Governor O’Malley Announces Decision to Protect Maryland’s Renewable Energy Progress

May 16th, 2014

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor O’Malley today announced that he vetoed HB 1168 – Electricity – Certificate – Wind Turbines – Limitation, in accordance with Article II, Sec. 17 of the Maryland constitution.

The Governor emphasized his commitment to Patuxent River Naval Air Station (Pax River) because of its critical importance to Maryland. “There are already safeguards in place to ensure that no renewable energy projects conflict with military facilities — those safeguards render this bill unnecessary,” Governor O’Malley said.

In addition, the Governor noted that the Great Bay Wind Project helps alleviates the threat

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to Pax River caused by rising sea levels. The recent release of the Third National Climate Assessment highlights the costs that climate change is already imposing on Maryland and underscores the importance of human action and innovation to address the issue. Sitting on the Eastern Seaboard, Maryland is particularly vulnerable, as is Pax River, to the effects of climate change.

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“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by increasing our use of renewable energy will help tackle

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environmental challenges like carbon pollution and sea level rise,” Governor O’Malley said.

The Governor also pointed out that the Great Bay Wind Project advances three of the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s 16 strategic goals: (1) creating jobs; (2) increasing Maryland’s in-State renewable generation to 20% by 2022; and (3) reducing Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020.

Full text of the letter is attached: HB 1168 Wind turbines.pdf

Md.’s O’Malley vetoes bill delaying wind farm projects, saying he fears ‘chilling’ effect

BY JOHN WAGNER AND JENNA JOHNSON May 16

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) on Friday vetoed a bill that would have delayed — and likely derailed — a proposed wind farm in Somerset County, saying the legislation would send “a chilling message” to the clean-energy industry if it became law.

The governor’s decision was praised by environmentalists and some officials on the Eastern Shore as a way to bring much-needed jobs and green energy to a part of the state that is struggling economically.

But it ran counter to the wishes of U.S. House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and Southern Maryland lawmakers, who argue that a wind farm would compromise radar that tests the stealth capabilities of fighter jets at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, just across the Chesapeake Bay.

“I am deeply disappointed by Governor O’Malley’s veto,” Hoyer said in a statement late Friday afternoon. “This veto fails to demonstrate Maryland’s strong commitment and support for the mission of Patuxent River Naval Air Station.”

He noted that the bill passed the General Assembly “with a strong, veto-proof majority” and was also backed by U.S.

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Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.).

Proponents of the wind farm project had urged O’Malley to overturn the legislation, arguing that it could scare away wind developers and taint the governor’s reputation as a dedicated environmentalist as he contemplates a White House bid.

O’Malley, who has used his veto power sparingly with a General Assembly dominated by fellow Democrats, said in a letter to legislative leaders that the project’s developers had “played by the rules” and that there are other safeguards against the risks cited by opponents of the project.

“The real threat to Pax River is not an array of wind turbines on the lower Eastern Shore, but rising sea levels caused by climate change,” O’Malley wrote. “If this moratorium were to take effect, it would send a chilling message to clean energy investors, developers, manufacturers, construction firms, engineers and sustainable businesses that the state can change the rules in the eleventh hour.”

Texas-based Pioneer Green Energy has proposed building 25 whirling turbines in Somerset County, bringing hundreds of construction jobs and extra income for farmers. The developers thought they had reached a compromise with military leaders that would protect the radar capabilities at the Patuxent River base, simply by turning the turbines off during test flights.

But in the final days of Maryland’s annual legislative session, at the urging of Hoyer and lawmakers from Southern Maryland, the General Assembly voted to delay wind projects within 56 miles of the base until June 2015 — effectively killing plans for the Great Bay Wind Center.

The vote was 31 to 16 in the Senate and 112 to 22 in the House.

There are still numerous regulatory and procedural hurdles to clear before the wind farm can be built. But Pioneer Green Energy said in a statement that it is eager to move forward with the project.

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, one of several environmental groups that praised O’Malley’s action, said the veto “will accelerate the development of East Coast wind farms that will bring new jobs to Maryland while helping to slow sea-level rise in the Chesapeake Bay.”

House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) said he plans to survey his members to assess whether there is interest in returning to Annapolis for a special session to override the veto. An override requires a three-fifths vote in each chamber.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) said he understands that O’Malley made a judgment call.

