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What is the Clean Power Plan and why is Trump killing it?

Published: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 @ 11:57 AM

In this Sept. 8, 2015 photo, a natural gas rig pumps away in the foreground of the coal-fired Huntington Power Plant west of Huntington, Utah. A 20-year plan by Utah's largest electricity provider stipulating that it will not add pollution-control systems to its coal power plants has received criticism from some in the state who say the proposal may violate a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirement and get in the way of the federal push to curb regional haze, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. (Al Hartmann/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
Al Hartmann/The Salt Lake Tribune
In this Sept. 8, 2015 photo, a natural gas rig pumps away in the foreground of the coal-fired Huntington Power Plant west of Huntington, Utah. A 20-year plan by Utah's largest electricity provider stipulating that it will not add pollution-control systems to its coal power plants has received criticism from some in the state who say the proposal may violate a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirement and get in the way of the federal push to curb regional haze, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. (Al Hartmann/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)(Al Hartmann/The Salt Lake Tribune)

The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it will repeal the Clean Power Plan, a strategy that President Barack Obama implemented to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt announced Tuesday the administration’s plan to issue a new set of rules overriding the CPP, The Associated Press reported.

“The war on coal is over,” Pruitt said Monday in an address, adding that no federal agency should ever use its authority to “declare war on any sector of our economy.”
It was not immediately clear if Pruitt would seek to issue a new rule without congressional approval, the AP reported. Pruitt’s rule wouldn’t become final for several months.

The administration plans to argue that the CPP went beyond the bounds of federal law, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News which first reported the story.

Bloomberg reported that the EPA will soon ask the public for suggestions on how to curb carbon dioxide emissions from coal and natural gas power plants.

What is the CPP and what was it supposed to do? Here, from the EPA fact sheet, is a look at the plan.

What is the Clean Power Plan?

  • The Clean Power Plan will reduce carbon pollution from power plants, the nation’s largest source while maintaining energy reliability and affordability. 
  • These are the first-ever national standards that address carbon pollution from power plants.
  • The Clean Power Plan cuts significant amounts of power plant carbon pollution and the pollutants that cause the soot and smog that harm health while advancing clean energy innovation, development, and deployment, and laying the foundation for the long-term strategy needed to tackle the threat of climate change. By providing states and utilities ample flexibility and the time needed to achieve these pollution cuts, the Clean Power Plan offers the power sector the ability to optimize pollution reductions while maintaining a reliable and affordable supply of electricity for ratepayers and businesses.
  • Fossil fuels will continue to be a critical component of America’s energy future. The Clean Power Plan simply makes sure that fossil fuel-fired power plants will operate more cleanly and efficiently while expanding the capacity for zero- and low-emitting power sources.
  • The final rule is the result of unprecedented outreach to states, tribes, utilities, stakeholders and the public, including more than 4.3 million comments EPA received on the proposed rule. The final Clean Power Plan reflects that input and gives states and utilities time to preserve ample, reliable and affordable power for all Americans.

How does the Clean Power Plan work

  • The Clean Air Act – under section 111(d) – creates a partnership between EPA, states, tribes and U.S. territories – with EPA setting a goal and states and tribes choosing how they will meet it.
  • The final Clean Power Plan follows that approach. EPA is establishing interim and final carbon dioxide (CO2) emission performance rates for two subcategories of fossil fuel-fired electric generating units (EGUs):
  • Fossil fuel-fired electric steam generating units (generally, coal- and oil-fired power plants)
  • Natural gas-fired combined cycle generating units
  • To maximize the range of choices available to states in implementing the standards and to utilities in meeting them, EPA is establishing interim and final statewide goals in three forms:
  • A rate-based state goal measured in pounds per megawatt hour (lb/MWh);
  • A mass-based state goal measured in total short tons of CO2;
  • A mass-based state goal with a new source complement measured in total short tons of CO2.
  • States then develop and implement plans that ensure that the power plants in their state – either individually, together or in combination with other measures – achieve the interim CO2 emissions performance rates over the period of 2022 to 2029 and the final CO2 emission performance rates, rate-based goals or mass-based goals by 2030.
  • These final guidelines are consistent with the law and align with the approach that Congress and EPA have always taken to regulate emissions from this and all other industrial sectors – setting source-level, source category-wide standards that sources can meet through a variety of technologies and measures.

