XL Pipeline Gets New Commitments Although Top Oil Companies Admitted Greenhouse Gas Causes Climate Change; A Travesty for Our Future

The XL Pipeline appears to be a done deal if you search the Internet. The links I’ve referenced below are all pretty much the same with breaking news that additional commitments have been made with TransCanada to deliver tar sands oil via the XL Pipeline from Canada to Houston. What ALL of the articles fail to disclose is just who these “new” commitments are? Is it U.S. big oil, the Koch Brothers, China, who? Did these new binding commitments come from GOP members of our congress that attached the XL Pipeline rider to the Payroll Tax Cut bill? None of the articles relate anything about the new attachment to the Payroll Tax Cuts but it sure seems a coincidence the rider appeared a few days ago and then TransCanada made its announcement about new commitments.

An article in the Vancouver Sun http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Keystone
+pipeline+delay+tragedy/5868403/story.html
about TransCanada’s CEO Russ Girling
pretty much says the same but that he wants no part of the wrangling going on in congress over it. Suuuuuuurrrrre. Liar. TransCanada has been lobbying big time for this pipeline. After the demonstrations against the pipeline TransCanada knew it would more than likely come to an act of congress to get their wish. That 100 million dollar sucker their dangling in front of us as a big benefit to the U.S. will never make it to the average citizen. Any profits will go to big oil’s coffers and fuel a backlash for more dirty energy. As for us, the gas at the pump will go sky high. Truth is Canada has been rubbing its palms together to raise prices at the pump for its oil to the U.S. for awhile. The plan is to create greater demand for the dirty crude by shipping it directly to Asia. A billion waiting consumers in China will do the trick.

Read about it:

http://dirtyoilsands.org/midwestgas.
http://stopbigoilripoffs.com/documents.
http://sierraclub.typepad.com/carlpope/2011/08/tar-sands-oil-keystone.html.
http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/10/28/356486/promoting-tar-sands-myths-cnns-steve-hargreaves-bets-keystone-xl-pipeline-will-be-approved/.

This is going to get nasty before it gets better. Using jobs to extort new filthy energy after big oil including Exxon admitted greenhouse gases contribute to climate change is suicide. And they want to take us with them. Oh we’ll have pocketfuls of money according to the pipeline supporters. Another suuuuurrrre!!! What good will that do against the wrath of Mother Nature in the end? And the trip to that end will be filled with more strange autoimmune diseases for our children due to pollution not to mention asthma and lung related problems. If we really liked the downpours, flooding, drought, and fires we’ve been experiencing there will surely be encore productions of that too.

Not long ago Exxon Mobil stated:

The world faces a significant challenge to supply the energy required for economic development and improved standards of living while managing greenhouse gas emissions and the risks of climate change, said Emil Jacobs, vice president of research and development at Exxon Mobil Research and Engineering Co. It’s going to take integrated solutions and the development of all commercially viable energy sources, improved energy efficiency and effective steps to curb emissions. It is also going to include the development of new technology.

.
http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2009/07/14/14greenwire-exxon-sinks-600m-into-algae-based-biofuels-in-33562.html.

Conoco Phillips stated:

ConocoPhillips recognizes that human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels, is contributing to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that can lead to adverse changes in global climate

http://www.conocophillips.com/EN/susdev/policies/climate_change_position/Pages/index.aspx.

Royal Dutch Shell stated:

Royal Dutch Shell’s PLS chief said the implementation of climate change agreements made at Cancun last month “won’t happen overnight”, and policymakers must take action now “because the clock is ticking.

http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/you-know-climate-change-is-real-when-the-ceo-of-shell-states-the-clock-is-ticking-and-we-need-to-take-action-now/.

Links to articles about the “new commitments” to the XL Pipeline:

http://www.transcanada.com/5907.html.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/TransCanada-Announces-iw-1226478735.html.

http://www.bloomberg.com/article/2011-12-15/arEDwAwsRxw0.html.

