Your Weekly Environmental Roundup For Texas and Beyond!

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U.S. Leads World In Cutting CO2, But No One Wants To Talk About It

  • David Roberts of grist.org has an interesting article up about the great decline in CO2 pollution (over 7.7% since 2006) that will bring us down to 1996 levels by the end of the year, and why discussing it is politically awkward for everyone.  The decline is due in large measure to the great recession of 2008 and to the fracking boom that has dropped gas prices to historically low prices and is making coal-fired power unattractive economically.  Now no-one wants to praise the recession, and the Left is loathe to extoll the benefits of fracking, but the Right has the biggest bitter political pill to swallow: despite repeated assertions by their political figures that economic growth and carbon pollution are bound together like two ends of a rope, the economy is much larger today than it was in 1996, and yet our carbon pollution is roughly the same.

100,000 Tons Of Pollution Due To Accidents At Texas Plants

  • A new report from the Environmental Integrity Project based on data gathered from a TCEQ database shows that “non-routine emissions events” (aka accidents) at Texas refineries, chemical plants, and oil and gas facilities have released over 42,000 tons of sulphur dioxide, and 50,000 tons of smog forming volatile organic compounds over the last three years.  These so-called  “emission event” pollutants are in addition to the emissions released year-round during so-called “normal operations,” and are usually not included in the data the government uses to establish regulations or evaluate public health impacts.   EIP is also pursuing a lawsuit against the EPA for the latter’s “failure to protect communities from toxic hazards.”

Judge To Issue Long Anticipated Ruling On Permit For Struggling Corpus Christi Mega-Power Plant Project

  • Judge Stephen Yelenosky is expected to issue a ruling on the Las Brisas Energy Center air permit today that could mean the end for the giant power project.  Yelenosky previously ruled that a permit issued by the TCEQ failed to account for air pollution caused by piles of petroleum coke on the site.  Ilan Levin, an attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project who argued the case on the behalf of the Sierra Club said “Sierra Club's position is that we won and the hearing will decide where to go from here.  If Las Brisas wants to try to get that permit, they will have to at the very least address the legal deficiencies.”

California Pot Farmers Poisoning Cute Rare Creatures

  • The fisher, a rather large member of the weasel family that makes its home in the dense forests of Canada and the Northwestern US, was already among the list of animals that might gain protection under the Endangered Species Act due to habitat loss across its range.  Now they face a new threat: rat poison that California’s legion of illegal marijuana growers put out to protect their crops.  A recent study found that 79% of recent fisher carcasses had been exposed to rat poison.  “The animals bleed to death, their internal organs turn to mush. … It’s a terrible death,” said Tommy LaNier, director of the White House-funded National Marijuana Initiative.
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