Archive for Energy
The upside of global warming is that we may have pushed back the next ice age. Bloomberg Business reports:
The conditions necessary for the onset of a new ice age were narrowly missed at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research near Berlin wrote Wednesday in the journal Nature. Since then, rising emissions of heat-trapping CO2 from burning oil, coal and gas have made the spread of the world’s ice sheets even less likely, they said.
The period between ice ages is about 50,000 years. But thanks to Standard Oil and the fossil fuels industry, one supposes, that threshold may have been pushed back another 50,000.
“The problem’s not solved because of this accord.” – President Barack Obama
Environmental issues are not my forte, but I followed live the release of the Paris agreement yesterday morning nonetheless. The president later gave this statement:
“I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world,” Obama concluded. “We’ve shown that the world has both the will and the ability to take on this challenge.”
D.R. Tucker at Political Animal wrote passionately about the Paris agreement:
Yesterday, I concluded a post noting that it is some kind of article of faith on the right that “government shouldn’t pick winners and losers.” Rather than call them hypocrites this fine Sunday morning, let’s just say they apply that principle somewhat unevenly.
(Bloomberg) — The Obama administration proposed opening to offshore drilling an area from Virginia to Georgia in a policy shift sought by energy companies but opposed by environmentalists worried about resorts such as the Outer Banks or Myrtle Beach.
The offshore plan for 2017-2022 marks the second time President Barack Obama has recommended unlocking areas in the U.S. Atlantic for oil drilling, and it drew a swift retort from allies who say the payoff doesn’t justify the risk of a spill along the populated coast. The agency said Atlantic leases won’t be auctioned for at least six years and drilling wouldn’t start for several more years.
Well, that’s a relief. Plus, you know, with the Gulf Stream and all, a massive oil spill 50 miles offshore of the Outer Banks might never reach Cape Hatteras.
Heads up, Nantucket.
The proposal is still preliminary, officials suggested:
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told reporters the proposal was a “balanced” approach, but she stressed that it was only a draft.
“It is not final, we’re in the early stages of what is a multi-year process,” Jewell said, cautioning that some regions listed in it “may be narrowed or taken out entirely.”
That caveat and the timing make the announcement a mite suspect. Days ago, the Obama administration had Alaska livid over its request “to designate parts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a wilderness area” off-limits to oil drilling. The request left Sen. Lisa Murkowski fuming. Something about decisions on federal land made Outside being a violation of state sovereignty. Other Alaska legislators were similarly put out:
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker was “outraged” at the timing of the announcement, which comes amid low oil prices and declining production “despite having more than 40 billion barrels of untapped resources, mostly in federal areas where oil and gas activity is blocked or restricted,” the joint statement said.
Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, called the plan “callously planned and politically motivated” in the same statement.
On the heels of the Alaska announcement, the Atlantic drilling proposal is generating predictable howls from East Coast environmentalists:
“This proposal sells out the southeast fisheries, tourism, and coastal way of life,” says Sierra Weaver, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “This is an area that has never been drilled for oil production. These are places and communities that rely on natural resources like clean air and clean water for the quality of life and the lifestyle that they know.”
The White House surely knew its twin decisions would raise firestorms from both the left and right.
A head fake in advance of a Keystone pipeline veto? Or a sop?
(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)
As if the legislature hand not pissed off enough citizens in North Carolina, this item has been flying largely under the radar. Hold onto your groundwater, people, these frackers mean business and they mean to force you into theirs:
Known as compulsory pooling, or forced pooling, the policy allows drillers to tap local natural gas, even if property owners don’t want drillers probing under their homes and farms. Critics compare it to a government’s right to seize private property for the public good, except in this case the parties claiming rights to the land would be for-profit businesses.
“That’s just unfair,” said Therese Vick, a community organizer for the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League. “They’re taking control of your property – your neighbors, the government and a commercial interest – and making you sell your resource.”
The idea is not a new one and has been on the books since 1945, just rarely used writes the News & Observer. Now energy companies want to. The delicately named Compulsory Pooling Study Group will be holding a public meeting Wednesday in Raleigh and forwarding recommendations to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. It may be the last public meeting before the issue moves to the legislature.