“He’s the environmental guru of Democratic governors, and rightly so,” Miller

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said. “He staked out his claim to wind power a long time ago. . . . I personally think Pax River is too important to risk.”

Turning the turbines on and off would publicly signal the start of test flights, which has concerned some of the base’s customers, a group that includes branches of the military, contractors and foreign governments, said Sen. Thomas M. Middleton (D-Charles), who chairs the Senate Finance Committee. Those customers could then take their business elsewhere.

“We are fighting for the jobs we already have, not the ones we might have,” Middleton said.

Sen. James N. Mathias Jr. (D-Worcester), who represents Somerset County, countered that O’Malley’s decision could mean more jobs for his region if the project moves forward. Mathias said he was very pleased with O’Malley “for standing with us on the Eastern Shore.”

Over the course of eight annual legislative sessions, O’Malley has vetoed 13 pieces of

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legislation on their merits. By comparison, former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) vetoed 86 initiatives during his four years in Annapolis.

Among the bills previously vetoed by O’Malley were one that loosened restrictions on how law-enforcement agencies could dispose of handguns and another that altered the procedures for issuing court subpoenas.

Hoyer confronts ‘Greek tragedy’ during Annapolis homecoming

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Before he was a big shot on Capitol Hill, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) was a big man in this town.

 

He spent a dozen years in the state Legislature, culminating as president of the state Senate. His portrait hangs in the lobby of one of the two Senate office buildings here.

 

Hoyer has returned often to the scene of his former triumphs — but yesterday was the first time since 1978 that he actually testified on legislation before a committee in Annapolis.

 

Hoyer appeared at a state Senate

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Finance Committee hearing to speak in favor of a bill that would delay a proposed wind turbine project on farmland on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, near the Chesapeake Bay. Hoyer led a parade of political and civic leaders expressing fears that the wind farm could impede critical radar testing across the bay at Patuxent River Naval Air Station — and thus jeopardize the entire existence of the naval base, the economic driver for southern Maryland.

 

The issue, Hoyer and others said, isn’t just Pax River — it’s the future of all military installations in Maryland, as the Pentagon inevitably looks to downsize further in the years ahead.

 

“This is not about the environment,” he said, emphasizing his longtime support for alternative energy.

 

But proponents of the wind farm said much the same — that turning against the project could cripple the state’s ability to attract businesses in the burgeoning field of renewable energy.

 

As the bill’s proponents and foes forcefully advanced their arguments, state Sen. Delores Kelley (D) summed up the dilemma, which has vexed Maryland politicians over the past few weeks and strained traditional alliances (E&E Daily, March 25).

 

“It sounds like an internecine struggle,” she said. “It almost sounds like a Greek tragedy, because there’s a lot of good on both sides.”

 

Priority for O’Malley

 

Pioneer Green, a Texas company, wants to erect 25 wind turbines, each about 600 feet tall, and possibly another 25 eventually, near a transmission line on the Eastern Shore. The Great Bay wind project would help the state achieve its mandate to use 20 percent renewable energy by 2022 — and would be a nice accomplishment for Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who is preparing to run for president in 2016.

 

But given the billions of dollars Pax River contributes to the state economy annually, southern Maryland civic and political leaders like Hoyer have hit the panic button, suggesting that the Navy will take its classified radar systems elsewhere if tests can’t continue unimpeded.

 

No one from the Navy has ever said this. And in fact, there is no formal Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process under way, because Congress is resistant to the idea. Navy officials attended yesterday’s hearing in Annapolis but did not testify, though one came forward to briefly answer lawmakers’ questions.

 

Instead, Hoyer supplied the committee with a written statement from an unnamed Navy official expressing reservations about the project. He also produced a letter that he co-signed with Maryland’s two U.S. senators, Barbara Mikulski (D) and Ben Cardin (D), urging delay — even though both traditionally do not take sides on legislation in the State House.

 

The state House of Delegates has already passed legislation to delay the wind farm, but with the legislative session scheduled to end Monday, Hoyer made the 32-mile trek from the U.S. Capitol to the Maryland State House to boost the measure and was clearly the star of the 2 ½ hour hearing — though the top spectacle of the day took place earlier, when two tractors with miniature turbines on them circled the State House, signifying Eastern Shore farmers’ support of the Great Bay project. But for all the veteran congressman’s oratorical prowess, it was easy to see how some lawmakers would be confused.

 

The delay is necessary, Hoyer and others said, because the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is completing a study at the Navy’s behest to determine ways to mitigate any interference the turbines might present to the Pax River’s operations. “I want to ensure that the location [of the wind farm] does not diminish Pax’s radar capabilities,” he said.

 

But the developers of the turbine project insist that any delay will kill it, given all the time and money they have invested obtaining permits and tax credits and developing infrastructure. While acknowledging that the project still requires myriad permits and other government approvals, they said an officially sanctioned delay from the state would rob them of “a rational process.”

 

Especially dismaying to the developers is the fact that they have reached an agreement in principle with military leaders to turn off the windmills anytime the Navy wants to test its radar systems at Pax River. But the fact that only one of the four Defense Department officials required to seal the deal

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has actually signed the agreement gives political leaders the opportunity to express their doubts.

 

“To be clear, as of today, there is no final signed curtailment agreement between the Navy and the Pioneer Green Great Bay developer,” Hoyer said, hitting the lectern with his index finger for emphasis in rhythm with each word.

 

Pamela Kasemeyer, a lobbyist for Pioneer Green, acknowledged as much and said the developers realize that the project cannot proceed without those required signatures. But she added that

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they’re willing to take their chances with the Navy and whatever concerns military officials raise — but not with an “arbitrary delay” imposed by the Legislature.

 

Asked by a senator whether a “curtailment agreement” would enable Pax River to test its radar without delay or fear of jeopardizing the nation’s national security, Gary Kessler, the naval base’s top civilian official, replied, “It’s not the Navy’s position to discuss operational security in an open forum.” He later acknowledged that the radar at Pax River isn’t in use anywhere else, though he would not say whether the military would ever entertain the notion of moving it elsewhere, as Hoyer and others suggested.

 

In a brief interview with E&E Daily after the hearing, Kessler would not say whether a signed agreement with Pioneer Green would quell the bill proponents’ warnings about the turbines interfering with military testing. “We’re still going through the process. … It’s hard to tell at this point,” he said.

 

Abigail Hopper, director of the Maryland Energy Administration and O’Malley’s top adviser on energy issues, said the bill is unnecessary because Pentagon officials would not sign any agreement with Pioneer Green until all their fears are allayed.

 

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hard time believing that the United States Navy is going to be forced into an agreement that in any way jeopardizes the security of the nation,” she said.

 

That prompted state Sen. David Brinkley (R) to accuse the O’Malley administration of “playing a game of chicken with the Navy.”

 

O’Malley, through Hopper, has signaled his support for the wind farm project but has stopped well short of threatening to veto the measure if it gets through the Legislature. Because it is the last year of O’Malley’s and state lawmakers’ terms, he can veto the bill with little threat of it being overridden — unless legislators return to Annapolis later this year for a lame-duck special session, which is unlikely.

 

Even so, the wind farm proponents aren’t taking any

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chances. With the bill to delay the project all but certain to get out of the 11-member Senate Finance Committee, with the chairman and vice-chairman strong supporters, proponents are now hoping to attach an amendment to it on the Senate floor that would say the project can’t go forward if the Navy doesn’t sign the mitigation agreement.

 

“Finding a win-win solution for the state of Maryland has been our key objective,” said Adam Cohen, Pioneer Green’s vice president.

Josh Kurtz, E&E reporter

Debate on wind turbines in Somerset continues

WESTOVER — A packed room of Somerset County residents and U.S. Wildlife Service officials debated the possible implementation of Great Bay Wind Energy’s application for an eagle take permit at the J.M. Tawes

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The Wednesday evening public meeting intended to use public feedback to prepare an environmental assessment addressing potential impacts of the permit’s issuance for unavoidable “takes” by wind turbines. The permits allow wind farms and other operations to accidentally kill protected eagles.

If Pioneer Green is awarded a permit, it would require a five-year review process, which would mandate yearly monitoring. The Wildlife Service has the authority to deny the permit if it sees fit.

Andy Bowman, president of Pioneer Green Energy, who will develop the turbine project, said there may be negative impacts, but the ultimate goal is for cleaner energy.

“There will be some loss of life,” he said, in regards to birds that may be killed from

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the spinning turbines, but stressed Pioneer Green had looked at the environmental impacts when considering the project.

