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Entries Tagged as 'pollution'

Adirondack Council Commemorates First Earth Day by Reducing Price of Carbon Retirement to $19.70

April 17th, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Donation Prevents Three Tons of Real Carbon Emissions from Northeast Power Plants, Helps Organization Buy & Extinguish Government-Issued Pollution Rights

Adirondack CouncilALBANY, NY  – The only environmental organization in America to compete with power companies for carbon allowances at government-run carbon auctions is asking the public to help retire those allowances in celebration of Earth Day. The Adirondack Council announced today that it has lowered the price for retiring three tons of carbon from the normal $25, dropping it to $19.70 to commemorate the first Earth Day in 1970. For a tax-deductible contribution of $19.70, donors will receive an embossed Carbon Reduction Certificate commemorating the permanent retirement of three tons’ worth of allowances.

The organization has participated in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation’s only government-mandated carbon emissions reduction program, since its inception in 2008. Power companies must purchase one allowance for every ton of carbon they emit from their smokestacks.

A limited number of allowances are sold each year, and each year there are fewer allowances sold, reducing the amount of carbon that may be emitted. As allowances become scarce and the price rises, the incentive to clean up emissions increases.

RGGI was created four years ago by 10 Northeast states ranging from Maine to Maryland. RGGI sells allowances at auctions. Auction proceeds go back to the 10 states to fund clean energy and energy conservation programs.

Celebrate Earth Day - Purchase a Carbon Reduction CertificateThe Adirondack Council is the only environmental organization that competes against the power companies and purchases allowances at RGGI auctions. So far, the Council has purchased 14,000 allowances and has retired more than half of those via Carbon Reduction Certificates.

“Anyone who wants to help us can retire three tons of carbon by buying a Carbon Reduction Certificate,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director Brian L. Houseal. “Every carbon allowance we retire causes a one-ton reduction in the total amount carbon emissions allowed by the government.

“You can keep the certificate yourself, or give it to your favorite environmentalist,” he explained. “We are happy to personalize them. It’s a great way to do something real, meaningful and personal to reduce carbon emissions and fight against catastrophic climate change.

“You could bid at the auctions yourself, but the minimum lot size is 1,000 allowances,” Houseal said. “That just isn’t affordable for most individuals. We have thousands of members, so it was easier for us to get started.”Houseal said it was time the nation got started too.

“Over the past decade, the Adirondack Park has been battered by severe storms and record-breaking floods. Winter is now two weeks shorter than it used to be up here,” Houseal said. “Americans have to get serious about curbing the effects of climate change now. We would like to see RGGI become a national program, and then an international model for reducing greenhouse gas emissions quickly and inexpensively.”

RGGI was the first carbon-reduction program in the nation. California and several Midwest states are forming similar trading programs.

“Allowance trading has worked wonders in reducing acid rain, smog and fine particle emissions from power plants across the country,” he said. “It is our best hope for reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases without causing economic harm. Allowance trading gets the job done, and has already saved the power industry – and we customers — billions of dollars.”

All revenue from the Adirondack Council’s Carbon Reduction Certificates goes back into the Adirondack Council’s advocacy, public education and carbon-reduction programs. To make a contribution and receive a Carbon Reduction Certificate, people can call toll-free (877) 873-2240 or click here.

A national leader on acid rain and climate change, the Adirondack Council is a privately funded, not-for-profit organization founded in 1975. The Council is dedicated to ensuring the ecological integrity and wild character of New York’s 9,300-square-mile Adirondack Park.

The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action. Adirondack Council members live in all 50 United States.

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DEC Seeks Assistance in Oil Dumping Investigation in Jefferson County

July 28th, 2011 · No Comments · News

Oil From Transformers Dumped to Access Copper

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is seeking information from the public throughout the north country and central New York relating to the draining of up to 4,000 gallons of transformer oil and the theft of copper from transformers at the former Deferiet Paper Mill located in the Village of Deferiet, Jefferson County.

4-inch diameter Copper Conduit CableCopper Buss BarDEC is investigating the deliberate dumping of the “non-PCB” transformer oil which was done to facilitate the theft of copper. In addition to copper wire, three inch-wide solid copper “Buss Bar” in various lengths, and four inch-diameter conduit which contained three one-half-inch twisted strands of copper wire were stolen. The oil release is believed to have occurred between June 16 and 29, 2011.

Brookfield Renewable Power owns the two transformers that were damaged. After discovering the release, Brookfield notified DEC. Cleanup efforts and an investigation began June 30, including efforts to keep the oil out of the Black River.

The investigation is being conducted jointly by the New York State Conservation Police and State Police.

Anyone with information regarding this theft and spill is urged to contact DEC Division of Law Enforcement on its tip hotline at 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332). Information pertaining to the sale of the large copper “Buss Bar” and copper wire would be extremely helpful. Brookfield Renewable Power has offered a $1,000 dollar reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in this crime. Callers may remain anonymous.

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Mercury Standard Will Reverse Damage to NY Lakes

March 17th, 2011 · No Comments · Adirondack News

US EPAThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed mercury standards for power plants are a major step in reversing the contamination of New York’s lakes, particularly in the Adirondacks.

In response to a court-ordered deadline, the EPA has proposed the first-ever national standards for mercury, arsenic and other toxic air pollution from power plants. The new standards would require many power plants to install state-of-the-art pollution control technologies to cut harmful emissions of mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and gases that cause acid rain and smog.

“After 20 years of uncertainty, the federal government will now have the authority to regulate these toxic chemicals that have had such a devastating impact on the Adirondacks, Catskills and other natural areas,” said Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK). “Because of the technology required to meet this standard, it will not only cut mercury contamination by 91 percent, it will also reduce fine particulate matter, low-level ozone and acidic precipitation.”

1,350 coal and oil-fired units at 525 power plants emitting mercury, arsenic, other toxic metals, acid gases, and organic air toxics including dioxin.

The proposed standard is the result of a 2008 U.S. Court of Appeals decision that threw out EPA’s Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR), a cap-and-trade program that allowed polluters to buy pollution credits and emit mercury without pollution controls. CAMR resulted in regional mercury “hot spots,” and recent studies have linked coal-fired power plants to mercury hot spots in the Adirondacks and Catskills. The appeals court ruled that CAMR conflicted with the clear language of the federal Clean Air Act, which requires each power plant to install the best pollution-control technology available to reduce mercury emissions.

The lawsuit was brought by a coalition of national health and environmental organizations. ADK was the only New York environmental group to participate in the lawsuit.

The Adirondacks and Catskills are downwind of numerous coal-burning power plants, whose mercury emissions contribute significantly to mercury pollution in these regions. A 2007 independent study by the Charles Driscoll and the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation estimated that mercury emissions from U.S. coal-fired power plants are responsible for 40 percent to 65 percent of mercury deposition in the Northeast.

Current levels of mercury deposition in the Northeast are four to six times higher than the levels recorded in 1900. Ninety-six percent of the lakes in the Adirondack region and 40 percent of the lakes in New Hampshire and Vermont exceed the recommended EPA action level for methyl mercury in fish.

Because of high mercury levels in fish from a number of reservoirs in the Catskills, state health officials have warned that infants, children under 15 and women of childbearing age should not eat any fish from these reservoirs. Mercury is also present in two-thirds of Adirondack loons at levels that negatively impact their reproductive capacity, posing a significant risk to their survival.

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