EPA Waves Enforcement for Hurricane Impacted Facilities

September 25, 2017

EPA Waves Enforcement for Hurricane Impacted Facilities
EPA announced that it will extend enforcement discretion for petroleum distribution facilities, gasoline storage facilities, and bulk fuel terminals in Florida that have been impacted or damaged by Hurricane Irma.

EPA issued three additional “no action assurance” letters that are effective immediately and at the request of the State of Florida:

  • A larger number of tanker trucks is needed to deliver fuel to some areas of Florida due to damaged infrastructure and flooding. EPA will not pursue enforcement actions against tanker trucks for certain provisions of the Clean Air Act and parallel Florida regulations that relate to tank tightness and registration for tanker trucks. This no action assurance will terminate on September 29 and is an extension of a no action assurance issued by EPA on September 15, 2017.
  • Due to infrastructure damage, Florida refineries are unable to operate at full capacity, which is causing gasoline shortages. EPA will not pursue enforcement actions that relate to violations of provisions of the Clean Air Act for emissions of certain air pollutants from gasoline storage tanks during events known as “roof landings.” This no action assurance will terminate on September 29 and is an extension of a no action assurance issued by EPA on September 15, 2017.
  • Due to operational issues at bulk fuel terminals as a result of Hurricane Irma, some facilities are not equipped with devices to capture or recover certain types of air pollutants. EPA will not pursue enforcement actions that relate to violations of provisions of the Clean Air Act that require the operation of these devices at bulk fuel terminals. This no action assurance will terminate on September 29, 2017, and is an extension of a no action assurance issued by EPA on September 15, 2017.

Under EPA’s no action assurance letters, the facilities must continue to exercise good air pollution control practices and comply with all other federal, state, and local environmental laws.

EPA policy allows the Agency to issue no action assurances in cases where it is necessary to avoid extreme risks to public health and safety and where no other mechanism can adequately address the matter. The Agency believes that the exercise of enforcement discretion in these circumstances is in the public interest and will help address the emergency circumstances in Florida.

Los Angeles Hazardous Waste and DOT Training
Register for California Hazardous Waste Management and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Los Angeles, CA, on October 10–12 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Knoxville RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Knoxville, TN, on October 17–19 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Mobile RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Mobile, AL, on October 24–26 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

New York DEC Strengthens State's Solid Waste Regulations
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos recently announced that the State has finalized revisions to the state's Solid Waste Management Regulations, commonly referred to as Part 360. In the first major overhaul of the program in 20 years, these regulations set design standards and operational criteria for all solid waste management facilities and go into effect on November 4, 2017.

"Ensuring every community has access to clean water supplies is critical, and illegal dumping and inappropriate waste management are a growing threat to our precious groundwater resources. Under Governor Cuomo, New York is setting a national standard for solid waste management and waste recycling," said DEC Commissioner Seggos. "As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of New York's recycling laws, these final regulations incorporate public comments we received and will ensure New York State remains a leader in protecting our communities and natural resources through enhanced recycling and waste management. DEC is committed to working in partnership with local governments that serve on the front lines of waste management."

DEC's comprehensive revisions include the addition of solid waste management facilities, activities, and waste streams that are not currently addressed within existing Part 360, to institute a level of control necessary to ensure protection of human health and the environment. In addition, these amendments relax or eliminate existing requirements that have proven to be burdensome to the regulated community with little or no environmental benefit.

The Part 360 series rulemaking process formally began in February 2016. Following extensive public outreach that included two public comment periods, five public hearings, and more than 25 workshops and technical meetings with stakeholders, and careful consideration of thousands of comments, the revised Part 360 series regulations are now final.

The final regulations contain comprehensive revisions to the State's existing solid waste management regulations, including:

  • Enhanced Regulatory Controls on Wastes from Oil and Gas Production – The final regulations enhance the regulatory controls on drilling wastes and high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) wastes. These regulations strengthen existing prohibitions on the disposal of flowback water and production brine from oil and gas production, increase testing requirements and conditions for the reuse of brines for dust and ice control on roads while prohibiting the reuse of flowback water and Marcellus Shale production brines, and require waste-tracking documents for the transport of most drilling and production wastes. In addition, the regulations require the installation and operation of radiation detectors at solid waste management facilities that receive drilling and production wastes or municipal solid wastes.
  • Improved Construction and Demolition Debris and Fill Material Management – The final regulations combat the emerging threat posed by the illegal dumping of construction and demolition debris (C&D) and fill material. The regulations require enhanced tracking for C&D debris and fill material generated in New York City, as well as for certain fill material generated anywhere in the state. The regulations also limit the exempt disposal of C&D debris, and provide expanded allowance for the reuse of fill materials in environmentally protective situations.
  • Improved Management of Compost and Mulch – The final regulations strengthen oversight of previously unregulated mulch-processing facilities to address potential threats to water quality and the environment across the state. New criteria have also been added to govern facilities that produce and store mulch to reduce environmental impacts from larger mulch facilities, including odors, dust, groundwater, and fires. Enhanced criteria for composting facilities to address potential groundwater impacts have also been added.
  • Enhanced Support for Recycling – The final regulations make it easier to site facilities that process organic wastes while providing appropriate environmental protections. The regulations also change how grants to municipalities are provided to ensure that timely funding is available for both priority infrastructure projects and operational assistance such as support for recycling coordinators.

A link to the text of the final regulations and associated rulemaking documents is available on DEC's website.

New Report on Environmental Impacts of the Pesticide Imidacloprid Released
Oyster growers have requested a new permit from the Washington Department of Ecology to use the pesticide imidacloprid on burrowing shrimp in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. Before considering the permit, Ecology has assessed the potential environmental impacts from the use of the pesticide on tidelands.

Ecology has compiled its findings in a formal report, officially referred to as a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, and is seeking public review and feedback through November 1, 2017. Two public meetings have been scheduled in October—one in South Bend and one in Olympia.

The Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association (WGHOGA) has specifically applied for a water quality pollution discharge permit and a sediment impact zone authorization. The current proposal is similar—but not identical—to the one submitted by WGHOGA to use imidacloprid in 2015. The applicants propose treating less acreage—485 acres in Willapa Bay and 15 acres in Grays Harbor—as opposed to 2,000 acres across the two bays in the previous permit. They also propose in this application to treat tidelands with hand or ground equipment as opposed to aerial spraying. The original permit was withdrawn at the growers’ request in May 2015 and never used. 

As part of the environmental review process for the current application, Ecology has considered and evaluated new research and analyses that were not available during the previous environmental review. This supplemental review incorporates the most current scientific information available into the full Environmental Impact Statement that was originally adopted in 2015.

Ecology’s supplemental environmental review highlights:

  • Immediate adverse, unavoidable impacts to juvenile worms, crustaceans, and shellfish in the areas treated with imidacloprid and the nearby areas covered by incoming tides
  • Limited impacts bay-wide, but significant uncertainty about the cumulative impacts and other unknown impacts, including those to other marine invertebrates and lifecycles
  • Little direct risk to fish, birds, marine mammals, and human health
  • Potential indirect impacts to fish and birds if food sources are disrupted
  • Continued knowledge gaps about imidacloprid—further research is needed

The agency will use information gathered during the public comment period to finalize the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. This is a crucial step in Ecology’s environmental review required under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). Ecology will rely on this environmental review and public input to help determine whether to develop a draft permit approval for further public comment or deny the permit application.

Learn more and get involved

You can learn more about this issue, review documents, and submit official comments on the agency’s Burrowing Shrimp Control - Imidacloprid webpage.

Learn more about the environmental review of this proposal and submit formal comments in person at an upcoming public hearing:

  • Saturday, October 7 – South Bend
  • Tuesday, October 10 – Olympia

For additional information, contact Jessica Payne at 360-407-6408

New Texas Rules for Emissions Banking and Trading for Area and Mobile Source Credit Generation
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has revised two divisions of emissions banking and trading (EBT) rules in 30 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 101, Subchapter H, which define several market-based programs that provide sites with additional flexibility for complying with air regulations. In 1993, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ, agency, or commission) adopted the Emission Credit Banking and Trading rules in Chapter 101, Subchapter H, Division 1 to allow sources in nonattainment areas to generate, bank, trade, and use credits from permanent reductions in emissions. In 1997, the TCEQ adopted the Discrete Emission Credit Banking and Trading rules in Chapter 101, Subchapter H, Division 4 to allow sources statewide to generate, bank, trade, and use credits from reductions in emissions below regulatory requirements.

The current EBT rules allow an area or mobile source to generate emission credits from emissions reductions that are demonstrated to be real, quantifiable, permanent, enforceable, and surplus to the state implementation plan (SIP) and all applicable rules, and discrete emission credits from reductions that are real, quantifiable, and surplus to the SIP and all applicable rules. However, research into the feasibility of generating area and mobile source credits presented implementation challenges associated with ensuring that area and mobile source credits meet the EPA and Federal Clean Air Act (FCAA) requirements.

