Posts filed under ‘Energy’
Read this article from the WashingtonPost about that ExxonMobil oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas. It’s based entirely on what Karen Tyrone, ExxonMobil’s “on-scene coordinator” tells the reporter:
MAYFLOWER, Ark. — Some people whose homes were evacuated when an oil pipeline ruptured in central Arkansas could go home as early as Thursday, officials said.
Authorities evacuated more than 20 homes in Mayflower, about 25 miles northwest of Little Rock, after an ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured March 29, spilling thousands of barrels of oil.
The residents of four of those homes could be allowed back on Thursday, federal on-scene coordinator Nick Brescia said Thursday. The residents of eight or nine more homes could return in the coming days, Brescia said.
It’s not clear when the rest could come back, but some people may not want to return as cleanup crews and their heavy equipment are still trying to get rid of what’s left of the spill.
“We have not had a strong interest to get back into homes,” Karen Tyrone, ExxonMobil’s on-scene coordinator, told reporters.
So far, crews have recovered about 28,200 barrels of oily water and about 2,000 cubic yards of oiled soil and debris, according to a statement from ExxonMobil and local officials. Officials estimate that about 5,000 barrels of oil spilled, though a final number isn’t expected until the pipeline has been repaired and refilled.
Officials hope to remove the ruptured part of the Pegasus pipeline in the next few days, Tyrone said. Then, investigators may be able to piece together why it burst.
“You cannot know what happened until you get this piece of pipe out and you get it to a lab,” she said.
ExxonMobil said the spill has not affected Mayflower’s drinking water supply, which comes from a lake about 65 miles northeast of the city. But that hasn’t put a stop to concerns about drinking water in other parts of the region.
Officials with another water system — Central Arkansas Water — are slated to meet Thursday afternoon to discuss asking ExxonMobil to move the Pegasus pipeline away from an area that drains into a drinking water source.
“We understand their concerns,” Tyrone said. “We have spoken with them. They understand that we’re in a recovery effort right now and our focus right now is the Mayflower community.”
Geezus. Why send a reporter down there at all? Just print ExxonMobil press releases under the banner of a so-called news article.
Disgusting. Oil companies are poisoning our planet one oil spill, pipeline and drilling well at a time.
Exxon Mobil Corp. says crews are working to contain and clean up an oil spill near Mayflower, Arkansas after its Pegasus pipeline ruptured Friday afternoon.
The pipeline carries Canadian heavy crude oil from Patoka, Illinois to refineries on the Texas Gulf coast.
Exxon Mobil issued a release that said the company was responding to a spill of more than 10,000 barrels, and that some 4,500 barrels of oil and water had been recovered.
The company said the 20 inch pipeline had been shut down as crews tried to prevent the spilled oil from reaching a nearby lake.
It said cleanup operations were being co-ordinated with the Department of Emergency Management and other local authorities, and that the cause of the spill was being investigated.
On Monday federal regulators proposed that Exxon Mobil pay $1.7 million in civil penalties for safety violations linked to a pipeline rupture that spilled an estimated 238,000 litres of crude oil into Montana’s scenic Yellowstone River in July 2011.
Pity the children who will inherit what’s left of our Earth:
Ecuador plans to auction off more than three million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies, angering indigenous groups and underlining the global environmental toll of China’s insatiable thirst for energy.
According to the California-based NGO Amazon Watch, seven indigenous groups who inhabit the land claim that they have not consented to oil projects, which would devastate the area’s environment and threaten their traditional way of life.
If oil soaked Abu Dhabi is building gigantic solar power plants, maybe we should take a hint:
The 100-megawatt plant, called Shams 1, is a first step in a plan to make seven percent of Abu Dhabi’s energy resources renewable, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, head of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, said during a news conference. Abu Dhabi is part of the United Arab Emirates, which are famed for their oil wealth. The emirates rank 13th in the world for per capita GDP, a standing driven mostly by their oil exports.
The new plant includes a huge field of parabolic mirrors located in the desert about 74 miles (120 kilometers) south of Abu Dhabi. Shams 1 will serve 20,000 homes and cost an estimated $600 million to build, the BBC reported. Similar Shams 2 and Shams 3 plants are in the works, Clean Technica reported.
