Posts Tagged ‘EPA’

President Obama & EPA Announce First-Ever Limits for CO2 Emissions from Existing Power Plants

June 2nd, 2014

Coal Power Plant Standards Support

President Obama and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made history today when the EPA announced new standards for existing power plants that would reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. Global Green USA has been working across the country for 20 years to champion clean energy and curb climate change, and we applaud this new Clean Power Plan, the first direct limit on existing power plant emissions.

Today’s announcement has been in the works since June 2013, when President Obama first laid out his Climate Action Plan and directed the EPA to develop clear guidelines under the Clean Air Act for carbon emissions from power plants. Power plants currently account for one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In September 2013, the EPA proposed CO2 emissions limits for new power plants, but did not include the biggest offenders – the older, dirtier coal-fired power plants – until today. The President used his executive authority under the 1970 Clean Air Act to issue the regulation without having to rely on Congressional action.

Under the proposed plan, each state receives a specific rate-based CO2 emissions goal and will develop, submit, and implement a strategy to meet this goal through a state-federal partnership. States will have until June 2016 to submit their plan or may opt into the two-step process option if they require more time. This setup provides states the flexibility to develop a plan unique to their situation, allowing each state to use a different mix of energy sources, energy efficiency measures, and demand-side management to meets its target.

This method differs from traditional pollutant regulation under the Clean Air Act, such as sulfur dioxide or mercury, where the EPA sets a discrete limit at the source. The Clean Power Plan instead allows states to choose how to diversify their energy mix. This approach allows each state to find the lowest-cost solution while maintaining a reliable energy supply.

In recent years, we’ve seen the very real effects of climate change in the form of hurricanes, droughts, floods, dramatic heat waves, and other extreme and devastating climate events. Global Green has worked with victims of Hurricane Sandy and Katrina who’ve had their homes and schools destroyed and their lives indelibly changed by climate related disasters. We’ve also spent years advocating for stricter pollution standards that would reduce levels of smog and soot, focused especially on disadvanated communities that live closest to these power plants and suffer from increased rates of asthma and premature death. The President’s proposal will lead to climate and health benefits estimated between $55 and $93 billion in 2030, including preventing up to 6,600 premature deaths and 150,000 asthma attacks in children by decreasing smog and soot by 25%. Furthermore, by improving energy efficiency and reducing energy demand, the EPA estimates electricity bills nationwide will decrease 8%.

Global Green is encouraged to see the EPA propose a plan that both addresses climate change and improves public health. Power plant pollution often disproportionately affects the health of low-income communities, so we are optimistic that these regulations will start to change this trend. There are also preliminary signs that these regulations will increase pressure on other countries to take similar action around climate change.

While the plan is significant as the first-ever limit on carbon emissions from power plants, the battle is far from over. Under the plan, states can choose to what degree they invest in renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures; the plan’s current projections state that “coal and natural gas would remain the two leading sources of electricity generation in the US, with each providing more than 30% of the projected generation.” However we know that it doesn’t have to be this way, and we are working in Los Angeles, New Orleans and across the county to promote policies and programs that create jobs and promote cleaner energy. Our work to advance solar in California is a perfect example of this success, as job growth in the solar sector has outpaced overall job growth by almost five to one. A sustainable clean energy economy is one that creates clean energy jobs to boost the economy and improve public health, rather than continuing to rely on coal and natural gas—and this is the future for which we’ll continue to fight.

The fossil fuel industry is already working to undermine the EPA’s proposal and will continue to put pressure on Washington to weaken the regulations. Join us in standing with President Obama and the EPA.

Tell President Obama that you support the Clean Power Plan.

Building Blocks: 2013 Communities Selected

December 19th, 2012

Our Green Urbanism Program (GUP) announced the six communities to receive free neighborhood design consultation in 2013 with a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program.