With seats full at the Tawes Center, some meeting attendees leaned against the wall and addressed their support or concern. One speaker said the company had “the most detailed analysis of our community” and

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others felt it would be a benefit to farmland, while another described the project as “erroneous” and worried that public information and studies should be clearer and easily accessible to the public.

David Curson, Audubon director of bird conservation, said his organization was still “very concerned,” about the project because of the area’s high eagle density.

“Audobon is very concerned about the eagle take permit. This is a high density area for the bald eagle, and we have concerns for other bird species who may fly through the area who are not protected,” he said.

In order to assess possible eagle impacts, the wildlife service studies nests and point-count surveys of the eagles to estimate

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likely fatalities. So far only nine eagles have been killed from turbines nationally.

Wildlife Service representative Julie Slocum encouraged the audience to “put numbers

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“The project’s main purpose is for clean energy,” she said.

After all correspondence, the Fish and Wildlife service

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will study the environmental impact of the turbines and present these studies for public comment.

 

Written by
Nkongho Beteck
Special to the Delmarva Media Group

Wind Farms Do Their Part for Eagle Conservation Today, and Tomorrow

David Yarnold of the Audubon Society recently wrote on The Huffington Post and elsewhere about wind power and bald eagles. Only a handful of bald eagles have collided with commercial wind turbines in the history of the industry. Moreover, the Fish and Wildlife Service rule he opposes applies to many other industries and activities beyond wind.

If he truly believes his recent statement that “climate change is the single greatest threat to both birds and people,” Mr. Yarnold would not single out a technology that brings great net positive benefits for wildlife, and would work with regulators on practical solutions.

2014-01-13-communitywindrainbow.jpg
Photo credit: Juhl Energy

This long-awaited program will provide more eagle conservation than currently exists today, which leaves many in the wind industry and others who share our concern for saving eagles scratching our heads over his hyperbolic response.

As stated by the preamble to the rule and the Department of Justice, “Permits may be

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in all types of industries,” such as oil and gas development, electric utilities, or transportation, which take eagles in the course of otherwise lawful activities, but these industries can work with the Service to develop and implement additional, exceptionally comprehensive measures to reduce risk to eagles to the level where it is essentially unavoidable.

Extending the permits will allow permit-holders, including wind farm operators, to provide conservation benefits for eagles while granting them a degree of legal and financial certainty critical to any business.

And this program is expressly designed to protect eagle populations by providing much-needed conservation benefits in exchange for very limited “take” authorization, after all steps have been taken to first avoid and minimize risk to eagles, and then fully offsetting that risk so

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the net effect on eagles is neutral or positive.

This concept is not new. Congress authorized the permitting of the non-purposeful take of eagles that was incidental to otherwise lawful activities decades ago under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The current permit program was initiated under President George W. Bush and the rule finalized in 2009. The most recent change to the rule, extending the permit duration, makes it more consistent with the Endangered Species Act’s permit program, widely considered to be the gold standard for wildlife protection, which already provides for life-of-activity authorization — in some instances lasting 40-60 years — for species that

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by their very definition are more imperiled than eagles. Those permits have allowed economic development while protecting wildlife.

With all of the above in mind, while eagles do unfortunately collide with turbines at some wind farms, it is not a common occurrence. Based on a review of all publicly available data, fatalities at modern wind facilities represent at most 2 percent of all documented sources of human-caused fatalities of golden eagles, and as noted, only a handful of bald eagles in over 30 years.

Yet the wind industry is committed to, and strives for, further reducing these impacts and does more to address risks to eagles than any of the other, far greater human sources of eagle fatalities that exist in the landscape today. For example, the Exxon Valdez oil spill immediately killed 247 bald eagles.

To obtain a permit, wind farm developers and operators need to engage in years of pre- and post-construction monitoring for wildlife impacts. They then make changes to the project design at the request of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, accept lost revenue from changes to facility layout and operations, and provide upfront mitigation for losses that may or may not occur (based on a highly conservative model that presently overestimates the risk). Through the permit mitigation permittees will help reduce the present impacts of other threats. And there are no guarantees that more will not be required of permit holders in the future, regardless of what is negotiated during the permit process. All this poses a business risk.

The administrative change allowing for permits of up to 30 years, with check-ins required at least every five years, will encourage these much-needed, long-term eagle conservation efforts, while allowing wind companies to increase the affordable and renewable energy they supply to American consumers. These permits will be difficult to qualify for and keep — the result of much hard work with Audubon and other wildlife conservation groups to make sure they will work to the eagles’ benefit — no matter what Mr. Yarnold likes to claim.

