Category Archives: Environment

EVs More Likely to Kill Pedestrians, Damage Roads and Bridges

by Hans Bader

“A recent study published by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that drivers of electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids are twice as likely to hit pedestrians compared to those driving traditional gas-powered cars, potentially leading to more fatal accidents. This conclusion came from a review of British road accidents. The study examined 32 billion miles of EV travel and 3 trillion miles of combustion-engine car trips,” reports Straight Arrow News:

The findings align with earlier studies conducted by U.S. federal agencies. In 2017, the Department of Transportation reported that EVs and hybrids pose a 20% greater risk to pedestrians. This risk increases to 50% during low-speed maneuvers such as turning, reversing and coming to a stop.

Researchers partly attributed these elevated dangers posed by EVs and hybrids to the relative quietness of these vehicles. Unlike traditional combustion-engine cars, battery-powered automobiles produce little to no noise, sometimes leaving pedestrians unaware of an approaching vehicle….The heavier weight of EVs makes the problem worse. Electric cars often weigh 30% more than their gas-powered counterparts. This is because of their large batteries, which can add upwards of 2,000 pounds in some models. This added weight increases the likelihood of fatal outcomes in pedestrian accidents.…Being hit by a car with an additional 1,000 pounds of weight increases the chance of a fatality by nearly 50%.

Continue reading

Investor in Dominion Wind Buys $150M Island

Experience in Iowa just proved this earlier destruction of an onshore turbine was a harbinger of things to come. See below.

By Steve Haner

One of the leaders of investment firm Stonepeak, which is buying a 50% share in Dominion Energy’s Virginia Virginia Beach wind project, just bought a private island.  The story is reported by the New York Post, which mentions his role in the major investment firm but doesn’t make the connection to the 176 turbines now under construction.

I’d love to share the photos but don’t want to test the copyright limits. Check out the story and luxury home pics on the Post website yourselves.

I’m sorry, aren’t we being told that we have to have that multi-billion dollar boondoggle to protect us from a horrible future destroyed by climate change? That without offshore wind displacing natural gas, the sea will rise faster than a soufflé and hurricanes will be more frequent and far more powerful? This bright guy getting rich off Virginia ratepayer money doesn’t seem to buy that hype.

To be fair, the deal between Dominion and Stonepeak is still under review at the State Corporation Commission. Stonepeak has plenty of other profitable investments that paid for this house. Continue reading

Challenging the Fact-Free Narrative on RGGI

The states still in the Regional Greenhous Gas Initiative. Lawsuits are pending to add Virginia and Pennsylvania.

By Steve Haner

The numerous falsehoods in a recent Richmond Times-Dispatch story about the carbon tax so loved by Virginia Democrats start right with the headline.  It states that Virginia’s decision to withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative “is costing millions.”

The figure of $150 million per year is then mentioned, apparently simply quoting the Democratic legislators who held a news conference May 21 to pledge their continued fealty to the program. They had sought to order Virginia back into RGGI with a budget provision, which they then agreed to drop in the final compromise.

The $150 million amount they mentioned is blatantly false, far too small.  Were Virginia still part of the 11-state cap and trade compact, RGGI would be costing utility ratepayers as much as $350 million per year, based on the most recent carbon tax amount in the first 2024 RGGI allowance auction.

So, the decision to stay out is not “costing” money but will actually save utility ratepayers as much as $700 million over 2024 and 2025.  Dominion Energy Virginia was the largest Virginia buyer of RGGI carbon allowances under the regulatory regime, and it has been passing along those costs directly to customers on all its monthly bills.

This was the second time in days that the capital city newspaper gave Democrats access to its front page to complain about Governor Glenn Youngkin’s opposition to the carbon tax regulation, and to claim he broke the law in repealing it.  The May 18 story is just as fuzzy about who actually pays the carbon tax. Continue reading

Views on Tobacco Disqualify Defender of Whales?

By Steve Haner

It was disappointing to the see the Richmond Times-Dispatch stoop to a weak ad hominem argument on its front page on May 6, seeking to discredit a legal challenge to the Dominion Energy Virginia wind project by labeling the plaintiffs as “climate deniers” and defenders of tobacco. Continue reading

Utilities Will Gamble on Nukes With Your $$$

Artist rendering of VOYGR™ SMR plants powered by NuScale Power Module™

By Steve Haner

Standing firm against raising taxes is a fine thing, but it would help if Virginia’s leaders also stopped using people’s electricity bills to fund rent-seeking energy speculations.

Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) has tweaked, but not vetoed, pending bills that allow both of Virginia’s investor-owned utilities to charge ratepayers for power plants that may not be built. The dream projects involve small modular nuclear technology, proven in military applications but so far speculative for commercial generation. Continue reading

Fighting Over the Check at the Green Power Cafe

By Steve Haner

New power plants are pretty useless unless they are connected by new power lines. The debate over who pays for those tall towers and miles of cable can be just as divisive as the fight over who pays for a proposed nuclear plant or offshore wind turbines.

Bottom line, of course, the customers ultimately pay. But which customers? Should it be those most reliant on that individual transmission line, everybody within the utility, or should it be all the customers within all the utilities inside a regional transmission organization? Continue reading

Will Consumers Come First in VCEA Review?

FERC Commissioner Mark Christie of Virginia

By Steve Haner

“If we always keep as our focus what is best for consumers, in getting them reliable power for the least cost, then I think that’s the main guidepost we ought to follow.”

That was Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Mark Christie’s opening quote on a PBS broadcast on energy issues due to air April 9, but the 26- minute program can already be found on the network’s website and Christie distributed it via X today. Continue reading

Climate Change Wars Coming to Virginia Schools?

You have to click on the illustration and expand it to even see the percentage of carbon dioxide from human activity in our atmosphere. A new lesson plan in waiting?

By Steve Haner

Young Virginians are not getting enough instruction on the deadly existential threat of climate change from the news media, their favorite social media sites, Hollywood productions and President Joe Biden’s campaign stump speeches. Virginia’s General Assembly Democrats are demanding that the public schools double down with a wave of new classroom materials.

The curriculum wars at the State Board of Education and in local school board meetings may now move on to a new topic if Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) signs House Bill 1088. The bill is ripe for a veto, having received support from only one Republican legislator out of 68, but after the first 100 or so vetoes, Youngkin’s veto pen may tire. Continue reading

Wind Project Sued Over Claimed Threat to Whales

NOAA Right Whale status graphic, updated this month to report 123 recent deaths and injuries.

By Steve Haner

A coalition of public interest groups has now filed its expected lawsuit seeking to halt construction of Dominion Energy Virginia’s offshore wind facility off Virginia Beach. Its key complaint is the federal permits were issued without a full and fair evaluation of the potential impact of the turbines on the shrinking North Atlantic Right Whale population. Continue reading

Can the Governor Veto RGGI?

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

One of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s top priorities has been to extricate the Commonwealth from participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). One of the top priorities of the Democrat-controlled General Assembly has been ensuring that the Commonwealth participates in RGGI.

For those readers unfamiliar with the purposes of RGGI and how it functions, along with the pros and cons of membership, those topics have been covered extensively in this blog. See here, here, and here.  This article will focus on the constitutional struggle between the governor and the legislature.

Brief legislature history

In 2020, the General Assembly authorized the director of the Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to establish a market-based energy allowances trading program and the Governor to include the Commonwealth in RGGI. The Air Pollution Control Board (“the Board”) and the Governor exercised their authority to act, and Virginia became a RGGI participant on Jan.1, 2021.

When he took office in 2022, among the first executive orders issued by Gov. Younkin was one directing the DEQ director and the Board to begin taking steps to end Virginia’s participation in RGGI. The Board adopted the final repeal of the RGGI regulations in July 2023, to be effective at the end of the year. Environmental groups sued and those suits are still pending in court.

The next stage of this saga came as the new Democratic majority in the 2024 General Assembly adopted language in the budget bill prohibiting the use of state funds to “impede” the state from rejoining the RGGI and directing all relevant agencies to take steps to immediately rejoin the RGGI and continue participation. Although some Democrat legislators and environmentalists believe the language is vulnerable to a gubernatorial veto, court precedents and recent actions would augur a more favorable outlook on their account. Continue reading

War on Fossil Fuels Reaches Court of Appeals

By Steve Haner

A climate alarmism publicity stunt masquerading as serious litigation had a hearing in front of the Virginia Court of Appeals on Monday, seeking to revive its rejected petition to shut down the fossil fuel industry in Virginia. Why? Because some of the plaintiffs suffered from heat exhaustion while exercising on summer days, and two of them got Lyme Disease after tick bites.

The suit was last discussed on Bacon’s Rebellion when it was filed in 2022. Later that year a Richmond City Circuit Court judge accepted the state’s motion to dismiss it on summary judgement, citing the doctrine of sovereign immunity. It was an appeal of that dismissal which was before a panel of the appeals judges, covered only by Brad Kutner of Radio IQ.

