This weekly newsletter focused on environmental issues highlights relevant analysis done by the John Locke Foundation and other think tanks, as well as items in the news.
1. Texas refuses to cooperate with EPA
In declaring carbon dioxide (CO2) a pollutant to be regulated under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has created a dilemma for itself. The CAA states that any entity that emits 250 tons a year of any air pollutant must be regulated. The problem is that when it comes to CO2 emissions this threshold is extremely unreasonable. All kinds of businesses from grocery and department stores to restaurants and apartment complexes would be subject to direct regulation under the current wording of the Act. To apply the CAA rules to CO2 would be a regulatory nightmare for state, local, and federal government and the businesses that would have to comply. CO2 is ubiquitous and is emitted by all human activity, including breathing. To get around this the EPA has, in direct defiance of the law, changed the level for CO2 to 100,000 tons. EPA is telling states, under something they are calling the "tailoring rule," to implement a permitting program using this standard. Texas is refusing to play the game. They are claiming that the EPA, first, has no right to rewrite the CAA unilaterally and, second, that the CAA does not authorize the regulation in the first place. The JLF’s Daren Bakst has written an excellent analysis of the Texas decision on the energy blog "The Master Resource" arguing that other states, such as North Carolina, should follow Texas’ lead.
2. Federal-level climate legislation appears to be dead for this year, according to Al Gore.
Al Gore is brooding over the fact that cap and trade is apparently dying on the vine, at least for this year. This article by Steve Milloy at JunkScience.com tells the story. On the other hand, the EPA is ignoring the will of the people and moving full steam ahead.
3. Ozone Report — For the week of Aug. 8-Aug. 14, the N.C. Division of Air Quality reports three high-ozone readings registered on North Carolina monitors — the Mendenhall monitor in Guilford County (0.076 ppm); the Rockwell monitor in Rowan County (0.078 ppm); and the County Line Monitor in Mecklenburg County (0.076 ppm). From April 1 through Aug. 14, North Carolina has had 96 high-ozone readings (0.076 ppm or above over an eight-hour period). These readings were scattered around the state over 33 (Note: last week’s newsletter reported this number in error as 34) out of 39 different monitors and over 21 different days. Most of the high-ozone days to date have occurred in the Charlotte area and in the Triad.
Links to recent JLF reports on ozone: