Thursday, September 11, 2014

21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiative Act

Subcommittee on Energy and Power

Subcommittee to Examine Legislation to Develop 21st Century Energy Workforce

HEARING VIDEO AND TESTIMONY

The Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday September 17, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building to examine H.R. 4526, the 21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiative Act of 2014.
 
The 21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiative Act,introduced by subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby Rush (D-IL), Chairman Whitfield, and Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), aims to create a pathway to employment for minorities and other historically underrepresented communities in the energy sector. The legislation directs the Department of Energy to establish a comprehensive program to improve the education and training for energy-related jobs and to help recruit more minorities and women for these jobs.
 
Witnesses:
 
LaDoris Harris, Director
Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, DOE
 
Jack Gerard, President/CEO
American Petroleum Institute
 
Harry Alford, President/CEO
National Black Chamber of Commerce
 
Paula Jackson, President
American Association of Blacks in Energy
 
Jim Barrett, Chief Economist
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
 
The Majority Memorandum and witness testimony will be availablehere as they are posted

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

NRC Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel Rule

On Tuesday, August 26, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved a generic environmental impact statement that clears the way for storing spent nuclear fuel for a hundred years or more (NRC Ruling). New nuclear power plants can now be built without waiting for a final nuclear waste repository to be built (NYTimes).   AAEA supported the rule.

The rulemaking was in response to a 2012 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals that struck down the NRC Waste Confidence Decision, which stated:

- “reasonable assurance exists that sufficient geologic repository capacity will be available for disposal of…spent nuclear fuel when necessary”, and
- “reasonable assurance exists that…spent fuel can be stored safely without significant environmental impacts…in spent fuel pools and…dry cask storage systems.”

As a result of this court ruling, the NRC decided to stop all nuclear licensing activities (CLI-12-016) while it developed a Waste Confidence Generic Environmental Impact Statement that would address these issues, even the possibility that a permanent geologic repository might never be built. This generic EIS would not have to be redone over and over for every site or every license.

Norris McDonald at spent fuel reprocessing facility in France

The French reprocess and reuse their spent nuclear fule.  America should do the same.  This should be done at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

Nuclear power plants in the United States have safely stored spent nuclear fuel for decades in spent fuel pools of water and, later, in concrete dry casks. There has never been a problem. But the centerpiece of our nuclear waste program has always been the idea of a deep geologic repository as the final resting place for nuclear waste.

Therefore, when the Yucca Mountain deep geologic repository project was essentially canned in 2009 (killed for similar political reasons it was born from), it was a blow to the country’s confidence in our ability to handle our spent nuclear fuel. We had never thought about storing this stuff forever.

Dry cask storage behind secure fencing.

The GEIS examined land use, air and water quality, historic and cultural resources over three timeframes: 60 years (short-term), 100 years after the short-term scenario (long-term) and indefinitely. It also analyzed spent fuel pool leaks and fires.
So Tuesday’s approval by the NRC of this new rule on the environmental effects of long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel was enormously important. It restores the confidence that was called into question and let’s new nuclear builds and activities to go forward, once the final rule becomes effective, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
The waste confidence issue has practical and economic ramifications. If the NRC, the agency that regulates the commercial nuclear industry, does not feel confident that the industry can take care of its waste, then they will not issue any new licenses to build any new nuclear power plants, disposal sites or any other nuclear facilities, and will not extend licenses for existing power plants.

Norris McDonald (right) at Spent Fuel Pool
Wet storage of spent nuclear fuel in pools of water. When spent fuel is removed from the reactor it requires about five years in water to cool off and allow the short-lived really hot radionuclides to decay away completely. It can then transferred to dry cask storage (below) until needed, e.g., burned in Generation IV or V fast reactors in the near-future, or just disposed of in a deep geologic repository. It is safe in Dry Cask for over a hundred years while the fuel cools off.

This ruling recognizes storing spent fuel for long periods in dry casks is safe and cheap. Dry casks completely contain all radiation. They effortlessly manage the heat. And they prevent nuclear fission (see figure). The casks resist earthquakes, projectiles, tornadoes, floods, temperature extremes and any other event we can think of, including tsunamis (NRC Casks).

Cooling in the casks is passive, and the heat coming off of a loaded spent fuel cask is less than that given off by the average home-heating system. The heat and radioactivity simply decrease over time without the need of fans or pumps, or any action on our part. The only operational cost is the constant monitoring on the casks.

The United States has about 80,000 tons each of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) from commercial nuclear power plants making electricity, and high-level nuclear waste (HLW) from making nuclear weapons. SNF from reactors is in a solid form that is easily handled and easily stored in dry casks once it is removed from the cooling pools after about five years. HLW is in different liquid, sludge and solid forms in various containments at Department of Energy facilities and has nothing to do with commercial SNF.

Norris McDonald at Yucca Mountain

The best things you can do with spent nuclear fuel is let it sit for a hundred years. A hundred years is a few half-lives of the two bad players – the uranium fission products cesium-137 and strontium-90. Each of these nuclides has a 30-year half-life, so after 100 years, 90% of each will have decayed away, and the waste will be much, much cooler and easier to handle, no matter what you end up doing with it.

If you end up burning old spent fuel in new GenIV fast reactors, like General Atomics’ EM2 reactor, or the reactor Bill Gates is building (TerraPower), you get ten times more energy out of the fuel as you get from the first round of burning. And the new waste is radioactive for a much shorter time. If you end up just throwing the spent fuel away, it’s still relatively cool and the disposal is easier and cheaper.

