Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Liability for $Millions in Damages to Noise Nuisance Victims

No one has to suffer endless sleepless nights caused by wind turbines without redress or compensation. It’s the law.

On that score, a group of farmers has turned the tables on the wind farm operator who has been driving them mad since March 2015. Back then, Japan’s Mitsui and Co speared 52, 2 MW Senvion MM92 turbines into Victoria’s Bald Hills generating a cacophony of thumping, grinding soul destroying low-frequency noise.

The farmers surrounding the Bald Hills in Victoria’s Gippsland have been driven mad by wind turbine noise.

But they didn’t take it lying down. Instead, they lawyered up. Engaging the feisty and tenacious Dominica Tannock.

Starting in April 2016, Dominica went after the South Gippsland Shire Council which, under the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 has responsibility for investigating nuisance complaints and a statutory obligation to remedy all such complaints within its municipal district.

After a series of brilliant tactical victories against the Council, Dominica helped local farmers institute proceedings in the Victorian Supreme Court, based on common law nuisance and seeking substantial damages from the operator, Mitsui.

Initially, the action involved six plaintiffs. Since then, four of them have settled their claims.

STT hears that those who have settled will pocket very substantial settlements from their tormentor (based on other settlements reached with farmers in Victoria, each of them will receive well over $1million).

The remaining plaintiffs are hell-bent on extracting aggravated and exemplary (punitive) damages from the defendant and, given Dominica Tannock’s renowned tenacity, are odds-on to get them.


Climate Regulations Reach Critical Turning Point in Pennsylvania

If an independent panel votes down proposed regulations to limit carbon dioxide emissions in Pennsylvania, state lawmakers will have added leverage to prevent Gov. Tom Wolf from joining a multistate initiative to address climate change.

However, if the panel approves the regulations in a meeting Wednesday, Wolf’s executive agencies likely would gain latitude to move forward with plans to implement cap-and-trade rules in step with 11 other states in New England and the mid-Atlantic that are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Either way, September is shaping up to be a critical month for the future of carbon taxes and other anti-carbon measures that have drawn bipartisan opposition in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Since the commonwealth is No. 2 only to Texas in oil and gas production, according to government figures, the final decision on the cap-and-trade proposals will have significant ramifications across state lines.

Even if Pennsylvania’s five-member Independent Regulatory Review Commission votes yes on the carbon dioxide regulations, the state’s Office of Attorney General has 30 days to review their legality.

The General Assembly also could adopt a resolution opposing the regulations, despite the commission’s OK. Since legislative committees already have expressed disapproval of Wolf’s climate regulations, such action is likely.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection cannot publish a regulation while the General Assembly considers such a concurrent resolution designed to block it. However, Wolf, a Democrat, could veto the resolution, forcing lawmakers to muster the votes to override.

‘No Legal Authority to Table’

The General Assembly created the Independent Regulatory Review Commission in 1982 to determine whether agencies have the statutory authority to adopt regulations and whether regulations are consistent with legislative intent. The commission evaluates regulatory measures under criteria set forth in the state’s Regulatory Review Act.

“We’re very lucky in Pennsylvania to have such a thorough review process,” David Sumner, the commission’s executive director, said in a phone interview with The Daily Signal.

“There’s an opportunity for public input, there’s an opportunity for legislative input,” Sumner said. “You’ll also be hearing from the agencies. This process gives everyone a say at the end of the day. As a result, most of the regulations we see are changed, and we believe improved, from the time they are proposed to the time they are implemented.”

Sumner said he expects a full house Wednesday for the meeting in Harrisburg, where advocates and opponents will have their say. The commission previously recommended that the 20-member Environmental Quality Board delay implementing the carbon dioxide regulations by one year in response to lawmakers’ concerns about the legality of executive action under the state’s Air Pollution Control Act and the potential economic costs to Pennsylvania.

In July, however, the Environmental Quality Board, charged with adopting the Department of Environmental Protection’s regulations, voted in favor of rulemaking to implement a cap-and-trade program.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, widely known as RGGI, currently includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.

Government regulators in those 11 states compel electric utilities to purchase carbon allowances at quarterly auctions whenever the utilities surpass the cap on carbon dioxide emissions established by the multistate agreement.

Sumner said he expects the commission to take decisive action at the conclusion of the meeting. Four of the five commissioners are appointed by the Legislature and one by the governor.

“We have no legal authority to table anything,” Sumner said of the commission, adding:

If it’s on the agenda, we will vote, and RGGI is on the agenda. If there’s an approval, we’ll deliver an approval order to the [state Environmental Protection Department] and to the General Assembly, and it’s then in the hands of the General Assembly. If the commissioners vote to disapprove, they will likely explain why at the meeting and we will issue a formal order explaining why it was disapproved during the meeting.


