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Environmental Entrepreneurs Update - June 2004

Environmental Entrepreneurs Update
June 18, 2004

California EPA Secretary Terry Tamminen (center) presented to New York E2 members. Pictured are Wendy Neu and Ethan Podell

This June 2004 Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) newsletter is sent to all E2 members, people interested in joining E2 and friends of E2. This newsletter includes brief updates on E2 and NRDC activities. In addition, each month we feature one topic in depth. This month we feature a report on what will replace oil for transportation fuel.

1. What Comes After Oil? - A look at the major options for replacing oil as a transportation fuel.
2. E2 Advocacy Updates: Nuclear Waste, Climate Change, Oceans, California Clean Air Funding - A quick review of some major successes in E2 advocacy and an update on pending advocacy.
3. Oceans EcoSalon in Los Angeles - E2 members in Los Angeles attend a briefing on the state of our oceans.
4. California's EPA Secretary Tamminen Addresses E2's New York Members
5. House Votes to Limit Tongass Road Subsidies - NRDC wins a significant victory on forest protection.
6. Supreme Court Allows Old Mexican Trucks to Pollute U.S. Communities - Unless overturned by Congress, the boarder states with Mexico are about to receive a lot more air pollution.
7. NRDC San Francisco Office is Moving!
8. Calendar of Events

What Comes After Oil?

Fuels refined from crude oil are the primary transportation fuels for passenger vehicles and trucks today. In this article we explore the options for replacing oil with fuels that are (1) made from renewable resources, (2) do not add global warming pollution to the atmosphere, and (3) are less polluting than gasoline and diesel. A subject of this magnitude and complexity requires hundreds of pages to cover adequately. We will attempt to cover it in this article by focusing on the big picture strategies of greater fuel efficiency and vehicles that use a mixture of electricity, hydrogen from renewable sources and biofuels.

Why Have An "Oil Change"?

There are environmental, economic and national security reasons why we should find an economical and expedient alternative to oil. Vehicles are responsible for 31 percent of United States global warming pollution (GWP) leading to climate change and diesel-powered vehicles in particular are one of the largest sources of air pollution leading to health problems. Economically, many of the country's recessions have been preceded by energy price shocks. Lastly, the U.S. economy is so dependent on foreign oil from unstable regions of the world that protecting its supply is a dominant focus of our national security and foreign policy agendas.

An alternative fuel that is cleaner, free of GWP, domestically produced and competitively priced with today?s gas and diesel, is the ideal solution for our health, environment, economy and national security. Given the very long time frame required to build new fuel sources that provide the equivalent billions of gallons per year that we consume, we will need to push change in fuel production through governmental policies rather than depending on market forces alone.

To date, we have consumed less than half of the conventional sources of oil. There remain huge reserves of expensive, unconventional forms of oil (40 to 80 times more) such as shale oil and tar sands. We will run out of atmosphere and stable climate long before we will run out of oil. A pro-active approach to phasing in several alternatives that complement, compete with and ultimately replace oil will best mitigate the environmental and economic damage from our dangerous addiction to oil.

Choices

The US currently consumes about 138 billion gallons of gasoline and 56 billion gallons of diesel (of which 36 billion gallons of diesel are used for transportation) per year. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) currently predicts that by 2025, the U.S. will by consuming 200 billion gallons of gasoline and 94 billion gallons of diesel. We will not be alone. In the coming years, China will surpass the U.S. in fuel consumption creating an economically dangerous competition with the U.S. that will only make matters worse.

Estimates made by NRDC and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) state that using existing, proven technology, we can improve the efficiency of passenger vehicles and SUVs by 40%. In fact, pending California regulations (AB1493) based on existing technologies will require reductions in global warming pollution from passenger vehicles by 30% by 2015 with a similar improvement in fuel economy.

Feasible improvements in efficiency are critical but insufficient by themselves. To significantly cut gas and diesel, we will need to introduce sustainable fuels and reduce miles traveled. As illustrated above, research by NRDC and UCS shows that with appropriate government policies, alternative fuels combined with fuel efficiency can start to actually reduce oil consumption within seven years. And a complete solution can reduce oil consumption even further than projected above.