This new rule does not itself license or permit nuclear power plants to store spent fuel for any length of time, but it was necessary to allow these licenses to go forward under separate actions.

Ironically, this final rule was renamed, from Waste Confidence to Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel. This name that more accurately reflects the nature of the ruling and is more understandable. (Forbes, 8/29/2014)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

NRC Approves Nuclear Waste Confidence Rule(s)

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) met today in an Affirmation Session and voted to approve a Nuclear Waste Confidence Rule that allows nuclear companies to continue to store nuclear waste on site until a national repository can be contructed.  NRC also lifted the moratorium on licensing nuclear power plants.

Affirmation Session

a. Final Rule :Continued Storage Spent Nuclear Fuel (RIN 3150-AJ20) 

The Commission approved a final rule and its associated generic environmental impact statement (GEIS) amending 10 CFR Part 51 to revise the generic determination on the environmental impacts of continued storage of spent nuclear fuel beyond the licensed life for operation of a reactor, with the changes in attachment 5.

In implementing the published GEIS findings into site-specific environmental analyses, the staff should utilize approaches that are transparent to the public on how these impact ranges are considered for each specific site.

b. Direct Final Rule: SGI–Modified Handing Categorization Materials Facilities (RIN 3150-AJ18)

The Commission approved a direct final rule and the companion proposed rule amending 10 CFR Parts 30, 37, 73, and 150 to remove the Safeguards Information – Modified Handling (SGIM) designation of the security-related information for large irradiators, manufacturers and distributors, and for transport of category 1 quantities of radioactive material, with the changes in attachments 1 and 2. Storage Spent Nuclear Fuel–Memo & Order Final Licensing Decisions & Pending Contentions

c. Continued Storage Spent Nuclear Fuel–Memo & Order Final Licensing Decisions & Pending Contentions

The Commission approved a Memorandum and Order lifting the suspension on final licensing decisions that the Commission imposed in CLI-12-16 as of the effective date of the Continued Storage Rule, and providing direction with respect to “continued storage” contentions that are currently held in abeyance in twenty-one adjudications before the Commission and the Atomic Safety and Licensing Boards. (Subsequently, on August 26, 2014, the Secretary signed the Memorandum and Order.)

d. Direct Final Rule: Adding Shine Medical Technologies, Inc.'s Accelerator-Driven Subcritical Operating Assembly to the Definition of Utilization Facility

The Commission approved a direct final rule and companion proposed rule amending 10 CFR Part 50.2 to add SHINE Medical Technologies, Inc.’s (SHINE) proposed accelerator-driven subcritical operating assemblies to the definition of a “utilization facility,” subject to the changes in attachments 3 and 4. This rule will allow the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff to conduct an efficient and effective licensing review of the SHINE construction permit application and subsequent operating license application under 10 CFR Part 50, “Domestic Licensing of Production and Utilization Facilities.”  

Attachment 5 highlights:

As noted in the GEIS, the former “Findings” were outputs of previous Waste Confidence proceedings, which included an environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact. In contrast, the current GEIS provides a detailed analysis under NEPA and provides an analysis of specific impacts.’

...the Commission has concluded in this GEIS that deep geologic disposal remains technically feasible.

This analysis does not constitute an endorsement of an extended timeframe for onsite storage of spent fuel as the appropriate long-term solution for disposition of spent fuel and high-level waste.’

...does not imply that spent fuel cannot be stored safely. To the contrary, the analysis documented in the GEIS is predicated on the ability to store spent fuel safely over the short-term, long-term, and indefinite timeframes. (NRC)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Days before the Affirmation Session, several environmental groups attempted to delay the meeting until after NRC Commissioner Willim (Bill) Magwood in a futile attempt to garner enough votes to defeat the approve of the rule.  Commissioner Magwood's last day at NRC is August 31, when he leaves to head the Nuclear Energy Agency.

AAEA supported holding the meeting during its August 26 assigned time and supported approval of the Waste Confidence Rule.

Friday, August 22, 2014

NRC Should Vote On Nuclear Waste Confidence Rule on August 26

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) should not postpone its August 26 vote on the proposed rule on long-term nuclear-waste storage and its plan to lift a hold on reactor licensing that the commission approved two years ago. 

Commissioner William Magwood should not be an issue regarding the timing of the vote.  He is an NRC commissioner in good standing and has served as an honorable public servant for many years.  We wish Mr. Magwood well as he leaves the NRC to become director of the non-government Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) on Aug. 31.

Bill Magwood
Mr. Magwood in no way represents a conflict of interest because of his new position with NEA.  Mr. Magwood is still employed with the NRC and is perfectfly capable of performing his professional duties as a seasoned commissioner of the agency.  Mr. Magwood has participated in all of the proceedings and information related to the Waste Confidence rulemaking.  To postpone the vote until after he is gone from the agency will rob the public of his experience and background regarding these vitally important issues.

This is a very important vote and opponents should not assume which way Mr. Magwood is going to vote.  Nobody knows how Mr. Magwood will vote but his experience is very important regarding the issue of long-term storage and disposal of spent reactor fuel. (Wash Post, 8/21/2014)



Saturday, August 02, 2014

McMillan Sand Filtration Plant Site Redevelopment Plan

There are plans to develop the McMillan Sand Filtration Plant site near Howard University and Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C.  The D.C. Zoning Commission is reviewing the latest plan (www.envisionmcmillan.com).  The D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board has already approved the design.

