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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 17th, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

80 new coal power plants for Turkey?

from Bahad?r Do?utürk and 350.org
Find out why Turkey is joining Break Free.

This May, thousands of people from all over the world will join a global wave of resistance to keep coal oil and gas in the ground called Break Free from Fossil Fuels. The fossil fuel industry harms people all over the world, and we wanted to share with you some of those stories in the lead up to these actions. You can find out more and join an action near you here.

Friend,

Right now the Turkish government is planning to build around 80 new coal power plants across the country. Four of those will be in my home of Alia?a.

Alia?a is already struggling with extensive pollution due to existing coal plants, and four new power plants will make the problem even worse. At a time when the world could be transitioning to clean energy, the government of Turkey is asking us to sacrifice even more of our health and our environment for this dirty industry.

Coal in Turkey already causes 2,876 premature deaths per year. Imagine the impact of adding 80 new coal power plants on top of the existing 21. And it’s not only the air we breathe; the ?zdemir coal plant in Alia?a currently produces 150 thousand tonnes of coal ash per year, which contaminates our food and our water. There are plans to add a second unit to this plant. This would mean 300,000 tonnes of coal ash per year, not to mention the irreversible damage to our climate.

We decided to join our forces as groups fighting against coal all over Turkey to stop every single new coal plant in our country. On the 15th of May, we are mobilising hundreds of people at the gates of the major ash pond in our area to clearly show that there’s no place for new coal infrastructure here, or anywhere.

We know that the impacts of these new power stations go well beyond Alia?a and Turkey. Coal is the world’s dirtiest power source and the source of carbon emissions and with global temperatures rising faster than anyone predicted the planet can not afford 80 new coal power plants. And we can not afford another coal plant in our town.

Will you stand with me and people all over the world as we fight to keep fossil fuels the only place they are safe: in the ground?

There has never been a better time to break free from fossil fuels.
People all over the world are planning bold actions of their own, which will keep fossil fuels in the ground and demand the transition to clean energy we know is possible.
Click here to find out more and to join an action near you: breakfree2016.org

signed:
Bahad?r Do?utürk

 350.org is building a global climate movement. You can connect with them on Facebook, follow on Twitter, and become a sustaining donor to keep this movement strong and growing.

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Please note that giant Peabody Coal Company of the USA declared bankruptcy today – as use of coal is dropping these days.
Sorry to say – but obviously this makes happy those that in the past clashed with the hold this company had on US governments.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 23rd, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Environment

2016 Elections, Climate Change, Climate Desk, Science, Top Stories
Attention GOP Presidential Candidates: Winter Does Not Disprove Global Warming –
Weather is not climate.

By Jeremy Schulman of Mother Jones
| Mon Jan. 26, 2015 1:24 PM EST

Update, 1/21/2016: With an epic blizzard expected to bury Washington, DC, this weekend, and an epic caucus night quickly approaching in Iowa, I decided to revisit this post. It remains true that winter storms and cold weather are in no way inconsistent with global warming. But I can no longer stand by my assertion that Donald Trump is “probably not going to run for president.” As Rick Perry would say: Oops.

Snow is falling across the Northeast, and millions of people are preparing for a massive blizzard. Due to the extreme winter conditions, my colleague at Climate Desk has issued the following advisory:

Tim McDonnell Verified account
?@timmcdonnell

PSA: Big snowstorm ? (IS NOT) proof global warming is a hoax.

It may seem obvious to you that the existence of extreme winter weather doesn’t negate the scientific fact that humans are warming the planet. But that’s probably because you aren’t a climate change denier who’s contemplating a run for the GOP presidential nomination.

Last year, for example, Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) weighed in on the issue. “It is really freezing in DC,” Cruz said during a speech on energy policy, according to Talking Points Memo. “I have to admit I was surprised. Al Gore told us this wouldn’t happen!” Cruz said the same thing a month earlier, according to Slate: “It’s cold!…Al Gore told me this wouldn’t happen.”

And former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on his Fox News show, negated global warming as well after a major blizzard back in December 20, 2009.

Which brings us to a couple of Republicans who are probably not going to run for president but who have nevertheless generated headlines recently by suggesting they might. Here’s Donald Trump, during a cold snap last year:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps,and our GW scientists are stuck in ice
2 January 2014

And then there is a Facebook post of January 12, 2012, from former Gov. Sarah Palin, citing extremely cold winter temperatures in her home state of Alaska.

Palin Facebook

If you’re a regular Climate affectionado, you already know why all this is wrong. You understand the difference between individual weather events and long-term climate trends. You probably even know that according to the National Climate Assessment, winter precipitation is expected to increase in the northeastern United States as a result of climate change. But if you’re a Republican who wants to be president, please pay close attention to the following video:

to get his – lease look at –  www.motherjones.com/environment/2…

also, if you want updates on the effects of the blizzard – CNN.com –  BreakingNews at mail.cnn.com

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 27th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)


A West Virginia Family Leaves Coal for Local Food and Wants to Help Others Do the Same.

Sunday, 27 December 2015 00:00 – By Laura Michele Diener, YES! Magazine | Op-Ed, Re-posted by Truthout.

The sound of a train whistle interrupts conversations every hour, on the hour, in the small town of Kimball, West Virginia. Linda McKinney and her son Joel were showing me the beds in their community garden when the rushing of the train overwhelmed the quiet sounds of crickets, stream, and rain. Linda and Joel were used to it and continued their conversation over the noise, shouting about how they should plant more marigolds, pulling berries off the vine for me to taste, and admiring a second crop of peppers that had sprung up overnight. The train roared along, carrying away some of the last coal processed in McDowell County.

“Coal is dying,” Joel told me. “Coal’s almost dead. Nobody wants to say it. It is what it is. On the international market, it’s dead for this area.”

He used to work for Norfolk Southern, the same railroad company that operates the train that just passed through. He has watched the number of trains loaded with locally mined coal decline, replaced with ones full of goods made elsewhere: cars, chemicals, and goods bound for Target. He grew up in a coal-mining family, the son and grandson of coal miners on both sides, and has watched as the industry’s decline decimated the place where he grew up. “This place is dying. I mean, it is. I’m from here, it’s sad to say it.”

Official numbers back up his words. As in the rest of the region, the total number of coal miners in McDowell County has declined since the heyday of the industry in the first half of the 20th century . That trend has continued in recent years, with the number of miners in the county falling from about 1,700 in 1990 to about 1,100 in 2014. There are many reasons for this: processes such as mountaintop-removal mining require fewer workers than underground mining, and the local coal industry faces competition from cheaper sources such as Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, as well as from natural gas drilling. Many of the county’s remaining jobs are low-paying ones in fast-food restaurants or the prison system.

Unemployment leads to poverty and alarming health trends. According to 2011 data, more than 46 percent of McDowell County residents were obese; the U.S. national average was 34 percent. The average life expectancy is one of the lowest in the nation at 64 for men and 72 for women; the national averages are 76 and 81. The county also leads the state in number of teen pregnancies and people on disability.

Despite these problems, McDowell suffers from a shortage of health care resources such as health professionals and addiction-treatment centers. Even sidewalks can be rare along the busy, winding roads, discouraging walking. Families get trapped in desperate cycles of disease, unemployment, and addiction

So what is left for residents? Many have left in search of employment. Others have succumbed to a sense of despondency. Local politicians blame President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency for mine closures and advocate for a return to a coal-based economy through campaigns such as “Friends of Coal.” Others join the 14 percent of McDowell County citizens who are unemployed, hoping and waiting for the mines to reopen.

