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William Daley to Be Tapped for Chief of Staff Post, Sources Say

William Daley, a banking executive and former commerce secretary under President Bill Clinton, will replace Rahm Emmanuel as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, sources said Thursday.

Daley hails from Chicago, where his brother, Richard M. Daley, is the mayor. Emmanuel resigned to run for that post.

CNN reported Thursday that two White House officials speaking on condition of anonymity announced that Obama has chosen Daley to replace interim chief of staff Pete Rouse. Rouse said he did not want to remain in the position and recommended Daley as his successor.

Obama is expected to make the news official later Thursday, AP said.

Posted in Policies, Politics & Politicians, U.S. Federal Government Agencies0 Comments

Cuomo Nominates Joe Martens for DEC Commissioner

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has nominated Joe Martens to serve as commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Martens, who has served as president of the non-profit group the Open Space Institute since 1998, has played a key role in acquiring land for conservation, sustainable development and sustainable farming in the Adirondacks and elsewhere.

He will replace Peter Iwanowitz, who has held the post since late October after Gov. David Paterson dismissed Alexander B. Grannis.

Grannis was fired over a leaked memo condemning the agency’s layoffs. He has since been hired as first deputy comptroller in the office of Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Martens, who will need to wait for Senate approval to begin his work, previously served as deputy state secretary of energy and the environment from 1992-94 under Cuomo’s father, Gov. Mario Cuomo.

Environmental groups like the National Resources Defense Council have praised Cuomo’s choice to appoint Martens. “Joe Martens’ experience, judgment, and temperament make him the right person at the right time to meet the challenges that DEC faces,” said Ashok Gupta of the NRDC, according to the New York Times. “He has the support and key relationships with the business and environmental community that will allow him to hit the ground running.”

Martens will take over as the DEC works to complete an analysis of the environmental impact of the controversial “hydro-fracking” process in New York State’s Marcellus Shale region.

Posted in Laws & Regulations, Natural Gas, Policies, Politics & Politicians, U.S. Federal Government Agencies, U.S. State & Local0 Comments

Obama Prepares to Sign Healthcare Bill

WASHINGTON, March 23 (UPI) — U.S. President Barack Obama will sign the sweeping healthcare reform bill into law Tuesday in the East Room, the White House said.

The signing ceremony will include remarks by Obama, who will be introduced by Vice President Joe Biden, the White House daily schedule indicated.

After the signing, Obama will go to the Interior Department, where he will discuss the healthcare reform bill passed Sunday by the House. The Senate passed the bill in December.

In the afternoon, Obama is scheduled to meet with Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., as part of continuing consultations with Congress on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the White House said.

In the evening, the president will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Policies & Solutions, Policy, Law, & Government, U.S. Federal Government Agencies, U.S. State & Local0 Comments

EPA Says Plating Shops Dump Chemicals

CHICAGO, Feb. 1 (UPI) — Metal plating shops are dumping high levels of cancer-causing chemicals into sewers in Chicago and Cleveland, federal regulators said.

The dumping of perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, likely is happening in dozens of other cities too, a report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.

The EPA has restricted the use of PFCs in stain-resistant products, such as Scotchgard and Teflon, but the metal plating industry received an exemption in 2007. The industry uses PFCs to suppress fumes during the plating of chrome bumpers, wheels and other parts.

PFCs wash unfiltered through sewage treatment systems into lakes, streams and drinking water, the EPA said.

One Chicago-area plating shop was flushing PFCs into sewers at concentrations of 12,214 parts per trillion when water piped into the factory had just 2.5 parts per trillion, the EPA said. A plating shop tested in Cleveland was flushing PFCs at 54,000 parts per trillion.

The findings could lead to new rules curbing the use of PFCs in plating shops, EPA scientist Kim Harris told the Chicago Tribune in a story published Monday.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Chemicals, Drinking Water, U.S. Federal Government Agencies0 Comments

EPA Budget Request $10B Higher Than FY2010

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 (UPI) — The Environmental Protection Agency would receive $10 billion more during fiscal year 2011 under budget proposals announced Monday by the White House.

