DOE Publishes Report on Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate ChangeAugust 5, 2013
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released a report that examines current and potential future impacts of climate change and extreme weather on the U.S. energy sector. The report identifies several critical issues, including power-plant disruptions due to drought and the disruption of fuel supplies during severe storms. It also highlights potential opportunities that would make the country's energy infrastructure more resilient to these risks.
Accompanying the report is an interactive map that illustrates places where three climate trends have caused major issues to the energy sector across the country over the past ten years:
- Increasing air and water temperatures;
- Decreasing water availability across regions and seasons; and
- Increasing intensity and frequency of storm events, flooding and sea level rise.
Mapping the MinesJuly 15, 2013
The Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey has a treasure trove of information about sand mining in Wisconsin (and many other subjects). One of their most recent publications shows the industrial sand potential for the entire state of Wisconsin.
Energy Dept. Compares Cost of Gas v. Cost of ElectricityJuly 15, 2013
The U.S. Dept. of Energy has released an online tool intended to allow consumers to compare the costs of fueling electric vehicles versus driving on gasoline. The press release announcing the new online tool notes, “Over time, consumers will notice that the eGallon price will be far more stable and predictable than gasoline prices. That’s because the eGallon price depends on electricity prices, which historically are very stable; gasoline prices depend on the global oil market, which can be very unstable and are often influenced by unpredictable international events.”
Pres. Obama Unveils Climate Change PlanJune 25, 2013
Pres. Obama has laid out a sweeping new climate change plan. The plan, which would cut carbon emissions in the United States and encourage other countries to do so as well, bypasses Congress, opting to achieve the president’s policy goals via executive action.
Foundation Testifies on Mercury EmissionsMay 21, 2013
The Great Lakes Legal Foundation testified at the May 21 meeting of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board on Board Agenda Item 2.A.1. – Approval of the Department’s recommendation contained in the report to the Board on Wisconsin’s State Mercury Air Emission Rule.
The Foundation supported the Department’s recommendation to modify the state mercury rule to begin second phase emissions reductions on April 16, 2016, rather than the current January 1, 2015 compliance date. However, the Foundation testified that this recommendation is unnecessary and based on a flawed reading of the law.
Analyzing the Impacts of Industrial SandMay 2, 2013
The April 2013 issue of Wisconsin Interest, the magazine published by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, has an article making an economic and environmental argument in favor of frac sand mining. The article, "Mining Success," also discusses the impact the sand industry has had on local governing boards.
EPA Proposes Standards for Vehicle Emissions and FuelsApril 26, 2013
EPA has proposed to significantly reduce emissions of conventional air pollutants from cars and trucks while at the same time reducing the amount of sulfur in the nation’s gasoline supply. The new rules, which are known as “Tier 3” emissions and fuel standards, attempt to harmonize federal emissions requirements with California state requirements, creating one national market for automobiles.
EPA Revises Utility MATS Limits for New Power PlantsApril 26, 2013
On March 28, EPA finalized revisions to the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, or MATS (also known as “Utility MACT”) for new power plants, which were originally promulgated in February 2012.
EPA Proposes Water Pollution Rules for New and Existing Power PlantsApril 24, 2013
The EPA has released its long-awaited proposed rule for regulating pollution discharges into waters of the United States from 1,200 power plants nationwide, as well as from any new plants.
Settlement Shutters More Wisconsin Coal PlantsApril 22, 2013
The EPA, Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WPL), and various co-defendants and co-plaintiffs, have entered into a settlement agreement which will significantly alter Wisconsin’s energy generation portfolio and cost over a billion dollars. This action is part of a larger EPA plan to “eliminate or minimize emissions from coal-fired power plants, cement plants, glass plants and acid plants, which have been shown to seriously affect human health and the environment, by ensuring that there are no under-controlled coal-fired electric generating units, cement, acid, or glass plants.”
Energy & the EconomyMarch 27, 2013
A new blog post from the Dept. of Energy’s Energy Information Administration explores the correlation between changing energy uses and fluctuation in GDP. While the two measures are linked, correlation does not imply causation.
New Factsheet Available for Local Water PlantsMarch 27, 2013
Depending on the type of equipment they use and the air pollutants emitted from that equipment, some local wastewater treatment plants and water supply systems in Wisconsin may be required to get an air pollution control permit from Wisconsin DNR.
A new factsheet, WWTP and Water Supply Systems – Do I Need an Air Pollution Permit?, has been developed to help operators of wastewater treatment plants and water supply systems determine whether they need to get an air pollution permit, as well as the requirements for emergency engines or generators used at these facilities.
Obama Administration Announces Nominees to Head EPA & DOEMarch 27, 2013
Federal cabinet secretaries rarely serve for the entire time the President who appointed them is in office, such is the case with the U.S. EPA and the Dept. of Energy.
Independent Panel to Peer Review EPA’s Fracking ResearchMarch 27, 2013
The EPA’s independent Science Advisory Board (SAB) has announced the formation of a Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory panel. This panel of independent experts will peer review EPA’s 2014 draft report of results for its national study on any potential health and environmental impacts of fracking on drinking water resources.
DOE Study: Deep Cuts Possible in Transportation Petroleum Use & EmissionsMarch 27, 2013
A study released by two U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories on March 15 reveals strategies to reduce petroleum use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transportation sector by more than 80% by 2050.
Interview with PSC Highlights Regional & Federal RegulationMarch 18, 2013
In an interview with The Wheeler Report, Phil Montgomery, the Chairman of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin discussed the challenges of the agency and the agencies move to more regional work.
PSC Hosting Seminar for AttorneysMarch 1, 2013
Attorneys or members of the public interested in tips on how to practice before the PSC are invited to attend an educational seminar on April 10, 2013 at the PSC. The free, 1.5-hour seminar will help both experienced and novice attorneys navigate Commission proceedings.
PSC Denies Wind Farm PermitFebruary 27, 2013
On a 2-1 vote, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) decided to deny the application of Highland Wind Farm, LLC, for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to construct a 102.5 Megawatt Wind Electric Facility in the Towns of Forest and Cylon in St. Croix County.
EIA Explores Cellulosic Biofuels ShortfallFebruary 26, 2013
Obama Threatens Executive Action on Climate and Energy in State of the UnionFebruary 14, 2013
In his State of the Union address, Pres. Obama exhorted Congress to adopt a “bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change” and warned that if “Congress won’t act soon” he will direct his Cabinet to come up with “executive actions.”