Shams 1 is a concentrated solar energy plant, which means its technology is a little different from the flat, black photovoltaic panels you might have seen on people’s roofs. Shams 1′s uses mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy to heat a fluid, which produces steam to turn turbines to make electricity.
Come fly the fatty skies.
New Yorkers for the first time can take a commercial flight from Kennedy Airport to Amsterdam on a jumbo jet fueled by the same grease that makes french fries and chicken wings.
Dutch airline KLM announced its eco-friendly technology at JFK yesterday before completing the first of 25 round trips between the Big Apple and the land of windmills.
“I was with the guy fueling the plane this morning, and he said it smelled like fries,” KLM executive Camiel Eurlings, a former Dutch transportation minister, said yesterday at the airport.
The Boeing 777s are fueled by a blend of 25 percent cooking oil and 75 percent jet fuel.
“It’s indistinguishable on a molecular level” from regular kerosene jet fuel, said Capt. Rick Shouten, 48, who piloted the fat-fueled jet, which carries 318 passengers.
“For the pilots, it was totally transparent. It’s as if you’re flying a normal aircraft,” said Shouten, a KLM pilot for 25 years.
The oil for the flight comes from Louisiana.
Waste oil left over from frying up crawfish, cracklins, catfish and other Cajun treats is refined at a plant near Baton Rouge and then trucked to JFK Airport so it can help spin the giant KLM engines.
Biofuels are expensive. KLM says the cooking-oil-based fuel it used yesterday costs about $10 per gallon, roughly three times the price of regular jet fuel.
But the airline industry hopes the price will come down as biofuel use spreads.
Very cool and good on KLM for taking on the added expense in order to help push this.
It’s amazing what other countries are doing while we’re sitting around twiddling our thumbs:
Electric vehicle chargers aren’t close to reaching ubiquity in the United States — a shortcoming highlighted by the recent Tesla / New York Times debacle — but other countries are already making great strides. Take Estonia for example, which just opened up a nationwide EV fast-charger network totaling 165 stations, each of which is positioned no further than 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the last. Juicing up your EV isn’t free, but drivers have different options when it comes to making payments. A single charge can vary between 2.5 [$3.29] and 5 euros [$6.59], but a monthly 30 euro fee [$39.54] will net unlimited charges throughout the country.
(H/t Jenny S.)
I have to think Rupert Murdoch is smarter about climate change than his most recent tweet suggests; that his aim at playing dumb is to protect his corporate buddies who stand to lose big if we seriously tackle that issue.
I mean, does one of the most powerful information and news purveyors on the planet really think
global warming climate change simply means it doesn’t get cold anymore?
I wish the term “global warming” had never come into common use because it lets the likes of the Rupert Murdochs of the world imply that very thing — that it’s only about warming.
Scientists at the US Forest Service and partners at universities, non-profits and other agencies predict that urban and developed land areas in the US will increase 41 percent by 2060. Forested areas will be most impacted by this expansion, with losses ranging from 16 to 34 million acres in the lower 48 states. The agency highlighted the results of a new study in a press release issued last month.
The researchers also concluded that, over the long-term, climate change could have significant effects on water availability, making the US potentially more vulnerable to water shortages, especially in the Southwest and Great Plains. Population growth in more arid regions will require more drinking water. Recent trends in agricultural irrigation and landscaping techniques also will boost water demands.
Given overpopulation, climate change and water and food shortages that are staring us in the face, I feel for today’s kids. The world they’ll live in when they’re in their 30s, 40s and 50s is going to be hellish.
I’m old enough to remember when no one had ever heard of bottled water and when people would have laughed at the thought. I’m old enough to remember when carrying around a bottle of water — as an accessory — was unheard of. I’m old enough to remember when we humans didn’t toss millions of plastic bottles into landfills. So imho, this is good. Very, very good:
Water, water everywhere — just not in plastic bottles, says a town in the US state of Massachusetts.
A law passed by the town of Concord went into effect with the New Year, making single-serving bottles of water illegal.
The ban is intended to encourage use of tap water and curb the worldwide problem of plastic pollution.
