EJToday: Top Headlines
EJToday is SEJ's selection of new and outstanding stories on environmental topics in print and on the air, updated every weekday. SEJ also offers a free e-mailed digest of the day's EJToday postings, called SEJ-beat. SEJ members are subscribed automatically, but may opt out here. Non-members may subscribe here. EJToday is also available via RSS feed. Please see Editorial Guidelines for EJToday content.
"Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu today vowed to block the Senate's confirmation of a top White House nominee until the Obama administration takes action on its deepwater drilling moratorium."
"The federal loan guarantee program and other aid for new nuclear plants may not be enough to induce Constellation Energy to build a third reactor at its Calvert Cliffs site, 40 miles south of Washington, the company’s president and chief executive said on Thursday."
At a White House meeting Wednesday, several federal agencies renewed environmental justice pledges, reviving an interagency working group that had not met since the middle of the Clinton administration.
"Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) will remain the ranking Republican on the Senate energy committee despite her running as a write-in candidate for reelection against GOP leadership wishes."
The gas-drilling boom that is sweeping Pennsylvania is demonstrating the power of money to overcome landowners' reluctance and influence legislators and regulators. This fall, a gusher of gas-industry political campaign donations is spewing.
In a last-gasp effort to pass some energy legislation this year, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill requiring utilities to generate at least 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. But they do not yet have the votes, and the first chance for action would be in a lame-duck session. The House has already passed such a bill.
"For the roughly 130 power plants, refineries and other facilities embroiled in the air permitting dispute between U.S. EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, a new program being finalized by EPA could allow them to get on with business as usual."
"U.S. EPA is considering two former Halliburton Co. executives along with one of the most outspoken critics of hydraulic fracturing to provide independent expert advice on its study of the polarizing drilling practice."
The Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday, September 22, will hold a hearing on the National Flood Insurance Program, which is teetering under some $19 billion in debt. The NFIP is set to expire Sept. 30, just as the hurricane season reaches its height. Congress has allowed the NFIP to expire four times already this year.
The new legal environment set by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision has prompted a deluge of secret money flowing into this election cycle. In some cases, it helps fossil-fuel corporations and billionaires masquerade as grass-roots groups while they try to change environmental, energy, and climate policy.
"Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has canceled a $125,000 contract with a consulting firm that sent a bulletin to the state's Office of Homeland Security in which it described opponents of natural gas drilling as 'environmental extremists' and suggested they were a threat to the state."
FBI agents during the Bush administration "investigated members of the environmental advocacy group Greenpeace over their protest activities 'with little or no basis,' [a Justice Department Inspector General's] report said. Agents kept the case open for more than three years, even though no charges were filed, and put the activists on a terrorist watch list, it said."
"Few Americans say their religion influences their environmental views, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press."
"U.S. regulators are likely to approve a higher blend of ethanol in U.S. gasoline shortly, an ethanol producers group and the top U.S. agriculture official each said on Friday, and the new fuel mix could be selling at the pump by next spring."
"The top federal regulator of oil and gas pipelines is facing withering criticism for her ties to industry and her agency's floundering response to recent oil-pipeline spills in the Midwest and last week's deadly gas pipeline explosion in California."