The federal government closed the water purification facility in 1986 and sold the 25-acre site to the District of Columbia.  Between 1907 and 1911, shortly after the 92-acre McMillan reservoir and filtration plant were built.  The original accessible, landscaped spaces were fenced off and permanently closed to the public during World War II for security reasons and the reservoir has remained fenced and inaccessible.





Two underground sand-filtration cells — vaults constructed of unreinforced concrete — will be structurally stabilized, as will all 24 of the cylindrical sand storage bins and four regulator houses visible atop the existing, elevated site. The video above captures the entire site plan. (Wash Post, 8/1/2014)

AAEA support the proposal.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Report on Lack of Diversity in Environmental Movement

LACK OF DIVERSITY IN ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS HAS RESULTED IN "GREEN INSIDERS’ CLUB”


Comprehensive Report Examines Why Decades of Promises to Diversify are Falling Short in the Mainstream Environmental Movement

 
 “The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations: Mainstream NGOs, Foundations & Government Agencies,” 
 
A new report has beeng released that finds that although people of color now account for more than a third of the U.S. population, they have not broken the “green ceiling” in the mainstream environmental movement. These dismal numbers exist despite documented support by people of color for environmental protection, at a higher rate than whites. However, environmental organizations show little interest in improving practices that lead to people of color being grossly underrepresented in their organizations, especially at the executive and board levels.
 
The report, “The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations: Mainstream NGOs, Foundations & Government Agencies,” is the most comprehensive report on diversity in the mainstream environmental movement. It surveyed 191 environmental non-profits, 74 government environmental agencies, and 28 leading environmental grant making foundations to investigate their gender and racial diversity composition, the majority of which state diversification as a “value.” The study includes confidential interviews of 21 environmental leaders from diverse backgrounds and experience. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Help Miah Learn To Help The World: Contribute

Letter From Miah [Fundraiser Site]

Dear Family and Friends:

As my 16th birthday was nearing, I was looking for a summer experience that would be a combine all the things I love – the environment, writing, photography, science and advocacy. I was thrilled that I’ve been accepted into an amazing program and now I need your help to make my dreams come true!

Miah Cohall
Ever since I was a child, I have always been a stickler for keeping the Earth as pure and clean as possible. My science teacher showed us devastating pictures of the impact cause by pollution on what was once some of our most beautiful landscapes. Those pictures are still etched in my brain, to this day. From then on, I brought my lunch in plastic tupperware, persuaded my family and friends to increase their recycling efforts, and convinced my family to cut up the plastic circular wrapping surrounding the tops of soda cans so animals and fish would not get trapped in its noose. I continue to be passionate about the environment, and am concerned about the carbon footprint I may leave behind.

To figure out how I can continue to make strides in improving the environment, I applied to the Environmental Studies Summer Youth Institute (ESSYI) at Hobart and William Smith College. As one of 32 students chosen to participate in ESSYI this summer, I will have the opportunity to work with professors from engineering, law, public health, policy, and photography - in the classroom, in laboratories, and in the field - on a mountain top, a ship, and the waters of Seneca Lake.

On the verge of entering my junior year of high school, I am looking towards the future. This program will help be clarify how to combine my love and concern for the environment with my career goals. This opportunity is a once in a lifetime experience which can take me out of my comfort zone, enhance my leadership skills and gain exposure to how people work with the environment through policy, economics, sustainability, research, and the arts/humanities.

The cost for this experience is $2500. So far I have $1000 towards my tuition. I am writing this note in hopes of raising funds to make my dream happen. It would mean a lot to me if you would consider supporting this venture. In return, I am offering any of the following:

  • Creating special effects (add words, filters etc.) for your favorite personal photo (email me at miahcoh@gmail.com)
  • Babysitting (I have experience taking care of children of all ages!)

Thank you for all of your love and support. I am excited to explore and learn more about the world in which we live in, and how I can make it a better place.

Love, Miah
 
Contact the Organizer

Monday, June 02, 2014

EPA Proposes CO2 Regulations For Existing Power Plants

Proposed Rule


Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the Clean Power Plan proposal, which for the first time cuts carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. Today’s proposal will protect public health, move the United States toward a cleaner environment and fight climate change while supplying Americans with reliable and affordable power.

Power plants account for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. While there are limits in place for the level of arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle pollution that power plants can emit, there are currently no national limits on carbon pollution levels.
 
With the Clean Power Plan, EPA is proposing guidelines that build on trends already underway in states and the power sector to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, making them more efficient and less polluting. This proposal follows through on the common-sense steps laid out in President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and the June 2013 Presidential Memorandum.
 
By 2030, the steady and responsible steps EPA is taking will:
 
  • Cut carbon emission from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide below 2005 levels, which is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States for one year;
  • Cut particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent as a co-benefit;
  • Avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work or school days—providing up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits; and
  • Shrink electricity bills roughly 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.

The Clean Power Plan will be implemented through a state-federal partnership under which states identify a path forward using either current or new electricity production and pollution control policies to meet the goals of the proposed program. The proposal provides guidelines for states to develop plans to meet state-specific goals to reduce carbon pollution and gives them the flexibility to design a program that makes the most sense for their unique situation. States can choose the right mix of generation using diverse fuels, energy efficiency and demand-side management to meet the goals and their own needs. It allows them to work alone to develop individual plans or to work together with other states to develop multi-state plans.

Also included in today’s proposal is a flexible timeline for states to follow for submitting plans to the agency—with plans due in June 2016, with the option to use a two-step process for submitting final plans if more time is needed. States that have already invested in energy efficiency programs will be able to build on these programs during the compliance period to help make progress toward meeting their goal.

