Weather Wake Up Call for U.S. as Congress Keeps Pushing for More Fossil Fuel Energy

I know I’m not the only one linking greenhouse gas emissions to global climate change to all the horrendously bad weather pummeling the U.S. lately. The east coast is still without power from Hurricane Irene. A new hurricane Katia is churning up in the Atlantic along with a new tropical storm promising to drop a huge amount of rainfall on New Orleans again missing Texas for relief from the record drought there.

At the same time, it’s been a busy 24 hours for earthquake activity in the U.S. In the late morning hours today, 3 earthquakes hit Alaska’s Aleutian Island area. One was 6.8 that triggered a tsunami warning for the U.S. western coastline between 7:30 and 8:00 am while another 4.2 earthquake shook the Los Angeles area yesterday at 1:47 in the afternoon. If we look at the world map for earthquakes there was substantial seismic activity from the southern hemisphere along Australia north to the ring of fire areas of the Indian Ocean arcing around the pacific basin up to Alaska.

Worldwide earthquakes with M4.5+ located by USGS and Contributing Agencies.
(Earthquakes with M2.5+ within the United States and adjacent areas.)

If all of this challenging weather isn’t a wake up call to get moving on sustainable alternatives, then our reps in Congress and some presidential candidates pushing the filthy tar sands project that will ultimately burn 6X dirtier than usual and hawking our substantial caches of coal are representing Big Oil/Gas/Coal and not our health and welfare.

There is no denying the entire world is suffering from increasingly greater extremes of weather with summers at record highs and winters with increasing precipitation in the form of snow in places like Florida. But politics, at least in the U.S. continues to polarize viewpoints about global climate on behalf of Big Energy Industries, using jobs vs. environment as a ploy to divide U.S. citizens once again. Divide and conquer is not just a saying—it works. Because while were fighting/arguing climate change points with each other, congress is passing anti-environmental laws right under our noses. These laws are a direct affront to our clean air, water, and the EPA that is in place for our safety and welfare and have less to do with jobs than deregulation. Think about it. Jobs can be created in many industries. New jobs in new industries would be nice expanding all sorts of related jobs in engineering, science, and the technical fields for a new generation looking to the future not fearing it. On the other hand, once Mother Nature turns on us that’s it.

Are we absolutely positive human activity is not affecting climate change because I’m seeing videos of huge cesspools of plastic gyres growing in size in our oceans? Just because we can’t see pollution is no assurance it’s not there.

So as Mother Nature bears down on our east coast, the gulf, and rumbles the west coast to Alaska, maybe we should forget politics entangled with enormous lobbyist activity from the wealthiest of industries Big Oil/Gas/Coal. Maybe we should use some good ole street smarts believing what we see and experience because what we’re experiencing is advancing global climate change whether it’s politically correct to believe it or not.

To those that continue to follow a political line concerning global climate change that diss the idea that man’s pollution is a catalyst for the horrendous weather we’re experiencing, than why not apply the same 1% principle as we did to enter a war with Iraq that half our citizens never wanted. Former VP Cheney’s one percent principle as applied to global climate change would read like this:

If there is even a 1% chance that human activity such as greenhouse gas emissions is causing accelerated global climate change, then it is our duty to do all that we can to stop that activity for the welfare of mankind everywhere.

There is little argument against this principle because while deniers claim science can’t prove greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change, deniers can’t prove those greenhouse gas emission aren’t causing a problem either. This principle covers the bases. If was good enough for the U.S. to wage war in a country that had nothing to do with the U.S. terrorist attacks or WMD’s, than it’s good enough to save citizens of this country from the devastation Mother Nature can cause that can far exceed any war. Because while we were battered with fear tactics for almost a decade regarding terrorism, no one has stepped forward to churn the same fear for the wrath of Mother Nature when we can clearly see that she is indeed our greatest threat. Attacks by her are happening along our coastlines all at once right now and fewer dollars to recover from it. There may be more, increasingly worse weather if we fail to act.

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/

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Murkowski Bill Defeated

The Murkowski bill meant to strip the EPA of its authority to regulate green house gases failed in the senate today 53/47. According to grist.org, “Every one of the Senate’s 41 Republicans — including ‘moderates’ considered possible ‘Yes’ votes for climate legislation — voted in favor of it, along with six Democrats: Mary Landrieu (La.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Ben Nelson (N.D.), Evan Bayh (Ind.), and Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.).”