The bottled water corporatocracy has created a “need” in us for this product but the bottled water industry is the only winner and we’re fools to go along with it.
Here’s more info about the ridiculous use of disposable plastic water bottles here:
According to a report of the World Wide Fund for Nature, approximately 1.5 million tons of plastic are used in the bottling of 89 billion liters of water each year.
Again, I’m old enough to remember when this was unheard of.
As if we need more evidence that corporations matter more to our politicians than citizens/voters:
The state [of Colorado] won’t sue Longmont over its fracking ban, but will support any oil or gas companies that choose to do so, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office confirmed Friday morning.
The governor first made the announcement Thursday afternoon to about 300 oil and gas executives at the Rockies Midstream Conference in Denver. The statement marks a shift since Hickenlooper’s last visit to Longmont in September, when he said that banning hydraulic fracturing would likely bring a second state lawsuit.
“After further consideration it became clear that wasn’t the right path going forward,” said Eric Brown, a spokesman for Hickenlooper. “The state will not sue Longmont over the fracking ban because there is uncertainty over whether the state has legal standing to sue in this instance. But we do stand ready to support an energy company that does file a lawsuit in response to the ban.”
On November 6, voters in Longmont overwhelmingly voted to ban fracking:
Longmont’s city charter will now ban fracking.
As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, the ban — Ballot Question 300 — was leading 16,798 votes to 11,544 and had widened its margin of victory with every report, according to the Boulder and Weld county clerk’s offices. That gave ban supporters about 59 percent of the vote.
While the governor thinks there’s some “uncertainty over whether the state has legal standing to sue Longmont,” as he threatened to do in mid-November, he’s not at all hesitant to back oh, say, Exxon-Mobil if it brings a suit of its own. Shorter: The governor’s standing with the oil and gas industry and against the will of the people he was elected to represent.
It’s really, really outrageous.
You’ve probably heard the warnings — that millions of people will probably lose power in the Northeast over the next 48-hours due to Hurricane Sandy — and that restoring the power could take up to a week. What is this? Baghdad?
No, it’s greedy union busting corporateland and of course the “news” organizations aren’t delving into the issue; they’re just accepting it and expecting us to too:
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1900 members claim the failure to restore power outages is due to chronic understaffing and Pepco’s [Potomac Electric Power Company] shift from hiring union utility workers to non-union temporary contractors.
“We have half the linemen we had 15 years ago,” says IBEW Local 1900 Business Agent Jim Griffin, whose union represents 1,150 Pepco workers. “We have been complaining for a very long time. They have relied for a long time on contractors. They are transients, they don’t know our system, and we typically have to go behind them to fix their mistakes. It’s very frustrating. We take ownership in our work, we make careers out of this.”
Griffin says that starting 15 years ago, Pepco stopped hiring workers to replace retiring electrical workers and offered incentive-laden buyout deals to get electricians to retire. In order to address understaffing problems, Pepco has at times hired non-union temporary contractors, instead of hiring new workers. Griffin estimates that Pepco currently employs 1,150 union workers and approximately 400 non-union contractors. The understaffing has led to problems that the IBEW warned about years ago.
“Everything is keyed on dollars and cents profit,” warned IBEW Utility Director Jim Hunter back in 2005. “Storm outages are longer, and utilities are asking for more and more help from other utilities. The problem is that other companies are in the same boat. And they are still not hiring.”
So, if you lose power and you keep hearing “they’re working as fast as they can” and “they’re calling in crews from all over the area,” now you know the dark underbelly of that bulls*it.
Bravo to this crowd:
The University must divest — or remove investments from — the portion of its endowment in the fossil fuel industry by 2020, Kyoto NOW!, a student organization that advocates sustainability, is urging.
Although the University has set a goal of eliminating or offsetting all carbon emissions from the Ithaca campus by 2050, Kyoto NOW!’s petition asks that the University completely divest from fossil fuels by 2020. Additionally, the group is working on a Student Assembly resolution that calls on the University to reinvest 30 percent of the endowed funds previously invested in traditional energy to sustainable companies and renewable energy.