Share

While XL Pipeline Stalls, Gas Fracking Comes Under Closer Scrutiny for Contaminated Aquifer

According to Credo and a host of other environmental organizations, “The State Department and Obama Administration announced today that they will re-evaluate the route of the Keystone XL pipeline, and restart their environmental assessment, which take until at least the beginning of 2013 to complete.” So the new XL pipeline is stalled—for now. But in another email I received from Pro Publica, the EPA found a fracking compound in a Wyoming aquifer in an area plagued by citizen’s complaints their water was contaminated.
ProPublica’s article stated:

The Pavillion area [in Wyoming] has been drilled extensively for natural gas over the last two decades and is home to hundreds of gas wells. Residents have alleged for nearly a decade [1] that the drilling — and hydraulic fracturing in particular — has caused their water to turn black and smell like gasoline. Some residents say they suffer neurological impairment [5], loss of smell, and nerve pain they associate with exposure to pollutants.
The gas industry — led by the Canadian company EnCana, which owns the wells in Pavillion — has denied that its activities are responsible for the contamination. EnCana has, however, supplied drinking water to residents.

This information is based on raw sampling data but the article went on to say:

The chemical compounds the EPA detected are consistent with those produced from drilling processes, including one — a solvent called 2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE) — widely used in the process of hydraulic fracturing. The agency said it had not found contaminants such as nitrates and fertilizers that would have signaled that agricultural activities were to blame.
The wells also contained benzene at 50 times the level that is considered safe for people, as well as phenols — another dangerous human carcinogen — acetone, toluene, naphthalene and traces of diesel fuel.

I would say the people in that area and other fracking areas across the U.S. have a “legitimate” complaint now. This discovery will certainly open a big can of worms for the fracking industry.

READ THE WHOLE STORY at ProPublica’s website:
. http://www.propublica.org/article/epa-finds-fracking-compound-in-wyoming-aquifer.

Share

Kudos to Michigan State Students for Protesting Fossil Fuel and Participation in 100 Actions for 100% Clean Energy

It’s not well known that Michigan State University is home to the largest on campus coalburner in the country. Students there see the hypocrisy in a big Go Green campaign on campus when their coalburner burns 200,000 tons of coal per year and the opposite of anything green.

The students are mad. They know their future is being destroyed because of unfettered pollution. They also know that outcries by the American public to follow science, not politics or business, in making decisions for the environment and therefore our health are being overlooked because of the political clout big energy carries in our nation.

I haven’t run across much mainstream press over this protest yet but give a big, big KUDOS to State students for bringing the environment and their future to the forefront. Watch:

Share

New Polls Show U.S. Energy Bill Has Citizen’s Support

I caught an article that said 70% of Americans think we should put a lid on pollution. Kind of late now since the energy bill died. Maybe it died so a much better energy bill could be written with “we the people’s” backing. I started looking around at recent polls and that just might be the case. All is not lost. There are a bunch of polls with a common consensus. A good energy bill would make it to law with citizen’s wide spread approval.

January 22, 2010, Climate Progress reported:

On January 21, a Republican and Democratic pollster released separate polls that found that there is strong bipartisan support to reduce the pollution responsible for global warming.

Despite endless attacks on climate science by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and other Republican leaders, Luntz [Frank Luntz, Republican pollster], found that 43% of Republicans “definitely” or “probably” believe climate change is caused at least in part by humans.

http://climateprogress.org/2010/01/22/gop-dem-polls-show-climate-and-clean-energy-jobs-legislation-has-strong-bipartisan-support/.

May 10, 2010, A new poll released by the Clean Energy Works campaign showed:

[There was] overwhelming public support for comprehensive clean energy legislation,” with 61 percent of 2010 voters saying they want to limit pollution, invest in clean energy and make energy companies pay for emitting the carbon that contributes to climate change. A healthy majority — 54 percent — of respondents said they’d be more likely to re-elect a senator who votes for the bill.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, which has been pushing for climate change legislation for years, released its own poll numbers. NRDC’s pollsters found seven in 10 Americans want to see fast-tracked clean energy legislation in the wake of the BP oil spill, and two-thirds say they want to postpone new offshore drilling until the Gulf oil spill is investigated and new safeguards are put in place.

Going back one more day than NRDC, Rasmussen Reports found that even after the Gulf oil spill began dominating the Web, TV newscasts and newspaper front pages, 58 percent of respondents still favor offshore drilling. That’s a big majority but a 14-point drop from the 72 percent who favored offshore drilling [back when president Obama suggested new areas be opened for it].

