Monday, October 31, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe said, "EPA is firmly committed to helping local governments identify opportunities to achieve clean water using a comprehensive integrated planning approach. An integrated approach allows communities to prioritize their investments to address the most serious water issues first and provides flexibility to use innovative, cost-effective storm- and wastewater management solutions including green infrastructure."
EPA indicates that aging sewer systems, not designed to handle heavy rain and snowfall in addition to handling the wastewater from growing populations and local industries, can overflow, releasing untreated sewage into waterways, onto city streets or into the basements of homes. As the runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces, including paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops, it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment and other pollutants. Overflows and stormwater can carry a variety of harmful pollutants, including bacteria, metals and nutrients that threaten communities' water quality and can contribute to disease outbreaks, beach and shellfish bed closings, flooding, and fishing or swimming advisories.
To better protect water quality, EPA said it will work with local governments to review the Clean Water Act requirements that each municipality must comply with and look for opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of solutions developed to meet those obligations. This integrated approach will identify efficiencies where more than one water quality issue can be addressed by the same solution and where competing requirements may exist, including how to best make capital investments and meet operation and maintenance requirements.
EPA said that integrated planning approaches can also have other benefits, like leading to the identification of innovative, sustainable solutions that improve water quality and enhance community vitality. Green infrastructure, such as green roofs, rain gardens, planter boxes, and permeable pavement, is an example of an integrated solution that can reduce, capture, and treat stormwater runoff at its source before it can reach the sewer system. Green infrastructure provides a cost effective way to reduce overflows and add green space in communities.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
According to a release from Senator Sanders, TransCanada, the company proposing the Keystone XL pipeline project, reportedly was allowed to screen private firms competing to perform an environmental impact study on the pipeline. Cardno Entrix, the politically-connected firm ultimately selected to conduct the environmental impact study, had significant financial ties to TransCanada. The lawmakers wrote to Deputy Inspector General Harold Geisel saying, "Given the significant economic, environmental, and public health implications of the proposed pipeline, we believe that it is critical that the State Department conduct thorough, unbiased reviews of the project."
Access the Reuters report (click here). Access the release from the House Energy and Commerce Committee (click here). Access the posting from Tom Poor Bear (click here). Access a release from Senator Sanders and link to the letter (click here). Access a DOS announcement and details on the schedule of project meetings (click here). Access a fact sheet and map of the proposed pipeline (click here). Access a 27-page Executive Summary of the final EIS (click here). Access complete details and background from the DOS Keystone XL Pipeline Project website (click here). [#Energy/Pipeline, #Energy/OilSands]
GET THE REST OF TODAY'S NEWS (click here)
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
In response to growing concerns on this issue in the agriculture community, on October 14, in a letter to Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson indicated she would not recommend any change in the PM10 particulate matter standards of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Former USDA Director under President Bush and now U.S. Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) issued a lengthy release applauding the EPA announcement which he said now means that the Agency will not be regulating farm dust. He said he will not continue to pursue his farm dust legislation because the announcement provides clarity to ambiguous and sometimes conflicting comments previously made by the Agency [See WIMS 10/19/11].
At the hearing, EPA's Gina McCarthy reiterated Administrator Jackson's commitment and said, "This existing standard has been in effect since 1987. I am hopeful that this announcement ends the myth that the Agency has plans to tighten regulation of 'farm dust.' Given the Administrator's announcement, this bill is no longer necessary to produce its stated result -- to prevent the tightening of the coarse particle standard. Additionally, it is crucial for this Committee to note that this bill does far more than prohibit EPA from revising the coarse particle standard, and could roll back basic Clean Air Act protections and adversely affect public health in urban, suburban and rural areas."
While EPA's action satisfied some members, other are not convinced. H.R.1633, is co-sponsored by over 100 Republicans and Democrats. Two of the bill's primary sponsors, Representatives Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Robert Hurt (R-VA), testified about the need for their legislation to provide "immediate relief to America's farmers and ranchers." Representatives Noem said, "My bill is a bipartisan approach to ending the EPA's regulation of farm dust in rural America, while still maintaining the protections of the Clean Air Act to the public's health and welfare. One of the most overwhelming concerns I hear about from farmers and ranchers back home is the overbearing regulations coming out of EPA, including the regulation of farm dust. Their concern is not unwarranted. We need to put an end to regulation of farm dust and prevent its expansion in the future. Regulation of farm dust is a problem today and will only cause more of an issue as the EPA continues to have opportunities to make more stringent standards in the future."
Representative Whitfield acknowledged in his release that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson recently announced plans to propose retaining the current standard for coarse particulate matter, but said "the agricultural community remains concerned that the standard could change during the rulemaking process or as a result of future court challenges. In addition, witnesses noted that without legislation, EPA would retain the authority to modify the standard and increase the costs and burdens of farm dust regulation in the future."
Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) said, "The last thing our struggling economy needs is new costs and regulatory burdens on farmers and small business in rural America. They already face indirect consequences from EPA's costly regulatory agenda, and now they are rightfully concerned about the threat of direct regulation on their operations. This is a common-sense approach that protects the interests of our vital rural economy, and I commend our colleagues for putting their ideas on the table. If EPA is serious that it does not intend to regulate farm dust, it should embrace this legislation."
Full Committee Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA) said in a statement, "We are going to hear today that we must pass H.R.1633 to stop EPA from regulating farming. This isn't just nonsense. It's pure fantasy. EPA does not regulate farming practices to reduce dust and has expressed no intention of doing so in the future. EPA has set standards for the levels of coarse particulate matter in the ambient air because there is scientific evidence that this pollution causes serious health effects. Coarse particulate matter, or PM10, is produced by uncontrolled burning of coal and oil, construction and demolition activities, mining, and unpaved roads, as well as farm activities. Once EPA sets the standards for ambient levels of air pollution, it is up to the states and localities to determine how to meet them. It is the states and localities, not EPA, that decide which sources must reduce pollution and by how much. EPA set the current PM10 standards in 1987, during the Reagan Administration. . ."
Access a release from Rep. Whitfield (click here). Access the Republican hearing website for links to all testimony, background, statements (click here). Access the Democratic hearing website for links to all testimony, statements and webcast highlights (click here). [#Air]
GET THE REST OF TODAY'S NEWS (click here)
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Access a 2-page summary of results (click here). Access the BEST website for complete background, FAQs and related information (click here). Access links to the 4 papers, data sets, summaries, charts, and more (click here). Access the complete list of donors (click here). [#Climate]
Monday, October 24, 2011
The report and warning from is the latest in a long series of UN warnings that world is falling behind in the battle against global warming. Just last month, at a Leaders' Dialogue on Climate Change on the eve of the high-level session of the General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged governments to show greater commitment. Scientists say that keeping to the 2-degrees Celsius limit over the course of the 21st century is crucial to avert widespread disasters, from the disappearances of low-lying island nations under rising seas and searing droughts, famines, extreme storms and flooding, to the extinction of species.
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, "The analysis provided in this new report offers many options that can happen either in the formal negotiations or as complementary measures elsewhere, options that can assist the more than 190 United Nations Member States move quickly to harvest the opportunities of a transition to a climate resilient, low-carbon, resource-efficient Green Economy." The report highlights the need to mobilize a range of public and private sector groups at the international, national and sub-national levels, who can contribute to climate governance, emission reductions and adaptation investment.
The report stressed that the issue of legally binding commitments is central to debates ahead of Durban and noted that it is possible to build upon existing UNFCCC processes to strengthen the climate regime and raise the overall level of ambition to reach the target. UNEP indicated that "While a number of studies have demonstrated that the level of climate mitigation pledged to date is insufficient to limit temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius, this paper clearly demonstrates that there are a range of good ideas and options available that could help correct the course and move toward a safer and more stable climate." The report breaks down proposals into five key issues that have been major points of debate:
- Options under the UNFCCC to Increase Ambition: Within the UNFCCC, new approaches could involve reducing the emissions of additional greenhouse gases, including additional sectors, and strengthening accounting rules for emissions and emission reductions. Utilizing tools within the UNFCCC can be beneficial because they minimize duplication and implementation costs while facilitating trust-building. However, other complementary options should also be considered.
- Options outside the UNFCCC to Increase Ambition: Beyond the UNFCCC process, approaches include multilateral, plurilateral, bilateral and domestic strategies. These approaches offer prospects to mobilize actors around shared interests like development, trade, human rights, energy or food security. While these new strategies can generate greater ambition, one disadvantage of following approaches outside the UNFCCC is a risk of undermining existing processes and creating inefficiencies.
- Means for Sharing the Mitigation Effort Under the UNFCCC: Various proposals could be used to allocate responsibility to bridge the gap between the current level of effort and scientific recommendations. Possible approaches include dividing mitigation efforts based on countries' capacity or based on countries' contribution to the problem. Setting a global carbon budget would help ensure that the climate regime meets the adequacy standard, but it could be difficult to implement new allocations for emission obligations.
- The Role of Various Actors in Tracking Country Performance on Mitigation: Harmonized global accounting, reporting and verification standards are fundamental to progress. Two options are to use tools within the UNFCCC or outside the UNFCCC. Both options are discussed in detail.
- The Legal Form of a Future Climate Agreement: The issue of legally binding commitments is central to the debates ahead of Durban. The paper presents multiple options for climate negotiators: to proceed without new, legally-binding commitments; to commit to achieving new legally-binding commitments immediately; or to strengthen the components of legal character over time to achieve new, legally-binding commitments as soon as possible.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
EPA said in the statement that recent technology and operational improvements in extracting natural gas resources, particularly shale gas, have increased gas drilling activities across the country. Production from shale formations has grown from a negligible amount just a few years ago to almost 15 percent of total U.S. natural gas production and this share is expected to triple in the coming decades. EPA said, "The sharp rise in domestic production has improved U.S. energy security and created jobs, and as with any resource the Administration is committed to ensuring that we continue to leverage these resources safely and responsibly, including understanding any potential impact on water resources."
Re: Shale Gas Standards - Currently, wastewater associated with shale gas extraction is prohibited from being directly discharged to waterways and other waters of the U.S. While some of the wastewater from shale gas extraction is reused or re-injected, a significant amount still requires disposal. As a result, some shale gas wastewater is transported to treatment plants (i.e. wastewater treatment plants, WWTP), many of which are not properly equipped to treat this type of wastewater. EPA will consider standards based on demonstrated, economically achievable technologies, for shale gas wastewater that must be met before going to a treatment facility.
Re: Coalbed Methane Standards - Wastewater associated with coalbed methane extraction is not currently subject to national standards for being directly discharged into waterways and for pre-treatment standards. Its regulation is left to individual states. For coalbed methane, EPA will be considering uniform national standards based on economically achievable technologies.
Information reviewed by EPA, including state supplied wastewater sampling data, have documented elevated levels of pollutants entering surface waters as a result of inadequate treatment at facilities. To ensure that these wastewaters receive proper treatment and can be properly handled by treatment plants, EPA will gather data, consult with stakeholders, including ongoing consultation with industry, and solicit public comment on a proposed rule for coalbed methane in 2013 and a proposed rule for shale gas in 2014.
EPA said the schedule for coalbed methane is shorter because EPA has already gathered extensive data and information on coalbed methane. EPA will take the additional time to gather comparable data on shale gas. In particular, EPA will be looking at the potential for cost-effective steps for pretreatment of this wastewater based on practices and technologies that are already available and being deployed or tested by industry to reduce pollutants in these discharges.