The adopted rulemaking will amend the following sections of Chapter 101, Subchapter H.

  • Division 1, §§101.300, 101.302 – 101.304, and 101.306
  • Division 4, §§101.370, 101.372 – 101.374, and 101.376

The adopted rules specify the requirements for owners of area and mobile sources to generate emission credits. While this opportunity exists under current rule language, it has rarely been feasible. In addition to expanding the opportunity for area and mobile sources to generate credits, the adopted rulemaking would also include changes that make the requirements for the use of emission credits from mobile sources largely consistent with the use of credits from stationary sources.

EPA Exercises Enforcement Discretion for Power Generators Donated to Hurricane Impacted Communities
EPA announced that it will exercise enforcement discretion for 255 power generators that Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., is importing to be donated to assist recovery efforts in communities impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida. The generators will be donated to community groups or other organizations providing hurricane relief services in impacted Texas and Florida communities.

These power generation units are covered by an EPA-issued certificate of conformity as required by the Clean Air Act for sale in the United States, but do not bear the required emission control information labels to be sold in this country. They instead bear emissions labels as required for sale in Canada. In light of the impacts from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and because the generators will not emit air pollution above EPA standards, EPA will not pursue enforcement actions for potential violations for the 255 generators.

This no action assurance is effective immediately, and Yamaha will report to EPA the names and locations of the organizations to which the generators were provided and the number of units provided to each.

Community Groups Charge Duke Energy with Withholding Critical Dam Safety Information
Local community groups across the country sent notices that they plan to bring enforcement actions against Duke Energy for withholding critical dam safety information that Duke Energy was required to disclose to nearby communities, including emergency responders’ contact information and maps of the areas in the path of a coal ash spill. The Southern Environmental Law Center and Earthjustice sent notices on behalf of community organizations regarding 14 Duke Energy sites across Indiana, Kentucky, and North Carolina where primitive, aging earthen dams hold back coal ash next to rivers and lakes. Behind dams rated High and Significant Potential Hazards, these unlined, leaking Duke Energy sites hold millions of tons of coal ash upstream of public drinking water intakes and many are located near people’s homes and communities. Hundreds of contaminated sites and spills have been documented among the 1,400+ coal ash waste dumps across the country.

The Southern Environmental Law Center sent notices on behalf of these community groups in North Carolina: Appalachian Voices, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, MountainTrue, Roanoke River Basin Association, Sound Rivers, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Waterkeeper Alliance, and Winyah Rivers Foundation.

Earthjustice sent notices on behalf of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth in Kentucky and three community organizations, Hoosier Environmental Council, Wabash Riverkeeper, and Waterkeeper Alliance in Indiana.

Under the Coal Combustion Residuals Rule enacted in 2015 following coal ash disasters including at Duke Energy’s Dan River site in North Carolina, Duke Energy was required to make public Emergency Action Plans for each of its coal ash storage sites where a failure would likely result in loss of human life or serious harm to the environment by April 2017. Those plans are required to include inundation maps to show the surrounding areas that would be damaged by a failure of Duke Energy’s dangerous coal ash storage sites and also the names and contact information for emergency responders. This information is designed to let communities know the risks they face and also how to respond when a coal ash disaster occurs.

Duke Energy, the country’s largest utility, is the only utility in the country that is withholding this information from the public. In all of Duke Energy’s Emergency Action Plans, including in states that face flooding and hurricanes, Duke Energy has blacked out the coal ash spill maps and information for how to contact emergency responders in the event of a disaster.

Examples of Duke Energy’s blacked-out emergency plans can be seen for the Duke Energy H. F. Lee Energy Complex Active Ash Pond Dam (North Carolina), Duke Energy Cayuga Station (Indiana), and Duke Energy East Bend Station (Kentucky).

The notices challenge Duke Energy’s effort to withhold information regarding the following Duke Energy coal ash storage sites in North Carolina: Allen on Lake Wylie near Belmont and Charlotte, Asheville on the French Broad River near Asheville, Belews Creek on the Dan River in Stokes County near Eden and Madison, Cliffside (Rogers Energy) on the Broad River near Shelby, Dan River on the Dan River near Danville, Lee on the Neuse River near Goldsboro, Marshall on Lake Norman near Davidson and Charlotte, Mayo on Mayo Lake and the Dan River near Roxboro, Roxboro on Hyco Lake and the Dan River near Roxboro, and Weatherspoon on the Lumber River in Robeson County near Lumberton.

