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Energy in the News: Friday, November 2

Upcoming events:
November 5
Fall Workshop Series: Sustainability at Ford: The good, the bad and the ugly – John Viera

November 8
Controlling connected automated vehicles: From theory to experiments
Lise Meitner: Her Escape from Germany and the Discovery of Fission

November 9
Taubman Symposium: Shaping Future Cities

November 15-16
The University of Michigan’s 66th Annual Economic Outlook Conference

For your students:
Annual P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet

Andy Hoffman’s article featured last week in The Conversation,Rising Insurance Costs May Convince People That Climate Change Risks Are Real,” has been reprinted in the Huffington Post.

The Battle Over Methane Leaks
Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, featuring Catherine Hausman

As Washington relaxes standards governing methane leaks, oil and gas industry leaders pledge to limit emissions. An economist and an environmental advocate examine the impact of methane leaks, and the credibility of industry efforts to contain them.

In September, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior pushed forward two separate regulations that will, in effect, hold oil and gas companies less accountable for methane gas emissions into the atmosphere. The new rules ease requirements that energy companies detect and repair methane leaks from wells and pipelines. The Interior rule, which has gone into effect, and the EPA rule, which is now open for 60-days of public comment, are part of a series of Trump administration efforts to undo methane regulations that the same agencies had written during the Obama administration.
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Also featuring Catherine Hausman, in Forbes:
How Deep Is Oil And Gas Industry Commitment To Cut Methane Leaks?

Energy access is not created equal. This Ann Arbor organization is trying to change that.
Concentrate Media, featuring Tony Reames

The term “energy justice” may not be widely known, but researchers at the Urban Energy Justice Lab (UEJL) in Ann Arbor are set on changing that.

Dr. Tony Reames defines energy justice as fair and equitable access to affordable, reliable, and clean energy services. Reames founded UEJL in 2015 at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability (U-M SEAS), where he is an assistant professor. He created UEJL as a way to concentrate his research efforts and engage students, the community, policymakers, government, and businesses around the concept of energy justice.
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Straws are just one drop in a very polluted ocean
Vox, featuring Kaitlin Raimi

Most everything we touch will, at some point, become trash. That to-go box will end up in a landfill. The vending machine will break down. Your laptop, cell phone, clothing, shoes, instruments, pots, pans, washing machine — all trash-to-be, waiting to enter a global system of buyers, sellers, diggers and dumpers we don’t much think about. We leave our trash and recycling bags on the sidewalk with peace of mind, indifferent to what happens after.

I’m not holier than thou (though I do ride a bike). I rarely think about these things. My recycling habits are inconsistent at best, my consumer practices wasteful. I’m guilty of using what became, this summer, the Environmental Enemy of the Year: straws.
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Anecdotes aside, will voters turn out for climate change?
E&E News, featuring Barry Rabe

A flurry of news stories in recent weeks have put climate at the forefront of the 2018 campaign, citing man-on-the-street interviews with voters and coastal races where global warming has become a topic at debates.

A poll from the National Surveys on Energy and Environment appears to bolster that narrative. In a telephone survey of 800 Americans, 60 percent of respondents said a candidate’s views on climate change would have a major or moderate effect on who they vote for.

But while climate change may move some votes around the edges, experts say it still isn’t the mobilizing force that environmental groups might hope.
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Residents divided over wind energy plan for ‘pristine Upper Peninsula wilderness’
Midwest Energy News, featuring Sarah Mills

While wind energy is seeing pushback in other parts of Michigan, a project in the Upper Peninsula — largely benefiting a single landowner — could prove even more challenging.

Supporters say the 130 megawatt project near Lake Superior could bring badly needed tax revenue to the rural area, while opponents — including the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community — say it threatens the local wilderness.

The Summit Lake Wind Project being developed by global developer Renewable Energy Systems is unique for Michigan. It would be sited on forested property owned mostly by one property owner: Weyerhaeuser Co., one of the world’s largest private owner of timberlands.
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Where Americans (Mostly) Agree on Climate Change Policies, in Five Maps
The New York Times

Americans are politically divided over climate change, but there’s broader consensus around some of the solutions.

New data from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication – in partnership with Utah State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara – show how Americans across the country view climate and energy policies.
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Ocean acidification caused by high carbon dioxide levels dissolving the seafloor
University of Michigan News Service

The ocean floor as we know it is dissolving rapidly as a result of human activity.

Normally, the deep-sea bottom is a chalky white. It’s composed, to a large extent, of the mineral calcite, formed from the skeletons and shells of many planktonic organisms and corals. The seafloor plays a crucial role in controlling the degree of ocean acidification.

The dissolution of calcite neutralizes the acidity of carbon dioxide and in the process prevents seawater from becoming too acidic. But these days—at least in certain hotspots such as the Northern Atlantic and the southern oceans—the ocean’s chalky bed is becoming more of a murky brown. As a result of human activities, the level of carbon dioxide in the water is so high, and the water is so acidic, that the calcite is simply being dissolved.
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Vogtle Critics Say Regulators Broke The Rules In Nuclear Power Vote
WABE Atlanta

Did Georgia regulators break the rules when they decided last year to allow construction to continue at the only nuclear power construction project in the country? That’s the question in a case in Fulton County concerning the nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle.

Just before Christmas last year, the Georgia Public Service Commission voted to keep the Plant Vogtle project going. The vote came after the lead contractor had gone bankrupt, causing costs to rise and timelines to slip even more than they already had.

At a hearing in Fulton County Superior Court on Wednesday, lawyers for Georgia Watch, Georgia Interfaith Power and Light and the Partnership for Southern Equity argued that the members of the Public Service Commission didn’t follow the process that they should have in making that decision, and that’s costing consumers money, because Georgia Power customers pay for the project on their monthly electric bills.
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