Wind energy already reduces U.S. carbon dioxide pollution by nearly 100 million tons a year, and it’s one of the most affordable and readily scalable ways to address climate change — the single greatest threat to eagles and wildlife, say leading wildlife experts.

While reasonable people can disagree over what to do first, the latest revisions to the permit program are a major step forward for eagle protection and should be allowed to proceed without unreasonable attacks.

Tom Kiernan

CEO, American Wind Energy Association

Md. wind farm seeks eagle permit

Phil Taylor, E&E reporter

Published: Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A wind farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore has applied for a permit to kill or harm bald eagles, but has promised a suite of other steps to bolster the iconic bird.

The Fish and Wildlife Service said this month that it plans to prepare an environmental assessment for a proposed eagle “take” permit for the Great Bay Wind Energy Center in Somerset County.

The 25-turbine project by Austin, Texas-based Pioneer Green Energy LLC is one of roughly a dozen wind farms that have applied to FWS for eagle take permits of varying lengths.

Bald eagles are no longer protected under the Endangered Species Act, but bald or golden eagle take — which includes killing or disturbing the birds — is still prohibited under multiple federal laws.

While FWS last month finalized a rule extending the length of eagle permits to up to 30 years, Pioneer applied under a 2009 rule

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that limits permits to five years, the agency said.

Adam Cohen, a vice president at Pioneer, said a 30-year permit could help the project obtain financing, though he did not indicate whether the company plans to apply for a longer permit.

Cohen said it’s unclear how many birds are expected to be killed or harmed annually by the project, but he said bald eagle populations in the Chesapeake Bay region are robust and growing. Eagle take levels will be determined after FWS’s 30-day public scoping period, which includes a public meeting Jan. 15 in Westover, Md.

“We need to ensure that population is stable or expanding,” Cohen said.

While FWS initially predicted the project could kill up to 43 eagles per year, the project has been reduced in size from 60 turbines to 25 turbines and has been set back from prime eagle habitat such as the Atlantic flyway on the East Coast, the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and the Pocomoke River watershed, Cohen said.

“We’ve avoided and minimized impacts to the maximum extent we can,” he said.

A rough estimate based on 2012 nest data suggests there are about 30 nests within

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10 miles of the Great Bay project, FWS said.

The company has

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worked with FWS for three years to develop additional mitigation steps, including shutting down certain turbines during daylight hours when eagles are likely to fly by and ensuring that no turbines are sited within a mile of an eagle’s nest.

The company is also working with local poultry farmers on improved methods of composting chicken carcasses, which have attracted eagles to the site. It also plans to pursue hundreds of thousands of acres of conservation easements from landowners in the Pocomoke watershed to preserve key eagle habitat.

“We will be exploring other options for mitigation during the public scoping process and can incorporate new ideas into the eagle conservation plan,” FWS said.

Those steps could help the project avoid opposition from environmental groups that have scrutinized the new eagle take permits.

Fish and Wildlife has yet to issue an eagle permit to a wind farm, though other projects, including a transmission line across the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area along the Delaware-Pennsylvania border, have obtained five-year take permits.

Groups including the National Audubon Society and Natural Resources Defense Council strongly opposed FWS’s decision last month to allow 30-year eagle take permits, though groups are somewhat torn over the five-year permit rule.

Pioneer’s project is being built in part to satisfy a Maryland law requiring 20 percent of energy to come from renewable sources by 2022.

Cohen said it’s important to view wind power development in the context of climate change and the threat of rising sea levels that could destroy an unknown amount of eagle habitat in the Chesapeake Bay.

The Great Bay project comes amid a national debate over what level of bird deaths is an acceptable ecological tradeoff as wind farms are built to reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels.

While FWS argues that eagle take permits will ultimately benefit the birds, critics argue there are few proven ways to compensate for eagle deaths.

More companies are expected to apply for the permits after the Justice Department last month announced the first-ever criminal enforcement of bird protection laws at a wind energy facility, fining a North Carolina-based energy giant $1 million for killing more than 150

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migratory birds, including 14 golden eagles, at two Wyoming wind farms over the past few years (Greenwire, Nov. 25, 2013).