A poll by Republicans for Environmental Preservation— a quote on their website reads “Nothing is more conservative than conservation” — that showed 52 percent of Republicans and a similar number people who consider themselves conservatives support a U.S. energy policy to boost domestic energy production and cap carbon emissions. Even among Tea Party respondents, who are generally hostile to what they call big government, the poll found more favored the policy — 47 percent — than the 42 percent who opposed it.

http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2010/05/10/washington-math-oil-spill-climate-bill-new-environmental-polls/.

June 10, 2010, According to the Grist: “[]Jon Krosnick’s Political Psychology Research Group at Stanford [poll] results, in sum, are as follows: large majorities believe in climate change and want the government to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, make polluters pay, and support clean energy. The one thing they don’t want? Taxes. The public doesn’t like taxes. They want polluters to pay … but they don’t want taxes.[]”

http://www.grist.org/article/2010-06-09-new-poll-shows-again-public-likes-clean-energy-doesnt-like-taxes/#post-a-comment.

July 15, 2010, League of Conservation Voters poll:

Today we released a new poll showing that nearly 7 out of 10 voters want the Senate to act on comprehensive climate and energy legislation.

What this poll demonstrates is that the Senate is doing the right thing in moving to a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill that holds polluters accountable, reduces our dependence on oil, cuts pollution and creates new American jobs,” said LCV President Gene Karpinski. “The opposition has been saying for years that Americans don’t want a comprehensive energy policy, but poll after poll shows the opponents are wrong.

Overall, 60 percent of 2010 voters, and 56 percent of Independents, support a bill “that will limit pollution, invest in domestic energy sources and encourage companies to use and develop clean energy. It would do this in part by charging energy companies for carbon pollution in electricity or fuels like oil.”

- The vast majority of voters believe the federal government should be doing more to hold corporate polluters accountable (67 percent) and invest in more clean energy sources (65 percent).

- Voters reject the opposition’s position that “now is not the time.” Even when pressed with false opposition attacks that this is a “job-killing energy tax”, voters support action:
- When asked, only 36 percent agree with: “We need to ensure that BP pays every last dime of the damages they’ve caused, but beyond that, Senators should focus on getting our economy back on track and creating jobs, not passing some huge new Washington program and job-killing energy tax.”
- Whereas 56 percent agree with: “BP must pay for the damage they’ve done. But our addiction to oil threatens our security and we need more than a band-aid for that. Senators need to pass real reforms to hold polluters accountable and invest in clean American energy.”
- Even in the face of harsh messaging from the opposition, 57 percent of likely 2010 voters support a comprehensive energy bill.

http://www.actgreen.com/2010/07/new-poll-shows-strong-public-support.html.

July 19, 2010, “A new poll released by Benenson Strategies Group shows the American people strongly support a comprehensive energy and climate bill that includes provisions encouraging alternative energy production and limits on carbon pollution.”

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/170254.

Even the Brits support pollution caps and energy legislation according to their poll. They still believe in the science of climate change even after Climategate.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/11/confidence-climate-science-poll.

The consensus among these polls is evident. Americans feel we need to keep our pollution, especially emissions, under control while we move along to cleaner alternatives and the way to do that is through government regulations for polluting industries. I like what Mayor Bloomberg had to say. No cap and trade. Just issue a penalty to polluters. I say that penalty better be big enough to get their attention (deep pockets).

We need to start somewhere. What I found interesting is that there was a drop in pollution/climate change opinion before the gulf oil leak and after Climategate about the same time the tax commercials ramped up. The energy tax commercials seem to run every commercial break during the news hour on some stations battering people with the belief the oil industry’s penalty will penalize us as the NY Times reported below. Not right. I already dedicated a blog to those lies. A penalty should be suffered/felt not passed along to consumers already paying big oil billion dollar subsidies annually.

April 2, 2010, The NY Times:

The oil and gas industry is funding an advertising campaign aimed at stopping new energy taxes, an effort that comes as it faces both a loss of tax benefits and possible new penalties as part of climate legislation.

The ads target President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget proposal to eliminate tax breaks for petroleum companies, API said. The Department of Energy said the plan would generate $36.5 billion over the next 10 years. The industry says it would cost companies $80 billion over the same period.