In its petition, the group said that its requests stemmed from a call “to uphold our commitment to creating a more sustainable world while fulfilling our fiduciary duty, and to responsibly direct our University in accordance with our mission and values.”
That this process has to take so long is kind of upsetting but at least there’s movement here. Good on the students for that.
The first nuclear power plants in the United State went on line in roughly 1974. 40 years later, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has decided to study cancer rates around six of those plants:
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced plans Tuesday to launch a pilot epidemiological study of cancer risks near six nuclear power plants, including San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in north San Diego County.
The commission is acting out of growing concern that using uranium to produce electricity may be dangerous even without accidents at nuclear plants. In addition, recent epidemiological studies in Germany and France suggest that the children living near nuclear reactors are twice as likely to develop leukemia.
The U.S. study will be conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, which will also help the commission determine whether to extend the study to all 65 U.S. nuclear power plants and certain nuclear fuel sites.
There is “growing concern that using uranium to produce electricity may be dangerous even without accidents at nuclear plants?” Gee. Ya think?
During discussions surrounding the near meltdown at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan immediately after the March, 2011 tsunami there, I heard untold people talk about how the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is so in bed with the nuclear power industry that the word “regulatory” should be removed from its name. So sadly, we probably shouldn’t get too excited about this.
Fracking is a big issue here in Colorado People are very much against it.
Then there’s this:
Matt Damon’s latest film Promised Land – a tale about the impact of fracking on small-town America – doesn’t hit movie theaters until December 28, but it’s already being targeted by the fossil fuels lobby.
The story, written by Damon and John Kraskinski (best-known for The Office) and directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting), centers on a small Pennsylvania town sitting atop rich natural gas reserves that can be tapped only if the residents allow fracking on their land. The economy is depressed and residents are tempted by the money they can get leasing their land for fracking.
The movie pits Damon, a slick natural gas company salesman, against Kraskinski, an environmentalist. The money looks great to local residents until Kraskinski exposes the tradeoffs – risks to their drinking water and air quality that Damon fails to mention.
The Independent Petroleum Association of America, which represents oil and gas interests, is so concerned about the film’s message that it’s planning several strategies for the upcoming release – including distributing leaflets to moviegoers, providing film reviewers with “data” and launching a social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook, reports The Wall Street Journal.
“We’ve been surprised at the emergence of what looks like a concerted campaign targeting the film even before anyone’s seen it,” James Schamus, CEO of Focus Features, told the Journal.
The lobbying group has already started screening their own documentary on the subject, “Truthland,” showing it incommunity centers and hotels across the US.
People, we can’t let the petroleum lobby win this one!
Here’s the trailer for Damon’s film:
On a windy night in September, whilst most people were sleeping, wind power reached a record of 64.2% of Spain’s electricity demand.
The vast majority of Spain’s power that night came not from fossil fuels but clean, renewable energy generated by wind turbines on the Spanish hills.
And what couldn’t be used in Spain wasn’t wasted.
Some was exported via giant cables linking Spain to the rest of Europe and some was used to pump water uphill so it could be allowed to flow back down later, when demand was higher.
Pumped storage and interconnectors are just two of the way Spain has found to make sure wind works.
And there’s this:
Germany continues to outstrip the rest of the world in solar power capacity, and is adding new solar faster than any other country as well.
The US energy corporatocracy wants to believe that drilling for oil, fracking and transnational pipelines are the key to energy independence. Believe that at your children’s and your grandchildren’s peril.
Countries like Germany and Spain (despite their financial difficulties) are moving ahead with clean energy yet the US is held hostage by companies who wouldn’t mind destroying the entire planet to make a profit.
Why does the New York Times think “Mitt Romney Shifted to the Right on Energy” is news? He’s been “shifted to the right” on almost everything for six years.
When, oh when, will we have a better media?
Usually we think of an oil spill as being a sticky river of black crud, either on land or on water but here’s a new way to visualize one:
Holly Oil Refinery Spill Cleanup Could Take Days
Woods Cross [Utah] • A huge oil storage tank burst Thursday night at a Woods Cross refinery, spraying oil up to a mile away and leaving dark droplets on nearby homes, cars, lawns and driveways.