EPA said the announcement is part of the effluent guidelines program, which sets national standards for industrial wastewater discharges based on best available technologies that are economically achievable. EPA is required to publish a biennial outline of all industrial wastewater discharge rulemakings underway. EPA has issued national technology-based regulations for 57 industries since 1972. These regulations have prevented the discharge of more than 1.2 billion pounds of toxic pollutants each year into US waters. EPA publishes an Effluent Guidelines Program Plan (Plan) every other year. The Plan is required by Section 304(m) of the Clean Water Act. EPA last published a Plan in 2008. EPA published a preliminary 2010 Plan for public comment on December 28, 2009, and is now publishing the final "2010 Plan" (October 20, 2011).
Access the announcement from EPA (click here). Access extensive background information and document related to the Final 2010 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan, including a prepublication copy of the Federal Register notice, fact sheet, supporting documents and more (click here). [#Water, #Energy/NatGas]
GET THE REST OF TODAY'S NEWS (click here)
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
According to a release, investor support for climate action has more than doubled since November 2008, when 150 investors with $9 trillion in assets under management first came together to urge government leaders to act on climate change. Current levels of investments in low-carbon technology and infrastructure are substantially lower than the $500 billion per year deemed necessary by the International Energy Agency (IEA) to hold the increase of global average temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius -- the target agreed in Cancun last year.
Coordinated by three leading investor groups on climate change -- the US-based Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR); the European Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC); and the Investors Group on Climate Change (IGCC) in Australia and New Zealand -- alongside the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and the Advisory Council of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the statement represents the largest ever grouping, by both number of signatories and assets under management, to call for policy action on climate change.
The statement is supported by-- Investment-Grade Climate Change Policy: Financing The Transition To The Low-Carbon Economy -- commissioned by the three investor groups and UNEP FI. The report underscores the importance of "investment-grade policy" which will enable institutional investors to allocate capital towards climate change solutions, including appropriate government incentives to compensate for heightened risk and sufficient scale of technology deployment. The report also emphasizes that long-term policy stability is critical and retroactive changes can significantly damage investor confidence. Contained within the report are case studies on the climate policies of six major emitters and further examples of investment-grade policy, which may prove instructive for national governments and negotiators considering future policy initiatives.
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) commented saying, "Governments have clearly signaled their intention to move towards a low-carbon future. To get there fast enough will require huge new investments in clean energy. This is the only way to guarantee the long-term sustainability and security of the world economic system and the stability of returns from global investment, a major part of which is directly linked to the pensions and life insurance of ordinary people around the world. This global investor group has seen this clearly. The Statement from major private sector investors will help to give governments both the confidence and the knowledge to put the right incentives and mechanisms in place".
The Investor groups sent the statement and report to the G-20 and other governments in anticipation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting (COP17/CMP7) in Durban, South Africa November 28 to December 9, 2011 [See WIMS 10/11/11]. Investors will engage with policy makers there and call for domestic and international policy action including:
- The definition by governments of clear short-, medium- and long-term greenhouse gas emission objectives and targets and comprehensive, enforceable legal mechanisms and timelines.
- The creation of lasting financial incentives that shift the risk reward balance in favor of low-carbon assets.
- The design of lasting and comprehensive policies that accelerate the deployment of energy efficiency, cleaner energy, renewable energy, green buildings, clean vehicles and fuels, among others.
International policy recommendations include:
- Continued work towards a binding international climate change treaty that includes all major emitters and sets short-, mid-, and long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
- Support the development of the Green Climate Fund and other comparable funding mechanisms.
- Accelerate efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD and REDD+).
Stephanie Pfeifer, Executive Director at the IIGCC said, "Policy risk has a critical influence on investment in low-carbon growth areas such as renewable energy. Attracting capital at the scale required to meet climate change goals will only be possible when low carbon investments are seen as attractive relative to higher carbon investments. Determined leadership on national and international climate and energy policy will be fundamental in shifting this risk/return balance in favor of low carbon investments".
