The Terra News

Featured photo from our gallery:

A Random Image from our gallery

Blog Archives

17Apr/14Off

Because Of Tar Sands, Energy Is Now Canada’s Biggest Greenhouse Gas Source

By Emily Atkin on April 14, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Original source: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/14/3426568/canadas-biggest-emitter/

Canada’s energy industry has officially surpassed transportation as the largest producer of climate-change causing greenhouse gases, in no small part because of large increases in tar sands extraction, according to a government report quietly released Friday.

In its overview of reported greenhouse gas emissions from industry facilities in the year 2012, Environment Canada said that oil and gas production now accounts for one quarter of Canada’s greenhouse emissions, narrowly beating transportation. While total emissions had decreased by 7 percent overall since 2005, emissions from the oil and gas extraction sector increased substantially during that time — largely due to a tar sands production increase of 107 percent, the report said.

The increased emissions mostly came from Alberta, the primary source of Canada’s tar sands reserves. The Canadian tar sands — the second-largest proven crude oil reserve in the world next to Saudi Arabia — are the key ingredient for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring tar sands oil down to refineries in Texas in Louisiana. President Obama is said to be making a decision on that pipeline in the coming months.

Because the tar sands have such a unique, thick, gooey makeup, producers must use what is called “non-conventional” methods of getting the oil out of the ground. Those methods are controversial because they are more carbon-intensive, meaning they emit more greenhouse gases. Those non-conventional methods were largely the reason why Canada’s energy sector overtook transportation to become the biggest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, the Environment Canada report said.

“The non-conventional oil extraction subsector … showed the largest overall increase in emissions since 2005, reflecting this sector’s steady growth trend,” the report said, noting that Alberta in particular has experienced a steady increase in overall emissions year over year since 2009.

Share This Post
17Apr/14Off

Harold Hamm: The Billionaire Oilman Fueling America’s Recovery

This story appears in the May 5, 2014 issue of Forbes.

4/16/2014 @ 6:00AM

Harold Hamm has transformed the U.S. oil industry like no one since John D. Rockefeller, while helping to keep domestic prices low — and making himself a $17 billion fortune. The great domestic energy boom, he says, is just beginning.

Two Scotches in, with seats on the floor of Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy CHK +1.18% Arena, Harold Hamm is feeling good. And why not? His hometown Thunder is spending the evening whupping the Philadelphia 76ers. Earlier Hamm announced big bonuses for Continental Resources CLR +2.18% employees, courtesy of record oil production. And a judge’s ruling, revealed that morning, in Hamm’s divorce case suggested the energy tycoon would keep the Continental shares he already owned when he married soon-to-be-ex Sue Ann Hamm 26 years ago. With that chunk of stock, encompassing about $16 billion out of his $16.9 billion fortune, Hamm owns 70% of Continental.

As every wildcatter knows, such is life in the oil patch when you’re on a hot streak. And Hamm’s on perhaps the most epic one in domestic energy history, perhaps save for John D. Rockefeller’s. No one, aside from kings, dictators and post-Soviet kleptocrats, personally owns more black gold–Continental has proved reserves of 1 billion barrels, mostly locked underneath North Dakota. Hamm took the company public in 2007–and shares are up 600% since, as the revolution in horizontal drilling has given America a cheap energy booster shot, fueling factories, keeping a lid on gas prices and adding millions of jobs.

And lest you think anyone with a lease and drilling rig can strike it rich in the middle of the country, crane your neck alongside 68-year-old Hamm’s. “Is he over there?” he asks, peering down the baseline of the basketball court. Yes, Aubrey McClendon, the former CEO of Chesapeake Energy and a part owner of the Thunder, sits in his usual seat.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2014/04/16/harold-hamm-billionaire-fueling-americas-recovery/?ss=energy

Share This Post
17Apr/14Off

The New Normal?

Posted: 04/16/2014 12:11 pm EDT Updated: 04/16/2014 12:59 pm EDT

Erich Pica

President, Friends of the Earth

Last month, LG & E was caught dumping coal ash into the Ohio River in Kentucky. Soon after, a fuel barge spills 170,000 gallons of oil into Galveston Bay, Texas. Followed closely by an, as yet, incalculable amount of crude oil into Lake Michigan just south of Chicago.

Is this the new normal?

Every day, it seems, we learn of a new environmental disaster driven by the extraction and transportation of fossil fuels. If the fossil fuel industry had to report all of its accidents or ways that it is destroying our environment, the report may very well read an egregious "0 days since the last incident" perpetually. In which other areas of our lives is this acceptable? Certainly not in car accidents, homicides, smoking-related deaths, drug-use, work place injuries. General Motors has been called in for a congressional hearing for a safety recall, but why has the fossil fuels industry received a relatively free pass?

