education


Date: 11-Mar-10
Country: US
Author: Jon Hurdle

Obama Aide Urges Listing Of Gas-Drilling Chemicals Photo: Jon  Hurdle/Files
A worker at EnCana’s Frenchie Draw gas-drilling rig in central Wyoming guides sections of steel pipe into an 11,000-foot well in this September 19, 2009 file photo.
Photo: Jon Hurdle/Files

President Barack Obama’s top environmental adviser urged the natural gas industry on Tuesday to disclose the chemicals it uses in drilling, warning that the development of massive U.S. shale gas reserves could be held back otherwise.

Joseph Aldy, special assistant to the president for energy and the environment, said concerns about water contamination from drilling chemicals could lead to states requiring disclosure and that could deter additional investment.

“You can’t leave this in the status quo if you think we are going to have significant shale gas development in the United States,” Aldy told Reuters after a natural gas conference.

Some energy companies decline to publish lists of toxic chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, a technique used to extract natural gas from shale beds far underground.

Companies have been under pressure from critics of fracturing and from some lawmakers, who say the technique is damaging the water supplies of people who live near gas rigs.

Aldy said it is unclear whether fracturing chemicals are fouling groundwater but acknowledged the industry is under pressure from those who say the process leads to contamination with chemicals that can cause a range of illnesses.

“I don’t think we have the information to assess that,” he said.

Aldy said the industry could disclose the chemicals voluntarily, as some companies already do, or through regulation.

He declined to say whether the Obama administration supports the “Frack Act,” a Congressional bill that would require drilling companies to disclose the chemicals and give the Environmental Protection Agency oversight over the industry, which is now regulated by the states.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said on Monday she was “very concerned” about the composition of fracturing fluids and that she hoped the agency would conduct a study this year if it obtained funding.

U.S. shale gas reserves are estimated to contain enough of the clean-burning fuel to meet national demand for at least a century. A current boom in development has been made possible by fracturing technology that injects water, sand and a mix of chemicals to fracture the shale at high pressure.

(Editing by John O’Callaghan)

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Date: 11-Jan-10
Country: US
Author: Richard Cowan

Beleaguered U.S. Climate Bill Seeks Obama Lift Photo: Shannon Stapleton
The Valero St. Charles oil refinery is seen during a tour of the refinery in Norco, Louisiana August 15, 2008.
Photo: Shannon Stapleton

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech to Congress could indicate how badly he wants a global warming bill, which opponents say will cost U.S. jobs and raise prices — a scary prospect for politicians trying to ride out a horrible economy in an election year.

Obama, who played a dramatic role in negotiating a nonbinding international climate change accord last month in Copenhagen, now faces a tough economic and environmental balancing act to win the climate change legislation in 2010.

Administration officials insist it can be done despite the political difficulties in an election year. “President Obama and this administration … expect that a comprehensive energy bill, which includes a climate portion, to be passed this year,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu told reporters Wednesday.

For that to happen, Obama must put a “job-creation focus” on the bill to build a U.S. economy that would run more on alternative energy than dirty-burning coal and oil, said Daniel Weiss of the Center for American Progress. “The more specifics the better” in the State of the Union speech, Weiss added.

On Friday, Obama announced new tax credits to encourage investments in clean energy development that he said would help combat climate change and create jobs.

“This initiative is good for middle-class families. It is good for our security. It is good for our planet,” Obama said.

A House-passed bill is floundering in the Senate, where Obama has to convince 60 of 100 members to back a bill.

In one area — government incentives for expanding nuclear power — Senate sources said progress has been made in closed-door talks in search of a “sweet spot” for a compromise on the legislation that they hope to pass in coming months.

Even so, Senate backers and environmentalists off Capitol Hill say they are uncertain of climate change victory in 2010.

Difficult negotiations are expected between senators who want to require industries to cut their carbon emissions and those who see a climate bill as a vehicle for also helping domestic producers of nuclear power and oil and natural gas.

And, many Republicans are working hard to cast doubt on claims the climate change bill will create jobs.

Within the next few weeks, Senator Lisa Murkowski could force a Senate vote to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon emissions as a fallback if more comprehensive climate legislation is not enacted.

