Environmental Law News

Category Archives: Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases

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EPA Cannot Impose Emission Limits Based Only on Greenhouse Gases

Posted in Agency News, Air, Climate Change, Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases, EPA, Federal
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Monday, June 23, limits EPA’s authority to impose limits on emissions of greenhouse gases (“GHGs”).   Reviewing challenges to EPA’s rule limiting GHGs under the Clean Air Act’s provisions of Prevention of Significant Deterioration (“PSD”) and Title V permitting, the Court held that the Act did not require that EPA impose limits on GHGs in instances … Continue Reading

Cooperative Community Efforts for Renewable Energy

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases, Energy, Green Building, Solar Energy, Sustainability, Sustainability Policy
An article from the New York Times highlights the innovative approaches that some states and communities are taking to develop solar energy resources.  High cost and lack of space for installation hinder many people who would like to install solar panels to produce electricity.  The article by Diane Cardwell describes how cooperative ventures can help overcome those obstacles. State action … Continue Reading

Where is the Practice of Environmental Law Going?

Posted in Agency News, Air, CERCLA, Climate Change, Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases, Energy, EPA, Water
The Practice of Environmental Law is ever changing in breadth and in scope based upon the maturing of the science, acceptance of environmental protection, and adoption of sustainability concepts.   The American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy & Resources (“SEER”) in conjunction with Vanderbilt School of Law will discuss the “State of the Practice” at … Continue Reading

EPA Issues Revised Proposed Rule for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Posted in Agency News, Air, Climate Change, Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases, EPA
EPA has withdrawn its previous rule issued April 2012 and  released its revised proposed rule concerning greenhouse gas emissions for electric utility generating units. 79 Fed. Reg. 1429 (Jan. 8, 2014).   The revised rule would require carbon capture and storage for steam generating units fired by coal and petroleum coke.  Performance standards for natural gas-fired units are based … Continue Reading

President Obama Announces Climate Change Plan

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases, Federal, Natural Resources
“We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid … Continue Reading

EPA Proposes 2013 Renewable Fuel Standards

Posted in Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases, EPA, Federal, Transportation
U.S. EPA is proposing the volume requirements and associated percentage standards that would apply under the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2) in 2013 for advanced biofuel, biomass-based diesel, cellulosic biofuel, and total renewable fuel. The proposed standards would ensure that transportation fuel sold in the United State contains a minimum volume of renewable fuel as required by … Continue Reading

Sustainable Communities Require Emergency Preparedness

Posted in Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases, Green Infrastructure, Sustainability, Sustainability Policy, Transportation, Water
Dramatic images from Hurricane Sandy remind us of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Photographs of a darkened lower Manhattan prove that even the mightiest of cities is just a storm away from paralysis.  Typhoons, tornados, earthquakes, droughts, and floods change lives in instants all across North America and the world. Our ability to … Continue Reading

What Do You Do With an Old Power Plant?

Posted in Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases, Energy, Sustainability Policy, Waste, Water
During the next few years over 600 coal-fired power generating units may shut down. The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) reports the announced retirement by the year 2020 of units with a total of over 24 gigawatts capacity. The units, with average age of 54 years, are located primarily in the mid-south and southeastern United … Continue Reading

U. S. May Lose Sources Equal to 10% of Electricity Consumption

Posted in Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases, Energy, Sustainability Policy
A November 2012 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists suggests that over 600 coal-fired generators at power plants across the United States could (or should) stop operations. The authors concluded that as many as 353 coal-fired plants are less economically-viable than their natural gas-fired competitors and should be retired. This number, when added to … Continue Reading

Kentucky Research on Algal Fuel Production

Posted in Agriculture and Food, Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases, Energy, Sustainability Policy
Kentucky scientists are investigating methods to make algal and plant-based biofuels sustainable alternatives to traditional petroleum-based fuels and chemical feedstock. Engineering and biological/genetic processes are central elements of these efforts. Rodney Andrews of the University of Kentucky’s Center for Applied Energy Research is working with an electric utililty to install algal photobioreactors at a coal-fired … Continue Reading

Greenhouse Gas Concentrations Continue to Rise

Posted in Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases, Sustainability Policy
The latest Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.pdf by the World Meteorological Organization reports data showing that the worldwide concentrations of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have continued to rise and “reached new highs in 2010″ with reported averaged values of 389.0 ppb, 1,808 ppb, and 323.2 ppb, respectively. The following illustration shows that although annual growth rate (ppm/year) varies widely (lower graph), the … Continue Reading

Kentucky City Invites Public Comment on Plan to Reduce Energy Use and Improve the Environment

Posted in Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases, Energy, Kentucky, Sustainability, Sustainability Policy, Water
A community-wide working group spearheaded by the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) has released a draft plan, Empower Lexington, to reduce energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions. About 100 stakeholders in this central Kentucky community met over a two-year period to produce the draft plan, which is available for public comment. Download a copy of … Continue Reading

From 2008 to 2035 World Energy Use to Increase 53 %; Carbon Dioxide Up 43 %

Posted in Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases, Energy, Sustainability, Sustainability Policy
In its International Energy Outlook 2011, the U. S. Energy Information Administration predicts that from 2008 to 2035, worldwide energy consumption will increase 53 percent to a total of 770 quadrillion Btu in 2035.  The largest class of energy sources are liquid fuels, including fossil fuels such as petroleum and coal-to-liquid and renewable fuels like … Continue Reading

Cellulosic Biofuels an Important Footnote in Obama Administration’s 2012 Budget

Posted in Agency News, Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases, Energy, Federal, Sustainability Policy
The Obama administration’s budget for fiscal year 2012 proposes over $6 billion to support clean energy.  But it appears that only about $340 million of this investment is planned for sustainable biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol. Erin Voegele has reviewed the budget request by Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu.  The budget request includes $10 million … Continue Reading

Human Societies Are Not Immune to Climate Change

Posted in Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases
The rise and fall of human societies like the Roman Empire parallel changes in climate conditions, and climate change is associated with many events in human history.  An international group of scientists reached this conclusion after studying thousands of tree ring records along with archeological and other historical records from Europe.  (Ulf Büntgen, et al., 2500 Years … Continue Reading