Sunday, December 18, 2011

Senator John Barrasso about wanting to destroy EPA and The Clean Water/Air Acts!

And his 1 & only Lame Energy Policy Idea!(He forgot about trees!)

Dear William,
Thank you for contacting me about the TRAIN Act.  It is good to hear from you.
On June 24, 2011, Rep. John Sullivan introduced the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act (TRAIN Act).  This legislation requires an interagency committee to analyze the cumulative and incremental impacts of certain rules issued by the EPA in an attempt to better understand how these regulations are impacting America's global economic competitiveness, fuel prices, employment, and reliability of electricity supply.  This bill was passed out of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on July 12, 2011.  On September 23, the House of Representatives passed the TRAIN Act by a bipartisan vote of 249 to 169.  I will be sure to keep your thoughts on this in mind should it come before the Senate for a vote.
The bottom line is our country's energy portfolio is headed for change. Wyoming must be at the forefront on this issue.  The most effective way to address this is through the development of new technologies and the responsible management of our natural resources.   
I do not simply offer platitudes on this issue.  In the 111th Congress, the Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) and I introduced S. 2744. This bill would amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to expand the authority for awarding technology prizes by the Secretary of Energy to include a financial award for removing carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere. (Brilliant Johnny, we have them already, they're called trees, like the one's you're letting your lumbering buddies, and energy sponsor destroy in search of that black gold. Da! Read info below!)  This legislation addresses this issue not through limits but through imagination, innovation, and invention.  On March 31st of this year, I reintroduced this bill in the 112th Congress and on May 12th, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee held hearings on it.  The measure passed the committee on May 26th.  I look forward to continuing to work to pass this important piece of legislation.

Thank you for sharing your views.  I hope you will stay in touch. 

John Barrasso, M.D.                                                                         
United States Senator

Dear William,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding the Clean Water Act. It's good to hear from you.

The Clean Water Act was established to regulate discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and quality standards for surface waters. The new guidance proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would significantly expand the type and amount of waterways the federal government has traditionally regulated, which would require struggling farmers and small business owners to obtain costly federal permits to operate their businesses. Congress and the Supreme Court have already defined federal authority with regard to waters and the guidance proposed by the EPA and Army Corps greatly exceeds this authority. The amendment I introduced with Senator Heller eliminates
this Washington overreach by preventing Army Corps funds from going towards implementing the guidance in this year's FY 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations bill.
I believe that when it comes to protecting the environment and our nation's waters, we must use a balanced approach that incorporates conservation while not harming the economy or unnecessarily over regulating industry.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

