Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Literary Warrant [9]

  • beSpacific, President Declares Major Disaster For Kansas (May 7, 2007)

    Links to press releases and other resources related to the tornado and flooding disaster.

  • Gretchen Beyer, Senior Vice President, TechNet, Green Technologies: An Innovation Agenda for America (Recommendations of the TechNet Green Technologies Task Force) (2007)

    "TechNet, the bipartisan political network of chief executives that promotes the growth of the innovation economy, today unveiled comprehensive policy recommendations to spur the development and adoption of new technologies to improve energy efficiency, encourage use of renewable energy and protect the environment."—Press release (March 14, 2007)

  • Climate Change?

    Figuratively speaking, that is, as in Lawsuit Climate 2007: Ranking the States. "The 2007 State Liability Systems Ranking Study was conducted for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform among a national sample of in-house general counsel or other senior corporate litigators to explore how reasonable and balanced the tort liability system is perceived to be by U.S. business. The 2007 ranking builds on previous years' work where each year all 50 states are ranked by those familiar with the litigation environment in that state. Prior to these rankings, information regarding the attitudes of the business world towards the legal systems in each of the states had been largely anecdotal. The State Liability Systems Ranking Study aims to quantify how corporate attorneys view the state systems."—Executive Summary.

  • Mike Daulton, Director of Conservation Policy, National Audubon Society, Impacts of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats (Testimony...Before the Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans) (May 1, 2007)

    "As the threats of global warming loom ever larger, alternative energy sources like wind power are essential. Many new wind power projects will need to be constructed across the country as part of any serious nationwide effort to address global warming. This shift toward renewable energy is well underway. According to the American Wind Energy Association, over the past year the U.S. wind energy industry installed more than 2,400 megawatts of new power generation, making wind one of the largest sources of new power generation in the country at a time of growing electricity demand. The state of Texas recently announced its intention to become the country's wind power capital. Audubon supports the expansion of properly-sited wind power as a solution to global warming, and supports federal legislation, such as the Production Tax Credit and a Renewable Electricity Standard, which would further encourage this expansion and help to reduce pollution from fossil fuels.

    "At the same time, it is critical that this expansion be managed responsibly, because it is clear that wind facilities are capable of killing a large number of birds and other wildlife. Some early wind projects like Altamont in California are notorious for killing many raptors, including Golden Eagles. The lessons learned from Altamont still loom over the industry: if wind turbines are located in the wrong places, they can be hazardous and they can fragment critical habitat. In cases where the birds affected are already in trouble, such as sage grouse in windy parts of the Plains States, the turbines could push them closer to extinction."

  • Mark Gaffigan, Acting Director Natural Resources and Environment, Government Accountability Office (GAO), Maritime Security: Opportunities Exist to Further Clarify the Consequences of a Liquefied Natural Gas Tanker Spill (Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, House of Representatives) (May 7, 2007)

    "The six studies GAO reviewed examining the potential effect of a fire resulting from an LNG spill produced varying results; some studies also examined other potential hazards of a large LNG spill and reached consistent conclusions on explosions. Specifically, the studies' conclusions about the distance at which 30 seconds of exposure to the heat (heat hazard) could burn people ranged from less than 1/3 of a mile to about 1-1/4 miles. Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) conducted one of the studies and concluded, based on its analysis of multiple attack scenarios, that a good estimate of the heat hazard distance would be about 1 mile. Federal agencies use this conclusion to assess proposals for new LNG import terminals."—What GAO Found.

  • Duncan Hollis, Opinio Juris (blog), Passing Gas through Passamaquoddy Bay (May 9, 2007)

    "Two different liquefied natural gas (LNG) companies are seeking approval from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build storage terminals along Maine's coastline abutting Passamaquoddy Bay. One proposal would have the LNG facility lie within the Passamaquoddy tribe’s Pleasant Point reservation (The Quoddy LNG project) while another would have it in Robbinston, Maine (the Downeast LNG project). There's already some tension between the two competing projects that may effect how the issue plays out down the line, but for now FERC is proceeding with its 18 month approval process on both applications. The Quoddy LNG projects appears our in front, having signed a contract a few weeks ago to buy a 300 acre parcel from the Passamaquoddy tribe for the terminal site.

    "The real controversy though lies outside the U.S. regulatory process in questions over how the LNG will reach any newly built terminals. To get to the Maine shoreline in Passamaquoddy Bay, tankers would need to traverse Head Harbor Passage and that passage by all accounts falls within Canadian waters. Canada along with several grass roots organizations do not want giant LNG tankers transiting these waters, which are narrow and difficult to navigate, raising the spectre of significant environmental and property damage should an accident (or even a terrorist attack) occur."

  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of Climate Change—Summary for Policymakers (Working Group III contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report) (May 7, 2007)

    "The Working Group III contribution to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) focuses on new literature on the scientific, technological, environmental, economic and social aspects of mitigation of climate change, published since the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR) and the Special Reports on COB2B Capture and Storage (SRCCS) and on Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System (SROC).

