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April 26th, 2012 Archives
By ANDREW POLLACK April 26, 2012
The Obama administration is expected to announce a broad plan on Thursday to foster development of the nation’s “bioeconomy,” including the use of renewable resources and biological manufacturing methods.
The National Bioeconomy Blueprint, as the plan is called, discusses a variety of measures and strategies to spur research and development of medical treatments, crops, biofuels and biological manufacturing processes that would replace harsher industrial methods.
Use of biology “can allow Americans to live longer, healthier lives, reduce our dependence on oil, address key environmental challenges, transform manufacturing processes, and increase the productivity and scope of the agricultural sector while growing new jobs and industries,” the report says.
Much of what is in the 43-page-report, which the administration released before its planned announcement on Thursday, is a list of government programs that are already under way. So it is not clear what concrete changes, if any, will result.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/business/energy-environment/white-house-promotes-a-bioeconomy.html?_r=1Share This Post
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 1:00 PM Updated: Thursday, April 26, 2012, 6:23 AM
By Scott Learn, The Oregonian
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber wants an extensive federal government review of exporting coal to Asia through Northwest ports, saying coal export could clog barge and train routes, increase diesel and coal dust pollution and boost amounts of toxic mercury drifting back to Oregon when Asian countries burn coal.
Kitzhaber, a Democrat with strong ties to environmental groups that oppose coal export, requested the comprehensive review in a letter Wednesday to the Bureau of Land Management and the Army Corps of Engineers today. He also called for the review in a broader speech on "clean energy" today before the Future Energy Conference in Portland.
Kitzhaber didn't take a stand for or against exporting coal, which supporters say would increase rural jobs and tax revenues.
Instead, his letter asked the federal government to address how increasing exports to Asia will "fit with the larger strategy of moving to a lower carbon future."
“We’re rushing to this huge infrastructure investment without a full national discussion,” Kitzhaber said after the speech. “I think we deserve to have a full debate on this.”
To read the entire article go to: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2012/04/oregon_gov_john_kitzhaber_call.htmlShare This Post
Apr 25 - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
From oil fields to wind turbines to coal mines, size and scale rule the economics of energy. But the nuclear industry is thinking small these days.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/functional/news/news_detail.cfm?did=24345560Share This Post
Apr 25 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Sammy Fretwell The State, Columbia, S.C.
Emergency medical crews whisked a Columbia nuclear fuel plant employee to the hospital this week after the worker was exposed to a uranium-containing acid, according to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/functional/news/news_detail.cfm?did=24350900Share This Post
Posted: 04/26/2012 05:58:38 AM PDT
Updated: 04/26/2012 06:08:24 AM PDT
A probe by the California Public Utilities Commission has concluded that William Devereaux, a former PG&E employee who used a false identity to spy on activists opposed to SmartMeters, did not act alone but had support from senior managers.
Devereaux resigned in November 2010 after admitting that he used the name "Ralph" to try to infiltrate an online group of consumers opposed to the utility's new digital meters.
At the time, PG&E characterized him as a rogue employee who acted alone. But a lengthy investigation by the PUC's Consumer Protection and Safety Division revealed that Devereaux forwarded emails that he collected using the false identity to his boss and other senior managers at PG&E, including a member of the legal department.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_20481577/pge-employee-who-spied-activists-support-management-cpuc?source=rssShare This Post
Apr 25 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - KTLA-TV, Los Angeles
People concerned over the safety of the San Onofre nuclear power plant are calling on the Irvine city council to shut it down.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/functional/news/news_detail.cfm?did=24338267Share This Post
Apr 24 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Louis Sahagun Los Angeles Times
The letter from the chairman of the Colorado River Indian Tribes was pleading and tough. It asked President Obama to slow the federal government's "frantic pursuit" of massive solar energy projects in the Mojave Desert because of possible damage to Native American cultural resources.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/generationstorage/solar/news/en/24331872/Discovery-of-Indian-artifacts-complicates-Genesis-solar-projectShare This Post
Investors could see share buyback in 2014 instead
Bill Opalka | Apr 25, 2012
Failure of Congress to extend the production tax credit (PTC) this year could mean the leading wind energy company in the U.S. would return cash to shareholders in the form of a stock buyback instead of investing in more projects.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.renewablesbiz.com/article/12/04/nextera-prepared-stop-new-wind-development-without-extended-ptc&utm_medium=eNL&utm_campaign=RB_DAILY2&utm_term=Original-MemberShare This Post
Apr 25 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Tom Dalton The Salem News, Beverly, Mass.
