Combatting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) flurry of new regulations on coal and other energy resources has become a campaign platform for Republicans in key battleground states. GOP contenders in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are directing their focus to the Obama administration’s seemingly anti-coal agenda, while blaming their Democratic rivals for bolstering the EPA’s intrusive regulatory efforts.

 The Obama administration and its Energy Department are under fire over controversial “green energy” schemes yet again, with Republican lawmakers alleging on August 15 that senior officials may have violated federal law by attempting to conceal relevant records using private e-mail accounts. Last week, the House Oversight Committee also requested more information from President Obama about his personal involvement in funneling billions of taxpayer dollars to politically connected companies such as Solyndra that later failed.

 A new proposal by the Obama administration to expand drilling to half of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A) has attracted criticism from the oil industry, as the plan still leaves a broad area off limits to new oil development. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said new development will be permitted in an 11.8 million-acre geographical area, which purportedly holds about 549 million barrels of oil, while coastal regions such as Kasegaluk Lagoon and Peard Bay — where there is a higher concentration of seals and polar bears — will receive “special protection.”

The current drought afflicting the country is driving up the price of corn and reviving the debate over ethanol mandates that redirect corn from food to fuel.  

Because of the drought, corn yield per acre this year will be the lowest since 1995, while the actual production of corn will be the lowest since 2006. A congressional mandate to turn corn into ethanol in order to reduce emissions requires converting nearly 40 percent of that harvest into 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol. That leaves precious little to feed cattle and people, driving up the price.

In an effort to curb “high priority” environmental problems along the U.S.-Mexico border, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) worked with Mexican officials last week to launch the "Border 2020 U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program." But while the program seeks to abridge pollution in many areas, it neglects to mention the 1,000 tons of trash abandoned by illegal immigrants crossing the border into the United States.

In his testimony August 1 before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, climate scientist John Christy revealed the results of his latest work showing “clear evidence … that extreme high temperatures are not increasing in frequency, but actually appear to be decreasing.” Christy does his research at the University of Alabama, monitoring global temperature changes through remote satellite sensing which he developed along with a partner, Roy Spencer. For his efforts, Christy has been awarded NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and the American Meteorological Society’s “Special Award.”

 As congressional Republicans continue their assault on President Obama’s seemingly failed “green” agenda, the White House announced August 7 it will expedite seven federal wind and solar projects across four western states. The programs, which will be grounded in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Wyoming, will generate enough power to run 1.5 million homes, the White House said in a press release.

As the international effort to deploy so-called “smart meters” to monitor electricity usage marches on, resistance to the controversial devices is increasing around the world as well. Proponents claim the schemes could save money and reduce energy use. Opponents from across the political spectrum, however, worry that the smart meters might not be just a stupid idea and a waste of money — they could actually be dangerous in more ways than one.

 

A new study of the methodology and placement of weather monitoring equipment has found that misplacement of such equipment is giving a false estimation of the threat of global warming.

Moving forward with President Obama’s environmental agenda, the White House is expected to authorize new federal auto standards in the coming weeks that will nearly double fuel economy requirements for vehicles by 2025. The regulations require “fleet wide” gas mileage of 54.4 miles per gallon, or the average fuel economy for all cars, vans, trucks and other vehicles.

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