The ‘War on Coal’ Concoction FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Mark Hand for SNL:Accusing the Obama administration of waging a war on coal may serve as an effective rallying cry in coal-producing states, but the people making the claim either are intentionally misleading their constituents or lack a clear understanding of the history of the Clean Air Act, according to a pair of environmental law experts.Each of the three major “fronts” in President Barack Obama’s so-called war on coal — the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and the Clean Power Plan — can trace its lineage to previous presidential administrations, Republican and Democratic, and the dawn of modern environmental policy, Richard Revesz and Jack Lienke write in their new book, Struggling for Air: Power Plants and the “War on Coal,” published by Oxford University Press.“The basic narrative here is that President Obama took office in 2009 and pretty much immediately set about imposing all sorts of onerous and unprecedented restrictions on the use of coal. And this is very misleading,” Lienke, a senior attorney at the Institute for Public Integrity at the New York University School of Law, said April 5 at a book launch event hosted by Resources for the Future, a nonprofit research organization in Washington, D.C.Of these three major regulations that opponents have characterized as a war on coal, none was entirely pursued at the discretion of the Obama administration, Revesz and Lienke write in the book. CSAPR was a “necessary” replacement for the George W. Bush administration’s Clean Air Interstate Rule, which was struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and was left in place only to give the EPA time to develop a substitute, they explain.The MATS rule was crafted to replace a rule developed under the George W. Bush administration, the Clean Air Mercury Rule, that the D.C. Circuit had vacated. The Obama administration would have had difficulty not issuing its own mercury rule, given the EPA’s previous findings that power plants were the largest source of mercury pollution in the country and that such pollution was a threat to public health and the environment, they write.The EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Power Plan was “similarly preordained” by the 2007 Supreme Court decision, Massachusetts v. EPA, which said the agency must consider greenhouse gas emission as pollutants, according to the attorneys. Once the EPA took steps to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks after the 2007 court decision, the agency did not have a persuasive defense against a lawsuit seeking to compel it to do the same for power plants, they argue.Observers should be able to recognize that these three rules “weren’t really the Obama administration’s idea, not entirely,” Lienke said in his comments at the Resources for the Future event. “It’s understandable that the Obama administration doesn’t really want to shout this part from the rooftops. If you’re thinking legacy, you want to say, ‘I did more to protect the environment than any president in history,’ not, ‘I took some incremental steps to further regulatory efforts that were set in motion by past presidents.’”Full article ($): Attorneys trace lineage of Obama’s ‘war on coal’ to earlier administrations
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Two upcoming paving projects will result in smoother travel for drivers in the Pictou-New Glasgow area. The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Public Works is calling for tenders for repaving on Route 256 from the intersection of West Branch Road for 6.5 kilometres to the intersection of the Loganville Road. Also being called is a tender for repaving on Route 347 from the New Glasgow town line for 5.2 kilometres to the intersection of Thorburn Road. “Good roads are vital to the economic life of Nova Scotia,” said Ron Russell, Minister of Transportation and Public Works. “That’s why our department is working so hard to improve our highways.” The Department of Transportation and Public Works’ highways division manages more than 23,000 kilometres of roads in Nova Scotia. It maintains 4,100 bridges and operates seven provincial ferries. Staff provide services from district offices in Bridgewater, Bedford, Truro and Sydney.
Hear from Polar Explorers, ultra marathoners, authors, artists and a range of other unique personalities to better understand the traits that make excellence possible. September 30, 2016 4 min read Robots can do many things humans can do, often better. They mix cocktails, stand in for security guards and dispose of bombs. One thing we’re sure they can never do better: care for our kids.They can’t snuggle, kiss boo-boos or exhibit unconditional love, not like a mom or dad or child care worker can. But that didn’t stop the makers of iPal from creating a creepy nanny robot that they’re billing as a babysitter. It’s a 3-foot-tall talking bot, complete with a surveillance cam, a touch screen tablet and tons of apps, you know, to keep your kid occupied and happy when you can’t.Avatarmind, with offices in China and Silicon Valley, designed iPal to be a “friendly companion to play with and talk to naturally.” The company’s humanoid mother’s helper can “dance, tell stories and play games.” If all that isn’t enough to keep your kid busy and quiet — and out of your hair — no worries, the robot also enables them to live-chat with their real-life buddies, swap videos and peruse social media, all without in-person parental supervision.Related: This Startup Employs Robots That Bake Pizza En Route for DeliveryLike a real babysitter, the pastel-trimmed iPal learns what your child likes and dislikes over time and, unlike a real babysitter, and constantly scrapes the cloud to “increase its knowledge on subjects of interest to your child.” The thing even plays “rock, paper, scissors” using its hard plastic jointed fingers. Aw, what a gregarious, doting little droid.Oh, and should your mini-me ever ask the rolling machine heavy kid-questions such as, “Why is the sun hot?” you bet iPal has a pre-loaded answer on deck. Let’s hope your little one doesn’t ask it where he or she came from. We’re just guessing here, but that’s probably a doozie that iPal isn’t cut out for, which is a shame, because the birds-and-bees talk is an awkward topic to broach. Best to leave it to a bot.Speaking of parenting tasks that suck, iPal understands that most mundane daily parental duties are also a drag. We’re talking morning and bedtime routine and hygiene stuff, such as nagging your kids to wake up, get dressed, brush their teeth and wash their germ-filled hands before meals. Don’t fret, it has apps for all that.Related: Get Your Digital Drink on With Robot-Crafted CocktailsIn case you’re worried that iPal lacks the feels, Avatarmind assures it has the sensors for that. After all, “iPal is not a cold, unfeeling machine, but a great companion for your child.” Its handy-dandy “emotion management system” automatically detects and reacts to your wee one’s feelings. That’s because it’s programmed to mirror your kid’s mood when he or she is happy and to cheer him or her up when sad.Finally, artificially intelligent algorithms and robotic canned empathy statements to the rescue. What more could a kid ask for?Parents looking to save a buck on a real-life babysitter will have to wait to find out how much all this hard-wired plastic convenience will set them back. We can’t imagine it’ll be cheap, what with pretty much a good chunk of your child’s upbringing in its metal-jointed robot hands and all.Parenting. Why trouble yourself with all that drama when there’s a bot that can do the duty for you? How Success Happens Listen Now