In addition to fuel efficiency (including hybrid engines) the solution is a mixture of:

1. Smart growth
2. Transition fuels (compressed and liquefied natural gas)
3. Electricity
4. Hydrogen
5. Biofuels

Smart Growth

Nothing is more effective for reducing oil consumption than smart growth. The goal is to have people live in environments that enable them to reach their work, daily shopping and entertainment conveniently without using their cars. Smart growth produces more livable communities and an alternative to sprawl-type housing that result in increased pressure to build more roads and develop more land. The chart below shows average energy usage for single-family U.S. homes. Owners of urban homes in smart growth communities use 80% less energy for transportation than people in suburban, sprawl communities (26 million BTU/year versus 125).

Transitional Fuels

To build the renewable fuels industry up to the 125 billion gallons needed to displace oil (after fuel efficiencies) will require a major public initiative. In the interim we will need some transitional fuels to cut pollution and create more diverse fuel choices. Currently, compressed and liquefied natural gas are the main alternative fuels with the largest installed infrastructure. While these fuels are cleaner and provide alternatives, they still contribute to climate change.

Some companies are starting to capture methane from natural sources that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere in order to convert it to transportation fuels. Since methane is 23 times more damaging than carbon dioxide as a GWP, this is a highly desirable solution both for offsetting fossil fuels and for preventing the methane from reaching the atmosphere. Common sources of the methane that can be used as fuel for transportation or electric generation include landfills and animal waste from large farms. However, this is not a major source of fuel for transportation.

Electric Vehicles

California has discontinued its electric vehicle mandate, but not before some important results were revealed. The vehicles are extremely popular with their owners. They work very well if the vehicle does not need to travel a range of more than 100 miles between charges. They are dependent on an inexpensive source of electricity (charging at night when electricity prices are lower). Neighborhood electric vehicles, i.e. smaller vehicles that don?t need to travel a long range or on freeways do not face any significant technical barriers.

The technical problems with electric vehicles have been the battery life, range, and availability of renewable sources of electricity. The hybrid vehicle (which uses gasoline as the only fuel but generates its own electricity from either gas or vehicle deceleration) has come onto the market in part due to knowledge gained from electric vehicles.

A possible rebirth of electric vehicles may come from two directions ? ?plug-in hybrids? and improved batteries. A ?plug-in? hybrid has a larger battery and can be charged at home providing the benefits of an all-electric vehicle in town and the range of a gasoline vehicle on the highway. A second revival could come from innovation in battery technology, largely as a result of research in cell phone battery technology that is increasing the range, recharge time and battery lifetime. In either case, the solution is dependent on the availability of inexpensive electricity from renewable sources. For an on-line view of some of the new electric and hydrogen vehicles, see the Scientific American Frontiers.

Hydrogen

Hydrogen can either be converted to electricity through a fuel cell or can be burned directly in a modified engine. In fact, the Hydrogen Car Company can refurbish an existing vehicle to run on any combination of natural gas and hydrogen by burning the fuel instead of converting the fuel to electricity first. Two advantages of this approach are that it avoids the cost of a fuel cell and can use different types of fuels. As we discussed in our August 2003 newsletter there will be a long-term race to see when the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle out-performs the hybrid internal combustion engine running on a renewable fuel. General Motors views the fuel cell vehicle as an attractive option in part because the auto design can be greatly simplified and cars can be more rapidly developed.

The hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (which is currently in field testing) may well be the vehicle of choice in 20 years - but we can't sit back and wait to find out. Much of the work to create renewable fuels can apply both to traditional internal combustion engines as well as fuel cell vehicles. See "Hydrogen Economy and Fuel Cells" and "The Hope for Hydrogen" for a discussion of current issues.

Is Your Hydrogen Black or Green?