But Joel, Linda, and the rest of their family have a different answer. “Agriculture,” Linda responds, without missing a beat. “Everybody—I don’t care if there’s two people left in the county—they’ve got to eat.”

Her family is doing its best to get that transition started. At Five Loaves and Two Fishes, the food bank they run to serve McDowell County residents, the McKinney family maintains a traditional garden as well as five hydroponic towers. The produce they grow not only supplements the food they give out, but acts as an educational model to encourage people to start their own gardens and agribusinesses.

Food and Faith

Five Loaves is located in an old Save-A-Lot store building on the side of the main road running through Kimball. It has been a food bank since 2001, and in the care of the McKinneys since 2009, when they took it over from longtime friend, theReverend Albert “Bubby” Falvo.

Joel and his father Bob have converted the front area into a comfortable porch with rockers, benches, flowerpots, and stacks of pallets. While planning my first visit, I tried to get directions over the phone. Linda reassured me. “Honey, if you come into McDowell county, all roads lead to the food bank.”

“Miss Linda,” as her friends call her, is the heart, soul, and chef of Five Loaves. She works full time there, or rather, volunteers full time, as she works entirely for free. At 59, with flashing black eyes, she possesses a certain glamour, even when dressed in old jeans and surrounded by packing crates. She laughs loudly, with a resounding and joyous “Ha!” and a nudge to bring you into the joke.

Although Linda calls herself a “holler girl”—using the Appalachian slang term for a rural valley—and has always lived in McDowell County, she grew up in an Italian-speaking family. Having lost her mother as a little girl, she was raised by her nonna, or grandmother, who spoke no English but cooked meals for the entire holler. Nonna, who was born Maria Nicola, emigrated with her husband, Philip Pizzato, from the Italian city of Naples in 1913.

“Everybody thought they were going to get rich in the mines,” Linda says. The Pizzatos didn’t get rich, but Philip, whom the other miners called “Mr. Patches” since they couldn’t pronounce “Pizzato,” earned a steady living for his wife, six sons, and five daughters until he died in a car accident in 1947.

Linda’s entire manner expresses this dual heritage. She pronounces certain words with a melodious accent, slipped between the slow syllables of her southern twang: minestrone, basilico. “When I was little we would grow basil in a washtub, and Daddy would say, ‘Go out and get some basilico’—that’s what we called it.”

Linda learned to cook at her nonna’s side. “We didn’t have recipes. Nothing was measured out, but each day had its own purpose. Monday was bread baking day. Sunday, we made sauce, always red sauce, never white. … On Sundays, food stayed out all the time and we would just eat all day long.”

They made chicken cacciatore, homemade pasta (they hung the noodles on a pole over the bed), egg frittatas, and Italian wedding soup, all of which Linda remembers fondly. But she also snuck out to the neighbors’ place to try pinto beans and biscuits. Her recipes now are a mix of local and foreign, old world and new.

“She just wants to feed people,” her daughter Jina Belcher explained, and that was certainly true for me. Each time I visited, Linda fed me, cooking with fresh ingredients from the garden. Since I’m a vegetarian, she made me some standards: veggie dip with chips and carrots, chocolate mousse, and my favorite, kale salad with strawberries, of which she is especially proud. “When people tell me they don’t like kale, I say, ‘You ain’t tasted my kale.'”

Linda makes and gives out wholesome, healthy food because that’s what she was raised on and what she fed her own children—but also because she wants to reverse the health trends in McDowell County. She understands that obesity and poverty go hand in hand, as half the county is on some kind of public assistance and may not be able to afford fresh produce. But she believes that education and changes in lifestyle can help people get their hands on good food, even when they don’t have much money.

Every Wednesday of this summer, she held community cookouts in the gardens with an emphasis on healthy eating and fresh vegetables. Nearly 400 people attended regularly, Linda estimates. She also offers Zumba classes (she’s a certified instructor), vegetable planting parties, and cooking courses.

In addition to her passion for healthy eating, she finds herself motivated by her Christian faith, which was nurtured in riverbanks, mountain soil, and in the small Methodist church where she worshipped as a child. She is a certified Methodist lay pastor, which means she can preach but not perform communion or weddings. “I could go anywhere in any church and feel comfortable, except where there’s snakes,” she says, referring to a Pentecostal ritual where certain parishioners hold venomous snakes during worship as an expression of faith.

She shuddered and then broke into laughter. “I won’t go to no snake church.”

She finds her faith renewed each time she reaches her fingers into the dirt. “I totally believe that relationships are built at a table and in a garden. When you bring those two together, you have family.”


Betting on Agriculture

Unlike his mother, Joel McKinney does not like dirt, and he hates bugs. What attracts him is the challenge of invention. Full of restless energy, he rarely stands still. As we spoke, he paced around his hydroponic towers, lifting up vines and pulling off dead leaves with gestures alternately rough and tender.

“I’m a science nerd,” he told me more than once. He practices a form of urban agriculture usually pursued indoors, but does it outside so it’s visible to local people. The unusual sight of the five white plastic towers, each one more than eight feet tall and bursting with rainbow-colored vines, attracts curious passers-by. Which is exactly what Joel is hoping for—to get locals excited about the economic possibilities of growing. “Agriculture is the best possible future for McDowell County,” he insists.

This work has consumed all his time for the past year, since he quit his job as a signalman for Norfolk Southern. Soon after that, he received a veteran’s grant from West Virginia State’s agricultural program to start a greenhouse at the armory in Welch, the county seat. He devoted himself full-time to growing—moving into his parents’ basement, enrolling in Penn State’s online program for a degree in agriculture, and building and maintaining hydroponic towers on the armory grounds in Welch, as well as the ones at Five Loaves. To do all this, he has taken out around $30,000 in loans. “So in about two and a half years, if something don’t happen, life’s going to be hard,” he says. “But I’m pretty certain.”

While Linda is propelled by faith, it’s the prospect of a good living that motivates Joel. Although he says he will never charge for food at Five Loaves, he hopes his towers at the Welch armory will eventually turn a profit. He has already approached grocery retailers Wal-Mart and Kroger. Once he begins selling vegetables, he plans to roll the funds back into the community garden at Five Loaves to finance projects there, including a CSA program that will distribute groceries directly to local people, a permanent farmers market, a plant store with seedlings for sale, and most of all, educational programs. His goal is to provide a model for sustainable business that others in the region could learn from.

“This is kind of small-scale,” he acknowledges, “but I want to start here, learn the ropes, and then take it to the county level.”

Feeding the County

It was August 22, the third Saturday of the month. Welfare checks were running low, and the residents of McDowell County descended on Five Loaves for the food giveaway. Cars lined both sides of the road. Old men rested in their pickup trucks, while women with camp chairs chatted in the sun. The lively atmosphere of a town festival pervaded, with children racing around the porch, scrambling over the pallets, and running through the garden. The men smoked down by the river at the back of the garden. One man with a white beard gestured toward the tree tops, preaching to the smokers. “Who do you think created this blue sky?” he asked.

There was only enough food for 150 families, and it was first come, first served. So even though the giveaway began at noon, most of the people had already been there for hours to ensure they were included. Some had brought tents and camped out the night before. One family had waited since 2:30 in the morning.

The food had come from a variety of sources. Much of it arrived in trucks that come once a month from Operation Blessing’s Hunger Strike Force, a humanitarian organization founded by the minister and TV personality Pat Robertson. Five Loaves receives donations from the local Wal-Mart as well as from individual donors.

At noon, everyone lined up on the porch for their turn to receive a grocery cart, move through the warehouse grabbing products from the freezers and shelves, then back outside to sort through three big bins of produce. Volunteers, all with relatives waiting in the line, moved the people along and helped push the carts and load up cars.

