Environment

A Congressional Budget Office analysis reported that the climate change bill, the American Power Act, being sponsored by Sens. Kerry and Lieberman, would reduce the federal deficit by approximately $19 billion over the next ten years.  This squares with the EPA analysis which reported that the bill would have a modest impact on families.  However, it still seems unlikely that such a bill will pass this year.

CSG South

This Regional Resource from The Council of State Government's Southern Office, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), relates to the water allocation and management strategies in the Southern states. Water, both as a resource and a commodity, is a pivotal variable in the equation relating to the future health and vitality of the United States. Americans are accustomed to turning a faucet to access, what is assumed to be, limitless amounts of fresh, clean water. However, the resource does not adhere to lines drawn on a map, and population growth and other factors that increase demand for water do not necessarily coincide with areas where it is plentiful. Due to increased consumption, along with pollution, diversion and depletion of the region’s finite water supply, the South is running out of freshwater sources. For a number of years, the Southern Legislative Conference has been examining Southern states’ policies regarding water allocation and withdrawals. This Regional Resource investigates the continuing trends that have played a role in the South’s numerous water crises and explores ways in which states can better develop policies regarding withdrawal, regulation, diversion, and conservation of water resources.

CSG South

This Regional Resource from The Council of State Government' Southern Office, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), focuses on the recycling industry in the Southern states. Advocates of landfills long have argued that a comprehensive recycling system is not an economically viable solution to the increases in municipal solid waste created by a growing population. In this regard, the states of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) of The Council of State Governments (CSG) have demonstrated that this presumption is incorrect and that, even in rural areas with low population densities, the jobs, supply chains and manufacturing facilities created by investment and participation in the recycling industry deliver significant, direct economic rewards. With strategically located primary collection points, community education and relatively few tax incentives, SLC states have promoted economic development and allowed local markets to deliver the goods necessary to supply the thriving recycling manufacturing industry of the South and negate the need to import these commodities from outside sources. This Regional Resource focuses on the economic analyses of recycling, especially in the SLC states, and the viable solutions that Southern states have realized with regard to the recycling of municipal solid waste (MSW) components. Further, by providing a 15-state compendium of the executive agency programs and legislative actions in the Southern region, this report offers a baseline for interstate comparison.

Though I predict climate change legislation will not pass in 2010, it will come to pass, most likely beginning with a utility sector cap.  Thus, it is essential to advance the development and deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in order to curb coal-fired power plant emissions.    

Shy of 60 votes in the Senate, a still shaky economy, and November elections all lead to the forecast that climate change legislation, featuring a cap and trade element, is unlikely to happen in 2010.

In April I wrote about offshore drilling and how, politically, it wasn’t about the oil, given that the estimated recoverable reserves were unlikely to substantially impact our reliance on foreign sources of petroleum (the EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2010 assumes import reliance will remain near 50% through 2035, down from 57% in 2008); it was about securing votes for climate change legislation. 

Michigan now assesses environmental impact of proposed water withdrawals on nearby streams and limits stream depletion based on ecological characteristics. The scientific framework is the relationship between streamflow reductions and projected impact on resident fish populations. Program development was overseen by an advisory council representing major water interest groups.

Climate Progress recently compared the two competing bills on climate change—the Waxman-Markey bill which passed the House in June of 2009, and the Kerry-Lieberman draft bill introduced today in the Senate, along with President Obama’s campaign promises.

Two years ago, Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Mulligan was concerned the trial courts in his state weren’t addressing environmental sustainability.

So he put together the Trial Court Energy Task Force, better known as the Green Team.

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