“This is a vote about the economy, not about the climate — whether these regulations will harm the economy,” said a Senate Republican aide.

If Murkowski, whose state of Alaska is a major oil and gas producer, manages to get a strong vote, even if less than needed to pass her measure, some undecided Republicans and Democrats could have second thoughts about voting later this year on a more comprehensive climate bill.

SENATORS SEEKING COMPROMISE

Despite all the hurdles, a bipartisan group of senators is forging ahead on a bill to cut carbon emissions by utilities, refineries and factories over the next four decades by 17 percent from 2005 levels.

Senator John Kerry, who is leading the effort, expects to be recovered from surgery and back in Washington when the Senate reconvenes on January 20, to huddle with independent Senator Joe Lieberman and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, according to a spokeswoman. The two are key to winning support from moderates and conservatives.

One Senate staffer said 17 pro-nuclear senators have had input into what could become a major provision of the bill aimed at luring Republican votes. “That part (nuclear power) ironically is in fairly good shape at this point.”

While nuclear power plants do not emit the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, the industry has been weighed down by prohibitively high construction costs and controversy over nuclear waste storage.

Expanding domestic oil and gas drilling is another important goal for Republicans and that component of a climate bill is “still 100 percent in flux,” said the Senate source.

While producing more oil and gas here will do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it would reduce dependence on foreign oil and potentially lure Republican votes.

On the sidelines of the U.N. climate meeting in Copenhagen, Kerry left open the possibility that the core of the climate bill could be scrapped. That is the “cap and trade” system for reducing carbon emissions through ever-dwindling pollution permits that could be traded on a new exchange.

A carbon tax and a “cap” without the “trade” component are among possibilities. But for now, Kerry, Lieberman and Graham are sticking with cap and trade, aiming to quell nervousness over the scheme by including tougher market controls.

(Editing by Jackie Frank and Bill Trott)

© Thomson Reuters 2010 All rights reserved

by Sami Grover, Carrboro, NC, USA on 11.21.09

Image credit: Cedar Consulting

Contradictory science is nothing new within the green movement—from those who claim that solar energy could power the world to those who argue that nuclear power could solve the energy crisis, from those extolling biochar for carbon sequestration and soil improvement to those who say it could destroy the biosphere. In fact, it’s in the very nature of science to constantly question, deliberate and reexamine the evidence available, and consequently there are almost always differing opinions and seemingly contradictory studies. But at some point we have to make decisions based on the science we have. At some point we have to act.

I’ve been thinking about this ever since a commenter on my post about green living as passive aggressive preaching asked for “absolute PROOF that all of these intrusive laws that are going to take my family’s and my own personal choices are 100%, beyond a shadow of a doubt, going to ‘save the earth’ and all of its inhabitants.”

I could not, of course, provide her with any, any more than anyone—scientist or not—can provide absolute proof of what might happen in the future. (The same commenter said in advance that she did not want “models” or “educated guesses”, which rules out most methods for predicting the future that I know.) I didn’t lose too much sleep over this particular issue. While the argument rumbles on for some, with Exxon now accepting the existance of man-made climate change, and with the climate skeptic’s favorite scientist actually being a vocal climate action proponent, I’m ready to move on until someone shows me convincing evidence of this elaborate hoax I keep hearing about.

But accepting that man made climate change is real, and knowing what to do about it, are too different things. What if the nuclear folks are right? What if solar power is the only way? Or what if ocean iron fertilization really can sequester massive amounts of carbon? How the heck do we, as interested lay people, environmentalists, activists, or even experts, decipher all the different studies, research papers and marketing claims that are out there?

Ultimately I don’t have an answer, except that we need to keep the debate going, and we all need to become literate in a broad range of disciplines. I do know that we need to assess all arguments and evidence, not just for what is being said, but also by who is saying it and where it is being said. (A peer-reviewed paper by an independent scientist is a very different beast to a marketing document from a solar company.) And I do know that our regulations should, where possible, regulate for outcomes, not promote specific technologies—a price on carbon will be much more effective than a ban on the light bulb. (See my post on why gardening is the best metaphor for everything for more ramblings in that vein.)