 

 

Philip A. Taylor

Interior Reporter

ptaylor@eenews.net

202-903-1518 (c)

202-737-5299 (f)

_____________________________________________________________

 

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IARC: Outdoor air pollution a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths

Lyon/Geneva, 17 October 2013 – The specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), announced today that it has classified outdoor air

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pollution as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1). 1

After thoroughly reviewing the latest available scientific literature, the world’s leading experts convened by the IARC Monographs Programme concluded that there is sufficient evidence that exposure to outdoor air pollution causes lung cancer (Group 1). They also noted a positive association with an increased risk of bladder cancer.

Particulate matter, a major component of outdoor air pollution, was evaluated separately and was also classified as carcinogenic

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to humans (Group 1).

The IARC evaluation showed an increasing risk of lung cancer with increasing levels of exposure to particulate matter and air pollution. Although the composition of air pollution and levels of exposure can vary dramatically between locations, the conclusions of the Working Group apply to all regions of the world.

A major environmental health problem
Air pollution is already known to increase risks for a wide range of diseases, such as respiratory and heart diseases. Studies indicate that in recent years exposure levels have increased significantly in some parts of the world, particularly in rapidly industrializing countries with large populations. The most recent data indicate that in 2010, 223 000 deaths from lung cancer worldwide resulted from air pollution. 2

The most widespread environmental carcinogen
“The air we breathe has become polluted with a mixture of cancer-causing substances,”

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says Dr Kurt Straif, Head of the IARC Monographs Section. “We now know that outdoor air pollution is not only

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a major risk to health in general, but also a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths.”

The IARC Monographs Programme, dubbed the “encyclopaedia of carcinogens”, provides an authoritative source of scientific evidence on cancer-causing substances and exposures. In the past, the Programme evaluated many individual chemicals and specific mixtures that occur in outdoor air pollution. These included diesel engine exhaust, solvents, metals, and dusts. But this is the first time that experts have classified outdoor air pollution as a cause of cancer.

“Our task was to evaluate the air everyone breathes rather than focus on specific air pollutants,” explains Dr Dana Loomis, Deputy Head of the Monographs Section. “The results from the reviewed studies point in the same direction: the risk of developing lung cancer is significantly increased in people exposed to air pollution.”

IARC Monographs evaluations
Volume 109 of the IARC Monographs is based on the independent review of more than 1000 scientific papers from studies on five continents. The reviewed studies analyse the carcinogenicity of various pollutants present in outdoor air pollution, especially particulate matter and transportation-related pollution. The evaluation is driven by findings from large epidemiologic studies that included millions of people living in Europe, North and South America, and Asia.

The predominant sources of outdoor air pollution are transportation, stationary power generation, industrial and agricultural emissions, and residential heating and cooking. Some air pollutants have natural sources, as well.

“Classifying outdoor air pollution as carcinogenic to humans is an important step,” stresses IARC Director Dr Christopher Wild. “There are effective ways to reduce air pollution and, given the scale of the exposure affecting people worldwide, this report should send a strong signal to the international community to take action without further delay.”

For more information, please contact
Véronique Terrasse, Communications Group, or at +33 (0) 645 284 952 ;
or Dr Nicolas Gaudin, IARC Communications
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization. Its mission is to coordinate and conduct research on the causes of human cancer, the mechanisms of carcinogenesis, and to develop scientific strategies for cancer control. The Agency is involved in both epidemiological and laboratory research and disseminates scientific information through publications, meetings, courses, and fellowships. If you wish your name to be removed from our press release e-mailing list, please write to com@iarc.fr.

1 Please note that the summary evaluation will be published by The Lancet Oncology online on Thursday 24 October 2013
2 http://www.iarc.fr/en/publications/books/sp161/index.php

The top 5 signs that wind is becoming America’s most affordable energy choice

We already knew American wind power benefits our economy, since it supports over 80,000 American jobs, adds billions of dollars into local, state, and national economies, and keeps our air clean by displacing harmful carbon emissions. But recent news adds to the evidence that wind costs have declined significantly and the savings are being passed onto everyday utility ratepayers like you and me.