The spots attempt to tie the budget proposal to people’s pocketbooks, said Adele Morris, policy director for climate and energy economics at the Brookings Institution.

‘The purpose with these ads is to make it seem these taxes will be felt by consumers at the pump,’ Morris said. ‘It’s to try to tell a story that energy consumers will be harmed.’

[But] the 15-and 30-second spots refer only to generic “energy industry taxes.’ [] Analysts and critics of the industry say the ads also could be seen as an attack on a climate bill emerging. []

‘I assumed they were talking about the climate bill,’ Morris said of her initial reaction to the API ads.

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/04/01/01greenwire-oil-and-gas-ads-target-energy-industry-taxes-10276.html?pagewanted=1.

May 11, 2010, Check this out according to Texas on the Potomac:

Just last year, the oil and gas industry reported spending $169 million in lobbying expenses — nearly eight times the $21.9 million spent by the environmental movement. BP spent $15.9 million in 2009, ranking second behind ConocoPhillips, according to the nonpartisan watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics.

Among BP’s priorities was the “American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009″ that would allow increased leasing in the Gulf and drilling closer to the coast than currently permitted.

Over the past 20 years, the energy industry has pumped more than $500 million into the coffers of candidates and party committees, $334 million in the past decade, with three-fourths of it going to Republicans.

BP political committees and employees have donated more than $3.5 million since 1990. The company often has hedged its political bets: Its top two recipients in 2008, for example, were President Obama ($71,051) and Republican presidential nominee John McCain ($36,649). Its top two House candidates were Houston Republican Rep. John Culberson and his Democratic opponent, alternative energy entrepreneur Michael Skelly.

The contributions weren’t all that much, but hedging? Geez.

http://blogs.chron.com/txpotomac/2010/05/oil_industry_lobbying_
donation.html
.

So it’s a duck. It looked like a duck. Big oil, and other polluting industries have the money and power to sway things their way, and have been doing it for quite some time. The recent oil spill simply brought it all out of the closet.

That kind of sway works most of the time, but in this instance it looks like the American public still has some street smarts. We know about motivation, but we can also see the growing evidence we’re taxing Mother Earth. It’s got to stop and if we can help, so be it.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/07/the-oil-spill-record-heat-wave-more-energy-tax-commercials-lies/.

Share

What Science Recommends for the Oil Clean-up Effort

Science Daily offered an article about the natural decomposition of oil. They advise that we should be looking to absorb as much of the spill as possible rather than use any kind of chemicals or even nutrient rich sources to speed up the decomposition. It seems when left alone the oil decomposes quickly and without residual problem compared to an oil spill that is treated and essentially overdone. The dispersants and chemicals cause problems for decades after the oil is gone. Even natural nutrient rich sources meant to speed up decomposition cause a great imbalance for years in areas that are nutrient poor. Who knew?

Read the article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100504142110.htm.

Meanwhile look at the view from one of NASA’s aqua satellites. It picked up the glint of sunlight off the oil slick from outer space:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100519151737.htm.

Share

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.

Share

Texas, the Biggest U.S. Polluter, Challenges EPA/Clean Air Act

Texas produces 35% of our entire nation’s toxic emissions and doesn’t want to change. So Texas has just challenged the EPA relative to regulating greenhouse gas emissions. From what I’ve read it’s state’s rights versus federal according to Texas governor Rick Perry. He claims Texas is doing a fine job of monitoring emissions and getting them under control, and for the EPA to suddenly come down on Texas will cost the state jobs and the involved industries millions that will be passed down to the consumer. He and others also “site ‘scientifically flawed studies’ as their basis for challenging the agency’s decision.” Sorry climate change aside, CO2, SO2, and other greenhouse gases have been found to be detrimental to respiratory health by our own government agency. This challenge is nothing but a stall.

The Dallas Morning News website reported that the other challengers are “the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank and conservative advocacy outfit; the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, an organized group of climate-change skeptics; and the Science and Environmental Policy Act, which has challenged the United Nations over findings that buttressed previous climate-change treaties. Greenwire says in its story yesterday that Freedomworks, the advocacy group headed by former Rep. Dick Armey of Denton County, is also involved in the challenge.”

http://energyandenvironmentblog.dallasnews.com/archives/tceq/.

