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The Chevron refinery in Richmond, CA Photo: Michael Macor, The San Francisco Chronicle
A federal judge on Friday dismissed a challenge brought by the Trump administration against a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program that creates a market for emissions credits between the state of California and the Canadian province of Quebec. The administration challenged the program because it argued California had no authority to deal directly with the government of another nation — that its program usurps the federal government’s primacy in foreign affairs. The Judge said the Trump Administration had provided no “concrete evidence that the President’s power to speak and bargain effectively with other countries has actually been diminished.”
The Sacramento Bee reported that California’s Secretary of Environment “Jared Blumenfeld has told lawmakers he would work with the Air Resources Board to consider ‘the extent to which the state’s climate strategy should rely on the cap-and-trade program reductions relative to other approaches.’” According to The Bee, barely one-third of the 57 million carbon credits were sold in the State’s most recent auction due to the drastic reduction in demand for gasoline since the coronavirus pandemic significantly reduced economic activity. Each credit gives its owner the right to emit a ton of carbon pollution, which they can keep for themselves or sell to other businesses that need to emit greenhouse gasses.
Gas flaring was responsible for Texas’s recent increase in oil refinery pollution, but it’s hardly a new problem. We’re less than a decade away from the UN’s goal of Zero Routine Flaring by 2030, but refineries still flare 150 billion cubic meters of natural gas each year, releasing 400 million tons of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants into the atmosphere.
Why This Matters: Companies have historically practiced gas flaring as a convenient and inexpensive way to “dispose of ” gas that was extracted alongside oil, as opposed to storing paying to store it.
Despite over four million Texans losing power during the recent deep freeze, oil refineries released an increased amount of pollution into the air. In a state that leads the nation in both power production and carbon emissions, experts say that failure to winterize power infrastructure resulted in harmful releases of toxic air pollution.
Why This Matters: Texas is the nation’s leading power producer, and to achieve this, the state has heavily deregulated not only its power grid but the fossil fuel industry as well.
People riding American subway lines are exposed to air pollution that’s worse than a bad day in Beijing, according to new research that studied subway networks in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and D.C.
Why this Matters: We hope Secretary Pete takes note because this is an environmental justice issue.
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