound, dazzling technical abilities, and rhythmically adventurous compositions (Dafnis Prieto);

• an evolutionary geneticist resolvingsuch long-standing, fundamental questions as the evolutionary benefits of carrying two copies of each gene and of sexual over asexual reproduction (Sarah Otto);

• a public historian reframing the history of colonial America in works that illuminate the complex relationship between African and Cherokee peoples (Tiya Miles); and

• a poet and translator mining the classical world and poetic techniques to craft imaginative explorations of contemporary life that evoke insights about antiquity’s relevance for today (A.E. Stallings).

The process begins with formal nominations. Hundreds of anonymous nominators assist the Foundation in identifying people to be considered for a MacArthur Fellowship. Nominations are accepted only from invited nominators, a list that is constantly renewed throughout the year. They are chosen from many fields and challenged to identify people who demonstrate exceptional creativity and promise. A Selection Committee of roughly a dozen members, who also serve anonymously, meets regularly to review files, narrow the list, and make final recommendations to the Foundation’s Board of Directors. The number of Fellows selected each year is not fixed; typically, it varies between 20 and 25.

Including this year’s Fellows, 850 people, ranging in age from 18 to 82 at the time of their selection, have been named MacArthur Fellows since the inaugural class in 1981.

The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. More information is at

Complete List of MacArthur Fellows for 2011


Developing a smarter electrical system involves investment in training programs to build the workforce we need to successfully design, implement and sell these technologies. The Energy Department funds Smart Grid Workforce Training programs across the country

The “Vids4Grids” video series, a project by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and funded by one of the Energy Department’s Smart Grid workforce development programs, takes a look at the range of new technologies in the electrical industry and gives great insight for those considering careers in engineering.

As you find out from watching the videos, smart grid technology – for example, smart meters, high voltage transmission lines, sensors and transformers – doesn’t just mean jobs for engineers. New smart grid technology is offering exciting career opportunities across engineering, communications, marketing and sales disciplines. There are a variety of components to our electrical grid – from generation to transmission to distribution to storage – and a primary focus of upgrading the grid is communication and making the nation’s electrical systems more “intelligent” to maximize efficiency and reliability.

Many of the companies featured in the series offer workforce training programs. Additionally, the Energy Department funds Smart Grid workforce development programs (shown above on the map) that are helping transition our workforce. Our grid hasn’t changed in nearly half a century – our workforce must similarly evolve to both enable this upgrade and support our infrastructure into the future.
Check out to learn more about modernizing our grid for the 21st century. (DOE)

Monday, September 19, 2011

EPA Will Miss Sept 30 Greenhouse Gas Regulations Deadline

EPA will miss its September 30th deadline for releasing its draft rule on utility-focused greenhouse gas emissions. The anticipated regulations focus on reducing emissions from oil refineries and power plants, but a new deadline has not yet been announced. (Frank Maisano)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

EARTHSEED Consulting

Using regenerative strategies and new media approaches, EARTHSEED Consulting engages multiple stakeholders in the design and implementation of environmental projects aimed at diverse communities.

With over 25 years of combined professional experience in business, media, education and environmental sectors, EARTHSEED Consulting leverages their broad networks to foster collaboration and ensure measurable success.

Pandora Thomas & Zakiya Harris

Whether successfully delivering Toyota’s first African American Green Initiative, integrating permaculture and environmental literacy into San Francisco's Unified School District, producing an original urban green living television series and training youth to produce the bay areas largest solar powered hip hop music festival, their work represents a new model of engagement at the intersection of culture, media, environmental awareness and sustainable solutions.

Their services cannot be put into a box, but are customized to meet the individual needs of each of their clients. Here is a taste of what they offer:

Strategic development & implementation

Marketing and communications

Curriculum and workshop design

Public speaking

Group facilitation

Multimedia content development

Green event production

Youth leadership training

Pandora Thomas’ life and work are rooted in creating a world where all people have access to empowering and hands on environmental education experiences. She is passionate about deepening her and others connection to the natural rhythms of our earth in order to heal our communities.

She is co-founder of Earthseed Consulting LLC, a holistic consulting firm whose work deepens the impacts of environmental advocacy in the lives of diverse communities. Most recently she directed the Environmental Service Learning Initiative as well as serving as the environmental educator for Grind for the Green. Both programs aim to reconnect youth of color to the earth using innovative strategies.

Her education has sought to link issues such as global affairs, womens rights, the environment and sustainability, racial justice and youth empowerment. She studied at Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs, Teachers College, and Tufts University.

She is a credentialed multiple subjects teacher, a naturalist and outdoor education instructor, as well as a certified green building professional and permaculture teacher who has created and delivered curriculum to pre-k through adult audiences throughout the US around multiple themes including human rights, environmental justice, and outdoor and environmental education.

She has lectured extensively around issues of diversity, women's leadership, the environment, and human rights. Her writing includes a childrens book, various curricula and a greenbuilding manual for youth. She has studied and lived in over ten countries and some of her other achievements include presenting at Tedx Denver, being awarded fellowships to Columbia University Human Rights Program as well as Green For All’s Green Fellow Program. She also volunteers regularly and served as a Global Peer to four Nigerian women working to bring safe water technology to their communities through the Global Women’s Water Initiative.

Zakiya Harris is a California native, who has been working as an artist, educator and activist for the past 10 years. She received her B.A. in Political Science and History from Rutgers University and attended New College of Law in San Francisco before leaving to pursue her life long passion of teaching. She has taught elementary through collegiate level in a variety of public and private settings. In 2003, she became the lead trainer at the DJ Project where she facilitated job training and entrepreneurship modules using the medium of hip-hop culture. In 2007, she Co-Founded Grind for the Green the largest youth led “green” social media and events program in the nation, which is committed to moving young people of color from the margins to the epicenter of the environmental movement using hip-hop, art and culture. The program has been heralded for its innovation and production of the 1st Solar Powered Hip-Hop Music Concert in the Bay Area. In 2008, she became the first African-American Regional Director of the San Francisco Green Festival, the largest sustainability event on the planet, where she served for two years.

Named one to watch by, some of her achievements include receiving the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights Future Leaders award, serving as a Fellow for Green For All under the direction of Van Jones and presenting at Tedx Denver. Recently she co-founded Earthseed Consulting LLC her first for profit venture, the firm is dedicated to the reconnection of communities of color to the earth. She is also an accomplished dancer, vocalist, actor and member of the west coast based neo folkloric ensemble Ase Dance Theater Collective. Her highest honor in life is being a mother to her beautiful 5 year old daughter.

General Electric Selling Many More Natural Gas Turbines

General Electric Company has booked $1 billion in North American orders for its natural-gas-powered generators thus far this year. GE is benefiting from low natural-gas prices, stricter air-pollution regulations and a slowly recovering U.S. economy. Depending on government policy, depending on EPA regulations, it's going to be a growth market.

Advances in drilling technology have helped energy producers tap into natural-gas reserves in regions that until recently weren't considered economical for energy production. That new supply has created a glut of natural gas in the U.S. that has kept the natural gas price between $3 and $6 a million British thermal units (or per thousand cubic feet).  Demand for gas-powered generators is also being boosted by government efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. (WSJ, 9/15/2011)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

American Energy Innovation Council

As business leaders, the American Energy Innovation Countil (AEIC) feels that America’s current energy system is deficient in ways that cause serious harm to our economy, our national security, and our environment. To correct these deficiencies, AEIC believes America must make a serious commitment to modernizing our energy system with cleaner, more efficient technologies.Such a commitment should include both robust, public investments in innovative energy technologies as well as policy reforms to deploy these technologies on a large scale. By tapping America’s entrepreneurial spirit and longstanding leadership in technology innovation, AEIC believes America can set a course for a prosperous, sustainable economy—and take control of our energy future.

AEIC notes: The need for government involvement in energy

Bill Gates
There are two reasons the government must play a key role in accelerating energy innovation. First, innovations in energy technology can generate significant, quantifiable public benefits that are not reflected in the market price of energy. These benefits include cleaner air and improved public health, enhanced national security and international diplomacy, reduced risk of dangerous climate change, and protection from energy price shocks and related economic disruptions. Currently, these benefits are neither recognized nor rewarded by the free market.

Second, the energy business requires investments of capital at a scale that is beyond the risk threshold of most private-sector investors. This high level of risk, when combined with existing market structures, limits the rate of energy equipment turnover. A slow turnover rate exacerbates the historic dearth of investments in new ideas, creating a vicious cycle of status quo behavior.

