Monday, April 02, 2007

Literary Warrant [4]

  • beSpacific, EPA's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Data For 2005 Releases (March 23, 2007)

    "The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) is a database containing detailed information on nearly 650 chemicals and chemical categories that over 23,000 industrial and federal facilities manage through disposal or other releases, and waste management for recycling, energy recovery, or treatment. This inventory was established under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA) and expanded by the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990.

    "For Reporting Year 2005, 23,461 facilities reported to EPA's TRI Program. These facilities reported 4.34 billion pounds of on-site and off-site disposal or other releases of the almost 650 toxic chemicals. Over 88 percent of the total was disposed of or otherwise released on-site; almost 12 percent was sent off-site for disposal or other releases."—What is the Toxics Release Inventory and what do the data show for 2005?

  • Jonathan I. Levy, Andrew M. Wilson & Leonard M. Zwack, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Quantifying the Efficiency and Equity Implications of Power Plant Air Pollution Control Strategies in the United States (Environmental Health Perspectives, doi:10.1289/ehp.9712) (January 22, 2007)

    "Background—In deciding among competing approaches for emissions control, debates often hinge on the potential tradeoffs between efficiency and equity. However, previous health benefits analyses have not formally addressed both dimensions.

    "Objectives—In this study, we modeled the public health benefits and the change in the spatial inequality of health risk for a number of hypothetical control scenarios for power plants in the United States, to determine optimal control strategies."—Abstract.

  • Tarek Maassarani, Government Accountability Project, Redacting the Science of Climate Change: An Investigative and Synthesis Report (March 2007)

    "This report, which presents and synthesizes the findings of a year-long investigation to determine the extent of political interference at federal climate science agencies, demonstrates how policies and practices have increasingly restricted the flow of scientific information emerging from publicly-funded climate change research. This has affected the media's ability to report on the science, public officials' capacity to respond with appropriate policies, and the public's grasp of an environmental issue with profound consequences for our future.


    "The investigation found no incidents of direct interference with climate change research. Instead, unduly restrictive policies and practices were located largely in the communication of 'sensitive' scientific information to the media, the public, and Congress. In this context, 'sensitive scientific information' is meant to signify that science which does not support existing policy positions or objectives in research dealing with the effects of climate change or greenhouse gases on hurricanes, sea levels, Arctic ice loss, marine life, and human society."—Executive Summary and Synthesis.

    See the March 27 press release for further summary information.

  • Peter Spiro, Opinio Juris, The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law and the Rise of Academic Reference Works (March 26, 2007)

    "Just out from Oxford University Press: The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law, edited by my former University of Georgia colleague Dan Bodansky along with Jutta Brunnee and Ellen Hey. It's an impressive collection of 47 entries, with contributions from the likes of Christopher Stone, Peter Sand, Richard Stewart, Scott Barrett, Benedict Kingsbury, and Steve Ratner. I have a chapter on NGOs; my Temple Law colleague Jeff Dunoff has one on levels of environmental governance. I know this took a lot of energy on the part of the editors, and it has paid off with a rich, interdisciplinary volume."

  • United Nations Environment Programme, Buildings and Climate Change: Status, Challenges and Opportunities (2007)

    "The pattern of energy use in buildings is strongly related to the building type and the climate zone where it is located. The level of development also has an effect. Today, most of the energy consumption occurs during the building's operational phase, for heating, cooling and lighting purposes, which urges building professionals to produce more energy-efficient buildings and renovate existing stocks according to modern sustainability criteria. The diversity of buildings, their distinct uses and extended life cycle pose a challenge for the prescription of energy conservation measures. Specific solutions are needed for each situation, such as for the construction of new buildings, for the renovation of existing ones, for small family houses and for large commercial complexes."—Executive Summary.

  • United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Coastal Barrier Resources System: Status of Development That Has Occurred and Financial Assistance Provided by Federal Agencies (Report to the Honorable Wayne T.Gilchrest, House of Representatives, GA-07-356) (March 2007)

    "An estimated 84 percent of CBRS units remain undeveloped, while 16 percent have experienced some level of development. About 13 percent of the developed units experienced minimal levels of development—typically consisting of less than 20 additional structures per unit since becoming part of the CBRS, and about 3 percent experienced significant development—consisting of 100 or more structures per unit—since becoming part of the CBRS. According to federal and local officials, CBRA has played little role in the extent of development within the CBRS units that we reviewed because they believe that other factors have been more important in inhibiting development. These include (1) the lack of suitably developable land in the unit; (2) the lack of accessibility to the unit; (3) state laws discouraging development within coastal areas; and (4) ownership of land within the unit by groups, such as the National Audubon Society, who are seeking to preserve its natural state. In units that GAO reviewed where development had occurred, federal and local officials also identified a number of factors that have contributed to development despite the unit’s inclusion in the CBRS. These include (1) a combination of commercial interest and public desire to build in the unit, (2) local government support for development, and (3) the availability of affordable private flood insurance."—What GAO Found.

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