Linda kept the line in order with an iron will. “You git off my porch with that cigarette!” She shouted, chasing a recalcitrant man. She sat at the head of the line for hours, joking with people and rising to hug them.

One man waited around all day to collect any unused scraps for his pigs. He hovered at Linda’s shoulder, never speaking, his blue eyes like pinpoints lost in a creviced face, a bandana tied on top of his battered fedora. Occasionally he carried a bag of lettuce or such to his truck. “That’s Mr. Chester,” Bob McKinney said, pointing him out to me—he knew almost everybody.

Unlike Linda, Bob stayed in the background, pushing carts and lifting boxes of food. A slim man with round glasses, he spoke in soft, measured tones.

We heard Linda’s voice rising above the crowd. Bob gestured over to her as she chattered away with the woman at the front of the line. “She’s a networker,” he said, smiling fondly. “Me, I’ll take care of the rest.”

The rest included all the maintenance, the electrical work on the building, and keeping the forklifts and freezers in good working order. Bob is an ordained Methodist minister, but had never been completely comfortable speaking in front of people. “I had felt a calling in the ministry,” he explained, “but it’s this kind of ministry.”

A mine-safety teacher, Bob is the only member of the family still actively employed in coal. Like his father before him, he has worked in the industry his whole life, either as a teacher or a safety inspector, but he also acknowledges that mining is no longer economically viable for southern West Virginia.

As a minister and then at the food bank, he has witnessed the toll the changing economy has taken on McDowell County. He pointed out a number of people in the line who had jobs, sometimes commuting outside the county, but still couldn’t make it through the month. Others were disabled from accidents in mines or on construction sites. As I looked at the crowd, I noticed that a good portion were elderly—women with white hair plaited around their heads, men in suspenders lounging against the wall beside their walkers.

Bob looked them over worriedly. “Politicians have the attitude—’Them people just here for a handout.’ ‘Get a job,’ they say. Get a job where? I say, ‘You give ’em a job, I’ll stop giving ’em food.'”

A World Beyond Coal

“My dad was a coal miner my entire life. That’s how I was raised. That’s how he fed us, so as far as that’s concerned, my heart is there.” Jina, Bob and Linda’s youngest child, is certainly her mother’s daughter. Her determination bursts through in her voice, even more so than Linda; she speaks quickly and articulately. She works full-time at a local bank in Welch and also takes care of all the finances for Five Loaves, which she sees as far more than a place to pick up food once a month.

Like her parents and brother, she sees the food bank as leading the way in economic alternatives to coal in McDowell County. The daughter and granddaughter of coal miners, she also dated one all through high school and eventually married him. But at Concord University, which she attended on a full scholarship as a recreation and tourism major, she learned about the effects of mountaintop-removal mining on the environment. She is also aware that opportunities for coal mining are waning in southern West Virginia.

“I do think it’s a dying industry, and I think that if we could get the passion of these ex-coal miners involved in a new agricultural business, that it could flourish.”

Some former coal miners have transitioned successfully, and Jina points to her husband, Justin “JD” Belcher, as an example. After 7 1/2 years at the same mine, he found himself laid off. But he took the opportunity to pursue videography, which had always been his passion. Entirely self-taught, he submitted a trial reel to a local car dealer and now works full time for the company as a video editor. He also runs his own wedding videography business, Unscripted Memories.

Justin has taken charge of public relations at Five Loaves and makes films for the food bank’s Facebook page. “When we look at our life two years ago when he was in the mines, yes, of course there was more money,” Jina says. “But now it’s stable and he’s doing what he loves.”

His transition, she believes, could be a model for the community.

All Roads in the County

Linda McKinney was right when she told me all roads in the county lead to the food bank. That might sound depressing, but there’s more to it than dependency. In McDowell County, the Five Loaves and Two Fishes food bank is the heart of the community, a place people go for education, fellowship, and vision.

“I love going out there early in the morning, walking into that garden,” Linda says. Her vision acknowledges the coal heritage of McDowell County, which brought her grandparents over on a boat from Italy in the hope of striking it rich, and kept them fed and clothed for generations. But it also looks beyond it to a future of self-sufficiency and small businesses fueled by cultivated fields bursting into bloom in the hollers.

In the future she wants to see, people will flock to the county she loves rather than flee from it. “This county’s been good to me. It’s been good to our family. It’s been good to my husband. Where else would I go? I wouldn’t do well. I’m too loud.” She laughed in her joyful manner, shaking her whole body.

“They can say, poor, poor West Virginia and poor, poor, McDowell County. I don’t do that. I’m gonna be the brightest little star I can in my little corner where God put me.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 27th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

She also will propose: “Other areas of focus will be improving the efficiency of buildings and ensuring that fossil fuel production is ‘safe and responsible,’ and protecting financial markets from climate-related risks.” Will this satisfy the Stop Climate Change advocates?


Hillary Clinton Unveils Far-Reaching Climate Change Plan

Hillary Rodham Clinton at a campaign event at Iowa State University in Ames on Sunday July 26, 2015 as reported by the NYT.

DES MOINES, July 26, 2015 — Promising more than a half-billion solar panels by the end of a first term and an ambitious target of clean energy for every home in America in a decade, Hillary Rodham Clinton unveiled goals on Sunday evening to reduce the threat of climate change.

She said she would continue President Obama’s sweeping plan to limit carbon emissions from power plants, and announced targets that even push beyond current goal’s for greenhouse gases.

Mr. Obama’s proposed regulations are expected to be finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency in August, and the real work of making the changes — shutting down coal plans and increasing the number of renewable electricity sources — would fall to the next administration.

The Clinton campaign said the goals, set out on its website in a video, were the first of a six-plank plan to address climate change that Mrs. Clinton would continue to unveil in coming weeks and months.

Other areas of focus will be improving the efficiency of buildings, ensuring that fossil fuel production is “safe and responsible,’’ and protecting financial markets from climate-related risks.

In the video and at an earlier event, Mrs. Clinton said that critics of taking strong action, who include most of the Republican presidential candidates, were ignoring the seriousness of the threat.

“Those people on the other side, they will answer any question about climate change by saying, ‘I’m not a scientist,’’’ Mrs. Clinton said in Ames, Iowa on Sunday. “Well I’m not a scientist either. I’m just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain.’’

Mrs. Clinton also promised to help any workers who lose their jobs as coal plants respond to Mr. Obama’s plan to limit carbon emissions. Appalachia, once a bastion of Democratic support, has been hostile to Mr. Obama for what officials like Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority leader, call a “war on coal.”


“I will be very clear, I want to do more to help in coal country,’’ Mrs. Clinton said at the event. She expressed gratitude to men “who mined the coal that created industrial revolution that turned on the lights that fueled the factories, who lost their lives, who were grievously injured, who developed black lung disease.’’

Mrs. Clinton’s pledge to produce “enough renewable energy to power every American home within 10 years of taking office’’ — that is, by 2027 — is even more ambitious than Mr. Obama’s plan.

The president has pledged to get the United States to produce 20 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030 — essentially tripling renewable power from today.

Mrs. Clinton’s plan would arrive at 33 percent, said Heather Zichal, who served as Mr. Obama’s senior climate change adviser until last year.

“I think this initial statement from her is a strong signal that she’s committed to a thoughtful policy that pushes the envelope,’’ she said.

Mrs. Clinton’s rollout of a climate plan, the latest in a series of policy agendas, was in part intended to counter the threat on her left from Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who draws thunderous cheers at rallies when he calls for the immediate action on the warming climate. And unlike Mr. Sanders, Mrs. Clinton has not clearly stated whether she opposes building the Keystone XL pipeline, which has become the leading rallying cry of grass-roots environmentalists.