Let’s look at the assertions the governor made. Is Texas doing a fine job of taking care of its pollution? Well not so much. According to an article on Center for Public Integrity’s website, Texas has been caught doing a lot of dirty stuff to their citizens for years.

In October, 2003, in the space of three hours, while the 94,000-plus inhabitants of Tyler slept nearby, Martin Lake [Steam Electric Station] pumped more than 150,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide into the East Texas air. The pollution was more than eight times the plant’s hourly emissions limits under federal regulations. Sulfur dioxide air pollution, as environmentalists, regulators, and TXU officials have known for many years, helps trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory diseases.

After the October 2003 event, TXU reported the emissions overage to TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality). But a comparison between EPA and TCEQ records shows that the company gave a far lower emissions figure to state officials than the smokestack monitor registered.

Hmmm. They lied. The same article continued:

[]A three-month review of federal and state records by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit journalism organization, suggests [the above wasn't a one time incident]. The review, encompassing 25 million data entries spanning 10 years, shows that between 1997 and 2006, TXU’s coal-fired plants exceeded federal sulfur dioxide emission limits nearly 650 times, spewing more than 1.3 million pounds of excess sulfur dioxide into the Texas air.

Read what the USGS, a government agency, has to say about excesses of SO2, CO2, and hydrogen fluoride relative to volcanic eruptions and regardless of climate change:

The volcanic gases that pose the greatest potential hazard to people, animals, agriculture, and property are sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen fluoride. Locally, sulfur dioxide gas can lead to acid rain and air pollution downwind from a volcano. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is a colorless gas with a pungent odor that irritates skin and the tissues and mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and throat. Sulfur dioxide chiefly affects upper respiratory tract and bronchi. The World Health Organization recommends a concentration of no greater than 0.5 ppm over 24 hours for maximum exposure. A concentration of 6-12 ppm can cause immediate irritation of the nose and throat; 20 ppm can cause eye irritation; 10,000 ppm will irritate moist skin within minutes.

.

TXU went over 8 times the hourly emissions limit for the Martin Lake plant

The Center for Public Integrity website also stated: “Childhood asthma affected about 3 percent of the population in the 1960s, but that figure has climbed above 9 percent, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control. In Fort Worth, a 2003 city health department survey found that asthma rates here were more than double the statewide average, and even higher for children.”

Governor Rick is wrong. Texas is not doing a good job of self regulation. Self regulation is nothing better than the fox guarding the henhouse because industry has no ethics anymore. For instance: “TXU was by no means the only polluter given a free pass by TCEQ. The records gathered by the Center show that, again and again in Texas, air quality enforcement came at the point of a citizen lawsuit, not from the agency.” Texas needs regulations from a higher place because I don’t think things are about to change in the near future in Texas:

As the largest energy provider in Texas, TXU has established an exceptional degree of influence in the Texas statehouse, through a network of high-profile lobbyists and political connections.

In spring 2007 when legislation to increase public oversight over the TXU buyout process was pending in the Senate, TXU and its buyers unleashed a powerhouse lobbying team including former state legislators Curtis Seidlits, Jr., Rudy Garza, Eddie Cavazos, Paul Sadler, and Stan Schlueter, and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk.

According to Texans for Public Justice, TXU and two investor groups spent approximately $17 million during the 2007 Texas legislative session on lobbyists, advertising, food and beverages, entertainment and gifts – including sending 2,400 tacos to legislators and their aides on the first day of the session.

http://www.publicintegrity.org/projects/entry/363/.

There you have it, polluters spending millions to keep polluting, and whining at the same time that it will cost them millions to curb it. Again, what is known as “scrubbers” for coalburners were around in the 60′s. These scrubbers don’t do a thing for CO2 but do reduce SO2 emissions. And there was a Clean Coal Technology Program launched by the DOE in 1986.

It was a cost-shared effort by government and industry to demonstrate innovative coal-burning processes at a series of full-scale facilities around the country and was expected to finance more than $5 billion in projects before it was completed later in the decade. Under the program, the federal government provided up to 50 percent of the total cost of the demonstration projects. In the first two rounds of solicitation for proposals, the DOE selected 29 projects for funding. In the second round, held in the summer of 1988, seven of the 16 successful proposals involved the use of both wet and dry scrubber systems.