The government must therefore act to spur investments in energy innovation and mitigate risk for large-scale energy projects. By heeding the following five recommendations, we feel the government can unleash the nation’s technology potential.

Full descriptions of Recommendations

Recommendation 1:

Create an independent national Energy Strategy Board

Recommendation 2:

Invest $16 billion per year in clean energy innovation

Recommendation 3:

Create Centers of Excellence with strong domain expertise

Recommendation 4:

Fund ARPA-E at $1 billion per year

Recommendation 5:

Establish and fund a New Energy Challenge Program to build large-scale pilot projects

AEIC Summary

In the defense, health, agriculture, and information technology industries, this country has made a deliberate choice to use intelligent federal investments to unleash profound innovation. As a result, the country leads in all those realms. In energy, however, the United States has failed the grade, and is paying a heavy price for that failure. We are optimistic about the potential for dramatic change in the energy realm. To seize this opportunity, America must put aside partisan interests and make a strong, bold commitment.

$1.2 Billion Loan Guarantee for Concentrating Solar Power Plant

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the Energy Department finalized a $1.2 billion loan guarantee to Mojave Solar LLC for the development of the Mojave Solar Project (MSP). When complete, the 250MW solar generation project located in San Bernardino County, California will increase the nation’s currently installed concentrating solar power (CSP) capacity by approximately 50 percent. Abengoa Solar Inc., the project sponsor, estimates it will fund more than 900 construction and permanent operations jobs.

At left is an Abengoa project in Morocco using parabolic troughs.  At right is an artist's rendering of the Abengoa Mojave Desert Project after completion. MSP will be the nation’s first utility-scale deployment of Abengoa’s latest Solar Collector Assembly (SCA), a significant improvement over the prior generation of solar concentrating technology installed in the United States in the 1980s and 90s. The SCA, which was originally developed in connection with an award from the Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, has a number of advanced features, including a lighter, stronger frame designed to hold parabolic mirrors that are easier and less expensive to build and install. The new heat collection element increases thermal efficiency by up to 30 percent over first generation CSP plants.

The Mojave Solar Project will avoid more than 350,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually and is anticipated to generate enough electricity to power more than 54,000 homes. An estimated 80 percent of total costs, including both capital equipment and labor, are expected to be sourced in the U.S. MSP will purchase all of the receiver tubes from a facility in New Mexico, the parabolic trough mirrors from a new facility in Arizona and other key equipment from different suppliers in several states across the country. The project is supported by a power purchase agreement with PG&E, one of the country’s largest electric utilities, to sell the energy produced by MSP for a 25-year contract period.

To date, the Department has issued loans, loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling nearly $40 billion to support more than 40 clean energy projects across the United States, including several of the world’s largest solar generation facilities, three geothermal projects, the world’s largest wind farm, and the nation’s first new nuclear power plant in three decades. (DOE)

More information

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Issues CO2 Report

Today RGGI, Inc. released a report on CO2 emissions from electricity generation and imports in the 10-State RGGI region. The report, "CO2 Emissions from Electricity Generation and Imports in the 10-State Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: 2009 Monitoring Report," is the first in a series of annual monitoring reports, called for in the 2005 RGGI Memorandum of Understanding.

This report, the first report in a series of annual monitoring reports, summarizes data for electricity generation, electricity imports, and related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the ten-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) region1 for the period from 2005 through 2009. These monitoring reports were called for in the 2005 RGGI Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in response to expressed concerns about the potential for the RGGI CO2 Budget Trading Program to result in “emissions leakage2”.3

In the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, CO2 emissions from the regional electric power sector are a function of a highly dynamic wholesale electricity markets. The cost of compliance with the RGGI CO2 Budget Trading Program is only one of several factors that influence the dispatch of electric generation, and resulting CO2 emissions, through the operation of these markets. As a result, this report presents data without assigning causality to any one of the factors influencing observed trends.

The observed trends in electricity demand, net electricity imports, electricity generation from multiple categories of generation sources (including electricity imports), show there has been no increase in CO2 emissions or the CO2 emission rate (pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour or lb CO2/MWh) from non-RGGI electric generation serving load in the ten-state RGGI region in the first year of the RGGI program operation, 2009.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Compton To Catalina Program

Introduction: The Center for Environment, Commerce and Energy (Center is expanding its environmental programs in the West. The Center has established a partnership with the Greater Union Baptist Church (GUBC) to operate an environmental tour program called “Compton To Catalina,” which will take students and other young people from Compton, California to Catalina Island.

