By Ben Geman and Andrew Restuccia - 03/22/11 10:16 PM EDT
... and readies bill to push drilling off Alaska’s coast
Begich also said he will introduce legislation next week that would establish a federal coordinator for Arctic waters off Alaska’s northern coast.
“This office would have authority to work across the agencies causing Alaska so much heartburn today — the EPA, Army Corps of Engineers and Interior Department,” Begich said.
“The federal OCS coordinator would work with the State of Alaska and affected local governments to streamline development in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, which hold such promise for future oil and gas development,” he added.
Study: Connecting extreme weather to climate change is effective strategy
A new study says connecting climate change to extreme weather is an effective way of convincing people to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
That’s good news for Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and other Democrats who have recently focused their attention on new studies that say climate change exacerbates extreme weather.
The study, which appeared in the journal Nature Climate Change, finds that people in the U.K. who have experienced flooding are more concerned about climate change.
From the study:
“[T]hose who report experience of flooding express more concern over climate change, see it as less uncertain and feel more confident that their actions will have an effect on climate change. Importantly, these perceptual differences also translate into a greater willingness to save energy to mitigate climate change. Highlighting links between local weather events and climate change is therefore likely to be a useful strategy for increasing concern and action.”
NEI outlines U.S. nuclear emergency procedures
The Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear industry’s trade association, released a breakdown of emergency preparedness procedures for U.S. nuclear reactors on Tuesday.
The graphic comes amid new concerns about nuclear safety in the United States, particularly from those who live near reactors. New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the Indian Point nuclear plant should be closed because a major disaster at the plant could affect New York City.
Here are some highlights from the NEI graphic:
• “If evacuation were necessary, emergency responders would initially focus on those citizens likely to be exposed to a potential radioactive release: those within a two-mile radius around the plant, as well as sector(s) five miles downwind. State and local governments make the determination and implement protective action orders for the public.”
• “In the event of a release of radiation, state and local governments will also sample water, milk, soil and crops within a 50-mile radius of a plant to determine if radiation was deposited during an incident. According to the federal guidelines for ‘worst-case’ reactor accidents, immediate life-threatening doses would not occur outside the 10-mile evacuation zone, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.”
As The Hill reported last week, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires companies to develop emergency evacuation plans for a 10-mile radius around a reactor. But in Japan, the NRC recommended that Americans living within 50 miles of the stricken reactors evacuate.
Murkowski adds muscle to energy staff
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is beefing up her staff ahead of committee debates on energy legislation.
Annie Medaglia has begun a fellowship with the committee. She’s a presidential management fellow with the State Department who recently began a "rotation" with the panel; prior gigs include work on Middle East and South Central Asia for State’s Legislative Affairs Bureau and energy security issues in Europe, Central Asia and China with State’s Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy, Murkowski’s committee office said.
Also on board: Pasha Majdi, who used to work for former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.). She joined the committee as a legislative assistant.
Rebecca Rosen has joined the GOP staff to work on energy economics. Her past jobs include working for the consulting firm PFC Energy, where she was "engaged by many of the world’s major international and national oil companies to consult on an array of corporate financial and strategic matters," according to the committee.
ON TAP WEDNESDAY:
Report to defend EPA Clean Air Act rules
The liberal Center for American Progress will roll out a report aimed at showing Latino community benefits stemming from Clean Air Act regulations. The report is part of a wider campaign against GOP-led efforts to scale back or scuttle several regulations that Republicans say will burden businesses and cost jobs.
The report explores “how standards set by the EPA have protected millions of Latinos from diseases from pollution and how our most vulnerable citizens, children, and seniors are at higher risks of suffering chronic ailments,” an advisory states.
Heritage forum to explore rare-earth policy
The conservative Heritage Foundation will hold an event about rare-earth elements, which are critical to manufacturing certain low-carbon energy and defense-related equipment. China currently dominates global production, leading to fears of supply disruptions.
“The situation has brought calls for government intervention to ensure supply. Many of these calls are misguided. The national security risk is moderate. The commercial market for critical elements is functioning well and could easily be warped by government action. Our panel will discuss the scientific, commercial, and security dimensions of the issues and what if anything should be done about them,” an advisory states.
Expert speakers will include MIT physics professor Robert Jaffe.
Pew forum on clean energy
The event with Energy Secretary Steven Chu we mentioned above will also include remarks by former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) and former Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), who has warned that climate change is a national security threat.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
Here’s a quick roundup of Tuesday’s E2 posts:
— The nuclear crisis in Japan has made the public more wary about nuclear power
— The Interior Department is planning to broaden ethics rules
— Another poll said the public is more supportive of renewable energy since the crisis in Japan
— Senate Democrats said proposed GOP spending cuts will result in higher gas prices
— Dave Matthews is the face of a new Wilderness Society campaign
— The administration issued its fourth Gulf deepwater drilling permit
— The Interior Department is touting its support for oil and coal amid criticism from Republicans