Duke Energy Resolves Clean Air Act Violations
December 23, 2009 06:15 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The US EPA and Duke Energy have reached a settlement in another New Source Review enforcement action. Duke Energy, one of the largest electric power companies in the nation, will spend approximately $85 million to significantly reduce harmful air pollution at an Indiana power plant and pay a $1.75 million civil penalty, under a settlement to resolve violations of federal clean air laws, the Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. The settlement also requires Duke to spend $6.25 million on environmental mitigation projects. The agreement, filed in federal court in Indianapolis, resolves violations of the Clean Air Act’s new source review requirements found at the company’s Gallagher coal-fired power plant in New Albany, Ind., located directly across the Ohio River from Louisville, Ky.

EU calls for more U.S. involvement in combating climate change
December 23, 2009 05:37 AM - Justyna Pawlak, Reuters

The European Union called on the United States on Tuesday to play a bigger role in combating climate change, after Sweden described the Copenhagen summit last week as a "great failure." Following a meeting in Brussels to discuss how to rescue the Copenhagen climate process, EU environment ministers emphasized the need for concrete, legally binding measures to combat global warming.

Climate accord offers some grounds for hope
December 22, 2009 07:30 AM - T. V. Padma and Mohammed Yahia, SciDevNet

The UN Climate Change Conference ended on Saturday (19 December) with frustration and verdicts of failure from many delegates because it did not reach a binding agreement on how to tackle climate change — or any agreement at all on targets for carbon emissions. But some commentators say that important principles behind fighting climate change have been established for the first time, and some action could start immediately even without the existence of a universal agreement.

Federal Officials Promote Use of Coal Waste on U.S. Farms
December 22, 2009 06:59 AM - Yale Environment 360, Editor ENN

Federal officials are promoting the use of a chalky residue from coal-burning power plants as a fertilizer on U.S. farms, even as regulators simultaneously consider new rules for the waste, which contains small amounts of toxic metals. During the Bush administration, U.S. officials began promoting the agricultural use of a synthetic form of gypsum, a calcium-rich substance produced by the "scrubbers" that remove acid rain-causing sulfur from coal plant emissions.

The Legacy of Bhopal
December 22, 2009 06:51 AM - Sanjay Kumar, The Diplomat

Twenty-five years on, campaigners say the world’s worst-ever industrial accident is still claiming victims. Sanjay Kumar visits Bhopal in India and speaks to the locals who say their government has failed them badly. Bhopal is a beautiful city. Located about 750 kilometres south of Delhi and surrounded by lakes and lush greenery, Old and New Bhopal are a fascinating and thriving combination of Islamic and Hindu architecture vying for space in a city founded about 1000 years ago.

Toxic Releases Decrease Nationwide
December 21, 2009 04:08 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The USEPA released today the 2008 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report which provides information on toxic chemicals used and released by utilities, refineries, chemical manufacturers, paper companies, and many other facilities across the nation to all media whether it is air, water or solid waste. The TRI is compiled from data submitted to EPA and the States by industry. For the EPA’s mid-Atlantic region, the 2008 TRI data indicate a 9.1 percent decrease of 35.2 million pounds of on and off site chemical releases as compared with 2007. A total of 350 million pounds of chemicals were released during 2008 to the air, water or landfills by facilities in the mid-Atlantic region which includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

U.N. climate talks end with bare minimum agreement
December 20, 2009 09:49 AM - Dominic Evans and Alister Doyle, Reuters

U.N. climate talks ended with a bare-minimum agreement on Saturday when delegates "noted" an accord struck by the United States, China and other emerging powers that falls far short of the conference's original goals. "Finally we sealed a deal," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "The 'Copenhagen Accord' may not be everything everyone had hoped for, but this ... is an important beginning."

Copenhagen Climate "Deal"
December 19, 2009 10:04 AM - Al Jazeera

Five countries have reached a non-binding agreement at the Copenhagen climate change summit, but leaders from developing countries have reacted angrily to the deal. Five countries, including the US and China, forged the agreement on Friday following a day of frenzied talks at the 193-nation global warming summit in Denmark.

Carbon capture ruled out of UN clean projects list
December 16, 2009 10:21 AM - Euractiv

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) will not be added to the list of technologies that industrial countries can invest in to offset their emissions, after some countries expressed their reservations at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen. International climate negotiators have been debating whether to accept capturing CO2 from industrial installations and storing it underground (CCS) as a means of contributing to emission cuts. But they delayed any decisions until next year at the earliest, as no consensus was reached.

Cap and Trade Working Already
December 15, 2009 10:14 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The US already has years of experience with Cap and Trade. A sulfur dioxide (SO2) Cap and Trade program has proven an effective control strategy to lower SO2 emissions. It provides elements of market incentives and provides flexibility to facilities that emit large quantities of the pollutant in several ways. One of the most important ways is that it permits older facilities which may need to operate for a limited number of years to purchase “emissions credits” to continue operating without installing un-economic emissions controls by purchasing credits. The credits are created by other sources which control their emissions MORE than required under regulations. There is also an overall reduction in the program to benefit the environment so we are not just transferring emission from one plant to another. A reflection of the effectiveness is that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that power plants across the country decreased emissions of SO2, a precursor to acid rain, to 7.6 million tons in 2008.

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