Officials said the EPA budget request is a substantially higher annual amount than requested under any previous administration and is intended to strengthen the EPA’s program implementation, research, regulation and comprehensive enforcement activities.

Included in the proposed EPA budget is $3.3 billion to assist states in providing low-interest loans to communities to finance wastewater and drinking water infrastructure and $1.3 billion to help states and tribes protect their air, water and land. That represents a 14 percent increase from fiscal 2010 and is the highest level ever requested.

An additional $300 million would be allocated for restoration efforts in the Great Lakes basin, the largest freshwater system in the world, with a focus on contaminated sediments and toxics, non-point source pollution, habitat degradation and loss, and invasive species.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Drinking Water, Infrastructure, Liability, Law, & Government, Policy, Law, & Government, U.S. Federal Government Agencies0 Comments

Clean Technology Projects Get $2 Billion in Tax Credits

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 (UPI) — Tax credits of $2.3 billion will be awarded for new, clean-technology manufacturing jobs, U.S. President Barack Obama announced Friday.

The tax credits, available through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, will enable creation of more than $7 billion in new manufacturing projects and create tens of thousands of jobs, Obama said in remarks at the White House.

“Building a robust clean energy sector is how we will create the jobs of the future,” Obama said. “The Recovery Act awards I am announcing today will help close the clean energy gap that has grown between America and other nations while creating good jobs, reducing our carbon emissions and increasing our energy security.”

Obama said 183 projects in 43 states are eligible for the credits, worth up to 30 percent of each project.

This effort, along with other Recovery Act investments, will drive growth in the renewable energy and clean technology manufacturing sectors, Obama said, giving the United States the ability to take global leadership in these markets.

While welcoming a global competition to develop clean energy jobs, Obama said, “I don’t want America to lose that competition.”

The tax credit awards also will give a “much needed boost to the manufacturing sector” buy building new plants or rehabilitating old ones, he said.

“This is good for middle class families, good for our security and good for our planet,” Obama said.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Posted in Policies & Solutions, Policy, Law, & Government, Politics, U.S. Federal Government Agencies, U.S. State & Local0 Comments

Department of Energy Must Upgrade Computer Security, Says Inspector

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 (UPI) — An Inspector General’s report finds the U.S. Department of Energy has been dragging its feet on computer security, ABC News reported Tuesday.

Delays in upgrading security on computer systems at the department’s Office of Science could be both dangerous and costly, the report said. The office is responsible for research in a number of areas and manages nuclear facilities at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., and facilities in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Los Alamos, N.M.

“Any system that is not as secure as it should be could be subject to compromise,” said Rickey Hass, deputy inspector general for audit services. “There are literally thousands of people who scan systems to try to gain access.”

The Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Energy reviewed the office’s spending on computer security in 2008, $287 million for the year. The report said the seven field offices have not upgraded security to a high enough level.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Energy, Energy & Fuels, Energy Industry, Nuclear, Office, People, Policy, Law, & Government, U.S. Federal Government Agencies, U.S. State & Local0 Comments

DOE Won't Stop Utah Bound Uranium Train

SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 16 (UPI) — The train has left the station and a shipment of depleted uranium headed for Utah cannot be stopped, the U.S. Department of Energy said Wednesday.

Gov. Gary Herbert has asked the department to stop the train bringing the uranium from the Savannah River in South Carolina, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“We are planning a briefing with the governor and his staff tomorrow,” Jen Stutsman, a department spokeswoman, said Wednesday. “But this shipment is continuing as planned.”

EnergySolutions Inc. had agreed to take the depleted uranium for disposal in Utah. The company has already buried 5,000 barrels of waste from the Savannah River in a landfill in Toole County and has disposed of a total of 49,000 tons at the site.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently said new rules are needed for disposal of depleted uranium in shallow burial sites. Herbert had asked the Department of Energy to delay any shipments until the Utah Radiation Control Board has had an opportunity to draft interim regulations.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Energy, Energy & Fuels, Liability, Law, & Government, Nuclear, Policy, Law, & Government, Radiation, Regional, U.S. Federal Government Agencies, U.S. State & Local0 Comments


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