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US EPA Released Sixth Year of Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program Data

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Tue, Oct 04, 2016 @ 01:10 PM


Today, the US EPA released the 2015 data under the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program. The report details the sixth year of greenhouse gas pollution trends from large industrial sources.

Overall, reported emissions decreased by almost 5% percent from 2014, and 8.2 percent from 2011.  The more than 8,000 large sector facilities contribute about half of the total Greenhouse Gas emissions annually.

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  • Power plants accounted for approximately 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, which accounts for 30 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas pollution in 2015. This is a declined of 6.2 percent as compared to 2014, and 11.3 percent since 2011. These ~1,500 plants are the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
     
  • Second to power plants, petroleum and natural gas systems reported 231 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, down 1.6 percent from than 2014. Overall, however, this sector is actually up over 4% from the 2011 figures.
     
  • Most other sectors reported emissions reductions. The most significant declines were reported by the iron and steel sector and the production of fluorinated chemicals.  

The data can be used by businesses and communities to find opportunies to reduce pollution and wasted energy and to enjoy cost savings. The report can also be used to aid in the development of climate policies

To learn more, check out the GHG Emmissions page. You can also utilize the EPA's FLIGHT ( Facility Level Information on GreenHouse gases Tool), to "quickly and easily filter GHG data in a variety of ways, including by facility, industry, location, or gas." 


 

Tags: EPA, Air Pollution, air quality

Air Quality and the Paris Agreement

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Fri, Sep 09, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

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As we end the summer, this year is expected to be the hottest on record for the second year in a row. Climate change is on the forefront of President Obama's mind in his final months in office. Last week, he delivered paperwork commiting the US to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gas pollution to about a quarter below the levels from 2005 by 2025. Likewise, China , the leading producer of greenhouse gas, has committed to a halt in emissions by 2030. A large part of this decrease has been attributed to the reduction in coal consumption.

The Paris agreement now has been signed by 55 countries, responsible for over 55% of the global pollution, and it is expected to take effect this November. It remains to be determined how the agreement will be implemented. Clinton is likely to follow the lead of President Obama. It is less likely that Trump would continue on this path since he has voiced his opinion that global warming is not real.

Once it takes effect, countries are expected to self-regulate. This would include reporting levels as well as actions and activities that are being conducted to meet the agreed upon levels. While the UN is unable to enforce commitment to the agreement, countries that fail to live up to the standards could leave themselves open to embargoes or other trade related sanctions. In the end, following through on the agreement is entirely voluntary.

With the Paris agreement in the news, air quality monitoring will continue to be a key issue going forward.

 

To Learn More About the Environics Ambient Monitor Calibration Systems, click here.

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Tags: USA Emissions, EPA, Air Pollution, ambient air calibrator, Emission Standards, European Union Emissions

EPA and CARB Crack Down on Clean Air Violation by Volkswagen

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Fri, Sep 18, 2015 @ 03:02 PM

The US EPA announced on Monday that a notice of violation, or NOV, of the Clean Air Act was issued to Volkswagen. The EPA states that the model years 2009-2015 Volkswagen and Audi vehicles (4-cylinder diesels) included software that allowed the cars to evade some emissions standards.

epa_logo-resized-600Cynthia Giles, the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, stated, “Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, EPA is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules. EPA will continue to investigate these very serious matters.”

The NOV explains that these vehicles had software that turns on "full emissions control" only during automotive emissions testing and not during everyday use. This allowed the cars to pass the test but to emit NOx (nitrogen oxides) at up to 40 times the permitted allowance. The EPA defines this as a "defeat device" as it was designed specifically to evade testing.

This follows a 1.1 million dollar fine that Volkswagen paid back in 2005 when they failed to report the defect oxygen sensor that affected 199-2001 vehicles. These vehicles produced "thousands of tons of harmful pollutants including nonmethane hydrocarbons (NMHC) and carbon monoxide (CO). NMHC are key reactants in the production of ozone, a major contributor to cancer-causing smog." (Volkswagen of America, Inc., Agrees to Pay More Than $1 Million for Clean Air Act Violation, Release Date: 06/15/2005)

To read the full NOV, check out the full post on the EPA site.

Tags: EPA

In the News - US EPA Presents Clean Power Plan

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 @ 12:09 PM

in the newsOn June 2, following an announcement by President Obama, the US EPA presented the Clean Power Plan, "a commonsense plan to cut carbon pollution from power plant" with the stated goal of maintaining "an affordable, reliable energy system" while reducing pollutants that are harmful to people as well as the environment."

Throughout the US, power plant emissions account for roughly one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, there are no national guidelines to limit carbon pollution levels, though the levels of other toxins, including arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particles, are restricted.  In the US, CO2 emissions account for 82% of all green house gas emisions, according to data reported by the EPA from 1990-2012.

us epaAlthough the mandate is set at the federal level, the guidelines give states the ability to establish their own internal goals and to design a program based on their specific needs and capabilities.  These plans must be submitted to the EPA by June 2016. Each state's plan must have enforceable limits, and must include how the levels will be reported and monitored.  There must also be a method for corrective actions for those who fall short. The EPA will require biannual reporting of the state's progress.

