Monday, May 30, 2011
"It's a failure," Christie said. "RGGI has not changed behavior and it does not reduce emissions."
This is yet another nail in the cap and trade coffin, as a California judge just last week stopped implementation of that state's cap and trade plan.
New Jersey will become the first state to withdraw from RGGI, and other member states, including Maine and New Hampshire, are considering doing the same.
A bill pending before the Delaware state House Energy Committee, HB 86, would suspend Delaware's participation in RGGI. The bill was
recently tabled on a straight party line vote by a one vote margin.
David Stevenson, the Director of the Cesar Rodney Institute's Center for Energy Competitiveness, says the recent actions in California and New Jersey demonstrate "even more momentum among the states to abandon the failed policy of cap and trade" and gives reason for Energy committee members to "reconsider their position on HB 86."
Here is some of the local coverage of Governor's Christie's decision to withdraw New Jersey from RGGI:
Christie to pull N.J. out of cap-and-trade energy program
New Jersey Press
May 26, 2011
Governor Christie said this morning that he will pull New Jersey out of a regional cap-and-trade energy program.
Governor Christie said this morning that he will pull New Jersey out of a regional cap-and-trade energy program. The move drew strong criticism from environmental advocates who argued it was a rollback of clean energy efforts. But it was supported by business groups who said the 10-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative was a burdensome
"We will withdraw from RGGI in an orderly fashion by year's end," Christie said.
RGGI is a cooperative effort by Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 10 percent by 2018. To do so, power
plant operators such as PSE&G must purchase allowances from their host states to cover each ton of carbon dioxide emissions they are likely
to produce. The companies can then buy, sell or trade their permits.
Companies that reduce their emissions and don't need all their allowances might sell them to a company whose emissions exceed their
The proceeds are to be invested by the states in energy-efficiency projects and developing renewable energy sources, such as wind and
"It's a failure," Christie said. "RGGI has not changed behavior and it does not reduce emissions."
Opponents say power companies have passed along the costs to comply with RGGI by raising electric bills. The Sierra Club says the increase
is less than half of 1 percent of the average household bill.
"Christie is taking the side of corporate polluters and the coal industry over the environment and health of the people of New Jersey," said Jeff Tittel, director of New Jersey Sierra Club. "As part of his attempt to become a national politician he would rather pander to the National Republican Party then do what is right for the people of New Jersey."
The move came as something of a surprise as many believed Christie would continue to use the funds generated by RGGI to help balance the cash-strapped state budget. Last year, he took $64 million raised by RGGI and put it towards the general fund instead of using it for clean energy programs as intended.
But Christie has also publicly criticized the program at a Nutley town hall meeting in February saying it was hurting economic development. He also expressed skepticism that human behavior has led to global warming at a town hall meeting in November.
The move also comes as former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a 2012 GOP presidential candidate, is being hammered by conservatives
for his mandated health insurance plan in that state.
A move by Christie to dismantle a state program viewed unfavorably by many Republicans could only help any presidential ambitions the
governor may have. Christie has continually denied he wants to run for president in 2012 despite calls from many GOP powerbrokers.
Christie said he still believes in global warming and will work towards conservation and the use of wind, natural gas and other power sources that are cleaner than coal.
By WILLIE SOON
AND PAUL DRIESSEN
The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued 946 pages of new rules requiring that U.S. power plants sharply reduce their (already low) emissions of mercury and other air pollutants. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson claims that while the regulations will cost electricity producers $10.9 billion annually, they will save 17,000 lives and generate up to $140 billion in health benefits.
There is no factual basis for these assertions. To build its case against mercury, the EPA systematically ignored evidence and clinical studies that contradict its regulatory agenda, which is to punish hydrocarbon use.
Mercury has always existed naturally in Earth's environment. A 2009 study found mercury deposits in Antarctic ice across 650,000 years. Mercury is found in air, water, rocks, soil and trees, which absorb it from the environment. This is why our bodies evolved with proteins and antioxidants that help protect us from this and other potential contaminants.
Another defense comes from selenium, which is found in fish and animals. Its strong attraction to mercury molecules protects fish and people against buildups of methylmercury, mercury's biologically active and more toxic form. Even so, the 200,000,000 tons of mercury naturally present in seawater have never posed a danger to any living being.
How do America's coal-burning power plants fit into the picture? They emit an estimated 41-48 tons of mercury per year. But U.S. forest fires emit at least 44 tons per year; cremation of human remains discharges 26 tons; Chinese power plants eject 400 tons; and volcanoes, subsea vents, geysers and other sources spew out 9,000-10,000 additional tons per year.
All these emissions enter the global atmospheric system and become part of the U.S. air mass. Since our power plants account for less than 0.5% of all the mercury in the air we breathe, eliminating every milligram of it will do nothing about the other 99.5% in our atmosphere.
In the face of these minuscule risks, the EPA nevertheless demands that utility companies spend billions every year retrofitting coal-fired power plants that produce half of all U.S. electricity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which actively monitors mercury exposure, blood mercury counts for U.S. women and children decreased steadily from 1999-2008, placing today's counts well below the already excessively safe level established by the EPA. A 17-year evaluation of mercury risk to babies and children by the Seychelles Children Development Study found "no measurable cognitive or behavioral effects" in children who eat several servings of ocean fish every week, much more than most Americans do.
The World Health Organization and U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry assessed these findings in setting mercury-risk standards that are two to three times less restrictive than the EPA's.