Where was TXU? It obviously didn’t take advantage of that program. I think I read somewhere that now it costs around 650 million dollars on average to put scrubbers on coalburners. It’s industry’s problem for not moving faster on behalf of the health and safety of citizens. Does a little over a half billion dollars constitute hardship for big industry that nets billions per quarter?

http://www.allbusiness.com/professional-scientific/scientific-research-development/120873-1.html.

Analysts like Al Armendariz, a chemical engineering professor at Southern Methodist University who is an expert on air pollution and an environmental advocate, said smaller and older facilities could face hefty costs, but major companies won’t feel a thing.

“They’ll say, ‘Look, if we have to spend half a million dollars to re-permit, big deal.’ They probably spend more than that on toiletries for those facilities,” he said, noting that even multimillion-dollar expenses would be a “one-time capital blip” for major companies. Armendariz also said he doubts industry claims that consumers could feel any pain.

http://www.allbusiness.com/professional-scientific/scientific-research-development/120873-1.html.

Al might doubt consumers will feel the pain, but it looks like in Texas and everywhere else the cards are already stacked against the average citizen’s health concerns. As for taxes, have you noticed all the petro commercials airing lately using the fear card…”Prices for consumers will go up. Consumers will be taxed more if the big bad government cracks down on industry pollution and tries to further alternatives.” Industry is already on the move to make Al eat his words.

Taxes and our health and well being should not be pitted against each other like a threat. We’ve been plied with fear for a decade. Consumers should not bear the expense to finance the changes polluting industries will have to make in the future to “clean up” because they failed to make them long ago when it would have been far less expensive. Likewise the consumer should not bear the guilt of any of the health problems that could have been avoided especially in children. Gotta laugh at that one since TXU, the governor of Texas, and anyone else who challenged the EPA obviously feels no remorse for anyone suffering respiratory illnesses at their hands. After all they provided jobs where workers could breathe a toxic brew everyday.

Share

First the Senate and Now the House Attempts to Block the EPA

First Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) Alaska and a group of Republican Senators and 3 Democrats filed a disapproval resolution to stop the EPA from regulating emissions. She patronized the EPA’s power to do that calling it “back door climate regulations.” The really unnerving thing about her disapproval resolution is that coal lobbyists wrote it. Her belittlement of the EPA’s power flies in the face of the 2007 Supreme Court ruling, and the Clean Air Act, which is law, passed by congress, and upheld by the Supreme Court not some “back door climate regulations.”

Now we have congress people Ike Skelton and JoAnn Emerson (MO), and Colin Petersen (MN), filing a bill in the House to stop the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. It seems Ike has decided all by saying “Simply put, we cannot tolerate turning over the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions to unelected bureaucrats at EPA. America’s energy and environmental policies should be set by Congress.” And further on stated: “This legislation is a guarantee that the EPA will not use its rapidly-expanding powers to enact policies which members of Congress know will create untold hardships in the rest of the country, especially in Missouri.”
http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/mo04_skelton/StopEPA.html.

Does Ike know congress approved the Clean Air Act long ago? His alluding to the EPA’s rapid expansion is a real fallacy. The EPA was full of industry people during the Bush Administration and ineffective. Purging the EPA of lobbyists and restoring its power that was upheld by the court in 2007 is not a rapid expansion but a return to normalcy. Funny he wants to overlook that as intolerable all of a sudden.

What he as the people’s representative should find intolerable are representatives both in the house and senate that continually dismiss the law of the land, especially longstanding laws meant to protect the public and allow industry to dictate what should or shouldn’t be followed. Oh, Murkowski flat out admitted to the coal industry’s involvement with her disapproval resolution, but Ike, JoAnn and Colin weren’t without big industry backing either. As house.gov states: “Reps. Skelton and Emerson were joined by representatives of Missouri’s Rural Electric Cooperatives, Missouri’s Municipal Utilities, the Missouri Corn Growers, and the Missouri Soybean Association, among others.”

Share

Friends of America Rally; How Friendly is It?

