IN TODAY'S REPORT: We're not just "wearin' the green", we're bein' it!; The "Filthy Fifteen" list is out, is your state on it?; Australia declares a natural disaster after an oil spill!; PLUS: RNC Chair Michael Steele joins the Flat Earth Society! All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN TODAY'S REPORT: Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen...on ice; Obama's EPA reverses the Bush EPA again... and AGAIN; American wilderness loses by two votes in the House; PLUS: Mr. Jones goes to Washington! All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN TODAY'S REPORT: Obama's carbon cap-and-trade plan may get capped...by Democrats; The Environmental Protection Agency decides to protect the environment; ATTN: Disinfo wingnut on the move!; PLUS: The British slimed minister...All that and more, in today's rather lively Green News Report!
IN TODAY'S REPORT: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown calls on America to lead the way to a global green economy ... Happy birthday to the hybrid-electric car ... Obama vows to return science to the Endangered Species Act ... and a Republican governor proposes taxes on free water!
With an apparent hat-tip to Saddam Hussein's post-Gulf War strategy, George W. Bush continues his scorched earth policy on the way out the door. Earlier this month his EPA announced a new last-minute rule allowing mining companies to dump their waste into mountain streams. Last Friday, he continued to take his dump on America, by issuing a permit to allow cruise ships to dump "untreated graywater" --- including oil, grease, metals, pesticides, viruses, fecal coliform bacteria from human sewage, medical and dental waste, detergents, and cleaners --- just one mile off shore of coastal U.S.A.
"A large cruise ship on a one-week voyage can generate one million gallons-which would fill 33 large swimming pools-of graywater," say Friends of the Earth in a press release issued last week (posted in full below) following the EPA announcement.
Hope you folks in Florida will remember to thank the Republicans in 2010...
I suspect GM's stock price would shoot back up upon such an announcement, and there would be unprecedented anticipation for how Apple's co-founder, the visionary Steve Jobs, might bring the same type of innovation to the American automobile industry that he brought to the computer and communications and music industry.
Would it be enough and in time to save them? That I couldn't tell ya, but it'd be just about the best chance they'd have, I'd venture.
While I'm focused on this point, allow me to link back to my recent article asking why Congress hasn't asked GM about their popular, fully-electric car, the EV1, before trying to give them billions of dollars.
The company introduced the EV1 in California in 1996, before killing it inexplicably three years later and, literally, shredding every last one of the much-sought-after vehicles. Several excellent comments left by readers on that article, also look into the related mystery of Texaco having purchased the patent for the second generation battery for the car. The purchase occurred at nearly the same time as the EV1 was taken off the market. The new battery technology is said to have had a superbly long life on a single charge. The purchase effectively took the battery off the market --- has it been heard from since?
Texaco itself was purchased by Chevron just days after they'd bought the rights to the battery in 2000. At the time of the purchase, as coincidence would have it, Condoleeza Rice was on Chevron's board, and Andy Card was GM's VP of Government Relations, according to Wikipedia, where he served until he was selected as George W. Bush's Chief of Staff. Prior to that, from '93 to '98, Card had been President and CEO of the American Automobile Manufacturers Assoc. (AAMA), representing GM, Ford and Chrysler. All just coincidences, of course.
But back to the main point of this item...If Steve Jobs is disinclined to leave Apple, the company he co-founded, in order to take the reins as CEO of the floundering GM, then I suppose I could revise the headline of this piece to read instead:
How to Save the American Automobile Industry in Three Words:
'The Apple iCar'
UPDATE 12/11/08: Looks like a few others were having the same idea just about the time that I was, and in a bit more detail...
I haven't been able to watch all of the Capitol Hill hearings with the Big 3 automaker CEOs, but caught a fair portion. I've yet to hear anybody ask GM CEO Rick Wagoner why the hell his company killed their perfectly good, and rather popular, fully electric car which was introduced in CA in 1996.
The EV1 was much beloved by its owners (leasers, actually, since they were not allowed to buy them). There were waiting lists to be able to get one, before finally, three years later, with little or no explanation, GM announced they would not be renewing any of the leases on those cars and those who used them would have no recourse but to give them back.
Customers were outraged, heartbroken even. Many had tried to buy them outright --- and even sign contracts that they'd not hold GM accountable for any future problems or repairs --- but they were all turned down. When the devoted customers learned the planned fate of the cars --- and discovered, by helicopter, that they were all being rounded up in the desert --- they took up a round-the-clock, 24/7 vigil in an effort to block what GM had planned for them.
Incredibly, not only had GM taken back the cars, they were actually sending them, in perfectly good working order, to be shredded --- yes, literally shredded. As EV1 supporters tried to physically block the movement of cars to the shredder, they were threatened with arrest if they didn't get out of the way to allow the perfectly usable, and almost brand new cars to be taken out by trucks to be completely destroyed.
Why? That was never really made clear, at least not in the excellent 2006 documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? which detailed the entire heartbreaking tale of the cars which ran quickly and quietly, and without a drop of gasoline. Here's a short teaser for the film...
So, as promises of the Chevy Volt for 2010 have been well advertised, has Wagoner been publicly asked about the shameful EV1 chapter, and why his company can't just start making them again --- like tomorrow? Surely they didn't shred the blueprints for the cars as well, did they? If anyone has asked him, even about why the hell they destroyed them in the first place, I've not seen it. But with everything that's going on right now, and with GM's hat-in-hand, threatening "bankruptcy within the month" if they don't get billions of dollars pronto, it sure seems like someone oughta bring up the still unanswered questions of the EV1.
“There are things you can do individually to save energy,” Barack Obama said last week “… Making sure your tires are properly inflated — simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling — if everybody was just inflating their tires. And getting regular tune-ups. You’d actually save just as much.”
Despite the fact that even NASCAR extols the gas-saving virtues of proper tire inflation on its website, the McCain campaign spent the early part of this week mocking Obama’s assertion that keeping tires inflated conserves gasoline by selling tire gauges, for a $25 donation, labeled “Obama Energy Plan.”
On Wednesday night, however, during a conference call with supporters, McCain did a complete 180 on tire inflation: