Vermont Senators Sanders, Leahy praise EPA on power plant pollution

first_imgUS Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) today praised the Environmental Protection Agency for forcing coal- and oil-fired power plants to reduce emissions. Leahy Statement: “I commend the Environmental Protection Agency for doing the right thing, under tremendous special interest pressure, in standing up for the public’s interest.  The Utility Air Toxics Rule to control toxic air pollutants such as mercury is a health and environmental breakthrough for the American people, and especially for Vermonters.  Finally, after 20 years of dodging regulation, coal- and oil-fired electric power plants, the largest contributors of these toxics, will be held accountable for the pollution they emit, just as many other industries are.These controls are particularly important to Vermont, which is why I have long fought to reduce mercury pollution and protect public health.  Though we have no major sources of mercury, we are on the receiving end of much of the rest of the country’s pollution.  So much, in fact, that the mercury data crucial to the development of this rule came from the atmospheric monitoring station at Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center, for which I secured funding.  Unfortunately, deep budget cuts will hamper EPA’s data gathering from this location, making it difficult for the EPA to get the full swath of information needed to keep the public safe, and informed.In Vermont, the devastating effect of all this mercury pollution is most evident in our waterways.  While we celebrate greatly improved fishing on Lake Champlain, we also know that large game fish from every water body in Vermont, including Champlain, are so heavily contaminated with out-of-state mercury that Vermonters are warned against eating them. That needs to change, and these new actions will help.Pollution control technology is already widely available, affordable, and in use at many plants nationwide.  We cannot allow outdated technology to endanger lives and stifle the innovation, investment and productivity that new technologies offer.  It is time for those older power plants that have failed to install this life-saving technology to catch up with the 33 percent that already comply with all of EPA’s emission limits, and with the 60 percent that already comply with EPA’s mercury limit. Without these safeguards, the public would continue to shoulder the cost of dirty industries, with their health, their children’s health, and sometimes with their lives. These poisonous emissions lead to more than 17,000 premature deaths every year, and they compromise our children’s brain development.  But with clear and effective Clean Air Act rules, we see tremendous benefits: cleaner air, healthier and more productive citizens, and the creation of thousands of good-paying clean jobs.  Skilled laborers are standing ready to fill the 31,000 short-term construction jobs and 9,000 long-term utility jobs that the Utility Air Toxics Rule will create.  This is about five times more jobs than the controversial Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline would employ.  And unlike the pipeline, these clean air improvements do not gamble with the public’s health and our environment.For the hundreds of thousands of Americans suffering from heart attacks, bronchitis, asthma attacks and even worse, the EPA must act now to implement the Utility Air Toxics Rule.  We have the opportunity to create thousands of jobs that will make this nation safer and cleaner.  I look forward to fewer poisonous power plant emissions drifting over us to settle in Vermont’s backyards.” Sanders Statement: ‘I strongly support the Clean Air Act standards announced today that will slash toxic air pollution, such as mercury and arsenic, from our nation’s power plants,’ said Sanders, a member of the Senate environment committee. ‘We know from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that mercury can cause brain damage and is particularly harmful to infants and young children. We also know that installing the necessary pollution control scrubbers and equipment will create jobs as we update our power plants. This clean air rule is long overdue, and I commend EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson for protecting our families’ health and wellbeing,’ Sanders added. Sanders and other senators sent a letter to the White House on December 16 urging President Obama not to delay implementation of the rule. Power plants that have not installed equipment to reduce emissions are the largest remaining source of uncontrolled toxic air pollution in the United States. The EPA rule would prevent the release of about 90 percent of the mercury in coal and cut emissions of other toxic substances, such as arsenic. Medical experts estimated that the rule would prevent 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks a year, prevent 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and result in about 6,300 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children each year. Enforcing the stricter rule, Sanders said, also would create an estimated 46,000 short-term construction jobs and result in 8,000 permanent jobs. 12.21.2011last_img read more

Insurance next big hurdle for Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine in Australia

