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Climate Change and Renewable Energy: Saving Our Planet for Future Generations

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Trump: Human Health, the Environment and Profit

Sustainable living on a sustainable planet!

Let’s hand our children a healthy planet!

The changes being enacted will have a huge effect on public health and the environment

By Dr. John J. Hidore

April 5, 2017—-Millions of people are astounded at the sudden change in the position of the government of the United States on such issues as public health, public education and the environment.. The policies of our national government changed in an instant when Donald Trump was elected president and the Republican Party retained control of the House of representatives and the Senate. The platform of the elected president was to return the nation’s policies to another time when corporations ruled supreme with no regulation. At the beginning of 2017, the majority of the states already were under control of people that wanted to set the United States back to another time. With the election of the president, the Republican Party began planning for the takeover of the United States government. They are moving rapidly to make sure their agenda is in place.

President Trump’s Goals on Public Health and the Environment

The current president has filled his cabinet with men and women that have made it their business to use whatever means necessary to do two things. (1) eliminate or bypass the regulations this country has established to protect its citizens against heavy handed treatment by individuals and corporations, (2) to remove all regulations that protect the natural resources that sustain life on the planet. Many of the newly appointed government officials have publicly denounced or denied that global warming and climate change are real in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They have also started to cut many social services in favor of free enterprise.

The Barefoot College

Gandhi’s Philosophy: The small villages must be empowered.

The Environmental Protection Agency

One of the primary organizations, whose purpose it is to protect the public from adverse environmental changes and provide safeguards for natural resources, is the EPA. There are (or were at the beginning of 2017) more than 9000 employees in the EPA. They included men and women from a variety of sciences along with management personnel. The EPA was established in 1970 by congress to protect and to create and maintain a healthy environment for the people of the United States. In past years it has set an example for the rest of the world. The clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act were both created by the EPA.

Global Greenhouse Gases

Climate Change

Scott Pruitt: An Opponent of the EPA

Less that a month after his election, President Trump nominated Scott Pruitt, a lawyer and former attorney general of Oklahoma, to head the EPA. A brief examination of Pruitt’s past record establishes his credentials for fulfilling his task. He has often expressed his doubts as to whether global warming is real. Pruitt has filed 14 different lawsuits against the EPA. One of these lawsuits challenged the EPA regulations limiting the emission of greenhouse gases from power plants using fossil fuels. He also sued the government over regulations established under the Clean Water Act. As a supporter of the fossil fuel industry, in his confirmation hearings he refused to turn over large numbers of emails between himself and corporate executives of energy companies. In the hearings he indicated he doubted that greenhouse gas emissions were the fundamental cause of global warming or that sea level was rising. He joins President Trump and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in this opinion.

Pruitt Begins the Process of Gutting the EPA

Scott Pruitt was appointed head of the EPA to lead the way in eliminating environmental regulations that have or would cut into corporate profits. He began his task almost immediately by reducing personnel and cutting spending. President Trump’s proposed budget to the next budget period cuts the EPA budget by 31% and employees by 20%. President Trump has accused the agency of creating junk science. Pruitt is in the process of taking science out of the EPA and replacing scientists with industry representatives.

The changes being enacted will have a huge effect on public health and the environment. Pruitt plans to eliminate nearly 50 programs now operated by the EPA. Some of the most effective programs run by the EPA will be cut back or eliminated. These include the Clean Power plan, the Clean Water Plan and the Office of Environmental Justice. which was enacted in 1992. A bill has also been introduced into the house that would eliminate the EPA altogether by the end of 2018.

New Legislation in 2017 Eliminates the Progress Made Over Many Decades

To accomplish his goal of eliminating regulations on corporations, Trump’s team is proposing the Honest and Open New EPA Science and Treatment Act of 2017 (HR 1430). It is being referred to as the Honest Act. Another new piece of legislation enacts the EPA Science Advisory Board. The act would prohibit scientists who receive funds from the EPA from serving on the board. However, the bill allows industry representatives to sit on the board.

Republican Controlled Legislatures Play Follow the Leader

Many state governments began the process of eliminating regulations protecting people from corporations before Trump was elected president. Beginning in 2011 the state of North Carolina began passing legislation to protect polluters. In response to pressure by some major companies they rescinded previously enacted laws protecting the people from atmospheric pollutants. They also took the step of eliminating nearly half of the air quality monitors in the state. These steps made it difficult to deny applications from corporations to exempt them from emission regulations. Other states have now followed the lead of the federal government.

This attack on the EPA is in line with the President’s policies. There will be no regulation of business. Free enterprise and the accumulation of wealth is what the Trump administration represents.

Every citizen who objects to these new policies should become an activist by whatever means they can. Act now before it is too late!

Trump, Pruitt and the EPA



Complications of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Will the EPA do enough to make a difference?

Five states have the top polluting coal plants int the U.S.

Are complicated politics going to fix our planet’s changing climate or is it time for each individual American to take responsibility for the growing problem?