A series of tests took place this winter in a remote corner of Maine near the Canadian border that may have profound implications for the field of clean energy.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/functional/news/news_detail.cfm?did=24341578Share This Post
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 5:52 PM Updated: Thursday, April 26, 2012, 5:57 AM
U.S. District Judge James A. Redden, who presided over the Northwest's biggest salmon lawsuit for nearly a decade, told Idaho Public Television that the Snake River's four hydropower dams should be breached to help wild salmon.
"I think we need to take those dams down," Redden said, adding: "I've never ordered (federal agencies) or even tried to order them that you gotta take those dams down. But I have urged them to do some work on the dams (to improve prospects for salmon), and they have done (so)."
Redden, 83, stepped down from the Columbia Basin salmon case in November, three months after rejecting the federal government's plans for operating dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers for the third time.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2012/04/judge_james_redden_we_need_to.htmlShare This Post
A Central Valley Republican wants to mandate that officials determine the total cost before constructing a canal or tunnel to move water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
The bill, AB2421, by Bill Berryhill, R-Ceres (Stanislaus County), cleared an Assembly committee Tuesday with bipartisan support.
In addition to requiring a total cost determination, the bill would also require that officials explain who would pay for the project.
Berryhill called the bill a "simple, modest, good- government measure offering an additional measure of transparency on what could be the largest public works project since the State Water Project."
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/25/BAA31O8HDT.DTLShare This Post
What's behind prices?
Ken Silverstein | Apr 25, 2012
The U.S. presidential election is escalating now that summer driving season is near. At issue is what is causing near-$4 a gallon gasoline and whether anything can be done about it.Share This Post
Posted: 04/24/2012 7:28 am
Author, 'Oil and Finance: The Epic Corruption Continues'
Last week President Obama gave the nation a briefing from the White House on the perils of speculation and the potential for abuse in oil futures trading contributing to the distortion of oil prices and in turn the high price for gasoline we are paying at the pump. Though short on specifics the president did call for increasing penalties, both civil and criminal, for market manipulation and significantly increasing the budget of the oversight agencies such as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) so as to "crack down on illegal activity and hold accountable those who manipulate the market for private gain at the expense of millions of working families."
Promptly of course, as if on cue, from their headquarters in Chicago's Loop, the prodigious exchange operator, the CME Group, the largest in the country comprising the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMerc-where oil futures contracts are traded), and the Commodity Exchange, Inc. (Comex), called the president's plan "misplaced."
Wall Street, in the mantle of a Citigroup head of commodities research, would immediately opine, according to CNBC's dutifully entitled "Obama's Plan Could Increase Price Swings" (4.20.12), quotes, "The attack on speculation is an attack on better functioning markets. If there were not liquidity in the futures market ... the chances are overwhelming that price volatility would be greater."
Clearly there's no knowledge nor appreciation here of the sage words uttered before the Senate Committee on Government Affairs as long ago as November 1st 1990 by Leon Hess, the founder and Chairman of Hess Oil: "I'm an old man but I'd bet my life if the Merc (New York Mercantile Exchange) was not in operation there would be ample oil at reasonable prices all over the world without this volatility." Clearly some words of wisdom only become wiser with time.Share This Post
Published: April 25, 2012
By Jenn Walker
Original source: http://www.healthycal.org/archives/8557
Sacramento freeways are notorious for traffic during rush hour. Not only is the capitol region flanked by two major rivers, cutting off potential access routes in and out of the area, but its suburbs are expanding at a rapid rate. But help may soon be on the way.
Sacramento’s metropolitan planning organization, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, or SACOG, unanimously adopted a 313-page, $35 billion transportation and development plan last week to remedy such issues within the six-county region.
The council must produce a transportation plan every four years. However, the Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy for 2035 is the first to include a Sustainable Communities Strategy in adherence to Senate Bill 375, legislation that seeks to integrate transportation planning with the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.Share This Post
By JIM WITKIN April 20, 2012
FOR much of the last century, the straightforward solution to making a car perform better has been to install a bigger engine. In the hybrids and electric cars of coming years, however, the answer might be installing motors with more powerful magnets.
Until the 1980s, the most powerful magnets available were those made from an alloy containing samarium and cobalt. But mining and processing those metals presented challenges: samarium, one of 17 so-called rare earth elements, was costly to refine, and most cobalt came from mines in unstable regions of Africa.
In 1982, when researchers at General Motors developed a magnet based on neodymium, it seemed that an ideal alternative had arrived. While neodymium is also one of the rare earth metals — a misleading name, as they are actually fairly common, just widely dispersed — it is more abundant than samarium, and at the time it was cheaper. When combined with iron and boron, both readily available elements, it produced mighty magnets.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/automobiles/a-push-to-make-motors-with-fewer-rare-earths.htmlShare This Post