Saturday, May 25, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Mary Douglas

Mary Stewart Douglas is an environmental lawyer who has worked at the Environmental Protection Agency, private firms, and, most recently, with an association representing the state and local administrators of the Clean Air Act. Before law school, she worked as an editor for John Wiley & Sons. Although she has lived in Washington, D.C. for 30 years, Mary can frequently be found in Massachusetts – Boston, Amherst, Great Barrington, and Northampton – visiting friends, relatives, and her three children. Mary holds degrees from Smith College and Hastings College of the Law.

written articles

Eye on Washington: Chief Justice Roberts defies Trump, asserts independence 

Although Chief Justice John Roberts displayed an underwhelmingly passive style when presiding over the Senate impeachment proceedings last January, the last two weeks have seen him assert his powers in unexpected ways.

Parties wearily embrace Housatonic River remediation settlement

The parties know that this cleanup could be better, but they have balanced the waste reduction improvement, the monetary compensation and expeditious start of cleanup against the risks of continued litigation.

Long-time EPA Community Coordinator – veteran in Housatonic River cleanup – steps down

"At EPA there’s a big morale issue at the staff level. It’s awful. Some employees wouldn’t normally think of leaving, but after two years of this, they wonder what they should do. I was counseling people in their 30s to hunker down for the longer run. But how can the EPA people work for a President who lies every day?” -- Jim Murphy, former Community Involvement Coordinator for Environmental Protection Agency Region 1 that comprises New England

ANALYSIS: Otis State Forest pipeline battle set troubling precedents for state-protected land

For now, at any rate, no interstate pipeline is on the horizon, nor are any other projects such as federal highways or railroads that might threaten Article 97.

Legislators compromise on clean energy legislation; net metering cap for solar left unchanged

“I definitely share in the disappointment about the lack of net metering increases. I understand there are a lot of folks in the Berkshires and in my district who are vocal proponents of lifting and even eliminating the cap on metering credits." -- State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli

Hostile Takeover at the EPA

Anti-democratic governments, which thrive on obfuscating truth, seek to delegitimize and suppress scientists and other authoritative voices that offer accurate information that can be used to hold the government to account… So people who live near facilities that emit carcinogens or other hazardous pollutants are likely to be breathing more of them than before.

EPA initiates second round of mediation on Housatonic River cleanup

Berkshire County residents have been vehemently and consistently opposed to dumping PCB waste in any of the three locations that GE has proposed – Woods Pond, Rising Pond, and Lenox Dale. EPA’s final permit required GE to transport all PCB waste off-site to a licensed PCB disposal facility.

PCB landfills can be avoided if EPA cleanup plan for Housatonic River is revised, appeals board rules

If the Region were to roll up its sleeves, as it were, and revise the remanded permit, the Housatonic could yet remain free from the risks and burdens of PCB landfills.

500,000 gallons of contaminated water produced while testing Sandisfield pipeline; decontamination fails

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. was left with highly contaminated water that the company had not expected – and a big disposal problem.

Utilities manipulated natural gas supplies, causing artificial shortages, soaring energy prices, study finds

New England ratepayers paid $3.6 billion more for electricity due to capacity withholding. The utilities appear to have had an additional motive for withholding gas. Not only did the practice raise rivals’ costs in the electric generation market, but the artificially created gas shortages and high energy prices also lent credibility to the arguments for natural gas pipelines.

In spite of Trump, states and cities rally in support of Paris Climate Accord

California, New York, and Washington immediately announced the formation of the State Climate Alliance, which was soon joined by Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Hawaii, Virginia, Minnesota, Delaware and Colorado.

Northeast Direct gas pipeline reborn? Will Kinder Morgan’s Open Season lead to ‘NED Lite’?

The hazy nature of the notice coupled with the confidentiality agreement may evidence Kinder Morgan’s wish to delay, as long as possible, the public outcry that previously helped sink the NED project.

GE challenges EPA’s proposed cleanup plan for Housatonic River, insisting on Berkshire PCB landfills

Front and center in the arguments was GE’s insistence on site disposal at Woods Pond on the Lee-Lenox border, Rising Pond in Great Barrington, and near Forest Street in Lee.

State looked the other way as chainsaws make way for pipeline in protected forest

So where were the Massachusetts officials who could have negotiated with Connecticut to save Otis State Forest because the gas wasn’t really needed after all?

FERC asked to revoke permit for pipeline through Otis State Forest

Congressman Richard Neal has demanded that decisions made by FERC regarding the Connecticut Expansion Project be deferred until a quorum of FERC commissioners is reached and all vacant FERC commissioner seats are filled: “It is my belief that the rehearing [on the permit] should occur before a single tree is cleared and construction on this project commences.”

Opposition mounts to GE’s insistence on Berkshire PCB dumps

Although EPA’s final remedy requires the General Electric Company to transport and dispose of PCB waste in a federally approved landfill, the company is fighting tooth and nail to dispose of contaminated waste locally.
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