Tag Archives: climate

The 10-year forecast: Drought

That’s the NY Times’s headline over this article. Here in Williston, Vt., it just rained again, another half-inch at least, with lightning and thunder accompaniment. But I can believe the climate forecast calls for drought. I once lived in Oklahoma. And before that in Texas. Both have been hit hard lately by drought.


Arizona wildfires leave aftermath for climate, water


What seven Repubs could do

As outlined in this column by Thomas Friedman. Will the Greedy Old Party, the GOP, step to the plate, or just hum and haw from the batter’s box? This, of course, all about the atmosphere that we all depend on, Republicans, Democrats, greens, independents, etc. etc. etc.

As climate changes, Minnesota’s fish feel the heat

And still the legislators, at the states’ level and inside the Beltway, do little to nothing. Amazing, and sorrowful.


Radical new approach needed for climate change


Climate science openness urged


Petition filed agaonst coal-fired power plant

Petition Filed with EPA to Rein in Illegal Air Pollution from Coal Plant in Brush, Colorado

Denver—WildEarth Guardians today petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect clean air and the climate and overturn an air pollution permit allowing Xcel Energy to illegally pollute while operating the Pawnee coal-fired power plant.

“It’s time to rein in illegal air pollution from the Pawnee coal-fired power plant,” said Jeremy Nichols, Climate and Energy Program Director for WildEarth Guardians. “This is about protecting our clean air and our climate from dirty energy. This is about ensuring Xcel Energy respects laws that are in place to keep us safe and healthy.”

The petition, filed with the Administrator of the EPA in Washington, D.C., calls on the agency to overturn an air pollution operating permit issued by the State of Colorado on January 1, 2010. At issue is the failure of the permit to address ongoing violations of the Clean Air Act. In 2002, the EPA notified Xcel Energy that the company had illegally modified the Pawnee plant without installing the best available pollution controls. This violation has yet to be resolved, meaning the Pawnee plant continues to illegally pollute.

The petition also challenges the State of Colorado’s failure to ensure the permit monitors emissions of dangerous particulate matter and to limit global warming pollution from the smokestack of the Pawnee coal plant, as required by the Clean Air Act.

The Pawnee coal plant, located in Brush, Colorado, 90 miles northeast of Denver, is the fourth largest coal-fired power plant in Colorado and is a major source of air pollution under the Clean Air Act. According to Xcel’s own data on file with the State of Colorado and EPA, every year the 550 megawatt plant releases:

• 9,190,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide pollution—which forms smog and haze—as much as is released by more than 240,000 cars (according to the EPA, a car releases 38.2 pounds of nitrogen oxides).

• 307,820 pounds of particulate pollution, which scars scenic landscapes and can trigger asthma attacks.

• 40,600 pounds of hydrochloric acid, a toxic chemical.

• 360 pounds of mercury—a potent neurotoxin.

• 3,837,802 tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is fueling global warming, nearly 5% of Colorado’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

The air pollution permit was issued to Xcel Energy under Title V of the Clean Air Act. Under Title V, permits are issued by states, but citizens can petition the EPA to veto them if they fail to comply with the law, including if they fail to require sufficient monitoring of air pollution. In the case of the Pawnee coal-fired power plant, the permit fails to require that best available pollution controls be installed to remedy the violations identified by the EPA in 2002 and also fails to require sufficient monitoring of particulate matter to ensure compliance with established limits.

The permit also entirely fails to keep global warming pollution in check as required by law. Carbon dioxide is considered an air pollutant under both the Clean Air Act and Colorado state law. Under state law, an air pollutant is considered to be “any gas…which is emitted into or otherwise enters the atmosphere.”

State regulations require any stationary source of air pollution that spews more than 250 tons per year of any pollutant regulated under state law to use the best available controls. Although the Pawnee coal-fired plant emits more than 250 tons per year of carbon dioxide, the permit fails to ensure Xcel Energy uses the best available pollution controls to keep global warming pollution in check.

“No more breaks for dirty energy,” said Nichols. “With our climate, our health, and our safety at stake, the State of Colorado can’t continue to shirk its legal duties.”

Under the Clean Air Act, the Administrator of the EPA has 60 days to grant or deny the petition.