The idea behind not only this bill but one introduced by Jay Rockefeller earlier is to put authority to regulate greenhouse gases in the hands of congress not in the hands of what many referred to as an “unregulated agency” regarding the EPA. Imagine the lobbyists that will be unleashed? As far as the EPA being an unregulated agency, yahoo.answers.com states:

The EPA is an independent agency, but in practical real terms the Agency must answer to Congress, the President, the nation. Congress funds the programs, and the Agency must be responsive to congressional inquiries, and the laws they establish. The political appointees are responsive to the President. Also, OMB (office of mgt and budget) is a player in the mix.

If the push to get regulating away from the EPA and in the hands of congress succeeds before the end of the year, (the EPA can regulate greenhouse gas emissions in January of 2011), more than likely the the cap and trade program will be implemented by congress and it will be forever before polluting industry gets around to reducing their emissions. Example, the acid rain program is a cap and trade program that caps emissions for SO2 and NOx. Phase 1 began in 95. Phase 2 in 2000. SO2 scrubbers are just now being installed in coalburners? Many in congress believe that cap and trade is a good enough incentive to curb emissions quickly—not so much.

And according to the Grist, The cap-and-trade system in the climate bill is run by the EPA, as a title under the Clean Air Act . So we’re back to the EPA again anyway.

Read more about it:

http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltattoo/2010/06/08/the-murkowski-bill-does-sen-jay-rockfeller-want-to-be-on-record-protesting-climate-science/.

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/102161-rockefeller-to-join-gop-to-vote-against-epa-climate-rules.

http://www.epa.gov/airmarkets/progsregs/arp/index.html.

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Murkowski Bill Written by Coal Lobby Comes Up for a Vote Tomorrow

While the entire country is focused primarily on the disaster in the Gulf, there needs to be an even bigger heads up for the coal industry that claimed 29 lives earlier this year because they are about to pull a fast one in Congress tomorrow, June 10th. The Murkowski Bill that would attempt to strip the EPA of its authority to regulate carbon pollution and hold polluters accountable is up for a vote in the Senate. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska admitted that coal lobbyists wrote this bill. I wrote a blog not long ago that this bill needs to die as fast as it hits the Senate floor. Here we are not months from the largest mining disaster in 40 years, an investigation as to cause not able to proceed because the mine that took the 29 is still terribly polluted with dangerous gas, and Massey Energy scrutinized by the Justice Department for possible “willful criminal activity,” and there is very little if any mention in the media about the consequences of this bill if it passes.

Many citizens in this country look for BP to be held accountable for all of the problems it has caused in the Gulf. And President Obama is trying to keep the limits of accountability open-ended meaning “no caps” on paying up for disasters like the gulf in the future. Yet the Murkowski Bill will strip the EPA of doing just that to the coal industry and any industry that pollutes the air with carbon emissions. The EPA is directed by the Clean Air Act to regulate any pollution it considers detrimental to the health and well being of the citizens of the U.S. The Clean Air Act has been this way for years, yet Senator Murkowski has reduced it to “back door politics.” Where are these newfound interpretations of standing law coming from—the coal industry?

As far as Massey’s involvement in possible willful criminal activity as reported in an article on Daily Finance’s website, it’s looking mighty suspicious. Besides Daily Finance’s article, I read an article on insurancejournal.com that investigators interviewing employees about the incident have run into problems. At least 4 employees didn’t show up for their appointments claiming they forgot or had to work unexpectedly. Of course Massey knows nothing about it.

With 29 people dead and the incident still unaccounted for, this is exceptionally suspicious timing for the Murkowski bill to hit the Senate floor. Looks like it was completely planned. While all eyes are on the oil industry pollution; BIG COAL gets their day in the Senate with little fanfare. Shame on the media for not keeping this extremely important bill in the forefront.

I have to add that I would have published this sooner, but every time I attempt to do research and write a blog about the coal industry I have security threats on my PC. I spent yesterday evening scanning and repairing my registry. There is still time to voice your concern about this bill.

Contact your Senators today to KILL THE MURKOWSKI BILL as fast as it hits the Senate floor and protect our Clean Air Act for our future health!
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm.

