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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by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 03. 2.10

Cash for Caulkers

President Obama is set to announce a new residential renovation funding program that they call a “triple win”: a jolt to the sickly construction industry, saving Americans money on their energy bills and reducing dependence on oil and other fossil fuels. Last month they might have called it a “quadruple win” and mentioned greenhouse gas reductions, but they don’t do that any more, Senator Inhofe would complain.

If they do it right, the six billion dollar program can create a lot of jobs; caulking and sealing is labor intensive, and can put a lot of people to work. But with the power of modern media, it is really easy to do it wrong.

When Planet Green started out, we did a series of posts based on a terrific document prepared by the Rocky Mountain Institute: Cool Citizens: Everyday Solutions to Climate Change: Household Solutions, that looked at the cost of a renovation item, the amount of energy and carbon it saved, and calculated the bang for the buck. It is now eight years old and much has changed, as fuel got more expensive and compact fluorescents a lot cheaper. But the order is probably still pretty much correct.

Some of our Planet Green posts following the RMI order:

Where To Start
Get a Programmable Thermostat
Stop the Air Leaks
Add Attic Insulation
Insulate Your Water Heater
Add Attic Insulation
Install Efficient Showerheads
Install Faucet Aerators

Notice that window replacement is nowhere on the list; it is so far down the list in terms of energy saved per dollar spent that it is almost off the bottom. If I were handing out the bucks, I would ensure that everyone followed the list; no windows unless you caulk first.

But then Pella is spending more on full page ads than Obama is on the stimulus these days, so that won’t happen. And of course, Glenn Beck ran Mr. “put down the handgun and pickup a caulking gun” out of the White House, so the bucks will go to big business.


Repower America

Dear Reader,

Some of the most effective measures for Repowering America in the economic recovery package are coming under attack. And when the Senate votes as early as later today, we know one of your senators — among just a handful — will cast a crucial vote.

Will you take a minute and call your senator now? There is no time to waste.

Senator Martinez’s Miami office phone: (305) 444-8332

Leave a message and let your senator know: “As a constituent, I urge you to champion clean energy and green jobs in the economic recovery bill.”

Then, let us know you called here: www.RepowerAmerica.org/reportsenatecall

Investments in clean energy are some of the most effective ones our country can be making now. But there have been surprising attacks in the national news.

One senator questioned a measure in the stimulus that upgrades federal government buildings, even though these upgrades will reduce the energy bill of the biggest energy consumer in the nation (a bill taxpayers pick up).

A different senator recently argued that the recovery should invest more in dirty fossil fuels like oil and gas — even though investments in renewable energy projects create three to five times as many jobs as ones in fossil fuels.

These attacks are picking up. As a Florida resident, you — more than We Campaign members in most other states — have the ability to defend the measures that will help keep Repower America in the recovery.

Take a moment, and make a call today.

Thanks,

Cathy Zoi
CEO
RepowerAmerica.org

P.S. Please forward this message to everyone you know who shares your concern for getting our country back on track.

We are so blessed to be given the gift to immediately support President Obama’s mission to REMAKE AMERICA.  So give thanks and do a little more each day while setting a good example!

WHAT, you ask … how am I blessed in these tough times?

Healing the economy and environment could be a far more difficult challenge for us. It could have gotten worse than the Great Depression. If that does not seriously impact your thought process; get online and research it. You will GIVE THANKS things are not worse in the US and throughout the world. YES it is still bad here and abroad but far better than it could be.

The good news is that the WAKE UP CALL requiring everyone to conserve along with the nomination of President Obama is giving us specific actions to take without much effort.

We must create even more new jobs and many will be green in that they will support defending and protecting the environment. These green income opportunities already surround us. Are you earning from protecting the environment / supporting the Energy Plan and helping people understand how to simply reduce their carbon footprint?

If not, find a way to do it. What is your most favorite thing to do? Is it an ‘accepted’ green action? Find a place for you to create YOUR ECO LEGACY and DO It.

