Monday, August 20, 2007

Literary Warrant [16]

  • S. Bricker et al., National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NOAA), Effects of Nutrient Enrichment in the Nation's Estuaries: A Decade of Change (NOAA Coastal Ocean Program Decision Analysis Series No. 26) (2007)

    "The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today released a comprehensive assessment of estuarine eutrophication, or nutrient pollution, that clearly indicates linkages between upstream activities and coastal ecosystem health. The report shows that the majority of U.S. estuaries assessed are highly influenced by human-related activities and points out that eutrophication is a widespread problem globally."—Press release (July 31, 2007)

  • Ceres, Investors Achieve Record Results in 2007 in Spurring Corporate Action on Climate Change (Press release) (August 13, 2007)

    "Investors engaging with US companies on the financial risks and opportunities from climate change had their most successful year ever during the 2007 proxy season. A record 43 climate-related shareholder resolutions were filed with US companies this year, of which 15 led to positive actions by businesses such as ConocoPhillips, Wells Fargo and Hartford Insurance. Shareholders withdrew their resolutions after the companies made their climate-related commitments."

  • Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Trends in Public Spending on Transportation and Water Infrastructure, 1956 to 2004 (August 2007)

    "This Congressional Budget Office (CBO) paper describes the trends in public spending for transportation and water infrastructure since 1956. CBO focuses on spending for highways and roads, mass transit, rail, aviation, water transportation, water resources such as the construction and maintenance of dams and levees, and water supply and wastewater treatment. Those types of infrastructure, which draw heavily on federal resources, share the economic characteristics of being relatively capital intensive and producing services under public management that facilitate private economic activity. They are typically the types examined by studies that attempt to calculate the payoff, in terms of benefits to the economy, from government funding of infrastructure."—Preface.

  • Claudia Copeland, Specialist in Resources and Environmental Policy Resources, Science, and Industry Division, Congressional Research Service (CRS), Animal Waste and Water Quality: EPA's Response to the Waterkeeper Alliance Court Decision on Regulation of CAFOs (CRS Report for Congress, Order Code RL33656) (May 16, 2007)

    "On June 30, 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed regulations that would revise a 2003 Clean Water Act rule governing waste discharges from large confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). This proposal was necessitated by a 2005 federal court decision (Waterkeeper Alliance et al. v. EPA, 399 F.3d 486 (2nd Cir. 2005)), resulting from challenges brought by agriculture industry groups and environmental advocacy groups, that vacated parts of the 2003 rule and remanded other parts.

    "The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of pollutants from any 'point
    source' to waters of the United States unless authorized under a permit that is issued by EPA or a qualified state, and the act expressly defines CAFOs as point sources. Permits limiting the type and quantity of pollutants that can be discharged are derived from effluent limitation guidelines promulgated by EPA. The 2003 rule, updating rules that had been in place since the 1970s, revised the way in which discharges of manure, wastewater, and other process wastes from CAFOs are regulated, and it modified both the permitting requirements and applicable effluent limitation guidelines. It contained important first-time requirements: all CAFOs must apply for a discharge permit, and all CAFOs that apply such waste on land must develop and implement a nutrient management plan."—Introduction.

  • Adrian Davis, Carolina Valsecchi & Malcolm Fergusson, Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), Unfit for Purpose: How Car Use Fuels Climate Change and Obesity (August 2007)

    "This study assesses the contribution of this growth in car travel to the decline in human energy expenditure and consequently to the parallel growth in obesity in the UK; and at the same time calculates the contribution to climate change through carbon dioxide emissions as car travel has replaced walking. Through this exploration the study has sought to demonstrate that two of the main challenges facing the UK in health and environment have common origins and some common solutions....

    "For the longer term, active travel habits should be reinforced by using the continual redesign of the built environment to create environments positively discriminating in favour of walking (and cycling). This means placing walking at the top of a road user hierarchy in order to influence all significant future changes to the built environment."—Executive Summary.

  • Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), The Power to Reduce CO2 Emissions: The Full Portfolio (Discussion Paper) (August 2007)

    "This Discussion Paper provides stakeholders with a framework for developing a research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) Action Plan that will enable sustainable and substantial electricity sector CO2 emissions reductions over the coming decades. The technology development pathways and specific research activities discussed in this paper provide a basis for a detailed Action Plan to be published later this year incorporating input from participants in the 2007 EPRI Summer Seminar.

    "The analyses summarized in this paper address the technical feasibility for the sector to achieve large-scale CO2 emissions reductions, the technology development pathways and associated RD&D funding needed to achieve this potential, and the economic impact of realizing emissions reduction targets. Given the 20- to 30-year lead-time needed to fully research, develop, and commercially deploy technologies, it is critical for the industry to define priorities and initiate RD&D activities."—Introduction.

  • Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Review (AER) (DOE/EIA-0384(2006)) (June 2007)

    "he Annual Energy Review (AER) is the Energy Information Administration's primary report of historical annual energy statistics. For many series, data begin with the year 1949. Included are data on total energy production, consumption, and trade; overviews of petroleum, natural gas, coal, electricity, nuclear energy, renewable energy, international energy, as well as financial and environmental indicators; and data unit conversion tables."

  • Carol Glover, Information Resources Specialist, Knowledge Services Group & Carl E. Behrens, Specialist in Energy Policy, Resources, Science, and Industry Division, Congressional Research Service (CRS), Energy: Selected Facts and Numbers (CRS Report for Congress, Order Code RL31849) (July 24, 2007)

    "Energy supplies and prices are major economic factors in the United States, and
    energy markets are volatile and unpredictable. Thus, energy policy has been a
    recurring issue for Congress since the first major crisis in the 1970s. As an aid in
    policy making, this report presents a current and historical view of the supply and
    consumption of various forms of energy."—Summary.

  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Annual Report 2006

    "The Annual Report reviews the results of the Agency's programme according to the three 'pillars' of technology, safety and verifi cation. The main part of the report, starting on page 15, generally follows the programme structure as given in The Agency’s Programme and Budget 2006–2007 (GC(49)/2). The introductory chapter, 'Issues and Events in 2006', seeks to provide a thematic analysis, based on the three pillars, of the Agency's activities within the overall context of notable developments during the year. More detailed information can be found in the latest editions of the Agency’s Nuclear Safety Review, Nuclear Technology Review, Technical Cooperation Report and the Safeguards Statement for 2006 and Background to the Safeguards Statement."—Notes. See also for additional information.

  • Renée Johnson, Analyst in Agricultural Economics Resources, Science, and Industry Division, Congressional Research Service (CRS), Environmental Services Markets: Farm Bill Proposals (CRS Report for Congress, Order Code RL34042) (June 12, 2007)

    "Environmental goods and services are the benefits society obtains from the environment and ecosystems, both natural and managed, such as water filtration, flood control, provision of habitat, carbon storage, and many others. Farmer participation in providing these types of goods and services began in earnest in the 1990s with the development of watershed approaches incorporating nutrient credit trading and wetlands mitigation banking, as well as the more recent development of voluntary carbon credit markets. These efforts have triggered further interest in the possibility of developing market and trading opportunities for farmers and landowners as a source of environmental offsets. These services would be in addition to the food and fiber services traditionally supplied by the agriculture and forestry sectors. Congress is expressing growing interest in developing such market-based approaches to complement existing federally supported programs that promote conservation in the farm and forestry sectors, as well as to complement existing and/or emerging environmental regulations or natural resource requirements that may affect the agriculture and forestry sectors.