The purpose of the program is to expose young people from Compton to the Pacific Ocean and an incredibly beautiful island. People take it for granted that the vast majority of this kids never get on the water and many people live their entire lives without directly experiencing the Pacific Ocean even though they live within five or ten miles of it. We believe that such early exposure to this environment could lead to a lifelong environmental stewardship ethic.

Due to the on-going water, energy management and air pollution problems in California, we focus a significant percentage of our attention on these issues. We have an extensive history in energy policy, water and clean air programs.

Program Organization: The Center will work with GUBC to recruit people to participate in the Compton To Catalina (CTC) Program. We will make arrangements for the tours and facilitate educational experiences for the students. Each tour will be a daylong affair that will include transportation to Long Beach, where the tours will originate. Participants will have escorts at all times and activities on the island will be arranged to maximize the environmental experience.

We will utilize the services of Catalina Express. Passengers on board Catalina Express can expect to arrive in Catalina in about an hour, from Long Beach, San Pedro or Dana Point. Catalina Express offers year round service and the convenience of up to 30 round trips daily. We will use the Long Beach Downtown and Long Beach Queen Mary locations. We will alternate between the Avalon and the Two Harbors locations on the island. For the Two Harbors tour we will leave from San Pedro Terminal because service to and from Two Harbors is only available from the San Pedro Terminal. Most boat trips are only about an hour. There are numerous activities available on Catalina Island, including: hiking, biking, camping, swimming, snorkeling, diving, sightseeing, dining, shopping or relaxing, to name a few. Our main activity will be a submarine ride to view submerged vegetation and fish species.

Round trip tickets are approximately $70.00. We will provide roundtrip van or bus service to Long Beach. We will also provide lunch. We are planning to take 5-10 people on each tour.

Center Experience: The Center has operated river programs on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers in Washington, D.C. and the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. The Center utilized its 22-foot Boston Whaler to operate these programs. We would explore various ways to include inner city youth in navigation, pollution education programs and ecology. Our water resources program will include everything from sponsoring tours to Catalina Island and electricity power plants to water conservation projects in housing in Compton.

Center President Norris McDonald has been a member of Seafarer’s Yacht Club in Washington, D.C. Seafarer’s was the first black boat club established in America in 1945. He has served on its board for four years and is an experienced boater. McDonald was also director of environment for the Maryland town of Highland Beach.

The Center for Environment, Commerce and Energy was established in 1985 as a non-profit--501(c)(3), public interest organization dedicated to protecting the environment, enhancing the human ecology, and working to ensure the efficient use of natural resources. The Center resolves environmental issues through the application of practical environmental solutions.

Greater Union Baptist Church is located in the heart of Compton, California. GUBC has two main Sunday services and aggressive outreach into the surrounding community. Their opportunities to serve include participation at the Compton Women’s Shelter, the Long Beach Rescue Mission and the Grace Elliott Medical Center, among others. Reverend Kenneth D. Tillman is the pastor of the church. Reverend Sammy P. Darling, II is Associate Minister, Director of Youth Programs and Outreach Coordinator. Reverend Darling will coordinate the Compton To Catalina Program on behalf of Greater Union Baptist Church.

Summary: The Center intends to provide a valuable environmental service to the youth of Compton, California. We believe this CTC Program will provide a rich environmental experience for participants. We will engage as many churches, schools and other institutions involved as possible. We will also appeal to the greater Los Angeles community to support the program.

Time Frame: The program time frame is for a one year period. We are establishing the Compton to Catalina as a permanent program.

Call to request full budget: 443-569-5102

Columbia University Master of Public Administration Program

Columbia University
Learn about Columbia University's twelve month Master of Public Administration Program in Environmental Science and Policy housed at the School of International and Public Affairs.  Program representatives make campus visits this fall. Learn how the program combines the University's hands-on approach to teaching public policy and administration with the Earth Institute’s pioneering thinking about the environment. Program graduates are trained for careers in environmental policy, environmental management and sustainable development, among other fields in the public, private or not for profit sectors. Our approach reflects the system-level thinking that is needed to address issues of environmental management and sustainable development.

Below are listed the information sessions on both Columbia University’s campus and others around the country this fall. Ask program representatives about the upcoming deadlines:

Application Deadlines:

• November 1st: Early Decision deadline for applying to the program with fellowship consideration. Applicants who submit their application by this deadline will be informed of the admissions decision by December 1st.