Over Labor Day weekend we’re going to see a massive political event promoting climate change denial and mountaintop mining according to Credo. Some 25,000 people have signed up for the event. The same climate skeptics will be on board to include Lord Monkton, as well as, the usual messengers of the far right like Sean Hannity. And not a surprise, Ted Nugent will supply music. Hank Williams will even be on board. It’s being dubbed the “Friends of America Rally.”

How friendly is it? The rallies are nothing more than the tangible power of polluting industries like coal and oil that are backing them and strangling the rest of America from moving forward with clean energy jobs, work on new infrastructure to deliver that clean energy, and economic turnaround, not to mention the health aspects of cleaner air and water for generations to come.

It’s ludicrous to call this movement “friendly” to America at all. Who releases invisible, and sometimes odorless, but nevertheless harmful pollutants into the air that also ends up in our water? Who dumps chemicals, drugs, and makes huge environmental mistakes like oil spills and coal slurry spills into our waterways? And did it ever occur to anyone that when we’re assured from the different polluting entities that the parts per million or PPM that is being released is well within the limits of what is healthful for humans that there are 100′s of other industries saying likewise? So the safe limits of PPM of mercury, ammonia, carcinogens from incinerators, and the thousands of supposedly controlled substances entering the air meet up with the PPM limits of mercury, lead, pharmaceutical compounds, big Ag runoff and the like found in our drinking water that meet up with the sometimes tainted food we eat full of additives like corn syrup solids that help along the Type II diabetes problem in the U.S.

The industries that do this to our air, water, and food protest global warming as way to sideline the real issue, which is their pollution, in order stop any policies that might make them clean up their mess, and to avert new green industry that is competition. It’s one of the greediest ploys ever and polluting industry is pulling out all the stops. They put saving jobs out front at these rallies to mask the bad they do to the environment and all of us including their employees in the long run. The rise in cancer rates and new diseases isn’t a coincidence but may be more of an indication of what we’re really eating, breathing, and drinking.

These anti-environmental rallies are called “grassroots” events but DeSmogBlog dubbed them “glorified company picnics.” A New Mexico blog FBIHOP reported: “The Houston Astroturf event [was] an ‘energy employee’s rally’ a more fitting description of the closed door event that drew somewhere between 2,500-3,500 oil industry employees who were bussed in and given yellow ‘Energy Citizen’ t-shirts in “‘another high-priced photo op for the oil and gas industry.’”

It was also stated that one of the rallies in Texas was organized by the DW Turner PR firm that represents BP and Chevron.

The biggest “Friends of America” rally slated for Labor Day in West Virginia is no different. It’s backed by none other than Massey Energy that is a notoriously dirty coal company. According to the Rural Blog, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported:

Massey Energy Co. will pay a record $20 million for polluting streams around its coal mines 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.

The Rural Blog also included 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.

So if you run across Massey’s CEO Don Blankenship’s invitation to the Labor Day rally on You Tube where he says: “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,” beware of the devil who likes to confuse.

Massey IS corporate America at its polluting finest. These rallies support the real extremists.

BTW the rallies aren’t limited to a few states. Michigan has one slated for September 3rd, Detroit’s Burton Manor Banquet and Conference Center.

http://www.allbusiness.com/legal/trial-procedure-suits-claims/10272123-1.html
.

http://irjci.blogspot.com/2008/01/massey-paying-record-penalty-for-water.html.

http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/verizon_massey/?rc=homepage.

Share

HAPPY EARTH DAY!

Good Morning America’s Sam Champion broadcast from one of our national parks in Virginia this morning because he said: “What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to view what it is we’re trying to protect.” He’s absolutely right.

So this is one heck of a video I found on You Tube that does just that. Its owner frotix says that it is the first part of his national parks of America video and hopes we like it. I like the Native American music. It’s appropriate. Watch the first half:

I couldn’t resist adding another video by owner mhnatt who states that it was his first attempt at making a movie. I think he deserves a big hand. He crossed 10,000 miles in 3 months and 3 countries in his trip out west. It’s poignant and a very good mix of all the different terrain we’re trying to protect by curbing global warming and the impact it will have on these places and critters. Notice there is a clip of a wolf.

Watch the trailer:

.

Share