It's on! EPA's Lisa Jackson whacks back at fossil fuel lobbyists
Next to Barack Obama, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson may now be the favorite target of Big Business lobbyists and their Republican cronies in Congress. Heck, even Democrats in tight races who want to show they’re not part of that “cap-and-tax” crowd are piling on. But Jackson’s not afraid of the action.
You manhandle the truth: The EPA director knows better than anyone that her agency is now going to take all the fire from the forces that took climate legislation down in the Senate. Last month, at an event marking the 40th anniversary of the Clean Air Act, Jackson took a shot at the “doomsday predictions” of oil and gas lobbyists. Now, in an interview with Politico, she follows up with another punch:
… when I go around the country, people want clean air. They are as passionate about clean air and clean water as any number of issues; they want protection for their families and their children. I meet with individual businesses all the time, and industry has a huge role to play. But I do very much believe that it’s time for us to get past this tired dance, where folks inside this Beltway get paid a lot of money to say things that aren’t true about public health initiatives that this agency is charged by law with undertaking.
And in other green news:
The coalman runneth: True to form, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, a Democrat who’s in a tight race for the Senate seat long held by the late Robert Byrd, announced today that his state is suing the EPA to keep it from cracking down on mountaintop mining. His Republican opponent, John Raese, has been pounding Manchin as an Obama loyalist who’s doing wrong by the coal industry. [Charleston Gazette]
Perfect posturing: And when we last left her, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) was doing her own grandstand. She vowed to hold up confirmation of Barack Obama’s nominee for budget director until the moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf is lifted. It’s shabby stuff, but it seems to be scoring points with the folks back home. As Robert Hogan, an associate professor at Louisiana State University told The Hill:
This state has trended Republican in recent years, and we have a very popular Republican governor (Bobby Jindal) who has been a constant thorn in the side of the administration. This moratorium is something he’s trumpeted all over the place. So the public here has been very primed to this issue by the actions of the governor. I think Landrieu is in a very precarious situation. She needs to be able to point to things where she has stood up to the administration, and this is certainly something she can point to where she has.
Give it a spin: Oil boosters have also been complaining that the feds have been painfully slow in approving permits for shallow-water wells in the Gulf. And now they have “scientific” evidence for ammo. A new study concludes that if the slowdown in granting permits continues, it could cost 40,000 jobs. One little detail: The study was commissioned by the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition, an oil industry group. [The Hill]
Son of a witch hunt: Ken Cuccinelli is back at it. Virginia’s attorney general and darling of the right has once again subpoenaed loads of documents and emails from the University of Virginia in his ongoing campaign against climate scientist Michael Mann. [Real Climate] Here’s an excerpt from what the Washington Post had to say in an editorial today about Cuccinelli’s latest gambit:
What is this farce costing? To defend itself from Cuccinelli’s investigation into the distribution of a $214,000 research grant, the University of Virginia has spent $350,000, with more to come, and that doesn’t count the taxpayer funds Mr. Cuccinelli is devoting to this case. Sadly, though, that’s the smallest of the costs. The damage to Viriginia’s reputation, and its universities’ ability to attract top-notch faculty and students, will not be easily undone.
Bad air day: Japanese researchers say they’ve discovered evidence of the chemical BPA in the atmosphere. The burning of plastics and electronics has put it there, which explains why the scientists found almost none of the chemical in the air above the poles, but levels 10,000 times higher in densely populated areas like India. [Environmental Health News]
That blows: Two hurdles the wind energy industry needs to clear: Wind turbines are a lot noisier than people think they’ll be, [The New York Times] and their turbulence, which can change air temperatures near the ground, could affect how well crops nearby will grow. [BBC]
Finally, a reason to put jellyfish in a blender: Have to admit that when I think about sources of renewable energy, jellyfish have never made the list. But now scientists say that by blenderizing a bunch of dead, glow-in-the-dark jellyfish into smoothies, they can harvest ingredients for solar fuel cells. No, really. [CNN]
There’s a crap for that: In England, they’re going old stool. A pilot program has started in Oxfordshire to collect human waste, store it in airtight vats, and treat it with enzymes. Eighteen days later? No, not a souffle. Usable methane. [The Guardian]
Power surge: We’ll find out soon enough if electric cars will catch on, but electric bikes are already a hit in China and Europe. Europeans buy about 600,000 every year. [Energy Daily]