Green Groups See Need To Nudge Obama's 'Opening Bid' On Carbon Cuts

Posted by Joseph R. Fonseca
Monday, June 02, 2014
President Barack Obama

In large part, the wide-ranging reaction to President Barack Obama's signature effort to cut power plant carbon emissions could have been written months in advance.

Key Republicans and many industrial groups decried it as a job-killing war on coal that would drive up power prices; environmentalists and many Democrats hailed it as a landmark measure making good on Obama's pledge to tackle climate change.

Behind the bombast, however, more measured voices found a proposal that was not as severe as critics had feared nor as ambitious as proponents had hoped for. Basing the average 30 percent reduction on the year 2005 - near a high point for such emissions, before the economic recession reduced power use and the rise of shale gas dramatically curbed coal plant output - means much of that reduction has already occurred.

For both sides of the debate, Monday's sweeping proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is only the starting point of a months-long effort to chip away, hone or modify the details of a 645-page plan that may remake the nation's power sector.

"This is an excellent opening bid," said Conrad Schneider, advocacy director at Clean Air Task Force, an environmental group that submitted a plan to help guide the agency as it wrote the rules.

Now the real work will begin behind the scenes during a 120-day-long public comment period, as green groups seek more ambitious elements to make the rules even tougher while opponents seek vulnerable areas to challenge in courts.

For example, Schneider said he expects some environmental groups and states to comment on how the agency defined the "best system of emission reduction" - a group of available technologies identified by the EPA that states can use to ratchet down their emissions, and that help determine the stringency of each states goals.

A NEW ENGAGEMENT

The long-awaited proposal was announced last June when President Barack Obama announced a new strategy to address climate change. Monday's announcement was preceded by an unprecedented, nationwide, months-long outreach effort to gather feedback and address criticism well in advance.

That did little to stem either the tide of outrage or the outpouring of support that greeted Monday's announcement.

But as the details of the plan trickled out, it grew clear that some groups would face a tricky task squaring their base position with a more nuanced response.

While most green groups had nothing but praise for Obama, Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica said the proposal "doesn't go far enough to put us on the right path."

The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group that offered the EPA the first fully developed blueprint to help shape the proposal in 2012, said it will continue to push to make the rules stronger over the coming months.

For instance, NRDC policy director David Doniger said the EPA was assuming a ramp-up of energy efficiency of 1.5 percent per year as a possible best system of emission reduction, but invited comment whether that could be raised to 2% per year.

"That makes a big difference in the overall reductions. We have argued in our proposal for the two percent improvement, and we will continue to advocate that," he said.

The group had originally urged the EPA to order a 30 percent cut by 2020, rather than the 2030 target in the proposal, measured from 2012, a lower base year for emissions.

POWER SPLIT

While the National Association of Manufacturers lashed out at the EPA proposal, warning it would remove "reliable and abundant sources of energy from our nation's energy mix," the electric utility industry offered a more measured reaction.

The Edison Electric Institute said it was "thoroughly reviewing" the proposed guidelines to make sure the compliance requirements and timelines were achievable across the industry.

Its president Tom Kuhn welcomed some of the flexible elements the agency weaved into the bill but did not fully endorse the program either.

"While we are still assessing the overall proposal, EPA appears to have allowed for a range of compliance options to reflect the diversity of approaches that states and electric utilities have undertaken and may undertake to reduce GHG emissions," he said in a statement.

(Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Jonathan Leff and Cynthia Osterman)

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter January 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Containers to Be Weighed Before Departure

In a new measure aiming to minimize the number of shipping accidents, packed containers intended to be carried on international sea voyages must be weighed before being loaded, starting July 1, 2016.

Noncompliant Cargo Ship Banned from Australia

The 86-meter general cargo ship Noah Satu has been prohibited from entering or using any Australian ports for the second time in less than 12 months, following another round of safety,

Grounded Giant Chinese Boxship Freed

One of the world's largest container ships has been freed from a mud bank after running aground almost a week ago near Germany's largest port of Hamburg, German authorities said on Tuesday.

Finance

AIWA Highlights Investment Needs on the Nation’s Marine Highways

Nowhere is that more important than on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. As 2016 begins, we at the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association (AIWA) are looking

Pentagon: Cut in LCS Ship Program 'Not an Indictment'

U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said the Pentagon's plan to truncate the Littoral Combat Ship program at 40 ships instead of 52 reflected budget pressures

Grounded Giant Chinese Boxship Freed

One of the world's largest container ships has been freed from a mud bank after running aground almost a week ago near Germany's largest port of Hamburg, German authorities said on Tuesday.

Environmental

Noncompliant Cargo Ship Banned from Australia

The 86-meter general cargo ship Noah Satu has been prohibited from entering or using any Australian ports for the second time in less than 12 months, following another round of safety,

‘Choice Alliance’ Formed to Serve BWT Market

A strategic alliance between Choice Ballast Solutions and Drew Marine has been formed to provide vertically integrated capabilities within the ballast water treatment (BWT) market.

Seventh Whale Stranded Off Norfolk Coastline

A seventh whale has been reported in shallow water off the coast of Mundesley, Norfolk this morning, February 9.   A member of the Mundesley Coastguard Rescue

Energy

OTC Names 2016 Award Winners

The 2016 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) will honor this year’s Distinguished Achievement Award recipients on Tuesday, 3 May, in Houston.   As part of the

Wood Group Extends North Sea Chevron Contract

Wood Group has secured an extension to continue to support Chevron Upstream Europe across four offshore assets in the North Sea. Wood Group PSN (WGPSN) will deliver

QP, Chevron Ink Offshore Moroccan Deal

Qatar Petroleum has reached an agreement with Chevron Morocco Exploration Ltd., a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation, to acquire a 30% participating interest from

News

OTC Names 2016 Award Winners

The 2016 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) will honor this year’s Distinguished Achievement Award recipients on Tuesday, 3 May, in Houston.   As part of the

AIWA Highlights Investment Needs on the Nation’s Marine Highways

Nowhere is that more important than on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. As 2016 begins, we at the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association (AIWA) are looking

Pentagon: Cut in LCS Ship Program 'Not an Indictment'

U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said the Pentagon's plan to truncate the Littoral Combat Ship program at 40 ships instead of 52 reflected budget pressures

People in the News

OTC Names 2016 Award Winners

The 2016 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) will honor this year’s Distinguished Achievement Award recipients on Tuesday, 3 May, in Houston.   As part of the

ABS' Tikka Elected Foreign Member of NAE

ABS, a provider of classification services to the global marine and offshore industries, announced the election of ABS Europe and Africa Division President Dr.

Great Lakes Shippers Set Top Priorities

North America’s largest mining, manufacturing and agricultural companies have helped identify four top priorities to improve the competitiveness of Great Lakes shipping,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1359 sec (7 req/sec)