Quote of the Day - Law and order is one of the stepes taken to maintain injustice.
Air Pollution Control Enforcement Eased BackThe USEPA may drop investigations of coal-burning power plants, refineries and factories allegedly violating clean air laws.
An EPA official said senior agency managers were told earlier this week in Seattle to stop current investigations and enforcement work unless past activities violated the new, less vigorous air quality rules. If true, the retroactive application of new regs to possible past violations would be unprecedented.
Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT.) a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said the instructions - attributed to J.P. Suarez, USEPA's enforcement chief - are of concern.
"First the administration weakens our clean air law, and now it won't enforce it," Jeffords said. "Instead of fighting pollution, this administration is at war with the Clean Air Act. Innocent bystanders, such as children, the elderly and the infirm, will be the principal casualties."
USEPA did not make Suarez available Wednesday but issued an agency statement. "As the agency has consistently stated, we are vigorously pursuing all filed cases and we will evaluate each pending investigation on a case-by-case basis to determine whether it will be pursued or set aside."
Eric Schaeffer, a former EPA civil enforcement chief who heads the Rockefeller Family Fund's Environmental Integrity Project, said the USEPA could drop investigations of more than 70 power companies and 50 other industrial facilities.
Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, a group of power companies, said Schaeffer's characterization of the Seattle meeting is misleading. "All indications are that existing filed cases ... are being aggressively pursued by the federal government."
The Clinton administration sued 51 older power plants and forced installation of hundreds of millions of dollars of pollution-control equipment. About half the companies sued have since settled, eliminating about 7 million tons of pollutants annually.
If You Dare to Read ThemAlthough I haven't looked, some may want to. If you dare, here are some documents in the case of Washington v. Gary Leon Ridgeway, the guy who just admitted to 48 Murders. Here's the Green River killer's plea agreement.
And just in case you're a glutton, here's the Defendant's statement.
What the USEPA Doesn't Know Won't Hurt USToday in Chicago will be the first of five national dialogue sessions to solicit feedback on the "Draft Report on the Environment," (ROE) issued on June 23. The USEPA and its regional offices will conduct these sessions across the country.
This report presents the first national picture of US environmental conditions and health across five key areas: air, water, land, human health and ecosystems. USEPA has invited representatives from federal, state and local government, tribes, academia, nongovernmental organizations and private industry.
By the way, USEPA says that interested citizens will also have an opportunity to provide comments during each meeting. Thanks for remembering us common folk.
The five sessions will be held, Nov. 6 in Chicago, Region 5; Nov. 13 in Atlanta, Region 4; Nov. 18 in San Francisco, Region 9; Nov. 20 in Seattle, Region 10; and Dec. 12 in Dallas, Region 6. For specific information where in each city, send an email to Dawn Banks-Waller at the USEPA.
You can get a copy of the regular report or the scientific report and comment online, too.
According to the Executive Summary, the ROE will also tell us what the USEPA doesn't know about the environment.
So, if they don't know, how are they going to tell us they don't know? This will likely be the government's first attempt at existentialism.
Mishmash of Special Interests form Energy BillThe 2003 Energy bill - the first of its kind in 10 years - appears to have stalled. The Sierra Club, Public Citizen, Public Ark, the Wilderness Society and U.S. PIRG don't like it. In fact, it's hard to find much support for it.
President Bush has championed it, pointing to the rolling blackouts last summer as a reason to pass the bill.
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute published this summary of the bill. The White House has its own summary.
This debate has been going on for some time, and sees no signs of letting up. When the bill was first introduced by the White House in 2001, PBS offered us this round-up. The bill has made it through the House, but is now bogged down in the Senate.
Environmentalists are making their last stand. Professional energy lobbyists are pushing hard to loosen the regulations preventing oil drilling and restricting air emissions. There will be more "tweaking around the edges" to get this plan to pass, if it does at all.
It looks like we're going to end up with a hodgepodge of special interests instead of an overall, workable set of laws and regulations.
Doesn't anybody in this process see the benefit of a cohesive plan?
Tell me it ain't so, Jerry SpringerHere's one for the I coulda-told-ya-so category. Maybe it should be filed under the "No kidding" category, too.
Today's Courthouse News service gives us this little tidbit:
"In State Court in Chicago, a man who appeared on the Jerry Springer Show filed suit against another guest who assaulted him onstage. The show and its production company were also named as defendants."
As you may remember, this isn't the first time that Jerry's been sued. But, that lawsuit over the death of a woman (who admitted on the show that she had secretly remarried and was killed by her ex-husband immediately after the show aired) was later dropped.
I don't know. Call me silly. If you're a contestant (not the right word, I know) nee guest, on Jerry's show, I think there's a high likelihood you are going to be punched. Or called names. Or booed.
Kinda goes with the territory. In the law, we call it "assumption of the risk."
Of course, Jerry wouldn't have it any other way.
New Source Review Rules Go FinalThe USEPA's New Source Review was published in the Federal Register today, and will become final in 60 days.
It's nothing new, having been proposed in December 2002.
The final rule requires replacement components to be "functionally equivalent" to existing components. In other words, there would be no change to basic design or to emitting capacity. It also sets a 20 percent limit on replacement cost for equipment to establish thresholds for plant projects.
If these restrictions are exceeded, the replacement equipment is subject to the New Source Review process. USEPA will supposedly continue to enforce violations of the previous New Source Review rules and will vigorously enforce any violations that occur under this new equipment replacement rule.
But, the USEPA says the new rule won't effect emissions. Right. As equipment gets replaced, it must comply with NSR regs, which will ultimately end up in less emissions.
And more cost to get there.
Punitive Damages Available Against the NavyThe U.S. government may be liable for punitive damages in Clean Air Act cases.
This case, out of Florida's 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, held that the Navy could be liable for punitive damages under the Clean Air Act. Other interesting CAA links can be found on MIPTC's federal environmental links.
The City of Jacksonville alleged the Navy openly violated CAA standards for over five years, and seeks up to $10,000/day in penalties, plus punies.
Maybe it's time the government complied with its own regulations. What do you think?
Old Fire 45% ContainedAlthough it's a marked improvement from the "unknown containment" just days ago, 45% means the firefighters still have a long way to go. It's snowing up in the mountains, and a mere 32 degrees.
Quite a contrast with the hot Santa Ana winds, which are expected to kick back up next week.
Thanks to the Riverside Press-Enterprise for its online coverage, which has been great. Also to Rim of the World.net for unflagging news, and Ranger Al who stayed up to 4:30 a.m. this morning and awoke to phone calls at 7:00 a.m.
Mountain dweller and others who live near fire areas may want to consider Thermo-gel, an amazing, easily=applied, environmentally-friendly USFS-approved product that protects everything (I'm not kidding - plants, too) from fire.
What will they think of next? Removing fire-prone vegetation from around your home?