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Monday, June 29, 2015


Supreme Court Rejects Obama's Drive To Cut Mercury Emissions From Power Plants

Posted: Updated: 

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Monday ruled against an Environmental Protection Agency regulation limiting mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants, undermining the Obama administration's drive to cut pollution from electricity generators.
The case looked at the EPA's regulation of mercury and other emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act, which Republicans have attacked as a "war on coal" and an example of presidential overreach.
The EPA interpreted the law "unreasonably" when it failed to consider the costs of compliance with the new regulations, the court ruled 5-4 in an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia.
"EPA strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants," concluded the majority.
Justice Elena Kagan, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, wrote a scathing dissent that argues that the EPA did consider the costs of complying with the regulations -- just not at the initial stage of determining whether or not to regulate mercury emissions in the first place. 

"Over more than a decade, EPA took costs into account at multiple stages and through multiple means as it set emissions limits for power plants," wrote Kagan. "And when making its initial 'appropriate and necessary' finding, EPA knew it would do exactly that -- knew it would thoroughly consider the cost-effectiveness of emissions standards later on."

The majority's interpretation, Kagan argued, is "a peculiarly blinkered way for a court to assess the lawfulness of an agency’s rulemaking."

"The Agency acted well within its authority in declining to consider costs at the opening bell of the regulatory process given that it would do so in every round thereafter -- and given that the emissions limits finally issued would depend crucially on those accountings," wrote Kagan.
The EPA finalized rules limiting the release of mercury, heavy metals and acid gases from power plants in December 2011. While many newer power plants have technology to curb those hazardous releases, the rules target plants that still do not capture those emissions. The rules affect about 600 U.S. power plants, the majority of which are fueled by coal.
Industry groups and 23 states challenged the rule, arguing that the EPA failed to take into account the cost of compliance, which they put at $9.6 billion.
The EPA argued that the health benefits from cutting emissions would be at leasttriple the compliance costs.
"We are reviewing the decision and will determine any appropriate next steps once our review is complete," said EPA spokeswoman Melissa Harrison on Monday. "EPA is disappointed that the Court did not uphold the rule, but this rule was issued more than three years ago, investments have been made and most plants are already well on their way to compliance."
The question before the court hinged on the interpretation of a line in the Clean Air Act stating that the EPA "shall regulate" emissions from electric utilities if the agency finds that "such regulation is appropriate and necessary." The court assessed whether the EPA's interpretation of the word "appropriate" had to include the costs of compliance.
"It is not rational, never mind 'appropriate,' to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits," wrote Scalia in the majority opinion.
Environmental groups criticized the ruling, and argued that the EPA should be able to tweak the mercury rule to comply with the court's decision.
"The Court has sided with the Dirty Delinquents -- the small percentage of coal-fired plants that haven't cleaned up -- and against the majority that are already protecting our children from mercury and other toxic pollutants," said Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp in a statement. "It's critically important for our nation that these life-saving protections remain in place while EPA responds to the Court's decision, and EDF will focus its efforts on ensuring these safeguards are intact."

The mercury rule is one of several major regulations from President Barack Obama's EPA limiting emissions from power plants, specifically units that are coal-powered. The agency is finishing rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions from both new and existing power plants as well, with the final rules expected within weeks.
A federal appeals court upheld the regulations in 2014. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in March.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Pics of the present hi rises along Margate NJ's beachfront.

   Some bad ideas just don't want to die as evidenced by the endless fight over the Absecon Island Shore Protection Racket. Unfortunately, another bad idea in Margate that doesn't want to stay buried is the one that allows for the lifting of the ban on hi rise buildings, specifically in the present case a rezoning and waiver for Louis Ventura owner of the beachfront Greenhouse restaurant . Let me be clear on this one. It's a bad idea and its not one that the present Commission was elected to see thru to fruition. If the Commission wants to change the law or regulations in Margate as they pertain to the present 35 ft. height restriction for buildings they should put it to the voters in Margate as a referendum. They should not treat this request as merely one property owner asking for a building code waiver. Raising the height restriction which has been in place since the early  1970s  would change the entire character of the town. The citizens of Margate should be the ones deciding this issue not just the Commissioners or the Zoning board.

I'll Be Part of any Group that Fights this:

   I for one will help any individual or group that wants to stop this ill begotten idea. I do not want to see Margate become just another coastal town buried behind a wall of hi rise condos along the beach and the bay. ( like Ocean City, Md. , Virginia beach, Va, Daytona Beach, Fla or Ventnor and AC)  The height restriction code / law was meant to keep Margate from such a  fate. The three existing hi rises are more then enough, in fact there too much if you ask me.

