Archive for May, 2013

This Week in Online Environmental Impact Statements: Horse Allotment

While Federal agencies are required to prepare Environmental Impact Statements in accordance with 40 CFR Part 1502, and to file the EISs with the EPA as specified in 40 CFR 1506.9, the EPA doesn’t yet provide a central repository for filing and viewing EISs electronically. Instead, each week they prepare a digest of the preceding week’s filed EISs, which is published every Friday in the Federal Register under the title, “Notice of Availability” (NOA). However, starting October 1, 2012 all EIS submissions must be made through e-NEPA. An EPA source says that as EISs begin to come in electronically, they will appear alongside EPA comments here.

In the meantime, we’ve done the dirty work for you. Below, we’ve located and linked to the EISs referenced in last week’s NOA. Please note that some of these documents can be very large, and may take a while to load.

You can read any available EPA comments on these EISs here.

* * *

EIS No. 20130138, Draft EIS (Not yet available, see Westpark S.V. 400, LLC project for updates), USACE, CA, Westbrook Project (SPK–2005–00938), Comment Period Ends: 07/15/2013, Contact: Kathy Norton 916–557–5260. Website.

EIS No. 20130139, Second Final Supplement, USFWS, 00, Issuance of Annual Regulations Permitting the Hunting of Migratory Birds, Review Period Ends: 07/01/2013, Contact: Robert Trost 503–231–6162. Website.

EIS No. 20130140, Draft EIS, USFS, WY, Sherman Cattle and Horse Allotment Grazing Authorization and Management, Comment Period Ends: 07/15/2013, Contact: Chad Hayward 307–276–5817. Website.

EIS No. 20130141, Final EIS, USFS, SC, AP Loblolly Pine Removal and Restoration Project, Review Period Ends: 07/01/2013, Contact: Victor Wyant 864–638–9568. Website.

EIS No. 20130142, Draft EIS, HUD, NY, Hallets Point Rezoning, Comment Period Ends: 07/15/2013, Contact: Robert Dobruskin 212–720–3423. Website.

EIS No. 20130143, Revised Draft EIS, USAF, UT, United States Air Force F–35A Operational Basing, Beddown at one or more Air Combat Command or Air National Guard Bases, Comment Period Ends: 07/15/2013, Contact: Nicholas Germanos 757–764–5007. Website.

EIS No. 20130144, Final EIS, NPS, CO, Grand Ditch Breach Restoration, Review Period Ends: 07/01/2013, Contact: Ben Bobowski 970–586–1350. Website.

EIS No. 20130145, Draft EIS (Not yet available online. Check back here for updates.), USAF, AK, Proposal to Relocate the 18th Aggressor Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base (EAFB), Alaska to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska and to Right-Size the Remaining Wing Overhead/Base Operating Support at EAFB, Alaska, Comment Period Ends: 07/30/2013, Contact: Allen Richmond 210–395–8555. Website.

EIS No. 20130146, Final EIS, USFS, CA, Whisky Ridge Ecological Restoration Project, Review Period Ends: 07/01/2013, Contact: Dean A. Gould 559–297–0706. Website.

EIS No. 20130147, Final EIS, TVA, TN, Dam Safety Modifications at Cherokee, Fort Loudoun, Tellico, and Watts Bar Dams, Review Period Ends: 07/01/2013, Contact: Charles P. Nicholson 865–632–3582. Website.

EIS No. 20130148, Draft Supplement, USACE, FL, Jacksonville Harbor Navigation, Comment Period Ends: 07/15/2013, Contact: Samantha Borer 904–232–1066. Website.

 

Amended Notices

EIS No. 20130133, Draft EIS, BLM, CO, Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area Draft Resource Management Plan, Comment Period Ends: 08/15/2013, Contact: Samantha Staley 970–244–3188, Revision to FR Notice Published 05/24/2013; Extending Comment Period from 8/15/2013 to 8/22/2013. Website.

This American Life Tackles Climate Change

Photo by Hot Meteor. Some rights reserved.

Photo by Hot Meteor. Some rights reserved.

This American Life has long set a high journalistic standard for bringing unique perspective and individual voices to the capital-b Big issues of our time, and their most recent episode is no different. Entitled “Hot in My Backyard,” this installment focuses on unique voices in the realm of climate change, from Colorado State Climatologist Nolan Doesken to former South Carolina Republican Rep. Bob Inglis.

As is often the case, this episode covers a lot of ground and gives its listeners a lot to chew over:  reflections on climate change issues surrounding Hurricane Sandy last fall, a rancher/farmer perspective on climate change fears, documentation of Colorado’s extremely wild weather in 2012, climate denial and shifting conservative attitudes towards global warming, and even an in-depth profile on the efforts of writer-activist and all-around-badass Bill McKibben, whose current project involves vilifying  oil, gas, and coal companies (“a rogue industry,” McKibben says, “determined to do things that are unwise, unsafe, crazy”) in order to unite Americans on the issue of climate change around a common enemy. Listen here!

 

China, a Big Country With Big Environmental Problems, is Starting to Make Big Plans for Big CO2 Reduction.