On Friday morning, crews were cleaning at the Holly Oil Refinery and officials said they planned to take care of any problems caused to residents. Cleanup could take several days.
The eruption sent a swath of oil about a 40 yards wide and traveling through the air up to 1 mile southeast of the refinery. The refinery sits 393 S. 800 West in Woods Cross. Some of the oil landed on homes, businesses and cars in Bountiful.
No injuries were reported.
Mike Astin, environmental manager with HollyFrontier Corp., said Friday the company believes water got into the heated tank and the resulting pressure “popped the roof on that tank.”
Holy cow. What a mess. (Wind turbines don’t do this.)
There’s a saying that goes something like: Republicans fear their base, Democrats ignore it.
Obama ignored his base today (not to mention this):
The Obama administration has decided to allow Shell to drill in Arctic waters off the Alaska coast, saying that for the time being the company must not go so deep as to hit actual oil because its troubled oil spill containment barge isn’t ready.
Continuing with Obama’s announcement:
Thursday’s decision to allow preparatory drilling represents a huge step in Shell’s controversial effort to explore in the Chukchi Sea. It shows the Obama administration, while not yet giving the green light for Shell to drill into oil-bearing geologic formations, is taking steps to help the company do so if possible this summer.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Shell will get a permit allowing it to drill about 1,500 feet into the seafloor.
“We believe that there is no oil in that area. We have confidence in that conclusion, otherwise we would not be allowing this limited exploratory effort to move forward,” Salazar said Thursday.
Interior Department officials said the drilling will allow for the later installation of a blowout preventer.
Royal Dutch Shell’s profits rose 15.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012, netting $7.3 billion. Shell’s CEO Peter Voser attributed the increase in part to “strong oil prices,” which rose to over $100 a barrel this quarter.
In 2011, Shell’s profits soared 54 percent to $3.5 million every hour, despite producing 3 percent less oil. This time, it produced 4 percent more than Q1 in 2011.
Again: The hope and change Obama I voted for would say no to this. He would say we’re going to invest in wind and solar. Period.
This happened last week:
A company in India plans to buy $7 billion worth of coal from Kentucky and West Virginia producers, Gov. Steve Beshear announced Wednesday.
Beshear, at a Capitol news conference, called the private partnership “a great example of a new market for Kentucky resources.” He noted that he made an economic development trip to India two years ago and will be making another trip soon.
The deal is for 25 years and involves India’s Abhijeet Group and New Jersey-based FJS Energy LLC buying coal from Kentucky and West Virginia through Kentucky-based affiliates FJSE Marshall Inc. and FJSE River Coal.
Under the agreement, Kentucky coal companies will export about 9 million tons of coal each year to the Abhijeet Group, which has been buying coal from Indonesia and Australia.
Jim Booth of the Inez-based Booth Energy said his energy team is looking forward to working with India.
“We are very pleased that we have forged a partnership that meets their demand abroad and creates and sustains Kentucky jobs,” he said.
This is a case of India literally buying the land out from under us. $7 in coal imports means more of this: destruction of the Appalachias:
So we’re going to tear up Appalachia so we can send coal to India so it can burn that coal in coal-fired power plants which are the highest single polluting entities on the planet.
Our “leaders” are criminally shortsighted.
I think this is the third or fourth study confirming a link between fracking and earthquakes:
Correlation Between Injection Wells and Small Earthquakes Discovered
Most earthquakes in the Barnett Shale region of North Texas occur within a few miles of one or more injection wells used to dispose of wastes associated with petroleum production such as hydraulic fracturing fluids, according to new research from The University of Texas at Austin. None of the quakes identified in the two-year study were strong enough to pose a danger to the public.
The study by Cliff Frohlich, senior research scientist at the university’s Institute for Geophysics, appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“You can’t prove that any one earthquake was caused by an injection well,” says Frohlich. “But it’s obvious that wells are enhancing the probability that earthquakes will occur.”
Frohlich analyzed seismic data collected between November 2009 and September 2011 by the EarthScope USArray Program, a National Science Foundation-funded network of broadband seismometers from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the high density of instruments (25 in or near the Barnett Shale), Frohlich was able to detect earthquakes down to magnitude 1.5, far too weak for people to feel at the surface.