On Friday, Tom Steyer, the billionaire climate activist, said that in order to receive his backing and financial support, a candidate would have to pledge to enact an energy policy that would lead to the generation of half the nation’s electricity from renewable or zero-carbon sources by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050.

Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland who is also seeking the Democratic nomination, has already put forth such a plan.

In a statment, Mr. Steyer praised Mrs. Clinton’s proposal without offering explicit financial support. “Today, Hillary Clinton emerged as a strong leader in solving the climate crisis and ensuring our country’s economic security,” he said.

Also:
On the other side – “Strong showing for Donald Trump in Iowa and New Hampshire.”
The other contenders in the lead are Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and GW Bush’s brother Jeff Bush. No climate related proposals from any of them yet. Moving up fast is Ohio Governor John Kasich who in just 10 days moved in New Hampshire from unknown to 7%.

On the Democrats side Mrs. Clinton leads Senator Bernie Sanders in Iowa by 55 to 26; in New Hampshire by 47 to 34.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 30th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)


Sellouts: The Senate & the Keystone XL Pipeline

By Charles Pierce, Esquire
30 January 2015


Well, the Senate is now set to double-dog dare the president to veto a bill mandating the construction of our old friend the Keystone XL pipeline, the continent-spanning death funnel designed to bring the world’s dirtiest fossil-fuel down from the environmental hellspout of northern Alberta, through this country’s most valuable farmland, and down to the refineries on the coast, and thence to the world.

Instead of discussing (again) what a dreadful idea the pipeline is, let’s mention the nine (!) Democratic senators who voted to submarine the White House in favor of this catastrophe waiting to happen.

Nine Democrats joined a unanimous Republican caucus to support the bill: Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Tom Carper of Delaware, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana and Mark Warner of Virginia.

OK, Heidi Heitkamp is about one head-scarf short of being an oil sheikh at this point, and Joe Manchin is hopeless on any issue involving the extraction industries because of coal. But what the hell is up with Tom Carper? What’s Delaware’s dog in this fight? Shipping, I guess, and the same thing could be said for Bob Casey, Jr., who is following the family tradition of bailing on his party when it suits him. (The residents of Pennsylvania, with their land fracked half to death and their water capable of being used as lighter fluid, should be alerted to the fact that their junior senator voted with the industries that have done the damage.) Donnelly of Indiana voted for it so nobody would call him a tree-hugger on the radio, and I suspect Mark Warner wanted to burnish his “centrist” credentials as well. These are all very lame excuses, but Claire McCaskill has none. Of the nine poltroons, her state is closest to the proposed route of the death funnel, and it will be most affected by whatever happens when the pipeline breaks, because it will, because it is a pipeline and they break. That doesn’t mean she hasn’t tried to cobble one together.

“It’s going to be either moved by train, or it’s going to be moved by barge, or it’s going to be moved by pipeline. The safest way for it to be moved is by pipeline. It also has the benefit of more jobs,” said McCaskill when asked about her vote for a pipeline bill offered by Senate Democrats within weeks of losing their majority in last November’s mid-term elections.

Let it be moved in all those ways, but let Canadian oil be moved through Canada, which is a harder sell, because they take their environmental regulations — and their treaties with their indigenous peoples — a lot more serious than we do. So we serve as North America’s Louisiana, with our own Cancer Corridor. Which reminds me:

The vote is a big win for Louisiana lawmakers. Before December’s Senate runoff in that state, the two candidates, incumbent Democratic senator Mary Landrieu and her challenger, GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy, both pushed bills to approve the pipeline. The House approved Cassidy’s bill, but the Senate defeated Landrieu’s and he went on to take her Senate seat in the election.


And some of the comments:

+32 # fredboy 2015-01-30 15:46
If Warner doesn’t understand clean water, he shouldn’t be representing the Commonwealth of Virginia in the U.S. Senate.

Disgraceful.

For some time now, here in Colorado, I’ve been passing on my logo for a Dem. governor, Hickenlooper:

HICKNLOOPER IS A POOPER, FOR PROMOTING FRACKING

And now, since his vote in the egregious and gonna be so damaging and health destroying Keystone Pipeline, I’ve got a similar logo for Dem. Sen. Michael Bennet:

GET BENNET OUT OF THE SENATE,
FOR HIS VOTING FOR THE KEYSTONE WAR

Yep, a political war it now is – bi-partisan effort to impeach this POTUS, Obama, should he not veto, as he said he would, this Keystone Pipeline, and a Dem. vote out of any and all obviously bought off Dem. Senators who are listed above, and who are very likely to vote to overcome a veto, should Pres. Obama keep his word and veto, as he’s said he would, the deadly Keystone Pipeline.

+32 # Luckyenough 2015-01-30 15:57
As a Pennsylvania resident, I am at a loss as to how in the name of heaven Casey could have supported this filthy oil traveling anywhere through the US. I wonder if the route had been through PA if he would have been so ready to suck up to the moneyed interests. My fingers are ready on the keyboard to send a letter telling him he is not representing MY interests, and I am one of a minority of dems in my rural very red county!

+30 # Blackjack 2015-01-30 16:05
What they all understand perfectly well is their political futures, which they think is tied to sucking up to the oil/gas industries. What they don’t give a fig about is the best interests of those of us who don’t benefit from oil/gas extraction in our back yards–you know those of us who actually voted for them so they could vote against us. And is anyone else sick of the lame-brained excuse that it will bring “jobs?” That’s the excuse that has been given forever by polluters of all stripes and what it has given us instead is ecological nightmares which we, the indentured servants, i.e., citizens, have had to pay for. . . sometimes after getting sick, and even dying, from whatever brand of poison they foisted upon us.

+3 # BillW72 2015-01-30 16:14
Does nine Democrat senators mean that Obama’s veto can be easily overridden?

+15 # Carol R 2015-01-30 16:16
“Donnelly of Indiana voted for it so nobody would call him a tree-hugger on the radio…”

BP Oil in NW Indiana (Whiting, IN) is already processing Tar Sands oil. Our air was 16th most polluted in the US, according to the American Lung Association. BP Oil puts 2 million tons of pet coke into our air every year.

Just who was Donnelly voting to help? Hoosiers or BP Oil?

AND # skylinefirepest 2015-01-30 16:39
Pipeline is the safest method of transportation for almost any product. Do you drive a car? Wear clothes? Eat food every day? If so, people, then oil put it there for you. We cannot survive without oil. Get over yourselves.

AND +25 # Blackjack 2015-01-30 17:05
It’s you who should get over yourself! You can make excuses all you want for the polluting excesses that make for part of the greed that has been a part of our country for far too many years. You can have some oil/gas for a time without being excessive and you can also look for greener alternatives and support them or you can be satisfied with excess and greed!

+13 # REDPILLED 2015-01-30 17:34
People once thought that way about whale oil. See this: James Hansen slams Keystone XL Canada-U.S. Pipeline: “Exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate

 thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/06…

-45 # brycenuc 2015-01-30 17:08
Skylinefirepest is absolutely right. Besides, oil cannot produce the erroneously maligned carbon dioxide until it is refined and burned. It will produce the same amount of harmless carbon dioxide in the atmosphere where ever it is refined and burned. Once that oil is produced, it will be refined and burned.

Of all the stupid things to blame for global warming pipelines are at the top of the list.

+19 # X Dane 2015-01-30 17:19
skylinefirepest.
I wonder if you live close to a pipeline or processing plant?? if you did you would not be so flip, for it is the dirtiest most polluting oil on the planet. And it will ONLY bring destruction…. and disaster, when it breaks,

We are producing plenty of oil in our own country, we do not need Canada’s filthy crap. YOU need to inform yourself before you try to lecture us. You probably do not understand that it is also the most expensive to refine.