Saturday, June 06, 2015


NOAA Study Confirms Global Warming Speed-Up Is Imminent

"NOAA Study Confirms Global Warming Speed-Up Is Imminent"
no slow down in global warming
A major new study from NOAA finds more evidence that we may be witnessing the start of the long-awaited jump in global temperatures. As I reported in April, many recent studies have found that we are about to enter an era of even more rapid global warming.
Indeed, one March study, “Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change,” warns the speed-up is imminent — with Arctic warming rising a stunning 1°F per decade by the 2020s.
The new study in Science from a team of NOAA scientists, “finds that the rate of global warming during the last 15 years has been as fast as or faster than that seen during the latter half of the 20th Century,” as NOAA explains.
The director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Thomas Karl, told the UK Guardian that “considering all the short-term factors identified by the scientific community that acted to slow the rate of global warming over the past two decades (volcanoes, ocean heat uptake, solar decreases, predominance of La NiƱas, etc.) it is likely the temperature increase would have accelerated in comparison to the late 20th Century increases.”
What happens when these various temporary factors stop? Karl explained: “Once these factors play out, and they may have already, global temperatures could rise more rapidly than what we have seen so far.”
In other words, the long-awaited jump is global temperatures is likely imminent. How big is the jump? As I reported in April, top climatologist Kevin Trenberth has said it would be as much as 0.5°F. Given that 2015 is crushing itfor the hottest year on record, we appear to be already witnessing a big piece of that jump.
NOAA’s new study not only incorporates the latest global temperature data from 2013 and 2014. Their “calculations also use improved versions of both sea surface temperature and land surface air temperature datasets” (detailedhere). The result, as NOAA explains, is that the new “study refutes the notion that there has been a slowdown or ‘hiatus’ in the rate of global warming in recent years.” In particular, the authors conclude bluntly:
Indeed, based on our new analysis, the IPCC’s statement of two years ago – that the global surface temperature “has shown a much smaller increasing linear trend over the past 15 years than over the past 30 to 60 years” – is no longer valid.
Turns out the “long-term global warming trend” — which is redundant because the global warming trend was always a long-term phenomenon — has remained constant. But then CP readers already knew that. Back in January I reported that Dr. Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, tweeted, “Is there evidence that there is a significant change of trend from 1998? (Spoiler: No.)” He posted this chart:
NASA temperature data.
NASA temperature data dispel the myth of a recent slow-down in long-term warming trend. But there was a big jump in temps during the mid-1990s. Many scientists believe we may be witnessing the start of another jump.
On Thursday, Schmidt posted on RealClimate an excellent analysis of the faux pause.
The March study mentioned earlier makes clear the only “pause” there has been was in the long-expected speed-up of global warming. The rate of surface warming should have started to accelerate in the past decade, rather than stay fairly constant.
The authors warned that, by 2020, human-caused warming will move the Earth’s climate system into a regime of rapid multi-decadal rates of warming. They project that within the next few years, “there is an increased likelihood of accelerated global warming associated with release of heat from the sub-surface ocean and a reversal of the phase of decadal variability in the Pacific Ocean.”
That appears to be happening now.

MY Take:
   If I've heard it once I've heard it a thousand times from the Right wing echo chamber that there hasn't been any global warming for the last 18 yrs. Well a recent study by NOAA finally put this BIG LIE to rest. The warming is if anything accelerating.  I guarantee all of you though it won't make a bit of difference to the denial crowd who doesn't believe any of the science or the scientists and see the whole thing as a way to raise their taxes and take away their Hummers and SUV's. 

Thursday, June 04, 2015



   For many of us that grew up in the AC area the name REESE PALLEY summons up one of the area's most dynamic and enigmatic characters. Born in AC, Reese was known as a genius at marketing and made his millions doing it better then anyone in AC even in the middle of it's terminal decline in the 1970's. Unfortunately, just when the community most needed him at the beginning of the new Casino era in the late 70's Reese cashed in and left us to sail around the world on his yacht.    Reese passed today @ 93, he'll be missed.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015


This photo was of a fog bank that extended the entire length of the NJ Coast last Sunday around noon. I actually saw this as I was driving home from offshore ( Northfield.)! At first glance it looked like a giant Tsunami and then my eye caught it wrapping its way around the AC Casino bldgs. and it was obvious it was just  a fog bank. Nevertheless, for a few seconds I have to admit I wasn't sure what it was. Had it been a real ocean wave it would have been over 500 ft. high.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Governor of New Jersey at a town hall in Hills...
Governor of New Jersey
   I hate to say I told you so , but I was one of those that cast serious doubt on what Gov. Christie was up to from day 1 as regards AC. Now everyone knows and it was never ever to fix it. The Gov. made headlines yesterday  telling the World he was for Casinos elsewhere in NJ ( especially in North Jersey.)  Chris Christie to make it short is a liar and a fraud. Hopefully, his support for a referendum to allow such Casinos outside of AC will be enough to defeat it. The fact that AC's Casino Industry is waning is not going to be remedied by opening even more Casinos no matter where their built and especially if their built in NJ. What this is about is the usual desire of a very few very wealthy "investors" to do as they please for short term profit. All of this will be wrapped up in the usual promises that none of them intend to fulfill. Will the voters next Nov. go for the bait is the question?

   Not too many people remember the 1st Casino referendum held in NJ back in 1974. That's because it was defeated  by a huge margin. That 1st Casino referendum was for allowing Casino gaming Statewide. Back then most people in NJ had a strong sense that Casinos were not particularly something they wanted in their own back yards. After almost 40 yrs. of them here in AC. I have to be honest if I had to vote for them all over again  with the knowledge of what was to follow I would vote NO. The simple truth is one look at AC is proof that the experiment failed. Casino gaming in short does not act as a catalyst for redevelopment. A close look at other areas where they exist today bears out this fact. Casinos are what they are nothing more. ( Big Corps.) What we did learn here in AC is that by allowing Casinos a monopoly within AC on gaming was a disaster that laid waste to much of the towns middle class businesses and allowed for even worse public sector abuse and corruption. If that's what the rest of NJ wants so be it. 


   In all likelihood there is going to be a referendum this fall to allow Casino gaming either Statewide or in North Jersey ( wherever that begins.)  I would hope that a local group or committee is forming right now with the aim to defeat this stupid ill considered idea. For a start our State Senator Jim Whelan might help out, instead of doubling down on the Gov's knife in our back , by putting a knife in our front. If these groups sent a speakers bureau North or around the State to make the case that gaming is a bad idea elsewhere in NJ by simply using the actions of AC's Casinos as representative of what they can expect. Then I think this referendum will go down in flames just as the 1974 one did.