August 26, 2008
Twelve states, including New York, are suing the Environmental Protection Agency over greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries.
The lawsuit, led by Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, accuses the agency of violating the federal Clean Air Act by refusing to issue standards, known as new source performance standards, for controlling the emissions.
“The E.P.A.’s refusal to control pollution from oil refineries is the latest example of the Bush administration’s do-nothing policy on global warming,” Mr. Cuomo said in a news release. “Oil refineries contribute substantially to global warming, posing grave threats to New York’s environment, health and economy.”
In a ruling last year, the Supreme Court found that the agency had the power to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Since then, the agency’s director has said it is the job of Congress to regulate them.
Coalitions of states have also sued the agency to require it to set standards for emissions from power plants and to uphold the right of states to regulate emissions from automobiles.
The suit, filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, said about 15 percent of industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, came from the refineries.
It seeks to force the agency to control refinery emissions and adopt the new source performance standards.
Tim Lyons, a spokesman for the agency, said time and money would be better spent by encouraging Congress to take action on environmental legislation.
The other states in the suit are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Two cities, New York and Washington, also signed on.
New Wal-Mart Canada Stores Go Greener
By Randall Palmer
August 26, 2008
OTTAWA - Wal-Mart stores in Canada will look to go greener next year, with new outlets opened in 2009 designed to save 30 percent in energy use, the head of the retail giant's Canadian unit said on Tuesday.
"We call them Wal-Mart HE -- a high-efficiency prototype," Wal-Mart Canada Chief Executive David Cheesewright said in the text of a speech to a meeting of Ontario cities.
Cheesewright told Reuters later that the new, greener stores would result in savings of C$25 million ($24 million) over five years.
The company will achieve the energy savings, compared with traditional outlets in 2005, by using waste energy from refrigerators to help heat stores, cutting lighting costs, covering roofs with white membranes to reflect sunlight and lower summer cooling costs, and reducing the size of the buildings.
Cheesewright said Wal-Mart continued to pursue three long-term sustainability goals globally: to produce zero waste, to operate with 100 percent renewable energy, and to make environmentally preferable products available.
(Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Rob Wilson.)
U.S. considers protecting vast swaths of Pacific
By Deborah Zaberenko
August 26, 2008
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vast swaths of U.S. Pacific Ocean waters could be protected as marine sanctuaries or monuments, the White House said on Monday, drawing praise from environmental groups.
President George W. Bush started the process by directing the U.S. secretaries of the Interior, Defense and Commerce departments to assess whether certain locations in the Pacific should be designated as marine protected areas, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said.
The areas being considered for protection in the new plan are a group of islands and atolls in the remote central Pacific, including the Rose Atoll near American Samoa, and some of the waters around the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific.
The move comes a month after Bush in a symbolic move lifted a White House ban on offshore drilling closer to home as gas prices soared. Environmental groups said expanded offshore drilling, which would still require congressional approval, would not cut gas costs and could hurt wildlife.
If all the new places mentioned by Bush were protected, the territory would total more than 891,000 square miles, an area larger than Texas and Alaska combined.
"These areas are host to some of the world's most biodiverse coral reefs and habitat and some of the most interesting and compelling geological formations in all of our oceans," Fratto said, speaking from Crawford, Texas.
Some of these areas are also of military and strategic importance, and Bush advised his cabinet secretaries that their recommendations should not limit military activities and should be consistent with freedom of navigation and international law.
Bush said any recommendations should take into account cultural, environmental, economic and "multiple use" implications, including whether to keep access to recreational and commercial fishing, energy and mineral resources and scientific study.
Bush established a national monument in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands in 2006, creating the largest marine protected area in the world. Monday's announcement sets a process in motion that could result in more such protected ocean areas by the end of Bush's presidency in January.
Joshua Reichert of the Pew Environment Group called the announcement "a hopeful sign for ocean conservation" but said designation as a marine sanctuary or monument could still permit commercial fishing and deep sea mining.
"However, if the president establishes these new sites as no-take reserves, where no extractive activity is allowed, it would be one of the most significant environmental achievements of any U.S. president," Reichert said in a statement.
"The president is on the cusp of conserving more territory than any leader has ever done. That's an amazing legacy to leave the nation," said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund.
Environmental Defense Fund noted in a statement that seabirds, turtles and other wildlife could be harmed if energy development, mining and fishing are allowed in these areas, but said it expected full protection for these species.
Bush's environmental record has drawn chronic complaints from activists, notably for failing to mandate limits on climate-warming carbon dioxide and limiting designation of endangered and threatened species during his tenure.
Los Angeles Times