Friday, April 17, 2009

Watershed Management

Cool new site: US EPA Watershed Central gives you one-stop shopping for anything related to watershed management: Watershed Central link

April 17, 2009 in Governance/Management, Science, Sustainability, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

EPA releases endangerment finding

Here it is:


EPA GHG Endangerment Proposal -- Prepublication Copy


EPA Finds Greenhouse Gases Pose Threat to Public Health, Welfare / Proposed Finding Comes in Response to 2007 Supreme Court Ruling

Release date: 04/17/2009

Contact Information: Cathy Milbourn, 202-564-4355 / 7849 / milbourn.cathy@epa.gov; En español: Lina Younes, 202-564-4355 / younes.lina@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C. – April 17, 2009) After a thorough scientific review ordered in 2007 by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposed finding Friday that greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare.

The proposed finding, which now moves to a public comment period, identified six greenhouse gases that pose a potential threat.

“This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations. Fortunately, it follows President Obama’s call for a low carbon economy and strong leadership in Congress on clean energy and climate legislation,” said Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This pollution problem has a solution – one that will create millions of green jobs and end our country’s dependence on foreign oil.”

As the proposed endangerment finding states, “In both magnitude and probability, climate change is an enormous problem. The greenhouse gases that are responsible for it endanger public health and welfare within the meaning of the Clean Air Act.”

EPA’s proposed endangerment finding is based on rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific analysis of six gases – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride – that have been the subject of intensive analysis by scientists around the world. The science clearly shows that concentrations of these gases are at unprecedented levels as a result of human emissions, and these high levels are very likely the cause of the increase in average temperatures and other changes in our climate.

The scientific analysis also confirms that climate change impacts human health in several ways. Findings from a recent EPA study titled “Assessment of the Impacts of Global Change on Regional U.S. Air Quality: A Synthesis of Climate Change Impacts on Ground-Level Ozone,” for example, suggest that climate change may lead to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone, a harmful pollutant. Additional impacts of climate change include, but are not limited to:

  • increased drought;
  • more heavy downpours and flooding;
  • more frequent and intense heat waves and wildfires;
  • greater sea level rise;
  • more intense storms; and
  • harm to water resources, agriculture, wildlife and ecosystems.


In proposing the finding, Administrator Jackson also took into account the disproportionate impact climate change has on the health of certain segments of the population, such as the poor, the very young, the elderly, those already in poor health, the disabled, those living alone and/or indigenous populations dependent on one or a few resources.

In addition to threatening human health, the analysis finds that climate change also has serious national security implications. Consistent with this proposed finding, in 2007, 11 retired U.S. generals and admirals signed a report from the Center for a New American Security stating that climate change “presents significant national security challenges for the United States.” Escalating violence in destabilized regions can be incited and fomented by an increasing scarcity of resources – including water. This lack of resources, driven by climate change patterns, then drives massive migration to more stabilized regions of the world.

The proposed endangerment finding now enters the public comment period, which is the next step in the deliberative process EPA must undertake before issuing final findings. Today’s proposed finding does not include any proposed regulations. Before taking any steps to reduce greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, EPA would conduct an appropriate process and consider stakeholder input. Notwithstanding this required regulatory process, both President Obama and Administrator Jackson have repeatedly indicated their preference for comprehensive legislation to address this issue and create the framework for a clean energy economy.

More information: http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment.html

April 17, 2009 in Climate Change | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Call for Entries - 4th International Water Film Festival

If you're traveling this summer, you might want to film something about water and submit your masterpiece to the 4th International Water Film Festival.  Entries are due July 31st.  For more info, visit  Drink Water for Life blog - water film festival.


April 17, 2009 in Agriculture, Biodiversity, Current Affairs, Film, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Sustainability, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

EPA to issue endangerment finding

The NY Times reported that U.S. EPA will issue a formal endangerment finding today, declaring carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases to be pollutants that threaten public health and welfare.  This will cause EPA to begin the process of regulating these substances from vehicles, require the technology-based New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for stationary sources to cover greenhouse gases (GHGs), and require Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and New Source Review (NSR) permits for new and major modifications of large stationary sources to cover GHGs. 

In briefing Congress in advance of the ruling, EPA said the science supporting the endangerment finding was “compelling and overwhelming.” The ruling triggers a 60-day comment period before any proposed regulations governing emissions of greenhouse gases are published.  The endangerment finding is issued somewhat over two years after the Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA ordered EPA to make a determination about whether GHGs are harmful to human health or the environment.  

By issuing the finding, EPA will force Congress to grapple with and enact global warming legislation, or face the prospect that EPA will use the Clean Air Act to regulate GHGs.  The Clean Air Act regulatory structure is far less tailored to GHGs than global warming legislation would be and is arguably far more draconian than global warming legislation proposed to date.

April 17, 2009 in Air Quality, Climate Change, Energy, Governance/Management, Physical Science, Science, Sustainability, US | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 13, 2009

E.O. Wilson seeks to create networked encyclopedia of life

E.O. Wilson's TED talk pleads for a networked encyclopedia of life, because of the dimensions of the unknown regarding life on earth. E.O. Wilson is, of course, the sage advocate for biodiversity protection and the most famous voice associated with conservation ecology -- although Jane Lubchenko may have surpassed him with her rise to power.  Here's his bio.  EO Wilson bio.  Here's his talk:

April 13, 2009 in Biodiversity | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)