Frank Pegan, Chair of IGCC Australia/New Zealand said, "Individual nations will be in a stronger position to attract private capital to stimulate their economies by implementing clear and credible climate policies. As and when governments around the world show leadership and reduce policy risk around climate change for investors, the investment flows will follow." Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres and director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk said, "The global economy is moving towards a low-carbon future. The governments that act aggressively to enact strong, long-term climate and energy policy will reap the rewards. They will drive the innovation, maintain competitiveness in the 21st century and attract investment."
Access a release from the organizations (click here). Access the joint statement (click here). Access the 44-page report (click here). Access the UNFCCC website for more information and details on the upcoming COP17/CMP7 meeting (click here). [#Climate]
GET THE REST OF TODAY'S NEWS (click here)
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The groups reported, however, the court also held that DOI had broad discretion when crafting species-specific rules and therefore did not substantively violate the ESA in adopting the exemption for the polar bear. A similar interim rule issued simultaneously with listing of the polar bear as threatened in May 2008 remains in place until Interior complies with NEPA by completing a new environmental impact statement and issues a new final rule. The polar bear was the first species added to the endangered species list solely because of threats to the species from global warming. The groups said the ruling does not limit the applicability of the ESA to greenhouse gas emissions affecting species listed as endangered under the Act or to other threatened species for which Interior has not issued a specific exemption.
Brendan Cummings at CBD commented, "Today's decision squarely places the fate of the polar bear back in the hands of the Obama administration. Rather than continue to defend an ill-conceived Bush-era rule, the Obama administration should take this opportunity to carefully craft a new rule that meaningfully addresses greenhouse gas emissions, the primary threat to the polar bear." Andrew Wetzler, director of the Lands and Wildlife program for NRDC said, "Now that the Department of the Interior must weigh in for the first time with full environmental analysis, the Obama administration is going to own this issue. It affords the president an opportunity to show he is serious about dealing with climate change and protecting wildlife. The court's ruling means the Obama administration won't be able to hide behind Bush-era policies on an issue the public clearly cares about."
John Hocevar, oceans director at Greenpeace said, "The court's decision is bittersweet -- it acknowledges the devastating impact of global warming on polar bears and requires further review of the 4(d) rule, but stops short of fully disallowing an exemption for greenhouse gases. We will redouble our efforts to protect the polar bear's Arctic Ocean habitat, and continue to press the Obama administration to use all available tools, including the Endangered Species Act, to address greenhouse emissions and the climate crisis."
Monday, October 17, 2011
The Treasury Department testified about that Agency's belief that DOE violated the 2005 Energy Policy Act when restructuring the loan to the now-bankrupt Solyndra of a $535 million taxpayer guaranteed loan and, in the restructuring, placed taxpayers at the back of the line so that private investors would be the first to recoup losses on the company. Republican Members indicated that Treasury officials agreed to testify after the White House last Friday (October 7) "unloaded a significant new document production, including alarming emails from Treasury and OMB personnel expressing frustration that DOE had failed to communicate with them regarding the Solyndra loan guarantee or consult with the Department of Justice, as Treasury had advised. Moreover, the Treasury and OMB officials' emails clearly indicate they believe DOE's legal justification for placing taxpayers at the back of the line was inconsistent with their interpretation of the law."
Republican Members cite a December 15, 2010 email, from senior officials at OMB questioning the legality of DOE's restructuring, writing: "There are some questions at the staff level about how DOE is going about the restructuring for Solyndra. At least one involves the legal question of what 1703(d) (3) means for their plan to make some of the debt 'junior' to the new debt. I think they have stretched this definition beyond its limits." The Members indicate that the emails refer to a legal analysis prepared by DOE to justify its decision to place private investors ahead of taxpayers in the event of Solyndra's bankruptcy, despite a clear prohibition of such 'subordination' of the taxpayers' obligation in the law.
