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Borders...They're Tricky


Annual U.S. Solar PV Installations. Source: SEIA, published in The Energy Collective, December 12, 2013


Figuring out how to calculate the precise number of state-to-state borders within the continental U.S. is tricky. Beware of double counting and don’t include the borders of Alaska and Hawaii. This week the Supreme Court, the governors of eight East Coast states, Next Generation’s Kate Gordon and Risky Business Co-Chair Tom Steyer clarify why borders, lines of demarcation and geographic regions are vitally important.

Described as a ‘legal blockbuster,’ EPA v. EME Homer City Generation focuses on the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and affects the EPA’s ability to hold individual states responsible for the air pollution produced inside their borders that drifts across geographic boundaries and pollutes the air in other states.

Lyle Dennison frames the facts and the legal principles of the case. Adam Liptak summarizes the opposing parties’ arguments. The WaPo focuses on the issue repeatedly raised during oral argument, cross-state air pollution, describing it as ‘dauntingly complex.’ The WSJ reports on the Justices’ reactions. Forbes explains why this case has broad implications for all other clean air cases.

In a separate but related matter, the issue of air pollution drifting over state borders forms the nucleus of a dispute between eight Northeastern governors and nine Rust Belt and Appalachian States. In a petition filed with the EPA, the East Coast Eight claim air pollution from nine other states, mainly from coal plants, fouls their air and harms the health of their citizens. The governors want the EPA to require the Upwind Nine to become part of the Ozone Transport Region and contain the air pollution their states generate. Bryan Walsh maintains this regional battle revolves around a single issue—coal.

In a new report from CAP, Kate Gordon discusses how the U.S. can address both global warming and jumpstart the economy by understanding and respecting the regional assets of the U.S.  Tom Steyer confirms the effectiveness of regional initiatives calling attention to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative on the East Coast and the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy.

Borders? Solar energy and sunshine transcend all borders. Solar PV installations in the U.S. surged 20 percent to 930 MW in Q3 of this year—rising 35 percent from the previous year.  Growth in residential installations was particularly noteworthy—jumping 49 percent from 2012.  SEIA and GTM Research reports 31,000 American homes installed solar panels in July through September—allowing prognosticators to crow the U.S. will install 1,780MW of PV solar and 800MW of concentrating solar power in Q4 and surpass Germany as the solar market leader.  However, two reports from the NREL show that ‘soft costs’ still comprise 64% of the total price for residential installations. Read this to discover why ‘soft costs’ need to come down even further. 

One month after announcing his intention to start a new foundation, John Podesta is returning to the White House—crossing over the border that separates outside public policy advocates from ultra political insiders. Jackie Calmes explains what this means for the President’s domestic policy agenda. Juliet Eilperin zeros in on how John Podesta’s presence will advance the President’s climate policy.  A staunch supporter of renewable energy, and a strong opponent of tar sands, Mr. Podesta will recuse himself from the State Department’s ongoing deliberations on KXL—dinging the spirits of the pipeline’s opponents.

The fracking boom has feverishly spread across almost every region and geographic border of the U.S.  The oil industry boasts California stands poised for an economic bonanza because of the untapped oil encased in the Monterey Shale.  However, Next Generation’s recent reporting on research IHS CERA conducted on unconventional oil and gas extraction and job projections produced by two economics professors at the California State University at Fresno, casts serious doubt on the oil industry’s predictions—rendering the promise of an economic windfall in the Golden State a lot less certain.  The SF Chronicle spotlights Next Generation’s coverage of the Monterey Shale, here.

The Arctic is thought to possess 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil deposits and 30 percent of its natural gas reserves.  Eager to tap into this bounty of energy, countries in close proximity to the Arctic’s borders are hot to tap into the region’s untapped resources.  A border dispute is already brewing over rights to the North Pole—potentially creating an issue infused with a lot more humbug than ho-ho-ho.

Borders. They’re definitely tricky.


The interstate pollution problem is best understood as a dense, spaghetti-like matrix of overlapping upwind/downwind ‘linkages’ among many states, rather than a neater and more limited set of linkages among just a few.”  How the brief submitted by the Obama Administration in EPA v. EME Homer City Generation describes the air pollution problem at issue in the case. 

Connecticut is tired of serving as the tailpipe of America.” Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, in a press release emanating from a multi-state action aimed at requiring nine upwind states to be good neighbors and reduce their air pollution.

“If regional leadership takes off, the federal government will be forced to catch up.”  Tom Steyer on how successful regional partnerships can effectuate successful federal climate change policy.  

“Thrilled.”  The reaction of Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters to the news that John Podesta will be joining the Obama Administration for a year.

John Podesta’s return to the White House is an early Christmas present for everyone who cares about the environment.”  David Hayes, former Deputy Secretary of the Interior expressing his approval of John Podesta’s return to the White House in in an e-mail. 



Six good reasons to watch the Supreme Court’s interstate air pollution case

Supreme Court seems receptive to some EPA arguments in cross-state case ($)

Ill winds and good neighbors

Justices Hear Case on Cross-State Pollution RulesAdam Liptak

EPA rules on interstate air pollution get warm Supreme Court reception 

Justices Express Sympathy for EPA's Tack on Pollution Crossing State Lines

The New War Between The States Centers On Air Pollution 


Eastern States Press Midwest to Improve Air

Northeastern states will press Midwest, Appalachia on clean air

The Ozone Transport Commission 

East Coast Sick of Midwest’s Cross-State Air Pollution

East Coast Governors Sick of Polluting Neighbors

Northeast states pissed at Midwest states over coal pollution 

REPORT.  The Green Industrial Revolution and the United States 

BLOG. Work Together When Washington Can't: New Partnerships Will Lead Fight Against Climate Change.  Tom Steyer


More Records for Quarterly US Solar Installations 

U.S. rooftop solar power shatters third quarter records 

Report: US solar installations skyrocket 

US Solar Energy Industry Shines In Record-Setting Third Quarter of 2013.  Silvio Marcacci

Soft Costs Now Largest Piece Of Solar Installation Costs  

Can the Cost of Solar in the U.S. Compete with Germany?


John Podesta’s New Think Tank on Inequality 

Obama to Name Ex-Clinton Official Podesta as Special Adviser

Ex-Clinton Aide Expected to Join Obama.  Jackie Calmes

What Podesta’s WH return means for Obama’s environmental policy.  Juliet Eilperin

OP ED.  We Don't Need More Foreign Oil and Gas.  John Podesta and Tom Steyer January 24, 2012.  The Wall Street Journal. 

The Dirty Truth About Tar Sands: Keynote Speech for Canada 2020’s “‘Greening’ The Oil Sands: Debunking the Myths and Confronting the Realities.”  John Podesta. 

Podesta and the Pipeline


Fracking Boom Pushes U.S. Oil Output to 25-Year High 

Keeping the Story Straight: Industry Reports at Odds on California Oil 

America’s New Energy Future: The Unconventional Oil and Gas Revolution and the US Economy 

The Petroleum Industry and the Monterey Shale: Current Economic Impact and the Economic Future of the San Joaquin Valley 

California said to be poised for oil boom – maybe 


Rushing for the Arctic’s Riches.  Michael T. Klare. 

Climate Change Opens the Arctic to Shipping, Drilling, and Militarization 

Canada May Claim Rights to the North Pole 

Russia to boost military presence in Arctic as Canada plots North Pole claim  


HOW CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS A PERSON’s HEALTH.  Source: Masters in Health Administration. December 10, 2013. 


STATE OF U.S. SOLAR 2013. Source: SEIA and GTM Research, published in greentechsolar, December 12, 2013.

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