John Barrasso, M.D.
United States Senator

Carbon Sequestration:
  • Heat from Earth is trapped in the atmosphere due to high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases that prohibit it from releasing heat into space -- creating a phenomenon known as the "greenhouse effect." Trees remove (sequester) CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis to form carbohydrates that are used in plant structure/function and return oxygen back to the atmosphere as a byproduct. About half of the greenhouse effect is caused by CO2. Trees therefore act as a carbon sink by removing the carbon and storing it as cellulose in their trunk, branches, leaves and roots while releasing oxygen back into the air.
  • Trees also reduce the greenhouse effect by shading our homes and office buildings. This reduces air conditioning needs up to 30%, thereby reducing the amount of fossil fuels burned to produce electricity. This combination of CO2 removal from the atmosphere, carbon storage in wood, and the cooling effect makes trees a very efficient tool in fighting the greenhouse effect.  (11)
  • One tree that shades your home in the city will also save fossil fuel, cutting CO2 buildup as much as 15 forest trees. (16)
  • In one urban park (212 ha), tree cover was found to remove daily 48 lbs particulates, 9 lbs nitrogen dioxide, 6 lbs sulfur dioxide, and 1/2 lbs carbon monoxide. ($136 per day value based upon pollution control technology)
  • Planting trees remains one of the cheapest, most effective means of drawing excess CO2 from the atmosphere. (15) 
  • A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 lbs./year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support 2 human beings. (10) 
  • Each person in the U.S. generates approximately 2.3 tons of CO2 each year. A healthy tree stores about 13 pounds of carbon annually -- or 2.6 tons per acre each year. An acre of trees absorbs enough COover one year to equal the amount produced by driving a car 26,000 miles. An estimate of carbon emitted per vehicle mile is between 0.88 lb. CO2/mi. – 1.06 lb. CO2/mi. (Nowak, 1993). Thus, a car driven 26,000 miles will emit between 22,880 lbs CO2 and 27,647 lbs. CO2. Thus, one acre of tree cover in Brooklyn can compensate for automobile fuel use equivalent to driving a car between 7,200 and 8,700 miles. (8) 
  • If every American family planted just one tree, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would be reduced by one billion lbs annually. This is almost 5% of the amount that human activity pumps into the atmosphere each year. (17) 
  • The U.S. Forest Service estimates that all the forests in the United States combined sequestered a net of approximately 309 million tons of carbon per year from 1952 to 1992, offsetting approximately 25% of U.S. human-caused emissions of carbon during that period.
  • Over a 50-year lifetime, a tree generates $31,250 worth of oxygen, provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion. (2)
Reduction of Other Air Pollutants:
  • Trees also remove other gaseous pollutants by absorbing them with normal air components through the stomates in the leaf surface. (3)
  • Some of the other major air pollutants and their primary sources are:
    • Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)- Coal burning for electricity/home heating is responsible for about 60 percent of the sulfur dioxide in the air.  Refining and combustion of petroleum products produce 21% of the SO2.
    • Ozone (O3) -  is a naturally occurring oxidant, existing in the upper atmosphere. O3 may be brought to earth by turbulence during severe storms, and small amounts are formed by lighting. Most O3 - and another oxidant, peroxyacetylnitrate (PAN) - come from the emissions of automobiles and industries, which mix in the air and undergo photochemical reactions in sunlight. High concentrations of O3 and PAN often build up where there are many automobiles.
    • Nitrogen oxides - Automotive exhaust is probably the largest producer of NOx. Oxides of nitrogen are also formed by combustion at high temperatures in the presence of two natural components of the air; nitrogen and oxygen.
    • Particulates are small (<10 microns) particles emitted in smoke from burning fuel, particular diesel, that enters our lungs and cause respiratory problems. (10)
  • There is up to a 60% reduction in street level particulates with trees. (1) 
  • In one urban park (212 ha.) tree cover was found to remove daily 48lbs. particulates, 9 lbs nitrogen dioxide, 6 lbs sulfur dioxide, and 2 lb carbon monoxide ($136/day value based upon pollution control technology) and 100 lbs of carbon. (1)
  • One sugar maple (12" DBH) along a roadway removes in one growing season 60mg cadmium, 140 mg chromium, 820 mg nickel, and 5200 mg lead from the environment. (1) 
  • Planting trees and expanding parklands improves the air quality of Los Angeles county. A total of 300 trees can counter balance the amount of pollution one person produces in a lifetime. (10)

And read this:

Trees and Your Environment

We're proud of the thousands of trees we have been responsible for planning through donations to Trees for the Future . Here's a look at why we think that trees are important at Clean Air Gardening, and why we'll continue planting more of them.

Planting trees in your neighborhood really is one of the best things you can do for the local environment and for the planet. It’s no secret that trees help the environment, but you may be surprised by all the benefits that planting trees can provide. Besides producing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide and contaminants from the air, trees have many other social, economic, and environmental benefits.