Wonder ow all those “No Zoning” folks out in our bright, red counties will respond once they find out control of their their property has been sold to the highest donors?
Don’t forget, those frackers will need water to frack with. Lots of it.
This Saturday, you have the chance to stand together with people who are ready for our clean energy future. Gordon Smith for City Council campaign volunteers will be canvassing Saturday at 10am (details here – FB event page), so consider making a day of it! From the Beyond Coal: A Rally for our Future Facebook event page:
Let’s move Asheville beyond coal! Come take action and call on Duke Energy to retire the Asheville power plant and lead our state in renewable energy. Come out on August 24th from 2-4pm Pack Square and take action! There will be music, kids activities, and speakers, and much more! #ActOnClimate, #FearlessSummer
Currently our electric energy comes the Asheville coal-fired power plant, which is the largest single source of CO2 in Western North Carolina; amounting to over 500,000 extra cars on the road. It is polluting our air, our water and our communities. Not only that, but the coal that we are burning comes from mountaintop removal, which is destroying mountains, sickening communities, and harming the air and water of communities in Appalachia.
With music, kids games, speakers, and much much more!
Speaker Program includes:
Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal Campaign director
Terry M. Bellamy, Mayor of Asheville
Ian Somerhalder, actor (Lost & Vampire Diaries)
Hartwell Carson, French Board Riverkeeper
Drew Jones, Climate Interactive
Dr. Richard Fireman, retired MD
Nick Mullins, coalfield resident
North Carolina has been taking a pounding lately at the hands of Gov. Pat McCrory’s ALEC-fueled legislature. Fracking, Voter ID, and Florida-style drug tests for recipients of public benefits like food stamps and job training are on the to-do list. With more to come. Remarkably, on Wednesday the good guys won one.
North Carolina’s renewable energy industry is safe from legislative threats, for now. Republicans and Democrats in the sponsor’s own committee voted down his bill that would have repealed the state’s clean energy standard. This bill mimicked “model legislation” from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
North Carolina is a test case. The Raleigh News and Observer reports that a bevy of conservative organizations converged on Raleigh hoping to move their agenda ahead by killing the renewable energy program:
Senate Republican leaders are moving quickly on a proposal to fire all current members of key oversight and advisory boards.
Introduced in Senate Rules Committee Tuesday morning, Senate Bill 10 would effectively fire all members of the Utilities Commission, Environmental Management Commission, Coastal Resources Commission, Lottery Commission and Wildlife Resources Commission.
Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican lawmakers would then be able to reappoint board members who agree with their philosophy, essentially clearing out Democrats and other dissenters whose terms haven’t yet expired.
After just 15 minutes of discussion, the bill passed easily along party lines.
After the meeting, Stein called the proposal a “power grab” that’s “breathtaking in its scope,” noting that many of the boards in the bill’s cross-hairs were created to protect consumers, injured workers and the environment.
“They’re going after everything so they can put their stamp on it,” Stein said. “Commissions are supposed to be independent; they’re not supposed to be ideological. And I fear they’re trying to politicize state government in a way that will hurt North Carolinians.”
Injecting millions of gallons of water, sand and toxic chemicals underground beneath the water table to fracture shale and free trapped oil and natural gas? What could possibly go wrong? Mtn. X:
A contentious bill to allow hydrolic fracturing – or “fracking” – for oil and gas exploration in the state passed the N.C. Senate on Wednesday by a 29-19 majority, and is expected to be voted on today in the House.
The bill is expected to pass in the House, and then will face Gov. Bev Perdue and the possibility of a veto. The governor, who quashed an earlier bill calling for test drilling, has subsequently announced that she believes drilling can be done safely in the state.
It’s about more than just fracking. It’s also about further limiting local governments’ ability to determine their own fates:
“Any local ordinances that would have the effect of banning the wells would be repealed by the legislation, and a newly established state Oil and Gas Board would be given the power to preempt any new ordinances that have the effect of banning the wells within a local government’s jurisdiction