“Ultimately, we think the government will take action through a myriad of policies that will raise the prices and reduce demand” of carbon-polluting fossil fuels, said Alan Jeffers, an ExxonMobil spokesman.
Internally, ExxonMobil now plans its financial future with the expectation that eventually carbon pollution will be priced at about $60 a ton, which Mr. Jeffers acknowledged was at odds with some of the company’s Republican friends.
“We’re going to say and do what’s in the best interest of our shareholders,” he said. “We won’t always be on the same page.”
It remains unlikely that any climate policy will move in today’s deadlocked Congress, but if Congress does take up climate change legislation in the future, Mr. Jeffers said ExxonMobil would support a carbon tax if it was paired with an equal cut elsewhere in the tax code — the same policy that Mr. Gore has endorsed. “ExxonMobil and many other large companies understand that climate change poses a direct economic threat to their businesses,” said Dan Weiss, director for climate policy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal research group with close ties to the Obama administration. “They need to convince their political allies to act before it’s too late.”
The ongoing U.S. oil boom has flooded the Gulf Coast with domestic crude to levels not seen in decades, creating a homegrown oil glut in the nation's refining center just as the Obama Administration prepares to rule on a pipeline that would add a torrent of heavy Canadian crude to the same region.
It's just the latest in a string of developments that have surprised and roiled oil markets since 2009, when the combination of falling fuel demand and an unexpected surge in U.S. oil and natural gas production began destroying widely held assumptions about the nation’s need for imports.
Conditions have changed so radically that U.S. refiners are now exporting record amounts of fuel to overseas customers, and there’s a parade of tankers delivering Texas oil to refineries on the east coast of Canada. As these and other surprising trends unfold, it's becoming increasingly clear that the controversial Canadian oil import pipeline, the Keystone XL, is not an urgently needed link.
Many benefits being touted by Keystone XL supporters—American jobs, lower oil costs, greater energy independence through lower imports—are already being delivered by the domestic oil rush. The Canadian oil pipeline might expand some of those benefits, but its significance has been eclipsed by surging production in North Dakota and Texas.
Charlotte-based Nucor has challenged the ADEQ-approved permit contending that the application process is marred with incorrect and inadequate data, lack of proper regulatory review, and concerns that air quality standards will be compromised by the project and potential ancillary businesses it may bring to Mississippi County.
Nucor, which has two facilities in Mississippi County near the planned location of Big River Steel, outlined its objections in a 697-page filing.
* ARKANSAS BAPTIST COLLEGE UPDATE: Federal Education Department officials have been on campus at Arkansas Baptist College this week, but Shane Broadway, director of the state Higher Education Department, says that's a good thing. Broadway said the school is close to solving a massive computer breakdown that stopped the processing of federal payments under various grant programs for students. That money pays college expenses and some flows back to students for living expenses. Broadway said he hopes the Education Department soon will begin processing payments. He said the computer system is now functioning, but not at optimal speed. He said work was underway for what he hoped would be a speedy solution for short-term cash flow. College trustee Beth Coulson tells me by e-mail that loans have already been obtained to keep payments to workers cominge. Broadway, whose agency is providing technical help in response to student complains but no state financial support, said classes have proceeded this fall and no students have had to leave housing. "It's all going to be fine," Coulson said.
...from Traskwood. Jim, you're on the air with congressional candidate French Hill.
Jim: Thanks, Dave. Long-time listener, first-time caller. Hey, Mr. French, I've got two questions. First is, will you allow open-carry in your bank? And second, why didn't you change your name to Freedom Hill back when the French betrayed us on Iraq. I'll hang up and listen to your answer. Thanks!
We pushed this bill because we have a problem with some water-quality standards in Arkansas. We were hoping that ADEQ would revise some rules and regulations and that EPA would then approve those revisions, and we would get some relief from some overly burdensome dissolved-minerals standards. It didn’t happen that way. Where we’re at now — and what I’m trying to get people to focus on is not so much why we passed it in the first place — where we’re at now is we’ve got EPA threatening to federalize permits and that’s a situation that was unintended and we do not want to put Arkansas industries and municipalities in to. So at this point we’re asking for repeal. It’s not controversial. I’ve talked to members of the House and Senate and I’m confident we have the votes for repeal. I don’t expect anybody to oppose it. I appreciate the governor taking the time to listen to us and put it on the special session. Moving forward, we hope to continue working with ADEQ to achieve policy and rule changes that would give us some relief from these dissolved-minerals issues.
Living near a hog farm or a field fertilized with pig manure significantly increases the risk of being infected with a dangerous superbug, new research finds.
