Democracy in Action: Why I Asked EPA Not to Roll Back Water Pollution Standards

Coal fired power plants discharge huge quantities of polluted wastewater, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to delay compliance deadlines for the very modest 2015 power plant water pollution rule – an intention it reiterated in a letter to an industry group on August 11. On July 31, I joined activists from around the [...]

Pruitt EPA’s Water Pollution Delay Extends Uncertainty for Southeast Coal Plants

Since 1982, little has changed about the toxic pollution coal-fired power plants are allowed to dump in water, although change was on its way. Unfortunately, if EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has his way, our waterways and our health will remain threatened by our nation’s leading source of toxic water pollution – coal fired power plants. We will have to keep on waiting for modern, updated protections and coal plant operators face continued uncertainty over their compliance obligations – uncertainty that may actually accelerate coal’s decline. In early May, Environmental groups challenged the legality Administrator Pruitt’s stay.

In the Southeast, many power plants’ operators were already preparing to meet new 2015 standards, which would go into effect in 2018, updating pollution control technology at their plants and working with state agencies to update state water discharge permits. The 2015 Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELGs), which represents the first update to these regulations since 1982, nearly eliminates dumping of ash-contaminated wastewater, and for the first time, limits the discharge of toxic heavy metals that come from removing toxics from the air pollution stream and trapping them in sludge as part of the wastewater stream.

New Executive Order Threatens US Progress on Climate Action

Given his appointment of Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – a man with a long history of challenging health-based environmental regulations in court – President Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order, released today, is not unexpected.

Cloaked in a patriotic narrative, President Trump’s executive order does more to threaten our nation’s energy independence than support it. Renewable energy has a critical role to play in strengthening our country’s energy independence, yet this executive order is aimed at weakening our ability to incorporate more clean energy resources into our national energy portfolio.

It also doubles down on the false claim that the coal industry can be saved by dialing back public health regulations. In truth, coal is being beaten in the free market by cheaper natural gas and cheap renewable energy.

Today’s executive order – coupled with the President’s recently proposed large budget cuts to the EPA and Department of Energy (DOE) clean energy, smart grid and storage technology research programs – makes it clear that this Administration is not serious about protecting our health, our climate or our national security.

“Dirty Dozen” 2016 presents yet another strike against coal-fired Plant Hammond

A new report, released on November 16, explains the concerning weaknesses of Georgia’s water pollution permits. When these permits are inevitably strengthened to limit mercury, arsenic, lead, and other toxic discharges from Georgia Power’s power plants, it will make even less economic sense to run Plant Hammond – and Georgia’s water will be safer. The [...]

Another gas shortage? These simple fixes could save us

Recent news and panic of a petroleum pipeline leak in Helena, Alabama (south of Birmingham) is making its way up the East Coast. The pipeline, owned by Colonial Pipeline Company, supplies some 40% of fuel to drivers from the Gulf of Mexico to New Jersey. More than 336,000 gallons of fuel have leaked so far and those estimates could still rise as more is learned about the leak. The pipeline has been shut down for repairs and therefore has reduced the supply of gasoline to certain markets in the Southeast.

Use Southeastcoalash.org to Discover If Toxic Coal Ash is Stored Near You

SACE is pleased to unveil the redesigned southeastcoalash.org. Our southeast power plant map feature is more prominent, the pages and design are streamlined, and the entire site is now mobile friendly.

Solar for Low-income Communities and More! EPA’s Clean Energy Incentive Program

Southeastern states may soon have an added incentive for developing energy efficiency and renewable energy resources that directly benefit low-income communities and utility customers. These potential new incentives come in the form of draft federal regulatory language, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working to finalize as part of the entire rulemaking process for the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

This program, known as the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP), is an early-action, voluntary piece of the larger CPP aimed at ensuring communities who suffered the negative effects of fossil-fuel energy generation and economically disadvantaged communities see real benefits from increased clean energy development. Although utilities, state agencies, industry, and the general public have all weighed in on pieces of the CEIP in previous CPP related comment period, the current EPA document open for comment will become the official design details for the CEIP. Comments can be sent directly to EPA (info on how to do that here) and are due by 11:59pm, Monday, August 29th.

How are the White House’s transportation initiatives measuring up?

Three years ago, the Obama Administration outlined their goals for “Building a 21st – Century Transportation Sector” in their Climate Action Plan. The goal of the plan included increasing fuel economy standards and expanding advanced transportation technologies. We’ve come a long way in those few short years. The Administration has dramatically increased fuel economy standards for our cars, which aims to achieve a 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) fleetwide average by 2025. Through this initiative alone, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) over the lifetimes of the vehicles sold (MY 2012-2025) will be cut, save families more than $1.7 trillion in fuel costs, and further reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Just last week, new rules to dramatically improve the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions were also finalized.

National Park Service Performs Major Disservice for Anti-Wind Power Activists

Thanks to NPS’s new sound level mapping, it is fairly clear that a 35 decibel sound limit isn’t just discriminatory to wind farms, it’s likely impossible to achieve under already-existing conditions in significant portions of the country. By enacting sound level regulations that are below existing, ambient sound levels, anti-wind energy activists are obviously attempting to ban wind farms.

Coal’s Decline and New Possibilities

With Peabody Energy’s bankruptcy, it’s important to remind ourselves why coal’s decline and our transition to renewable energy is so important for our health and environment and also to start the conversation about what happens next.