We also need to be aware of our own prejudices and preconceptions—some of us will favor big, bold technological solutions, others of us will be more inclined to the small is beautiful approach. All directions are valid for consideration, but the urgency of our task requires decisive action. So let’s keep learning. Let’s keep debating. And let’s keep demanding hard evidence. But above all, let’s keep taking action.

World Environment News – Brown Pelican No Longer Endangered: U.S. – Planet Ark.  Only took 36 years.  Only??? We can do better than that people!

support 'Green Highway'

The choices include sustainable energy and environmental protection.

Jeff Kart

By Jeff Kart
Bay City, MI, USA | Fri Oct 23 13:00:00 GMT 2009


Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC NewsWire via AP Images

photo of Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal

READ MORE ABOUT:
Environmental Charity | Music

Halloween is the deadline for fans to vote on how money raised by a “BonTaj” tour should be spent.

The BonTaj stands for Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal, two longtime blues artists who were on the road in August and September, raising funds for charity through a portion of ticket sales and money from their own pockets. They also sold VIP packages to raise additional dollars, and did meet-and-greets with fans at every show.

Until Oct. 31, the artists are taking votes on how more than $175,000 raised through the effort should be split up. The choices are: Safe and Sustainable Energy, Environmental Protection, Social Justice and Human Rights, and Blues/Music Education.

You can vote online.

The BonTaj effort is a campaign of the ARIA Foundation, which stands for Artist Resources in Action.

Green Highway, an nonprofit education group founded by Raitt, invited local and national groups with a cause to set up tables on the BonTaj tour, which covered 34 stops across the United States.

“Bonnie’s been raising funds and inviting nonprofit organizations to do education and outreach at her concerts for many years, so we have lots of great community and national organizations we work with from coast-to-coast,” said Kathy Kane, Raitt’s manager.

The tour was well-attended, too.

“We completely sold out more than one-third of the tour and found the ticket sales were strong in most markets, which we feel very fortunate about given the economy,” Kane said.

Bonnie Background

Since the 1970s, Raitt has been involved with green outings including concerts for forest, oil, mining and water protection. She was a founding member of MUSE, which stands for Musicians United for Safe Energy, and was even arrested twice in support of a change in forest policy.

This year marked the first time Taj Mahal has toured with Raitt, even though they’ve known each other since the 1970s, when she opened for him at a concert at Skidmore College in New York.

Planet Green Video:
Green Deets with Ben Harper

 

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being treated for chemical exposure

being treated for chemical exposure

Posted by Colleen Hutchings in Tracking Kid Safe, Uncategorized on October 15, 2009 |

More than 150 representatives of industry, government, academia and the environmental community voiced a broad consensus this week that the time has come for comprehensive reform of the outdated federal law created to ensure that Americans’ health is not threatened by the thousands of chemicals they encounter in daily life. Click here to read the rest of EWG’s wrap-up.

Highlights from The Future of U.S. Chemicals Policy

Conference Multimedia Resources
Click here to watch The Future of U.S. Chemicals Policy in full.
Click to watch all of EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s speech.
Click here to see a slide show of this historic conference.

Read reactions from EWG staff
Key stakeholders share ideas about TSCA reform
The morning session of today’s historic conference exploring routes to federal chemical policy reform made clear that there is now a strong consensus among key stakeholders – industry, the EPA and the White House, the environmental health community – on the need to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

But as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. Thanks to today’s event, we now have the pleasure of discussing them.Click here to read the rest of the morning wrap-up.

You can help us keep reform moving forward!
Help us keep the pressure on Congress to reform TSCA. Sign our Declaration today to tell your Represenatives that you think children being born prepolluted is morally wrong. Click here to add your voice today.

We know far too little about chemicals coming into the market. Manufacturers have far too little certainty about how chemicals they make are regulated. The EPA needs the tools to do the job that the public expects.
– EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson

Dear Christian,

October 6 was a historic day. In a first-of-its-kind conference, EWG brought together more than 150 representatives of government, academia, the environmental community and industry (yes, you read that right). The subject was chemicals policy. And everyone had one thought in mind:

The time has come for comprehensive reform of our nation’s outdated system for chemicals regulation. It has failed to ensure that the health of our children — and of all Americans — is no longer threatened by the thousands of chemicals encountered in daily life. As a result, consumers no longer trust that the products they are being sold are safe.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson joined us because she agrees that now is the time for change. Her keynote address signaled that the Administration is ready to take on chemicals policy reform.

