"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took the first procedural step on Tuesday evening towards advancing a $9.4 billion waterways bill that contains emergency funding for Flint, Mich. Although the Kentucky Republican moved to proceed to the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) – which authorizes dozens of waterways projects around the country – an aide cautioned that there’s not yet an agreement on adopting the motion to proceed. The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee approved the WRDA bill by a 19-1 vote in April, fulfilling a promise from committee leaders to return to a two-year cycle of authorizing projects under the measure. The legislation identifies $4.5 billion worth of water-related infrastructure projects and authorizes $4.9 billion for drinking and clean water infrastructure over five years."
News Article | April 19, 2016
During the past several weeks there have been a number of developments supporting a growing movement to enable nuclear energy innovators to succeed in the US. Leaders are realizing that nuclear energy, which has deep roots in the US and has proven its capability to produce reliable power without producing any air pollution, should be enabled, not discouraged. The impetus for action might have been stimulated by the realization that even Bill Gates had determined that the process of obtaining approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for any technology that is different from traditional light water reactors was so hard that it was worthwhile to target China as the venue for initial deployment of his TerraPower technology. On April 12th, the Nuclear Innovation Alliance released a document titled Enabling Nuclear Innovation: Strategies for Licensing Advanced Reactors. Dr. Ashley Finan, (PhD in Nuclear Engineering from MIT) and a scientist on the staff of the Clean Air Task Force is the report’s principle author. She was assisted by several knowledgable and experienced contributing authors. The names listed below might be familiar to the Atomic Insights readers who have spent their careers in the nuclear industry or in the NRC. The NIA report isn’t a lonely document that will reside on an increasingly dusty shelf. Senators Booker (D-NJ) and Whitehouse (R-RI) introduced S.2795, which is titled either the Nuclear Energy Regulatory Modernization Act (NERMA) or the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act, depending on the source of information about the bill. Senators Inhofe (R-OK) and Crapo (R-ID) are co-authors of the legislation. Reading the report (Enabling Nuclear Innovation) and the bill (Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (S.2795)) side by side reveals that there has been a successful effort to coordinate policy recommendations and the legislation needed to implement those recommendations. Tomorrow, April 21, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety will hold a hearing on the bill, with the following invited witnesses: Aside: I hope Dr. Lyman does not feel too lonely. Truthfully, I really don’t care if he does. End Aside. NEI has issued a statement expressing its support for the legislation. A few days before Dr. Finan’s report was released in final form, the NRC issued Solicitation of Public Comments for the Advanced Non-Light Water Reactor Design Criteria. It would be worthwhile for people with a direct interest in the process of enabling the approval of advanced reactors to carefully read the NRC’s Design Criteria. Before June 7th, provide concise, actionable comments in any area where there are potential pitfalls that might negate the NRC ability to fulfill its mission of protecting health and safety, ensuring the common defense and security, and protecting the environment of the United States by allowing qualified licensees to build and operate safe, refined nuclear technologies. The post Enabling atomic innovation appeared first on Atomic Insights.