In the next year, four sustainability experts on our GUP team will conduct three-day visits to Montgomery, Alabama; Camden, New Jersey; Cary, North Carolina; Toledo, Ohio; Burlington, Vermont; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Then they’ll provide comprehensive recommendations for infrastructure and policy changes aimed at helping the communities build a future that is more resource-efficient, livable, healthy, and environmentally responsible.

The neighborhoods were competitively selected for the free consultations based on several criteria, including need for assistance, urgency, substantial upcoming projects, and community engagement.

Field Visit: Greening Lafayette, IN

May 16th, 2012

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gup_lafayette_welcome_sign

Walker Wells and Hagu Solomon from our Green Urbanism Planning (GUP) department were in Lafayette, IN, this week for our neighborhood assessment. The team is using the LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) standard to help Lafayette make environmentally sound improvements for the community.

Lafayette is one of eight communities we selected to receive free consultations with a Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). We have already made visits to Dearborn, MI, and Lakewood, CO.

Good coverage online of the Lafayette visit:

JC Online

WBAA (NPR)

WLFI

Weekly Rewind: March 26-April 1

April 2nd, 2012

ruffalo_colbert_reportGreen news stories we’re still talking about from last week.

Headline of the Week: “Forest scientists pit trees against each other in fight for survival” from Grist. Sounds like a summer blockbuster! (Grist story)

Video Clip of the Week: Mark Ruffalo shined “The Colbert Report,” where he discussed the dangers of fracking, his role as an activist, and more. (Post with video clip)

Good Grief — What An Awful Thief: Someone stole a statue of the Lorax from the California estate of Dr. Seuss. (LA Times story)

Capping It: The EPA proposed the first Clean Air Act standard for carbon pollution for future power plants. (ReportGrist story)

Field Report from Florida: Beth Galante and Camille Lopez attended the Energy Efficiency Global Forum to discuss our work to bring energy-efficiency to New Orleans with our NOLA Wise program. (Our post)

Money Matters: An “Economist” story revealed that by 2100, the cost of climate change will be nearly $2 trillion annually. (Economist story)

Green Screen News: “The Island President” documentary on sea level rise and climate change in the Maldives received lots of praise as it began showing in select cities. (TV interview with former President Nasheed of the Maldives)

Heart-Less, in a Good Way: GM Foundation stopped funding for the Heartland Institute, the group of climate change deniers. (LA Times story)

Concern on the West Coast: The San Onofre plant in Southern California was closed indefinitely following the recent breakdown of the large steam generators, and the release of radioactive steam. (Our post)

Weekly Rewind: January 23-29

January 30th, 2012

bl_loraxGreen news stories we’re still talking about from last week.

Hope for Clean Energy: President Obama’s State of the Union address touched on clean energy — hearing “I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy” was certainly a highlight (more highlights and summaries on our blog). Then he elaborated on his energy strategies in Las Vegas (Huffington Post story).

I AM Winner: We had so many great I AM Challenge submissions, but we could only pull one name out of the hat to win. She is Felicia from Marina del Rey, CA, and she won two VIP tickets to our Pre-Oscar part February 22 (I AM winner post; Pre-Oscar party details and tickets).

Good Business: The United Nations launched an online database to help businesses adapt to climate change (Tcktcktck story).

Sunny Days: We talked to the Los Angeles Daily News about the rise of solar power in LA (LA Daily News story).

Good Protection: The EPA is providing clean drinking water to Pennsylvania homes in the fracking zone (ProPublica story).

One Fish, Two Fish, Three Fish, Activists: A fourth grade class got its wish after posting a petition asking the studio behind “The Lorax” to include environmental educational materials on the website for movie based on the Dr. Seuss classic (Mother Jones story).

Cleaning Up: The United States Chemical Materials Agency (CMA) completed the safe destruction of almost 90% of the 31,500 U.S. tons of deadly chemical agents that have been stored at military arsenals in the U.S. since the middle of the last century. (Our post)

Playing Dirty: Scientists were asked to downplay BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill rates (LA Times story). Even messier: An ex-employee says BP fired him for trying to clean up oil (Grist story).