Environmental Benefits of Planting Trees

Trees are like the lungs of the planet. They breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. Additionally, they provide habitat for birds and other wildlife. But that’s not all trees do for us! To see just how much trees are essential to the planet and to humans, let’s look at the following statistics:

CO2 is one of the major contributing elements to the greenhouse effect. Trees trap CO2 from the atmosphere and make carbohydrates that are used for plant growth. They give us oxygen in return. According to, about 800 million tons of carbon are stored in the trees that make up the urban forests of the U.S. This translates to a savings of $22 billion in control costs. Mature trees can absorb roughly 48 pounds of CO2 a year. The tree in turn releases enough oxygen to sustain two human beings.

Trees also help to reduce ozone levels in urban areas. In New York City, a 10 percent increase in urban canopy translated to a reduction of peak ozone levels by around 4 parts per billion. (Source: Luley, Christopher J.; Nowak, David J. 2004. Help Clear the Smog with Your Urban Forest: What You and Your Urban Forest Can Do About Ozone.)

Trees reduce urban runoff and erosion by storing water and breaking the force of rain as it falls. The USDA reports that 100 mature trees can reduce runoff caused by rainfall by up to 100,000 gallons!

Trees also absorb sound and reduce noise pollution. This is especially important for people who live near freeways. In some cases, a well planted group of trees can reduce noise pollution by up to 10 decibels. (Source: New Jersey Forest Service.)

Additionally, trees shade asphalt and trees, reducing what is know as the “Heat Island” effect. The EPA has some great information on how planting trees and other vegetation can help to reduce the urban heat island effect.

How Trees Help to Save Energy

Planting trees can also help cool your home in the summer. The Arbor Day Foundation states that the overall effect of the shade created by planting a healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners running 20 hours a day!

In the winter, trees can act as windbreaks for your home and will help you save on heating costs. The Journal of Horticulture claims that saving on heating costs can reach as much as 25 percent!

Trees shade buildings, streets, and homes. If enough trees are planted in cities, the overall microclimate improves and total energy use for heating and cooling is reduced. The EPA has some great information on how planting trees and other vegetation can help to reduce the overall high temperature of your city!

Social and Economic Benefits of Planting Trees

Just being around trees makes you feel good. Can you imagine your community without trees? Trees, especially in urban areas, have numerous social benefits. For example, the addition of trees to a neighborhood or a business district can greatly improve the mental and physical health of residents and workers. In fact, the University of Cambridge did a study on job satisfaction of employees of business with a view of trees from their office. They found that these employees suffered from fewer diseases than workers without a view of trees. See here for more information on the study.

Another example is with children with learning disorders. As a form of therapy, children that suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can benefit from the presence of trees and other greenery. Kids with ADHD have been proven to be calmer, more responsive, and better able to concentrate when in a space with lots of trees. (Source: Taylor, A.F.; Kuo, F.; Sullivan,W. 2001. Coping with ADD: The Surprising Connection to Green Play Settings. Environment and Behavior)

Additionally, have you considered that planting a tree can significantly increase your property values? As an example, the U.S. Tax Court recently calculated a value of 9 percent ($15,000) for the removal of a large black oak on a piece of property valued at $164,500. (Source: Neely, D., ed. 1988. Valuation of Landscape Trees, Shrubs, and Other Plants.)

Houses with trees are also more attractive to visitors, potential buyers, and neighbors. Neighborhoods with lots of trees also report less crime! (Source: Kuo, F.; Sullivan,W. 2001. Environment and Crime in the Inner City: Does Vegetation Reduce Crime? Environment and Behavior 33(3).) There is no doubt that if you plant trees in your community, people will see and feel the difference.

As you can see, it's clear that trees are essential to our life on the planet. The great thing is that we as humans can play an active role in planting trees to help offset deforestation and urbanization. Not only can you plant trees in your yard, you can also get involved in local tree planting activities on Arbor Day.

If you need more reasons to plant trees, the United States Department of Agriculture has a complete list of statistics regarding the environmental, economic, and social benefits of planting trees. Some of the statistics from this article are included in the PDF file, as well as many others.

No comments:


This content is not yet available over encrypted connections.