Environmental Issues Report
By Larry Danos
February 2, 2017
- Fracking Tracking ————————————————
- Fracking has been the subject of many battles in the state for several years in Florida.
- Representative Dana Young (R-Tampa), along with a coalition of Democrats and Republicans introduced SB 442 to ban all forms of enhanced oil/gas production.
- The petroleum industry is coming out strong against the measure.
- Jan 11 – Hearing on Aquifer Exemption in Livermore
- Alameda Citizens Against Fracking (ACAF) under the leadership of Ash Lauth from the Center for Biological Diversity along with many other citizens gave public comment against the approval of the Aquifer Expansion Exemption in the Livermore Oil Field.
- Here’s the official announcement from the State.
- A rally took place in a central square in downtown Livermore before the hearing.
- Energy company, Cuadrilla, forced Friends of the Earth (FOE) to stop false claims.
- FOE flyers contained misleading information; investigated by England’s Advertising Standards Authority”.
- The case was dropped after FOE agrees to not repeat the claims.
- Coal Updates ———————————————————-
A. Feb 1 – House Votes to End Obama’s Coal Mining Debris Rule!!
1. Dec. 19 – Obama’s Interior finalized safeguards for stream protections and mining rules.
2. Republicans are swiftly making good on their promise to do away with Democratic values.
3. Many other measures voted in to further U.S. corporate corruption.
B. Jan 6 – Nation’s Largest Coal Terminal Blocked in Washington
- It was proposed to be built along the Columbia River and would’ve exported 44 million tons of coal per year.
- Coal from Montana & Wyoming was to be exported to China.
- Oil and Pipeline Reports —————————————-
1. In compliance with Trump’s Executive Order, the acting Secretary of the Army ordered the
Corps of Engineers to permit the project.
2. The Standing Rock tribe has vowed to fight back.
3. Further environmental review was still forthcoming on the Lake Oehe easement, but
Trump’s Executive Order takes precedence.
4. Voice your opinion here:
1. A BAAQMD (Bay Area Air Quality Management District) meeting was held on Jan. 30 in San
Francisco to challenge the Air Board’s opposition to Rule 12-16.
2. The Rule would place a cap on refinery emissions, which would not allow ‘dirty’ Tar Sands
bitumen to be refined here, thereby, stopping all five of Bay Area’s refineries “from
processing the world’s largest threat to Climate Change.
3. A decision is forthcoming from the BAAQMD Board in May.
1. 232 mile pipeline to connect Rocky Mountain fracked gas field across southern Oregon
to Coos Bay terminal.
D. Jan 13 – New Governor Will Seek DAPL Easement Under Trump
- North Dakota’s new Republican Governor, Doug Burgum, vows to finish the pipeline.
- He will also seek reimbursement from federal government for the police action at Standing Rock.
- The slate of State bills will criminalize protestors for things like wearing masks at protests and would not prosecute a driver who unintentionally injures or kills a protestor.
- An oil spill form the Belle Fourche Pipeline150 miles away “validates struggle”.
- ND Republican Senator, John Hoevens, was named Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
E. Jan 10 – Russian TV Accused of Anti-Fracking Propaganda
1. RT (Russia Today) features anti-fracking coverage regularly and now accused of supporting
activists against fracking for Russia’s benefit.
2. In a bizarre twist Russia is accused by U.S. intelligence of working to undermine the U.S. shale revolution that ‘made America great again’.
F. Jan 9 – Trump, Trudeau and the XL Pipeline
1. Although the President-Elect met with Prime Minister Trudeau and pledged to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline quickly it remains to be seen.
2. The Executive Order 11423 dates back to the Johnson Administration and involves input from the Secretaries of Treasury, Defense, Commerce, Interior, Transportation, the Attorney General, Interstate Commerce Commission, and the Director of the Office of Emergency Planning. Rescinding the Exec. Order would give Trump sole power over the approval.
3. The pipeline application dates back to 2012, which reflected oil prices of a different era and is now largely outdated. Lower oil prices in the market may create instabilities.
4. While it would create temporary construction jobs in the U.S., it benefits Canada more in the form of lowered oil transport costs.
5. Renegotiating NAFTA may play a role in how quickly the pipeline can be approved.
6. He claims that Canada’s Climate Leadership Plan and Carbon Tax regulations cover enough environmental oversight that the U.S. can assist them getting their oil to markets.
- California Water Report ——————————————-
A. Jan 31 – California Drought Report
1. California status of “exceptional drought” has now been reomoved.
2. State Water Resources Control Board will decide about continuing or new conservation rules
on Feb. 7.
3. Most reservoirs are much better but ground water is still a long term issue.
B. Jan 4 – Congress’ Drought Plan Dangerous for Central Valley Birds
- Legislation introduced on first day of business will reverse congress’ commitment to wild refuges.
- The goal is to move water through the Delta with fewer constraints under the Endangered Species Act.