Two new studies published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine focus on a bacteria called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus , or MRSA, which caused more than 80,000 invasive infections in the USA in 2011.
...In 2011, for the first time since officials began tracking invasive MRSA infections, more Americans were infected with MRSA in the community than in the hospital, one of the studies shows.
In the second study, researchers found that exposure to hog manure is related to 11% of MRSA infections, even among people who don't work on farms.
The controversy centers on the inevitable byproduct of the farm: pig crap. Based on C&H's nutrient management plan (NMP), the facility will generate more than 2 million gallons of manure and wastewater per year. The waste is first collected in 2-foot-deep concrete pits below the animals. Once the shallow pits, diluted with water, are filled, the waste drains into two large man-made storage ponds. Eventually, as the ponds fill, C&H will remove liquid waste and, in an agreement with local landowners, apply it as fertilizer on more than 600 acres of surrounding fields.
According to officials, the committee will have three main goals: better training local Democratic political operatives to work on campaigns in the region, building an extensive data and analytics operation to be deployed on state-level elections and working on regional messaging.
The data component in particular will be modeled after the first-rate operation put together by President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign.
It was intense, enlightening and when we weren’t being shot, it was fun,” said Sen. Hutchinson. “I learned how little I knew about school safety.
Lane invited Hutchinson and another Arkansas lawmaker, state Rep. Kim Hammer (R), to participate in an active shooter simulation at a local school. Police handed Hutchinson a rubber-bullet loaded gun, gave him some basic training on breaching and entering rooms, and then had him run into the school, where officers in plain clothes took on the roles of either shooters or teachers.
“The first two simulations they were just all bad guys, and so we got used to running in, you’d go to the sound of the gunfire,” Hutchinson said. “And then they threw a twist in on the third one, where there was what appeared to be a bad guy in the hallway, shooting into the classroom. And so, just instinctively, I shot. And then I turned the corner and see that the bad guy that I had just shot was actually shooting with another bad guy, which kind of blew my mind for a second."
Gov. Mike Beebe’s decision to pursue the use of rainy day funds to establish additional testing and monitoring at C&H hog farm raises an obvious question. If a farm that went through the state’s process for a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) permit needs additional state-funded safeguards, is the permit working in the first place?
Asked why this particular facility demanded additional scrutiny, the governor said, “It’s different. And it’s large, and the public concern, and its proximity to a treasure like the Buffalo River — all of those were factors that entered into my position.”
According to ADEQ Director Teresa Marks, however, none of those factors could have been legally taken into consideration when ADEQ approved the permit in the first place. A farm just like C&H could apply for a CAFO permit to operate near the Buffalo tomorrow; so long as it complied with the requirements of the general permit, it would be approved. Would the state once again fly in with rainy-day funds?
The governor said it was unclear at this point whether or not the permit system itself needed reform: “Is this isolated — is this an instance that we’re not likely to see repeated or is this something that portends something that would cause a change generally in policy? Those are good legitimate questions.”
A little background: The state’s CAFO permit, established as a general permit in 2011, came about in order to comply with an updated set of federal rules regarding CAFOs released by the Environmental Protection Agency. Previously, operations in the state with holdings for liquid animal waste had to get what was known as a “Regulation 5” permit, which is an individual permit. As the names imply, general permits are essentially templates, not individualized to the specific applicant; by contrast, individual permits are “issued on a case-by-case basis and are specific to each applicant facility.”
General permits require less advance scrutiny and public notice, and are less complicated, than individual permits. They also do not take into account site-specific factors such as the particular geology of a region of the state. The individualized Reg. 5 permit remains available as an alternative to a CAFO permit and some supporters of the farm believe that in retrospect, that route may have tempered some of the controversy. However, the general permit was likely a faster process for C&H. In any case, it’s hard to believe that C&H will be the one and only applicant to pursue a CAFO permit.
One question is whether the general permit process is appropriate for CAFOs. The bigger question is whether the permit itself has enough safeguards to protect the environment. ADEQ, the Farm Bureau, and the C&H farmers believe that it does. One of the main goals of the proposed U of A monitoring program will be to find out. Normal ADEQ monitoring would simply entail making sure that C&H was following the permit’s rules, whereas this program would seek to determine whether or not the facility was causing environmental harm despite the permit's regulations.
Marks said that both the general permit itself, and C&H's nutrient management plan (NMP) developed as part of the permit, could potentially be recalled and revised if the U of A finds that "there is still the risk of harm" even if the farmers follow the permit and the NMP.
Steven E., historical revisionist--the history according to how conservatives think it should have been, not…
Max chose a good time to be gone.
The fact that Strange compares himself to Henry Kissinger is very revealing.
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