Earthjustice sent notices regarding Duke Energy’s East Bend coal ash storage site in Kentucky and its coal ash dumps at the Cayuga, Wabash River, and Gallagher power plants in Indiana.

“Communities near these coal dumps have a right to know what dangers they are facing,” said Earthjustice attorney Jenny Cassel, who is representing the Indiana and Kentucky community groups. “They need to know: If the dam holding this toxic waste breaks, which neighborhoods are going to be flooded? Which waterways? Who can they call to provide emergency response?”

“Of all the utilities in the country, only Duke Energy is withholding this information—what does Duke Energy have to hide?” said Frank Holleman, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center which represents the North Carolina groups. “Duke Energy is scared of the public reaction when people learn how much of their communities will be devastated by coal ash and toxic water pollution if Duke Energy’s dangerous coal ash storage sites fail. North Carolina’s communities near Duke Energy’s coal ash sites deserve better than this.”

Duke Energy’s operating companies are on nationwide federal criminal probation because in 2015 they pleaded guilty 18 times to nine Clean Water Act crimes committed at its coal ash sites across North Carolina. Duke Energy was responsible for one of the largest coal ash disasters in U.S. history when its Dan River coal ash site failed in 2014, spilling over 20 million gallons of coal ash polluted water and 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River. 

Duke Energy is facing continuing litigation at six of its coal ash sites in North Carolina where it continues to refuse to remove its coal ash from leaking and polluting unlined pits on the banks of rivers and lakes in North Carolina. By criminal plea agreement, court order, settlement agreement, and regulatory requirements, Duke Energy is required to remove all its coal ash from 8 of its 14 sites in North and South Carolina.

Read Duke Energy’s Emergency Action Plans by selecting the site and then the link to the respective Emergency Action Plans for its coal ash sites.

Denver-Area Contractor Cited for Failing to Follow Lead-Safe Requirements
The EPA has announced a settlement with Lakewood, Colorado-based Regal Construction, Inc., as part of an ongoing initiative to protect Denver-area communities from toxic lead paint hazards by securing compliance with the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule (RRP Rule). This rule protects the public from toxic hazards created by home renovation activities involving lead-based paint and requires the certification of individuals and firms who are involved in these activities. Contractors working on homes built prior to 1978 must test for lead in paint, or presume lead is present, and apply applicable lead-safe work practices to minimize the risk of exposure.

Under the settlement, Regal Construction, Inc., has agreed to take steps to become lead-safe certified to resolve allegations that the firm performed renovations on a pre-1978 home in Denver without being certified under the RRP rule and without performing required safe work practices. Safe practices required by the rule are intended to prevent or minimize the release of lead-contaminated dust and debris. The firm has also agreed to pay a penalty of $12,438.

“Protecting public health is at the core of EPA’s mission,” said Kim Opekar, director of EPA’s regional enforcement program. “EPA is working to make sure that families are aware of potential health impacts associated with lead paint in older homes and that contractors are following requirements that reduce exposure.” 

Many homes in the Denver area were built before lead was banned from use in paint products in 1978 and many contain toxic lead paint. When lead paint is disturbed during home renovations proper work practices are needed to prevent exposure to home owners, workers, and the public. Infants, children, and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure, which can, even at low levels, cause lifelong impacts including developmental impairment, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity, and behavioral problems.

Despite its ban from the U.S. in 1978, EPA estimates that lead-based paint is still present in more than 30 million homes across the nation. EPA is focused on increasing awareness of the requirements among both contractors and residents, as well as creating a strong deterrent for violators of the RRP Rule.

Essential Oils Company Sentenced for Lacey Act and Endangered Species Act Violations to Pay $760,000 in Fines
The Justice Department announced that Young Living Essential Oils, L.C., headquartered in Lehi, Utah, pleaded guilty in federal court to federal misdemeanor charges regarding its illegal trafficking of rosewood oil and spikenard oil in violation of the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act. The Company voluntarily disclosed its rosewood oil violations and has been cooperating with government investigators. Pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement, the Company was sentenced to a fine of $500,000, $135,000 in restitution, a community service payment of $125,000 for the conservation of protected species of plants used in essential oils, and a term of five years’ probation with special conditions. The conditions include the implementation of a corporate compliance plan, audits, and the publication of statements regarding its convictions. 

