USDA Announces New No-Interest Efficiency Loan Program for Rural Utilities
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) welcomes the announcement of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP), which was published in today's Federal Register. The now-operational program represents a major milestone for EESI's exhaustive and ongoing efforts in these policy areas, from the inception of RESP and the "Help My House" on-bill financing program in South Carolina to more recent work in Iowa, Michigan and other states.
EESI Moves 100% of Stock Holdings to Socially Responsible Funds
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting environmentally sustainable societies, will complete moving its stock holdings to socially responsible funds by December 2016. Half of EESI's holdings are already in such funds. EESI's commitment extends beyond mere avoidance of companies whose policies conflict with our mission statement: it emphasizes a positive search for companies that are in line with our organizational values and vision. In particular, EESI will preferentially invest in companies that have demonstrated a commitment to environmental stewardship, energy efficiency, and clean renewable energy; EESI will also divest from companies that extract energy from fossil fuels.
New Rules Limiting Methane Leakages Will Play Key Role in Slowing Climate Change
On April 29, the Environmental Protection Agency released its final rules to reduce dangerous methane leakages from new and modified sources in the oil and gas industry. The new standards should prevent 510,000 short tons of methane emissions in 2025 (that is the equivalent of 11 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, or taking 2.3 million cars off the road). The new rules should save Americans $690 million in 2025 by reducing methane and toxic pollution (that is 30 percent more than the $530 million the rules will cost to implement in 2025).
McKnight Foundation Grant Expands EESI’s Clean Energy Project in Iowa and Minnesota
The Minneapolis-based McKnight Foundation has awarded a two-year $150,000 grant to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) to support the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy financing programs for households throughout Iowa and Minnesota. EESI will partner with rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities in both states to help them set up on-bill financing programs for their customers. On-bill financing allows households to pay for energy improvements with loans that are paid back through their energy bills.
Progress Outweighs Uncertainty in Paris Climate Deal
"A very important new milestone has been reached in the fight against climate change. The agreement reached in Paris this Saturday, after two weeks of talks under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is a strong deal that should be welcomed as an impetus to do even more. Our challenge is to keep up the momentum!" says Carol Werner, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute's Executive Director.
EPA’s Renewable Fuels Decision Step in Right Direction
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is cautiously optimistic that the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to release renewable fuel volumes for 2014, 2015 and 2016 will allow renewable fuels to surpass 10 percent of the U.S. fuel supply going forward.
197 Nations Unite to Phase Out Potent Greenhouse Gases
The signatories of the Montreal Protocol agreed on November 5, after seven years of discussion, to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a group of chemicals that can warm the atmosphere up to 12,000 times more than comparable amounts of carbon dioxide. Eliminating HFCs should prevent 0.5 degrees Celsius of warming (0.9 Fahrenheit), a significant amount as the world community seeks to keep global warming below 2 Celsius.
New Ozone Regulations Ignore Tailpipe Exhaust
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) welcomes new ozone standards that will further protect public health from the negative respiratory, developmental, and other health effects of ozone exposure. The new standards, set at 70 ppb (down from 75 ppb), seek to strike a balance between health benefits and compliance costs, although public health groups have argued for a more rigorous standard. In setting the standard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has left out a major contributor to ozone – tailpipe exhaust. Tackling tailpipe exhaust provides the opportunity to further cut ozone emissions without excessive cost.
EESI Welcomes Action on Methane from Oil and Gas Sector
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) welcomes the release today of the Obama administration’s proposed rule to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. The announcement follows the White House’s pledge earlier this year to cut methane emissions from the sector 40 to 45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025. In the proposed rule, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set draft standards for methane emissions from new and modified production, processing, and transmission facilities in the oil and gas sector. The draft standards for existing sources of methane emissions, however, are voluntary.
EESI Welcomes More Ambitious Clean Power Plan
EESI welcomes the Obama Administration’s more ambitious Clean Power Plan, whose final version will be unveiled today according to a White House press release. Drafts of the plans called for reducing carbon emissions by at least 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The final plan sets the reductions goal at 32 percent. "This is a very big deal," said Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) Executive Director Carol Werner. "An extra 2 points may not sound like much, but they lead to a 6.7 percent more ambitious target. The Administration is clearly trying to push other countries to be similarly ambitious in their carbon reduction goals ahead of the climate change talks in Paris at the end of this year. That’s excellent news.”