Click here for blog updates, photos and video from the conference, including excerpts from Administrator Jackson’s keynote address.

Strange bedfellows
Parents, children, doctors, legislators and, of course, the chemical industry itself, are all stakeholders when it comes to comprehensive chemical reform. One refrain we heard over and over during the conference, from business leaders and environmental health advocates alike, was this: the time for change is NOW. Though we may not agree on every detail, we do agree that the goal of meaningful reform will not be met unless we all come to the table and hammer out our differences.

A special thanks goes to Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ), Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA), EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Rep. Henry Waxman (CA), Rep. Bobby Rush (IL), and you. Unless consumers speak up — with your voices and with your dollars — these dialogues, and the reform on the horizon, will not happen.

Sincerely,

Ken Cook
President, Environmental Working Group

Model Forest Policy Program

FREE TELESEMINAR: Register Here

Why are forests so vital in solving the climate crisis

and protecting our communities?

You’re invited to a free 60 minute telephone seminar where staff from the Model Forest Policy Program, will discuss the often ignored climate solution: forests. Learn why forests are so vital in protecting citizens from impacts of climate change and what’s the cost of not preserving their natural “services”…or doing nothing?

Use this seminar to build your case to decision makers and the public. Choose one of the dates below:

Monday August 31 Scheduled Start Time: 9:00 P.M. Eastern, 6:00 P.M. Pacific
Wednesday Sept 9 Scheduled Start Time: 3:00 P.M. Eastern, 12:00 P.M. Pacific
Thursday Sept 17 Scheduled Start Time: 2:00 P.M. Eastern, 11:00 A.M Pacific

Here’s what you’ll take away from the 1-Hour Teleseminar:

  • Clearer understanding of critical role of forests in protecting citizens from flooding, drought and increasing CO2 levels.
  • Questions answered about your community’s forest and water climate planning problems.
  • The synergy of multiple communities tackling these issues together.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • The top 5 reasons you need to address forest conservation locally.
  • Facts YOU can use to make the case for conserving your local forests.
  • Learn from success stories and failures.
  • Learn how to position your community to get future funding for climate planning.

This information is needed now by your community so don’t miss out on this free presentation.

http://mfpp.org/teleconference.html Copy and paste this link into your browser.

Here are the experts on the call:

Toby Thaler, JD, has over thirty years experience in forestry and related natural resource management issues in the Northwest. He has worked for a broad range of clients-Tribes, public interest groups, local governments-to promote sustainable resource management policies, including forest practices and forest land conservation, shoreline and water resource management.

William Paddock is a sustainability expert who works with local government and business clients on the implementation of sustainable practices and strategies. William is the Cookeville, TN, Project Director helping that region create a forest water climate action plan. William holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama and a MBA in Sustainability from the Institute for Sustainable Practice at Lipscomb University.

Nancy Gilliam, PhD., has helped over 5,000 landowners implement sustainable forestry practices. She initiated the Virginia General Assembly’s study of forest health. Nancy founded the Model Forest Policy Program in 2000 due to proliferation of chip mills in the south and lack of forest policy. She has worked with state and local government officials in VA, TN, ID, and WA guiding model forest policy development and education.

Todd Crossett, MA, has over fifteen years experience in government relations, strategic planning, facilitation, organizational development, project management and advocacy for sustainable practices. Todd served for two years as County Commissioner introducing groundbreaking water protective land use codes in conservative North Idaho.

Gwen Griffith, MA, DMV, program director in sustainable building and low impact development, brings the watershed perspective to the work of climate change mitigation and adaptation. She takes the continuum of care approach from land use planning to smart growth to green building to low impact landscaping to efficient site management. She provides in-depth education on the energy, water, climate connection with an emphasis on water efficiency and source water protection.

Thanks for registering!

Nancy Gilliam

Executive Director

P.S. Any problems registering, call me (509) 432-8679, or email me at ngilliam@mfpp.org