- Climate Change ————————————————————
B. Jan 12 – ExxonMobil Denied Document Protection
- On Jan. 11, a Massachusetts judge denied Exxon’s suit against the state Attorney General’s subpoenas for the company’s research information on Climate Change.
- A coalition of Attorney General’s from 16 states, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, filed suit in March 2016, against the company for concealing information from its shareholders and disseminating false information for profits.
- The States: Massachusetts, New York, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and U.S. Virgin Islands.
- So far, Exxon has cooperated with the AG, but it’s getting more difficult for the company, especially as Trump’s cabinet is being approved, e.g. Rex Tillerson for Sec. of State.
C. Jan 11 – BAAQMD’s Draft Clean Air Plan for 2017
1. The full title of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s 2017 Clean Air Plan is,
Spare the Air- Cool the Climate: A Blueprint for Clean Air and Climate Protection in the
2. Since its inception in 1955, the BAAQMD has focused on concerned pollutants such as
particulate matter, combustion products, ozone and volatile organic compounds.
3. Climate Change has brought about a change in the plan to include fossil fuel reduction
goals for future years like 2020, 2030, 2050, and the challenges of meeting those goals.
D. Jan 10 – Rex Tillerson Questioned About Climate Change
- In his Senate Confirmation hearing for Secretary of State he admitted “the increase in greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere are having an effect”, but, “Our ability to predict that effect is very limited”.
- He leaves it up to Trump to decide on the U.S. remaining in or pulling out of the Paris Agreement.
- He refused to answer for Exxon about what they knew in 1970 and spent millions for the next 40 years lobbying and denying Climate Change, for which the company is being sued.
- Trump, Climate Change Contrarians, & Denial.
E. Jan 6 – Bird Migrations Affected by Global Warming
- Birds rely on their knowledge of when and where to migrate but changes in climate make for difficulties finding the expected resources at destinations.
- Changes in vegetation, food supplies make stopovers less favorable.
- Foods, GMO Labeling, Pesticides, and Related Issues—
1. Based on an international health organization, the court sides with California to require
the weed killer, Round Up, to be labeled as a cancer threat.
2. The judge will issue a formal decision soon and the company has one year to comply.
3. Monsanto plans to appeal the ruling.
1. The top three types of neonicotinoid pesticides have disastrous effects on bees but the
agency will only ask for voluntary usage guidelines.
2. Many studies have shown the acute and chronic effects on honey bees and other species.
3. Neonicotinoids are banned from:
- U.S. national refuges
- the European Union
- Canada has a proposed ban
- Monsanto merger with Bayer (Germany’s largest pesticide/seeds corp.) met with Pres-Elect Trump.
- The Administration’s new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, will be called upon to enforce anti-trust laws.
- Agricultural mergers are said to raise prices for farmers and possibly be unfavorable for research and development.
- Miscellaneous/Politics ——————————————-
A. Jan 27 – Executive Orders
1. Basically it’s implied in the Constitution (Art. II) giving the President discretionary powers, but
is not spelled out as an “order”.
2. It has to find support in the powers of the President supported in the Constitution and includes
“executive actions”, and “presidential memorandums”.
3. More sweeping executive orders include:
- Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
- Franklin Roosevelt’s Internment of Japanese Americans.
4. They are subject to judicial review, can be struck down, and certainly can be challenged.
B. Jan 25 – Seeking Solutions for the Salton Sea
1. Audubon is playing a role in the plan to protect the area’s population from dust
pollution and bird migrations.
2. It’s coming to life as part of the greater water shortage solution for Southern
California and the Colorado River connection.
3. Check out the video in the web site.
C. Jan 13 – Clean Power Plan Upheld by EPA
- The EPA denies petitions to change or pause the plan to cut carbon emissions.
- States, industries, and others claimed in 2015 that the final rule morphed from its initial announcement that became too stringent causing the Supreme Court in 2016 to pause implementation.
- EPA’’s response in complying wutg judicial procedures, the petitions’ denial clears the constitutionality question for the time being.
- The Plan held as unconstitutional by opposition.
D. Jan 6 – Ryan Zinke, Trump’s Pick for Head of Interior Dept.
- Born and raised in small-town Montana, served 23-years as Navy Seal, was elected for two terms as State Senator, and two as Lieutenant Governor.
- He has strong natural conservation awareness and is likely to disagree with Trump policy.
- As a politician he has accepted contributions from oil & gas companies and has voted to ease the transition of federal lands to states.
E. Jan 4 – The REINS Act Gives Congress Authority Over Regulations
1. The House sneakily passed a bill that will set much lower standards for all future environmental, public health, consumer protection, labor & occupational safety, and civil rights law.
2. The REINS Act (Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny of 2017) will require Congress to approve every bill within 70 days making it impossible to do justice to any complex technical, scientific, or controversial rules.
3. It also gives Congress the power to kill any bill that has an economic impact of $100 million.
4. It’s an effort to stop “job-killing rules coming out of Washington”, but would most likely squash any new GHG regulation, food safety & labor protections, and even net neutrality
5. It’s not expected to pass the Senate.
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