Posts Tagged ‘pollution’
Large 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.
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.
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 »
Good 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 »
The 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 »
Say you’re watching Ed or Rachel for your daily dose of progressive news on MSNBC; they go to a commercial break and this 30-second ad pops up:
Just in time for the regulatory review and so-called scoping coal export proposal season here in the Northwest! It prompted me to take a look at the website that flashes briefly during the ad – the Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports.
One minor detail that gets brushed aside is that this is about selling cheap and dirty coal to international – mostly Asian – markets and hauling tens of millions of tons of it through heavily populated regions in the Pacific Northwest to new and/or upgraded export shipping terminals. Even the alliance’s name shuns the four-letter word. Jobs! Exports! Who can oppose that? Read the rest of this entry »
Fracking is getting heat—or at least a lot of attention—at the grassroots and at the federal levels. President Obama this month issued an Executive Order forming an interagency working group “supporting the safe and responsible development of unconventional natural gas resources.”
“Unconventional” in this case is hydraulic fracturing—aka fracking—a natural gas extraction method in which water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground at high pressure in order to fracture, or crack open, layers of rock, making oil and natural gas accessible. Fracking makes it easier to get at the large deposits of oil and gas from shale formations.
But many also contend that it is risky and, in effect, cruel and unusual punishment to the earth’s crust and water resources. Fracking can release harmful pollutants into the air and underground water tables. There is also alarming evidence that the process causes earthquakes, which apparently is what happened last year at a fracking site near Blackpool, England. Read the rest of this entry »
We knew or at least surmised that this was true, but the really scary conclusion from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is that it could get way, way worse: Without more ambitious actions by governments global greenhouse gas emissions could increase 50 percent by 2050.
The warning from the 34-member-nation OECD, whose mission is to “promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world,” in a recent report, OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction, is that rising living standards over the coming decades will mean increased demands for energy, food and natural resources. This will result in sharply higher GHG emissions and pollution.
OECD says the report presents the latest projections of socio-economic trends over the next four decades, and their implications for four areas of concern: climate change, biodiversity, water and the health impacts of environmental pollution. Read the rest of this entry »
A pox on both their houses. Legal battles surrounding the Deepwater Horizon 2010 drilling disaster will be just as messy—and way lengthier—than the spill incident itself.
The latest shots in what bids to be a never-ending exercise in passing the buck and liability were fired last month when oil giant BP went to court in New Orleans claiming that the U.S. contractor Halliburton (you know – Iran, Dick Cheney? That Halliburton) botched the cement work on the doomed oil rig. Read the rest of this entry »
Hey kids! Here’s an idea: Let’s inundate the global market with our cheap dirty coal! We won’t be burning and polluting the atmosphere here in the U.S., merely transporting the coal on 1.5-mile long trains through densely populated areas of the Pacific Northwest, where it will be exported to foreign markets. We’ll boost our exports, help our balance of trade and create jobs!
That’s the gist of the coal industry’s argument for proposals to export tens of millions of tons of coal through the Pacific Northwest to China and other Asian nations.
But major organizations including the Sierra Club, the Sierra Student Coalition, Climate Solutions and Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility are gearing up to derail the coal train idea. Read the rest of this entry »
Talk about turning logic on its head: Four right-wing, anti-big government groups contend the EPA is “abusing” air-quality laws because the agency’s MACT (maximum achievable control technology) utility rules will force coal-fired electrical plants to shut down, thus jeopardizing the security and reliability of the U.S. power supply.
A recent petition by the Institute for Liberty, Americans for Prosperity, Center for Rule of Law, and the Freedom Through Justice Foundation is asking EPA to “look at the facts on electric reliability and its Utility MACT rule, which the agency is rushing to finalize in November.”
The coalition’s petition contends the EPA is rushing to judgment and questions the EPA’s assumptions on electric reliability. “EPA has never taken reliability seriously,” it says. “The message of this petition is simple: slow down, do the job right, and do not put reliable electric service at risk.” Read the rest of this entry »
A few measly drops of mercury can contaminate a twenty-acre lake and the fish that happen to reside there, and you can thank coal-fired plants for that largesse.
A Sierra Club article by Dashka Slater, “This Much Mercury… How the coal industry poisoned your tuna sandwich,” explains a situation in which people who think they are eating healthy are in fact poisoning themselves.
It’s a lengthy, compelling and well-researched article, well worth a read on Blog Action Day.