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Posts Tagged ‘pollution

Seattle, Tacoma get EPA grants for clean diesel initiatives

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Mt Rainier over Port of SeattleThe ports of Seattle and Tacoma received nearly $2 million In grants under a new Environmental Protection Agency initiative that recognizes U.S. ports for improving environmental performance and sustainability.

It’s a great move because port areas generate some of the worst diesel emission problems in the nation, whether it’s from the cargo ships that dock at terminals without powering down their engines, the terminal equipment that services the ships, or the hundreds of trucks moving to and from terminals to load and unload the cargo. Read the rest of this entry »

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

Norwegian firm says CCS technology more welcome in U.S.

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carbon emissionsCarbon capture and storage technologies designed to reduce carbon emissions get a better reception in the U.S. than in Europe, according to Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM), a Norwegian firm that tests CCS technology.

For one thing, there’s a lot more carbon to capture and store in the USA, and a lot of carbon emitting gas and coal fired plants still around. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

March 12, 2014 at 4:11 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

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

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

The air up there is getting better?

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smog_jonathanpohGood news about the air we breathe is, well, good news indeed. Also rare. But there is some good news regarding ground level ozone, or smog, courtesy of research from Rice University and the EPA.

This can get a bit technical, but thanks to the EPA the difference between ground level ozone and high-altitude ozone, in simple terms, is: ozone is “good up high, bad nearby.” We need that high altitude ozone layer to protect the atmosphere and us. But ground level ozone, created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight, is harmful. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

April 4, 2013 at 3:00 am

Supremos get in on clean trucks action

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LA_cleantruckThe Supreme Court will hear a trucking industry challenge to rules Los Angeles adopted five years ago that are designed to curb truck emissions at the nation’s busiest port.

The case (American Trucking Associations vs. City of Los Angeles) will determine the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Clean Truck Program at the Port of Los Angeles. Similar rules are also in force at the nearby Port of Long Beach. The question centers on whether cities and states have authority to limit pollution from trucks moving long-haul cargo.

The answer to that question would seem a no-brainer, especially in environmental circles, but the ATA contends that the local clean truck regulations run afoul of a federal law that deregulated motor carriers. So complications ensue. There is a provision in the law that preempts any state or local measure that is “related to the price, route or service of any motor carrier.” The purpose of that provision is to speed the free flow of trucks, buses and other shippers and to prevent local or state rules that would add to costs to those movements. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

February 5, 2013 at 11:23 am

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