+16 # Cassandra2012 2015-01-30 17:49
Skyline PEST
Keystone will only benefit the Koch Bros. and Trans-Canada Oil. It will produce only 35 permanent jobs and threaten the Oglala aquifer and the farmland of eight states.

Filthy dangerous tar sands oil is NO answer to our energy needs. Time to actually develop green solutions as IS BEING DONE IN PLACES LIKE ICELAND and Scotland. We are rapidly becoming a third world country as we succumb to the machinations of the Koch/ALEC oligarchs.
Wise up!

+19 # Barbara K 2015-01-30 17:46
Not only is this crap coming from Canada, but it is not for us. It is going to the Gulf to be shipped to China. We are taking all the risks and getting none of the benefits. A foreign company is taking over farmland by eminent domain that belongs to American citizens. This should not be allowed. No foreign entity should be able to take away an American’s land. That is in the constitution. On top of all that, it is the Koch roaches who stand to gain $500Billion dollars on the deal. It is always, always, all about the money.

+6 # Laird999 2015-01-30 18:22
If this tar sands oil gets used it is GAME OVER – the climate will be ruined for humans – so for the Senator to say “this oil will be transported anyway” is idiotic. Anybody who says its ok to develop tar sands oil is essentially a traitor, a Benedict Arnold. Spills are bad, but spills are nothing compared to Game Over and Climate Ruin. The pipeline will speed up societal suicide. We used up our carbon budget, now we must make a stand and leave the vast majority of the carbon in the ground, or else we guarantee Climate Ruin.

=======================================================

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 19th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

OPINION | Op-Ed Contributor to the New York Times, December 18, 2014

Coal, an Outlaw Enterprise

By ROBERT F. KENNEDY Jr.

The outsize influence and campaign donations of King Coal subvert democracy in Appalachia.

 www.nytimes.com/2014/12/18/opinio…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 17th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 

    Tax Breaks That Are Killing the Planet

 The comments show how deep is the Republican brainwashing of the population. You have here pundits for whom loss of life is nothing when compared to what they think is the right of corporations to make a profit.

What is even worse, nobody asked whose oil and coal is it anyway?  If Natural Resources are the property of the Whole Nation, then why should a company get depletion subsidies for their appropriating to themselves the natural National treasures? The whole system of paying royalties is inadequate – but the payment to them for the deletion of the resources is ridiculous. Getting a bonus for gains from misappropriated resources is much more like rewarding the CEOs for being great thieves! Just give it some more rational thinking and use the babble of the comments as your guideline.   ST.info editor)

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 12th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 

About This Blog
The climate.bna.com blog expands on Bloomberg BNA’s expertise in covering climate change and clean energy issues by offering a fresh take on legal, regulatory, and policy developments in the U.S. and around the world. We also invite you to visit climate.bna.com, BBNA’s free online energy and climate digest. BBNA also offers a subscription news service, the Energy and Climate Report. Please note that comments to the blog will be held for review by the editors before being posted live.

 

Climate
BLOG

 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Senate ‘All-Nighter’ Suggests Long Road Ahead for U.S Climate Action.

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CapitolAtNightPhotoAndrewHarrerBloomberg

One by one, nearly 30 Senate Democrats came to the Senate floor last night in what they touted as an all-nighter on climate change, a mix of policy speeches and political theater that sought to hammer home their message that climate change is real and Congress needs to act.

But in trying to present a unified front, they also served to underscore the serious hurdle they face in trying to revive climate change legislation that passed the House in 2009 but died in the Senate a year later.

Environmental groups noted that the dusk-to-dawn speeches that began March 10 brought nearly one-third of the U.S. Senate to the floor, including Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other members of his leadership team. “Climate change is real,” Reid said. “It’s here. It’s time to stop ignoring the crisis of rapidly rising global temperatures.”

But getting one-third of the Senate still left many Democrats missing. Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska)—all in competitive races that could decide who controls the Senate next year—were absent.

So was coal-state Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), who in a 2010 campaign ad took “dead aim” with a rifle and shot a copy of the cap-and-trade bill. Manchin sounded a note of unity by arguing Democrats are generally in agreement that climate change is occurring. But he said he was not asked to speak on the issue by his colleagues.

“I would have been happy to participate,” Manchin said.

Once-Supportive Republicans Absent.

However, getting the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster threat and pass a U.S. climate bill would require convincing not only such coal-state Democrats but also Republicans.

None of the 45 Senate Republicans joined Democrats on the floor to call for climate action. Instead, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who once called climate change a “hoax,” came to the floor just before Democrats launched their speeches to say he remains a skeptic.

But other Republicans were notable for their absence: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who co-authored three bills over the last decade to put mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who co-sponsored a 2007 emissions cap bill.

Some Republicans, including Murkowski and Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), said there was a reason for that: they were not invited.

“I was actually hoping I might be able to do it early tonight,” Murkowski told reporters, adding that she had worked on a speech days earlier that “speaks to energy issues and weaves climate in [it] brilliantly.”

The Alaska Republican said she would offer the speech soon, adding “I don’t think what you’re going to hear tonight is policy. I think it’s going to be more theater.”

“I was not approached,” Collins told Bloomberg BNA, before adding that she agreed climate change is a concern. But “this is a partisan exercise,” she said.

Democrats Hope for ‘New Dawn’ on Climate.

Senate Democrats readily acknowledge that it could take years to revive a climate bill given strong opposition to any legislation by Senate Republicans but also in the Republican-controlled House. 

However, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who co-authored the cap-and-trade bill when he was in the House, said Democrats were launching a “new dawn” and that the speeches would bring the Senate one step closer to getting a climate bill passed.

Markey joined other longtime climate advocates speaking on the floor including Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). But there were also newcomers such as Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who argued that the scientific evidence linking climate change to human activity is overwhelming and irrefutable.

Schatz, who was touted as the lead organizer of Democrats’ night of floor speeches, called it an “opening salvo” toward getting legislative action. Markey said he hoped raising the profile of the issue would allow for more comprehensive legislation to be passed in two or three years.

Some Republicans said such predictions were little more than a pipe dream.

“You’re going to hear 30 hours of excuses from a group of people who think that’s OK,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told colleagues just before Democrats began. “Well it’s not OK. It’s cruel,” he said. “It’s cruel to tell struggling coal families that they can’t have a job.” 

McConnell said environmental advocates and Democrats are targeting the coal industry under the guise of addressing climate change.

Earlier in the day, White House Spokesman Jay Carney stressed that President Barack Obama, who has long supported U.S. climate action, “absolutely” supported the effort by Democrats to highlight the issue with an all-night focus on climate change.

___________________________

This blog was co-authored by Anthony Adragna.

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 26th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 

 

Kumi Naidoo | Don’t Bet on Coal and Oil Growth
Kumi Naidoo, Reader Supported News
Naidoo writes: “A mind-boggling sum of about $800 for each person on the planet is invested into fossil fuel companies through the global capital markets alone. … The amount of money invested into the 200 biggest fossil fuel companies through financial markets is estimated at 5.5 trillion dollars. This should be an impressive amount of money for anyone reading this.”
READ MORE

 

How the Coal Industry Impoverishes West Virginia
Omar Ghabra, The Nation
Ghabra writes: “There’s a joke circulating among Syrians who fled the brutal conflict devastating their country to the quiet mountains of West Virginia: ‘We escaped the lethal chemicals in Syria only for them to follow us here.’ Of course, what’s happening in West Virginia right now is no laughing matter.”
READ MORE

———-

By Kumi Naidoo, Reader Supported News

 

25 January 14

 

mind-boggling sum of about $800 for each person on the planet is invested into fossil fuel companies through the global capital markets alone. That’s roughly 10 percent of the total capital invested in listed companies. The amount of money invested into the 200 biggest fossil fuel companies through financial markets is estimated at 5.5 trillion dollars. This should be an impressive amount of money for anyone reading this.

