Enviro News Wrap: Rushing the Tar Sands Pipeline; Raining Mercury; Spilling Oil; Melting Ice, and more...
GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:
- In the spending bill that just passed the US Congress, the Republicans forced in a rider that sets a deadline of 60 days for Obama to make a decision about the Tar Sands XL pipeline. If Obama approves the pipeline it will be without a full environmental review of the pipeline's path across the country, if he denies it there will be a terrible outcry from Canada and Republicans. Obama experiences backlash from the Republicans for just waking up in the morning, I wonder what his punishment from the Republicans would be for denying their climate-killing-pipeline project?
- Here is a summary of each US Presidential candidate's energy policy. Perry got real heat from a crowd member over energy policy at an event, sounds like it was a priceless exchange.
- US energy policy needs to support sustainable levels of reliance on each resource we have. That doesn't mean demonizing a resource, but it does mean greatly changing how we obtain and use energy. This all gets lost in politics but there is a sane, fact based energy policy out there, our politicians just need to support it.
- If your not happy with how your fuel is brought to you, make your own.
- A cost has been suggested for Chevron to pay for their Brazilian oil spill: $10.6 Billion. And in other leaking oil news:
- A beached ship along France's Atlantic coast is leaking oil.
- Texas-based Pelican Refining Company is fined $12 million for violating the Clean Air Act and obstruction of justice charges for its activities in Louisiana. We should never take lightly an oil company's ability to destroy the environment in which we build our homes, raise our families, and raise our crops.
- The US invaded an oil rich country, Iraq, and after 10 years of occupation is withdrawing troops and leaving the oil industry vulnerable to attack.
- Natural gas and fracking update:
This article by the Wall St Journal is a great defense of natural gas fracking. I agree with it's call for using calm judgement and relying on good science, but would probably disagree with the author about how much natural gas we should extract annually in the US.
- A local newspaper in Utah highlights a homeowner who watched his water deteriorate quickly when a fracking operation started near his home. Many homeowners are preparing their suit against companies that have fracking operations near their homes.
- For some people is just comes down to money. New Jersey residents are paying less to heat their home with natural gas and loving it.
- The natural gas industry is spending lots of money on lobbying to make sure that no controversy will slow them down too much.
- Nonetheless, there is plenty of controversy as communities in Ohio are connecting fracking to the resurgence of earthquakes.
- A lot of carbon and methane is trapped in ice. In the northern permafrost, it is estimated that twice as much carbon is stored than is now in Earth's atmosphere. As global warming melts the ice and degrades the permafrost the carbon will be released, acting as a "positive feedback" increasing the rate of global warming. Island Nations are organizing now to address climate change lapping at their shores.
- Russia is awash with spilled oil. Russia's oil country represents what experts say is the world's worst ecological catastrophe.
- Its raining mercury, and we're eating it.
- More advancements in solar panel manufacturing.
- Proof of the success of the environmental movement is found in the race between Coke and Pepsi to get their bottles as "green" as possible.
- If global environmental efforts were well funded we could really get some things accomplished. Nothing will ever change until the streams of money change. A blog in the Guardian argues that environmental efforts should be given the same attention as the bailout of banks in the last 3 years.
- The common complaint about renewable energy is that it raises prices in the near term. It's a short-sighted energy policy when you take into account long-term dirty energy prices will consistently increase and the price of renewable energy is rapidly declining. A study in the UK claims that the current and future increase of home energy bills will mostly be due to the price of natural gas. The inflated price of oil is dropping in Europe due to government debt issues. But, in the US the solar industry is growing in a recession environment. On top of that a French company is opening a solar panel manufacturing plant in California, American made (by the French). And the price of oil and natural gas are dropping in the US as well. The price only drops to later skyrocket to later drop to later skyrocket...