The city doesn't like to deal with its own trash, preferring to outsource the dirty work to smaller communities, but now the community of Ingersoll is fighting back fiercely. A battle is heating up between the city of Toronto and a small town called Ingersoll. Until recently, Ingersoll was best known for its artisanal cheeses and picturesque location in the rolling fertile farmland of southwestern Ontario, about 90 minutes’ drive from Toronto. In recent months, however, the town has become better known for its refusal to bow down to Toronto’s interest in turning Ingersoll into the city’s future landfill site. The photo below shows where the proposed landfill would be located in relation to the town: You can’t blame Ingersoll for saying no, which is what Mayor Ted Comiskey has stated loud and clear: Comiskey’s comment about the Christie Pits quarry was not well received by Torontonians, but that’s because they know where it is. To those people who call Ingersoll home, the thought of using that quarry is just as disturbing. Toronto has a long history of exporting its trash to other communities. Starting in 2002, Toronto sent 150 rigs of trash daily across the border to Michigan. Finally in 2011, the city purchased an Ontario-based site called Green Lane, south of London, for $220 million. The closure date of Green Lane has been pushed from 2024 to 2040, but the city wants to line up its next landfill plan sooner rather than later. The proposed landfill in Ingersoll would be located in an old limestone quarry, only 800 metres from the edge of a housing subdivision on the outskirts of town. Mayor Comiskey pointed out that, no matter what kind of liner is placed in the quarry, it cannot guarantee toxic leaks from trash won’t happen. © OPAL Alliance -- A lake located between the proposed landfill site and the Thames River in Ingersoll. There’s something very likable about Comiskey and the way he’s fighting, tooth and nail against the big city’s expectation that his small community absorb its waste. In a spirited letter to the Toronto Public Works Committee, dated June 20, 2016, Comiskey proposed an alternative solution that’s entirely sensible: “If the majority of citizens in Toronto want a spot that is out of sight and out of mind, may I suggest Camera Heights? It is a deep valley with steep hills on three sides. It is next to the Humber River and that should not be a concern because all of the private industry experts say that with these new liners, landfills will not leak, so toxins ending up in the Humber will not be a concern. Camera Heights is as foreign as Ingersoll and Oxford County. Just keep referring it to as Camera Heights rather than the street geography along Eglinton Ave. between Weston and Scarlet Roads, and fewer people will be upset.” The Oxford People Against the Landfill (OPAL) Alliance is a group of citizens fighting against the Ingersoll landfill. According to its Facebook page, the group has so far collected nearly 66,000 letters protesting the quarry, in hopes of swaying the Minister of the Environment to reject the proposal. There is a much bigger problem going on here, though, and it’s something that everyone needs to address, from the Public Works Committee and city residents to the provincial and federal governments – and that is why we produce as much trash as we do. As long as trash continues disappearing magically from the curb, there will be no incentive to come up with alternative solutions. Despite the fact that an estimated 85 percent of Toronto’s trash could be diverted from landfill through better recycling and composting, the city’s residents fail to deliver. According to Emily Alfred of the Toronto Environmental Alliance, only 29 percent of waste generated by apartment dwellers is diverted. Public Works Committee chair Jaye Robinson agrees that better efforts toward education are needed. Unbelievably, she describes a plastic bag ban as “something definitely we should explore” – a pathetically insipid response to a serious environmental crisis. What’s needed is zero waste policy, a whole new way of packaging and selling consumer goods, of rewards and incentives for household that minimize their trash. What’s hard to understand is why this hasn’t happened already, beyond the implementation of blue boxes and green bins (which are common-sense practices and really do not deserve the enormous pat on the back that everyone gives them). I lived in Toronto when the garbage disposal workers went on strike in the summer of 2009, and it was disgusting to see how quickly the trash piled up in heaps along residential streets, filling the air with putrid odors. The outrage was so great that Rob Ford won the next election in large part for promising to bring in garbage workers to deal with half the city’s trash. As for Mayor Comiskey and the people of Ingersoll, keep fighting! Toronto has no right to export its garbage anywhere but into its own regional landfills, where it should be dealt with by the very people who generate it.
News Article | March 7, 2016
A basic question emerged once the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee began to examine the federal Renewable Fuels Standard on Feb. 24: Is the program an impractical failure, or should its mandates be preserved?
"Following the lead of several other states, Maryland is preparing to sue the oil industry for the costs of cleaning up a one-time gasoline additive that’s contaminated water across the state. Maryland’s Board of Public Works approved Wednesday a plan by Attorney General Brian E. Frosh to hire a trio of outside law firms to seek damages from gasoline marketers and refiners for using methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE, in motor fuel sold in the state. The law firms — Berger & Montague of Philadelphia, Miller & Axline of Sacramento, CA, and the Law Offices of John K. Dema of Rockville — were chosen to represent Maryland in the MTBE litigation after state lawyers reviewed proposals from four different legal teams."