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Bio-what? Organic Waste Can Provide Clean Energy

Before I became president of UCS, I served as Massachusetts’ environmental commissioner, and I pushed hard to turn an environmental problem (food waste) into a clean energy solution (biogas). It is great to see that the federal government has signed on to this idea.

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House Testimony: Renewable Electricity Standards are Delivering Significant Economic Benefits Across the United States

Last week, I was invited to testify at the U.S. House of Representative’s Energy and Commerce Committee, Energy and Power Subcommittee’s hearing on “Laboratories of Democracy: The Economic Impacts of State Energy Policies.” My remarks focused on the tremendous success story of state renewable electricity standards (RES) and the important economic benefits they are delivering to state and local economies, as described in more detail in this 2013 UCS report. Read More

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Pennsylvania and the Clean Power Plan

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed the first-ever limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, designed to begin to address the consequences of climate change. The agency has proposed a flexible framework that allows states to decide for themselves how to meet the emissions reductions targets. For many states, the required emissions reductions are actually quite modest, and at UCS we see an opportunity for states to be more ambitious in developing renewable energy in particular. Here I explore what the carbon standard means for Pennsylvania. Read More

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As EPA Hearings Begin, Colorado Makes Strides toward Reducing Carbon Emissions

On July 30, I will be testifying in support of the EPA’s power plant carbon standard at a hearing in Denver. As one of four locations where the EPA will be seeking public comment on the draft rule this week, Colorado is a mighty fine choice. The Rocky Mountain State is well positioned to exceed its proposed carbon emissions reduction target and serves as an excellent example of how a state can successfully transition toward a low-carbon, clean energy economy. Read More

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Will California Go Green or Go Gas?

When one of California’s two nuclear plants–the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS)–unexpectedly closed last year because of damage to its steam tubes, many clean energy advocates including UCS hoped that the state would replace much of that electricity with generation from renewable resources, as well as increased investments in other carbon-free energy resources, such as energy efficiency, demand response, and energy storage devices. Unfortunately, plans are now in the works to replace most of the SONGS electricity with a new natural gas plant, without a process that gives clean energy resources a chance to compete. Read More

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The Opportunity for Agricultural Residues and Manure to Fuel a Sustainable Future

Not all ethanol is created equal. The benefits, or consequences, of this ubiquitous ‘home-grown’ fuel that is blended in nearly every gallon of gasoline sold across the country vary depending on how it is produced and what it is produced from. As my colleague and uber biofuels-wonk Dr. Jeremy Martin has explained, ethanol produced from food, like corn or soybean, does little to reduce the carbon intensity of our transportation fuel and, in some cases, can actually be responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis compared to gasoline. Read More

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Fracking, Chemicals, and Our Health: EPA Considers a Hydraulic Fracturing Chemical Disclosure Rule

What’s in the water? What are the chemicals being used? Will they harm me? Or my family? Or my animals? What kind of impacts will my environment experience? These questions have been asked by countless communities since hydraulic fracturing first expanded across the country a few years ago. And during this time period, these questions have often gone unanswered because of a lack of laws to address them. But right now, the EPA has the opportunity to provide some answers. Read More

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New Jersey, Come Back! An Open Letter to Governor Christie on RGGI

Dear Governor Christie:

I read today that you plan on formally pulling your state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nine state “cap and trade” program that cuts carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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Cape Wind Gets a Big Boost: Clean Offshore Wind Power on the Way

My favorite offshore wind project, Cape Wind, just cleared a major hurdle today, landing a $150 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. This is a project that should capture your imagination; for me, it is a symbol of our national commitment to clean energy. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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How Using Oil Affects Our Military, And What We’re Doing About It

Did you know the U.S. military is the largest user of oil in the world? Neither did I, until my UCS colleagues and I teamed up with the good folk at the Truman National Security Project to help tell the story about our military and oil use. Read More

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