“The importation of illegally harvested wood and timber products harms law-abiding American companies and workers and threatens forest resources around the world,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood of the Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Our Division was proud to work alongside the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Utah, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Department of Homeland Security to bring this case to a positive conclusion.” 

“While the natural resource violations by certain employees of Young Living were intentional and substantial, the Company’s decision to conduct an internal investigation, voluntarily disclose the initial violations to government enforcement authorities, and cooperate throughout the ensuing investigation is to be commended,” said U.S. Attorney John W. Huber for the District of Utah. “This sentence reflects both the seriousness of the offenses and the acceptance of responsibility and cooperation by the Company.” 

According to the plea agreement, from June 2010 to October 2014, several company employees and contractors harvested, transported, and distilled rosewood (Aniba roseaodora or Brazilian rosewood) in Peru and imported some of the resulting oil into the United States, through Ecuador. Peruvian law prohibits the unauthorized harvest and transport of timber, including rosewood. Neither the Company nor its suppliers, employees, or agents had any valid authorization from the Peruvian government. Peru also prohibits the export of species protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), without the required permits. The Company did not obtain any CITES export permits from Peru. Between 2010 and 2014, a few Company employees harvested, transported, and possessed a total of approximately 86 tons of rosewood, all of which was harvested in violation of Peruvian law. The rosewood was intended for distillation and export to the United States and some had already been illegally brought over. The Company lacked an internal compliance program or formal procedures, training, or means to review and resolve problems and identify and stop potential violations. As a result, the Company hired outside counsel to conduct an internal investigation into the violations due to the illegal harvesting and shipping of plants that occurred in Peru and Ecuador. On July 20, 2015, once the internal investigation was complete, the Company made an initial written voluntary disclosure to the Government of various facts indicating their potentially illegal violations.

The investigation revealed that, in addition to the conduct disclosed by the Company, in December 2015, the Company exported spikenard oil harvested in Napal to the United Kingdom, without a CITES permit. The spikenard oil was previously imported from a company in the United Kingdom that had obtained a CITES export permit. The Company found the product to be unsatisfactory and shipped it back to the United Kingdom. On March 23, 2016, a Company employee filed an application for a CITES permit for this shipment after the fact, and without providing the required copy of the permit authorizing its original export from the United Kingdom. 

The investigation also revealed that between November 2014 and January 2016, the Company purchased over 1,100 kilograms of rosewood oil from a supplier/importer in the US without conducting sufficient due diligence to verify lawful sourcing of that oil. 

The Government calculated the fair market retail value of the plant products involved in the violations and relevant conduct, including but not limited to product equaling approximately 1,899.75 liters of rosewood oil, to be more than $3.5 million but not more than $9 million.

Dramatically Boosting Clean Energy Can Cut Greenhouse Gas Pollution 80% for a Safer Climate Future
The Natural Resources Defense Council recently released an ambitious blueprint to dramatically increase energy efficiency, cut greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution 80% from 1990 levels, raise wind and solar power generation to 70%, and usher in a clean energy future for the United States by 2050. And it delivers benefits seven times the cost.

The heavily researched report, “America’s Clean Energy Frontier: The Pathway to Safer Climate Future,” relies on existing technologies and envisions curtailing energy use 50% through efficiency and electrification gains; raising fuel economy of gasoline-powered cars to 80 miles per gallon (and 100 mpg for fleetwide); expanding wind and solar energy 13-fold; strengthening the electricity grid; electrifying buildings and cars to run with renewable energy; and a steep decline in nuclear power by 2050 through plant retirements.

NRDC’s analysis breaks new ground compared to other comparable reports. It combines more aggressive, but achievable, improvements in energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean electrification and the nation’s electric grid. Thus, it relies far less on riskier or costlier technologies such as new nuclear energy, natural gas and biomass.

“Across our country, climate-fueled hazard and harm is getting worse every day. The inescapable fact is we must fight climate change today to protect people from even greater suffering tomorrow,” said NRDC President Rhea Suh. “Our pathway report offers a far-reaching, realistic and low-cost solution for how we, as Americans, can reach a safer climate future.

“This call to arms seeks nothing less than a clean energy revolution—in energy efficiency, renewable wind and solar power, clean cars and the nation’s electric grid—to shield our kids and future generations from climate chaos. That’s unquestionably a goal that can unite us. And when have Americans ever shied away from revolution?”

