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Environmental Protection Agency

The Takeaway

God is Green: Evangelicals Embrace the EPA

Thursday, July 31, 2014

On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency wrapped up two days of public hearings on its proposed climate rule that would curb carbon emissions from the nation's powers plants. And conservative faith leaders made a big showing in support of the Obama Administration's plan.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Taking Back the Gowanus Canal

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Leslie Albrecht, reporter for DNAinfo.com, talks about all the controversies surrounding the future of the Gowanus Canal, from disputes between the city and EPA over the ongoing cleanup process, to clashes between politicians and residents over planning future uses of the neighborhood.

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The Takeaway

EPA Head: States Hold the Power

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that largely affirms that the EPA has the power to regulate sources responsible for 83 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says now it's up to states to do the rest of the dirty work.

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The Takeaway

Coal Country Responds to Obama's Carbon Cuts

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

The border of Southeast Ohio and West Virginia has long been considered coal country. In the wake of President Obama's announcement that he plans to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent, Bob Vincenzo, the mayor of St. Clairsville, Ohio, is worried about the future of his town—and the region.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Measuring the Obama Coal Ruling's Impact

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

President Obama's executive action on carbon emissions is dividing environmentalists and pro-business groups alike. Janet Redman, co-director of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network at the Institute for Policy Studies, discusses the moves, and why she thinks they don't go far enough.

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WNYC News

Queens is Radioactive - Literally

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency will likely add a site in Queens to the federal Superfund list after finding higher-than-normal levels of radioactivity.

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WNYC News

Shutdown Hits Environmental Agency Hard

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The U.S. Government is shutting down non-essential services for the first time in nearly two decades, and thousands of federal workers are being told to stay home. In the EPA’s Region II, which covers New York and New Jersey, just 36 out of 861 staff are being asked to report to work throughout the shutdown.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

The New Obama Energy and Environment Team

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

President Obama has nominated Gina McCarthy as EPA administrator and Ernest Moniz for Energy secretary -- and indicated that they will be empowered to push his environmental agenda with or without Congressional approval. Coral Davenport, Energy and Environment reporter for the National Journal, discusses the picks and what comes next.

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WNYC News

Public Meetings on Gowanus Cleanup Begin in Brooklyn

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency held the first of two public meetings Wednesday on its ambitious plan to clean up Brooklyn’s polluted Gowanus Canal. Wednesday's meeting was held at P.S. 58 in Carroll Gardens.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Soda 'Ban' Puts Bloomberg to the Left of Obama on Regulations

Friday, September 14, 2012

This bold, unapologetically regulatory and somewhat nannyish would not be instigated on the federal level by Obama or any president.

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The Empire

Assemblyman O'Donnell: Governor, wait for the EPA

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

As we reported last week, the EPA has announced a time frame for the release of its study on hydrofracking--something fracking opponents have been waiting for.

Now, at least one member of the New York State Assembly is asking Governor Cuomo to put the breaks on the state's own environmental review process until the EPA finishes its work. Assemblyman Dan O'Donnell of Manhattan sent the letter below to the Governor, asking "for the completion of the Congressionally-mandated review of hydraulic fracturing by the EPA before issuing permits in New York State."

The EPA's time frame--releasing draft findings sometime in 2012, with the final report due in 2014--would likely outlast the state's process, which could result in permits as soon as next year.

  (Courtesy of the Assemblyman's Facebook page)

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The Empire

The EPA puts another piece in play in the ongoing battle over hydrofracking in NY

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Hydrofracking advocates, in their request for the state to slow down its environmental review of the process, have used the Environmental Protection Agency’s own review as a reason to put on the breaks. More specifically, the EPA has been saying it will look into the overall process of hydraulic fracturing to weigh in on the procedure’s environmental impacts. Advocates are hoping the results, when they come, would make the case for slowing approval for or halting the natural gas extraction process all together in New York.

Up until now, the EPA piece was just something that could happen. But today the agency announced its time frame for reviewing the whole shebang. In a press release, EPA said the initial findings and results of the study, requested by members of Congress back in 2010, will be released to the public in 2012.

Upstate New York Democratic Congressman Maurice Hinchey, who pushed for the study, applauded the EPA’s announcement earlier today, saying, “Our country is in the middle of shale gas rush, but unbiased, scientific research into hydraulic fracturing is almost non-existent. This EPA study will provide invaluable information to the public and policy makers interested in understanding the impact of hydraulic fracturing on our water resources."

Environmental groups are hoping the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation and the Governor’s office are taking note.

“This gives Speaker Silver and other people who have been calling on the state to slow the rush to drill another way of saying, but wait, we've got information coming," said Katherine Nadeau, the Water & Natural Resources Program Director for Environmental Advocates for New York. “It’s not saying we should just wait until kingdom come. It’s saying we should wait until we've got the information we need to make informed decisions.

“I’m hopeful that the Department of Environmental Conservation and Governor Cuomo will take this into account when we're evaluating our proposed program [in New York].”

DEP has been under fire from advocates for what they’re calling a rushed process of review that could see fracking permits handed out as early as next year. Recently the agency’s head said there’s no timetable for approving the process in New York State. Through a spokesperson, the agency released the following statement:

DEC has been studying high-volume hydraulic fracturing and its potential impacts for more than three years and the state’s final [Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement] SGEIS will be released next year. DEC’s permits incorporate both state and federal requirements under the state and federal Clean Water Acts. New York’s proposed regulations are the strictest in the nation. However, we always welcome new information. We will review EPA’s final report when it’s issued and amend the state’s requirements if necessary.

The Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York’s executive director Brad Gill appeared to back up DEC, saying that EPA was just repeating work it and the state have already done.

“Even without having the benefit of a full review of the plan, the EPA’s approach appears to be consistent with what NY is already accomplishing with the SGEIS,” Gill said. “The EPA has studied water use in hydraulic fracturing many times and always came to the same conclusion: there have been no proven cases of groundwater contamination due to hydraulic fracturing.”

A number of elected officials have been contacted to see how they see this impacting the state’s process. Hoping to put together their reactions in a future piece.

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The Takeaway

The Urgent Water Pollution Problem in the 21st Century

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Randy Newman captured a moment of national anger in "Burn On," a song about the polluted Cuyahoga River catching fire in 1969. That environmental disaster pushed Congress and the Nixon administration to create the Environmental Protection Agency and pass laws like the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. But today's guest warns that these laws are woefully outdated, and that clean water is becoming increasingly scarce. Access to freshwater, he argues, is the most urgent problem we face in the twenty-first century.

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The Takeaway

Supporters of Kentucky Coal Mining Fight EPA Regulations

Monday, June 13, 2011

The battle over environmental regulations has reached a fever pitch in Kentucky. The EPA is proposing a package of major policy rules aimed at curbing emissions from coal-fired plants, drawing widespread opposition from business interests. Backers of the Kentucky's coal mining industry are fighting the EPA over regulations, with some going so far as saying Kentucky should be a "sanctuary," protected from all EPA regulations.

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WNYC News

EPA Subpoenas Natural Gas Records from Halliburton

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Federal regulators have subpoenaed records from energy company Halliburton in a clash that could have ramifications for New York's natural gas industry.

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Transportation Nation

New Fuel Efficiency Standards Announced for Trucks

Monday, October 25, 2010

(Washington, D.C.—Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) Proposed new government fuel efficiency standards for three categories of trucks are out today. Federal agencies say the rules should boost fuel efficiency by 15 - 20 percent  over the next eight years.

Officials say their goal is to reduce CO2 emissions and improve fuel efficiency in combination tractors, heavy duty pickup trucks, and vans and vocational vehicles like buses.

The new regulations, released by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would take effect starting in 2014. They include new engine and tire standards intended to make commercial fleets more fuel efficient.

The agencies are going for a 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions and fuel use in combination trucks by 2018. Heavy duty pickups running on diesel fuel are expected to achieve a 15 percent reduction by 2018, while gas-powered heavy duty trucks and vans should cut their fuel use and emissions by 10 percent, according to DOT.

The rules go after a range of fuel-wasting problems in truck fleets, including poor aerodynamics, leaky air conditioners, and sub-optimal tire performance.

Of course, all of these new standards will likely raise short-term costs for trucking owners. Officials say up-front costs will more than pay for themselves by cutting fuel costs over several years.

There’s a 60-day public comment period before regulators set about making the rules final. Read, if you dare, the entire 673-page of proposed regulations here.

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Transportation Nation

How Would You Design an EPA Label?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

(Houston, TX - Wendy Siegle, KUHF NewsLab)  If you’re at the dealership and itching to purchase a new car but wish there was an easy way to tell what its environmental impact would be, hold tight. Next year, it could be as easy as checking the window of your dream car for its fuel economy label.

EPA and DOT officials unveiled two different designs this week, both of which contain information on greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants. One of the proposed labels would give new cars a letter grade for overall fuel efficiency and carbon emissions, from A down to D (at right).  Gasoline-only autos would score lower than fully electric vehicles and plug hybrids – a proposed change automakers aren’t too happy about.  The second proposed sticker shares the same information as the first (including the number of Co2 grams per mile), but it doesn’t have a letter grade (EPA proposals here). Its design looks more like the current label, centering on how many miles per gallon the car gets, and the estimated annual fuel cost.  The winning design would start showing up on 2012 models.

Federal regulators are seeking public input on the two labels.  What would you put on the label, to tell you what you want to know about a new car?  Help redesign it by commenting at left now.

More from the KUHF NewsLab:

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Transportation Nation

Shall We Kick Off The Energy Debate?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in January with Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (at left) (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(Washington, DC - Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) -- The much-anticipated Senate debate over energy and climate change legislation is getting an early start.

Lawmakers are set to vote today on a GOP-backed resolution stripping the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate carbon and other ‘greenhouse gasses’. The vote is shaping up as an early test of where lawmakers stand on curbing carbon emissions in advance of a full-blown energy policy debate set for July.

The EPA branded carbon an “endangerment” to human health in December, 2009, clearing the way for the agency to regulate it as a pollutant. That came after a Supreme Court decision ruling the agency had the power to regulate carbon under the Clean Air Act.

But amid mounting global pressure for US action on climate change, the move was widely seen as the Obama Administration’s way to pressure reluctant lawmakers to act on carbon caps or face regulations from the EPA.

Still, Republicans decried EPA’s anti-carbon threatened rule-making as a power-grab.  Today’s vote, if successful and the bill becomes law, would strip EPA of the authority to make new carbon-control rules.

“The EPA intends to take control of climate policy.  Take it away from the Congress,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the resolution’s main sponsor. “This resolution is about protecting the economy and preventing agency overreach. It’s as simple as that,” she said.

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