Environment

Republicans Looking To "Steal" Passage Of Keystone XL Pipeline

Congressional Republicans are looking at legislation that may undermine Obama's ability to veto the Keystone XL pipeline.

Since President Obama’s decision to delay construction of the $7 billion Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, congressional Republicans have been looking for a way to both attack him as dithering on a potential job creator, and simultaneously wanting to wrestle away the President’s authority to approve the pipeline, and do it themselves. Most recently, John Hoeven (R-ND) is attempting to write new legislation that uses congress’ powers to regulate international commerce to bypass President Obama’s power to veto the pipeline’s construction.

This most recent move by congressional Republicans is made more urgent by language included in December’s payroll tax holiday bill that forced Obama to come to a decision on the pipeline within 60 days. That deadline is fast approaching and some republicans fear that in forcing Obama’s hand, he may veto the pipeline’s construction. Obama is caught in a political tug-of-war between his party’s two large constituencies, environmentalists who want the pipeline eliminated and labor unions who want the pipeline’s construction jobs. Hoeven and House Senate Republicans claim that the pipeline will increase oil security in the western hemisphere by making the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil (even though Canada is, technically, a foreign country), and will create as many as 20,000 jobs in the U.S. Environmentalists, on the other hand, believe that it will make no significant different to oil prices within the U.S. and will only create about 5,000 jobs at the expense of putting thousands of miles of ecosystem and agricultural farmland in danger.

Crazy Mild Weather Product Of Crazy Climate Change

...or not. Trends generally require more than a single instance of picnicking in January.

Two years ago my wife and I spent the holidays at her parents’ house. It wasn’t because we were visiting them in some far flung location. They live in the same city. It was because almost five feet of snow fell on Christmas Eve, our little midtown neighborhood wouldn’t see a plow for days, and our little midtown car wasn’t going to navigate the roads. It is Omaha, Nebraska, after all, and these things happen. This year, however, I went for a run on January 4th outside, in shorts and a t-shirt, enjoying a mid-winter day that saw a record high of 66 degrees. Nebraska is not alone in experiencing this unseasonably mild weather.

Fracking Connected To Ohio Earthquakes

Fracking and the subsequent underground disturbances may have helped to cause nine unusual earthquakes in Youngstown, Ohio.

I

f you had told people a hundred years ago that humans would develop a way to cause an earthquake, they probably would have looked at you like you were crazy. Since the development of the atom bomb, we’ve now realized that people can invent all sorts of ways to destroy ourselves and our environment…even accidentally. In November it was announced that a gas company in England had caused a series of small quakes by the use of fracking for natural gas deposits. Now, it seems, residents in Youngstown, Ohio are experiencing a similar disturbance.

“Fracking” is the process of injecting pressurized wastewater into bedrock and literally cracking the rocks, and then extracting the natural shale gas trapped within. Fracking has been highly politicized, and has become a regional environmental fight in the several areas in which it is being used, including Ohio. Although fracking was not supposed to cause seismic events, residents in Youngstown experienced nine quakes around a fracking injection site. In this case it was not from the fracking itself, but from the breaking up of subterranean sandstone to store the wastewater from the fracking. However, this wastewater leaked into a pre-existing fault-line, acting as a lubricant that helped the rock faces of the fault to slip, creating an earthquake.

U.S. Energy Policies for the New Year

 

According to the head of the U.S. oil industry, if our country were to loosen the reins on our policies, our country could become completely self-sufficient (with regards to oil consumption) within the next 15 years.

The head of the American Petroleum Institute, Jack Gerad, contacted congress to do away with any un-necessary energy policies. What is his reason for doing this? Some of these policies he is trying to eradicate would allow for more jobs and help to improve the economy. Some policies currently in place inhibit our nation’s energy supply and are a detriment to national security.

Global Warming: Are We Toast or What?

Facts and Logic Part 8

This has been a constant subject of debate between both sides since Al Gore released his film “A Hard Truth”. Scientist unanimously agree that the earth is warming, there are groups, outside the scientific community that disagree. The heated discussion is: is this alleged global warming caused by us humans?”

But before we make any decisions about Global Warming, let look at the facts. Facts that have been researched by scientists, not some self-proclaimed expert.

A Positive Step, But In The Wrong Direction

I recently read that for the first time in decades, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a new nuclear reactor design for power plants. While Europe and Asia embraced nuclear technology, America stopped production of plants after worries over nuclear waste and the Chernobyl incident.

We recognized that despite years of research, the technology was still too new and unstable. We continued our use of current nuclear plants and continued research. Meanwhile, Europe built more and more and now almost of quarter of their power comes from it.

I am a firm believer in energy self sufficiency, but I am also a steward of the environment. Paving the way for nuclear power plants will improve self sufficiency because pound for pound and watt for watt, nuclear creates the most electricity.

It also creates nuclear waste that must be contained and stored. The new design incorporates technology that will decrease the chances for a accident like Chernobyl and the recent Japanese disaster, but it will not decrease the amount of nuclear waste created. No matter what you do, nuclear fission creates nuclear waste along with the tremendous energy and heat production.

Toxic School Stayed Open for 20 Years due to a Simple Loophole

Students, teaches and parents were all at risk

A toxic school in the Bronx was allowed to put students, teachers and parents at risk for 20 years by way of a real estate loophole. The public school located at 3200 Jerome Avenue was remodeled in what used to be a lamp manufacturing company and had four 550 gasoline tanks underground. The loophole is that it was always a leased spot and therefore wasn’t required by law to disclose information that would normally be disclosed in the sale of a property. As a result, this school had trichloroethylene at 10,000 higher than safe levels endanger human occupants.

Energy Self Sufficiency: Politics as Usual

With the national debt taking up all the news coverage, it's easy to forget some of the easy ways to alleviate the trillions we owe people. If the government was a citizen, it would have been evicted from his house and sent packing.

The legislators have gone back and forth about creating a plan to help alleviate the debt through cuts and cost freezes. I know many people working for the federal government that are quaking in their boots. They are afraid that some of those cuts might be their jobs.

That's a great example to set as we try to climb out of a recession. Why not reduce our dependence on foreign oil? All that money is going to the Middle East instead of the coffers of our own American companies. Believe it or not, but America has oil. In fact, we have a stockpile that will last us about 10 years, plus shale deposits and other ways for us to get oil from American soil.

Solar Panel Technology Predicted To Make Solar Cheaper Than Coal By 2020

New developments are transforming the solar market, overtaking natural gas in a year, and cheap as dirt coal in eight.

When photovoltaic cells (the business end of the solar panel) were first proposed as an energy alternative, opponents dismissed them as far too expensive to be realistic. Supporters predicted advances in photovoltaic technology that would make them cheaper than traditional fossil fuels within a decade. Well, it took a bit longer than that (about twenty to thirty years longer), but it seems that the age of the solar panel has arrived. Recent improvements in technology have dramatically lowered the cost of solar energy, in addition to an increase in the expertise of people installing, operating, and maintaining them.

Obama Caught Between Rock And A Hard Place On Keystone XL Pipeline

...if the rock were environmentalists and the hard place were labor unions.

T

he Keystone XL Pipeline has been one of the most divisive, and potentially damaging, battles for the Democratic Party this election cycle. TransCanada, the oil giant from our northern neighbor, has been seeking to build the pipeline directly through the Midwest, essentially bisecting the country and connecting the tar sands oil extraction in Canada to the global petrochemical hub that is the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way TransCanada has promoted the pipeline aggressively as good for Americans; a job creator with huge potential for American companies. Environmentalists are not so sure. This great divide, between labor and the environment, is creating a very difficult problem for the White House.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Environment