The principal problem of envisioning hydrogen as an alternative to oil is finding a source of hydrogen that is price competitive with gasoline and does not contribute to global warming. Hydrogen is not a source of energy but rather is a carrier of energy. If the energy used to create hydrogen comes from a renewable source, we refer to it as ?green? hydrogen ? otherwise we consider it ?black? hydrogen as the process for creating it generates global warming pollution.  Black hydrogen is commonly (1) created as a byproduct from refining petroleum, (2) extracted from natural gas, or (3) extracted from water through electrolysis from non-renewable electricity. As we will discuss later, it is also possible to make hydrogen gas from biofuels. Without a source of green hydrogen that is price competitive with gasoline, hydrogen is not a long-term solution. Currently to be price competitive with gasoline at $1.50/gallon, the hydrogen either needs to be either the cheap byproduct of the refinery process or it needs to be generated by electricity from a renewable source that costs about 4 cents per kilowatt-hour.

As Joe Romm points out in ?Hype about Hydrogen?, society currently gets more environmental benefits by using electricity from renewable sources (solar, wind, geothermal, etc.) to replace coal-based electricity than it gets by using it to create hydrogen simply because old coal-based electricity is so much more polluting than vehicles.

In addition, hydrogen is currently very expensive to store and transport. While research may eventually show us solutions to this problem, an ideal hydrogen fuel solution may be one where energy is converted to hydrogen at the location where the vehicle is being refueled. This is the appeal of reforming natural gas or using electrolysis to create hydrogen - the fuel source can be shipped to the site and then converted. This may also make creating hydrogen from biofuels an attractive solution.

Biofuels Overview

The single largest but yet unproven replacement for oil is biofuel. Biofuels are plant oils, animal oils, or plant cellulose that are converted into a liquid fuel as a replacement for diesel or gasoline. The advantages of biofuels are (1) they don?t require a major change to the fuel infrastructure, (2) they potentially emit minimal GWP because the CO2 emitted is the same CO2 that was absorbed from the atmosphere, (3) the transformation of U.S. agriculture can significantly reduce its environmental impacts, improve its profitability and/or reduce the public subsidies. We don't yet know how much land would be required or whether biofuels can be price competitive with oil. Recent activities suggest the answers are positive.

The U.S. has about 300 million acres of harvested cropland. 74% of those are used to grow animal feed. 80% of corn and 98% of soybeans are grown for feed (See "2002 Census of Agriculture" page 15 for details). To have enough land to cultivate crops for energy will require major changes in the agricultural sector. In many cases a plant can be used both for creating fuel and for animal feed. For example, energy can be extracted from the plant sugars while at the same time the proteins can be extracted for animal feed. Another example is making ethanol from the crop waste and keeping the crop itself for its original uses. Arguments against this approach are the need to plow back some of the crop waste to enrich the soil and the cost of collecting the crop wastes.

Back of the Envelope

According to the Department of Energy the average cost of fuel per gallon for April 2004 was $1.80 for gasoline and $1.69 for diesel. The cost of purchasing and refining the crude oil for gas and diesel was $1.17 and $1.05 respectively. To compete with oil, a biofuel would need to match those costs. In addition, ethanol has a 113 octane number making it highly attractive to blend with gasoline and increasing its value.

Let?s assume for the moment that 50% of land currently growing animal feed was converted into land producing both transportation fuel and protein for animal feed. How many gallons per acre would the land have to produce to meet 2/3 of current gasoline used? With 111 million acres available to supply 93 billion gallons, we would need to produce about 840 gallons per acre. At maximum conversion efficiencies, the sugars in one bushel of corn can produce 2.74 gallons of ethanol (a gasoline replacement) and average productivity is around 130 bushels per acre or 356 gallons per acre.

Unfortunately, corn-based ethanol production consumes .7 to 1.06 units of fossil fuel to produce 1 unit of ethanol (the variation depends on which study you use). Biodiesel made from soybeans produces about 60 gallons per acre. A major environmental complaint against current corn and soy fuel production is that the crops are not grown in a sustainable way. Whatever environmental benefits come from the fuels should not be at the expense of environmental damage caused by its production.

Converting the cellulose in crops holds much promise. A crop like switchgrass, when it is at the same level of maturity as corn ethanol, should be able to produce closer to 1,000 gallons per acre and produce between 5 and 10 gallons of fuel for every gallon-equivalent required for its production. First commercialization is likely to start at 400 gallons per acre.

Efficiently producing fuel from agriculture requires crops which can (1) produce significantly more energy than is used in their production, (2) support both energy production and animal feed, (3) approach 840 gallons per acre and/or use land currently not in production.

