Liz Edmondson

Author Articles

This year marks a major milestone for the planet’s climate. 2016 is on track to be the hottest year on record and last month carbon dioxide levels passed the 400 parts per million threshold, at a time when atmospheric carbon is traditionally at its lowest concentration. Scientists project that we will not see carbon dioxide fall below 400 parts per million again in our lifetimes. The continued warming of the planet has already caused changes such as loss of sea ice, sea level rise, and more powerful heat waves. What is the fate of the Clean Power Plan under the a Trump Administration and how does this affect states?

With the continued and rapid increase of rooftop solar installations in the U.S., state governments are playing an increasing role in ensuring the public has accurate, balanced, and understandable information to make informed decisions on solar energy options. Like purchasing a house or a car, purchasing or leasing a solar photovoltaic system can involve complicated calculations of future energy needs and system profitability, an assessment of uncertain solar policies and incentives in states, vetting of solar installers, and a...

Concerns related to the Zika virus are growing as the virus spreads to new areas of the globe and as the virus is linked to an increasing number of health problems. Could a genetically engineered mosquito help fight the virus? Some Florida voters will have a chance to weigh in on November 8th.

Over 20 state legislators and public utility commissioners attended CSG's "Future of American Electricity" policy academy in Washington, D.C. from Sept. 21-23. One of several 2 1/2 day events put on by CSG policy staff in 2016, this event was designed to give state officials an overview of American electricity along with a deeper dive into more complex and emerging energy and electricity issues.

Approximately 25 legislators and regulators attended CSG’s Fourth Annual Natural Gas Policy Academy from August 1-3 in Bismarck, North Dakota. CSG policy academies are two and one-half day seminars featuring a variety of speakers that provide participants with in-depth information on a current and important policy issue. One of several policy academies CSG will put on in 2016, the Natural Gas Policy Academy included an introductory session on natural gas, as well as sessions on infrastructure modernization, workforce development,...

On June 22, 2016, President Barack Obama signed into law the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, or H.R. 2576, which provides for a major overhaul of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA. While TSCA was enacted to regulate chemicals, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had only mandated testing on approximately 200 of the tens of thousands of chemicals used in commerce since TSCA’s inception. In addition, the EPA had restricted the uses of only five chemicals in existence before the passage of the TSCA in 1976.

Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia currently allow marijuana use either for medicinal and/or recreational purposes. As marijuana use becomes more prevalent in states and legalization gains more popular support, states are addressing the myriad issues arising out of marijuana legalization, such as banking, environmental impacts and driving. In light of a new report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety that found drivers who recently used marijuana were involved in twice as many fatal car accidents in Washington after the state legalized cannabis, states are wrestling with the question: How high is too high to drive?

The legal challenge to the Clean Power Plan is one of the most important environmental lawsuits in recent memory. The case will address whether EPA acted in accordance with the Clean Air Act in finalizing its rule that requires states to set carbon emissions limits on existing power plants. The U.S. Supreme Court stayed implementation of the rule in February and sent the case back to the D.C. Circuit, where a three-judge panel was scheduled to hear oral arguments on the already briefed issues on June 2nd. However, the court, on its own volition, issued an unexpected order late on May 16, 2016, pushing oral arguments back to September 27th and notifying the parties that the arguments will now be held before the entire court, instead of a three-judge panel.

Air regulators from more than 20 state and local agencies discussed the Clean Power Plan and its potential impact on states during the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ mid-year meeting April 28-29 in Columbia, South Carolina. Approximately 100 participants attended the event, which included presentations and panels on topics ranging from environmental justice to implementation of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for sulfur dioxide, ozone and other pollutants to regulatory impact analyses.

Nuclear energy has provided commercial electricity generation in the United States since 1957, when a plant in Shippingport, Penn., came online. Between 1966 and 1977, 75 nuclear reactors were built in the U.S. However, a combination of escalating costs and increasing safety and environmental concerns halted almost all construction of new nuclear reactors in the U.S. after 1978. While the future of nuclear energy is uncertain, the construction of the first new reactors in decades and the continuing need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is leading to an increased interest in nuclear energy.

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