• January 15th: Regular Decision application deadline for applying with fellowship.

• February 15th: Final Deadline to apply with fellowship consideration.

To view the application, please click here .

For more information about our program, please visit our website or call our office at 212-854-3142.

For an up-to-date list of campus visits, please click here.

If you are unable to attend an information session, but would like to talk with Faculty or current students, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Sarah Tweedie
Assistant Director

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ballot Being Used To Block Frack Natural Gas Drilling

Challengers to natural gas drilling in Peters Township, an affluent community in Pennsylvania, are taking a new approach in blocking the rights of energy companies to drill in the massive Marcellus Shale basin by putting the issu on the ballot. This will be the nation's first voter initiative seeking to ban such activity.  Residents will vote this fall on a local bill of rights that would ban gas extraction, a move proponents say is necessary to guarantee residents the right to clean water and air. Voters in State College will decide on a similar measure in November, and a referendum is also being considered in Warren.

The Center has established Criteria for Evaluating Hydraulic Fracturing Projects and we believe utilizing it could reconcile the differences between municipalities and natural gas drilling companies. 

Such complete bans on drilling have yet to be ruled on by a court in Pennsylvania, but legal experts are doubtful they would survive. Local officials say such restrictions fall within a town's right to enforce zoning, much in the same way municipalities can prevent a chemical plant or prison from being built in the middle of a residential neighborhood. It's not clear what legal status a local bill of rights in Pennsylvania would have since there hasn't been one.

The ballot initiatives add a new legal wrinkle to a wave of local challenges to the use of hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, which stretches across much of Pennsylvania into West Virginia and New York. In the past 18 months, more than 100 Pennsylvania municipalities have enacted ordinances to limit or regulate such drilling.

A majority of Pennsylvania residents support gas drilling, according to several recent polls. A Sept. 1 poll by Franklin & Marshall College found that 66% had a favorable opinion of the natural gas industry and more of those polled said potential economic benefits outweighed possible environmental damage than those who thought the opposite.

Gas drillers say they are willing to work with communities to fashion ordinances that both sides are comfortable with. But they argue that state mineral extraction laws preempt drilling bans and that such onerous restrictions violate the rights of property owners, who could earn lease and royalty revenues. Gas producers are fighting back calling restrictive ordinances de facto bans that violate the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act's requirement that municipalities allow for reasonable development of minerals.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. of Oklahoma City, which plans to drill 40 to 50 wells in Peters Township, has leased land from two cemeteries, a country club and privately owned farms. Chesapeake hasn't challenged the township ordinance, even though it believes it is beyond the scope of officials' jurisdiction. The company will surely challenge the referendum if it is passed. (WSJ, 9/12/2011)

Explosion At Nuclear Waste Treatment Site In France Kills One

Marcoule nuclear waste treatment site

A furnace exploded at the Marcoule nuclear waste treatment site in southern France today killed one person. According to France's ASN nuclear safety watchdog, there was no leak of radioactive material outside the furnace. Four other people were injured, one seriously, in the blast at the Centraco site, owned by French power utility EDF and adjacent to the Marcoule nuclear research center. The site does not house any nuclear reactors. The furnace that exploded is used to melt waste with levels of radioactivity ranging from low to very high, ASN said.

No immediately reason has been given for the blast and staff at the plant reacted to the accident according to planned procedures. Police also said there was no contamination outside the site, which is about 18 miles from the city of Avignon and about 50 miles from the Mediterranean coast. (MSNBC, 9/12/2011)

Rescue services evacuate a person injured after an explosion  at the French nuclear
waste treatment site of Marcoule, southern France September 12, 2011.

Washington Redskins Install Largest Solar Panels in NFL

David Crane, CEO, NRG Energy; Daniel Snyder, Owner, Washington Redskins; U.S. Representative, Donna Edwards, (D-MD); Rushern Baker, County Executive, Prince George’s County; and James Brown, Host NFL Today on CBS, are holding a media briefing, Q&A and guided tour of the new solar installation at FedExField in Landover, Maryland on Thursday, September 15.  It is the largest at a professional football stadium and in the D.C. Metro Area.