Ethanol

Ethanol is a biofuel that can be used as a replacement for gasoline or blended with gasoline. Ethanol can be blended up to 20% into existing gasoline without any changes to the vehicles, and is routinely blended at 5.7%. Using pure ethanol requires fairly straightforward engine adjustments.

About 2.8 billion gallons of ethanol were produced in 2003. 99% of U.S. ethanol currently comes from corn. About 10% of total corn produced ? all of which is subsidized ? is used to make ethanol. On a per-gallon basis, the corn subsidy has been as high as $2.06 in 2000 and is about 60 cents currently. (Total subsidies to U.S. corn growers for all purposes have been $34 billion since 1995.)

Ethanol can be produced either from the sugars or the cellulose in a plant. This is accomplished either by enzymes or thermo-chemical reactions. Recent research in enzymes has produced promising results. The big advantage of focusing on cellulose is that it is found in a large variety of waste products (wood, plant stalks, grass, etc.) and it offers the promise of the dual use of cellulose for fuel and proteins from other parts of the crop for animal feed.

One of the most promising sources of cellulose comes from switchgrass. It is a perennial crop and as such requires less tilling of the land (avoiding subsequent land erosion problems) and is much more environmentally friendly. It can produce 5 to 10 times more gallons of fuel per acre than soybeans, although soybeans produce up to 3 times more animal feed. Selective breeding of crops over time should be able to substantially improve the yield (corn productivity improved by a factor of 5 over 60 years from improved breeding and techniques). (See "The Economic Competitiveness and Impacts on the Agricultural Sector of Switchgrass" by Ugarte & Hellwinckel of the University of Tennessee. Not currently on-line.)

A February report from the University of Minnesota describes a new technique for extracting hydrogen from ethanol. If this approach proves correct, then biofuels could be a renewable source for hydrogen. The ethanol can be delivered as a liquid and then converted to hydrogen at the filling location - eliminating the need and expense of transporting and storing gaseous hydrogen.

Biodiesel

Biodiesel is a replacement for diesel (either blended into diesel or used as a complete replacement) that comes from plant or animal oils. The most common source today is from soybeans. It can be made from many plant seeds (sunflower, canola, etc) or from animal fat. A bushel of soybean produces 1.5 gallons of biodiesel or another way to think about it is that 7.5 pounds of seed produces about 1 gallon of biodiesel. A farmer can produce about 39 bushels of soybean from an acre of land or about 60 gallons per acre (see "Supply and Demand for Soy" for more details). According to the US Department of Energy the U.S. currently has capacity for 50 million gallons of biodiesel production. Wholesale costs range from $1.50 to $2.50 per gallon for pure biodiesel - about $1.00 premium over regular diesel.

Estimates by Shaine Tyson of National Renewable Energy Lab state that a fully developed market for biodiesel from all sources could conceivably grow the market production capability between 300 million gallons and 4 billion gallons. Unfortunately, this best case scenario would provide only 11 percent of the needed 36 billion gallons.

One complaint about biodiesel - especially biodiesel made from soybeans - is that it has elevated levels of some air pollutants (particularly Nitrogen Oxides). This concern is very plant specific, as sunflower and canola have this problem to a lesser extent. Still, because biofuels do not contain sulfur, they burn cleaner than conventional fuels and allow particulate matter and other pollutants to be more easily removed from the exhaust.

Fuel Pricing and Subsidies

The current market for biofuels is supported by a variety of significant subsidies. One can also argue that the current market for gas and diesel is heavily subsidized as well, through a wide range of depletion allowances, tax credits and the many expenses that are not directly factored into the price such as the military cost of protecting access to foreign oil.

The all-time highest recipient of direct federal subsidies is the agricultural sector, which collected $114 billion from 1995 to 2002. (See the Environmental Working Group's website.) The WTO estimates crop and milk subsidies at $19.6 billion for 2003. Much of that has been used to prop up prices to farmers because there is too much product on the market. In some cases, farmers are being paid not to grow crops in order to limit supply and increase prices. A careful analysis of how tax dollars are flowing to farms may very well reveal that we could reapply the money, phasing out subsidies that are justified currently only because of overproduction, and using it instead to develop crops that supply fuel. . The argument against this approach is that it could cause a modest increase in food prices. We would argue that subsidizing a farmer is an inefficient way to lower food prices for those that otherwise could not afford food. It is much more efficient to financially assist those who need the money in order to eat.