    "In May 2007, the House Agriculture Committee released its proposal for the conservation title for the 2007 farm bill, which included draft language on market-based approaches to conservation. The Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy, and Research held a markup on these and other provisions on May 22, 2007. The committee's proposal would establish an Environmental Services Standards Board, chaired by USDA with the participation of other identified federal partners. This proposal would provide contracts, cooperative agreements, and grants to develop consistent standards and processes for quantifying environmental benefits from the farm and forestry sectors, thus facilitating the further development of private sector markets for environmental services from farmers and landowners. This proposal follows a similar recommendation by the Bush Administration included in its broader 2007 farm bill proposal, which would also establish a Standards Board and develop uniform standards for agriculture- and forestry-based environmental services. This provision is one of the main components of the Administration's overall recommendations for the conservation title of the 2007 farm bill, along with other proposals that seek to enhance conservation programs in the farm bill.

    "Among the possible questions that may emerge as this proposal becomes part of the 2007 farm bill debate are: Can agricultural interests effectively provide environmental services along with traditional food and forestry services? What is the role of the federal Standards Board and the role of the lead federal agency? How would collaboration work between various participating federal agencies? How would the agreed-upon decisions and standards set by the board work within existing regulatory authorities? Would uniform standards be national, regional, local, or site-specific in scope? How would uniform standards address differences within different production areas, types of resources, and ecosystems? Given the wide range in the types of environmental services, how would outcomes or benefits be measured and expressed as standards? What role should federal agencies play in establishing environmental services markets?"—Summary.

  • William B. Karesh et al., Implications of Wildlife Trade on the Movement of Avian Influenza and Other Infectious Diseases, Journal of Wildlife Diseases, v.43 (3_Supplement), pp.55-59 (2007)

    "The global trade in wildlife provides disease transmission mechanisms that not only result in human disease outbreaks, but also threaten livestock, international trade, rural livelihoods, native wildlife populations, and the health of ecosystems. Global movement of animals for the pet trade is estimated at some 350 million live animals, worth approximately US$20 billion per year. Approximately one-quarter of this trade is thought to be illegal, hence not inspected or tested. Disease outbreaks resulting from trade in wildlife have caused hundreds of billions of dollars of economic damage globally. Rather than attempting to eradicate pathogens or the wild species that may harbor them, a practical approach would include decreasing the contact rate among species, including humans, at the interface created by wildlife trade. Wild animals are captured, transported, and sold either live or dead and commingled throughout the process in a system of scale-free networks with major hubs rather than random or evenly distributed supply systems. As focal points for distribution and sales, the hubs provide control opportunities to maximize the effects of regulatory efforts as demonstrated with domestic animal trading systems (processing plants and wholesale and retail markets, for example). Focusing efforts at markets to regulate, reduce, or in some cases, eliminate the commercial trade in wildlife could provide a cost-effective approach to decrease the risks for disease in humans, domestic animals, wildlife, and ecosystems."—Abstract.

  • Glenn R. McGregor et al., Environment Agency, Using Science to Create a Better Place: The Social Impacts of Heat Waves (Science Report SC20061/SR6) (August 2007)

    "Heat waves, or periods of anomalous warmth, do not affect everyone; it is the vulnerable individuals or sectors of society who will most experience their effects. The main factors of vulnerability are being elderly, living alone, having a pre-existing disease, being immobile or suffering from mental illness and being economically disadvantaged. The synergistic effects of such factors may prove fatal for some.

    "Adapting to more frequent heat waves should include soft engineering options and, where possible, avoid the widespread use of air conditioning which could prove unsustainable in energy terms. Strategies for coping with heat include changing the way in which urban areas are developed or re-developed, and setting up heat watch warning systems based around weather and seasonal climate forecasting and intervention strategies."—Executive Summary.

  • National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), Fact Sheet: Renewable Fuels Infrastructure

    "'While ethanol is a valuable blendstock for gasoline and its use will undoubtedly continue to grow even without mandates, ethanol also carries a number of disadvantages, including a lower energy content and potential problems with ozone formation,' Drevna told subcommittee members. 'Creating artificial demand for biofuels also places unwarranted strain on other industries that compete for the same feedstocks, thus impacting food and other commodity prices. Projected ethanol demand is likely to further exacerbate the problem and create food and other commodity price increases across the economic spectrum.'"—News release (July 31, 2007)

  • National Public Radio (NPR), Morning Edition, Climate Change Threatens European Landmarks (August 17, 2007)

    "European researchers are now warning that severe damage from desertification and intense rains could pose to a threat to cultural heritage sites such as the Tower of London, the historic center of Prague and the ancient temples of Greece."

