Archive for environment

Maine town to Big Oil: We don't want to bathe in bottled water

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tar sands maple leaf oil Maine

Portland-Montreal Pipe Line (PMPL) is owned by a Canadian subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Suncor Energy Inc., "both heavily involved in extracting petroleum from oil sands," per a report by the Los Angeles Times. And now PMPL wants to start exporting toxic tar sands crude goo from Canada through South Portland, Maine. You all know what tar sands is, right? If not, please scroll through my many, many posts here to learn about the very real dangers of tar sands pipelines.

You'd think by now that impending climate change disaster and that other infamous, short-sighted, corporate disaster-in waiting would be a wake-up call. But no-o-o. Pollution be damned. Fresh air and water? Pfft! The health and well-being of anyone who gets in their way? Meh.

But there is a town in Maine that's not afraid to put up its dukes. The L.A. Times has the story:

On Monday night, the South Portland City Council, including Blake, is expected to pass an ordinance that would prevent the export of crude oil from the waterfront. The product of a relentless 18-month campaign by residents and Maine environmental groups, the measure is a response to plans by Portland-Montreal Pipe Line, or PMPL, to reverse the flow of its import pipeline in order to export oil sands crude from Canada, the same petroleum that would run through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline in the Great Plains.

"This isn't an anti-Portland pipeline company measure," Blake said. "It's anti-dirty oil." [...]

Communities along the pipeline route, from Vermont to Maine, also grew alarmed by spills of oil sands crude into Michigan's Kalamazoo River in 2010 and then in a subdivision in Mayflower, Ark., in 2013... The Portland-Montreal pipeline six times crosses the watershed for a major tributary into Sebago Lake, the drinking water source for the greater Portland area.

That can't end well.

One resident's take says it all: "All you need is one break, not even a huge break, and hundreds of thousands of people are going to be drinking and bathing in bottled water."

Bingo.

Please read the entire article at the link.

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TransCanada to small town: Here's $28K. Now shut up about tar sands pipeline project.

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tar sands maple leaf oil

TransCanada is buying an Ottawa town's silence, and it will only cost them a few thousand dollars. TransCanada has aggressively pursued a rather unique "no comment" policy about their gigantic tar sands pipeline proposal. Why? It has to be because TransCanada knows that the project, which is bigger than our own Keystone XL project, is a disaster waiting to happen. Scroll through my many, many posts here to learn about the very real dangers of a tar sands pipeline.

By paying off an entire town, TransCanada can sidestep some of the challenges to the pipeline’s approval. Well, for five years, anyway.

TransCanda's new PR slogan should be, "Money talks so opponents don't have to!"

Via Think Progress:

A small town in Ottawa, Canada will be receiving $28,200 from energy company TransCanada Corp. in exchange for not commenting on the company’s proposed Energy East tar sands pipeline project, according to an agreement attached to the town council’s meeting agenda on June 23.

Under the terms of deal, the town of Mattawa will “not publicly comment on TransCanada’s operations or business projects” for five years. In exchange for that silence, TransCanada will give Mattawa $28,200, which will ultimately go towards buying a rescue truck for the town. [...] If approved, Energy East would carry about 1.1 million barrels of tar sands crude across Canada each day. That’s more than Keystone XL...

tar sands keystone xl protest climate change disaster

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A birthday card with a conscience

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climate change Jack and Jill birthday card

The other day I was at Tarjay (Yes, that's how Target is actually pronounced, duh.) looking for the perfect birthday card for my BFF. There were the usually cheesy ones, bad-jokey ones, embarrassingly trying-to-be-sexy ones, heartfelt ones, and of course, annoyingly loud, computer-chippy ones. Then, suddenly, without warning, just as I was about to throw up my hands in defeat and give her a Post-It Note decorated with glitter and dried macaroni, I came upon a birthday card with...

... a conscience!

jiminy cricket conscience

Imagine my surprise when I was suddenly greeted by a politically astute, like-minded birthday card. It made my lefty liberal Progressive commie heart get all a-fluttery. I got light-headed. I reached for my smelling salts and scanned the area for a fainting couch (on sale, of course, I'm no fool), but alas, there was none.

So I summoned up all my strength, shook off my initial dumbfounditude, whipped out my trusty iPhone (I'm happy to report that it has nearly recovered from that brief but damaging dip in the toidy), and snapped this image to document the moment. And what a moment it was:

 

birthday card climate change

For those whose eyes are as bad as mine, it says:

It's your birthday, and you're another year older. It could be worse. You could be an endangered polar bear trapped on a melting ice cap as global warming destroys your habitat and the gluttonous fishing industry depletes your only food source.