This scenario also raises an intriguing idea: if farmers can compete with the market currently owned by the oil industry, their market will significantly expand, creating a competition that will benefit the economy overall.

Summary

Significantly reducing and ultimately eliminating oil as our main energy source for ground transportation will not be done through a single alternative but instead through a competition of many fuel sources during a complex transitional process. To address climate change and be acceptable to the market, any fossil fuel alternative will need to have three properties while remaining price competitive with today's fuels: (1) be made from renewable sources, (2) not add global warming pollution to the atmosphere, and (3) be less polluting than gasoline and diesel.

With those criteria in mind, our three choices are (1) electricity made from renewable sources; (2) biofuels made from plants or animal oils or plant cellulose; or (3) hydrogen made from renewable sources.

While hydrogen is heavily promoted to the public, it is only a carrier of energy, not a source. As a carrier, it has tremendous promise because it can be made from so many different energy sources and it provides a link between vehicle and stationary power sources. Green hydrogen can be produced from renewable electricity, converted from biofuels or made from waste products. The public needs to clearly recognize that we will not be advancing our environmental agenda and reducing GWP if we simply move to a hydrogen economy that is based solely on fossil fuels rather than renewable energy.

The near term solution to our fossil fuel dependence will need to consist of:

  1. Improving the efficiency of the U.S. fleet.
  2. Creating policies that provide incentives for consumers to buy fuel-efficient vehicles and fuels that have reduced global warming pollution. These policies should remove barriers and encourage industry to make efficient and lower polluting products. Some policies can be funded by a reallocation of existing subsidies.
  3. Using non-renewable alternatives such as natural gas, and hydrogen from natural gas as transition fuels.

These actions will both help in short term and also provide signals for industry to make the necessary long-term investments.

(Note: E2 is very grateful for the information and review provided by Nathanael Greene, Dan Saccardi, and Diane Bailey of NRDC, Dan Sperling of UC Davis, Dan Kammen of UC Berkeley and Dan Goldman of New Energy Capital.)

E2 Advocacy Updates

NUCLEAR WASTE: Senate Rejects Amendment to Prevent DOE from Avoiding Radioactive Waste Clean Up

On June 3, in a 48-48 vote, the U.S. Senate rejected an amendment supported by E2 to strike language in the Defense Authorization funding bill that changes the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA), allowing the Department of Energy (DOE) to reclassify lethal high-level radioactive waste as "Waste Incidental to Reprocessing" in South Carolina. In late May, 333 E2 members signed an action alert urging Senators to remove this dangerous provision from the defense bill. The language in the bill, which was written by DOE and added in committee by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), will allow DOE to abandon potentially millions of gallons of highly radioactive waste in leaking tanks in South Carolina, and set an alarming precedent for similar nuclear waste cleanup sites in Idaho and Washington.

On June 16, the Senate approved an additional amendment offered by Senators Graham, Crapo, Craig and Alexander, which ostensibly clarifies that the reclassification language mentioned above applies only to South Carolina, and also requires the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to approve DOE's rule change to reclassify waste in that state. Senator Cantwell, who has spearheaded the effort to completely remove this language from the authorization bill, was able to add a provision to require that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) conduct a study to determine technology gaps that need to be addressed in order to fully clean up the nuclear waste tanks.

The defense authorization bill now moves on to conference with the House-approved version, which does not contain provisions to allow reclassification of Nuclear Waste. We will be advocating for the conferees to drop the reclassification language and keep the NAS study. For more information on this issue please see NRDC's background paper and press release.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Gearing up for Another Climate Stewardship Act Vote

On June 3, E2 Member John Cusack, President of Gifford Park Associates, participated in a congressional briefing organized by the Environmental and Energy Institute to examine the economic, private sector, scientific and religious perspectives regarding the Climate Stewardship Act, H.R. 4067 (Identical to Senate S.139), sponsored in the House by Representatives Gilchrest and Olver. Over 75 congressional representatives and staff people attended the briefing, at which John gave a compelling presentation, outlining the business arguments for global warming legislation. Please visit EESI's website for an overview of the briefing, and a link to John's presentation.