A Senior Treasury lawyer offered additional commentary on DOE's actions, writing in an August 16, 2011, email: "I would bet a quarter that the DOE lawyers have some kind of theory on how whatever restructuring they have done and whatever they are considering doing does not violate these requirements. Cant wait to hear it." Chairman Cliff Stearns said after the hearing, "I have never seen anything like this in all my years in Congress -- here we have one cabinet level agency concerned that another has broken the law, and taxpayers are on the hook for half a billion dollars as a result."
Full Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) said in part, "What we have seen so far suggests that DOE essentially ignored Treasury after signing off on the $535 million loan guarantee. The documents also reveal a Department of Energy fervently steering more taxpayer cash to Solyndra with complete disregard to the alarm bells coming from Treasury and others within the Obama administration. DOE apparently stonewalled Treasury, failing or refusing to turn over information related to Solyndra's restructuring. . . The Department of Energy has a lot more explaining to do, and we will hear from them again soon. Unfortunately, we also have to ask: how many more Solyndras are there? Were other warning flags ignored, and risky gambles made with the taxpayers' hard-earned money?. . ."
Full Committee Ranking Member Henry Waxman, (D-CA) said in an opening statement, "The Committee has received a six-page document from the Department of Energy that explains the Department's legal rationale for subordination. We asked last week if the majority would object if we released this document so the public could understand DOE's rationale. The majority objected. They did not want the public to see DOE's explanation. On Wednesday, the Democratic staff asked the Republican staff if there would be an objection if we included a discussion of the DOE legal memorandum in the background memorandum we provide to Democratic members. Again, the Republicans objected. They asked us to withhold this critical information -- DOE's legal rationale for its actions -- from our own members. And yesterday, the Republicans said they don't believe this memo should be made public at this time. This investigation is beginning to resemble a kangaroo court. . . I don't object to an investigation into Solyndra. Based on the record to date, I don't see evidence of wrongful conduct by government officials, just a bad investment decision. . ."
According to the DOE legal analysis as contained in the memos referred to by Rep. Waxman, "On the current facts, the Loan Programs Office has determined that the proposed restructuring offers the best prospect of eventual repayment in full of the Borrower's obligations under the Loan Guarantee Agreement, and is demonstrably preferable to a liquidation of the Borrower. In light of that determination, we conclude that the proposed subordination of the Borrower's obligations to DOE is consistent with both the text and the purposes of Title XVII. . ."
Access a release from Committee Republicans with links to the email, the Solyndra Restructuring Legal Memo and the second version Solyndra Restructuring Legal Memo (click here). Access the Republican website for the hearing with background documents, opening statements, witness testimony and a webcast (click here). Access the Democratic website for the hearing with links to opening statements and the DOE Memos (click here). [#Energy/Solar]
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Friday, October 14, 2011
"H.R. 2250 helps lift the burden of excessive regulations on America's job creators," said Rep. Griffith. "Unreasonable regulations like the currently written Boiler MACT rules are threatening jobs across the nation and creating uncertainty for businesses. The investments required by these rules are irreversible. For those businesses that decide to stop producing their product at a particular location, the job losses are also irreversible. The good news here is that excessive regulations are reversible and fixable. H.R. 2250 is an opportunity to fix these regulations and keep the focus on protecting valuable American jobs. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take up this bipartisan jobs legislation soon."
Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) praised passage of both H.R.2250 and H.R.2681, the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act [See WIMS 10/6/11], which passed the House last week and offers similarly sensible regulatory solutions for cement manufacturers. Rep. Whitfield said, "The passage of these two bills is yet another example of the House's leadership in bringing balance to our environment and energy policies. EPA must consider the consequences on jobs and the economy when they implement new regulations and the passage of the Boiler and Cement MACT bills will provide EPA the time it needs and a framework to propose regulations that have achievable and workable timelines and standards without putting jobs at risk. These bills protect over 230,000 jobs at risk as a result of the Boiler MACT rules, and at least 19,000 at risk because of the Cement MACT rules, while also ensuring that there is a timeline in place for the agency to issue new regulations to protect health and the environment."
