Who really pays for cutting back rules limiting toxic emissions?

President Donald’s administrative minions, since day one, have been “reviewing” federal regulations they argue are so costly they curtail growth in American manufacturing, and worse, put American jobs at risk. Thus they are focusing on rules that govern environmental reviews in permitting processes and regulate impacts on worker health and safety.

Pollution Free ZoneIndustry groups oppose one particular regulation — the rule tightening ozone emissions under the Clean Air Act’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

According to a Reuters story by David Lawder, “The National Association of Manufacturers said the EPA’s review requirements for new sources of emissions such as factories can add $100,000 in costs for modeling air quality to a new facility and delay factory expansions by 18 months.”

According to Lawder, “Several groups argu[ed] this would expose them to increased permitting hurdles for new facilities, raising costs.” [emphasis added]

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Why I chose the Leaf over the Jetta TDI – Renewable Journal for 7/4/2014

Tax credits and rebates, low cost of operation, and reduced air pollution all made the Leaf the better choice for my family.

[MotorTrend]For more posts in this series, please click here.

I know I’m going to get asked why I spent over 30k (before all the crazy tax rebates) on a car that only goes 80 miles. My father especially will ask at some point, and he’s already called it a “toy” car.

He’s not entirely wrong, either. I’m in my 40s now, and it’s actually quite a bit of fun to drive around in a car that can go from 0 to 60 in just a tad over 6 seconds. I’ve never had a car that has this kind of acceleration. Continue reading

Nota Bene #110: WEHT SWK?

“In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #91: No Joke

Well I figured I’d give you all a break Continue reading

Carbon capitalism

American-style capitalism, sans regulation, has earned its present bad rap. Even so, some market mechanisms do work quite well. Commodities pricing is discovered and costs kept low because markets are very efficient at making sure that metals, oil, food, etc. are moved to where the demand is the highest from where the supply is greatest. Similarly, a market in traded sulfur emissions imposed by the Clean Air Act has enabled fossil fuel plants to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions (the main source of acid rain) dramatically since the market’s inception.

Markets don’t work for everything, however. The sulfur dioxide emissions market works because the effects are not hyper-localized – farmers in Kansas and Iowa won’t notice the difference between the emissions from coal plants in Denver, Boulder, or Fort Collins. However, in the case of mercury emissions from coal plants, an emissions market would be a very, very bad idea. Coal-produced mercury precipitates out of the air in a plume immediately downwind of the emissions source, and so there’s no way to fairly balance the increased emissions of one coal plant with the lower emissions of another. In this case, all the increased mercury emissions would to is poison more mothers and children.

But because markets work so well for so many things, the creation of a cap-and-trade market for carbon dioxide (CO2) makes a lot of sense. In a similar fashion to sulfur dioxide and unlike mercury emissions, CO2 emissions mix well with the atmosphere and so trading emission credits between one source and another is viable. Continue reading

Kingston, TN sings "Auld Lang Sludge" (Update #2)

Update #2: NASA’s Earth Observatory has false-color LandSat images of before and after the spill. Amazing shots. I’ll add them to the image slideshow rotation above when I have a chance.

Update#1: Appalachian Voices’ Frontporch blog is reporting that the independent water samples taken from the Emory River last week show that “[c]oncentrations of eight toxic chemicals range from twice to 300 times higher than drinking water limits.” The results are preliminary, but they’re so high – and in such conflict with official results – that the scientists and activists felt that releasing the data was very important. Here’s the official press release, a video on it, and a NYTimes article on it too. If you’re in the area and your community gets water from the Clinch River downstream of the Emory, I’d strongly recommend bottled water.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas last week. Many of us here at S&R have been taking some time off from blogging as well, which is why it’s been days since the last update on the Tennessee Valley Authority’s coal (ash) in the stocking story. So it’s past time for another roundup of the latest news and opinion. Continue reading

Millions of Americans are drinking water tainted with drugs

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By Martin Bosworth

If you were grossed out by the generally reasonable idea of drinking recycled sewer water to preserve supplies, you’ll love this–as many as 41 million Americans have been drinking water tainted with trace elements of pharmaceuticals of all shapes, sizes, and effects:

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