Artist's rendering of solar panels
The NRG solar installation at FedExField is capable of meeting the stadium’s power needs on non-game days and providing up to 20% of the needed electricity on game days – the equivalent of providing 300 homes with energy for a full year. By using solar power technologies, the Redskins and NRG are keeping 1,780 metric tons of carbon out of the atmosphere – the equivalent of replacing 349 vehicles with gasoline engines with zero emission electric vehicles. The solar panels are expected to decrease game-day energy use at FedEx Field by 15 percent and provide 850 covered parking spaces.

NRG Energy, Inc. is a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 Index company that owns and operates one of the country’s largest and most diverse power generation portfolios. Headquartered in Princeton, NJ, the Company’s power plants provide more than 25,000 megawatts of generation capacity—enough to supply nearly 20 million homes. NRG’s retail businesses, Reliant Energy and Green Mountain Energy Company, combined serve nearly 1.9 million residential, business, commercial and industrial customers. With investments in solar, wind and nuclear power, as well as electric vehicle infrastructure, NRG is working to help America transition to a clean energy economy.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

DC Stormwater Fee and Impervious Area Charge

How is the stormwater fee charge determined?

The District stormwater fee reflects the amount of impervious, or hard surface, area found on properties. Impervious areas create more stormwater runoff and consequently increase the cost to manage the pollution. The stormwater fee is based on the concept of an Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU), which is based on the average amount (1,000 square feet) of impervious surface on residential properties.

Single family residences are charged based on a tiered system that charges on a number of ERUs that corresponds to their amount of impervious area, as follows:

Square Feet of Impervious Surface / Number of ERUs

100 to 600  / 0.6

700 to 2,000 / 1.0

2,100 to 3,000 / 2.4

3,100 to 7,000 / 3.8

7,100 to 11,000 / 8.6

11,100 and above / 13.5

Each ERU will be charged $2.67 per month.

For all other properties, such as businesses and large multi-family properties, the stormwater fee will be charged $2.67 per month for each 1,000 square feet of impervious area on their lot, reduced to the nearest 100 square feet.

For example, the monthly stormwater fee for a commercial property with 26,500 square feet of impervious area would be calculated as follows:

26,500 square feet / 1,000 square feet = 26.5 X $2.67 = $70.76 per month \

5. Why base the stormwater fee on impervious surface?

Impervious surface relates directly to the amount of stormwater runoff generated from a property. Large, highly impervious properties produce more stormwater than smaller properties, and require the District to do more to treat and reduce stormwater runoff. By basing the stormwater fee on impervious surface, the District can more fairly distribute its stormwater management costs among properties in the District.

6. How does this relate to DC Water's Impervious Area Charge?

Both fees relate to improving the District's water quality. However, DDOE's stormwater fee and the DC Water charge address separate pollution control requirements.
What is an Impervious Area Charge (IAC)? The IAC is based upon the amount of impervious surface on your property. An impervious surface is a man-made surface that cannot be easily penetrated by water, such as rooftops, driveways, patios, tennis courts, swimming pools, parking lots, and other paved or covered areas (regardless of materials used).

Impervious surface areas are a major contributor to rainwater runoff entering the District's sewer system and pollution entering area waterways.
How is the amount of the charge determined? The charge is based on an Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU). An ERU is a statistical median of the amount of impervious surface area in a single-family residential property, measured in square feet. The FY 2011 monthly ERU value is $3.45.

Residential Customers: Beginning in FY 2011, all residential customers will be assessed ERUs based upon the amount of impervious surface on their property and the following six-tier rate structure:

Impervious Area (Square Feet) / ERU / ERU Rate / Monthly Cost

100-600 / 0.6 / $3.45 / $2.07

700-2,000 / 1.0 / $3.45 / $3.45

2,100-3,000 / 2.4 / $3.45 / $8.28

3,100-7,000 / 3.8 / $3.45 / $13.11

7,100-11,000 / 8.6 / $3.45 / $29.67

11,100 and more / 13.5 / $3.45 / $46.58

All nonresidential customers are assessed ERUs based on the total amount of impervious surface on each lot.

Why did DC Water develop a Tiered Rate structure for residential customers?

The tiers were developed in order to bill residential customers more equitably, based on the size of their properties. (DCWater)

DC Department of Environment Proposed Stormwater Regulation

Discount For Stormwater Retention

The stormwater fee is based on the “Equivalent Residential Unit” (ERU), a unit of measurement established in § 556. Each ERU is equal to one thousand square feet (1,000 sq. ft.) of impervious surface. For a 1.2 in. rainfall event, each ERU produces seven hundred ten and seventy-five hundredths (710.75) gallons of stormwater runoff. Currently, a property pays $2.67 per month per ERU.