Senators McCain and Lieberman are gearing up for another Senate vote on the Climate Stewardship Act, likely to be scheduled in the next month. E2 members are working with the Senators' offices to promote the business community's support for this critical bill. If you'd like to get involved, please contact Christine Koronides at ckoronides@nrdc.org.

OCEANS: Governor Schwarzenegger Talks Tough on Strong Ocean Protection

On June 4, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger released his comment letter in response the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy?s Preliminary Report. The report, which was released on April 20, concluded that overfishing and poorly coordinated management have helped trigger the collapse of commercial fisheries and the marine systems that sustain them. The commission asked the governors of coastal states to comment on the report before it is finalized and sent to the president and Congress.

Last month, E2 members sent a letter urging Governor Schwarzenegger to stand up for marine protected areas, a federal Ocean Agency and Ocean Policy Act, enforceable policies to control polluted runoff, and dependable funding that does not encourage new offshore oil and gas development, among other reforms, in his comments on the report. He did. Last week, Governor Schwarzenegger submitted his comments and call to action, which build on California?s tradition of coastal leadership by calling on the U.S. commission to strengthen its recommendations for an overhaul of U.S. ocean policy. We?re especially pleased to see his call for beefing up the US Commission?s recommendations on marine protected areas and ecosystem management. For further information, please see NRDC's press release.

CLEAN AIR: Governor Schwarzenegger Includes Funding for Critical Clean Air Programs in Budget

On Tuesday June 15, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he is including in the state's budget $61 million in yearly funding for the Carl Moyer vehicle clean-up program through changes to the smog check fee program. This program provides essential financial assistance for Californians to improve/replace their polluting vehicles. Incentive programs to clean-up existing dirty fleets of vehicles and equipment are critical to meet the Governor's goal of achieving a 50 percent reduction in pollution in California. 267 people signed the E2 letter requesting this action, which was hand delivered on June 2 to a variety of legislators and advisors to the Governor.

E2 and NRDC have been working with various stakeholders for over a year to find new sources of funding for Carl Moyer and other critical air quality programs before their funding expires. E2 Members talked about this issue during our March 9th trip to Sacramento, and signed a letter supporting Assembly Member Firebaugh's Bill, AB3104, which proposed a way to establish funds for this program.

We applaud the Governor for this important first step, establishing stable funding for this effective program, and call on the legislature to approve this funding and follow with additional sources. We also urge the Governor to establish similar funding for clean-up of our state's aging school bus fleet and other incentive clean-up programs.

E2 Oceans EcoSalon in LA

On May 25th, E2's southern California chapter met for an EcoSalon, "Our Oceans in Crisis: Depleting the Bountiful Sea." Sarah Chasis, senior attorney and Director of NRDC's Water and Coastal Program, and Lisa Speer, senior policy analyst and Co-Director of NRDC's Oceans Program, discussed the recently-released U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy's draft report; recommendations proposed by the Pew Oceans Commission; and legislative and international solutions to these critical issues. David Beckman, with NRDC?s Los Angeles office, announced a recent victory for NRDC?s California Coastal Water Quality Project involving polluted runoff. Attendees were also asked to add their names to the E2 letter urging Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to ?make ocean protection a national priority and to lead by example by strengthening California's own ocean protection regime.? As we reported above, he did.

California's Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Terry Tamminen Addresses E2's New York Members

California EPA Secretary Terry Tamminen met with E2's New York members on June 10 to discuss environmental priorities in California, including transportation, vehicle fuel efficiency, energy efficiency and smart growth. He mentioned that a major priority for the state is to reduce its energy dependence and identified a number of programs, as part of the Governor's Environmental Action Plan, that would achieve this goal through increasing fuel efficiency, working with companies to bring more fuel-efficient vehicles to the market, and investing in a hydrogen infrastructure.