Green hydrogen could be the fuel of the future. Here's why it's not yet a silver bullet

One potential form of clean energy is green hydrogen -- which can be derived from sources like water, rather than fossil fuels, and is produced with renewable energy. It can be used to power heavy industry and fuel large vehicles, like planes and ships.

Facilities to produce this cleaner form of the gas have popped up across the globe -- in the United States, western Europe, China, Australia, Chile and South Africa, among other countries. The burgeoning global green hydrogen market is projected to be worth $11 trillion by 2050, by Goldman Sachs' estimates.

But critics of green hydrogen say using solar or wind energy to produce another fuel right now is a waste of precious renewables, as the world struggles to transition away from fossil fuels. At the same time, plans to use blue hydrogen -- which is produced using fossil fuels -- are coming under increasing scrutiny.

Why do we need green hydrogen?

A big part of the shift away from fossil fuel involves electrifying some of the everyday machines we use that are powered by oil and gas -- cars and local transport, and heating for homes in some countries, for example. For those already electrified, like computers and home appliances, electricity from nuclear and renewables like wind and solar are replacing coal.
But there are some industries that require so much energy that traditional renewables can't meet their demand. That's a problem, because those industries are among the top emitters of greenhouse gas.

This is where experts say green hydrogen has huge potential.
"Electricity from sources such as wind, solar and nuclear is essential for decarbonising our energy system -- but it cannot do it alone, and long-distance transport and heavy industries are home to the hardest emissions to reduce," said Uwe Remme, an energy analyst at the International Energy Agency.

"Hydrogen is versatile enough to fill some of these critical gaps -- in providing vital feedstocks for the chemicals and steel industries or crucial ingredients for low-carbon fuels for planes and ships," Remme said.

Operating a plane or a large ship, for instance, requires so much energy that any battery used to store electricity from solar or wind would likely be too large and heavy for the vessel. Green hydrogen, on the other hand, can come in liquid form and is lighter. According to Airbus, which is developing a zero-emissions commercial aircraft, the energy density of green hydrogen is three times higher than jet fuels we use today.

While liquid green hydrogen would emit zero carbon, it has some limitations. When burned in the open atmosphere it releases a small amount of nitrous oxide, which is a potent greenhouse gas. If the hydrogen is fed through a fuel cell, however, it will only emit water and warm air.

Some small planes have managed to fly with hydrogen-fed fuel cells, though the technology hasn't yet been scaled up commercially.


Paris cuts speed limit to 30km/h to encourage walking and cycling

There’s no more zipping past the Eiffel Tower or through the Latin Quarter without slowing down to soak in the sights: the speed limit across nearly all of Paris was on Monday cut to 30km/h.

The city wants to encourage walking, cycling and use of public transport, deputy mayor David Belliard told local media.

The new speed limit should help reduce pollution, noise and the number of serious accidents, he said.

“This is not an anti-car measure,” Belliard said. “We want to limit [vehicles] to essential travel.”

It’s the latest initiative by a city trying to burnish its climate credentials and transform people’s relationship with cars.

City officials say it’s also aimed at cutting pollution, reducing accidents and making Paris more pedestrian-friendly.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, who won a second six-year term in 2020, has built kilometres of new bike lanes, banned old diesel cars and made the Seine riverbanks car free. She is also reducing parking space in the city in a bid to limit car use.

City hall has said police will be lenient in applying the new speed limit in the first weeks.

Even so, car owners and commuters are fuming. Delivery drivers say it will create longer waiting times for customers. Taxi drivers say it will drive up rates and hurt business.

“So if I drive at 30km/h, the client starts complaining. If I drive at 50km/h, I get arrested by the police. So I don’t know what to do,” said Karim Macksene, seated in his cab outside the iconic Cafe de Flore on the Left Bank. “People take a cab because they’re in a hurry. At 30km/h, they might as well walk.”

However, polls suggest most Parisians support the idea, notably in the hope that it makes the streets safer and quieter.

Already, cyclists often move faster than cars in the densely populated French capital. Only action stars like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible can realistically pick up speed on winding, medieval Parisian streets that are barely more than one car wide.

The 30km/h limit already applied to about 60 per cent of the Paris area, but it will now cover the entire city. However, a few major thoroughfares such as the Champs-Elysees will be exempt, with the speed limit remaining at 50km/h.

Other French cities with a 30km/h speed limit include Bordeaux, Strasbourg and Toulouse.

Elsewhere in Europe, Brussels imposed a 30km/h limit on much of the city earlier this year and about 80 per cent of Berlin’s streets have the same rule.

Madrid has had speed curbs on most of the city centre since 2018, with a nationwide rule in Spain this year putting a 30km/h limit on all one-way urban roads, a measure aimed at reducing air and noise pollution and increasing traffic safety.

Residential neighbourhoods in Amsterdam, including its famous canal neighbourhoods, cap speeds at 30km/h, and the city is proposing to expand that to larger roads.


My other blogs. Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM )

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)


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