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Category Archives: Environmental Law

New GAO Reports – Electricity Generation Projects, U.S. Parole Commission

  • Electricity Generation Projects: Additional Data Could Improve Understanding of the Effectiveness of Tax Expenditures, GAO-15-302: Published: Apr 28, 2015. Publicly Released: May 28, 2015: “The states and the federal government have supported the development of electricity generation projects in a variety of ways. In recent years, state and federal supports have been targeted toward renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, although there have been some supports for projects using traditional sources—natural gas, coal, and nuclear. GAO was asked to examine state and federal supports for the development of utility-scale electricity generation projects—power plants with generating capacities of at least 1 MW that are connected to the grid and intend to sell electricity—for fiscal years 2004 through 2013. This report (1) identifies key state supports for these projects; (2) examines key federal support provided through outlays, loan programs, and tax expenditures for these projects; and (3) examines how state and federal supports affect the development of new renewable projects. GAO analyzed relevant legislation, agency outlay and loan program data, and interviewed stakeholders, including project developers and experts. GAO also surveyed state regulatory commissions about state policies. In addition, GAO modeled the impact of reducing federal tax expenditures on project finances.
  • U.S. Parole Commission: Number of Offenders under Its Jurisdiction Has Declined; Transferring Its Jurisdiction for D.C. Offenders Would Pose Challenges, GAO-15-359: Published: May 28, 2015. Publicly Released: May 28, 2015: “From fiscal years 2002 through 2014, the total number of offenders under the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) U.S. Parole Commission’s (USPC) jurisdiction declined 26 percent from about 23,000 to about 17,000. Specifically, following the abolition of parole, the number of offenders on or eligible for parole declined 67 percent among federal offenders, and 74 percent among D.C. offenders. However, following the introduction of supervised release, the number of D.C. offenders on supervised release or serving a prison sentence that includes supervised release increased 606 percent from fiscal year 2002 to fiscal year 2011, and then slightly declined through fiscal year 2014.”

Clean Water Rule Protects Streams and Wetlands Critical to Public Health, Communities, and Economy

“In an historic step for the protection of clean water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army finalized the Clean Water Rule today to clearly protect from pollution and degradation the streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources. The rule ensures that waters protected under the Clean WaterContinue Reading

Historic Survey of Financial Services Professionals Reveals Widespread Disregard for Ethics

News release: “Labaton Sucharow LLP, which established the nation’s first practice exclusively dedicated to representing SEC whistleblowers, today announced the results of its collaborative survey with the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business: The Street, The Bull and The Crisis. The survey, the most expansive of its kind, polled more than 1,200 U.S.Continue Reading

The City Energy Efficiency Scorecard

“Mayors and local lawmakers in America’s largest cities continue to take innovative steps to lower energy costs for consumers and businesses, increase their resilience, and reduce pollution through increased energy efficiency, according to the 2nd edition of the City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).  Available onlineContinue Reading

Atmospheric changes through 2012 as shown by iteratively homogenized radiosonde temperature and wind data

Atmospheric changes through 2012 as shown by iteratively homogenized radiosonde temperature and wind data (IUKv2) Steven C Sherwood and Nidhi Nishant 2015 Environ. Res. Lett. 10 054007 “We present an updated version of the radiosonde dataset homogenized by Iterative Universal Kriging (IUKv2), now extended through February 2013, following the method used in the original versionContinue Reading

Oceanic and atmospheric forcing of Larsen C Ice-Shelf thinning

Citation: Holland, P. R., Brisbourne, A., Corr, H. F. J., McGrath, D., Purdon, K., Paden, J., Fricker, H. A., Paolo, F. S., and Fleming, A. H.: Oceanic and atmospheric forcing of Larsen C Ice-Shelf thinning, The Cryosphere, 9, 1005-1024, doi:10.5194/tc-9-1005-2015, 2015. “The catastrophic collapses of Larsen A and B ice shelves on the eastern Antarctic Peninsula have caused their tributary glaciers to accelerate, contributing to sea-level rise and freshening theContinue Reading

Collapse of the world’s largest herbivores

“Large wild herbivores are crucial to ecosystems and human societies. We highlight the 74 largest terrestrial herbivore species on Earth (body mass ≥100 kg), the threats they face, their important and often overlooked ecosystem effects, and the conservation efforts needed to save them and their predators from extinction. Large herbivores are generally facing dramatic populationContinue Reading

Unabated global mean sea-level rise over the satellite altimeter era

“The rate of global mean sea-level (GMSL) rise has been suggested to be lower for the past decade compared with the preceding decade as a result of natural variability, with an average rate of rise since 1993 of +3.2 ± 0.4 mm yr−1. However, satellite-based GMSL estimates do not include an allowance for potential instrumentalContinue Reading

New GAO reports – Forest Restoration, Medicaid

Forest Restoration: Adjusting Agencies’ Information-Sharing Strategies Could Benefit Landscape-Scale Projects, GAO-15-398: Published: Apr 9, 2015. Publicly Released: May 11, 2015: “Agencies GAO reviewed—the Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and National Park Service (NPS) in the DepartmentContinue Reading

Energy Report – Home Idle Load

Natural Resources Defense Council – Devices Wasting Huge Amounts of Electricity When Not in Active Use “Always-on” energy use by inactive appliances, electronics and miscellaneous electrical devices translates to $19 billion a year — about $165 per U.S. household on average. The average always-on load uses the same amount of electricity as brewing 234 cupsContinue Reading

NASA – Cloudy Earth

NASA Earth Observatory – “Decades of satellite observations and astronaut photographs show that clouds dominate space-based views of Earth. One study based on nearly a decade of satellite data estimated that about 67 percent of Earth’s surface is typically covered by clouds. This is especially the case over the oceans, where other research shows lessContinue Reading

Website About Endangered Species and the Efforts to Save Them

“Over the last 18 years, Bagheera has been visited by millions of people who have requested tens of millions of pages of information on endangered species. Bagheera was created by Endangered Species Journalist Craig Kasnoff in 1996 as part of Microsoft’s Schoolhouse Project. It is the first of many endangered species websites created by Craig toContinue Reading