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2010/06/02/110325.htm

http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/massey-justice-probe-coal-mine-deaths/19478608/?sem=1&ncid=searchnew00000005&s_kwcid=TC|11069|massey%20investigation||S||5351761716.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/05/clean-air-under-attack-bill-written-by-lobbyists-may-come-up-for-vote-this-week/.

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The Coal Lobby Intensifies

There was a congressional hearing on April 14th about the future of coal in a “new energy age.” Considering the recent mining disaster and 60 serious safety violations found in a short time afterward, one would think the coal industry would at very least layback for a while. We don’t expect coal would give up the fight but they could acknowledge the need to find a cleaner way of doing business in the near future possibly without coal if carbon sequestering doesn’t pan out. We expect they would invest in an alternative just in case. Even a straggler like Exxon Mobil finally invested in algae fuels. Smart move. They understand fuel. But according to oilprice.com, “Mike Carey, president of the Ohio Coal Association, accused Congress and regulators of conducting a ‘war on coal’ by imposing tougher limits on carbon emissions. He criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘endangerment finding’ about carbon dioxide emissions, which enable the regulator to take action without legislation.” Basically, they whined instead.

The 4 coal industry representatives present were admonished for “resisting measures to reduce carbon emissions and were compared to auto executives who ignored the need for change until it was too late.” I don’t remember our auto industry claiming “a war on American autos” though and they have to tow the line with emission standards set by the EPA. Instead of whining, American automakers progressed and fast. Ford didn’t borrow any money and still bumped it up a notch because competition was doing the same. That turned out well for them. It really isn’t a fair playing field to expect our auto industry to literally change overnight and not other polluting industries, which are far worse. Also, our utilities industry always threatens to pass the costs on to us whenever they get taxed or have to make changes. Just look at the commercials about taxes and oil. We don’t have the luxury of buying elsewhere like we do with cars. It’s not a free market in that sense.

Unlike the auto industry, the coal industry got a reprieve for a year from the likes of the EPA. That’s one year to lobby, wage a media blitz about coal, and continue the propaganda campaign that they’ve been accused of since the mid 2000’s. And oh that campaign money will go far here to insure the right people are in place to assist in stripping the EPA of its power to enforce the Clean Air Act on coal.

And that’s what some in the coal industry really want, to disprove the endangerment finding, the big stall. Gotta laugh at just how long they want to stall. The coal reps stated the industry wants Congress to forgo any further restrictions while it “develops carbon capture and sequestration technology, which is an untested technology and a minimum of 15 to 20 years away.” Are you kidding me, wait 15-20 years before putting restrictions on coal emissions when it’s the largest source of pollution?

The coal industry was reminded in the meeting that new power plants were powered by wind and no new coal plants have broke ground. The coal reps were warned that the rest of the energy world was moving to a lower-carbon future and the coal industry headed for an “inexorable decline.”

The coal industry vowed to fight of course. They have some hurdles to overcome, “On April 17, 2009, the [EPA] Administrator signed proposed endangerment and cause or contribute findings for greenhouse gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act. EPA held a 60-day public comment period, which ended June 23, 2009, and received over 380,000 public comments. These included both written comments as well as testimony at two public hearings in Arlington, Virginia and Seattle, Washington. EPA carefully reviewed, considered, and incorporated public comments and has now issued these final findings which pave the way for regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.”

That’s a lot of comments to overcome and the period open for discussion is closed. But Big Coal has enough lobby power to reopen the discussion. Senator Markey remarked, “While the rest of the energy world is already moving to a lower-carbon future, people wonder whether the coal industry is stuck in another time.”

We’ll see how this plays out. The coal lobby has made the biggest dent in their favor in the senate energy bill. Since coal is the biggest polluter that doesn’t say much for the bill.
http://www.oilprice.com/article-us-coal-industry-fights-climate-legislation-at-congressional-hearing-279.html.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2011623423
_apusmineexplosion.html
.

Clean coal lobbying blitz: http://www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/climate_change/articles/
entry/1280
.

About the EPA and comments: http://www.animallawcoalition.com/farm-animals/article/1128
.

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Massey Energy in the Spotlight for Violations of a Different Kind This Time

Massey Energy was part of the “Friends of America” rally team last year hosting big events with big entertainment headliners as a way of promoting anti-environmentalism. Massey’s CEO Don Blankenship’s invitation was on You Tube: “Hello I’m Don Blankenship and I’d like to invite you to a Labor Day rally in West Virginia. We’re going to have Hank Williams and have a good time but we’re also going to learn how environmental extremists and corporate America are both trying to destroy your jobs.”