NRDC’s pathway plan also:

  • Saves consumers money on energy bills at home and at the pump. It curbs energy consumption about 50%, largely achieved by substantial energy efficiency improvements for buildings, factories, appliances and vehicles.
  • Leads to an aggressive but achievable expansion of renewable energy. It increases to at least 80% the amount of electricity the nation gets from renewable sources such as wind and solar, geothermal and hydropower. It shows that we can get at least that far, and we may be able to get even farther.
  • Primes clean energy industry to rapidly build on nearly 3 million current jobs. Expanding renewable power and energy efficiency will put many Americans to work installing the clean power systems to protect our future.
  • Envisions a transportation transformation. For automobiles, America could see a fleet of super-clean vehicles powered by clean electricity, plus at least a 25% reduction in the miles driven in the nation. The plan foresees raising the average fuel economy of the nation’s gasoline-powered vehicles to an average of 80 miles per gallon by 2050, rising to 100 mpg if you count the fuel equivalency of electric vehicles.

NRDC’s pathway results in just a 1% increase in U.S. energy costs from today through 2050. That translates to average annual costs of $22 billion to yield more than $154 billion each year in health and environmental benefits—in avoided extreme weather, heat waves, and climate-induced illnesses. By 2050, the final year modeled, this plan costs less than the business as usual alternative. Adding benefits from less smog and non-GHG pollutants would yield even more health dividends.

NRDC released its report in a telephone press conference and during Climate Week in New York City, one of the key summits driving climate change solutions forward, on an international level, since 2009.

In 2015, more than 190 countries came together and approved the landmark Paris climate agreement. Ratified in 2016, the Paris agreement commits countries to collectively work to limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius—and aim toward a 1.5 degree-limit—which is needed to avoid severe climate damages.

NRDC teamed with the internationally recognized Energy + Environmental Economics consulting firm and determined America could curb GHG emissions 80% by 2050—required to reach the goal of holding global warming to a 2-degree increase—largely by substantial increases in clean energy.

Furthermore, the report notes that major contributions to curbing climate change can be made, and are being accomplished today, from multiple actions at the city, regional and state levels, as well as by businesses, communities and individual citizens.

Even so, the report contends, a national economy-wide approach—like the now-stalled federal Clean Power Plan that cuts power plant carbon pollution—will be needed for ultimate success in warding off severe climate damages.

The report makes several dozen recommendations, including these overarching ones:

  • Policymakers should: accelerate and expand proven clean energy technologies, such as wind and solar power systems, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles and heat pumps.
  • The federal government should: move ahead on a bipartisan basis to support stronger energy efficiency standards, tax incentives, and energy innovation research and development.
  • States should: continue to support and expand renewable energy and energy efficiency portfolio standards that set goals for clean energy deployment.
  • Cities should: implement policies that support local sustainability actions and scale up clean energy and energy efficiency.
  • Businesses should: work to reduce their GHG footprints and invest in clean energy.
  • Individual Americans and communities can: implement energy efficiency measures in their homes and offices, work with non-profits supporting clean energy and help hold elected officials accountable so they will support clean energy advances.
  • The U.S. also should: continue work to reduce other pollution contributing to climate change, such as methane and hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.

“The world is telling us in every way possible that it’s time to cut the fossil fuel pollution driving climate change and threatening our future. We have the solutions in hand, as NRDC’s report shows. But if we fail to act, we will doom our children and future generations to a world of deadly and dangerous climate impacts,” said Roland Hwang, director of NRDC’s Energy and Transportation program. “That cannot happen. We have an obligation to leave them a healthy and stable world.”

Environmental News Links

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World’s Heavy Dependence on Fossil Fuels Projected to Continue

Environment and Labor Groups Push to Protect EPA Budget

San Francisco, Oakland Sue Oil Giants over Climate Change

Leaf Blowers Flagged as Prodigious Polluters – and Possible Health Threat

Federal Regulators Ratchet Up Probe of Ford Explorer Exhaust Complaints

Owner of a Lonely Heart: Federal Government Liable for CERCLA Damages on Public Lands

Minorities Exposed to Dirtier Air, U.S. Study Finds

Newark’s Lead in Drinking Water Contamination Recalls Flint Crisis

EPA to Retain Portland Cement NESHAP, Finds no Residual Risk

EPA Labs Across U.S. Face Consolidation as Budget Cuts Loom

Starkist Fined for Air, Water, Waste, and EPCRA Violations

Trivia Question of the Week

Renewable energy is predicted to increase how much each year between now and 2040?

  1. 1.4%
  2. 2.8%
  3. 5.6%
  4. 11.2%

Answer: b