So celebrate. It's not like you're on the brink of extinction.

... Yet.

Holy Stromboli, it's as if I wrote that birthday card my very own self!

Nothing like an informed, articulate, enlightening French gay Kenyan Marxist pinko socialist birthday card to brighten one's day.

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Tesla channels Youngman: Take my patents, please!

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henny youngman take my patents please tesla

Tesla is doing something extremely cool. Tesla is that brand of extremely cool autos that run on extremely cool, clean electricity and figured out how to go miles (literally) beyond other electric automakers when it comes to how far they travel on a single charge-- double or triple the driving range of other electric cars, to be exact. Their groundbreaking ways continue.

For example, Tesla sells their cars directly to consumers out of their own showrooms. They've gotten some blowback for that (hence the image at the bottom of this post).

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Tesla is offering something else extremely cool, something very surprising:

The Tesla Model S just became the world's first open-source car.

Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors Inc., said Thursday that he was opening up the electric car company's patents to all comers. "Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor," Musk said, "but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world's most talented engineers."

And if that's not impressive enough, Musk wants to encourage the use of electric cars for all the right reasons:

Opening up Tesla's technology could increase sales of electric cars and move the world away from oil-burning vehicles that contribute to global warming.

Plus, his strategy won't hurt business in the least. But it will help our environment and kick car manufacturers in their polluting trunks to keep up with the times.

"We think the market is plenty big enough for everyone," Musk said. "If we can do things that don't hurt us and help the U.S. industry, we should do that."

He's channeling Henny Youngman in the best way ever.

Take my patents, please!

Then again, he can afford it:

"Even if other competitors copy Tesla's design, Tesla still gets to sell them batteries, and that's pretty awesome. Tesla's decision isn't entirely altruistic," said Jacob Sherkow, patent law expert at the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford Law School.

"I don't think people quite appreciate the gravity of what is going on," Musk said. "We need to do something. We would be shortsighted at Tesla if we kept these things close to our vest."

Tesla benefits, other car makers benefit, we benefit, the environment benefits, and everyone works together as one, big happy, healthy family. That, by the way, is The American Way.

the american way

chris christie tesla free market

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Hey Big Oil "pro-lifers": Fossil fuels may be killing babies!

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we cannot drink the water big oil frackingScreen grab from "Fracking hurts Californians, Governor Brown" video below.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Melissa Harris-Perry took a disturbing look at a mysterious spike in infant deaths in Utah that could very well be linked to air pollution from the oil and gas industry. Yet, we haven't heard a peep about Big Oil possibly killing newborns from those very same "pro-lifers" who hypocritically devote themselves to "saving babies."

And while we're on the topic of Big Oil killing living things, look how their self-serving, corporate activities are contributing to land loss along the Louisiana Gulf Coast:

louisiana coastline destroyed by big oil

The Los Angeles Times has the story:

For decades, oil and gas companies cut canals through fragile wetlands with the state's approval to haul equipment and install pipelines. But scientists say the dredging let salt water flow in, killing vegetation that kept the land from eroding.

Without the buffer of these marshes and barrier islands, Louisiana's many low-lying coastal communities — and its biggest city — now have little natural protection from storm surges created by hurricanes. ... Last summer, the independent board that oversees flood protection for New Orleans decided that oil and gas companies should pay their share. In a move that roiled a state where the energy industry is the economic foundation, the board voted unanimously to sue all 97 companies operating in the state for unspecified damages. [...]

Over the next 50 years, the state is expected to lose as much land as it did in the last 80. The disappearance of the coast has left the state vulnerable to flooding from hurricanes, but it also affects the whole country. Nearly 90% of all offshore U.S. oil and gas production occurs off the state's coast, and the industry's infrastructure is stitched into the shoreline. The region is a hub for shipping and fisheries. The marshes attract millions of migratory birds annually.

Of course, it goes without saying that Gov. Bobby Jindal would do anything to save his state-- and the entire nation-- from environmental disaster... right?

Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal and key legislators denounced the litigation, initiating legislation that would quash the lawsuits and undo post-Hurricane Katrina reforms aimed at removing politics from flood control. Last month, the state Senate passed a bill that would allow Jindal to kill the New Orleans lawsuit by replacing the lawyers who are handling it.

Oops. My bad.

And while we're still on the topic of how fossil fuels are slowly snuffing life as we know it, remember this? Frackers set sights on largest oil shale reservoir in US... near CA's San Andreas fault. Hey, me too! Well guess what, there was an L.A. Times sequel: "U.S. officials cut estimate of recoverable Monterey Shale oil by 96%."

