Tuesday, December 20, 2011

[Peninsula-Patriots] Fwd: epa

Here is yet another article about the expansion of powers of the EPA. I received this from Sue Sadler of the James City County Tea Party.

EXCLUSIVE: EPA Ponders Expanded Regulatory Power In Name of 'Sustainable Development'

Published December 19, 2011
| FoxNews.com
  • Reuters/File
    A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) worker looks at oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill which seeped into a marsh in Waveland, Mississippi July 7, 2010.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to change how it analyzes problems and makes decisions, in a way that would give it vastly expanded power to regulate businesses, communities and ecosystems in the name of "sustainable development," the centerpiece of a global United Nations conference slated for Rio de Janeiro next June.
The major focus of the EPA thinking is a weighty study the agency commissioned last year from the National Academies of Science. Published in August, the study, entitled "Sustainability and the U.S. EPA," cost nearly $700,000 and involved a team of a dozen outside experts and about half as many National Academies staff.
Its aim: how to integrate sustainability "as one of the key drivers within the regulatory responsibilities of EPA." The panel who wrote the study declares part of its job to be "providing guidance to EPA on how it might implement its existing statutory authority to contribute more fully to a more sustainable-development trajectory for the United States."
Or, in other words, how to use existing laws to new ends.
According to the Academies, the sustainability study "both incorporates and goes beyond an approach based on assessing and managing the risks posed by pollutants that has largely shaped environmental policy since the 1980s."
It is already known in EPA circles as the "Green Book," and is frequently compared by insiders to the "Red Book," a study on using risk management techniques to guide evaluation of carcinogenic chemicals that the agency touts as the basis of its overall approach to environmental issues for the past 30 years.
At the time that the "Green Book" study was commissioned, in August, 2010, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson termed it "the next phase of environmental protection," and asserted that it will be "fundamental to the future of the EPA."
Jackson compared the new approach, it would articulate to "the difference between treating disease and pursuing wellness." It was, she said, "a new opportunity to show how environmentally protective and sustainable we can be," and would affect "every aspect" of EPA's work.
According to the study itself, the adoption of the new "sustainability framework" will make the EPA more "anticipatory" in its approach to environmental issues, broaden its focus to include both social and economic as well as environmental "pillars," and "strengthen EPA as an organization and a leader in the nation's progress toward a sustainable future."
Whatever EPA does with its suggestions, the study emphasizes, will be "discretionary." But the study urges EPA to "create a new culture among all EPA employees," and hire an array of new experts in order to bring the sustainability focus to every corner of the agency and its operations. Changes will move faster "as EPA's intentions and goals in sustainability become clear to employees," the study says.
The National Academies and the EPA held a meeting last week in Washington to begin public discussion of the study.
Even as it begins to go public, EPA, which has come under renewed fire for its recent rulings on new auto emissions standards and limits on coal-fueled power plant emissions, is being determinedly low-key about the study.
Initially questioned about the document by Fox News weeks ago, an EPA spokesman eventually declared that "we are currently reviewing the recommendations and have not yet made any decisions on implementation." During the deliberations, he said, "the agency will seek a wide range of perspectives on the recommendations from the business community, non-governmental organizations, the scientific community, and others."
The spokesman also said that EPA had "no current plans" for the so-called "Rio + 20" environmental summit next summer "that pertains to the Green Book's recommendations."
The U.N. summit meeting, however, is mentioned in the Green Book itself as an instance where "sustainability is gaining increasing recognition as a useful framework for addressing otherwise intractable problems. The framework can be applied at any scale of governance, in nearly any situation, and anywhere in the world."
When it comes to applying the framework via EPA, the study says it is likely to happen only "over time." The Red Book risk assessment approach now in use, it notes, "was not immediately adopted within EPA or elsewhere. It required several years for its general acceptance at EPA and its diffusion to state and local agencies."
What is "sustainability" in the first place? That is a question the study ducks, noting that it is only advising EPA on how to bring it within the agency's canon.
The experts take their definition from an Obama Administration executive order of October, 2009, entitled Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance. It defines sustainability in sweeping fashion as the ability "to create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations."
The study specifically notes that "although addressing economic issues is not a core part of EPA's mission, it is explicitly part of the definition of sustainability."
The experience of the European Union is deemed "particularly relevant" to achieving the sustainability goal.
That European strategy involves a virtually all-encompassing regulatory vision. The study notes that its priorities include "climate change and clean energy; sustainable transport; sustainable consumption and production; conservation and management of natural resources; public health; social inclusion, demography, and migration; and global poverty and sustainable development challenges."
In an American context, the study says sustainable development "raises questions that are not fully or directly addressed in U.S. law or policy." Among them: "how to define and control unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and how to encourage the development of sustainable communities, biodiversity protection, clean energy, environmentally sustainable economic development, and climate change controls."
The study notes that sustainable development is "broader than the sum of U.S. environmental and conservation laws."
It adds that "a great deal more needs to be done to achieve sustainability in the United States."
The experts say they found the legal authority for EPA to foster sustainable development without further congressional approval in the wording of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, or NEPA. The study says the law, the cornerstone of U.S. environmental policy, declared that the "continuing policy of the Federal Government" is to "create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations."
(In fact, the study quotes selectively from that portion of NEPA. What that section of the Act says in full is that "it is the continuing policy of the Federal Government, in cooperation with State and local governments, and other concerned public and private organizations, to use all practicable means and measures, including financial and technical assistance, in a manner calculated to foster and promote the general welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans.)
What ends that tacit authority should be used for are far less clear, because the study asserts that they need to be made up and codified as EPA goes along.
"EPA needs to formally develop and specify its vision for sustainability," the study says. "Vision, in the sense discussed here, is a future state that EPA is trying to reach or is trying to help the country or the world to reach."
The study offers up new tools for EPA to do the job. As opposed to environmental impact assessment, the study encourages the use of "sustainability impact assessment" in the evaluation of the hundreds and thousands of projects that come under EPA scrutiny to see whether they are moving in the proper direction
"Environmental impact assessment tends to focus primarily on the projected environmental effects of a particular action and alternatives to that action," the study says. Sustainability impact assessment examines "the probable effects of a particular project or proposal on the social, environmental, and economic pillars of sustainability"—a greatly expanded approach.
One outcome: "The culture change being proposed here will require EPA to conduct an expanding number of assessments."
As a result, "The agency can become more anticipatory, making greater use of new science and of forecasting."
The catch, the study recognizes, is that under the new approach the EPA becomes more involved than ever in predicting the future.
"Forecasting is unavoidable when dealing with sustainability, but our ability to do forecasting is limited," the document says.
One forecast it is safe to make: the study shows whatever else the new sustainability mission does for EPA, it aims to be a much, much more important—and powerful-- federal agency than it is, even now.