At the heart of this good news is the fact that wind turbine technology is improving. New technology means not only lower costs to produce wind turbines but also increased turbine productivity. The results of these improvements are seen in the comprehensive data collection of wind power costs in reports by Lazard, the Department of Energy, the Energy Information Administration, and comments made by top utility executives from around the country.
The secret is out so much that even the Wall Street Journal’s Ryan Tracy acknowledged that wind’s successes can be contributed to its increasingly low costs.Here are the top 5 reasons we know wind is the becoming the most affordable choice for America:

1) New Lazard report shows impressive decline.

Released just last week, a new report by the financial services firm Lazard found wind’s costs have declined more than 50 percent over the past four years.

“Wind costs continue to decline; we estimate that the LCOE of leading technologies has fallen by more than 50% in the last four years. While many had anticipated significant declines in the cost of utility-scale solar PV, few anticipated these sorts of cost declines for wind technology.”

2) Electric utility leaders from around the country agree–wind

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As wind energy prices decline, and electricity consumers and utilities are faced with

choices about new electricity generation, wind energy is increasingly a competitive choice. With improving technology and siting

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techniques, wind energy is becoming one of the most affordable forms of electricity today.

Here’s what electric utility representatives are saying:

July 16, 2013 – “Wind prices are extremely competitive right now, offering lower costs than other possible resources, like natural gas plants.” – David Sparby, president & CEO of Xcel Energy’s Northern States Power, announcing 600 MW of new wind power contracts.

July 22, 2013 – “Low-cost wind energy provides [Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp.] with a hedge against fluctuating natural gas energy prices … We will continue to pursue energy options that allow AECC’s member cooperatives to provide reliable electricity at the lowest possible cost.” – Duane Highley, president & CEO of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp., after signing a 150-MW wind contract

August 12, 2013 – “The expansion is planned to be built at no net cost to the company’s customers and will help stabilize electric rates over the long term by providing a rate reduction totaling $10 million per year by 2017, commencing with a $3.3 million reduction in 2015.” – MidAmerican Energy Co. press releaseafter a recent Iowa Utilities Board decision to allow the utility to build 1,050 additional megawatts of wind generation in Iowa.

3) Actual contract prices and capital costs have dropped, as documented by the United States Department of Energy.

With this month’s release of the Department of Energy’s Wind Technologies Market Report 2012came news that wind power costs

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are even lower than last year.

The report found capital cost to develop wind power continues to drop, the average cost to purchase electricity provided by wind is falling (see chart below), the capacity to draw more electricity powered by wind continues to increase, and domestic content of new wind turbines installed in the U.S. continues to weigh in at (approximately) a healthy 70 percent American made.

4) DOE’s statistical arm, the Energy Information Administration (EIA), says so too.
EIA reported recently that wind energy is one of the most affordable options for new electricity generation, alongside new natural gas units.The EIA data is consistent with an earlier report from investment analysis firm Lazard, prepared for the Midwest regional utility system operator, similarly demonstrating wind power’s cost competitiveness. EIA’s data and analysis also squares with scores of real-world examples where utilities publicly praise wind power for lowering consumer costs.

Below is a chart using data from EIA that illustrates wind’s costs compared to other energy options:

Data Source: EIA, Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 20135) Newspapers and trade media are catching on to the new reality of wind power’s increasing competitiveness.

“Study finds price of wind energy in the U.S. near all-time low”
– Research & Development Magazine

“US Wind Power Prices Down To $0.04 Per kWh”
– Clean Technica

“Wind energy a wise investment”
– Kansas City Star editorial

“New study finds that the price of wind energy in the U.S. is near an all-time low”
– WindPower Engineering & Development

”Wind Power Growing, Becoming Less Costly”
– Earth Techling

“Go green to save green”- Amarillo Globe-News (TX) editorial

Photo credit: Iberdrola Renewables

Source: “Power of Wind Blog”

Tom Carlson: Eastern Shore wind is part of the equation

Mar 22, 2013

Written by Tom Carlson

Re: “Make wind part of the

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The Daily Times editorial board was right on in their recent editorial on offshore wind power. We must diversify our energy portfolio and wind power — both offshore and on land — will bring immense benefits to our state and the lower Eastern Shore in particular.

Some of our state’s best wind resources are on the lower Eastern Shore. The developer of one proposed project in Somerset County, the Great Bay Wind Energy Center, has gone above and beyond, ensuring land-based wind is developed in a responsible manner for the environment and surrounding communities.