Families are already suffering everywhere, and there's more where that came from.

"What is all that money worth if there will be no future generations?"

Now let's take a look at today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor responses to those reports, because our voices matter:

Gov. Jerry Brown has displayed cognitive dissonance by supporting both climate change mitigation and fracking in California.

Fracking not only perpetuates our dependency on fossil fuels, it also releases methane all along the supply chain, which is a greenhouse gas less prevalent in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide but roughly 30 times more potent as a heat-trapping gas.

Brown is trying to be slick like the streets of Atwater Village after the 10,000-gallon oil spill last week by appealing to both sides of the aisle. But like those streets, he is finding himself mired in a sticky situation, where he will need to fully commit to a side.

Californians are noticing that the governor's position on the issue of climate change is about as stable as the ground upon which Big Oil is fracking.

Amanda Grossi

Los Angeles

The writer is a field manager for Environment California.

***

I don't know why companies are even looking for oil anymore. What oil is left will be used up at some point. Meanwhile, extracting it gets more costly, and that doesn't include the hidden costs of the damage to the environment, including its contribution to global warming.

The sun produces energy; it has done so for billions of years, and when it stops, so will our planet. We should not build another house without solar panels. There should also be small wind turbines for our home patios that can help out when it is windy.

We don't need oil, and we really don't need shale oil.

Jenny Wilder

Apple Valley

Bonus insanity: House Votes To Deny Climate Science And Ties Pentagon’s Hands On Climate Change.

Via .ecobumperstickers.com

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Need a miracle? Why, here's one now! cc: Billionaire Tom Steyer's super PAC

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solar freakin' roadways climate change miracle

Earlier, our own lwdgrfx posted a link to the above video about a new miracle, a possible global solution to help combat climate change, a brilliant idea, and-- wait for it-- a feasible one. As is stated at the link, "everything about this is good. You should be throwing your money at this project."

To put it mildly:

THIS IS A MUST-WATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please note that I used more exclamation points than the GOP does after "Benghazi!!!!!!!!!!!" and a larger font.

So there.

I own my exuberance. I do not apologize for shouting. In fact, I hope billionaire Tom Steyer notices.

Which brings me to two related articles from the Los Angeles Times that are relevant to the potential miracle that are solar freakin' roadways: Climate change to result in less nutritional food, report says and billionaire will brand climate skeptics as deniers and highlight the hardships on real people that climate change is already causing.

Dear Billionaire Tom, please invest in solar freakin' roadways (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). Not familiar with Mr. Steyer? Please read my previous post, California billionaire may be liberals' answer to the Koch brothers.

Here are a few samples from the Times pieces. Please link over to read the rest. First, Billionaire Tom and his Amazing Super PAC:

A group run by California billionaire Tom Steyer unveiled plans to aggressively target Republicans in seven states who have been skeptics of global warming. Among the political figures the group plans to target is Florida Gov. Rick Scott and former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, who hopes to win a Senate seat from New Hampshire.

The group plans to spend at least $100 million – half of it Steyer’s money, the rest raised from other environmentalists – on campaigns that will include micro-targeting voters, branding climate skeptics as deniers of basic science and highlighting the hardships climate change is already causing.

In other words, he's putting real faces and consequences to the catastrophes caused by climate change. He's humanizing it. He's offering concrete examples of actual living, breathing people being devastated by something tangible, something that the GOP is mocking (House Science Committee Hard At Work: More Hearings on Aliens Than Climate Change). Something many of us don't find very amusing.

Next, check this out. Some crops provide less nutrition than they used to, per a new report, and guess what's behind that:

Research indicates that higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have reduced the protein content in wheat, for example. And the International Rice Research Institute has warned that the quality of rice available to consumers will decrease as temperatures rise, the report noted. [...]

Scientists already have been investigating breeds of chicken and cattle that can thrive in triple-digit temperatures, grapes that are resilient to heat fungi and crops that won't whither as temperatures rise.

Anyone else find this disturbing?

We are already feeling and seeing the effects of our negligence in caring for our environment, both economically and physically. At this rate it will take a miracle to compensate for our recklessness. We can start with:

solar freakin' roadways climate change miracle 2

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Mid-Day Distraction: Water Wheel Cleans Up Trash in Baltimore Harbor

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BaltimoreHarborWaterWheelw300h222

Another simple idea which cuts out big corporations looking to screw municipalities with overcomplicated 'special technologies'. This is the way to move forward in this country - not spending millions for CEOs to pocket.

Here's the information about this project on YT:

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The Inner Harbor Water Wheel receives its first major flow of trash on the morning of Friday, May 16th.

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