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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Important Call To Patriot Action!



 The Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, in Building F of the County Government Complex, off Mounts Bay Road. Your attendance is very important!

BOS Meeting regarding 'Staggered Terms' vs. 'Quadrennial':

Increasing accountability in County government.

Having the County elect its Board by districts simultaneously would mean that any future Board would likely benefit from a clearly defined mandate.  This would make change significantly easier to accomplish.

Having the County elect its Board by districts simultaneously would increase the authority of the Board in relation to staff.

As witnessed in Gloucester, staggered terms contributed to the claims of an insufficient mandate when changes were attempted by a Board majority, portions of which were elected in different cycles.

Counties that operate with a district system but without staggered terms (e.g. Charles City, Henrico, New Kent, and York; James City is the only county on the Peninsula with staggered terms for Supervisors elected by districts) have no discernable disadvantage when compared to those that do.

There is no evidence that the rate of incumbent retention is negatively affected by eliminating staggered terms, making the “inexperienced Board” argument completely invalid.  Charles City, Henrico, New Kent, and York have incumbent retention rates similar to those of James City. 

Ending voter disenfranchisement.

Requiring any James City County residents to wait six years to vote on their representatives to County government is just wrong – and there is no benefit, perceived or actual, sufficient to offset voter disenfranchisement.

With staggered terms, voter disenfranchise will continue to occur every ten years.  It is similar to a penalty lottery, where some voters will lose out on the ability to affect County government, while others will be rewarded by being able to have their voices heard more frequently.  

Guaranteeing equality among County voters.

The current system creates two classes of County voters:

Those who vote for their local government officials in midterm elections – when County issues become the focus of the electorate.

Those who vote for their local government officials in statewide elections – when County issues are not likely to receive much attention. 

Preventing incumbents from being prohibited from seeking reelection.

A change of a line here or there makes it very easy to prevent elected public officials from continuing to serve.

This happened in both the 2001 and 2011 redistrictings, where in each case a School Board member was prevented from continuing to serve.

Preventing incumbents from being able to continue on the Board – after they’ve been defeated.
If Dr. McGlennon or Ruth Larson had been defeated in their races this year (or if Jim Icenhour and/or Joe Fuentes seek election to the Jamestown District seat on their respective boards in the coming year and were defeated), they would still be serving on the Board through 2013.  Other than a locality with staggered terms, there is no other circumstance where an event like this could occur.

