Resource Documents: Maryland (6 items)
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Connecticut, Delaware, Economics, Emissions, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont •
Author: Stevenson, David
The nearly decade-old Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) was always meant to be a model for a national program to reduce power plant carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explicitly cited it in this fashion in its now-stayed Clean Power Plan. Although the RGGI is often called a “cap and trade” program, its effect is the same as a direct tax or fee on emissions because RGGI allowance costs are passed on from electric generators to distribution companies to consumers. More recently, an influential group of former cabinet officials, known as the “Climate Leadership Council,” has recommended a direct tax on CO₂; emissions (Shultz and Summers 2017).
Positive RGGI program reviews have been from RGGI, Inc. (the program administrator) and the Acadia Center, which advocates for reduced emissions (see Stutt, Shattuck, and Kumar 2015). In this article, I investigate whether reported reductions in CO₂ emissions from electric power plants, along with associated gains in health benefits and other claims, were actually achieved by the RGGI program. Based on my findings, any form of carbon tax is not the policy to accomplish emission reductions. The key results are:
- There were no added emissions reductions or associated health benefits from the RGGI program.
- Spending of RGGI revenue on energy efficiency, wind, solar power, and low-income fuel assistance had minimal impact.
- RGGI allowance costs added to already high regional electric bills. The combined pricing impact resulted in a 13 percent drop in goods production and a 35 percent drop in the production of energy intensive goods. Comparison states increased goods production by 15 percent and only lost 4 percent of energy intensive manufacturing. Power imports from other states increased from 8 percent to 17 percent.
David Stevenson is Director of the Center for Energy Competitiveness at the Caesar Rodney Institute. He prepared this working paper for Cato’s Center for the Study of Science.
Download original document: “A Review of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative”
Author: Pylant, Cortney; et al.
An unanticipated impact of wind-energy development has been large-scale mortality of insectivorous bats. In eastern North America, where mortality rates are among the highest in the world, the hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus) and the eastern red bat (L. borealis) comprise the majority of turbine-associated bat mortality. Both species are migratory tree bats with widespread distributions; however, little is known regarding the geographic origins of bats killed at wind-energy facilities or the diversity and population structure of affected species. We addressed these unknowns by measuring stable hydrogen isotope ratios (δ²H) and conducting population genetic analyses of bats killed at wind-energy facilities in the central Appalachian Mountains (USA) to determine the summering origins, effective size, structure, and temporal stability of populations. Our results indicate that ~1% of hoary bat mortalities and ~57% of red bat mortalities derive from non-local sources, with no relationship between the proportion of non-local bats and sex, location of mortality, or month of mortality. Additionally, our data indicate that hoary bats in our sample consist of an unstructured population with a small effective size (Ne) and either a stable or declining history. Red bats also showed no evidence of population genetic structure, but in contrast to hoary bats, the diversity contained in our red bat samples is consistent with a much larger Ne, that reflects a demographic expansion after a bottleneck. These results suggest that the impacts of mortality associated with intensive wind-energy development may affect bat species dissimilarly, with red bats potentially better able to absorb sustained mortality than hoary bats because of their larger Ne. Our results provide important baseline data and also illustrate the utility of stable isotopes and population genetics for monitoring bat populations affected by wind-energy development.
Cortney L. Pylant, David M. Nelson, Matthew C. Fitzpatrick, J. Edward Gates, and Stephen R. Keller
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Appalachian Laboratory, Frostburg, MD; Department of Biology, Frostburg State University, Frostburg, MD; and Department of Plant Biology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
Ecological Applications, Volume 26, Issue 5, July 2016, Pages 1381–1395
Download original document: “Geographic origins and population genetics of bats killed at wind-energy facilities”
Author: Connaughton, Kimberly
Save Western Maryland filed a federal lawsuit against Constellation Energy Group and their affiliate for violation of the Endangered Species Act, due to Constellation’s intrusive installation and operation of an industrial wind power facility on the ridgetop of Backbone Mountain which will result in the killing, injury and other forms of harm to the endangered Indiana Bat.
The Indiana bat is one of the most imperiled land mammals in the world. Invaluable members of their ecosystems for their insect control capabilities, they are characterized by scientists as a keystone species. Wind turbines pose a grave threat to Indiana bats in terms of collisions and barotrauma – a bloody explosion of the lungs of bats caused by passage through the low pressure zones created by the movement of the huge turbine blades.
The lawsuit is a result of Constellation’s failure to follow the well established procedure to acquire an Incidental Take Permit, which would allow bats to be killed but avoid liability under the Endangered Species Act. Constellation has been aware of the presence of the Indiana bats at the site for years. Indiana bats are known to inhabit numerous caves in the vicinity of the wind plant, including the John Friend Cave near Sang Run.
Save Western Maryland is joined on the complaint by the Maryland Conservation Council, Ajax Eastman and D. Daniel Boone. The plaintiffs are represented by Moylan and Moylan of Baltimore.
[press release, Dec. 22, 2010]
Aesthetics, Environment, Health, Law, Maryland, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Wildlife •
Author: Spiggle, Wayne
Dear Senator Rockefeller,
Please accept my personal warm greetings. We have visited on several occasions, particularly on health care. You may remember me as a physician who yearns for an improved Medicare for All, as embodied in (H.R. 676).