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Global Mining Review:The Indian conglomerate Adani Group is trying to move forward with plans to build a massive coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland (Australia). This project has been the object of years-long controversy in Australia and around the world. The toxicity of Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine – not just environmentally and socially, but reputationally as well – has made the project a base test of credibility for any global financial institution wanting to be taken seriously as a climate change risk manager.To date, over three dozen financial institutions have made commitments to not finance the project, and after spending nearly a decade in search of the funds, Adani finally announced in November 2018 that it had secured the billions of dollars necessary to build the mine. Who was the mysterious investor? Turns out it was the Adani Group itself. You can only imagine how desperate a company would need to be before committing to fund a project requiring billions of dollars off its own balance sheet after a years-long search for an investor.But the campaign over Adani’s Carmichael mine is far from over. Insurance is one area where Adani also needs financial support. In fact, insurance is a critical piece required to obtain government permits and start construction, and a growing campaign targeting insurers to accelerate the transition to a clean energy future has taken note.In December 2018, the Global Unfriend Coal campaign and allies – representing 73 organisations and a combined membership of more than 76 million people – sent a letter calling on 35 major global insurers to not insure the proposed Carmichael coal mine and associated infrastructure. Given the number of responses that were received within two weeks of sending the letter, the insurance industry is clearly feeling the pressure to avoid highly controversial coal projects.10 companies immediately responded to Unfriend Coal’s call to not insure the project, either explicitly stating their refusal to be involved or referencing existing coal restriction policies that applied in this case. These included the world’s biggest insurers and reinsurers, Allianz, AXA, Swiss Re and Munich Re; two of Australia’s largest infrastructure insurers, QBE and Suncorp; the first major US insurer to publicly rule out a coal project, FM Global; as well as major European insurers Generali, Zurich and SCOR. Since then, two additional companies have announced restrictions on coal underwriting that would rule out involvement with the mine: Mapfre and Uniqa.For the insurers that have not yet ruled out supporting Adani, the pressure is now building. Last month, lawyers at ClientEarth wrote to Lloyd’s warning them of the financial risks surrounding the project and warning: “Should you or your syndicates fail to take these factors into account as part of your risk management processes, this may constitute a breach of your legal duties.”More: Insurers shun Adani’s Carmichael mine, reflecting the industry’s retreat from coal Insurance next big hurdle for Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine in Australialast_img read more

BRO Athletes: Chris Hipgrave Takes on the Little Tybee Challenge

first_imgSome events stand the test of time and carve strong enduring memories. The Little Tybee Challenge is one of these races for me. The diversity of the race course is second to none. Starting in a powerful tidal river, the course then jogs into a super narrow and twisty tidal creek before leading you out into the Atlantic thru a surf zone surrounded by sand bars and technical options. Once into the Atlantic a short sprint takes you back into the tidal river and the finish line. The near 8 mile circumnavigation of most of Little Tybee Island takes the fastest of paddlers a little under 50 minutes and requires a unique set of skills to excel across the range of challenges the race course has to offer.After a strong win at this race in 2014 I knew I’d have a target on my back but I also knew I didn’t have the same level of fitness I had last year. I’d have to play defense. After a confused starting procedure and a strong effort off the line, I found myself leading into the tight and technical tidal creek and interrupted a large pod of dolphin playing in the fast moving waters. Once into the creek, it’s very hard to overtake anyone but I could hear the relentless chase of Eric Mims close behind. But as a wildwater paddler, reading and executing these tight turns would mean a small advantage for me.So the question was whether to gut myself and extend my tenuous lead or conserve energy for the later stages of the race. I choose to gut myself. Exiting the tidal creek and entering the ocean, I had approximately 1 minute up on Eric, but now in the ocean, the tables were turned and Eric was in his home environment with the advantage and was closing the gap fast. Seeing a near shore deep water gutter, I surfed into the beach to take the short cut but not before Eric saw me make the turn and gave chase. Once thru the moving water and heading back into the tidal river, I found myself shoulder to shoulder with Eric for the final mile or more to the finish. Sadly, I could not respond to his mastery of using every ocean bump to his advantage and I was also paying the price for pushing hard in the creek. Eric snagged victory by a tad over a minute in a masterful paddle. Mark Volkmann also put in a great effort to take a solid third place after using his intimate knowledge of the area to his advantage to secure the final podium spot.The Little Tybee Challenge never disappoints and I will be back for the 18th annual race in 2016. More information, results and media can be found at http://tybeekayakrace.blogspot.com/—Our BRO Athlete series is powered by Great Outdoor Provision Co., The Hub, Crozet Running, Brown Jeep, Proformance, and the Blue Ridge Cyclery.last_img read more