To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/erich-pica/the-new-normal_6_b_5155505.html

Share This Post
17Apr/14Off

Why the Great Wash U Sit-in Against Peabody Coal Matters: Which Side Are You on?

Posted: 04/15/2014 9:57 pm EDT Updated: 04/15/2014 11:59 pm EDT

Jeff Biggers

Author of 'Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland"

Entering its second week, the inspiring Washington University sit-in against Peabody Energy has already gone beyond its goals to cut school ties with the St. Louis-based coal giant, and forced the rest of the nation to ask themselves an urgent question in an age of climate change and reckless strip mining ruin: Which side are you on?

Will other schools, alumni groups -- and investors in Peabody Energy -- follow the lead of the Washington U. students?

Case in point: Tonight in my native Saline County in southern Illinois, the county commissioners genuflected to short-term Peabody coal dollars over the "negative impact on about a dozen homeowners who live near the site of the proposed mine," according to one cynical commissioner, and voted to allow the company to close off Rocky Branch road for a proposed strip mine expansion, despite the lack of EPA permits, and documented evidence of flooding, blasting and emergency access problems.

Facing financial ruin, grave heath problems and displacement, the Rocky Branch residents will fight on, thanks to the Wash U. students, and continue to tell the truth: We all live in the coalfields now, in this age of climate change, and it is no longer acceptable to allow anyone to be collateral damage to a disastrous energy policy.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-biggers/why-the-great-wash-u-sit_b_5156673.html

Share This Post
17Apr/14Off

States Peering Over the Fence on Fracking Rules

Pennsylvania eyes its neighbors, and vice versa, for guidance.

By Jason Plautz

April 16, 2014

The natural-gas boom that has taken the country by storm has also taken states by surprise.

Government with little experience in the relatively new hydraulic fracturing procedures are scrambling to figure out how to regulate the air and water pollution that comes from fracking. So, like all good neighbors, that's left them peering over the fence to see what policies are coming from other statehouses.

It's even got some pushing for the state governments to work together on regulations, taxes, and development.

"To some degree, states kind of end up competing rather than cooperating," said Sharon Ward, executive director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. "We think it really increases the leverage and bargaining power of the governors if they're working together. They can set standards that will bring in adequate revenue and protect the environment."

Ward's group is one of six progressive organizations involved in the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative, which includes groups in New York, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia. Those states share the rich Marcellus and Utica shale resources, although their regulatory approaches are wildly different. Ohio, for example, recently adopted rules to limit emissions from oil and gas wells, ones that neighboring states don't share. Pennsylvania boasts of having no severance tax on drillers, giving it a lower burden than some of its neighbors.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.nationaljournal.com/new-energy-paradigm/states-peering-over-the-fence-on-fracking-rules-20140416

Share This Post
17Apr/14Off

Why Are 20 Far-Away States Trying To Block The Cleanup Of The Chesapeake Bay?

By Katie Valentine on April 16, 2014 at 9:05 am

Original source: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/16/3363281/states-block-chesapeake-cleanup/

Over the years, the Chesapeake Bay has been known for many things: bountiful seafood, such as clams, oysters and the bay’s iconic blue crabs; its boating, fishing and water sports industry; its curly-haired duck-hunting dogs.

Now, however, the bay has become famous for something else: its pollution.

For more than 30 years, states in the region have tried to restore the bay, the largest estuary in the U.S. and a body of water which has effectively served as a dumping ground for agricultural pesticides, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals from urban runoff and industrial sources for decades. In the last few years — and after numerous failed attempts — they’ve inched closer to succeeding, thanks to an Environmental Protection Agency-led plan that puts limits on the amount of agricultural nutrients entering the bay, pollution that has spawned numerous oxygen-free, marine life-killing “dead zones” in the bay and its tributaries. The plan was created at the request of the six Chesapeake Bay states and the District of Columbia, and according to Claudia Friedetzky of the Maryland Sierra Club, is “the best chance that we have ever had to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.”

Share This Post
17Apr/14Off

Four Ways The U.S. Military Can Adopt Clean Energy For National Security


EDF Energy Exchange , Contributor

By Stephanie Kline

At the U.S. Defense Department, the multiple national security threats created by sea level rise and severe weather command daily attention; climate change has been on its radar for years.  The recently published Quadrennial Defense Report (QDR), an assessment of U.S. defense readiness, addresses the growing threat that climate change poses to military capabilities and global operations. Adding to that, the newly released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report states that extreme weather events will begin occurring more frequently across the globe. As first responders in the wake of extreme weather events, the U.S. military will be called upon to provide emergency support and services for a large portion of them.