State Plans

  • The final Clean Power Plan provides guidelines for the development, submittal, and implementation of state plans that establish standards of performance or other measures for affected EGUs in order to implement the interim and final CO2 emission performance rates.
  • States must develop and implement plans that ensure the power plants in their state – either individually, together, or in combination with other measures – achieve the equivalent, in terms of either or rate or mass, of the interim CO2 performance rates between 2022 and 2029, and the final CO2 emission performance rates for their state by 2030.
  • States may choose between two plan types to meet their goals:
  • Emission standards plan – includes source-specific requirements ensuring all affected power plants within the state meet their required emissions performance rates or state-specific rate-based or mass-based goal.
  • State measures plan – includes a mixture of measures implemented by the state, such as renewable energy standards and programs to improve residential energy efficiency that is not included as federally enforceable components of the plan. The plan may also include federally enforceable source-specific requirements. The state measures, alone or in conjunction with federally enforceable requirements, must result in affected power plants meeting the state’s mass-based goal. The plan must also include a backstop of federally enforceable standards on affected power plants that fully meet the emission guidelines and that would be triggered if the state measures fail to result in the affected plants achieving the required emissions reductions on schedule.  
  • In developing its plan, each state will have the flexibility to select the measures it prefers in order to achieve the CO2 emission performance rates for its affected plants or meet the equivalent statewide rate- or mass-based CO2 goal. States will also have the ability to shape their own emissions reduction pathways over the 2022-29 period.
  • The final rule also gives states the option to work with other states on multi-state approaches, including emissions trading, that allow their power plants to integrate their interconnected operations within their operating systems and their opportunities to address carbon pollution.

Click here to read the entire Clean Power Plan.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Tom Petty died of accidental drug overdose, family says 

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 7:15 PM

Tom Petty Death Caused By Accidental Drug Overdose

Tom Petty died from an accidental drug overdose after taking a variety of medications, the family for the legendary rock star said Friday. 

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Petty, who suffered emphysema, knee problems and more recently a fractured hip, was prescribed various pain medications including Fentanyl patches, his family said. 

“On the day he died he was informed his hip had graduated to a full on break and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication,” his family wrote on Facebook

The family called Petty’s Oct. 2 death an unfortunate accident. 

“As a family we recognize this report may spark a further discussion on the opioid crisis and we feel that it is a healthy and necessary discussion and we hope in some way this report can save lives. Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications.”

DOVER, DE - JUNE 22: Tom Petty performs onstage at the Firefly Music Festival at The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway on June 22, 2013 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Firefly Music Festival)(Theo Wargo)

Drake makes surprise appearance at Memphis nightclub

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 10:47 PM

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 09:  Drake attends
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 09: Drake attends "The Carter Effect" premiere during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival at Princess of Wales Theatre on September 9, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)(Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

He may have started from the bottom, but rapper Drake is making headlines after doing one dance that started in the Bluff City.

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According to party promoter Curtis Givens, the Grammy winner called him wanting to have a private party at In LOVE Memphis, a popular nightclub.

Givens said it was a last minute call, but he and his business partner were up for the challenge.

As word quickly spread that Drake was in Memphis, videos started to popping up on social media.

He was seen doing the popular "shoot" dance made famous by Memphis rapper BlocBoy JB.

About Last Night Wit My Bro🔥💯 @champagnepapi

A post shared by BlocBoy JB 💯💯💯 (@blocboy_jb) on

Drake even previewed new music during his appearance at the club.
He also made a stop at Friday night's Grizzlies game against the Sacramento Kings.