Since last summer, EPA has directly engaged with state, tribal, and local governments, industry and labor leaders, non-profits, and others. The data, information and feedback provided during this effort helped guide the development of the proposal and further confirmed that states have been leading the way for years in saving families and businesses money through improving efficiency, while cleaning up pollution from power plants. To date, 47 states have utilities that run demand-side energy efficiency programs, 38 have renewable portfolio standards or goals, and 10 have market-based greenhouse gas emissions programs. Together, the agency believes that these programs represent a proven, common-sense approach to cutting carbon pollution—one in which electricity is generated and used as efficiently as possible and which promotes a greater reliance on lower-carbon power sources.

Today’s announcement marks the beginning of the second phase of the agency’s outreach efforts. EPA will accept comment on the proposal for 120 days after publication in the Federal Register and will hold four public hearings on the proposed Clean Power Plan during the week of July 28 in the following cities: Denver, Atlanta, Washington, DC and Pittsburgh. Based on this input, EPA will finalize standards next June following the schedule laid out in the June 2013 Presidential Memorandum.

In 2009, EPA determined that greenhouse gas pollution threatens Americans' health and welfare by leading to long lasting changes in our climate that can have a range of negative effects on human health and the environment. Taking steady, responsible steps to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants will protect children’s health and will move our nation toward a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations, while supplying the reliable, affordable power needed for economic growth.  (EPA)
 
Fact sheets and details about the proposed rule   

More information on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan

Friday, May 30, 2014

AAEA Supports Cove Point LNG Export Project

AAEA has a long history of supporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facilities.  The Center supports LNG exports too.  We believe it is unreasonable to oppose the use of fossil fuels (hydrocarbon fuels).  Global warming mitigation is the most serious environmental issue facing the world today, but there are more practical ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than prohibiting the use of fossil fuels.  AAEA is promoting two programs to do this: Energy Defense Reservations (EDR) and Defense Energy Reservations (DER).  The American economy and global commerce use and will continue to use hydrocarbon fuels.  We should use those fuels just as efficiently as possible.

AAEA supports the Cove Point LNG export terminal proposal.  Cove Point is an import facility for liquefied natural gas. The market for bringing LNG into the country has dwindled as fracking fueled a natural gas boom in the U.S. The project would enable Dominion to export roughly 5.75 million metric tons of LNG each year.

Cove Point LNG Facility
The Dominion Resources LNG facility proposal is currently undergoing a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental impact statement process. On May 15, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an environmental assessment that found the natural gas export project proposed for Dominion existing Cove Point LNG facility in southern Maryland can be built and operated safely with no significant impact to the environment.

The Environmental Assessment examined the potential impacts of the proposed project, including a thorough evaluation of the project's impact on public safety, air quality, water resources, geology, soils, wildlife and vegetation, threatened and endangered species, land and visual resources, cultural resources, noise, cumulative impacts and reasonable alternatives.

Cove Point is the fourth liquefied natural gas export project to receive an environmental document from the FERC. The cooperating agencies that participated in the FERC Environmental Assessment for the Cove Point export project were: the Department of Energy; the Army Corps of Engineers; the Department of Transportation, including the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration; the Coast Guard; and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.


The project will need Department of Energy approval to ship LNG to nontrade agreement countries, will need Maryland Public Service Commission approval to build a 130 megawatt power plant to provide the energy needed to liquefy the natural gas and various other federal (RCRA) and state permits (Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act) in order to begin operation.

The Department of Energy’s approval of a license allowing Dominion Power to expand its Cove Point facility to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to nations that aren’t party to U.S. free-trade agreements was approved on September 11, 2013.

Political support for the project is mixed with Maryland's two senators, Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin opposing the project and Congressman Steny Hoyer supporting the project. 

There are estimates that expanding Dominion's Calvert County complex to allow exporting would cost as much as $4 billion. The company would pay an additional $40 million in annual property taxes for five years, then receive a tax break of 42 percent for nine years.

The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners estimated that if the Dominion Cove Point LNG facility in Lusby, Maryland is approved, it is expected to bring 3,000 jobs to Maryland at the peak of construction and promises to be one of the largest construction projects in Maryland’s history.

Dominion has hired IHI/Kiewit Cove Point, a joint venture of IHI E&C and Kiewit Energy Company, as its engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor. IHI/Kiewit Cove Point will be responsible for the EPC of the new facility. IHI/Kiewit will be providing many opportunities to local, diverse and/or small businesses in the region.

IHI/Kiewit has created a website for suppliers, subcontractors, construction product retailers and local businesses that would like the opportunity to work with IHI/Kiewit on the project. It also includes information about the status of the project and contract awards. (Calvert County,

Additional Information On the Project

Environmental Assessment for the Cove Point Liquefaction Project (May 2014)

Facebook

Dominion Cove Post Hearing Brief (on 130 megawatt power plant), VanNess Feldman

Friday, May 23, 2014

AAEA Supports 21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiatives Act of 2014 (H.R. 4526)

Letter below is being circulated by the signatories
 
------------------------------------------------------------
 
Dear Colleagues:
 
In order to help our economy rebound and to address the levels of unemployment that are still too high in many communities, we would like to request your support on H.R. 4526, the 21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiative Act of 2014.
 
This bipartisan jobs bill will not require any new funding and would provide a pathway to employment for minorities and other historically underrepresented communities in the energy sector. Led by the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, the bill calls for the Department of Energy to outline a comprehensive strategy for initiating collaboration between the DOE, Education, and Labor departments, as well as industry, schools, community colleges, universities, labor unions, workforce development organizations, and other stakeholders in order to engage, inform, train, and recruit minorities for the energy jobs of the present and future.
 
