Saturday, April 25, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
This meeting will be at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello, California. The GWSA, aka AB 32, has several important aspects of interest not only to chemical engineers, but other engineering disciplines also. The overall purpose of the Act is to reduce climate warming by essentially eliminating CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHG). It is doubtful whether there is any link between GHG concentrations and global temperature, according to many who investigate the underlying data and analysis. Even so, this landmark Act is now the law in California, and includes certain specific steps to achieve the GHG reduction goal.
Some of the industries and activities targeted by the Act include:
Transportation Fuels and Motor Vehicles
Dry Cleaning (potentially)
"Green" Building Materials
Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)
There is a cap and trade provision that will impact many areas.
The presentation will briefly discuss the history and purpose of GWSA, the timeline and events for implementing its goals, the current situation, then focus on impacts on industry sectors, and conclude with what to expect next. Chemical engineers will have great opportunities and challenges in many industry sectors as a result of AB 32 requirements.
Mr. Sowell will discuss how the GWSA meshes with and complements other California legislation, and future federal legislation along similar lines.
Thank you to Mr. Alan E. Benson, AIChE Southern California chapter president, for extending the invitation.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
or Act), the Administrator proposes to find that the mix of six key greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health and welfare. Specifically, the Administrator is proposing to define the “air pollution” referred to in section 202(a) of the CAA to be the mix of six key directly emitted and long-lived greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). It is the Administrator’s judgment that the total body of scientific evidence compellingly supports a positive endangerment finding for both public health and welfare. The Administrator reached this judgment by considering both observed and projected future effects, and by considering the full range of risks and impacts to public health and welfare occurring within the U.S., which by itself warrants this judgment. In addition, the scientific evidence concerning risks and impacts occurring outside the U.S., including risks and impacts that can affect people in the U.S., provides further support for this finding. Under section 202(a) of the CAA, the Administrator is to determine whether emissions of any air pollutant from new motor vehicles and their engines cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare. The Administrator further proposes to find that combined emissions from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines of four of these greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and hydrofluorocarbons – contribute to this air pollution. The other greenhouse gases that are the subject of this proposal (perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride) are not emitted by motor vehicles."
Today the EPA issued a proposed finding that CO2 and other greenhouse gases endanger the public health. This was done in spite of the overwhelming scientific evidence that CO2 and other GHGs in the atmosphere have absolutely no controllable effect on global air temperatures. In fact, as CO2 and other GHG's have risen over the past 200 years, global air temperatures have fallen, at times remained relatively constant, and risen slightly at other times. This is utterly uncontroversial, and completely destroys the basis for EPA's proposed finding.
"Pursuant to section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act (CAA
or Act), the Administrator proposes to find that the mix of
six key greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may reasonably
be anticipated to endanger public health and welfare.
Specifically, the Administrator is proposing to define the
“air pollution” referred to in section 202(a) of the CAA to
be the mix of six key directly emitted and long-lived
greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4),
nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs),
perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). It
is the Administrator’s judgment that the total body of
scientific evidence compellingly supports a positive
endangerment finding for both public health and welfare.
The Administrator reached this judgment by considering both
observed and projected future effects, and by considering
the full range of risks and impacts to public health and
welfare occurring within the U.S., which by itself warrants
this judgment. In addition, the scientific evidence
concerning risks and impacts occurring outside the U.S.,
including risks and impacts that can affect people in the
U.S., provides further support for this finding.
Under section 202(a) of the CAA, the Administrator is to
determine whether emissions of any air pollutant from new
motor vehicles and their engines cause or contribute to air
pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger
public health or welfare. The Administrator further
proposes to find that combined emissions from new motor
vehicles and new motor vehicle engines of four of these
greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide,
and hydrofluorocarbons – contribute to this air pollution.
The other greenhouse gases that are the subject of this
proposal (perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride) are not
emitted by motor vehicles."
This is an excellent opportunity to be heard by the EPA.
I want to share some thoughts about making public comments, as I attend many public hearings on various issues before agencies and commissions, listen to the comments, observe the commenters, and read many of the written comments that are submitted. I also make comments from time to time. I meet with various commissioners and members of public agencies, and get their views and feedback on comments and those who make the comments.
One of my public comments on California’s Global Warming law is here:
Comments are made in all forms and styles. Some are more effective than others. For those who want to view some comments on other issues, for style and content, please have a look at the link below. Some comments are one or two sentences, and others extend for several pages. Length does not matter, but content does.
For the most effect, it is a good idea to consider the following format for a comment:
Use letterhead. When the letter is complete, scan it and attach the digital file to your comment.
Identify yourself and / or your organization, describe what you do or your experience. It is a good idea to thank the EPA for the opportunity to make comments. (They like reading this, even though they are required by law to accept comments). If you work for an employer who does not support your view, it is important to state that your views are your own and do not represent anyone else.
Organize your comments into paragraphs.
Use a form letter only if you must. It is far more effective to write a comment using your own words.
However, if someone else’s comment states what you wanted to say, it is fine to write and refer to the earlier comment, by name and date, and state your agreement with what was written. The agency appreciates that, as it reduces the number of words they must read.
It is important to know that the agency staff reads the comments, categorizes them, and keeps a total of how many comments were made in each category. So, the number of comments do count. Encourage your friends to make comments, too.
Make your statement/point in the paragraph, refer to actual data where possible, and give the citation or link. Tell them why you hold your view. Try to maintain a positive, reasonable tone, and if criticizing the EPA, tread gently. Point out the inconsistencies of their view compared to other respected publications, or to accepted methodologies.