  • United Nations, General Assembly, Informal Thematic Debate: Climate Change as a Global Challenge (July 31 & August 1, 2007)

    "The thematic debate aims to build momentum towards translating the current scientific consensus into political consensus for action. The debate will consist of a day of interactive panel discussions and a second day of general discussion by Member States."

  • United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Inspector General, Improvements to Information Sharing are Needed to Facilitate Law Enforcement Efforts During Disasters (OIG-07-60) (July 2007)

    "Law enforcement efforts to provide public safety and security, and detect disaster assistance fraud, are complicated by: (1) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) concerns about improperly disclosing Privacy Act-protected information; and (2) the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act, which prevents federal Inspectors General from expeditiously conducting computer matches among recipients of disaster assistance.

    "We are recommending that the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency:

    1. Add specific routine uses to the System of Records Notice that authorizes the disclosure of FEMA disaster recovery assistance files for the purpose of locating registered sex offenders and fugitive felons in the aftermath of a disaster.

    2. Develop and execute agreements with DOJ, the coordinator for Public Safety and Security under the National Response plan, to provide appropriate law enforcement entities direct access to FEMA disaster recovery assistance files for public safety and security efforts, including identifying the whereabouts of registered sex offenders and fugitive felons.

    3. Collaborate with DOJ to develop protocols, procedures, and processes to facilitate the appropriate sharing of information from FEMA disaster recovery assistance files among federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies that are responsible for ensuring public safety and security following a disaster."—Executive Summary.

  • United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Inspector General, Interim Report—Hurricane Katrina: A Review of Wind Versus Flood Issues (OIG-07-62) (July 2007)

    "Our objective for this interim report was to determine whether NFIP claim records included indications that participating insurance companies attributed wind damage to flooding. We reviewed a sample of flood claim files in Mississippi, analyzed legal opinions, and quality control reports prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on selected claims. In addition, we interviewed officials from FEMA, the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center in Biloxi, Mississippi, insurance association representatives, insurance adjusters, WYO officials, and other experts in the field. Our sample revealed no evidence that wind damages were improperly attributed to flooding."—Executive Summary.

  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Inspector General, ENERGY STAR Program Can Strengthen Controls Protecting the Integrity of the Label (Evaluation Report No. 2007-P-00028) (August 1, 2007)

    "We initiated this review to evaluate how effectively the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is managing the ENERGY STAR® Product Labeling Program.We specifically sought to determine whether EPA ensures that consumer product specifications are sufficient,the extent EPA verifies that products adhere to specifications, and whether EPA adequately ensures that the ENERGY STAR label is properly used."—Why We Did This Report.

  • United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Aboveground Oil Storage Tanks: Observations on EPA's Economic Analyses of Amendments to the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Rule (Report to the Honorable James M. Inhofe, Ranking Member, Committee on Environment and Public Works, U.S. Senate, GAO-07-763) (July 2007)

    "Oil in aboveground tanks can leak into soil and nearby water, threatening human health and wildlife. To prevent certain oil spills, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule in 1973. EPA estimated that, in 2005, about 571,000 facilities were regulated under this rule. When finalizing amendments to the rule in 2002 and 2006 to both strengthen the rule and reduce industry burden, EPA analyzed the amendments' potential impacts and concluded that the amendments were economically justified.

    "As requested, GAO assessed the reasonableness of EPA's economic analyses of the 2002 and 2006 SPCC amendments, using Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidelines for federal agencies in determining regulatory impacts, among other criteria, and discussed EPA's analyses with EPA officials."—Why GAO Did This Study.


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