Other highlights of the bill include:
 
· Encourage collaboration with representatives from within the energy industry (oil, gas, coal, nuclear, utility, pipeline, renewable, nuclear) to identify the areas of highest need in each sector and to develop guidelines for the skills necessary to develop a workforce trained to go into those sectors.
 
· Promote collaboration with schools, community colleges, universities, workforce training organizations, national laboratories, unions, and the energy industry in order to ensure that the nation’s education system is equipping students with the skills, training, and technical expertise necessary to fill the employment opportunities vital to managing and operating America’s energy industry.
 
· Promote and encourage STEM education as it relates to job opportunities in energy-related fields of study in schools, community colleges, and universities nationally.
 
· Provide information, guidance, and resources for schools, workforce development centers, and community colleges seeking to train or re-train candidates looking to go into the skilled, semi-skilled, and highly-skilled energy jobs in order to provide them with the skills and certifications necessary to fill these jobs.
 
· Encourage and foster collaboration, mentorships, and partnerships between organizations (unions, industry, schools, community colleges, workforce development organizations, universities) that currently provide effective job training programs in the energy field and institutions (schools, community colleges, workforce development programs, universities) that seek to establish these types of programs in order to share best practices and approaches that best suit local, state, and national needs.
 
 
Over the next five to ten years the energy industry will lose up to 50% of its current workforce due to attrition and retirements, so it is vital that we are informing our constituents about these opportunities and training them to enter into these well-paying energy jobs and careers. Please join us in cosponsoring the 21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiative Act of 2014, which represents a Win for the Industry, a Win for our Communities, and a Win for the Economy as a whole!
 
To sign onto the bill as a cosponsor please contact John Marshall (Rep. Rush’s office) at JohnM@mail.house.gov or (202)225-4372. Thank you and we hope to have your support.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Bobby L. Rush, Ranking Member, Energy & Power Subcommittee                               
 
Ed Whitfield, Chairman, Energy & Power Subcommittee       
 
Bill Johnson, Member, Energy & Commerce Committee

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Obama Designates Organ Mountain as National Monument

Two years ago, President Obama set an ambitious goal: to attract 100 million international visitors to the United States each year by the end of 2021. More than 70 million travelers from around the world visited the U.S. in the last year alone -- and they spent more than $180 billion.

It is one of the reasons he designated a new National Monument in New Mexico yesterday -- permanently protecting nearly 500,000 acres as part of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks.

Monday, May 19, 2014

EPA Finalizes 316 (b)

Standards to Protect Fish, Aquatic Life from Cooling Water Intakes 



The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today finalized standards to protect billions of fish and other aquatic life drawn each year into cooling water systems at large power plants and factories.

 This final rule is required by the Clean Water Act to address site-specific challenges, and establishes a common sense framework, putting a premium on public input and flexibility for facilities to comply.




There are three components to the final regulation.

  • Existing facilities that withdraw at least 25 percent of their water from an adjacent waterbody exclusively for cooling purposes and have a design intake flow of greater than 2 million gallons per day are required to reduce fish impingement. To ensure flexibility, the owner or operator of the facility will be able to choose one of seven options for meeting best technology available requirements for reducing impingement.
  • Facilities that withdraw very large amounts of water – at least 125 million gallons per day – are required to conduct studies to help the permitting authority determine what site-specific entrainment mortality controls, if any, will be required. This process will include public input.
  • New units at an existing facility that are built to increase the generating capacity of the facility are be required to reduce the intake flow to a level similar to a closed cycle, recirculation system. Closed cycle systems are the most effective at reducing entrainment. This can be done by incorporating a closed-cycle system into the design of the new unit, or by making other design changes equivalent to the reductions associated with closed-cycle cooling.


An estimated 2.1 billion fish, crabs, and shrimp are killed annually by being pinned against cooling water intake structures (impingement) or being drawn into cooling water systems and affected by heat, chemicals, or physical stress (entrainment). To protect threatened and endangered species and critical habitat, the expertise of the Fish & Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service is available to inform decisions about control technologies at individual facilities.

The national requirements, which will be implemented through National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, are applicable to the location, design, construction, and capacity of cooling water intake structures at these facilities and are based on the best technology available for minimizing environmental impact. The rule establishes a strong baseline level of protection and then allows additional safeguards for aquatic life to be developed through site-specific analysis, an approach that ensures the best technology available is used. It puts implementation analysis in the hands of the permit writers so requirements can be tailored to the particular facility.




The final rule establishes requirements under the Clean Water Act for all existing power generating facilities and existing manufacturing and industrial facilities that withdraw more than 2 million gallons per day of water from waters of the U.S. and use at least 25 percent of the water they withdraw exclusively for cooling purposes. This rule covers roughly 1,065 existing facilities –521 of these facilities are factories, and the other 544 are power plants. The technologies required under the rule are well-understood, have been in use for several decades, and are in use at over 40 percent of facilities. (EPA)

More information

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Pollution in Metro Atlanta

"Patterns of Pollution"

A Report on Demographics and Pollution in Metro Atlanta

The report analyzes publicly available information to identify eight types of air, water, and land pollution and compares this pollution information with demographic data on people living in the 14-county region.

The Patterns of Pollution report identifies 5 pollution hotspots in the metro Atlanta area. The mapping portion of the project also includes an interactive map that allows you to find pollution points near where you live in metro Atlanta.