Drake is no stranger to the area. His father, Dennis Graham, is from Memphis, and Drake is known to visit frequently.

Woman dies after falling from balcony of Carnival cruise ship

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:54 PM

Carnival Cruise Elation. (Photo: ActionNewsJax.com)
Carnival Cruise Elation. (Photo: ActionNewsJax.com)

A woman died Friday after falling from the balcony of a room on the Jacksonville-based Carnival Elation cruise ship.

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The woman fell from the balcony to several decks below, Carnival said in a statement.

Carnival Elation departed Jacksonville on Thursday for a four-day cruise to the Bahamas.

Carnival sent the following statement to Action News Jax:
"Early this morning a guest fell from her balcony to several decks below. The ship’s medical team responded immediately, but, unfortunately, she passed away. The incident was reported to all proper authorities and CARE Team support was offered to fellow travelers and her family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the deceased and her family. Carnival Elation departed Jacksonville Jan. 18 on a four-day cruise to the Bahamas."

Scientists worry brain-wasting 'zombie deer' disease could spread to humans

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:09 PM

File photo. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Jack Taylor/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)(Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Deer across North America are dying from a mysterious disease that gradually destroys the animals’ nervous systems.

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And scientists are concerned that the infection could make its way to humans. 

Chronic wasting disease — or “zombie deer disease” — was first observed in 1967 in Fort Collins, Colorado, and has since infected wild herds in 24 states and Canada, as well as in South Korea and Norway, NPR reported.

“CWD passes from animal to animal through prions, misfolded proteins that cause other proteins to misfold around them,” NPR reported. “Different prion diseases tend to only harm certain species, but can evolve to overcome those limitations.”

In some herds, as many as half of the animals carry prions.

But direct contact isn’t the only way prions are transmitted. According to The New York Times, sick animals and cadavers can spread prions through plants and soil, which could be coated with deformed proteins for years, perhaps even decades.
An animal infected with the disease can live two years before signs of symptoms -- such as a vacant stare, thick saliva, exposed ribs or drooping heads -- become visible.

There have been no reported human illnesses due to the disease, and scientists don’t have conclusive evidence that infected meat has ever harmed people, suggesting there is a “species barrier” between humans and deer.

Researchers led by Mark Zabel, associate director at Colorado State University’s Prion Research Center, found that macaque monkeys who ate infected deer contracted the disease, the first time the disease was shown to spread to a primate through meat.

"While most research shows there's a robust species barrier, this recent study showed that barrier might not be quite as robust as we once thought," Matt Dunfee, head of the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliancein Fort Collins, Colorado, told NPR.

Zabel and his team also found that the prions involved in the “zombie disease,” which scientists have only known about for 50 years, are probably still evolving, “which leads us to believe it's only a matter of time before a prion emerges that can spread to humans,” NPR reported.

A map where chronic wasting disease has been reported. (Photo: National Wildlife Health Center)

Mad cow disease, for example, is a prion disease that evolved from scrapie, a deadly disease that afflicts sheep. Once the prions were passed to cows, the cows developed a prion disease of their own (mad cow disease). And when humans ate the beef from those sick cows, they developed prions in their own brains. As of 2016, according to the Food and Drug Administration, 231 people had died from the condition.

Zabel believes the only way to get rid of CWD prions is to set controlled fires. But “there’s a lot that we still don’t know and don’t understand about the disease,” Zabel said in an interview with The New York Times.

According to Michael Miller, senior wildlife veterinarian for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, mule deer transmission more than tripled toward the end of 2017, and CWD continues to be prevalent in Colorado.

Public health officials in the area have been monitoring for CWD and human brain-wasting diseases, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

But over the past 21 years, rising rates of both diseases haven’t impacted human health.

Still, as a precaution, Dunfee told NPR, "if you are hunting in an area where CWD is found, have your animal tested. If it comes back positive, don't eat the meat."