|Peter Bahouth, Executive Director
July 11, 2011
Here We Go Again
They are at it again! The House of Representatives is working on the fiscal 2012 budget for the government. Environmentalists want a responsibly funded government, but the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, released last week, includes several dirty air riders that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from doing its job of protecting public health. Some especially concerning provisions would block the Environmental Protection Agency from curbing dangerous carbon pollution—similar to the attack saw several months ago in the continuing resolution (H.R. 1). The bill was marked up in Subcommittee last Thursday and is expected to move to the full Appropriations Committee early this week. Along with these dirty air riders the EPA would take an 18% cut in funding from last year’s level. More information on this latest attack can be found on USCAN’s Defending the Clean Air Act page.
The EPA was under barrage again on Friday, this time with redundant, bureaucratic, red tape legislation know as the ‘‘Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011” (TRAIN Act; H.R. 2401). The TRAIN Act is designed to sideline a specific list of life-saving public health protections provided by the Clean Air Act. This legislation would require a committee of cabinet secretaries and other high-level officials to scrutinize and attempt to project the economic impact of upcoming EPA rules—an analysis that both the EPA and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) already perform. The TRAIN Act was passed out of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, will now move to the full Energy and Commerce Committee, and if passed there will make it to the House floor. Not only does this bill require redundant analyses of EPA rules, wasting both time and taxpayer dollars, but it would also take the unprecedented step of forcing agencies to sit in judgment of each other.
But there is good news, too. Also last week, the EPA announced the finalized Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which protects over 240 million Americans from deadly power plant air pollution by reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) that cross state lines and worsen air quality in downwind states. The rule requires pollution reductions from power plants in 27 states in the eastern half of the United States. See more info here.
Friday, Governor John Lynch of New Hampshire vetoed a bill to exit Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) citing jobs and economic growth. RGGI is the first market-based regulatory program in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Participants include ten Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states that have capped and will reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector 10 percent by 2018. Recently Environment America released an informative report on RGGI progress, success, and suggestions for improvement that can be found here.
Also of note, the report “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011” on renewable energy investment trends issued by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) was released. This report found that global investments in green energy rose nearly a third more than 2009 levels to the equivalent of $211 billion. It found China increased its renewable investment by a whopping 28% to $48 billion dollars. Other parts of the emerging world also showed large increases in renewable energy investments. India has invested 25% more, South and Central America are up 39%, and the Middle East and Africa take the cake by increasing renewable investment by an astounding 104%.
Marie Risalvato, Communications Coordinator