I wrote a blog, “Friends of America Rally; How Friendly is It? In that blog I wrote about Massey’s violations against the environment. The Rural Blog quoted 2 newspapers relative to environmental violations.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported:

Massey Energy Co. will pay a record $20 million for polluting streams around its coalmines in Kentucky and West Virginia, and spend another $10 million to prevent future problems. The lawsuit filed by the Environmental Protection Agency last May charged that Massey discharged excess amounts of metals, sediment and acid mine drainage into hundreds of rivers and streams in the two states.

Louisville’s The Courier-Journal statement:

The civil penalty [for Massey] is the largest ever for violating wastewater discharge permits, and “stems from the massive, 300-million-gallon slurry spill in Martin County, Ky., in October 2000, often described as the southeastern United States’ worst environmental disaster, as well as 4,500 violations of Clean Water Act permits at mines in the two states. Many of the violations exceeded limits by 40 percent, with some pollutants discharged at levels more than 10 times their limit, the government said.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2009/09/friends-of-america-rally-how-friendly-is-it/.

That blog was about Massey’s contempt for the environment, and an attempt to lump environmental extremists together with corporate America like Massey Energy isn’t among the most powerful corporate players in America with Blankenship literally buying a state supreme court spot for a friend to help him out down the line fighting violations? Oh yes. Brian Ross of ABC News just touched on the surface of that. Watch the video:

See a problem with corporations funding campaigns? It will basically make what Blankenship did—legal. And what makes us think that a company and a guy like Blankenship who minimizes his company’s many violations against the environment where clean air, water, and pristine areas of our country are ruined to the tune of over $20 million dollars in fines cares about people? I just read in an article on kypost.com that the family members of the soon to retire 62 year-old, Benny R. Willingham, who died in the mine blast, “were angry because they learned of Willingham’s death after reading it on a list Massey posted, instead of being contacted by the company.” That’s a real personal touch Don.

A lot has been said about MSHA, or the Federal Mine Safety Agency too, even in the governor’s statement. Every miner is instructed to come forward in the event they think any violations are being committed. One worker at a different Massey mine made a statement in kypost.com, “People tend to think Massey does a lot of wrong, but I’ve been there for 18 years and they’ve never asked me to do anything unsafe,” he said. Of course not. It doesn’t work that way. If the place is unsafe, most workers won’t know it. If they do, well this is where anyone working in this economic climate is shaking their head. Yeah go ahead and report wrongdoing and see how long you work. You’ll be on the very next layoff list. A union guy will get support on safety issues, and go back out to work, a non-union miner up against the likes of Massey—doubtful. This isn’t about MSHA. This isn’t about worker negligence.

The Washington Post: “Massey has frequently been cited for safety violations, including about 50 citations at the Upper Big Branch mine in March alone. Many of those 50 citations were for poor ventilation of dust and methane, failure to maintain proper escape ways, and the accumulation of combustible materials.”
The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration cited the mine for 1,342 safety violations from 2005 through Monday for a total of $1.89 million in proposed fines, according to federal records. The company has contested 422 of those violations, totaling $742,830 in proposed penalties, according to federal officials.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2010/04/06/
AR2010040601531.html?id=10293691&hpid=topnews
.

kypost.com: “In the past year, federal inspectors fined the company more than $382,000 for repeated serious violations involving its ventilation plan and equipment at Upper Big Branch. The violations also cover failing to follow the plan, allowing combustible coal dust to pile up, and having improper firefighting equipment.”

http://www.kypost.com/content/wcposhared/story/Massey-Energy-25-Dead-In-W-Va-Mine-Explosion/Yy0EJWLKCk6h9m3jOR4fLg.cspx.

The moral compass of an individual and/or company to do wrong based on monetary gain does not vary greatly whether the act is relative to the environment or human beings. Man does not live by paycheck alone. Without a healthy environment, we cease to exist no matter how wealthy. We’re dependent on Mother Nature, and the sooner we realize that she nurtures us and everything else we need to actually exist, the sooner we develop a reverence for our world and everything in it.

Again, pray for the families of the miners. They need an enormous amount of comfort, some suffering the loss of multiple family members.