The appeals court is being asked to reinstate the case, which is seeking aggressive if poorly defined relief. Basically, the original petition seeks to repeal Virginia’s Gas and Oil Act and reverse long-standing policy decisions in favor of developing energy resources. It seeks to prevent the state regulatory agencies from allowing any new fossil fuel infrastructure of any kind, presumably from pipelines to coal mines to gas stations to power plants.

The stages and pleadings of the Virginia case are documented by a website tracking it and a handful of similar cases around the nation, with the same basic arguments and a common set of lawyers. So far, the plaintiffs have seen some initial success only in Montana and Hawaii. Their federal level suit is being actively opposed by the Biden Department of Justice. Continue reading

See, Hear, Speak No Evil on Four Whale Deaths

The Daily Press credits Jennette’s Pier for these two photos it published.

Another whale has turned up dead on a beach, the fourth found on Virginia or North Carolina beaches within one week, several within sight of Dominion Energy Virginia’s offshore turbine project.  This one was identified as a juvenile sperm whale and is the furthest from the project site.

In all the news coverage so far, no intrepid reporter has told their viewers or readers what (if anything) is going on out in the ocean on the construction site. Dominion’s federal license allowing “incidental take” of marine mammals began its five-year effective period in early February. It would be fair to ask the utility if contractors are actively surveying the sea floor with sonar at this time or doing any preliminary pile driving. Continue reading

Electric Cars Are Harder on the Environment than Gas-Powered Ones

by Hans Bader

“Electric vehicles release more toxic particles into the atmosphere and are worse for the environment than their gas-powered counterparts,” according to a study, reports the New York Post:

The study, published by emissions data firm Emission Analytics … found that brakes and tires on EVs release 1,850 times more particle pollution compared to modern tailpipes, which have “efficient” exhaust filters, bringing gas-powered vehicles’ emissions to new lows. Today, most vehicle-related pollution comes from tire wear. As heavy cars drive on light-duty tires — most often made with synthetic rubber made from crude oil and other fillers and additives — they deteriorate and release harmful chemicals into the air…. Because EVs are on average 30% heavier, brakes and tires on the battery-powered cars wear out faster than on standard cars.

Emission Analytics found that tire wear emissions on half a metric tonne of battery weight in an EV are more than 400 times as great as direct exhaust particulate emissions. For reference, half a metric tonne is equivalent to roughly 1,100 pounds. The most popular EV in the US, Tesla’s Model Y, boasts a lithium-ion battery that weighs in at a hefty 1,836 pounds. Another sought-after electric model, Ford’s F-150 Lightning pickup truck, also has an approximately 1,800-pound battery….

The study throws doubt on the practicality of the Biden administration’s EV mandates, which tout electric cars as “zero-emissions vehicles” in a quest to force two-thirds of new cars in America to be all-electric by the year 2032. California lawmakers have similarly referred to EVs as producing “zero emissions” because they don’t have tailpipes, per the [Wall Street] Journal, which added that the label is “deceptive.”

Electric cars still use tires made from petroleum that create particle pollution as they wear….“you have this downside of EVs that increases particle pollution. Air pollution is about what we breathe and the health effects…Tires are made up of a lot of nasty chemicals,” said Emissions Analytics chief Nick Molden.

Increased exposure to these toxins “can increase the risk of health problems like heart disease, asthma, and low birth weight,” according to the New York Department of Health…“A lot of it [chemicals] goes into the soil and water, affecting animals and fish. And we then go and eat the animals and fish, so we are ingesting tire pollution,” Molden added….Even so, California’s air agency used a model that assumes electric and gas vehicles have the same amount of tire wear when analyzing the effects of the ban [on gas-powered vehicles].

Continue reading

EPA Told CVOW Wake Has Air Quality Impacts

One of two dead whales washed onto Virginia Beach so far this month, just onshore from the CVOW project. WAVY reports on it.

By David Wojick

In formal comments, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assess the adverse impact of the giant Virginia offshore wind project on air and water quality. The issue is far-reaching because all big offshore wind facilities could have these adverse effects. Continue reading

Governor May Get Two Different Nuclear Bills

Small modular reactor illustrated

By Steve Haner

A Virginia Senate committee voted Monday to approve a House of Delegates bill designed to finance a small modular nuclear reactor in Southwest Virginia, contradicting its own earlier vote for a much broader bill that had statewide application.

Two different bills on the same topic might now pass the Virginia Senate.  If the House does the same thing with the Senate bill, now alive in front of its Labor and Commerce Committee, Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) could have two very different bills to choose from. Continue reading