 

By keeping their money in coal and oil companies, investors are betting a vast amount of wealth, including the pensions and savings of millions of people, on high future demand for dirty fuels. The investment has enabled fossil fuel companies to massively raise their spending on expanding extractable reserves, with oil and gas companies alone (state-owned ones included) spending the combined GDP of Netherlands and Belgium a year, in belief that there will be demand for ever more dirty fuel.

 

This assumption is being challenged by recent developments, which is good news for climate but bad news for anyone who thought investing in fossil fuel industries was a safe bet. Frantic growth in coal consumption seems to be coming to an end much sooner than predicted just a few years ago, with China’s aggressive clean air policies, rapidly dropping coal consumption in the U.S. and upcoming closures of many coal plants in Europe. At the same time the oil industry is also facing slowing demand growth and the financial and share performance of oil majors is disappointing for shareholders.

 

Nevertheless, even faced with weakening demand prospects, outdated investment patterns are driving fossil fuel companies to waste trillions of dollars in developing reserves and infrastructure that will be stranded as the world moves beyond 20th century energy.

 

A good example is coal export developments. The large recent investment in coal export capacity in all key exporter countries was based on the assumption of unlimited growth of Chinese demand. When public outrage over air pollution reached a new level in 2012-2013, the Chinese leadership moved swiftly to mandate absolute reductions in coal consumption, and banned new coal-fired power plants in key economic regions. A growing chorus of financial analysts is now projecting a peak in Chinese coal demand in the near future, which seemed unimaginable just a couple of years ago. This new reality has already reduced market capitalization of export focused coal companies. Even in China itself, investment in coal-fired power plants has now outpaced demand growth, leading to drops in capacity utilization.

 

Another example of potentially stranded assets is found in Europe, where large utilities ignored the writing on the wall about EU moves to price carbon and boost renewable energy. Betting on old business models and the fossil-fuel generation, they built a massive 80 gigawatts of new fossil power generation capacity in the last 10 years, much of which is already generating losses and now risk becoming stranded assets.

 

Arctic oil drilling is possibly the ultimate example of fossil companies’ unfounded confidence in high future demand. Any significant production and revenue is unlikely until 2030, and in the meanwhile Arctic drilling faces high and uncertain costs, extremely demanding and risky operations, as well as the prospect of heavy regulation and liabilities when (not if) the first major blowout happens in the region. No wonder the International Energy Agency is skeptical about Arctic oil, assuming hardly any production in the next 20 years. Regardless, Shell has already burnt $5 billion of shareholders’ money on their Arctic gamble.

 

Those investing in coal and oil have perhaps felt secure seeing the global climate negotiations proceed at a disappointing pace. However, the initial carbon crunch is being delivered by increasingly market-driven renewable energy development, and by national level clean energy and energy efficiency policies — such as renewable energy support schemes and emission regulation in Europe, or clean air policies in the U.S. and in China. Global coal demand, and possibly even oil demand, could peak even before a strong climate treaty is agreed.

 

Investors often underestimate their exposure to fossil fuels, particularly indirect exposure through e.g. passively managed pension funds and sovereign debt of strongly fossil fuel dependent states. Assessing exposure, requiring fossil energy companies to disclose and reduce carbon risks, and reducing investments in sunset energy technologies will lead to profitable investment in a world that moves to cleaner and smarter energy systems.

 

Improving competitiveness of renewable energy, growing opposition to destructive fossil fuel projects, concerns on water shortage and the imperative of cutting global CO2 emissions all point in the same direction: Governments, companies and investors should all be planning for a world with declining fossil fuel consumption — not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it makes economic sense. It is the direction the world will be moving to — faster than many yet anticipate.

================================================================================

Following our original posting, we watched today the Fareed Zakaria show at CNN/GPS and reporting from Davos – from the World Economy dialogues, he pointed out that 85 people own as much wealth as the lowest 3.5 billion people of the World.

Then he also mentioned that the 5 members of the family that owns Walmart own a disproportionate part of the wealth of the US – to be exact – just as much as 42% of all Americans.

He also said that there were no problem if everybody would improve their economic standing and the few at the top just grow more – but the reality is that the Middle class is receding and the explanation is that we moved from the human based Manufacturing Age to a machine based Manufacturing Age that does not need humans in the production line. This is endemic and this spiral is bound to drive us further down.
Now a big company like Apple employs only 50,000 Americans – so he has a true argument.

Because he mentioned Walmart this triggered my Sustainable Development thinking as I know that the Walmart company is in partnership with Mr. Jigar Shah in order to decrease their expenditure on electricity by allowing him the use of the roofs covering their stores to produce with photovoltaics the electricity they need. In effect they just did what the US government ought to campaign for. If they are so smart they indeed deserve being so rich – and they put the rest of us to shame because we do not have the initiative to improve our lives by ourselves.

In the context of this posting – why do we not rebel against those in Washington that insist the government sends dollars overseas to buy oil when there is no compelling reason to continue this man-made dependency on unneeded resources? Just think what array of industries could spring up from alliances like that of Jigar and Walmart? The whole Davos exercise ought to be reorganized – the apple of the economy is rotten not because of high-tech apples but because of the intentional subsidization of the old low-tech industries and the move to a globalized market that does not allow for globalized sustainability. You can bet safely that the Koch Brothers will push the US deeper in the hole of retardiness – this because it benefits their old ways of making money.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 13th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

TODAY’S NEWS:  THIS WE POSTED JANUARY 10, 2014

A U.S. attorney has opened an investigation looking into the release of a potentially dangerous chemical into parts of West Virginia’s water supply.

Nearly 200,000 residents in nine counties have been told not to drink the water and avoid cooking with it, brushing their teeth or even taking a shower.

The spill of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol was found coming from a 48,000-gallon tank at a chemical storage facility about a mile upriver from the West Virginia American Water plant. The chemical is used to wash coal before it goes to market.

—————————————————–

THE NEW UPDATE – January 13, 2014:

Restaurants reopen with bottled water after West Virginia spill

Date: 13-Jan-14

Author: ANN MOORE of Reuters’ Planet Ark

 

Restaurants reopen with bottled water after West Virginia spill Photo: LISA HECHESKY
Water is distributed to residents at the South Charleston Community Center in Charleston, West Virginia, January 10, 2014.
Photo: LISA HECHESKY

(Reuters) – Restaurants and shops began reopening on Sunday in parts of West Virginia where the water supply was poisoned by a chemical spill, although up to 300,000 people spent a fourth day unable to use tap water for anything besides flushing toilets.

State government officials, the utility company West Virginia American Water and the National Guard continued to test the water supply after as much as 7,500 gallons (28,000 liters) of an industrial chemical leaked into the Elk River on Thursday.

It could still be several days before people in nine counties and Charleston, the state capital and largest city, can once again use the water from their faucets for drinking, cooking and bathing.

Earl Ray Tomblin, the governor of West Virginia, and other officials said at a press conference on Sunday that efforts to flush the chemical from the water supply were showing signs of progress, and that most water samples were found to be within safety limits for a second day.

But they did not specify when the drinking water ban might be lifted, instead saying they were working to create a website where residents will be able to check to see when the restriction is lifted in their area.