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Coal is Dirty Start to Finish

The idea of clean coal gets even more ludicrous after reading a horrific expose in Rolling Stone Magazine called, “Coal’s Toxic Sludge,” by Jeff Goodell. The article was enlightening to say the least. Most of us are aware that burning coal releases noxious smoke into the air, but what about the fly ash or coal ash, and sludge scraped out of the scrubbers? The National Research Council reported, “The toxins in coal ash and sludge can cause cancer of the liver, kidney, lung and bladder, as well as neurological damage in children.” So here we have a product that damages terrain and workers lungs when it’s mined, damages the air when it’s burned, and damages a heck of a lot of places with its leftovers if not disposed of properly. Combine that idea with the fact that 42% of our new energy plants are now powered by wind, and maybe we should try a little harder for 100% because we know about coal that it is dirty start to finish and needs replacing.

What are the toxins? The article stated: “[]In a report by the National Research Council, coal ash typically contains 24 different pollutants-some of them deadly, even in minute quantities,” like arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. It also stated, “The sheer quantity of toxic metals produced by a big coal plant is mind-boggling.” The article’s author used an example from one of the U.S. largest dumps for coal waste called “Little Blue Run near Shippingport, Penn.” The sludge from a First Energy coal plant on the Ohio River pumps 81,000 pounds of arsenic compounds into the pond at Little Blue Run every year. The pond is unlined and will more than likely leach.

So roughly just how much waste needs to be stashed? The article stated: “Annually, U.S. coalburners ‘churn out nearly 140 million tons of coal ash. It’s the country’s second largest stream of industrial waste.'” Mining is the first. Geez. If you piled it all up “on a single football field, it would create a toxic mountain more than 20 miles high.” That’s graphic.

No one regulates the stuff, so we don’t know all the places it’s been stashed. It used to be dumped into mines. I’ve blogged that there are at least 100,000 abandoned mines in the U.S. so that was a start. It’s been poured into lagoons. The article elaborated that it’s been used to “pave roads, spread on crops as fertilizer, even mixed into everyday items like concrete, wallboard, vinyl flooring, bowling balls, potting soil and toothpaste. There are no federal regulations to speak of. Many states have minimal restrictions.” Oops the states prove they haven’t done a good job regulating. Our health is at stake here.

So why isn’t it regulated? The coal industry slides by the hazardous waste problem because the procedure that is advocated by the Utility Solid Waste Activities Group or USWAG allows coal waste to pass muster. The article said the waste is combined with water, shaken for 18 hours and whatever leaches out is measured. It leaches little and within the limits if it does. So that means that the cadmium, arsenic, and mercury adhere to the actual particulate matter. That particulate matter piles up in unlined ponds where contamination levels build up sky high, but never leach? How bout in the rain?

The EPA is currently working on another standard to measure the toxicity of coal and says the problem isn’t the amount of metal in the ash but it’s mobility when it hits water. No kidding, the spill in the Emory River in Tennessee back in 2008 was tragic and likely to cost one billion dollars to clean up in the end. Watch the video if you missed it because it was a “flood of waste 100 times bigger than the Exxon Valdez oil spill.”

I worked at a quarry for 6 years. Fly ash was trucked in to fill the “open-pit mine.” The idea of using a limestone quarry to deposit the stuff makes sense. Limestone is a basic and fly ash is acidic and probably why it was in potting soil and used as fertilizer. The basic limestone neutralizes the acidic flyash. But what neutralizes concentrated arsenic, cadmium, and mercury? This particular job I had was 20 years ago, who knew? Plus that quarry hit the water table long ago. It travels to a major river. I used to make out the water reports for any discharge, which was minimal. Back then the quarry wasn’t filled with fly ash yet either, only a section.

I am certain about the acidity of fly ash. It ate up the front end and underbody of my old car, axle and all. The pick up trucks at the quarry didn’t wear well either. It was blamed on the limestone dust, that it sandblasted the car. But the paint wasn’t gone. When I called metallurgists, they said fly ash is really acidic and that it’s probably what happened to my old car. Nice, real nice. Since I was driving the car, I was breathing the air and now I wonder if that horrible two week bout I had of serious-can’t-walk-down-the-hallway- without-gasping-for-air bronchitis wasn’t a result of working there after the fly ash started coming in? I was on some heavy antibiotics. Anyway, when people warn that the CO2 in the air is acidifying our water, they’re not mistaken. I never thought about the fly ash until now.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/32742962/coals_toxic_sludge.

