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Archive for the ‘pollution’ Category

25 years later and

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we’ve learned very little, except that fighting Big Oil and especially ExxonMobil is never-ending.

It’s been 25 years since the Exxon Valdez disaster. It’s a major reason for this blog’s existence; I’ve learned that ExxonMobil is bigger and more powerful than ever, and it’s grip on our lives is unrelenting.

ExxonMobil is an empire with it’s own set of rules; it does nothing that will weaken that empire.

A case in point from Friends of the Earth:

Despite the tragic damage to the ocean, wildlife and people, to say nothing of the score of spills since 24 March 1989, the oil industry and its supporters in Congress are pressuring the Obama administration to rescind a 40-year old ban on the export of U.S. crude oil. Lifting the ban would unleash a flood of oil tankers on our ports, significantly increasing the risk of another disaster.

“The Obama administration is turning a blind eye to the anticipated climate and environmental impacts of exporting fossil fuels like Bakken shale and Powder River Basin coal from the U.S., while at the same time touting a climate plan that claims to reduce our damaging impact here at home,” said Marcie Keever, Friends of the Earth’s Oceans and vessels program director. “On top of that, the administration may actually be considering lifting the ban on U.S. crude oil exports, which would exponentially increase climate change and the risks of more Exxon Valdez and Gulf oil spill disasters.”

An infographic, “Gateway to Extinction,” from Friends of the Earth and Healthy Planet/Healthy People details the potential threats posed by the proposed fossil fuel export terminal and pipeline projects in the Northwest. It also shows how lifting the ban would exponentially increase those threats.

gatewaytoextinction[carrie]10.14.13

Save big bucks: close Hanford Nuclear Plant

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CGS_NRCGovRatepayers in Washington State could save $1.7 billion over 17 years if the Columbia Generating Station (CGS) nuclear power plant at Hanford is closed.

A recent 212-page economic analysis from McCullough Research of Portland, OR notes that the CGS on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is the only nuclear facility that was actually completed out of the five plants begun there during the long and tangled history of Hanford. In addition, it contains a General Electric boiling water reactor that’s similar to those that were destroyed during the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

January 17, 2014 at 4:00 am

Fractures in the Fracking Debate

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frackingMore on fracking : a new web video series designed to provoke discussion and disrupt conventional thinking on a wide variety of contemporary issues released its second episode — about the use of hydraulic fracturing – fracking – and its impacts on economic growth and environmental sustainability.

The “Summits on Tenth” series is a joint project of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, a social change philanthropy and AlterNet, an online source of independent news and commentary. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

October 9, 2013 at 4:00 am

Fracking fractures property values

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marcellus_shale_gaswellWhy does the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, method of drilling for natural gas and oil get a pass for its unintended consequences, such as soil, water and air pollution, water waste and earthquakes, among other really bad things?

No need to answer, but there’s another alarming outcome of fracking that could hit close to home, especially if your home is in Bradford County, PA, where 93 percent of the acreage is under lease to a gas company. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

September 20, 2013 at 4:00 am

PNW coal export scoping to include GHG impacts in Asia

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Photo by Paul K. AndersonThe coal industry’s plan to move millions of tons of coal through Pacific Northwest terminals to China and other Asian markets took a serious hit when Washington regulators said environmental impact reviews must consider the worldwide impact of burning the export coal in China.

A major battle surrounding the various export terminal proposals has centered on the “scope” of the environmental review process, such as whether the impact review would be limited to local port and terminal areas in the PNW region. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

September 3, 2013 at 5:00 am

Huge tar sands development in Utah under fire

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tar sandsThe future of tar sands development could reside in a potentially precedent-setting legal battle in Utah.

A coalition of conservation groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and others, recently filed a 253-page “request for agency action” urging the Utah Department of Air Quality to revoke its recent approval of a new oil refinery in Green River, Utah. The refinery is planned by the Calgary-based U.S. Tar Sands. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

August 26, 2013 at 4:00 am

Fracking: toxic snake oil

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snake-oil-front-coverRichard Heinberg and the Post Carbon Institute, in a new book, have effectively deconstructed the supposed benefits—foisted upon us by the oil industry—of the hydraulic fracturing method of gas and oil extraction, or fracking..

In his latest book, SNAKE OIL: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future, Heinberg—journalist, author and senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute—says the “false hype” surrounding shale gas and oil production “has hijacked America’s energy conversation.”

Heinberg’s research shows that “rather than offering the nation a century of cheap energy and economic prosperity, fracking may well present us with a short-term bubble that comes with exceeding high economic and environmental costs.”

He continues, “Horizontal drilling and hydrofracturing (“fracking”) for oil and gas pose a danger not just to local water and air quality, but also to sound energy policy, and therefore to our collective ability to avert the greatest human-made economic and environmental catastrophe in history.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

August 14, 2013 at 5:00 am

New York City a floodplain by 2050? Believe it

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Hurricane Sandy Flooding Avenue C at East 6th StreetNew York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recent warning and major initiative about the impact of climate change on the city might seem like something out of a science fiction novel, maybe Flood by Stephen Baxter. But it’s not SF.

Major portions of the city could be underwater sooner than you think if actions are not taken now.

“I strongly believe we have to prepare for what scientists say is a likely scenario,” Bloomberg said at a press briefing last month at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

July 10, 2013 at 4:00 am

ExxonMobil Adapt to Climate Change? Hah!

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exxonmobil_greenpeaceThe question posed by a guest blogger on ThinkProgress was, “How will ExxonMobil adapt to climate change crisis it helped create?”

Given the oil major’s history the answer should have been pretty obvious, until one saw who wrote the piece: Jane Dale Owen, the granddaughter of Robert Lee Blaffer, one of the founders of Humble Oil and Refining Company, the parent company of ExxonMobil.

Owen is president and founder of Citizens League for Environmental Action Now (CLEAN) www.cleanhouston.org, an organization that provides news, information and education about global and local environmental issues.

Given that background, the premise got somewhat interesting, so let’s see what Owen had to say. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

June 19, 2013 at 5:00 am

Climate change whack-a-mole

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALarge water desalinization plant installations that will replenish water supplies hit by shrinking aquifers are good and necessary things, but those plants require a tremendous amount of energy produced from heavily polluting coal-fired plants, a story in the March 18 New Yorker reported.

Uh-oh.

Devouring a passel of “mega-crabs” from the Chesapeake Bay is pretty great if you’re a big fan of the Maryland Blue Crab, but not so good if that enjoyment comes at the expense of the Bay’s oyster population.

Uh-oh again.

It’s hard not to get the feeling that addressing climate change and pollution is often a case of one step forward and two steps back. Or like a perverse game of whack-a-mole. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

April 22, 2013 at 3:00 am

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