For starters, Great Bay Wind has done extensive outreach to groups locally and across the state to ensure they understand the project and what it could mean for the area. On its website, you’ll find supporting letters from the Somerset Historical Society, Chambers of Commerce, Somerset Farm Bureau, Somerset public schools, and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

These groups support the proposed wind project for a number of reasons — economic and environmental.

The Eastern Shore currently imports more than 70 percent of its power from sources like coal and foreign oil. Climate change due to fossil fuel pollution and subsequent sea level rise in the Chesapeake Bay are grave threats not only to our own way of life, but also to the many species of birds, mammals and fish that inhabit the region. The proposed 150 megawatt project would double our state’s generation from the wind and sun, while providing power to more than 45,000 homes.

In terms of avoided greenhouse gas emissions, this would be equivalent to taking 40,000 cars off the road every year.

In addition to avoiding pollution from fossil fuels, Great Bay Wind has worked vigorously to ensure a limited impact on the surrounding environment. For example, the bald eagle population is thriving in the region and the developer has been voluntarily working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the past three years to develop an eagle conservation plan. This plan will ensure the species continues to thrive in the Chesapeake watershed over the long term after the project is constructed.

While all energy sources have impacts on wildlife, Great Bay Wind is working to ensure a limited impact that has no meaningful effect on bird or wildlife populations in the region.

Finally, wind power stands to be a great economic boon to the Eastern Shore. According to the Jacob France Institute of the University of Baltimore, the Great Bay Wind project will bring in $2.9 million of new tax revenue in its first year of operation alone, and the total amount of tax revenue generated over the 30-year life of the project will be more than $44.4 million.

That tax revenue could be used

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by Somerset County to invest in new roads, schools, public safety and or even to reduce existing taxes that local residents currently pay.

For our climate, our health, and our economy, moving forward with

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wind development is the right decision for Maryland and the lower Eastern Shore.

Tom Carlson is Maryland campaign director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network,www.chesapeakeclimate.org.

Survey Finds Most Republicans Seek Action on Climate Change

 

By ANDREW C. REVKIN

 

It’s time for that national “listening tour” on energy and climate, President

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Obama. Some evidence comes in a new survey from the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University (seen via Tom Yulsman on Facebook). Here’s an excerpt from the news release:

In a recent survey of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents conducted by the Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) at George Mason University, a majority of respondents (62 percent) said they feel America should take steps to address climate change. More than three out of four survey respondents (77 percent) said the United States should use more renewable energy sources, and of those, most believe that this change should begin immediately.

The national survey, conducted in January 2013, asked more than 700 people who self-identified as Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents about energy and climate change.

“Over the past

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few years, our surveys have shown that a growing number of Republicans want to see Congress do more to address climate change,” said Mason professor Edward Maibach, director of 4C. “In this survey, we asked a broader set of questions to see if we could better

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understand how Republicans, and Independents who have a tendency to vote Republican, think about America’s energy and climate change situation.”

The reason a listening tour is the next step, and not a pre-packaged batch of legislation or other steps, is to build on the common ground across a wide range of Americans on energy thrift, innovation and fair play (meaning policies that distort the playing field, with mandated corn ethanol productionand tax breaks for fossil fuel companies prime examples).

This might even lead to a new sense of mission in this country, something that’s been lacking since the cold war and space race.

In Mother Jones, Chris Mooney has an interesting spin on the survey, noting that the way global warming was framed probably had an impact on the level of buy-in on the questions.

It’s been clear for years that there are ways around the familiar partisan roadblocks on climate-smart energy policies. In 2009, the “Six Americas” survey by the same George Mason researchers and counterparts at Yale revealed

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this clearly. I distilled those findings into three slides here.

Here’s a bit more on the survey from the George Mason Web site:

This short report is based on a January 2013 national survey of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents. We found that they prefer clean energy as the basis of America’s energy future and say the benefits of clean energy, such as energy independence (66%) saving resources for our children and grandchildren (57%), and providing a better life for our children and grandchildren (56%) outweigh the costs, such as more government regulation (42%) or higher energy prices (31%).

By a margin of 2 to 1, respondents say America should take action to reduce our fossil fuel use. Also, only one third of respondents agree with the Republican Party’s position on climate change, while about half agree with the party’s position on how to meet America’s energy needs.

You can download the report here: A National Survey of Republicans and Republican-Leaning Independents on Energy and Climate Change.

New York Times, Opinion, April 3, 2013