I swear, oil and gas companies being allowed to run roughshod over this planet.
This is the exact opposite of what we should do right now in lieu of (1) climate change and (2) job creation:
Mitt Romney, a gentleman who is running for president of these United States, finally formalized his opposition to extending a key tax credit for the wind industry. The production tax credit, or PTC, provides incentives for growth in the wind industry and is due to expire at the end of the year. While his staff had previously suggested that the candidate opposed it, a spokesman was direct yesterday: let it die. From The Des Moines Register:
Shawn McCoy, a spokesman for Romney’s Iowa campaign, told The Des Moines Register, “He will allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles, and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits.”
The statement makes very clear what the game is here: politics. “Stimulus boondoggles” and “level playing field” are code words, shorthand for “corruption” and “fossil fuels come first” that need no explanation from the Fox News set. … It’s talking points.
Nationally, an expiration of the tax credit could cost 37,000 jobs.
Instead of talking points, I’d be more interested in seeing an economic analysis provided by the campaign that makes the case for why ending the tax credit is good for the country, the government, and local communities. It seems unlikely to happen, since evidence points to the contrary — that the credit has broad benefits to everyone except the easily spooked fossil fuel industy [sic].
A massive, national initiative to create wind farms all around the country (and to install solar panels on homes and office buildings) would put hundreds of thousands to work while helping wean us off fossil fuels. But no. The fossil fuel industry is simultaneous destroying the planet while keeping us from slowing the destruction.
They literally own the place. The whole place. As in, well, the planet.
350.org organized a “stop the fracking” demonstration today in Washington, D.C. Insofar as I know the corporate media won’t say a word about it, I thought I’d post a picture because it’s kind of like a tree falling in the forest. If the corporate media doesn’t cover it, they think we’ll never know about it but li’l ol’ blogs like mine can do something about that.
So here; this happened:
More images here.
The usually-sarcastic phrase, “what could possibly go wrong?” is, imho, overused in the blogosphere but in this case, I think it applies. Yikes:
Two Harvard engineers are to spray sun-reflecting chemical particles into the atmosphere to artificially cool the planet, using a balloon flying 80,000 feet over Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
The field experiment in solar geoengineering aims to ultimately create a technology to replicate the observed effects of volcanoes that spew sulphates into the stratosphere, using sulphate aerosols to bounce sunlight back to space and decrease the temperature of the Earth.
David Keith, one of the investigators, has argued that solar geoengineering could be an inexpensive method to slow down global warming, but other scientists warn that it could have unpredictable, disastrous consequences for the Earth’s weather systems and food supplies. Environmental groups fear that the push to make geoengineering a “plan B” for climate change will undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
His US experiment, conducted with American James Anderson, will take place within a year and involve the release of tens or hundreds of kilograms of particles to measure the impacts on ozone chemistry, and to test ways to make sulphate aerosols the appropriate size.
“Impacts include the potential for further damage to the ozone layer, and disruption of rainfall, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions – potentially threatening the food supplies of billions of people,” said Pat Mooney, executive director of the Canadian-based technology watchdog ETC Group.
So, the plan is to junk-up the atmosphere even more to avoid cutting back on greenhouse gasses? The article doesn’t say but I wonder if this “field experiment” (as in the entire planet’s “field”) is funded by oil companies.
The Museum of Design in Zurich, Switzerland just opened an exhibit called the “Plastic Garbage Product” about the proliferation (to say the least) of plastic on our poor planet.
Here’s a photo of one of the exhibits:
And here’s a video depicting the eternal life of the “majestic plastic bag:”
(H/t Chris L.)
Republicans ranted and raved and blamed Obama when gas prices were soaring a few months ago so I’m sure they’re giving him credit now that they’re falling, right?
Just as the summer travel season kicks into high gear, tourists are getting the added bonus of gas prices falling toward $3 a gallon.
It’s far better than gloom-and-doom reports of $5 a gallon that some predicted earlier this year, and it’s also an improvement over the average of $3.88 per gallon that the Fort Worth area saw in early April.