“Our team has been diligently testing samples from throughout the affected area, and the numbers look good,” Tomblin said. “I believe we’re at a point where we see light at the end of the tunnel.”

A dozen restaurants in Charleston had been allowed to reopen by Sunday afternoon by the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department after assuring officials that they have secured a source of potable water.

“It feels very expensive,” said Keeley Steele, who bought hundreds of bottles of water in order to reopen her comfort-food restaurant, the Bluegrass Kitchen, in Charleston on Sunday. “This is all coming at such a huge cost.”

Hotels were allowed to continue operating as long as they steer clear of using tap water, although several hotel owners said they were only honoring existing reservations to reduce the expense of shipping out linens for cleaning.

Officials have so far declined to estimate the economic cost of the spill.

Frustrations, however, continue to mount, with West Virginians lamenting the toll the outage has taken on their health and personal hygiene.

“It feels like we’ve all been living on junk food these past couple days,” Josephine Ritter, a 40-year-old hairstylist, said outside a recently reopened 7-Eleven convenience store in Charleston. “You can’t cook or clean or anything. It’s just bottled water and potato chips every day.”

The emergency began last week after a spillage from a tank belonging to Freedom Industries, a Charleston company that makes chemicals for the mining, steel and cement industries, authorities said.

The spill happened about a mile upriver from a West Virginia American Water treatment plant. President Barack Obama declared it an emergency, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent dozens of tractor trailers loaded with clean water.

Water tainted by the spilled 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, or Crude MCHM, smells faintly of licorice. Contact with the water can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, rashes and reddened skin. Around 70 people had visited emergency rooms with these symptoms by Sunday, said Karen Bowling, Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

Some 1,045 people have called the West Virginia Poison Center since the spill to say they or someone in their household had been exposed, she said.

The “vast majority” of those people reported symptoms of some kind, said Elizabeth Scharman, the poison center’s director. While there is little data on the chemical’s effect on humans, she said most symptoms were easily treated and that rashes and feelings of nausea would soon fade.

“It’s not a highly toxic chemical, it’s an irritant chemical,” she said, adding that less than 10 people had had to be admitted to a hospital. More than 60 people had also called to say their livestock or pets had been exposed.

Meanwhile, some West Virginians are anticipating a disheveled start to the new work week.

“I’m not looking forward to going back to work on Monday without a shave or shower,” said Clark Mills, a 51-year-old contractor in Charleston. He has sent his family to stay with relatives in an unaffected part of the state while he waits out the problem.

“I have a 6-month-old baby,” he said. “We can’t live like this.”

(Reporting by Ann Moore and Jonathan Kaminsky; Writing by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Eric Walsh)

———————————-

 

Calls for Oversight in West Virginia Went Unheeded

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 29th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Sitting at the computer with a hurricane howling in the background, and discovering an article that dares to predict an election trend, is a quite unusual experience. I guess Ernst Hemingway would have been a cogniscenti.

Five places where Hurricane Sandy could affect the election.

Posted by Aaron Blake in the Washington Post on October 29, 2012 

We’re still waiting for the full impact of Hurricane Sandy. But we’ve got at least a sense for what lies ahead in the next hours and days.

The National Weather Service has issued a series of warnings up and down the East Coast.

Below, we take a geographical look at the five most politically important areas in the path of the storm:

1. Philadelphia: This is where Democrats win elections in Pennsylvania, and it’s smack-dab in the middle of where the hurricane is supposed to make landfall. There is currently a flood warning in place for Philadelphia. The question is whether whatever happens over the next week hurts turnout in this vital area of the state. There is no early voting, so Democrats won’t be losing votes before Election Day, but they’ll need this area to come out strong on Nov. 6. If it doesn’t, that could give Republicans a better chance in a blue-leaning state (and a huge electoral vote prize).

2. Boston: This is where Romney’s campaign headquarters is, while Obama’s HQ appears safe in Chicago. If power goes out on Romney HQ, how can it run a real campaign? (No word from Romney camp on any backup plans/whether they have backup power in place.)

3. Southwest Virginia: The most conservative part of this very important swing state appears primed for a sizable snowstorm. Losing power is one thing, but not being able to get to the polls s another. There are winter storm warnings in place for significant portions of southwest Virginia and blizzard warnings in place in a couple counties (along with more blizzard warnings right across the border in West Virginia). Some counties in very conservative western North Carolina are also under a winter storm warning, which could lower early vote turnout there.

4. Western and coastal North Carolina: While western North Carolina faces a potential snowstorm, two counties in coastal North Carolina shut down their early voting operations on Monday with the hurricane approaching. If the storm hits hard enough in the western and eastern parts of the state and leaves the more urban middle parts of the state alone (Raleigh and Charlotte, for instance, are only under wind advisories), that probably hurts Republicans more. And the impact will be immediate, with in-person early voting in full swing.

(In-person early voting doesn’t exist in New Hampshire and isn’t as big a deal in Virginia, where it requires voters to have a valid excuse. About the only other state where a big early voting shutdown could occur is Ohio.)

5. Northern and eastern Ohio: Ohio is expected to feel the hurricane. At this point, northern and eastern Ohio are under high wind warnings, but more conservative western Ohio and southern Ohio are not. The vast majority of the counties Obama won in Ohio in 2008 were in northern and eastern Ohio, while he lost most of the territory to the south and west. It seems apparent this the storm could affect more Obama voters than Romney voters in Ohio. And again, early voting is in full swing here, so every day matters.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 17th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

17 Oct 2012 3:30 AM

 grist.org/politics/obama-and-romn…

Obama and Romney spar over energy in second debate, ignore climate yet again.

By Lisa Hymas

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama at second debate Reuters / Lucas Jackson

Energy issues were front and center at Tuesday night’s presidential debate, starting right with the candidates’ first set of answers. But that wasn’t good news for climate hawks.

Climate change got not a single mention — partly the fault of moderator Candy Crowley. After the debate, Crowley said on CNN that one of the town-hall audience members had wanted to ask a climate question, but she didn’t call on that person.

Of course, the candidates still could have mentioned climate change during their discussions about energy, and they didn’t. Instead, President Obama and Mitt Romney both reiterated their all-too-familiar talking points — Obama talking about an “all of the above” energy policy and putting some emphasis on a clean energy future, Romney talking about an “all of the above” energy policy and putting a lot of emphasis on the dirty fuels of the past.

Romney took some knocks from fact-checkers for his energy statements. Romney also took some knocks straight from Obama — but, depressingly, most of them consisted of the president defending fossil-fuel development.

—-

Gas prices:

In an exchange over gas prices, Romney said that when Obama took office, gasoline was selling for about $1.86 a gallon and now it’s at $4.00 a gallon. As analysts have pointed out over and over again, that low price in January 2009 was an anomaly because the economy was in free fall and had sent demand plummeting.

That gave Obama a lead-in for one of his best lines of the night:

It’s conceivable that Governor Romney could bring down gas prices because with his policies, we might be back in that same mess.

A good moment for Obama — inasmuch as a president touting increased gasoline demand can be good.

———

Oil drilling:

The candidates got into a spat over oil drilling on public lands. Romney said “oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production was down 9 percent. Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters.” When Obama tried to respond, Romney reverted to prep-school bully mode and interrupted over and over, but Obama finally got this out:

Here’s what happened. You had a whole bunch of oil companies who had leases on public lands that they weren’t using. So what we said was you can’t just sit on this for 10, 20, 30 years, decide when you want to drill, when you want to produce, when it’s most profitable for you. These are public lands. So if you want to drill on public lands, you use it or you lose it. And so what we did was take away those leases. And we are now reletting them so that we can actually make a profit.