Once the plan is accepted, states have to reach interim goals by 2020 and have until 2030 to meet the final goal of a 30% decrease in carbon emissions from the levels reported in 2005. To put that in perspective, that is equal to the emissions from powering 65 million homes, roughly half of the homes in America.

In addition to the 30% reduction in carbon emissions, the Clean Power Plan will also result in the reduction of particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent.  Consumers should also benefit from a roughly 8 percent decrease in their electric bills due to increased energy efficiency and reduced demand in the electricity system.

 

 

To read the plan or to learn more, visit the US EPA's Clean Power Plan sitePublic Hearings are to be held during the last week of July. 

Share your thoughts on the new plan below.

Tags: USA Emissions, EPA, Air Pollution, air quality, Emission Standards

News - EPA releases a series of PSAs on Climate Change

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Mon, Sep 16, 2013 @ 10:56 AM

The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States (US EPA) recently released a series of 30 sec US EPA ambient and 1 minute public service videos on climate change. The videos discuss small changes people can make to their daily lives that have an impact on emissions. Citizens are encouraged to reduce the amount of energy they use to both cut their own utility costs and protect their health.  The cumultive effect of these small changes to the economy and environment are stressed. The series was developed in support of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, released in June.  In his plan, the President stressed the importance of reducing carbon pollution while simultaneously prepareing for the impacts of changes to the climate.

What do you think?  Do you give thought to how your actions may impact the climate?  What things do you do at work and home to minimize your carbon "footprint."

You can watch the videos here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBhfkkujnoRAgTFtLreccWDfpxBIspCGv

Tags: USA Emissions, ozone, EPA, Air Pollution, air quality, Ambient Air calibration, Emission Standards

EPA Extends Comment Period for new Greenhouse Gas Regulations

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Wed, Nov 21, 2012 @ 09:49 AM

epaLast week, the EPA announced an extension of the public comment period for "Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program: Proposed Amendments and Confidentiality Determinations for Subpart I."  The initial deadline for comment  was December 17, 2012 and has been extended to January 16, 2013.  In their announcement, the EPA stated that the reason for the extended comment period is the inclusion of two additional pieces of information.  First, the summarization of a conference call the EPA held with the Semiconductor Industry Association in late October.  The second is the EPA response to questions raised during that call about the calculation of Tier 2A emissions factors.

Environics PhotoVoltaic Project PanelIn brief, the amendment proposes changes to some of the calculation methods being utilized, provides some clarification of terms/definitions and adjusts the requirements for reporting.  The amendments affect all manufacturers of electronics including semiconductors, LEDs, MEMS, LCDs and photovoltaic cells.  The full proposal can be viewed here, and you can add your comments to the public record.

The EPA also has a fact sheet, which summarizes the proposal and can be viewed on the EPA site.

Tags: EPA, State of the Air, Air Pollution, air quality, Ambient Air calibration, ambient air calibrator, Emission Standards

American Lung Association Releases "State of the Air" App

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 @ 10:40 AM

Here in CT, we are entering the months where unhealthy air quality emerges with the heat levels this summer.  The American Lung Association has released an new advertising campaign featuring TV, online and billboard ads announcing the new State of the Air® smartphone application.  The app, available for iPhone and Android, allows users to view EPA collected data on the air quality at their current location or at any other location of choice.  Read this post to learn more about this data.  The app is being praises as a user-friendly resource for people for low air quality affects most profoundly, those living with lung disease (such as asthma, people with heart disease or diabetes and the elderly and children.

ALA of the Northeast President and CEO, Jeff Seyler, was quoted to say, “We are excited to be able to provide this innovative tool so those with lung disease, and without, can effectively monitor their local air quality and limit their exposure to dangerous levels of pollution.”

The State of the Air app provides both the current and next-day air quality forecasts.  Users can set alerts to notify them when the local air quality fails to a code orange, which is unhealthy for sensitive groups.  Along with the quality information, the app provides tips on what activities are to be avoided depending on the current conditions.State of the Air ALA

The television and online messages are aimed at young people.  They feature Alvin Grimes, an air collector, who collects air samples in glass jars.  The promos tie into the ALA tagline "What are your lungs collecting?"  "Alvin" has his own, twitter account and facebook page where he shares tips and information on air and air pollution.  The TV spots can be viewed on his youtube page (one example below).


To learn more about Ozone and how it is generated at ground level, check out this story and its follow-up piece!

Image and Video - courtesy of the American Lung Association

Tags: USA Emissions, Environics Inc, ozone, EPA, State of the Air, Air Pollution, air quality

EPA Releases First Clean Air Act Standard for Carbon Pollution from Power Plants

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Tue, Apr 03, 2012 @ 09:22 AM

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a standard for carbon pollution from new power plants, as required by the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling regarding the Clean Air Act. 