Simply click the link below, enter an address in the the 14-county metro Atlanta area, and pull up a report of sources of pollution near that address.


Key findings from the report:
  • Minority rates rise with the number of nearby pollution sources. Areas with a minority population 50 percent or higher have more than double the number of pollution sources than areas where minorities make up less than 10 percent of the population.
  • Households in which English is not the primary language, designated as “linguistic isolation” by the U.S. Census Bureau, are more than twice as likely to live in a high pollution area.
  • Areas with linguistic isolation rates over 20 percent have more than three times as many pollution sources in close proximity on average as blocks where less than 5 percent of households are linguistically isolated.
  • Areas with poverty levels above 20 percent contain on average almost six pollution sources, compared to areas with poverty rates under 5 percent that have only two.
  • Areas with vacant housing rates above 15 percent have three times as many pollution sources as areas with rates below 5 percent.

Download the full report by clicking the button below.  (Greenlaw)

 - See more at: http://greenlaw.org/patternsofpollution#sthash.WTq6oyWd.dpuf

Monday, May 05, 2014

Who's In Danger: Race, Poverty and Chemical Disasters

A Report by the

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND HEALTH ALLIANCE FOR CHEMICAL POLICY REFORM

May 2014


More than 134 million Americans live in the danger zones around 3,433 facilities in several common industries that store or use highly hazardous chemicals. Millions more people work, play, shop, and worship in these areas.  But who are the people that live daily with the everpresent danger of a chemical disaster?

The report is the first public accounting of the demographic characteristics of populations within the “vulnerability zones” of entire industry sectors that manufacture chemicals, treat water or wastewater, produce bleach, generate electric power, refined petroleum, produce pulp and paper, or otherwise have large numbers of people living in the path of a potential worst-case chemical release. It also shares the stories of some of these communities.

The new research presented in this report finds that residents of chemical facility vulnerability zones are disproportionately Black (African American) or Latino, have higher rates of poverty than the U.S. as a whole, and have lower housing values, incomes, and education levels than the national average.  The disproportionate or unequal danger is sharply magnified in the “fenceline” areas nearest the facilities.

KEY FINDINGS

The analysis produced striking fndings about the fenceline zones nearest to the facilities, where residents live closest to hazardous chemicals and with the least time to react in the event of a catastrophic release.

  • Residents of the fenceline zones have home values 33% below the national average. Avereage household incomes in the fenceline zones are 22% below the national average.
  • The percentage of Blacks in the fenceline zones is 75% greater than for the U.S. as a whole, while the percentage of Latinos in the fenceline zones is 60% greater than for the U.S. as a whole.
  • The percentage of adults in the fenceline zones with less than a high school degree is 46% greater than for the U.S. as a whole, and the percentage of adults in the fenceline zones with a college or other postsecondary degree is 27% lower than for the U.S. as a whole.
  • The poverty rates in the fenceline zones is higher than for the U.S. as a whole.
(ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND HEALTH ALLIANCE FOR CHEMICAL POLICY REFORM)

Showtime Presents: "Years Of Living Dangerously"

Hollywood celebrities and respected journalists span the globe to explore the issues of climate change and cover intimate stories of human triumph and tragedy.


Guy Williams Recognized For Environmental Work

Guy Williams, president and CEO of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, is all about rebuilding Detroit's neighborhoods into a safe, healthy, clean and green landscape.


   

Thursday, May 01, 2014

AIRNow

Real Time Air Monitoring

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted your outdoor air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you. The AQI focuses on health effects you may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air. EPA calculates the AQI for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act: ground-level ozone, particle pollution (also known as particulate matter), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. For each of these pollutants, EPA has established national air quality standards to protect public health. For Information regarding indoor air quality please visit the Indoor Web site.

The AIRNow Web site

The U.S. EPA, NOAA, NPS, tribal, state, and local agencies developed the AIRNow Web site to provide the public with easy access to national air quality information. The Web site offers daily AQI forecasts as well as real-time AQI conditions for over 300 cities across the US, and provides links to more detailed State and local air quality

Web sites.
                              
Air Quality Forecasts - Nationwide daily air quality forecasts provided
by State and local Air Agencies for over 300 major U.S. cities.

Air Quality Conditions - Nationwide and regional real-time ozone air
quality maps covering 46 US States and parts of Canada. These maps are updated daily every hour.

About the Data

The air quality data used in these maps and to generate forecasts are collected using either federal reference or equivalent monitoring techniques or techniques approved by the state, local or tribal monitoring agencies. Since the information needed to make maps must be as "real-time" as possible, the data are displayed as soon as practical after the end of each hour. Although some preliminary data quality assessments are performed, the data as such are not fully verified and validated through the quality assurance procedures monitoring organizations use to officially submit and certify data on the EPA AQS(Air Quality System). Therefore, data are used on the AIRNow Web site only for the purpose of reporting the AQI. Information on the AIRNow web site is not used to formulate or support regulation, guidance or any other Agency decision or position.  (AIRNow)


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Greenpeace Job Opening

Grants and Reporting Manager


Washington, DC

Greenpeace is seeking an experienced and detail oriented Grants and Reporting Manager to manage the grant reporting function of Greenpeace USA, an organization with an annual budget of approximately $37 million and a full time staff of more than 500 employees. The incumbent will also ensure all grant transactions are accurately reflected in the accounting system and all grant reports are completed timely. This position is also primarily responsible for coordinating the completion of all quarterly and annual reporting to Greenpeace International and will oversee other special reporting projects for the Finance Department.
 

AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY:


Maintenance of the Grant Tracking and Reporting Process

  • Work directly with Greenpeace Development and Program managers to ensure compliance with all grant restrictions and the grant policies that govern Greenpeace, Inc. and Greenpeace Fund. This includes generating recommendations for improvements in programmatic and fiscal operations, introduction of best practices, and greater operating efficiencies in the business processes.
  • Coordinate with Greenpeace Development and Governance liaison to ensure timely presentation of grants to the Greenpeace Fund Board and timely distribution of grants after approval.
  • Manage the post award grant accounting life cycle, including but not limited to: as necessary, establishing a new cost center and budget in the accounting system; training the program manager on grant procedures and compliance; performing compliance analysis of allowable grant expenditures.
  • Prepare the financial information related to reporting to the Greenpeace Fund Board for all Greenpeace, Inc. funding.
  • Provide oversight to grants management function including budget development, contracting, reporting/monitoring and grants receivable and payable management.
  • Complete expenditure reports for donor reporting and any special reports as requested by Development, the Program Managers and/or the Controller.
  • Review monthly financial statements for all grants or activities supported by grants to ensure expenses are appropriate.
  • Prepare all grant journal entries and reconciliations.
  • Maintain financial records for each grant.
  • Train program managers on their fiscal responsibilities for any grants they administer or oversee.
Compliance and Reporting
  • Create new cost centers as necessary to properly maintain and track grant activity.
  • Maintain complete and accurate electronic and hard copy files for all grant transactions.
  • Maintain the Finance Department’s policies and procedure manual for all grant related policies.
  • Prepare all grant-related schedules for annual audit requirements and complete other duties related to the annual audit, as needed.
  • Primarily responsible for preparing all quarterly and annual reporting to Greenpeace International.
  • Primarily responsible for preparing all schedules for the IRS Form 990 for Greenpeace, Inc. and Greenpeace Fund.
  • Perform other special projects as requested by the Controller.
QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE:
  • Bachelor of Science in accounting and experience with grant reporting and administration.
  • Minimum of 5 years of experience working with grant activity.
  • Ability to receive instruction from supervisor and prioritize responsibilities and time as required.
  • Can work on most routine tasks independently and confers with supervisor on complex work assignments or unusual work situations.
  • A strong attention to detail and willingness to support the Finance team in delivering high quality reporting.
  • Strong proficiency in Excel, communication and interpersonal skills are required.
  • High level of integrity with a professional attitude in all dealings.
  • Ability to work independently, develop policies, conduct process reviews, and reengineer processes.
  • Commitment to the mission of Greenpeace, including peaceful direct action.

TO APPLY
Please send cover letter and resume to resumes@wdc.greenpeace.org by May 23rd, 2014. Please include the following in your cover letter: a specific explanation of your interest in the available position and how you found out about this career opportunity. Please use the email subject line: GRANTS AND REPORTING MANAGER- YOUR NAME. No phone calls please.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

EBONY Magazine Partners with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

To Release the State of the Black Family Survey

Reveals Black Family Concerns Regarding Race, Money

In the May issue of EBONY magazine, the publication partnered with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) to release the State of the Black Family Survey. In the study, a national sample of 1,005 African-American respondents identified job loss and financial insecurity as the number one issue confronting Black families. The survey polled African-Americans on their views on the economy, education, relationships, race relations, health care, employment, finances and media trends.

Amy Barnett, the editor-in-chief of EBONY magazine, said, “For more than 70 years, EBONY magazine has been at the forefront of delivering important news that impacts the African-American community, and we are proud to have had the opportunity to partner with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to release these results.” She continued to say, “As the curator of the African-American experience – past, present and future, it is important to shed light on these topics in order to address them properly.

Readers can read the remaining results in the May issue of EBONY magazine, on newsstands now. Part two of the survey is scheduled for release in the June issue of the magazine.
The findings from the study revealed the following:
· 84% of respondents says racial discrimination still pervades American society
· 74% think society isn’t doing enough to support young men and boys of color.
· Almost two-thirds of respondents say they are better off financially than they were five years ago, but 82% are concerned that Whites still make more than Blacks for doing the same jobs.
· 52% see the media portrayal of African-Americans as generally negative.
· 60% of respondents agree we are making progress in providing access to health care.
· 50%, however, feel that we are losing ground in reducing the gap between rich and poor.
· Almost 1/3 are concerned that their children are not getting a quality education.
· 44% of survey respondents said they know someone that has been killed or committed suicide
· 30% said “improving the creating more jobs/good paying jobs” as a top issue of concern.

La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, noted that poll respondents expressed concerns about the impact of racial bias and the income inequality gap that is prevalent within the African American community, as well as other demographics in American society. "We have a lot of work to do in creating jobs and making sure that people of color receive the training and education needed to obtain those jobs," she said. "We believe the lack of employment is really critical and impacts a child's well-being and limits opportunities."
She added that a recent study, ''The Business Case for Racial Equity," by the Altarum Institute with funding from WKKF underscores the potential benefits to business, government and the economy if racial inequities are addressed. "Discriminatory policies and disparities in housing, education, health and crime and justice are outlined and we estimate substantial economic benefits of racial equality, including an increase of almost $2 trillion in minority purchasing power and millions of job opportunities for college graduates.”