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Inorganic Mercury Accumulates in the Blood

Inorganic mercury has been found in the blood of 1/3 of women, according to a new analysis of government data for more than 6,000 American women. Older women have higher levels indicating that mercury accumulates in the blood over time. Great, just great.

Dan Laks, a neuroscience researcher at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles stated: “My study found compelling evidence that inorganic mercury deposition within the human body is a cumulative process, increasing with age and overall in the population over time.” He also said, “”My findings also suggest a rise in risks for disease associated with mercury over time.”

And not surprisingly during the Bush administration concentrations of mercury in whatever we ingest rose rapidly. Laks reported, “The overall population average of blood inorganic mercury concentration also increased significantly from 1999-2006.” Between 2005 and 2006 30% of women had mercury in their blood compared to 2% in a study done from 1999 to 2000. There’s nothing like a good dose of deregulation in industry to get a positive rise in pollution is there?

The article on ENS website mentions chronic diseases associated with mercury to include autism.

Read the whole article: http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/sep2009/2009-09-01-092.asp.

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Freshwater Fish Full of Mercury

A new U.S. Geological Study “found mercury in every freshwater fish from nearly 300 streams that were tested, an astonishing result because mercury has usually been associated with large saltwater fish,” according to an article on ABC news website,
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=8369324.

The 7-year study tested more than a 1,000 fish. The USGS warns Americans to limit the amount of large predator freshwater fish they eat like WALLEYE! Hear that Michiganders? Enjoy, but limit the amount you eat.

Even worse about a quarter of all those fish have mercury levels higher than what the EPA says is safe. If you followed my blogs through a few years of the Bush Administration, the EPA was corporate friendly to say the least.

The article then defers to the National Fisheries Institute’s response to this study: “If you have a family member that’s out there fishing in a stream, beware.” That pretty much supports the story. The Fisheries Institute just wanted to make it clear that the fish you buy in a store isn’t as bad as that fish you caught in what you thought was a nice clear stream. I did a blog on this long ago. You’ve got a choice of wild caught fish with mercury or farm raised fish with PCB’s.

Since I sit in my TV room that overlooks the canal while I write this, I’m also looking at the wetlands behind my house. I can’t help but think of the huge chain of animals that call the canal home–all the little baby geese, and ducks that I’ve fed that swim up every spring, the little muskrats that run up my berm and grab one of my apples on the ground, the turtles that sun themselves on the downed logs, and all the birds in the mix including swans. I can’t help but think what we’ve done to them. Not fair, not fair at all.

And just what causes mercury in the water EVERYWHERE? Gee I wonder. Did you know that the coal lobby managed to gouge holes in the House version of the American Climate and Energy Security Act so that coalburners will still supply half of our electricity until 2025 and the rate of pollution will go unchanged for the next 15 years? According to Earthjustice, not only will they keep polluting but may expand with 27 new coalburners that will also be exempt from having to curb or capture any pollution.

When you consider the fuss Americans made at the American auto industry for producing gas guzzling, polluting SUV’s because the same American’s demanded those types of cars, you can clearly see this is a really unfair playing field as to who is towing the line on pollution or not. The coal industry is no different than oil—they are fat with money unlike our auto industry. Money talks. That’s what every other polluting industry thinks too. As Earthjustice reports, “The concessions the coal industry has gained so far have encouraged other fossil fuel lobbyists to step up their efforts to maintain the disastrous status quo.” That means some pretty hefty offers heaped on our congress people.

And everyone is already saying the Senate will never pass the House version. The Senate will undoubtedly water it down more. Unless of course we voice our opinion to our reps to move forward and not weaken the bill but fill those unfair gaps in a bill that must include all industry not just a chosen few.

We’re going to shoot off our foot before long and continue working up our leg if we don’t see that reform isn’t a choice but a necessity.

http://unearthed.earthjustice.org/blog/2009-july/trip-van-noppen/lets-defend-climate-change-bill.

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Jim Rogers of Duke Energy Admits Coalburner Emissions Stoke Global Warming

Duke Energy is the 3rd largest utility in the country. Its CEO, Jim Rogers, admitted that coal fired plants contribute heavily to global warming on CBS’ 60 Minutes last night. Rogers talked about coal as cheap and plentiful but DIRTY. Clean coal commercials are misleading to say the least.

