So, as we expected, no real question and no real answers so far in the “Ask EPA” online discussion today.
The beauty of such forums is the total control of questions that are posted and responded to, and the EPA's online forum today is, so far, a great example of that.
No questions posted yet on the State of California's petition to the EPA on regulating greenhouse gas emissions for new vehicles and by the looks of the beachballs being tossed to the EPA director, I expect none will be forthcoming.
Here's a hard-hitting question from Paul in Denver:
This is a great forum, thank you for offering this.
1.) Is the topic for this Thursday limited to only the stated topic, or will questions on other environmental topics be fielded?
2.) How frequently will these forums be held and how will the topics be assigned?
3.) Is the 3:00 p.m. start time = 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time zone?
UPDATE: here's another softball, who's submitting this stuff? FEMA staff?
In: Region 2
Question: How many EPA folks does it take to change a light bulb? Although I framed the question in the traditional joke format, I am sincerely asking how many folks does EPA have committed to this very worthwhile and apparently successful endeavor?
That’s an excellent question – and one I didn’t know off the top of my head, so we quickly phoned one of our experts. Turns out, the Energy Star program, which is actually a joint venture between EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy, is staffed by 65 personnel. So it’s not a huge program, but it has a tremendous reach.
Today, that little blue Energy Star label can be found on more than 50 different kinds of products and buildings. And more impressively, last year, Energy Star helped Americans save about $14 billion on their energy bills, while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 25 million vehicles. So, it’s with the help of people like you, David, that we are getting Energy Star products off the store shelves and into people’s homes, businesses and schools around the world.
UPDATE 2: Finally!
In: Northern VA
Question: Why, when EPA wants to promote clean energy solutions, is it holding up the decision to allow California (and eleven other states to follow) to enforce stricter emissions standards? Wouldn't that prompt auto manufacturers to move forward on better and cleaner technology? Wouldn't that make a significant and swift impact on greenhouse gases in the environment?
Stephen L. Johnson:
EPA is following the legally mandated process for evaluating California's petition and doing so in an expeditious yet responsible way. My commitment to Governor Schwarzenegger is to finish the analysis and make a decision by the end of the year.
Here's the questions I've submitted. Had to claim I was from Washington, DC, because it the submission column made it mandatory to submit a city and state:
Q: If the EPA is mandated with protecting the environment why would it hold up and delay new regulations being proposed by a State that wants to protect the environment?
Q: When can we expect a ruling on California's application? What does Johnson think of the state's lawsuit?
Q: While California and other states are suing the EPA, the State Department has cited their efforts to significantly lower heat-trapping gases (18% by 2020) as positive examples of U.S. action on climate change. Doesn't EPA's failure to give these states a final go-ahead undercut the State Department's diplomacy?