Montgomery Tabron said that President Obama’s ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative is bringing government, the private sector and non-profits together to address the obstacles faced by boys and young men of color. She said the initiative exemplifies the type of public-private partnerships needed to improve life outcomes for communities of color. “By directly engaging the business sector to promote racial equity,” she said, “we will create a healthier, better educated and more diverse workforce, help close the minority earnings gap, and provide an overall boost to the economy."
 
###
ABOUT The W.K. Kellogg Foundation:
 
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to help break the cycle of poverty by removing barriers based on race or income that hold back children, so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.

About EBONY:
 
EBONY is the No. 1 source for an authoritative perspective on the African-American community. The monthly magazine, now in its 68th year, reaches nearly 11 million readers. EBONY features the best thinkers, trendsetters, hottest celebrities and next-generation leaders of African-Americans. EBONY ignites conversation, promotes empowerment and celebrates aspiration.

Available nationwide on newsstands and the iPad, EBONY is the heart, the soul and the pulse of African-Americans.
 
Follow us and tell us what’s on your mind: @EBONYMag on Twitter | EBONYMag on Facebook| EBONYMag.Tumblr.com on Tumblr| EBONY.com online
 

Friday, March 28, 2014

EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Clarify Protection for Nation’s Streams and Wetlands

EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jointly released a proposed rule to clarify protection for streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. The proposed definitions of waters will apply to all Clean Water Act programs and the proposed rule does not protect any new types of waters that have not historically been covered under the Act.
 
The agencies are launching an outreach effort over the next 90 days, holding discussions around the country and gathering input needed to shape a final rule. Learn more about the proposed rule and how to comment when the rule is available in the Federal Register.
 
Read the op-ed "Clearer Protections for Clean Water" by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy about the proposed rule here. (EPA)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Segregated Cities in the United States of America

Top ten most segregated major cites in the U.S.




According to a 2013 report by professors John Logan and Brian Stults at Brown University and Florida State University, racial segregation rates are still very high in the United States. Analyzing the 2010 Census data, Logan and Stult evaluated segregation in major cities.



In Los Angeles, White people live mostly on the coast around Santa Monica and Brentwood, and the north side of the city beginning with Hollywood Hills. The map below shows the racial lines of Los Angeles.

The red dots represent white people, blue represents Black, orange represents Hispanic, green represents Asian, and yellow is other, according to maps of 2010 Census data by Eric Fischer.


(Atlanta Black Star, 3/24/2014)

Bill Magwood To Head OECD Nuclear Energy Agency

NRC Commissioner William Magwood will take over as head of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) in September of this year following the retirement of current chief Luis Echavarri.

Bill Magwood was appointed to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2010. Previous to that he was the director of nuclear energy at the Department of Energy. He was also chairman of both the Generation-IV International Forum and the OECD's steering committee on Nuclear Energy.

Echavarri retires at the end of April after 17 years as director general of the agency. (World Nuclear News, 3/21/2014)


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Congressional Black Caucus Hip Hop Climate Change Tour

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are trying to get young African-Americans excited about fighting climate change. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn), left, and Rep. AndrĂ© Carson (D-Ind), right,  plan to encourage young African-Americans to take a greater interest in fighting climate change as part of a six-college tour organized by the non-congressional Hip Hop Caucus, which will highlight the effects climate change has on black communities. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy also plans to make an appearance on the tour.

According to Ellison:
“When you think of environmentalists, people think of, quite frankly, some white person, probably wearing Birkenstocks or something and tying themselves to a tree.
Now, I love the Redwoods and vacation there and think they're a jewel of our nation, but we've got to expand the idea of who are the environmentalists.”

“If you've ever wondered about test scores between black students and white students, if you've ever wondered about health disparities, if you've ever wondered about who gets to make it through the flood and the big bad storm and who doesn't, you really don't have to look any further than this issue of climate change.”
The African-American community is disproportionately affected by climate change because more black people live in urban areas that face the greatest exposure to air and water pollution

Ellison and Carson plan to raise awareness about the health effects of climate change on the African-American community. They pointed out that black communities tend to suffer from more asthma cases.  The Department of Health and Human Services reports that African-Americans are 20 percent more likely than white people to have asthma.

Two lawmakers called for the Obama administration to reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline and for the EPA to move forward with new rules for power plants, two of the most heated rules surrounding climate change. Ellison and Carson hope to recruit more members of the Congressional Black Caucus to join the tour.

The tour will begin next Thursday at Hampton University in Virginia and includes stops at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Wayne State University in Detroit, Central State University in Ohio, North Carolina A&T and Clark Atlanta University. (The Hill, 3/21/2014)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Week In Review

PRESIDENT'S CORNER

By Norris McDonald

This was a very good week.  Two very exciting events included 1) meeting two of my latest program partners in person: Wayne Hubbard and Candice Price of Urban American Outdoors and 2) opening a Seattle Office.  Wayne and Candice were in town for a meeting at The White House.

Wayne Hubbard, Candice Price, Norris McDonald

We had an excellent chat over lunch at our office.  We are trying to implement some very exciting programs together.  It is always refreshing when people want to work together for the greater good.

We also came to an agreement with Paris Yates to open an AAEA Office in Seattle, Washington.  The AAEA Seattle Office will cover environmental issues in the Pacific Northwest.

Paris Yates

Paris was born and raised in Seattle Washington. Over the past two decades, Yates has worked at local government and state parks departments operating and maintaining parks and recreation grounds and facilities. He has also worked with local community leaders and environmental agencies volunteering for projects designed to get residential people of color involved in their natural environment and access to federal environmental incentives. Yates holds an A.A.S. in Horticulture from South Seattle Community College and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College.