I’ve just read with interest the email response you are making to people actively concerned about your policies on “renewable” energy and I’d like to make the following comments about industrial wind. Personally, I favor subsidies that go to small hydropower development and research on burning coal more cleanly and think they should be increased.
But, on industrial wind:
- Thank you for your steady objection to (H.R. 2454). The Cap and Trade policy has not worked in Europe and will not work in the U.S. Purchasing a permit to pollute and passing the cost to the public just does not make sense.
- Your support of (S. 1462), (S. 3813) and (S. 433) appears to be stated in the affirmative when you say that, in the past, you have supported renewable energy standards and have been the major driving force behind the construction of new wind turbines across the country. This is where I plead for you to re-examine your policy. Please, please educate yourself about the unintended consequences of the proliferation of wind turbines, particularly along Appalachian ridge tops. If you do, you will find:
- The inefficiency of the turbines related to wind fluctuations will require far more land disruption than does strip mining for coal. First reported by the Nature Conservancy and subsequently documented elsewhere, even by Senator Lamar Alexander you will find it very apparent that if you pass laws that mandate even 15% of electricity be from sources like industrial wind you will be sentencing the majority of our celebrated West Virginia Hills to be pock marked with giant turbines and thousands of miles of new transmission lines to serve them. Tragically, this physical and ecologic transformation of West Virginia’s trademark landscape will have no significant amelioration of green house gasses because of the required co-generation of base load stand by.
- The federal and state tax subsidies for industrial wind (and solar) are far out of balance for other energy sources, 15 times more. Industrial wind must receive this largess to get started AND to keep going. Explain to me how it is good public policy to provide such a favoritism to an industry that cannot contribute to the global warming problem in a significant way?
- Imposing renewable standards will drive up electricity costs very significantly. That means the cost of this new energy policy will be disproportionally borne by the middle class and the poor. I feel very confident that is not your intent and will be very sad if it becomes your legacy.
Senator, I belong to The Allegheny Highlands Alliance (AHA), a relatively new grass roots organization with representation in WV, MD, PA, VA, and SC. Our mission is to, in an intellectually honest, scientifically based way; educate the public about the realities of industrial wind and the pending legislation that would further codify its undeserved position. There are several other issues, including impact on migrating song birds and raptors, destruction of habitat for rare terrestrials (both concerns of the USFWS and the WVDNR), negative health impacts from constant low frequency noise inflicted on people living close to an industrial wind facility, water resource disruption, to site a few.
We believe there is a better way to promote alternative energy than to dictate a percentage standard and then to sit back to see what happens. That is getting the cart before the horse. Once again, I implore you, with the assistance of staff to open your mind and investigate the above observations. AHA has extensive expertise on this subject and, if invited, we would appreciate the honor to meet with you for a briefing.
Wayne C. Spiggle, MD
Allegheny Treasures notes:
Dr. Wayne Spiggle is well known in West Virginia and Maryland as an effective social justice advocate and environmental leader. As a former president of MedChi, the Maryland Medical Society, he pressed for universal health care and he is still involved in that fight. As a Mineral County commissioner, he has promoted quality of life issues and emphasized the importance of developing a welcoming environment to encourage jobs and business development. For his public health initiatives he was recently recognized by the West Virginia State Medical Society with their prestigious Excellence in Medicine Award.
Spiggle has studied industrial wind with the critical eye of a scientist. He has concluded that industrial wind is poor public policy because it requires base load back up from fossil fuel, cannot reduce green house gases, receives public subsidies some 15 times more than other energy sources, is destined to raise electricity bills for homes and businesses and is handicapped by very significant environmental issues sufficient to bring about a transformation of Appalachian ridge tops of geologic proportions while having a disastrous mortality on migrating song birds, raptors and resident bats.
A member of the Allegheny Highlands Alliance (AHA), he has joined their mission to inform the public about industrial wind by adhering to the principals on intellectual honesty and scientific based knowledge.
The Allegheny Highlands Alliance (AHA) is a consortium of citizen/environment organizations with membership in five states along the Allegheny Front. The AHA is in the process of discovering the facts about industrial wind, its potential to reduce green house gases, its economics and the impact of industrial wind energy project installations on the ecology and human health.
The purposes of AHA shall include but not be limited to the following:
- To advance public knowledge and understanding of the cultural, biological, environmental diversity, uniqueness, and sensitivity of the major ridgelines that comprise the Allegheny Highlands;
- To preserve and protect areas of particular scenic, geologic, biologic, historic, wilderness, and/or recreational importance in the Allegheny Highlands;
- To aid in the establishment of responsible policies to protect scientific, educational or aesthetic values;
- To conduct regional and resource studies as a basis for the wise use of the various resources of the Allegheny Highlands; to develop programs in energy conservation and wise production; and to serve local communities, the region, the people of the Allegheny Highlands as an agency for popular enlightenment, for cultural improvement, and for scientific advancement;
- To advocate governmental policies for the conservation and wise management of energy and natural resources of the Allegheny Highlands.
AHA Contact Larry Thomas, President, at firstname.lastname@example.org