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September 2009 Archives

September 4, 2009

Open House Scheduled to Discuss Decommissioning Plans for the West Valley Demonstration Project Site

An open house is set for Sept. 16 in West Valley, New York, to update the public on decommissioning plans for the West Valley Demonstration Project site. The Department of Energy submitted a Phase I decommissioning plan to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in December 2008. Under a memorandum of understanding, NRC will review and comment on the plan, and the Energy Department will consider NRC's comments before decommissioning work begins.

The site presented the only U.S. commercial reprocessing of nuclear fuel, on a demonstration basis, from 1966 to 1972, producing about 600,000 gallons of liquid high-level radioactive waste, according to NRC.

Decommissioning entails dismantling of the main plant process building and a vitrification facility, plus remediation of wastewater treatment facility lagoons, ancillary buildings, and other foundations and substructures. NRC staff will provide an overview of its review process and answer questions. More information is available here. Enter “09/16/2009” under “start date” and “end date” and select “New York” in the drop-down box for “state”.

September 11, 2009

Governor Signs Amended Green Building Act

On August 26, 2009, Governor Paterson signed the State Green Building Construction Act (A. 7246), amending legislation enacted in 2008 that requires new state buildings and significant renovations to meet green building standards. The law makes the state Office of General Services the primary state agency responsible for implementing the Act. The new law also gives agencies more time to comply.

The Office of General Services, which oversees State facilities, will promulgate regulations to set the green standards. Under the 2008 law, DEC was responsible for setting the standards. Most provisions of the new law will take effect in one year, giving State agencies and the Office of General Services more time to achieve compliance. When Paterson signed the 2008 law, he asked the Legislature to draft a new measure that would provide additional time for compliance and shift the primary responsibility for implementation to the Office of General Service.

RGGI Holds Fifth Auction of Carbon Allowances

On September 9, 2009, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) held its fifth auction of carbon dioxide allowances, offering allowances for emissions of 30.5 million tons of carbon dioxide. The auction offered 28.4 million allowances for immediate use and 2.1 million allowances for use after 2012.

Under RGGI, emissions in 10 states -- New England states plus New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland -- are capped at 188 million tons for each year from 2009 through 2014. Emissions will then be reduced by 2.5% per year over the next four years. The sixth RGGI auction will be held Dec. 2, 2009.

September 14, 2009

State Senate Approves Green Jobs-Green New York Act

On September 10, 2009, the New York State Senate gave final legislative approval to a bill that would enact the Green Jobs-Green New York Act and provide $112 million in funding for energy conservation and clean energy technologies (A. 8901).

The funds would be obtained from the auction of carbon dioxide emissions allowances by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Under the bill, which requires approval by Gov. David A. Paterson (D), the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority would set up a $70 million revolving loan fund for energy audits and retrofits. Another $4 million would be used for job training for so-called green jobs.

September 17, 2009

Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Lead Shot Contamination Claims

In 2004, a group of homeowners in Simsbury-Avon, Connecticut filed suit in federal court against a shooting range, alleging violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) resulting from the discharge and accumulation of lead shot on the club’s property. The district court dismissed the claims.

On appeal, in response to a request from the Second Circuit, EPA filed an amicus curiae brief addressing whether lead shot discharged at a shooting range falls within the definition of solid waste, concluding that it did not. The Second Circuit, deferring to EPA’s interpretation, held that RCRA permit regulations do not apply to the regular, intended use of lead shot on a shooting range. The court therefore affirmed the district court’s ruling that lead contamination on the shooting range did not constitute an “imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment” as required under RCRA. With respect to the CWA claim, the court held that the homeowners failed to set forth sufficient evidence as to whether the range was discharging lead shot into navigable waters from a point source.
Cordiano v. Metacon Gun Club, Inc., 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 16980 (2d Cir. July 31, 2009).

September 22, 2009

NYSERDA Report States that New York Has Spent Small Amount of RGGI Funds

On September 17, 2009, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) released a report finding that it has spent only a small amount of the proceeds that New York has received from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) due to pending litigation over the RGGI program.

The report said the state has spent $1.7 million of the $127 million it has received from RGGI auctions, primarily on program administration and start-up costs. The report said the NYSERDA has decided to delay spending funds on energy conservation and clean energy programs pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed earlier this year by Indeck Energy.

New York is projected to receive a total of $607 million from RGGI auctions over three years, according to the report. Under state regulations, all of the funds must be spent by NYSERDA on energy conservation and clean energy programs. As of June 30, 2009, New York has sold 38.2 million allowances and received $127.8 million. It is projected to sell 79.2 million allowances in its 2009-2010 fiscal year and 63.4 million allowances in FY 2010-2011 and FY 2011-2012.

Indeck, a cogeneration plant, sued New York in state court in January 2009 to overturn the state regulations that implement RGGI, claiming that the regulations are unconstitutional and were implemented by the governor and state agencies without the necessary statutory authority from the state Legislature.

September 24, 2009

New York City Council Passes Bill Regarding Retrofitting and Discontinuing Diesel Fuel-Powered School Buses

On September 17, 2009 a law was enacted in New York City that amended the New York City Administrative Code in relation to retrofitting of and age limitations on diesel fuel-powered school buses.

Pursuant to the law, 50% of diesel fuel-powered school buses are to be retrofitted to reduce engine emissions inside the bus by September 1, 2010, and all such school buses are to be retrofitted with such technology by September 1, 2011.

In addition, no such school buses will be used beyond 16 years of service and shall be replaced at such time with school buses meeting the most recent diesel engine emissions standards issued by the U.S. EPA, or an all-electric, gas-powered, compressed natural gas, or hybrid school bus.

About September 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Envirosphere in September 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

August 2009 is the previous archive.

October 2009 is the next archive.

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