It is a good idea to describe how you are affected, or will be affected, by this proposed rule.
Close by thanking the EPA for considering your view.
Sign your name (comments get much more serious consideration when signed).
The link to public comments on U.S. government issues:
Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
A few weeks ago I crossed the internet path of one internet nuclear advocate [the "gentleman" hereafter], a self-proclaimed “knowledgeable nuke” and one who fervently believes that nuclear energy is “safe, reliable, and affordable, a huge boon to mankind.” He is an advocate for very small nuclear power plants, with thousands to be built and located in city neighborhoods and industrial facilities.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
A question came up on WUWT, about the small nuclear power plants (around 20 to 50 MW).
“. . . a bit ago there was a mention of micro-nuclear power plants. is there anything more for or against that you could recommend? or I am I just making too much of popular reporting.”
Any micro-nuclear power plant must be approved and receive a license for construction and operation from the NRC. From NRC’s website,
“The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was created as an independent agency by Congress in 1974 to enable the nation to safely use radioactive materials for beneficial civilian purposes while ensuring that people and the environment are protected. The NRC regulates commercial nuclear power plants and other uses of nuclear materials, such as in nuclear medicine, through licensing, inspection and enforcement of its requirements.”
“The Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, requires that civilian uses of nuclear materials and facilities be licensed, and it empowers the NRC to establish by rule or order, and to enforce, such standards to govern these uses as “the Commission may deem necessary or desirable in order to protect health and safety and minimize danger to life or property.” ”
Getting a micro-nuke design approved and licensed would take years, if such approval were ever issued, and ensuring the public safety from one of those would pose serious problems. To me, about the only good thing about a 1200 MW nuclear power plant is that it is huge, heavy, all in one place, and can be guarded fairly easily. The suitcase-sized micro-nukes are likely never to meet the NRC standards for protection of public health and safety, and danger to life or property, and as such are very likely just a dream. I may be proven wrong, but nuclear fissionable materials are just too dangerous to ever be allowed to proliferate as micro-nuclear proponents would like.
Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
UPDATE 1, July 3, 2010 -- The tire regulation has been postponed, it is not in effect as of July 1st. There are problems with the wording that require ARB to re-draft the language. -- end update.
Original post begins:
There are numerous problems with the AB 32 tire inflation measure, soon to be law in California. The law goes into effect July 1, 2010. As a result of this ill-considered law, many vehicles will have tire-related accidents, and many lawsuits will be filed. Victims will need an attorney such as Roger Sowell who understands this law, and the issues surrounding tire inflation. The tire inflation law seems simple enough, but there are several problems.
Tires have a target inflation pressure written on the sidewall. Even if the service technician inflates the tire to the pressure from the sidewall, many things can make that the wrong pressure just a few hours later. The wrong pressure can lead to tire failure, causing injury, property damage, and / or death. Two of the things that can go wrong are discussed below.
First, the tire may be hot when the technician adjusts the pressure. A hot tire will have an elevated pressure, if it was properly inflated earlier when the tire was cold. Tires become warm or hot when driven at high speed for an hour or so. The air in the tire also becomes hot. Tires are designed to perform properly at the elevated temperature and pressure, if properly inflated when cold. If the tire is hot when the technician checks the pressure, he may let out some air to bring the pressure down to what is written on the sidewall. Later, when the tire cools down, the pressure will decrease and the tire will be underinflated. The hot tire problem is complicated because it is very difficult to measure the air temperature in a tire. If one could measure the air temperature, a simple correction table can be used to inflate the tire to the correct amount so that when the tire cools down, the pressure will be as written on the sidewall.
For example, if a tire is to be inflated to 32 psi when the tire is cold, or at 70 degrees F, the tire should be inflated to approximately 35 psi if the air temperature in the tire is 100 degrees F.
Second, the compressed air used to inflate the tire may be hot. Hot air flowing into a tire will eventually cool down, and the tire pressure will decrease. Air compressors heat up the compressed air as they run, and the air may remain hot in the storage tank. An air compressor usually has a storage tank, and the smaller the tank, the greater the chance that the air will be hot. This is especially true if the compressed air is used frequently. Only when the air compressor stops running for an hour or two will the air tank cool down. However, the opposite can happen when the air tank has been sitting overnight in the cold ambient air. If the air tank is cool and is at a high pressure, perhaps 80 to 100 pounds per square inch (psi), any air placed into a tire will be much colder due to expansion across a valve. Air auto-refrigerates when it is expanded across a valve. This is known as the Joule-Thomson effect. One can sometimes see this if one blows a small amount of air from the compressed air hose on a humid day. The cold air condenses the water vapor in the air, forming a small fog cloud that dissipates rapidly. If very cold air from auto-refrigeration is placed in the tire and the tire is inflated to proper pressure, the tire pressure will increase when the cold air warms up. Over-inflated tires can be dangerous, can rupture, and can cause accidents.
The legal liability that will result from the California tire inflation law should give all automotive service providers pause. With the record-keeping requirement, an attorney for a plaintiff who has a tire-related auto accident will turn first to the service provider that most recently adjusted their tire pressure. There is no practical and safe way the tire service company can properly inflate the tires, without letting the tires cool down to 70 degrees F, using 70 degree air from a compressor station, and double-checking that the tire gauge is properly calibrated and used properly. Tires do not cool down quickly; they take hours to cool down. The AB 32 tire inflation lawsuits are just waiting to be filed.
Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Mr. Sowell can be contacted at his legal website.