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June 22, 2010

Other Global Warming & Energy News of Note

Time again to update folks on other news that is not BP oil disaster related.

Let's start with coal. On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally published its proposed coal ash rules in the Federal Register (PDF), meaning they're now taking public comments on the rules. Coal ash is the toxic by-product of burning coal for power, and right now it's not subject to any federal safeguards. Sounds pretty crazy to me to not have safeguards for a substance that contains mercury, selenium, arsenic, lead and many more heavy metals that can harm humans and the environment.
Little Blue Run Ash Pond PA
Here's the Little Blue Run Coal Ash Pond that sprawls across the border of West Virginia and Pennsylvania near the Ohio River. Oh yeah, that looks real normal right there. (Photo is courtesy of Google Maps satellite).

So, let us help you send in your public comments to EPA telling them to enact strong federal safeguards on coal ash - take action right here.

Meanwhile, also related to coal, last week the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it was suspending nationwide permits for mountaintop removal coal mining:
This announcement comes more than a year after a March 2009 U.S. District Court decision ruled these permits illegal.

The nationwide permits, created in 1982, gave a blanket authorization to mountaintop removal coal mines to dump their mining waste in streams and waterways. The District Court ruled that this overly generalized permitting process could not guarantee compliance with the Clean Water Act and that mining companies must apply for individual permits in order to be able to fill streams with mining waste.
Duke University just published some of its research on mountaintop removal coal mining that came from its January 2010 study that showed mountaintop removal site reclamation barely makes a difference. It's pretty eye-opening, so take a look.

And if you like important energy-related research, the U.S. Green Building Council just teamed up with Harvard University to release the 2010 "State of the Nation's Housing." (PDF) The report "studied the affordability, energy and location efficiency within the existing U.S. housing stock."

Next up, related to our post yesterday talking up the new documentary "Gasland" about natural gas "fracking," EPA announced a series of four public meetings on this controversial process:
  • July 8 in Fort Worth, Texas
  • July 13 in Denver, Colo.
  • July 22 in Canonsburg, Pa.
  • August 12 in Binghamton, N.Y.
More details are in the EPA news release.

In environmental justice news, we just had two of our fantastic EJ organizers get major news hits. In Detroit, our own Rhonda Anderson got this very nice spread in the Detroit Free-Press about impact of excessive industrial pollution on certain neighborhoods in Detroit: Article 1, article 2, and video here.

Our EJ organizer in Texas, Mariana Chew, was profiled in this Latino Magazine piece on the EJ issues in her community.

Finally, in global warming news, we've got two hits for you. First is the news out on the latest study about whether there is a scientific consensus on human-caused global warming - of course there is! Read about this latest study in the NY Times' Green Blog.

And then we've got this Discover magazine blog piece on a melting glacier that may not be melting because of global warming. Science!

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