Those who support retaining staggered terms will claim the following:

The proposal hasn’t received sufficient discussion.  Actually, it’s pretty much all we’ve been talking about since redistricting began.  From who gets moved into a district in a different cycle, to who on the School Board will be ineligible to stay on, to how many voters will have to wait six years to vote on County government, the repercussions of staggered terms have been the primary focus of the debate over redistricting.

Staggered terms benefit government operations.  There is simply no evidence to support this.  Moreover, there is no evidence to support the idea that all of the other Peninsula counties that hold uniform elections have been negatively affected by doing so.

Now isn’t the time to make this change.  Now is the ideal time to make this change.  By ending staggered terms at the earliest possible point this decade, James City County will be able to hold two elections (2015 and 2019) with uniform terms.

The Board doesn’t have the authority to make the change.  Actually, it does.  It is entirely at the Board’s discretion according to the Charter, and they have full authority to so.
Strike a blow for voting rights and government accountability.  Please support to end staggered terms!
webpage:  whttppatriots.com

Friday, December 16, 2011

WYDaily Morning News - Your Morning News for December 16, 2011


Friday, 16 December 2011

Deadline is TODAY - for all you closet poets and essayists to write to win. Share your favorite holiday memory or dash off a holiday haiku for our third annual competition. We'll be publishing your holiday memories and haiku (that's the short poem we learned about in fourth grade - 17 total syllables on three lines, divided by 5-7-5 syllables per line, doesn't get easier) later this month and giving a winner in each category a gift certificate for a massage from Victoria's Day Spa in Yorktown. You can't win (or complain you didn't win!) if you don't enter. Choose and do send one (or more) to holiday@wydaily.com. Click here to read last year's winners.


UPDATE: Suspected Meth Labs Investigated in York, James City; 10 Arrested

Lafayette Swim Star Colley Making Big Contributions on the Basketball Court

Tech Killing Sparks Debate on Guns, Mental Health

McDonnell Recommends Contributing $2.21 Billion to VRS

The Score: Thursday’s Girls Basketball, Indoor Track Results

Grafton Girls Rally for OT Win at Warhill

Lists Yule Love: The Best Christmas Albums

Williamsburg Notebook: Offices Closed for Holidays, BZA to Discuss CW Request

Get Schooled: Enjoy Student Holiday Performances Next Week

Frugal Jena: Free Fries Day!

Game On: Tabb Field Hockey Sweeps Top Honors, Lands Six on All-State First Team



Federal Jury Says Busch Not Liable in $5.3M Sexual Assault Case

City Planning Commission Approves Trailers for Berkeley Middle

McDonnell Proposes $100M in Funding for Higher Ed

The Score: Wednesday’s Bay Rivers Boys Basketball Recap

BRD Basketball: Bruton Rolls as Panthers' Defense Dooms Tabb

Lists Yule Love: Homemade Holiday Decor

What You'll Do: Dec. 15-18

Frugal Jena: $10 Toys R Us Gift Card For $5

Frugal Jena: Gift Card Deals


More Stories




Copyright © 2011 Williamsburg Yorktown Daily. Davis Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, December 2, 2011

WYDaily Morning News - Your Morning News for December 2, 2011


Friday, 02 December 2011

Enter the holiday haiku contest - It's time for the Third Annual Holiday Haiku competition, our way of squeezing a little more creativity from our very creative (and busy, we'll concede that) listeners and readers. Pam M. has the distinction of being our first entry for 2011 and she has set the bar high, we think: Days have gotten short/Little light burning brighter/Happiness is here. You disagree? Prove it by putting together your 17-syllable poem (5-7-5 is how you divide syllables by line) and emailing it to holiday@wydaily.com. Prose more your thing? We have a holiday memory contest as well. Click here for more info, including previous winners.


JCC Supes to Hold Special Meeting on Eliminating Staggered Terms

Poquoson Man Facing Sex Charges Will Go to Trial in March

Yorktown Refinery, Terminal Sale Plans Announced

Get Schooled: Schools Give Homeless Students Stability

Williamsburg Notebook: Council to Meet with Legislators Monday

The Score: BRD Girls Basketball Scores from Thursday (12/1)

W&M's Grimes is 4th in Payton Award Votes

College Watch: Former Jamestown Soccer Star Buskey Named All-Conference Rookie of the Year

Man Found Dead Near Colonial Parkway

UPDATE: City Police Locate Runaway Juvenile


Car Dealer Commits to Help Grove Residents

JYF Aims to Increase Facility Rentals, Social Fundraisers

Boys and Girls Club Thrift Store Opens Today

What You'll Do: Dec. 1-4

BRD Basketball: Tabb Boys Win Season-Opener 63-42 Over Jamestown

The Score: Boys, Girls Basketball Results from Wednesday (11/30)


More Stories




Copyright © 2011 Williamsburg Yorktown Daily. Davis Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.