Pollution Over East China via Wikimedia Commons

Pollution Over East China
via Wikimedia Commons

We recently wrote about how the concentration of CO2  in the environment has reached a point higher than it has been in millions of years.  A lot of the newer COno doubt came from the Middle Kingdom. China, which is currently responsible for a quarter of all carbon emissions worldwide, has been under intense pressure in recent years to curb its output of global warming gases. It has consistently resisted doing so, citing the imperatives of economic development and the central, seemingly irreplaceable, role that coal plays in driving the country’s growth. Indeed, China consumes nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined. China’s refusal to rein in its emissions has served as a useful excuse for other nations to drag their heels. Why tighten your own belt when the big guy over there is loosening his?

But rampant pollution and the looming threats posed by global climate change are affecting a notable turn-around in China. Pollution in its capital city has become the stuff of international legend. Gas masks are becoming must-have accessories for business travelers in Beijing. China is now a major, market-disrupting producer of  solar panels and wind turbines much to the dismay of German and U.S. manufacturers.  And now, in a dramatic about-face, the world’s biggest producer of greenhouse gas pollution has agreed to follow some 200 other countries and agreed to impose a cap on its COemissions and cut the amount of  COper dollar of economic output – something the U.S. has so far been unwilling to do.

Britain’s Climate and Energy Change Secretary Ed Davey believes China’s changing attitude towards climate change demonstrated by its willingness to impose a ceiling as soon as 2016 may provide a significant push toward reaching an ambitious global accord on emissions reduction.  “At the end of last year the Chinese leadership changed and started talking about creating an ‘ecological civilization’. This doesn’t mean they have signed up to every bit of the climate change talks, but it means they recognize that their economic model has to take account of pollution and the environment and that damage that it’s doing to people’s health.” Perhaps China and the U.S. will finally stop passing the climate buck back and forth and jointly pave the way for a global deal.

China’s vow to dramatically reduce emissions doesn’t appear to be merely theoretical. In another first, the country has unveiled its first carbon–trading program which will cover 638 companies in the southern city of Shenzhen.

And the country isn’t just getting aggressive about reducing coal and industrial emissions. It’s pressing ahead with far more unconventional methods of reducing its carbon footprint. And what is its latest eccentric proposal?  How about building an entire self-contained city in one of the tallest buildings in the world in just seven months?  The Broad Sustainable Construction Company has announced it will build a pre-fab 220-story, 2,750 high building containing some 4,450 apartments and 100,000 square feet of indoor vertical farms on a greenfield site in just over half a year. The goal, aside from dramatically increasing the speed with which skyscrapers can be built, is to simultaneously increase the energy efficiency and lower the carbon footprint of what will amount to a brand new city of 30 thousand people.  A resident of BSC’s mega tower is expected to use only 1/100th of the land used by a typical Chinese citizen.

China, a big country with big environmental problems, is starting to make big plans for big COreduction.

This Week in Online Environmental Impact Statements: Yuba-Bear

While Federal agencies are required to prepare Environmental Impact Statements in accordance with 40 CFR Part 1502, and to file the EISs with the EPA as specified in 40 CFR 1506.9, the EPA doesn’t yet provide a central repository for filing and viewing EISs electronically. Instead, each week they prepare a digest of the preceding week’s filed EISs, which is published every Friday in the Federal Register under the title, “Notice of Availability” (NOA). However, starting October 1, 2012 all EIS submissions must be made through e-NEPA. An EPA source says that as EISs begin to come in electronically, they will appear alongside EPA comments here.

In the meantime, we’ve done the dirty work for you. Below, we’ve located and linked to the EISs referenced in last week’s NOA. Please note that some of these documents can be very large, and may take a while to load.

You can read any available EPA comments on these EISs here.

* * *

EIS No. 20130131, Draft EIS, FHWA, UT, West Davis Corridor, Comment Period Ends: 08/23/2013, Contact: Paul Ziman 801–955–3525. Website.

EIS No. 20130132, Final EIS, USFWS, AK, Shadura Natural Gas Development Project within Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Review Period Ends: 06/24/2013, Contact: Peter Wikoff 907–786–3837. Website.

EIS No. 20130133, Draft EIS, BLM, CO, Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area Draft Resource Management Plan, Comment Period Ends: 08/15/2013, Contact: Samantha Staley 970–244–3188. Website and website.

EIS No. 20130134, Draft EIS, FERC, CA, Drum-Spaulding Hydroelectric Project and Yuba-Bear Hydroelectric Project for Hydropower License, Comment Period Ends: 07/23/2013, Contact: Alan Mitchnick 202–502–6074. Website.

EIS No. 20130135, Revised Final EIS (not currently able to locate), USACE, LA, Morganza to the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System Project, Review Period Ends: 06/24/2013, Contact: Nathan Dayan 504–862–2530. Website and website (though this link is currently broken…).

EIS No. 20130136, Draft EIS, USACE, NV, Truckee Meadows Flood Control Project, Comment Period Ends: 07/08/2013, Contact: Tyler Stalker 916–557–5100. Website and website.

