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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Big oil visits White House in apparent bid to kneecap tougher smog standards

Well, friends, the clock is ticking. (No, we’re not talking about the Florida primaries, or “Super Tuesday” for that matter.)

It’s only about six weeks until the US EPA announces whether it plans to set tougher national health standards for ozone, or smog. That means it’s time for the White House to focus on the issue, which pits scientists (and kids with asthma) against the biggest and nastiest polluters.

The health evidence is overwhelming that tougher smog standards are needed to protect kids with asthma and many millions of other Americans. That is the unanimous conclusion of EPA’s independent scientific advisers.

And so – as it so often happens – representatives of big polluters have started going to the White House in an apparent big to kneecap any effort to make existing standards better.

The White House Office of Management and Budget records that several oil industry consultants came to pay a visit January 25. (See below.)

Anne Smith of CRA International is recorded to have represented the American Petroleum Institute, which has gone on record against tougher smog standards.

Teresa Gorman of LPI Consulting (once a White House environmental adviser in the first Bush administration) is listed as representing “Bingham McCuthen.” That is probably a typo.

Gorman also happens to be a registered lobbyist for Bingham McCutchen – and represents ExxonMobil on “clean air regulatory issues,” according to lobbying disclosure reports! Gorman has also visited the White House on other occasions representing ExxonMobil. You do have to wonder if there was some effort here at deception, since ExxonMobil is never mentioned. Perhaps just a clerical error.

I predict this will be the first of many White House visits as big polluters try to smogify the issue.

Note, by the way, the link below to a separate White House meeting that included corn and tobacco growers. The topic is not disclosed, though it seems pretty intriguing.

**
Link to oil industry meeting at White House:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/oira/2000/meetings/692.html

Meeting Record Regarding: Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards
Date: 1/25/2008
-->
Name
Affiliation
Client (if applicable) -->
Art Fraas
OMB/OIRA

Heidi King
OMB/OIRA

Margo Schwab
OMB/OIRA

Teresa Gorman
LPI
Bingham McCuthen
Anne Smith
CRA International
API
Lydia Wegman
EPA

Harvey Richmond
EPA


**
Link to meeting with corn and tobacco growers.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/oira/2000/meetings/691.html

Time to pull the plug on Florida's "Dirty Dozen" sources of global warming pollution

(Washington, DC. January 28, 2008) – It’s time to pull the plug on Florida’s “Dirty Dozen” electric power industry sources of global warming pollution, according to a new report by the non-profit Clean Air Watch.

In order to meet the laudable greenhouse gas reduction goals set forth by Florida Governor Charlie Crist, these “Dirty Dozen” electric power plant units will probably need to be retired or repowered, Clean Air Watch noted.

The power they produce “could and should be reduced by aggressively improving energy efficiency and stepping up use of renewable energy,” noted Frank O’Donnell, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Clean Air Watch.

The “Dirty Dozen” power plant units on average are 47 years old – older than the 35-year-old national average of coal-fired power plants.

O’Donnell noted that Florida is a critical battleground in the fight against global warming because it ranks third in the nation in terms of power plant carbon dioxide emissions.

“States like Florida are leading the way against global warming because the federal government’s response has been so slow and indecisive,” O’Donnell said. “The Sunshine State could influence the shape of federal legislation.”

O’Donnell noted that Governor Crist issued a series of executive orders last year aimed at reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. These would require adoption of standards to reduce power plant emissions in the state to 2000 levels by 2017 and to 1990 levels by 2025.

Because of continuing growth in the state Florida will need to reduce power plant carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent to meet the 2017 goal. To do that – while still meeting the state’s growing energy needs – Florida will need to retire or repower the biggest polluters while promoting energy efficiency and conservation.

In its report, Clean Air Watch compiled an inventory of the most polluting electric generating units in Florida over the age of 35 (based on their CO2 emission rates) and calculated the approximate CO2 savings that would result from replacing these units with clean renewable energy projects.

“We found that retiring the 12 highest polluting units in the state would achieve almost half of Florida’s phase one emissions reduction goal,” said O’Donnell.
“Meeting the rest of the goal may require shutting down additional high-polluting plants as well as more use of renewable energy and better energy efficiency.”

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Florida’s Dirty Dozen: The Highest Emitting Generating Units in Florida Over the Age
of 35 (Ranked according to their CO2 emission rates).

Plant Name Owner Fuel Type Age

Scholz 2 Gulf Power coal 55
Scholz 1 Gulf Power coal 55
Suwannee 2 Progress Energy oil 54
Big Bend ST1 Tampa Electric coal 38
Crist 4 Gulf Power coal 49
Suwannee 1 Progress Energy oil 55
Lansing Smith 2 Gulf Power coal 41
Bartow ST2 Progress Energy oil 47
Crist 6 Gulf Power coal 38
Lansing Smith 1 Gulf Power coal 43
Crist 5 Gulf Power coal 47
Crystal River Progress Energy coal 42