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse issued a statement saying, "During this critical time in our nation's economic recovery, manufacturers simply cannot afford another costly and burdensome regulation that will put 230,000 jobs at risk, according to the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners. The Boiler MACT rule will cost manufacturers more than $14 billion in valuable capital that could be spent on investments to create jobs. Manufacturers thank the House members who stood up today for jobs and voted in support of this important legislation to rein in the EPA. We will continue to work to stop the EPA's aggressive agenda. Today's vote was another step to protect jobs and competitiveness, and we strongly urge the Senate to act on the EPA Regulatory Relief Act as soon as possible."
Access a release from the Republican Energy & Commerce Committee (click here). Access the statement from Speaker Boehner and link to the letter to the President and related information (click here). Access the statement from NRDC (click here). Access the statement from EDF (click here). Access the statement from ACC and link to related information (click here). Access the statement from NAM (click here). Access the roll call vote (click here). Access legislative details for H.R.2250 including the roll call votes for passage and for all amendments (click here). [#Air]
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House Approves Controversial Coal Ash Regulation Bill
GOP Senators Announce Alternative "Jobs Through Growth Act"
House Dems Want Hearing On Natural Gas Flaring
Air Advisors Consultation On NAAQS For Lead
ACC Launches New Blog "American Chemistry Matters"
Thiebaut vs. Colorado Springs Utilities
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA said, "More than 100,000 Americans work in the solar industry, double the number in 2009. Solar is a proven job creator at a time when the unemployment rate for the country remains stubbornly high. The 1603 Treasury Program has been the single most effective policy driving renewable energy growth during the past two years."
The program was created in 2009 in the wake of the financial crisis, which drastically reduced the availability of tax equity financing for energy projects. The Section 1603 Treasury Program allows energy developers to receive a federal grant in lieu of claiming an existing energy tax credit. The program does not create any new incentives, but instead simply accelerates the timing of the existing credit. This solution was designed to provide the liquidity needed for the further development of domestic energy projects during difficult financial times.
The state of financial markets and the availability of tax equity are still woefully inadequate to meet demand for renewable energy projects. The program, set to expire on December 31, 2011, was intended to outlast the stagnant markets, which have proven more resilient than anticipated. Resch added, "At a time when President Obama and Congress are looking for solutions for America's jobs crisis, it would be unconscionable to allow this proven job-creating program to expire. Killing the 1603 Program amounts to a tax increase on the thousands of small businesses that are creating jobs in solar. The bottom line is that our capital markets are still in trouble and this program is needed today as much as it was when it was created. Allowing it to lapse would kill jobs and severely restrict the market's ability to leverage private sector capital to finance new domestic energy projects. Congress must extend the 1603 program to help the American economy."
In a background document released by SEIA, the organization indicated, "In a background document released by SEIA, the organization indicated, "The Solyndra bankruptcy is not indicative of the health of the U.S. solar industry and, as with any competitive and dynamic market, some companies will prosper and others will fail. Despite support from the federal government, Solyndra failed due to an unsustainable business model, as the company faced pressure from cheaper solar panels and simply could not compete in a high-tech, dynamic market. Competition in the solar industry is good for American consumers. It drives down costs, making solar affordable for more and more Americans every day.
The report indicates that, "The 1603 Treasury Program [TGP] was created to address the shortage of tax equity available to renewable energy projects due to the collapse of the financial markets. The TGP allows developers to receive a cash grant in lieu of the Section 48 Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The TGP has supported more than a thousand solar projects representing over $3 billion in total investment, contributing to a nearly two-fold increase in solar electric capacity in 2010.
Access a release from SEIA and links to the 43-page full report, executive summary and extensive background information (click here). [#Energy/Solar]