The timing of these reports highlights a growing defense challenge but also provides an opportunity for the Defense Department to lead from the front in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The military’s success in preparing for and mitigating climate change impacts will depend in large part on where it gets energy and how smartly it uses energy, especially amid budget constraints. Consider this: the Defense Department is the single largest energy consumer in the United States, despite accounting for less than one percent of total domestic use.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.forbes.com/sites/edfenergyexchange/2014/04/16/four-ways-the-u-s-military-can-adopt-clean-energy-for-national-security/?ss=energy

Share This Post
17Apr/14Off

EDF Helps Standardize Energy Efficiency Projects In Texas

EDF Energy Exchange , Contributor

By Matt Golden

Texas currently has the highest rate of energy consumption of any U.S. state and accounts for 10% of the country’s total energy consumption. Most of that energy goes to energy-intensive industries, such as aluminum, chemicals, forest products, glass, and petroleum refining, which consume 50% of the state’s energy, compared with a national average of 32%.

Last year, the Texas legislature passed statewide legislation enabling cities to use their property taxes as a way to finance clean energy and energy efficiency for industrial, agriculture, water, and commercial buildings. This innovative financing tool, generally referred to as property-assessed clean energy (PACE), has the potential to unlock a considerable amount of funding for both renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in the state, while simultaneously offering building owners cheaper financing options and secure repayment through their property tax assessment.

While PACE holds great promise in Texas with its over 1,200 incorporated cities, stakeholders have expressed concern that each of these cities could develop its own program with unique requirements, leading to confusion and creating bottlenecks for a successful roll-out. A consistent approach to PACE implementation and program rules would, however, vastly increase the chances of success.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.forbes.com/sites/edfenergyexchange/2014/04/15/edf-helps-standardize-energy-efficiency-projects-in-texas/?ss=energy

Share This Post
17Apr/14Off

Because Of Tar Sands, Energy Is Now Canada’s Biggest Greenhouse Gas Source

By Emily Atkin on April 14, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Original source: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/14/3426568/canadas-biggest-emitter/

Canada’s energy industry has officially surpassed transportation as the largest producer of climate-change causing greenhouse gases, in no small part because of large increases in tar sands extraction, according to a government report quietly released Friday.

In its overview of reported greenhouse gas emissions from industry facilities in the year 2012, Environment Canada said that oil and gas production now accounts for one quarter of Canada’s greenhouse emissions, narrowly beating transportation. While total emissions had decreased by 7 percent overall since 2005, emissions from the oil and gas extraction sector increased substantially during that time — largely due to a tar sands production increase of 107 percent, the report said.

Share This Post
17Apr/14Off

Obama to challenge private companies to boost solar power use

By Juliet Eilperin and Katie Zezima, E-mail the writers

President Obama will challenge companies Thursday to expand their use of solar power, part of his ongoing effort to leverage the power of his office to achieve goals that have been stymied by Congress. The new initiative comes as the White House is hosting a Solar Summit aimed at highlighting successful efforts on the local level to speed the deployment of solar energy.

Although some large solar plants are coming online and it is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, it accounts for roughly 1 percent of the nation’s electricity generation.

“Now is the time for solar,” said Anya Schoolman, executive director of the Community Power Network, a Washington-based nonprofit group that helps communities build renewable energy projects. She will be honored at the summit Thursday.

“The costs are affordable, in reach of middle America and above. We know how to do it now, we know how to scale it, and we kind of just need people to let it go and encourage it,” she said.

In an effort to make it easier for state, local and tribal governments to expand their solar portfolios, the Energy Department is launching a $15 million-dollar “Solar Market Pathways” program.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/obama-to-challenge-private-companies-to-boost-solar-power-use/2014/04/16/76bd2b20-c5a3-11e3-bf7a-be01a9b69cf1_story.html?wprss=rss_campaigns

Share This Post
17Apr/14Off

Oklahoma Will Charge Customers Who Install Their Own Solar Panels

By Kiley Kroh on April 16, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Original source: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/16/3427392/oklahoma-fee-solar-wind/

Oklahoma residents who produce their own energy through solar panels or small wind turbines on their property will now be charged an additional fee, the result of a new bill passed by the state legislature and expected to be signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin (R).

On Monday, S.B. 1456 passed the state House 83-5 after no debate. The measure creates a new class of customers: those who install distributed power generation systems like solar panels or small wind turbines on their property and sell the excess energy back to the grid. While those with systems already installed won’t be affected, the new class of customers will now be charged a monthly fee — a shift that happened quickly and caught many in the state off guard.