Fact-checking site PolitiFact says that Romney’s 14 percent figure, which refers to the change between 2010 and 2011, is “cherry-picked,” and that the drop-off can be largely blamed on the BP oil disaster.

“From a statistical standpoint, to take one year out of three — one year is not indicative of a trend,” [said Jay Hakes, former head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration].

So we pulled the numbers from when George W. Bush was in office — January 2001 to January 2009 — as well as from when Obama was in office. …

• From 2004-08, well into Bush’s tenure, oil production on federal lands and waters fell in four of five years, for a net decrease of 16.8 percent.

• From 2009-11, the Obama years, oil production rose two of three years, for a net increase of 10.6 percent. [emphasis mine]

And, as Politico’s fact-checkers point out, a president can’t do much of anything about gas prices anyway.

So that’s a win for Obama — inasmuch as a president bragging about increasing oil drilling is a win worth winning.

———–

Coal:

At another point, Romney questioned Obama’s commitment to fossil fuels, saying the president “has not been Mr. Oil, or Mr. Gas, or Mr. Coal.” Obama couldn’t let that stand. He said it was Romney who has not been loyal enough to coal.

[W]hen I hear Gov. Romney say he’s a big coal guy, I mean, keep in mind, when — Governor, when you were governor of Massachusetts, you stood in front of a coal plant and pointed at it and said, “This plant kills,” and took great pride in shutting it down.

That’s true. In 2003, standing in front of the Salem Harbor Power Station, Romney did say “that plant kills people.” And Obama’s been using that line to bash Romney in a campaign ad, much to the chagrin of enviros.

Again, a hit for Obama — inasmuch as a president claiming to be the bigger friend to the coal industry is a hit worth hitting.

———–

Keystone XL:

Romney said, once again, that he really, really wants to build the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline:

We’re going to bring that pipeline in from Canada. How in the world the president said no to that pipeline? I will never know.

Obama responded:

And with respect to this pipeline that Governor Romney keeps on talking about, we’ve — we’ve built enough pipeline to wrap around the entire earth once.

So, I’m all for pipelines. I’m all for oil production.

Nice line about pipelines wrapping around the globe. But Obama really is all for pipelines and oil production. He had to be forced by mass protest to delay a decision on the northern half of Keystone, and he enthusiastically approved the southern half.

So another point for Obama — inasmuch as … oh, you get the point.

——————

Wind power:

Finally, on the subject of wind power, Obama got a hit on Romney that didn’t involve defending filthy fuels.

[O]n wind energy, when Governor Romney says “these are imaginary jobs.” When you’ve got thousands of people right now in Iowa, right now in Colorado, who are working, creating wind power with good-paying manufacturing jobs, and the Republican senator in that — in Iowa is all for it, providing tax breaks to help this work and Governor Romney says, “I’m opposed. I’d get rid of it.”

Romney responded, “I don’t have a policy of stopping wind jobs in Iowa and that — they’re not phantom jobs. They’re real jobs.”

But Romney did call the clean energy economy “imaginary” in a March 2012 op-ed in The Columbus Dispatch: “In place of real energy, Obama has focused on an imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy.”

And Romney does oppose a key wind tax credit that’s due to expire at the end of the year — a tax credit that Republicans from wind-power states, including Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, support. If it’s allowed to expire, it could wipe out 37,000 jobs.

—————-

The bottom line:

Obama did talk during the debate about building a clean energy economy: “we’ve got to make sure we’re building the energy source of the future, not just thinking about next year, but 10 years from now, 20 years from now. That’s why we’ve invested in solar and wind and biofuels, energy-efficient cars.”

But in today’s political climate, Obama just doesn’t believe he can turn his back on fossil fuels and still win the election. It’s not even clear that he wants to turn his back on fossil fuels.

————–

Meanwhile, Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who does repudiate dirty energy, got arrested Tuesday when she tried to enter the debate site.

Lisa Hymas is senior editor at Grist.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 30th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

THE NEW YORK TIMES QUOTATION OF THE DAY – May 30, 2012 – The Traditional Memorial Day.
“You cannot wave the white flag and let the environmentalists and regulators declare victory here in the heart of coal country.”
ROCKY ADKINS, state representative from Kentucky, in response to a plan for one of the state’s largest power plants to switch from coal to natural gas.
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THE ENERGY RUSH

Even in Coal Country, the Fight for an Industry

By ERIC LIPTON

With the coal industry under siege across the country, an announcement that the operator of the Big Sandy power plant near Louisa, Ky., planned to switch to natural gas prompted an uproar.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 12th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

We found among our REFERRERS a terrific blog and in turn we recommend it to you – our readers:

witsendnj.blogspot.com/

Wit’s End.

Their posting today is as follows and please go see:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This IS America

The blogger seems to be:

About Me

My Photo

Gail
New Jersey, United States
The summation of my motivation for starting this blog can be found at my WWF Witness Profile here:  www.panda.org/about_our_earth/abo…. Beyond that, I post random thoughts and musings from Wit’s End, a little farm I share with a dog, 2 indoor cats and 2 barn cats, a flying squirrel (Whippersnapper), Sun Conure (Bird), African Grey (Simon), a dozen chickens, a pair of peafowl, sundry koi in the pond, and various wildlife visitors, most notoriously among them, a voracious fox.

View my complete profile

googletracker – It’s Over –

First I got worried about trees. They all looked sickly, or even dead – and that’s what led me, much to my detriment, to learn more about climate change than I had dreamed in my worst nightmares could possibly be happening, in my backyard, in the lifetime of myself and my children…and extreme weather, and peak oil, and collapse of the ocean food chain from acidification, and mass extinction, and everything happening much faster than predicted, and, and…See please and think –

“Technological Progress is Like an Axe in the Hands of a Pathological Criminal”

– So said Albert Einstein.
– – – – – = – – – – – – – – – – –

“Telling the Truth

If we climate activists don’t tell the truth as well as we know it—which we have been loathe to do because we ourselves are frightened to speak the words—the public will not respond, notwithstanding all our protestations of urgency.

And contrary to current mainstream climate-activist opinion, contrary to all the pointless “focus groups,” contrary to the endless speculation on “correct framing,” the only way to tell the truth is to tell it. All of it, no matter how terrifying it may be.

It is offensive and condescending for activists to assume that people can’t handle the truth without environmentalists finding a way to make it more palatable. The public is concerned, we vaguely know that something is desperately wrong, and we want to know more so we can try to figure out what to do. The response to An Inconvenient Truth, as tame as that film was in retrospect, should have made it clear that we want to know the truth.

And finally, denial requires a great deal of energy, is emotionally exhausting, fraught with conflict and confusion. Pretending we can save our current way of life derails us and sends us in directions that lead us astray. The sooner we embrace the truth, the sooner we can begin the real work.

Let’s just tell it.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 17th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The CNN ireport – LIVING IN A TOXIC TOWN. CNN and Dr. Sanjay Gupta invite you to put on video what you know.

 www.ireport.com/ir-topic-stories….

Living in a toxic town

Many residents of Mossville, Louisiana, suspect their proximity to more than a dozen chemical plants may be responsible for what they say are high rates of cancer and other diseases in the area.

Is there a place near you where pollution is making people sick? CNN is investigating the environment’s effects on health as part of Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Toxic Towns USA special. We want you to join us in the newsgathering process.

“Put yourself on video and document conditions in your area, or take photos of what’s around you. Tell us what industrial or chemical pollution may be contributing to health problems for you and those you love, and be sure not to put yourself in a dangerous situation,” CNN writes.

“Tell us about toxic towns near you and Dr. Gupta may report on your community.”

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