TAG: Congress

EPA Could Save Arctic

EPA Could Save Arctic

As the threat of climate change becomes an actuality and the polar ice caps begin to melt, the search for a viable solution to curb and combat global warming has intensified. The biggest obstacle, and there are many, to discerning legitimate strategies has been the national government of the particular area that is under scrutiny. In the United States, the federal government, specifically Congress, has been a thorn in the side of environmental advocacy groups. As expected, the inaction on domestic efforts to combat climate change has continued toward foreign efforts, especially in the Arctic Circle, which has been the subject… read more

Executive Power

Executive Powers

It has become abundantly clear there is a dire necessity for action on combatting climate change. Whether that action is in the form of environmental policy reform and regulation, or energy policy reform, one thing is clear: maintaining the status quo is a recipe for disaster. However, the president is not a miracle worker, and is also not a solitary worker. The Constitution requires a balance of power, thus inter-dependency between the three branches, which is a double-edged blade, to say the least. The checks-and-balances system allows for moderation in the government, which is responsible, but it also allows for lack of… read more

Toxic Goals

US tax credits

As the end of the year approaches, the time for the federal government to take action on the wind tax credit is dwindling. Of course, there are vested interests and special interest groups lobbying for each side—extending or letting the credits expire—and some groups are more powerful than others. Fossil fuel groups have been increasing their mobilization to defeat the credit, and their agendas and intentions are becoming less discreet. The American Energy Alliance, which has ties to far-right Koch Industries, stated this week it aims to make the wind tax credit a toxic issue for House Republicans; Benjamin Cole,… read more

Is Cap and Trade Needed?

Cap and trade policy

Cap-and-trade has derailed political discussions and political action regarding environmental and energy policy, and as a result, the necessity of a cap-and-trade policy has been questioned. Simply stated, the answer is fairly straight-forward: cap-and-trade is ineffective in the short-term, at least in the United States, yet critical for long-term emission reduction and responsible energy policy. Negotiations over a cap-and-trade bill in the Senate collapsed in April 2010, leaving a void in environmental policy with responsible energy management legislation. Interestingly enough, even without a cap-and-trade policy established, U.S. carbon emissions continued to drop. Since 2006, the United States has cut its… read more

Clean Sweep to the Wall

Renewable energy

According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s September 2012 Energy Infrastructure Update, every megawatt of new electrical generating capacity installed in the United States in September was either wind or solar power. However, this is solely the case for September; the cumulative January through September data gathered shows natural gas and coal are still staples for the United States’ energy palate. 433 megawatts of electricity generated from clean sources, which in this case is wind and solar, were installed in the U.S. in September, bringing the January through September total for wind power to 4,055 megawatts, and 936 megawatts from… read more

Support from the Masses

Solar energy support

A recent poll conducted by Ipsos-Reid shows nine out of ten respondents favor solar energy as part of a U.S. energy policy and a bigger part of the energy supply. Additionally, 81% believe solar power should be used in state and federal residencies, such as governor’s houses and the White House, and 80% want their elected representatives to support solar energy. Further, 81% of respondents said decreasing dependency on fossil fuels is good for the economy and environment, and 80% said financial benefits are the biggest advantages to solar power. Finally, 72% believe solar industry jobs are better than their… read more

Environmental Records

President Obama's Environmental Record

While it is still too close to assume anything, including a President Obama victory in the November elections, it can be assumed the environmental policies established under the Obama administration will be continued and built upon in a second term. Unfortunately, progress on environmental policy has been difficult given the continual feud between the administration and the House of Representatives, but President Obama has utilized his authority to exercise executive powers to instigate the most sweeping attack on air pollution in U.S. history. He has imposed the first carbon-dioxide limits on new power plants, steered billions of federal dollars to… read more

Green Energy In Jeopardy

Green Energy in Jeopardy

Green energy is in jeopardy—this is not surprising or shocking, and certainly not new, but the degree to which green energy is in jeopardy is increasing, and the U.S. House of Representatives is one of the primary culprits. On September 14th, amidst the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Cairo and Benghazi, the House of Representatives passed the “No More Solyndras Act”, which aims to prevent post-2011 Department of Energy (DoE) loans to green energy firms. The act is named after the failure of Solyndra, a green energy firm which received a $535 million federal loan in 2009 and went… read more

Last Minute House Bill

Last Minute House Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a sweeping anti-environmental bill as their last act before leaving Washington D.C. until after the November elections. The bill is called the Stop the War on Coal Act (SWCA), H.R. 3409, and applies to more areas than just the coal industry. It is a package act of four previously passed House GOP bills, plus another one aimed at blocking pollution standards. The bill is full of industry deregulations, and begins the far-right position of dismantling the EPA: eliminating clean car standards, nullify mercury and air toxic standards, weaken the Clean Water Act and block… read more

Congress Still an Obstacle

Congress Still An Obstacle

Amidst all the attention surrounding the upcoming presidential election, it seems as though Congress has been exempt from criticism surrounding the environment. This could be in part due to the extremely low public approval ratings of Congress which contribute to apathy, and the recognition of certain powerful members of Congress being unwilling to do anything about the environment. For whatever reasons, Congress has been flying under the radar as of late, which is frequently a bad thing. As expected, members of Congress took this opportunity to get controversial measures passed, especially through the House of Representatives. Led by U.S. Representative… read more