The following sample calculation shows how a customer’s use of a stormwater retention practice can reduce the fee. Assume that a property has twenty thousand square feet (20,000 sq. ft.) of impervious surface, or twenty (20) ERUs. Assume also that the impervious area consists of seventeen thousand five hundred square feet (17,500 sq. ft.) of roof area and two thousand five hundred square feet (2,500 sq. ft.) of a concrete driveway. At present rates, $2.67/ERU, the property must pay a monthly stormwater fee of $53.40 for this impervious area. ($2.67 X 20 ERUs)

Now assume that the owner installs a green roof that has a DDOE-approved design, and that engineering calculations have demonstrated will retain a maximum of ten thousand three hundred sixty-two gallons (10,362 gal.) of stormwater runoff per storm event. As an approved retention practice, the green roof entitles the customer to a stormwater fee discount.

The Department will calculate the monthly stormwater fee discount as follows:

Step 1: Input the maximum volume of stormwater runoff retained by the DDOE-approved stormwater retention practice per storm event, in gallons:

10,362 gallons

Step 2: Convert the retention volume from Step 1 to ERUs by dividing it by seven hundred ten and seventy-five hundredths gallons per ERU (710.75 gallons/ERU) (rounding the quotient up to the nearest tenth):

10,362 gallons ÷ 710.75 gallons/ERU ═ 14.6 ERUs

Step 3: Multiply the number of ERUs from Step 2 by the maximum allowable discount percentage of fifty-five percent (55%) (rounding the result up to the nearest tenth):

14.6 ERUs × 55% ═ 8.1 ERUs

Step 4: Determine the dollar amount of the monthly stormwater fee discount by multiplying the number of ERUs from Step 3 by the current monthly fee, two dollars and sixty-seven cents ($2.67) per ERU:

$2.67/ERU × 8.1 ERU ═ $21.63 monthly discount


Friday, September 09, 2011

10 States Complete 13th Regional Auction of CO2 Allowances

Current Control Period Allowances Sold at $1.89

The ten Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states participating in the nation’s first market-based regulatory program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today announced the results of their 13th quarterly auction of carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances. The auction, held Wednesday, September 7th, marks three years since the launch of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) auctions in 2008.

7,487,000, or 17.75 percent, of the 42,189,685 current control period (2009-2011) CO2 allowances offered for sale by the ten participating states were sold. The auction clearing price was $1.89 per allowance, the minimum reserve price for the auction. Thirty-one entities submitted winning bids, with bids ranging from $1.89 to $5.18. Electric generators and their corporate affiliates purchased 94 percent of the current control period allowances sold.

The participating states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont also offered a smaller number of CO2 allowances for a future control period (2012-2014). None of the future control period allowances offered in the auction was sold.

According to the independent market monitor retained to evaluate the RGGI market, the quarterly auctions have been consistent with a competitive market and have successfully delivered the vast majority of allowances to power plants that need them for compliance. The Market Monitor Report for Auction 13 details that power plants and their corporate affiliates purchased 85 percent of allowances sold in Auctions 1-13 and hold 97 percent of the allowances in circulation.

Proceeds from RGGI auctions now total more than $900 million, approximately 80 percent of which is being invested by states in consumer benefits: energy efficiency, renewable energy, direct assistance to consumers and other programs. State data show that energy efficiency programs, which account for the largest share of investments across the region, are generating $3 to $4 in savings for every $1 invested. For more information on each RGGI state’s investment of auction proceeds, visit:

The participating states have announced that they are preparing for a comprehensive review of the RGGI program in 2012. That review will consider, among other things, the reduction in emissions that has occurred since the regional emission cap was put into place. A stakeholder session has been scheduled for September 19, 2011 to receive stakeholder input on various analyses that the participating states are undertaking. The stakeholder meeting will take place in New York City and will be open to all. For more information.

The next RGGI auction is scheduled for December 7, 2011.

EPA Public Meeting on Definition of Solid & Hazardous Waste

EPA Announces Two Public Meetings on Proposed Definition of Solid Waste rule for Hazardous Waste Recycling

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting two public meetings on the agency’s proposed new safeguards for hazardous secondary materials recycling to protect public health and the environment. The proposal modifies EPA’s 2008 Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) rule, which revised hazardous waste regulations to encourage recycling of hazardous secondary materials.

Both meetings will run from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (local time). People who want a guaranteed slot to speak must register no later than three business days before each hearing. Additionally, walk-ins and written
comments will be accepted at each hearing. The agency will consider the public’s comments in its final decision.

September 12: Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, 1201 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA

September 15: Avenue Crowne Plaza, 160 E Huron Street, Chicago, IL

EPA urges you to pre-register online

You may also submit your comments online through using docket number EPA-HQ-RCRA-2010-0742. EPA has extended the comment period for this rulemaking by 30 days and will now accept comments until October 20, 2011. (EPA)

More information about this rulemaking

Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113

Thursday, September 08, 2011

American Jobs Act

1. Tax Cuts to Help America’s Small Businesses Hire and Grow

• Cutting the payroll tax in half for 98 percent of businesses: The President’s plan will cut in half the taxes paid by businesses on their first $5 million in payroll, targeting the benefit to the 98 percent of firms that have payroll below this threshold.

• A complete payroll tax holiday for added workers or increased wages: The President’s plan will completely eliminate payroll taxes for firms that increase their payroll by adding new workers or increasing the wages of their current worker (the benefit is capped at the first $50 million in payroll increases).

• Extending 100% expensing into 2012: This continues an effective incentive for new investment.

• Reforms and regulatory reductions to help entrepreneurs and small businesses access capital.

2. Putting Workers Back on the Job While Rebuilding and Modernizing America

• A “Returning Heroes” hiring tax credit for veterans: This provides tax credits from $5,600 to $9,600 to encourage the hiring of unemployed veterans.

• Preventing up to 280,000 teacher layoffs,while keeping cops and firefighters on the job.

• Modernizing at least 35,000 public schools across the country,supporting new science labs, Internet-ready classrooms and renovations at schools across the country, in rural and urban areas.

• Immediate investments in infrastructure and a bipartisan National Infrastructure Bank, modernizing our roads, rail, airports and waterways while putting hundreds of thousands of workers back on the job.

• A New “Project Rebuild”, which will put people to work rehabilitating homes, businesses and communities, leveraging private capital and scaling land banks and other public-private collaborations.

• Expanding access to high-speed wireless as part of a plan for freeing up the nation’s spectrum.

3. Pathways Back to Work for Americans Looking for Jobs.

• The most innovative reform to the unemployment insurance program in 40 years: As part of an extension of unemployment insurance to prevent 5 million Americans looking for work from losing their benefits, the President’s plan includes innovative work-based reforms to prevent layoffs and give states greater flexibility to use UI funds to best support job-seekers, including:

◦ Work-Sharing: UI for workers whose employers choose work-sharing over layoffs.

◦ A new “Bridge to Work” program: The plan builds on and improves innovative state programs where those displacedtake temporary, voluntary work or pursue on-the-job training.

◦ Innovative entrepreneurship and wage insurance programs: States will also be empowered to implement wage insurance to help reemploy older workers and programs that make it easier for unemployed workers to start their own businesses.

• A $4,000 tax credit to employers for hiring long-term unemployed workers.

• Prohibiting employers from discriminating against unemployed workers when hiring.

• Expanding job opportunities for low-income youth and adults through a fund for successful approaches for subsidized employment, innovative training programs and summer/year-round jobs for youth.

4. Tax Relief for Every American Worker and Family

• Cutting payroll taxes in half for 160 million workers next year: The President’s plan will expand the payroll tax cut passed last year to cut workers payroll taxes in half in 2012 – providing a $1,500 tax cut to the typical American family, without negatively impacting the Social Security Trust Fund.

• Allowing more Americans to refinance their mortgages at today’s near 4 percent interest rates, which can put more than $2,000 a year in a family’s pocket.

5. Fully Paid for as Part of the President’s Long-Term Deficit Reduction Plan.To ensure that the American Jobs Act is fully paid for, the President will call on the Joint Committee to come up with additional deficit reduction necessary to pay for the Act and still meet its deficit target. The President will, in the coming days, release a detailed plan that will show how we can do that while achieving the additional deficit reduction necessary to meet the President’s broader goal of stabilizing our debt as a share of the economy. (The White House)