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This is the first Clean Air Act standard to address power plant carbon emissions.  The carbon pollution standard, now open to public comment, reflects the existing move in to building plants that use clean-burning and take advantage of more efficient  technologies. It also allows for the use of new technologies that will emit less carbon pollution but still burn coal.  It is important to note that this standard applies only to new generating units, not those already operating, being built or that will begin construction within the next year.

Speaking about the proposal, EPA Administrator said, “Right now there are no limits to the amount of carbon pollution that future power plants will be able to put into our skies – and the health and economic threats of a changing climate continue to grow. We’re putting in place a standard that relies on the use of clean, American made technology to tackle a challenge that we can’t leave to our kids and grandkids.”

The proposed standard gives a good deal of flexibility, and it can be met by facilities using a variety of methods, including natural gas technologies and coal with implementation of emissions reducing technologies. Since existing plants and those being built within the year are not subject to this standard, EPA did not project any additional cost to comply with this standard.

A number of statements from legislators, environmental and health groups and business people have been released regarding this proposal.  Just a few of these are below.  To read more, please visit the EPA.

CongressRanking Member of the US House of Representative’s Committee on Energy and Commerce, Henry A. Waxman, released the following, “The proposal is a breakthrough. It sets achievable limits on dangerous carbon pollution, spurs investments in new clean energy technologies, and provides certainty for industry. And it shows the President is listening to scientists, not extremists who deny the existence of climate change. Today’s action will reduce pollution, make families healthier, promote innovation, and help us compete with China and other countries that are investing in clean energy.”

The Sierra Club urged its member’s to send messages to EPA Administrator Jackson to urge implementation of these protections, stating “For the first time ever, the Obama Administration and the EPA are proposing national limits on carbon pollution. Carbon pollution is linked not only to climate disruption, but also to significant health hazards like the smog that triggers asthma attacks. Right now, 158 million Americans live in counties with unacceptable air pollution levels. By supporting the EPA's effort for clean air, we can make sure they go the distance and put new protections in place.”

Ralph Izzo, Chairman and CEO of Public Service Electric and Gas (PSEG), released a statement, “While we would have preferred that Congress enact legislation limiting greenhouse gas emissions, the EPA took an important step today in addressing the significant environmental threat posed by climate change. 

The Agency’s action establishes a logical and modest standard for new electric power plants and provides the industry with much needed regulatory certainty. The EPA provides a framework for the industry to confront this problem in a cost effective manner.

We understand that the EPA continues to evaluate regulatory options for already existing plants that may be affected by the Clean Air Act and we look forward to working with the Agency to evaluate the best approaches for achieving meaningful greenhouse gas reductions in as flexible and economic manner as possible.”

Subscribe to the Environics Post for updates on this and other EPA legislation!

(EPA Image - https://www.facebook.com/EPA)

(Congress Image - Wikipedia)

 

Tags: USA Emissions, EPA, Ambient Air calibration, ambient air calibrator, Announcement, Emission Standards

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson Testifies to Congress on FY2013 Budget

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 @ 12:08 PM

US CongressToday, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson testified before the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the U.S. Senate regarding President Obama's proposed EPA budget for the fiscal year 2013.  You can read more about the EPA budget proposal in my earlier post.  The full transcript of Jackson's testimony can be read here.

Tags: USA Emissions, Environics Inc, EPA, Announcement

Ozone Regulation Revisited

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 @ 11:33 AM

Earlier this month, the US EPA released their proposal for Implementing the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone.  This includes their suggested Nonattainment Area Classifications Approach and Attainment Deadlines. 

The full proposal can be read here.  This table from this proposal summarizes the ranges used to classify attainment based on the 2008 standard as well as the length of time to reach compliance.

 EPA 2008 Attainment

Below is a summary of an earlier post regarding ozone generation and its uses, including calibration of ambient air monitoring systems. 

ozoneOzone used in industry, depending on the conditions (especially temperature and humidity) and method of generation, can be formed at concentrations ranging from 1 - 30%.  It can be used to disinfect water, clean air and laundry or kill insects in grain.  Ozone is also used in processing of manufacturing and production.

There are a variety of ways ozone is generated, but the two main methods of are corona discharge and UV light (Read the details about ozone generation).

In brief, the corona discharge method is the most common type of ozone generator for personal uses. The are used in ambient conditions and are more susceptible to environmental conditions.  

UV ozone generators employ a light source that generates a narrow-band ultraviolet light, mimicking the production of ozone in the atmosphere.  When used in calibration systems, such as those manufactured by Environics, there are a variety of industry standards that must be met to guarantee accuracy and reliability of the ozone produced (EPA criteria for ozone transfer standard).

Learn about our Ambient Monitor Gas Calibrators with Ozone Generators or contact us for more details.

Tags: ozone, EPA, ozone generator, Ambient Air calibration, ambient air calibrator, Emission Standards