Posts tagged obama.
Note, this includes DOI’s Adaptation Plan, at bottom!
Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan
President Obama signed Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance in October 2009, directing Federal agencies to become more sustainable, and create climate action plans.
Under Executive Order 13514, Federal agencies are required to develop, implement, and annually update a Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan that describes how they will achieve the environmental, economic, and energy goals mandated in the Executive Order. Agencies must prioritize actions based on a positive return on investment for the American taxpayer. The plans are updated each year, reviewed by the Council on Environmental Quality and approved by the Office of Management and Budget to ensure that actions are carefully aligned with resources, Administration priorities, and the Federal budget process.
Click on the links below to view the Department of the Interior’s Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans:
- 2012 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan
- The Department is accepting comments on the Department of the Interior Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Fiscal Year 2013.
Mr. Obama has a firm grasp of the climate issue, and no one doubts that he cares about it. But as is often the case with this president, the question is whether he will exhibit a sense of urgency to match his intellectual understanding.New York Times editorial board. (via poptech)
Given new evidence on carbon pollution, President Obama should get moving on global warming.
“It is inconsistent with BLM’s position as a public agency and steward of our public resources that it continues to put up such a fight to withhold information about the corporations interested in extracting public resources.”
More fracking shenanigans from the Obama admin. National parks and public lands, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, are slated to be aggressively fracked for short-term gain. And the BLM’s policies aim to hide information from the public.
The federal government has proposed a new set of national fracking rules that would weaken disclosure requirements. The proposal allows ‘trade secrets’ to remain unknown from the public, which has distressed environmental groups.
I called it. Last month, environmental groups were doing handstands and backflips over Sally Jewell, who is Obama’s pick to lead the BLM (US Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management).
She used to frack wells for Mobil oil company long before she was CEO of REI.
Last month, I wrote:
…the bigger story is about the left’s environmental heroine, Sally Jewell, who used to frack wells. As new head of the Dept. of Interior, she will (with Obama’s encouragement) - will - allow aggressive fracking on more public lands, possibly much more in our National Parks.
The sequester (a budget deal Obama made with republicans last year) cut more than $115 million from the federal wildland fire program budget, USDA officials have said, at a time when the nation continues to face abnormally dry conditions, particularly in the West, as a result of climate change.
During one of the worst wildfire seasons on record amid a historic drought, the USDA Forest Service ran out of money last year to pay firefighters, operate trucks and fly aircraft. The agency borrowed money from fire management budgets, which help prevent fires, to pay for suppression.
Given the cuts in the Forest Service’s fire budget because of sequestration, and the outlook for significant fire potential in much of the West, that process could play out again, a USDA spokesman said.
“If the U.S. Forest Service exhausts funding . . . for fire suppression in 2013, as it did in 2012, it will be necessary for the agency to transfer funds from other programs to cover fire suppression costs,” said the spokesman, Larry Chambers.
Moreno, the first Latina to lead the department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in November 2009.
Her tenure spanned one of the worst disasters in U.S. history, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April 2010. Eleven men died in that firestorm.
The Justice Department extracted a record $1 billion civil penalty from Transocean, the rig owner, earlier this year. And a civil trial continues in New Orleans over other environmental damages.
“To date, we have already achieved significant resolutions for liability in the Gulf,” Moreno said in an exit interview with NPR. “We are focused on holding those responsible accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
The unit also successfully defended Obama administration regulations of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, winning a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit last year.
But veterans of the environmental unit worried it had lost some prestige by ceding ground in the massive Gulf oil spill case to the Justice Department’s criminal division, which led a federal task force and prosecuted giant BP and several individual employees in connection with the disaster.
Maybe even worth printing out.
WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday criticized the State Department’s environmental impact review of the Keystone XLpipeline, saying there was not enough evidence to back up key conclusions on gas emissions, safety and alternative routes.
In a letter to top State Department officials, the agency said it had “environmental objections” to their review, which concluded the pipeline would have minimal impact on the environment. The analysis could complicate efforts to win approval for the controversial $7-billion project.
A State Department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
If approved, Keystone XL would carry crude oil along a 1,700-mile route from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada, to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.
Spring floods have arrived. Above, streamgauge data showing today’s floods along the Mississippi River and local tributaries just north of St. Louis Missouri.
Streamgauges small machines placed in a water body, such as a river like the Mississippi, or an aquifer underground. So, streamgauges measure the flow and height of rivers and water supply around the country. They help cities and governments manage dam and levee systems, drinking and agricultural supply, and help emergency crews evacuate homes and businesses when appropriate.
They’re critical infrastructure. And they serve to increase the health, safety, and welfare of 100’s of millions of Americans.
Nearly 400 streamgauges may be shut down due to Obama’s budget cuts. The U.S.Geological Survey (USGS) has a map of gauges scheduled to be shut down, here.