Greening Neighborhoods: 8 Chosen Communities

December 21st, 2011
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Cities chosen for free green design consultations.

Earlier this year, Global Green was awarded a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program to help local leaders across the country implement green projects to make their communities more resource-efficient, livable, healthy, and environmentally responsible.

We accepted applications from local governments this fall and have selected eight towns across the country to receive free assistance. Lafayette, Indiana; Dearborn, Michigan; Eden Prairie, Minnesota; Greensboro, North Carolina; Lakewood, Colorado; Oakland, California; Louisville, Kentucky; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were selected for the free consultations based on several criteria, including need for assistance, urgency, substantial upcoming projects and community engagement.

“Cities are responsible for up to 70% of global warming pollution, but they can also be the laboratories for climate-friendly solutions that save money, improve health and quality of life,” said Walker Wells, Director of Global Green USA’s Green Urbanism Program. “We are excited to get started with these communities.”

Over the next six months, Wells and our other sustainability experts on staff will visit the communities and provide comprehensive recommendations for infrastructure and policy changes. We will be evaluating the communities using the LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) standard, a nationally recognized method for creating neighborhoods that are walkable, bikeable, resource-efficient, and equitable.

Our experts will visit each of the communities with other planning and sustainability experts from around the country, including Rami+Associates, Farr Associates, the Agora Group, and the United States Green Building Council. During each site assessment, the team will identify a neighborhood’s positive qualities, consult with community stakeholders in meetings and public workshops, and identify major opportunities to improve the sustainability of each neighborhood. Then the team will present recommendations for both physical and policy changes that may include street width reductions, ecological restoration, integrated energy and water infrastructure, new standards for in-fill and transit-oriented development, or zoning code revisions to allow for urban agriculture or mixed-use development. We will provide updates with each visit. Stay tuned…

What She Said: Lisa Jackson on the Environment and Economy

October 21st, 2011

” ‘Too dirty to fail’ tries to convince Americans that they must choose between their health and the economy, a choice that’s been proved wrong for the four decades that the EPA has been in existence. No credible economist links our current economic crisis — or any economic crisis — to tough clean-air and clean-water standards.” — Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson, responding to political backlash against the agency, in an op-ed in the LA Times

What She Said: Lisa Jackson on Clean Air and the Economy

September 7th, 2011

“When big polluters distort EPA’s proposals as a drag on our economy, they ignore the fact that clean air, clear water and healthy workers are all essential to American businesses. They also overlook the innovations in clean technology that are creating new jobs right now.” — EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, on her blog

EPA Hoorah: Green Jobs Grant for New Orleans

September 1st, 2011

bl_nola_lives_illustrationDuring a press conference in New Orleans yesterday, EPA Region Administrator Al Armendariz announced nearly $500,000 in grants awarded to NOLA organizations, including Global Green USA. Others receiving EPA grants for environmental justice, job training, and education grants: Louisiana Green Corps, Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association, and the Louisiana Bucket Brigade.

We will be using the $100,000 grant for a Green Jobs Pilot Program to provide job training for local youths and job placement with small construction contractors. Our new NOLA Wise program for energy efficiency retrofits with provide contractors and apprentices with a steady stream of employment — to help the further greening of NOLA while boosting the local economy.

A podcast of the press event is on the EPA site.

Does your child have the flu? Or could it be exposure to toxins in your home?

January 5th, 2011

New Orleans is known for its food, its music and its architecture, all of which have roots that are centuries old. All of these are good things, and in my mind great things. Except when it comes to old houses, old houses have layers and layers of old paint. The problem with old paint is Lead. Lead is costing us millions of dollars in medical bills and keeping New Orleans youth from having a chance to grow up in a healthy environment. » Read more: Does your child have the flu? Or could it be exposure to toxins in your home?