New US government rule allows drilling in forested land

September 4, 2020 by  
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A new rule published by the U.S. government legalizes oil and gas drilling within forested land. This action threatens forest ecosystems, reversing decades of work to protect forested areas. For over 50 years, a public participation system has helped protect critical ecosystems and other natural resources. The U.S. has over 193 million acres of forested land spanning 47 states. Stakeholders with a strong interest in forest resources have helped defend this land. The stakeholders’ environmental review process challenges fossil fuel companies attempting to set up operations in protected ecosystems. Consequently, thousands of species remain safe from potential harm caused by fossil fuel mining activities.  Despite this, a new rule by the U.S. federal government seeks to exclude public participation when deciding on land use in forested areas. With public input kept out of key decisions, fossil fuel companies may gain more access to forested land. Traditionally, regulations have restricted the presence of fossil fuel activities in the national forest land. To date, only 2.7% of the entire forest acreage has been leased to fossil fuel companies.  The main concern about the rule is that it eliminates critical environmental review steps, which entirely sidelines public participation. Further, the rule eliminates the U.S Forest Service’s oversight role. Consequently, fossil fuel companies seeking to operate in forested land will no longer be required to undergo a thorough environmental review.  This new rule comes amid worldwide concerns about global warming’s effects. An increase in forest fires has led to the destruction of forested lands, depleting the best-known carbon sinks . With more fossil fuel companies allowed to operate in forests, the number of forest fires may continue to spike, consequently leading to an increase in carbon emissions. As the Forest Service said in a statement, this rule is just one among many irresponsible land management policies put in place by the Trump Administration. The service now warns that if actions are not taken to stop the federal government from making such laws, the country risks losing precious natural resources. + Natural Resources Defense Council Image via Pexels

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New US government rule allows drilling in forested land

California’s new truck rule: It’s big, it’s bold, it’s controversial

July 1, 2020 by  
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California’s new truck rule: It’s big, it’s bold, it’s controversial Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 07/01/2020 – 00:30  California’s epic clean truck rule has arrived. It’s big. It’s bold. It’s controversial.  After months of discussion, last week the California Air Resources Board (CARB) unanimously approved the Advanced Clean Truck rule, which says that more than half of the trucks sold in California have to be zero-emission by 2035. By 2045, all new commercial trucks sold in California must be zero-emission.  The truck rule follows another California law ( passed in 2018 ) that says all new public transit buses sold must be zero-emission starting in 2029. The combination of these policies makes California one of the most aggressive regions in the world pushing electric trucks and buses.  Environmentalists hailed the decision , calling it a win that will help clean up the air for disadvantaged communities that live in areas with a large amount of trucks. For example, in the Inland Empire in Southern California, where there’s an Amazon distribution hub, growth in e-commerce has led to tens of thousands of trucks per day on the roads. CARB estimates that 2 million diesel trucks cause 70 percent of the smog-causing pollution in the state. Transportation emissions represent 40 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, and without taking aggressive steps the state will not be able to meet its climate goals.  The rule also could help kick-start an electric truck market, which has been slow to emerge.   The rule also could help kick-start an electric truck market, which has been slow to emerge. Adoption has been delayed partly because of costly and short-range batteries, and hesitancy from many traditional commercial automakers. But in the past year, truck makers such as Daimler and Volvo Trucks have started to take electric trucks much more seriously.  Nonprofit CALSTART predicts that 169 medium and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicle models   will be available by the end of 2020, growing 78 percent from the end of 2019. All-electric truck companies such as BYD, Rivian and Tesla are set to capitalize on the trend.    So who’s not so enamored with the rule? Some traditional truck and auto parts makers:  The Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association  has been pushing against more stringent regulations in the face of COVID-19, citing concerns over added costs.  Some oil industry and low-carbon fuel companies:  The Western States Petroleum Association, an oil industry lobbying group, has opposed the rule , saying it would eliminate promising efficiency and low-carbon fuel technologies.  Smaller truck fleet operators: Many are worried about the higher upfront costs to buy zero-emission trucks and new fueling infrastructure. It’ll be a challenge no doubt. And potentially might be challenged itself.  But I’ll leave you with a quote from CARB’s Mary Nichols  about the rule (from The New York Times). This might be Nichols’ last major regulation before she retires later this year:  This is exactly the right time for this rule. … We certainly know that the economy is in a rough shape right now, and there aren’t a lot of new vehicles of any kind. But when they are able to buy vehicles again, we think it’s important that they be investing in the cleanest kinds of vehicles. This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe  here . Pull Quote The rule also could help kick-start an electric truck market, which has been slow to emerge. Topics Transportation & Mobility Clean Fleets Zero Emissions Featured Column Driving Change Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Trucks – CC license by Flickr user Andrew Atzert

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California’s new truck rule: It’s big, it’s bold, it’s controversial

Federal court stunts EPA plans to suspend methane emissions rule

July 4, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump in February instructed cabinet members “to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people,” and it appears Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt has taken that to mean attack the environment and public health . He attempted to suspend a rule put in place under President Barack Obama to regulate methane emissions from new gas and oil wells. But now a federal appeals court has dealt Pruitt and Trump a blow. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled yesterday that the EPA can’t suspend the Obama-era rule. In a two to one decision, the court said under the Clean Air Act , the EPA doesn’t have the authority to obstruct the rule. Pruitt had placed a 90-day moratorium on enforcing portions of the methane rule – and then stretched that moratorium to two years. He also said his move wasn’t subject to court review. But the federal appeals court called his decision unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious. Related: In surprise vote, Senate keeps Obama’s methane rules in place Judges Robert Wilkins and David Tatel said, “EPA’s stay, in other words, is essentially an order delaying the rule’s effective date, and this court has held that such orders are tantamount to amending or revoking a rule.” Pruitt’s efforts to foment climate change as much as he can haven’t been put to a full stop. The court did say the EPA does have the right to reverse the rule – but will have to go through a new rule-making process to get there. When it comes to greenhouse gases, methane is 25 more times powerful than carbon dioxide , according to The New York Times. American Petroleum Institute spokesperson Reid Porter said 2012 standards had already done some work in cutting methane emissions. In a statement he said, “A stay is needed to allow for regulatory certainty as EPA continues the formal process to review the rule making.” Environmental Defense Fund president Fred Krupp took a different view, saying, “The court’s decision ends the continued pollution by the oil and gas industry that’s been illegally allowed by Pruitt.” Via The New York Times Images via Wikimedia Commons and Ken Doerr on Flickr

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Federal court stunts EPA plans to suspend methane emissions rule

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