“We knew nothing about it and all of a sudden it’s attached to some other bill,” Ctaci Gary, owner of Sun City Oklahoma, told ThinkProgress. “It just appeared out of nowhere.”

Share This Post
Filed under: Solar Continue reading
17Apr/14Off

Editorial: Dianne Feinstein’s water bill is an overreach

By the Editorial Board

Published: Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014 - 12:00 am

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s drought bill, introduced in February, was an improvement over the water grab bill that passed in the House.

A big plus in her original bill was $300 million for conservation and efficiency measures, aid to low-income farmworkers harmed by the drought, technological tools to help farmers get through this dry year and emergency projects to address drinking-water quality problems.

That $300 million, however, has been stripped out in order to get Republican support for Feinstein’s bill.

What remains in the revised version are two troubling provisions that The Bee’s editorial board urged her to amend in February.

The effect of these two provisions would be to allow more water flow south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to benefit the Westlands Water District in Fresno and Kings counties and Paramount Farms in the southern San Joaquin Valley, owned by billionaires Lynda and Stewart Resnick of Los Angeles.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/17/6330783/editorial-dianne-feinsteins-water.html

Share This Post
Filed under: Water Comments Off
17Apr/14Off

Joe Mathews: Living in the Delta would help solve two of Brown’s problems

By Joe Mathews

Zocalo Public Square

Published: Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014 - 12:00 am

When you’re faced with two different thorny problems, sometimes the best way to make progress is by combining them. I’m talking to you, Jerry Brown.

Your first problem involves water. Residents of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – California’s most vital estuary and source of water – fiercely oppose Brown’s plan to build tunnels that will divert water from north of the Delta to provide more reliable supplies to San Joaquin Valley farmers and Southern California. Their opposition is based on fear.

In the short term, they fear construction of the tunnels will disrupt their lives. In the long term, they fear that the tunnels, by allowing other parts of the state to bypass the Delta, will lead Californians to forget the Delta. A forgotten Delta, they fear, will slowly die under the stresses of climate, habitat loss and encroaching salt water from the San Francisco Bay.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/17/6330601/joe-mathews-living-in-the-delta.html

Share This Post
Filed under: Water Comments Off
17Apr/14Off

New chromium-6 water regulation draws fire from Erin Brockovich, water industry officials

By Jim Steinberg, San Bernardino Sun

Posted: 04/16/14, 8:19 PM PDT | Updated: 4 mins ago

The first water standard in the nation for chromium-6 has drawn fire from Erin Brockovich and residents of the town the movie about her made famous. And water providers, the chemical industry and consumer protection groups also aren’t thrilled with the new standard.

On Tuesday, the California Department of Public Health submitted its final decision to regulate the cancer-causing chemical made famous for its disruption of the community of Hinkley and the film “Erin Brockovich.”

With the decision will come the nation’s first limit on chromium-6 in water, at 10 parts per billion – far stricter than the nation’s current standard for total chromium, at 100 parts per billion, but much less than a standard proposed for chromium-6 as a goal long ago by the state.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.dailybulletin.com/article/20140416/NEWS/140419418

Share This Post
17Apr/14Off

Amid Drought, California Warms to Toilet Water

The state is putting $1 billion behind water-recyling efforts. But will people drink it? Do they even have a choice?

By Brian Resnick April 16, 2014

With a record-setting, once-in-500-years drought (so bad it can clearly be seen from space) still underway, it may be time for California to embrace toilet water. Recycled toilet water, that is: completely clean, safe-to-drink water that just so happens to have already passed through the municipal supply. If it's good enough for astronauts to recycle urine and wastewater for reuse, it's good enough for Californians, right?

This idea is nothing new. For decades, such programs have been proposed and then shut down in collective cries of "yuck" across California municipalities. The exception is Orange County, which is currently looking to expand its system, which generates 7 million gallons of recycled water every day.

California has recently allocated $1 billion ($200 million outright, and $800 million more in low-interest loans) to get more recycled water into the drinking supply. Gov. Jerry Brown issued a rare signing statement when he signed into law a measure to explore statewide standards for wastewater management by 2016. "California needs more high-quality water, and recycling is key to getting there," he said. Just a few months after signing, in February, the main state water-distribution authority announced that it was turning off the tap to some rural communities due to low supplies. (Authorities are also worried about water theft.)

To read the entire article go to: http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/amid-drought-california-warms-to-toilet-water-20140416

Share This Post
Filed under: Water Comments Off