Secretary Tamminen noted that E2 was instrumental in the passage of California's landmark state legislation setting a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions from vehicles in the state within the next 8 years. (Please see our Campaign page for California's AB 1493.) State government leadership has been critical in setting standards for the country in climate change policy. Governor Pataki has declared his intention to have New York follow California's lead on vehicle emissions (while he was in New York, NRDC arranged for the Secretary to meet with his New York counterpart, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Erin Crotty). E2 Members are working to support these efforts in New York through our New York Clean Cars Campaign.

NRDC NEWS

House Votes to Limit Tongass Road Subsidies

On June 16, the US House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Interior Appropriations Bill (222-205) that will prohibit the U.S. Forest Service from financing new roads for commercial logging projects in Alaska?s Tongass National Forest for the coming fiscal year. Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Robert Andrews (D-NJ) sponsored this amendment as a fiscal responsibility effort, cutting wasteful subsides to timber companies, which helped garner votes from a broad array of House members. Given the Administration?s recent reversal of roadless area protections, this victory is especially significant. The Tongass covers over 16 million acres, of which 9 million acres are roadless, and it contains nearly 30 percent of the world's old-growth coastal temperate rainforest.

NRDC is on the Executive Committee of the Alaska Rainforest Campaign and the Steering Committee of the United Forest Defense Campaign, both of which have been instrumental in protecting the Tongass. NRDC will now shift attention to the Senate and work to get the amendment offered there. For more details, please see: Alaska Rainforest Campaign's Press Release.

Supreme Court Allows Old Mexican Trucks to Pollute U.S. Communities

On June 7, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in "Department of Transportation et al., v. Public Citizen et al." allowing Mexican trucks on U.S. Highways, raising a host of concerns including environmental quality, safety and jobs.

At least 30,000 Mexico-domiciled diesel trucks could enter the U.S. starting this summer, including many older, pre-1994 trucks that are the most egregious polluters. For many model years, including trucks currently for sale, U.S. emissions standards are dramatically more stringent than those governing the sale of trucks in Mexico. In addition, there is no system in place to inspect the emissions of trucks coming over the border from Mexico. For many cities in California, Texas and other states, emissions from Mexican trucks will only exacerbate poor air quality problems.

NRDC Senior Attorney Gail Feuer commented, "We will continue to fight for rules to protect our communities from foreign trucks that don't meet U.S. emission standards and therefore needlessly endanger public health. We support free trade, but everyone should play by the same rules that are designed to protect public health. Congress now has an opportunity to protect the public's health by requiring that trucks coming from Mexico be as clean as their U.S. counterparts."

NRDC San Francisco Office is Moving!

We're exited to announce that on June 25, 2004 NRDC's (and E2's!) San Francisco Office will move to 111 Sutter Street. Please note our new address, phone and fax numbers:

Natural Resources Defense Council
111 Sutter Street, 20th Floor
San Francisco
, CA 94104


Phone:  (415) 875-6100
Fax:      (415) 875-6161

NRDC has been working to incorporate current green build-out elements into the new office's design.  We look forward to updating you shortly about the specific measures taken.

Calendar of Events

Friday, October 1, 2004 (7:00 PM - 10:00 PM PDT) Benefit

San Francisco: NRDC's 2004 San Francisco Benefit: A Night with Larry David

On Friday October 1, 2004 NRDC will host its 2004 San Francisco Benefit: A Night with Larry David. Larry David, Creator and Star of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Co-Creator of Seinfeld, will be interviewed live onstage by KQED-FM's Michael Krasny as part of the City Arts and Lecture Series at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. Reception and Dinner with Larry will follow the interview.  Tickets and Dinner Packages are now on sale! For tickets, contact City Box Office at 415-392-4400; for dinner packages or more information please contact Mercedes Rubio at NRDC at (415) 777-0220 or mrubio@nrdc.org. Please note that as of June 25, NRDC's San Francisco Office's phone number will change to: (415) 875-6100.

E2 Membership

We hope you'll tell your friends about E2 and NRDC. To learn about E2 and our programs please go to www.e2.org. Information about NRDC can be found at www.nrdc.org.

Thanks for your support. Comments, questions and introductions to possible new members are always welcome! Learn how to join E2 at how to join. To learn more about the leaders of E2 please read about the E2 co-founders.

Bob Epstein and Nicole Lederer, Editors
bob@bobepstein.to nicole@nicolelederer.com


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