By Linn Smith

June 18, 2014—-An article in the USA TODAY, June 9, 2014, titled, Retiring Coal Plants Won’t Do Much to Clean Air, caught my attention while sitting in the local cafe in a small town in the mid-west. Why? Because the proposed plants to be closed account for only 4% of all the CO2 emissions in the U.S. and “are mostly small, old generating units in the Midwest and South.” According to USA TODAY, the top polluting coal plants are located predominantly in five states. Texas has the most with 19, followed by Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Alabama and Georgia and the top 10% of these coal plants account for 69% of the carbon release in the U.S.

The Clean Power Plan

With the latest version of the Clean Power Plan that the EPA is proposing, the guidelines in many cases will build on what states are already doing to cut pollution. But for states that aren’t moving away from coal, the coal dependent states such as West Virginia, lower guidelines are proposed by the EPA. West Virginia could have a target carbon emissions reduction of only 20% by 2030, while states, such as New York, could have a reduction target of 44%, because they are already headed toward cleaner energy which makes it easier for them to meet their standards.

States have 2 years, until 2016, to submit their plans, with the option to use a two-step process for submitting final plans, if more time is needed. States can meet their targets by requiring efficiency upgrades at coal plants, create programs to save energy in homes and businesses or by using cleaner-burning natural gas as well as zero-carbon renewable sources such as solar, wind and nuclear. The “or” is important here. It gives states the choice. The EPA has stated on their website: We have identified four measures–that are commonly used, technically sound, affordable, and that result in significant reductions in carbon intensity. They are – 1) improving efficiency at existing coal-fired power plants, 2) increasing utilization of existing natural gas fired power plants, 3) expanding the use of wind, solar, or other low- or zero-emitting alternatives, and 4) increasing energy efficiency in homes and businesses. States can choose one or any combination of the four measures to meet their goal. If they choose increasing energy efficiency to homes, it is my understanding, that the largest coal plants may not be required to make any changes. Or as USA TODAY wrote, there could be changes only to some of the smaller, older plants, The choices are left up to each state.

Equalizing the Effort Among States

Dallas Burtraw, one of the nation’s foremost experts on environmental regulation in the electricity sector, stated at a recent “Resources for the Future” Seminar, ” When you look at the rule (of the EPA) and the justification and how these building blocks are described and constructed, there’s no appearance that the EPA is explicitly invoking a criteria of achieving an equal marginal cost (among states). What it appears they really are doing, for example, (in the blended emission rate—the different states have very different emission rates)—is equalizing the effort that different states are going to have to make. I’m imposing this; that’s not explicitly stated by the EPA, so that’s my opinion. Having said that, I think it is true that there’s going to be very different marginal costs, although total costs in the different states to achieve what’s being asked of them are sort of similar.” He also recently stated, ” The biggest single way to reduce carbon emissions is to cut coal use. In fact, according to EIA data, U.S. coal plants have cut carbon emissions 21% since 2005, but that’s mainly because they cut generation 21% (due to renewables) at the same time.”

The Cap and Trade Program

Jeffery Holmstead, former Assistant Administrator for the EPA under the Bush administration, left the EPA to become a lobbiest for the big coal companies. He says, “These coal plants won’t be retiring anytime soon because it’s not cost effective to replace the biggest emmitters”– in other words, it’s not cost effective for the coal companies. Holmstead attended the recent “Resources for the Future” Seminar saying, ” States have complete flexibility…..I think that the targets (for each state) will not be meetable in many states, unless they have either a cap and trade program or a carbon tax. There’s no other way to accomplish these goals without being really heavy handed and expensive. So I think many states will face the basic question, do we want to have a cap and trade program or a carbon tax, and EPA lets you have either or some other thing, so it’s entirely a question of politics, not a question of law.”

The “Cap and Trade” that he is referring to is an attempt to reduce emissions by providing profit incentives. A limit (cap) on pollutions is set and companies can sell their unused portion of allowed pollution to another company that can’t comply with their cap limit, they produce more pollution than is allowed. Europe implemented this system in 2005, but most people think it’s a failure in reducing CO2. Alex Berezow, founding editor of RealClearScience concludes, “It suffers from considerable drawbacks, such as unpredictable price fluctuations and the creation of an inefficient, complex bureaucracy which leads to corruption. This fosters a chaotic atmosphere that is not only bad for business, but undermines public confidence in a government’s ability to reduce CO2 emissions.”

In conclusion, I have only questions: Are complicated politics going to fix our planet’s changing climate or is it time for each individual American to take responsibility for the growing problem? Can we size down instead of sizing up in our domestic comforts? If we wait for politicians to solve the global warming problem, it could be too late. The world of politics is complicated. Also, China, the top producer of CO2 on our planet, is polluting so we can have cheap stuff. What are we willing to sacrifice? In my opinion, bigger and cheaper is not going to save our planet!