It will be approved. Nearly half of the line is already built, the land from Canada to Texas is already secured, Sec. State John Kerry signaled his support, and redstate politicians are salivating for a knockout punch to the environmental movement.
RI Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (whom I interviewed back in 2005) predicts the approval will be wrapped in green packaging. He thinks Keystone approval will be surrounded by “a whole formidable array of environmental and anti-carbon measures that can not just offset the harm that they do by approving [Keystone] … but actually turn the whole package into a very strong, anti-carbon pollution suite of strategies.”
Wants to include climate change risks in environmental permits. When you build something, such a house or store, you typically need a permit (or three) from the local or state government. Bigger projects require federal approval, such as an oil pipeline or a rail line. So, the larger the project, the more information the government requires as part of those permits.
In order to get a permit, you need to conduct some studies and write a few reports, typically these include an economic feasibility and an environmental impact statement. For federal permits, these studies are made public. This “public comment period” gives everyone, including other businesses, a chance to voice their opinions on the project.
Now, Obama wants to change the rules. He is proposing that the federal permit process should include risks and impacts from climate change. These climate risks will be part of the environmental impact statement.
Businesses do not like permits - but not for the reasons you’d expect. It’s very expensive to conduct the required economic and environmental studies. Businesses have to hire specialists just for these permits. Often, these studies delay projects, which makes the projects more expensive to build.
The biggest complaint is that rules are inconsistent - they’re difficult to comply with, unclear in their intent, guidelines are always changing, and (worst of all) they’re unevenly enforced. Sometimes a politician will intervene - essentially subverting the law. Political intervention creates an atmosphere of unfairness and favoritism (but, that is discussion for another post).
In the permitting world, lawsuits abound. And lawsuits compound the costs of building and it generally pisses off a lot of people.
So, when you hear complaints that “environmental permits hurts jobs” it’s not that the developer hates the environment, it’s that the rules are a convoluted, expensive mess. It’s also a clever way for politicians to dismantle environmental regulations because, after all, the rules “hurt jobs” - a line that resonates with the voting public.
Thus, from the perspective of business, Obama’s proposal to increase the rules for environmental permits has businesses - and the politicians that they’ve bought - shaking in their boots.
Queue a big political fight on this one.
President Barack Obama is preparing to tell all federal agencies for the first time that they should consider the impact on global warming before approving major projects, from pipelines to highways.
The result could be significant delays for natural gas- export facilities, ports for coal sales to Asia, and even new forest roads, industry lobbyists warn.
“It’s got us very freaked out,” said Ross Eisenberg, vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers, a Washington-based group that represents 11,000 companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Southern Co. (SO) The standards, which constitute guidance for agencies and not new regulations, are set to be issued in the coming weeks, according to lawyers briefed by administration officials.
In taking the step, Obama would be fulfilling a vow to act alone in the face of a Republican-run House of Representatives unwilling to pass measures limiting greenhouse gases. He’d expand the scope of a Nixon-era law that was first intended to force agencies to assess the effect of projects on air, water and soil pollution.
“If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will,” Obama said last month during his State of the Union address. He pledged executive actions “to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”
Via the excellent Bloomberg.com
There isn’t enough capacity to refine both the Canadian oil and the Venezuelan oil,” said professor Erick Langer, director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University and an expert on Venezuelan politics.
“Can Rail Fill the Gap if Keystone XL Pipeline isn’t Approved?” Thoughtful round-up and analysis via one of my favorite sites, Planetizen. Did not realize 40% of Venezuelan oil is shipped and refined in Texas.
“So if the pipeline is built, then Venezuela might be up a creek without a paddle, because they won’t have anywhere else to refine the oil.
Royal Dutch Shell barred from returning to drill for oil in Arctic without overhaul
A government review found the oil company was not prepared for the extreme conditions in the Arctic, which resulted in a series of blunders and accidents culminating in the New Year’s Eve grounding of its drill rig.
Shell announced a “pause” in Arctic drilling last month. But Ken Salazar, the interior secretary, told a reporters’ conference call that the company will not be allowed to return without producing a much more detailed plan, one tailored specifically to the harsh Arctic conditions.
“Shell will not be able to move forward into the Arctic to do any kind of exploration unless they have this integrated management plan put in place,” said Salazar, in one of his last acts before standing down as interior secretary. “It’s that plain and simple.”
The findings of the review could mean further costs and delays for Shell, which has spent years and $4.5bn securing permits to drill in Arctic waters.
But it did not satisfy some environmental groups which said the review demonstrated the government should never have allowed drilling in the first place.
Salazar and other officials said Shell had not been prepared to drill last year, when a season of blunders and accidents was capped with the New Year’s Eve grounding of one of its drilling rigs.
“Shell screwed up in 2012 and we are not going to let them screw up after their pause is removed,” Salazar said.