The EPA ignored these findings. Instead, the agency based its "safe" mercury criteria on a study of Faroe Islanders, whose diet is far removed from our own. They eat few fruits and vegetables, but they do feast on pilot-whale meat and blubber that is laced with mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)—but very low in selenium. The study has limited relevance to U.S. populations.
As a result, the EPA's actions can be counted on to achieve only one thing—which is to further advance the Obama administration's oft-stated goal of penalizing hydrocarbon use and driving a transition to unreliable renewable energy.
The proposed standards will do nothing to reduce exaggerated threats from mercury and other air pollutants. Indeed, the rules will worsen America's health and well-being—especially for young children and women of child-bearing age. Not only will they raise heating, air conditioning and food costs, but they will scare people away from eating nutritious fish that should be in everyone's diet.
America needs affordable, reliable electricity. It needs better health and nutrition. It needs an EPA that focuses on real risks, instead of wasting hard-earned taxpayer and consumer dollars fabricating dangers and evidence.
Mr. Soon, a natural scientist at Harvard, is an expert on mercury and public health issues. Mr. Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow.
Read article here
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
A California judge ruled on Friday that state air regulators must stop carrying out a cap-and-trade plan until they examine alternatives to emissions trading to meet the state's aggressive greenhouse gas-reduction targets.
The judge, Ernest Goldsmith of the Superior Court of California in San Francisco, said that the California Air Resources Board should "take no action" to put its cap-and-trade plans into effect until it completes the analysis of the alternatives. "This includes any further rule-making and implementation of cap and trade," the judge wrote in his decision.
Last month, Judge Goldsmith said the A.R.B., the agency devising the state's cap-and-trade plan, had failed to adequately study alternatives to creating a carbon market.
This is the latest in a string of bad news for cap and trade supporters and another nail in cap-and-trade's coffin. AB 32 was a point of pride for both former Gov. Schwarzengger and California legislators. Indeed, one purpose of the statute was to place California "at the forefront of national and international efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases."
AB 32 became the much-vaunted "California model" that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) invoked during their multi-year campaign to sell cap-and-trade on Capitol Hill.
Cap-and-trade has been on the skids since its day in the Sun back in June 2009, when the House narrowly passed the Waxman-Markey bill. After passage, the bill became politically radioactive and never came to a vote in the Senate.
The December 2009 Copenhagen climate conference ended in failure, producing no agreement on a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol.
In February 2010, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer issued an executive order stating that Arizona would not implement the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) cap-and-trade plan, scheduled to begin on January 1, 2012. Aside from California, none of the other WCI states (Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Utah) is close to implementing cap-and-trade.
In November 2010 the Chicago Climate Exchange emissions trading pilot program announced it would shut down "for lack of legislative interest."
Read the storyHERE
Monday, May 16, 2011
ST. PAUL — No coal-fired power plants could be built in Minnesota, but electric cooperatives could buy from coal plants in other states under a bill Minnesota representatives approved 76-54 today.
It is a watered-down version of a bill senators passed earlier this year that would lift an existing prohibition against any new electricity produced by coal.
Rep. Mike Beard, R-Shakopee, said he changed the bill in an attempt to satisfy some of Gov. Mark Dayton’s concerns. As a byproduct to allowing Minnesota to buy coal-produced electricity from other states, North Dakota might drop plans to sue Minnesota.
This is a major defeat for environmentalists, and a recognition of the simple realities of energy markets. Coal, whether we like it or not, is the cheapest form of electricity available in this region. Any policy or regulation which inhibits the flow of coal power is only going to drive energy prices higher, which is something Minnesota was starting to see before this policy was even fully implemented.
Kudos to the Minnesota legislature for rolling back this bit of “green” foolishness, even if it’s not a full repeal.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Environmentalists claim their version of a bay cleanup would bring economic benefits. Given that little growth is expected for several years, that seems more than unlikely.
A study conducted for the Maryland State Builders Association concludes that a new plan by the state and federal government to clean up the Cheasapeake Bay would cause a loss of more than $10 billion to businesses in the state and more than 65,000 jobs. But an environmental group says the study exaggerates the costs and does not include new jobs that would be created by the plan.
The study, conducted by Sage Policy Group of Baltimore, also predicts that more people would move from Maryland to Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to avoid the higher costs associated with the environmental safeguards planned to protect the Bay, which range from waste treatment plant upgrades and requirements to improving failing septic systems.
Builders say they want to clean up the Bay and work with environmentalists, but they think the same results to improve the Bay's watershed can be achieved in more cost-effective ways.
The state should focus on the large polluters, which would be more economical than the state's plan, said Martin Mitchell, president of the Maryland National Capital Builders Association, which is part of the Maryland Builders Association.
"We think there are some other ways to go about achieving results because we are supportive of a clean Bay and clean streams," Mitchell said. "But we're out there looking for the most economical solutions. We're willing to work hand in hand with the state and the environmentallists to come up with the best solutions."
Kim Coble, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, called the report's portrayal of data skewed.
For instance, the study ignores that the improvements for the establishment of new treatment plants already is ongoing and there already are funding sources to pay for them, Coble said.
The report also claims the state would have 65,000 fewer jobs because of the changes, but it does not take into account the numerous jobs that would be created to build new treatment plants and that would become available from improvements to the fisheries.
"It's like only looking at one side of the equation and calling it final," Coble said. "What struck us most was it was written solely to portray the perspective and needs of the homebuilders' association versus meeting the needs of Maryland."