EIS No. 20130137, Draft EIS, USFS, WY, Mackey Road Relocation, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland, Comment Period Ends: 07/09/2013, Contact: Amy Ormseth 307–358–4690. Website.

New DOE Secretary Moniz’s Big Ideas

Photo by jeanbaptisteparis. Some rights reserved.

Photo by jeanbaptisteparis. Some rights reserved.

New Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was just sworn in yesterday, but he’s already got big plans (and big hair!) for the future of energy in the U.S. Moniz, nuclear physicist and former head of MIT’s Energy Initiative, vowed in his first speech to move a big time, bi-partisan energy efficiency bill through Congress, and also to take a closer look at the merits of exporting natural gas and expanding into untapped markets. A DOE study from last year showed that the latter could prove quite helpful to the U.S. in the long-term global energy market.

“I want to… make sure that we are using up-to-date data and then we want to go forward on a case-by-case basis… in terms of evaluating licenses in as expeditious a way consistent with that review process,” said Moniz this week. He also said that he has no plans to commission new studies of natural gas exports until he has had time to review “personally” all of the existing studies. Moniz was voted into his new position by a unanimous Senate vote of 97-0 earlier this month after a nomination from the President in March.

Watch Moniz’s speech from the 2013 Energy Efficiency Global Forum here.

GAO Grapples With Climate Change’s Impact on Infrastructure

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

While the extractive industries and their political handmaidens continue to press the notion that climate change is nothing but a hoax, the actual scientific evidence that it is real continues to mount as inexorably as arctic ice melts and temperatures rise around the globe. Those greedy scientists who invented The Great Climate Change Hoax to get rich off grant money are now telling us that even the ice on Mount Everest which provides a water basin for more 1.5 billion people is melting.

As the “controversy” grinds on, the General Accounting Office and the National Research Council are not sitting idly by, waiting for the last skeptic to be won over. According to a newly released GAO report,  the U.S. already spends billions of dollars every year on infrastructure, but much of that infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, wastewater systems, even NASA centers are vulnerable to climate change. By way of example, the GAO points out that within 15 years segments of Louisiana State Highway 1—providing the only road access to a port servicing 18 percent of the nation’s oil supply – will be inundated by tides an average of 30 times annually due to sea level rise, effectively the port.

The report criticizes national and state decision makers for failing to systematically consider climate change in infrastructure planning. Replacing aging bridges and highways is an expensive and time-consuming task made no easier by piling climate change on top. But such planning is both essential and doable.  The GAO points by way of example to Milwaukee’s efforts to manage the risk of greatly increased rainfall by enhancing its natural systems’ abilities (including local wetlands) to absorb runoff.

The GAO report makes numerous recommendations, including the establishment of an executive agency to work with other state and federal agencies to identify and mitigate future disruptions and provided guidance on how agencies should address such disruption. Amidst all the hand-wringing and sleight-of-hand political distractions surrounding climate change, the report makes for refreshingly direct and level-headed reading. You can find the whole thing here.

This Week in Online Environmental Impact Statements: Steller Sea Lions

While Federal agencies are required to prepare Environmental Impact Statements in accordance with 40 CFR Part 1502, and to file the EISs with the EPA as specified in 40 CFR 1506.9, the EPA doesn’t yet provide a central repository for filing and viewing EISs electronically. Instead, each week they prepare a digest of the preceding week’s filed EISs, which is published every Friday in the Federal Register under the title, “Notice of Availability” (NOA). However, starting October 1, 2012 all EIS submissions must be made through e-NEPA. An EPA source says that as EISs begin to come in electronically, they will appear alongside EPA comments here.

In the meantime, we’ve done the dirty work for you. Below, we’ve located and linked to the EISs referenced in last week’s NOA. Please note that some of these documents can be very large, and may take a while to load.

You can read any available EPA comments on these EISs here.

* * *

EIS No. 20130125, Draft Supplement, FTA, CA, Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project, Comment Period Ends: 07/17/2013, Contact: Mary Nguyen 213–202–3960. Website.

EIS No. 20130126, Final EIS, BLM, AZ, Mohave County Wind Farm Project, Review Period Ends: 06/17/2013, Contact: Jackie Neckels 602–417–9262. Website.

EIS No. 20130127, Draft EIS, NMFS, AK, Steller Sea Lion Protection Measures for Groundfish Fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area, Comment Period Ends: 07/16/2013, Contact: Melanie Brown 907–586–7228. Website.

EIS No. 20130128, Final EIS, USFS, MT, Pilgrim Timber Sale Project, Kootenai National Forest, Review Period Ends: 06/17/2013, Contact: Doug Grupenhoff 406–827–0741. Website.

EIS No. 20130129, Draft EIS (Not yet available online, check back here for updates.), USA, TX, Implementation of Energy, Water, and Solid Waste Sustainability Initiatives at Fort Bliss, Texas and New Mexico, Comment Period Ends: 07/01/2013, Contact: Pamela M. Klinger 210–466–1595. Website.

EIS No. 20130130, Draft EIS, USFS, WY, Clinker Mining Addition Project, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland, Comment Period Ends: 07/01/2013, Contact: Amy Ormseth 307–358–4690. Website.

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