Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 4 June 2013

TSCA Reform Bill Seen as Promising But Road to Enactment Is Uncertain
June 3, 2013 - Industry lawyers and lobbyists are viewing the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (S. 1009) as a promising vehicle for updating the Toxic Substances Control Act, but they told BNA it still faces an uncertain reception in the House and potential objections over state preemption, its impact on tort litigation, and other issues.

Bill Allmond, vice president for government relations at the Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates, described S. 1009 as a “historic bipartisan effort” that has produced a bill which, on the surface, looks favorable to the small-batch, specialty chemical manufacturers SOCMA represents. read more>>>

Sequester hits bonds, leaves cash-poor utilities in the lurch
May 31, 2013 - In 2009 and 2010, cash-strapped cities facing expensive environmental mandates for cleaning up sewer overflows snapped up a new type of taxable bond created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that appeared to offer them a cheaper way of complying.

The Build America Bonds were meant to lure private investors such as pension funds and life insurance companies that don't see much benefit from the tax-exempt status that municipal bonds typically carry. Taxable BABs offered an attractive higher interest rate for investors. And the federal government more than made up for these steeper costs to municipalities by offering to refund 35 percent of the interest paid. read more>>>

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This giant chart shows where all our greenhouse gases come from
May 31, 2013 - Where do the greenhouse gases that are now heating up the planet come from? Ecofys has a massive new flowchart breaking down man-made emissions by source and sector worldwide:

A few points:

– Coal still dominates. We’ve been talking about the decline of coal here in the United States. But worldwide, coal remains a huge contributor to climate change — responsible for a quarter of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. And note that nearly half of coal is used by industry. As David Roberts notes, there aren’t many alternatives here, particularly in steel production, where coal is used as fuel for high-temperature blast furnaces. read more>>>

Wisconsin behind the curve on clean energy
Third-party financing, use of farm waste could turn tide, Wisconsin Energy Institute report says

June 2, 2013 - Home to some of the last coal-fired power plants that may ever be built in the United States, Wisconsin has erected too many barriers to cleaner energy sources and fallen behind many Midwest neighbors in a sector with an 8% global growth rate.

That's one of the key findings of a report from the new Wisconsin Energy Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which takes the state as well as the nation to task for not going further to encourage development of alternative energy sources such as solar power and projects that convert farm waste to energy. read more>>>

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Playing Clean Energy Offense to Build a Stronger America
May 24 13 - While clean energy activists in many other parts of the country are working to protect current renewable energy policies, Minnesota today has a new law that will spur growth in the state’s solar sector and will create good jobs for workers. Governor Mark Dayton signed into law a solar energy standard of 1.5 percent by 2020 for investor-owned utilities, with a goal of 10 percent solar energy by 2030. The standard was part of a larger omnibus energy bill that passed the Minnesota State House and Senate last week.

In states like North Carolina, Ohio, and Kansas, there have been legislative attempts to reduce or eliminate their clean energy policies driving growth. The best defense against them has been that, in each of those states, those policies have created good jobs for workers. These attempts have been clearly driven by groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council — a group funded by billionaires looking out for their own profits at the expense of clean air and good wages and benefits for workers. read more>>>

NJ BPU approves PSE&G's $446 million solar plan
May 29, 2013 - The board that regulates New Jersey's public utilities on Wednesday approved a $446 million solar energy plan proposed by the state's largest utility, adding several recommendations aimed at increasing oversight of the nearly half-billion-dollar programs.

The Board of Public Utilities unanimously approved Public Service Electric and Gas's nearly $200 million extension of its solar loan program that targets mainly residential and business customers. read more>>>

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Feds Must Analyze Oil Spill Dispersant Effects on Wildlife
May 30, 2013 - The federal government must analyze the effects of the California Dispersants Plan to determine whether the chemicals that break up oil spills would harm endangered wildlife, under a legal settlement filed today by federal agencies and conservation groups.

Finalized in 2008, the California Dispersants Plan authorizes the use of chemical dispersants in the event of an oil spill in California federal offshore waters.

Three conservation groups sued the federal government to force determination of the dispersants’ safety for endangered species before the chemicals are used to break down spilled oil, not afterwards, as occurred during 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. read more>>>

UN Warns of Global Shift ‘From a Fish to a Jellyfish Ocean’
May 30, 2013 - Jumps in jellyfish populations following overfishing is one reason why fish in the Mediterranean and Black seas are declining, finds a new United Nations report that advocates factoring jellyfish “blooms” into fisheries management strategies.

Overfishing removes top predators from the sea, helping to create ideal conditions for jellyfish blooms, according to the report, “Review of Jellyfish Blooms in the Mediterranean and Black Sea,” published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean. read more>>>

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