The report went on to show one Duke coal plant that traps all the CO2 emissions, liquefies the stuff, and pumps it underground. The problem is this plant cost $1.5 billion to build. And I’ve read this over and over again, and Rogers says the same, there is no scientific data about the results of pumping enormous amounts of liquid CO2 underground. Enormous is not an exaggeration. The 60 Minute report showed how much coal one particular Duke Energy coal plant uses per day. The rail cars were one mile long! That’s a lot of CO2 to capture without knowing what exactly will happen when we pump it underground. We’ve already become like human mosquitoes, poking upwards of a million holes in the earth for mining coal, oil, or gas in this country alone. This is quite a bloodsucking scenario we’ve perpetrated on earth already. Now we’re prepared to poke holes to put stuff back in. I guess big bloated landfills aren’t enough for the earth to digest. We need to pump stuff into it too.

All of this uncertainty about pumping CO2 into the ground hasn’t deterred the U.K. Its Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband announced last Friday: “Any new coal-fired power stations built in Britain will have to be fitted with cutting-edge technology to capture their carbon emissions.” http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/clean-coal-is-future-for-energy-supplies-1673412.html. While this will probably prove to be too costly for the U.K., at least the government isn’t allowing any more coalburners to be built the old fossil fuel way. Duke plans to build two more coalburners in the near future.

Duke Energy is of the notion that phasing out all coal burning facilities in the next 20 years is a “no-can-do.” That’s a pretty definite answer from a company that admits it’s part of the problem. Besides, how many times have we heard “it can’t be done” about airplanes, autos, refrigerators, television, air conditioning, microwave ovens, pc’s, etc? I distinctly remember working on some of the first desk top computers at U of M hospital in 1974. The main frame took up a room. Now our cell phones are morphing into mini computers. And of course new technology costs. Look at digital watches when they first came out compared to today where you can buy one at the dollar store.

I believe most of the cost of changing technology and moving in a new direction comes from fighting the guys that don’t want to let go of their moneymaker, whether it kills us or not.

http://www.cbs.com/primetime/60_minutes/video/video.php?cid=927554855&pid=1ycm_ajYxX_wB8aWbGnAICZ_G9ytgdmf&play=true&cc=0.

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U.S. Still Can’t Commit at Annual Climate Conference

The United Nations opened its annual climate conference in Poznan, Poland yesterday. It seems the U.S. delegation of youths that is attending the 2-week conference was embarrassed when U.S. negotiator, Ambassador Harlan Watson, avoided committing to emissions targets or funding for developing countries to address global warming. Again, it was the same old song and dance of the Bush administration.

Since a great deal of America’s youth were involved with our latest election and clearly view climate change as important as anything else that faces our nation, their disappointment is understandable. I’m saying this again. One of the worse acts perpetrated on the American public by the Bush administration was instilling doubt about global warming. It politicized something that affects every living thing on earth, which has nothing to do with U.S. party lines. I’m also sick and tired of people here pointing fingers at China. We have no control over China. But we have all responsibility for how we act here. If enough civilized nations reel in their emissions and begin to unleash the ingenuity that brings new invention and prosperity, China will do likewise or suffer trade embargoes in the future. We’ve already suffered from tainted imports from China, and stopped importing them.

It’s called being a model for the rest of the global community, something America has not been for quite awhile relative to the environment. The youth of this country and groups like 350.org have plans to make Americans more aware of global warming, and it doesn’t look like they will give in easily. A good thing and none too soon.

It’s funny that doubters about global warming think steering away from oil and fossil fuels is impossible and will cause some sort of financial collapse and an altered lifestyle where we would be deprived of conveniences. Doubters think we would go in reverse.

Believers of global warming see a whole new frontier of invention yet to surface if the web of doubt could just be lifted long enough to allow all that inventiveness to progress. Believers feel like hostages to the big bucks of the oil and coal industry, which is mired in the past. To go green is to progress.

It’s the same old story all right. Doubters = reverse or reverting back to the usual. Believers = progress or advancing to the unusual. We’re in the 21st century for Pete’s sake. A little progress is due. Heck I’m still disappointed were not zipping around like the Jetsons.

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/dec2008/2008-12-01-01.asp

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