I have mine and you are welcome to check them out and see if anything fits you like a glove. Click on COMMENTS right below the title and detail what you are looking for; where you can truly shine..

It begins with a strong commitment to educate and put that knowledge into action. Share your gift, your green actions with everyone in supporting President Obama as WE REMAKE AMERICA TOGETHER.

The President will control the future of the auto industry when he rules on emission and fuel economy standards.

By Alex Taylor III, senior editor

Last Updated: January 26, 2009: 11:28 AM ET on cnn money

NEW YORK (Fortune) — Government-guaranteed loans for General Motors and Chrysler are getting most of the attention in Washington right now, but President Obama has an opportunity to do something far more important for the future of the auto industry on Monday.

The question is whether he will do the right thing – or the smart thing?

The president directed government regulators Monday to move quickly on a request by California and 13 other states to set their own standards for automobile emissions and fuel efficiency.

California‘s proposed standards are far stricter than those that the federal government has set. The Environmental Protection Agency wants automaker fleets to average 35 miles per gallon by 2020. The California standards would effectively require them to provide cars that average 42 or 43 miles per gallon.

Obama’s action would push the EPA to rule on whether California and the other states can set their own standards. When the Bush administration ruled on the same issue, it refused to grant them a waiver.

Naturally, the reflexive good government position on this issue is to allow California to go ahead. Force the auto companies to toe the mark and make more economical cars, the argument goes, and the country will be better off. Cars that use less gas and pollute less are good for everybody.

Unfortunately, that argument ignores some inconvenient truths. Meeting one strict fuel economy standard – the federal government’s – is burdensome in its own right. It requires new smaller platforms, new high-technology engines, and, inevitably, higher prices for consumers. Forcing automakers to design a second fleet of cars for California could greatly inflate the cost.

Secondly, adjusting automaker fleets to meet stricter standards in all those states will force a whole new kind of higher mathematics. Want to buy a Toyota pickup truck in New York, one of the states that wants to follow California’s emissions standards? Well, if Toyota already sells a lot of trucks in New York and is close to or over the mileage limit, it may not be willing to sell you another gas guzzler that would push it over the state requirement.

Automakers will essentially adjust the fleet of vehicles they sell on a state-by-state basis. You may want to drive across the state line to Connecticut or New Jersey to get your pickup. If residents of those states don’t buy very many trucks, you’ll be in luck.

Finally, while higher fuel economy standards may feel like an “eat your spinach” effort by government to force us to use less oil, they ignore a reality of the marketplace. Small cars may be good for us, but if nobody wants to buy them, they won’t do anybody any good.

There is an idea afoot in the land that automakers are holding back on small cars because they would rather sell high-margin pickups and SUVs.

It isn’t true. They hold back on small cars because nobody wants to buy them. And since they are hard to sell, automakers can’t make any money on them. If there was steady, predictable demand, you would see waves of good, small cars.

The history of auto sales in 2008 provides a case in point. When gas prices spiked, sales of small and hybrid cars shot through the roof. After prices came back down, dealers couldn’t give them away.

The smart thing for President Obama to do to encourage lower gas consumption is to make gasoline more expensive by hiking the federal tax. Applying a $2 gallon tax in gradual stages would move people out of big cars in a hurry, just as high gas prices did last spring. To keep the higher tax from being a burden, it could be rebated to wage earners in the form of a reduction in their payroll taxes.

What’s smart often times doesn’t look right, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. President Obama has promised a new way of doing business. Denying the California waiver and imposing a higher gasoline tax would be a loud, clear message that he means it.

Are you optimistic? Are you secure in your job and finances, and looking at the current economic climate as an opportunity? E-mail your story to realstories@cnnmoney.com and explain why you are optimistic and how you are taking advantage of the situation. You could be included in an upcoming article.

First Published: January 26, 2009: 10:48 AM ET