    "The following summary is organised into six sections after this introduction:
    • Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission trends

    • Mitigation in the short and medium term, across different economic sectors (until 2030)

    • Mitigation in the long-term (beyond 2030)

    • Policies, measures and instruments to mitigate climate change

    • Sustainable development and climate change mitigation

    • Gaps in knowledge."—Introduction.

  • National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices, A Governor's Guide to Homeland Security (2007)

    "A Governor's Guide to Homeland Security contains practical advice for governors on how to organize their states to prepare for and respond to hazards of all kinds effectively. It shares information and guidance on how to approach issues such as mutual aid, information sharing, obtaining assistance from the military and protecting critical infrastructure. Last published in 2002, the guide includes a significant amount of new and updated information."—Press release (March 15, 2007)

  • Cymie R. Payne, ASIL Insight: U.S. Supreme Court, Greenhouse Gas Regulation and Foreign Policy Considerations, v.12, no.1 (May 3, 2007)

    "In time for Earth Day, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in the well-publicized case, Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, directing the agency to reconsider its refusal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Justice Stevens opens with the facts of climate change that are the background to the case: respected scientists believe a well-documented rise in global temperatures is related to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the harms associated with climate change are serious and well recognized, and the transportation sector is a very large emitter of carbon dioxide. The Court reviews the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the history of U.S. diplomacy, the development of the international climate regime starting with scientific cooperation through the IPCC to the 1992 Earth Summit where the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed, and ultimately the Kyoto Protocol."

  • Kenneth S. Rukstales & Jeffrey J. Love, United States Geological Survey (USGS), The International Geomagnetic Reference Field, 2005

    Strictly speaking, these maps are more "dynamic" than "juris," but they are "five world charts showing the declination, inclination, horizontal intensity, vertical component, and total intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field at mean sea level at the beginning of 2005." Further details, including an informative FAQs, may be found at the National Geomagnetism Program.

  • Edward B. Rust, Jr., & Kerry Killinger, Financial Services Roundtable Blue Ribbon Commission on Mega-Catastrophes, A Call to Action (2007)

    "Federal, state and local governments, the private sector, and American citizens themselves, must be substantially better prepared to face the devastating impact of future mega-catastrophes. Governments at all levels, together with the private sector, must do a better job of attending to the human and economic needs of victims immediately after mega-catastrophes. These are two of the findings released in a new report A Call To Action by the Financial Services Roundtable Blue Ribbon Commission on Mega-Catastrophes. The report identifies other disaster preparedness needs and offers 25 recommendations to better prepare the nation for future catastrophes."—Press release (May 4, 2007)

  • UN-Energy, Sustainable Bioenergy: A Framework for Decision Makers (April 2007)

    "The report pointed out the many benefits of bioenergy systems in relation to poverty alleviation, access to energy services, rural development and rural infrastructure. It reviewed the likely impact of bioenergy in terms of food security, climate change, biodiversity and natural resources, employment and trade. It also identified the vital points decision makers need to consider and stressed that, 'Unless new policies are enacted to protect threatened lands, secure socially acceptable land use, and steer bioenergy development in a sustainable direction overall, the environmental and social damage could in some cases outweigh the benefits.'"—FAO Newsroom press release (May 8, 2007)

  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Air Trends: Air Quality and Emissions—Progress Continues in 2006

    "An early look at air quality and emissions data for 2006 shows continued improvement in the nation's air quality over the long term, EPA reports. Emissions of six key pollutants have dropped by more than half since 1970 and the national average concentration for each criteria pollutant is below the level of its air quality standard."—Air Pollution Down, Air Quality Up (Press release) (April 30, 2007)

  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) & United States Department of the Interior, Offices of Inspector General, Tribal Successes: Protecting the Environment and Natural Resources (May 2007)

    "Numerous Tribes use innovative practices to protect natural resources and the environment. This report showcases only a small sample of Tribal communities that demonstrate success in achieving natural resource and environmental goals. The overall intent of this report is to highlight examples of successful Tribal practices that will inspire and be useful to others in successfully implementing their own natural resource and environmental programs."—Preface.

  • Urban Land Institute (ULI) & Ernst & Young, Infrastructure 2007: A Global Perspective (2007)

    "The United States' relatively low investment in virtually all aspects of mobility-related infrastructure—airports, public transit, railway systems, roads and bridges—is an 'emerging crisis' that will compromise the ability of the nation’s cities to compete globally, according to a new report co-published by the Urban Land Institute and Ernst & Young.

    "Infrastructure 2007: A Global Perspective offers a comprehensive look at the status of current and planned infrastructure investment and development in a variety of categories in countries worldwide, with a particular focus on the United States, China, Japan, India, and Europe. The first of its kind, the report discusses the evolving infrastructure market, including private and combination public-private systems for funding, construction, operations and management."—Press release (May 9, 2007)

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