Fracking, LCA and commerce clauses and more..

Back from the holidays and catching up on some news and wanted to share a couple of things..

This short update points out how important fracked oil & gas may be in 2012 and going forward:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204464404577112681942517356.html

Another chapter in the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard:

http://biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2011/12/30/us-federal-court-issues-injunction-against-california-low-carbon-fuel-standard/

Raises really interesting questions about how to manage a LCA without having preference for local sourced fuel to avoid emissions from transport and avoid violating the commerce clause… or maybe we need to ignore this commerce clause since locally produced and used fuel seems like the way we should be headed?

The EPA releases its mercury standards (reposted from the AAAS):

EPA Releases Historic Mercury and Air Toxic Standards. The Environmental Protection Agency recently released its Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (PDF file) to reduce toxic emissions, such as heavy metals and acid gases, from coal- and oil-fired power plants larger than 25 Megawatts. According to an EPA fact sheet (PDF file), power plants are the largest producer of mercury and acid gas pollution, and the new standards will reduce mercury emissions by 90%, have annual costs of $9.6 billion, and will provide $37-90 billion in health benefits in 2016. This rule, which stems from the 1990 Clean Air Act mandating that the EPA regulate toxic air emissions, was shaped by over 900,000 public comments and is projected to affect 1,400 plants

And this article supports the idea (that I’m starting to believe more and more) that we need to move towards renewable electricity generation to support as much of our energy needs as possible:

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/335/6064/53

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2 Responses to Fracking, LCA and commerce clauses and more..

  1. John says:

    Very interesting that Growth Energy (http://www.growthenergy.org/about-growth-energy/structure-members/) was a plaintiff in the California RFS case. If you check out their website they make a big deal about corn ethanol’s positive LCA results and the federal RFS, but the study they cite (from 2009) doesn’t include the indirect land use change which, in CARB’s interpretation, apparently is great enough to make corn ethanol more carbon intensive than conventional gasoline. So this whole thing seems to boil down to the iLUC debate by a different name… I don’t think the federal RFS would be bound by this decision however.

  2. Paul says:

    I think the CARB’s interpretation also includes the transport emissions from the midwest.
    Does the LCA that the EPA uses for the RFS include iLUC? What about transport emissions?
    This is also about the implications of importing Brazilian ethanol to fulfil RFS.
    The RFS wouldn’t be affected by this decision.

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