Even better news is prices are still dropping.
Amazing factoid from Talking Points Memo:
Ever heard of hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a. fracking – the controversial practice of extracing natural gas and oil from rock by pumping highly pressured water and other liquids under the Earth? If not, you’re in good company. A whopping 35 percent of some 2,400 in a representative sample of the U.S. conducted by the University of Texas Austin had “never heard of” the process, while another 28 percent “were not familiar” with it, meaning that 63 percent of the nation doesn’t know what the process is.
Thanks American media!
Out in the Mojave Desert in California, a power plant that could eventually generate enough electricity for 140,000 homes hopes to get its moment in the sun soon. When the $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah is completed — sometime next year, if all goes according to plan — nearly 350,000 mirrors on 3,600 acres will reflect light onto boilers. Steam will power turbines, which will generate electricity that flows to California homes. It will be the largest such plant in the world. These “solar workhorses of the desert,” says V. John White, an analyst in Sacramento and an advocate for renewable energy, “can produce a lot of high-quality energy in the way that other renewable energies can’t do. And there are only a handful of places on the planet that have solar radiation that good.”
Read this to learn how the world is leaving us in the dust when it comes to transitioning to solar power.
Last week after Alberta suffered yet another pipeline spill, this one threatening the drinking water supply of tens of thousands of Albertans, we wanted to send Premier Alison Redford a very clear message about the need to invest in green jobs and stop the growing number of toxic oil spills (in 2010, there were 687 failures, the majority of them leaks in Alberta, which resulted in 3,416 cubic metres of spilled hydrocarbons).
The way we decided to do it was to rent a billboard right in the heart of Edmonton (at Jasper Avenue and 106 Street NW). We booked the space, sent the artwork over and were preparing the release calling on the Premier to go green and conduct an independent review of pipeline safety in Alberta when we got this message from Pattison:
“The artwork has been rejected.”
And the “artwork” in question? This scary, radical, offensive thing:
Pretty infuriating because what’s wrong with that? I actually love the line: “When there’s a huge solar energy spill, it’s just called a nice day.”
The New York Times, that bastion of the so-called liberal media doesn’t want Americans to know that the Japanese overwhelmingly reject restarting some of their nuclear power plants in lieu of what happened last year at the Fukushima power plant after the huge earth quake there in March:
Brushing aside widespread public opposition to avoid feared electric power shortages, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ordered the reactivation of two nuclear reactors at a plant in western Japan on Saturday, making it the nation’s first plant to go back online since the crisis last year in Fukushima.
According to polls, two-thirds of Japanese express deep concern about the safety of nuclear plants after last year’s accident, which contaminated food with radiation and shattered the myth of Japan’s infallible nuclear technology. The day before Mr. Noda gave the order, his government was visited by an antinuclear group led by the Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe, which presented what it said were the signatures of 7.5 million people calling for the abolition of nuclear power.
So, the title of the article says the Japanese are “still divided” but in the body we learn there is “widespread public opposition” and “two-thirds of Japanese express deep concern about the safety of nuclear plants.”
That doesn’t sound “divided” to me.
Ah yes. It’s good to be an oil company in the United States:
A Texas-based independent oil company has admitted that its negligence caused three oil spills in Jefferson Parish bayous. Cedyco Corp. of Houston agreed to pay a $557,000 fine and stop operating in Louisiana as part of a plea bargain signed Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Justice.
The plea, reached in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, is based on spills between February and mid-May 2008 at three facilities: a tank battery south of the Barataria Waterway on Bayou St. Denis; an oil storage and production platform near the Plaquemines Parish line on Bayou Dupont; and a well near that platform.
The fine will go into the Coast Guard’s Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. The Coast Guard spent $750,000 to clean up the platform, tank battery, and a permanently moored barge located between them at Mud Lake, according to information from the Coast Guard.
Company president Lance W. Dreyer signed the guilty plea to three misdemeanor counts of violating the Clean Water Act and an eight-page statement of the facts on which it was based.
Geezus. Couldn’t the Department of Justice at least — at least! — have made the fine equal to what we taxpayers paid to clean Cedyco’s mess up? Why is that so hard?