IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Accountability for BP in deadly Gulf Oil Spill Disaster; Accountability for PG&E in deadly natural gas pipeline explosion; California legislature bans plastic bags, regulates groundwater for first time in history; PLUS: Celebrating 50 years of protecting America's wildlands and rivers ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Erick Erickson and the bleeding edge of purposely ignorant climate change denial; BC toxic mine spill 70% bigger than estimated; Future tense: weather forecasts from 2050; Scientists create 100% renewable propane from bacteria; Pacific bluefin tuna on brink of commercial extinction; Ukraine's 15 nuclear reactors are now in a war zone; Feds want to ship nuclear waste via railroad; People's Climate March in NYC on September 21st ... PLUS: Southwest’s drought is historic, and could last a generation or more ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Accountability for BP in Gulf Oil Spill Disaster:
- BP's reckless conduct caused Gulf oil spill, federal judge rules (NOLA.com) [emphasis added]:
IThe judge found that BP acted with "gross negligence" and "willful misconduct" under the Clean Water Act. Barbier ruled that BP committed a series of negligent acts leading up to the spill including drilling the final 100 feet using unsafe practices. "These instances of negligence, taken together, evince an extreme deviation from the standard of care and a conscious disregard of known risks," he wrote.
- BP Found Grossly Negligent in 2010 Spill; Fines May Rise (Bloomberg)
- BP’s walloping fine for “gross negligence” could wipe out a whole year’s profit (Quartz.com)
- BP Lashes Out at Journalists and "Opportunistic" Environmentalists (Mother Jones)
- VIDEO: Supreme Court Slashes Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Fine to One-Tenth of Original $5 Billion Ruling (Democracy Now!, June 2008):
Alaskan jury had initially ruled Exxon should pay $5 billion in punitive damages, but in 2006 the 9th US Circuit Court cut the award of punitive damages in half. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court cut the amount of punitive damages again and ordered Exxon Mobil to pay just $500 million in punitive damages — one-tenth of the original jury’s ruling.
- Halliburton Agrees to $1.1 Billion Settlement Over BP Oil Spill:
- Halliburton Energy Services agrees to $1.1 billion settlement over BP oil spill (NOLA.com):
"Halliburton stepped up to the plate and agreed to provide a fair measure of compensation to people and businesses harmed in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy," co-lead plaintiffs' attorneys, Stephen J. Herman and James P. Roy, said in a news release.
- Halliburton to Pay $1.1 Billion to Settle Damages in Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill (NY Times)
- Accountability for PG&E for Deadly Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion:
- Mercury News editorial: Proposed PUC penalty lets PG&E off the hook (San Jose Mercury News) [emphasis added]:
Investigators proved beyond doubt that PG&E took hundreds of millions of dollars that was collected from ratepayers for gas pipeline maintenance and instead used it for shareholder dividends and executive bonuses. If the money had been spent as intended, it might have prevented the San Bruno blast, which killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. PG&E repeatedly has argued that ratepayers should pay 90 percent of the utility's pipeline renovation plan, which is ludicrous because they already have paid once for repairs that never were made.
- VIDEO: PG&E to be penalized $1.4 billion for San Bruno explosion (San Jose Mercury News) [emphasis added]:
Reflecting the massive scope of its operations and the decades of problems discovered in the wake of the explosion, state regulators found PG&E committed about 3,800 violations of state and federal laws and regulations in connection with its natural gas operations. Because the infractions stretched back for decades and the utility was penalized for every transgression every day it occurred, the utility was in violation for an astonishing total of 18.4 million days, the proposal stated.
- PG&E moves to alter criminal indictment and plans to appeal regulatory fine in San Bruno blast cases (San Jose Mercury News):
"When you file a motion like this, you are not attempting to settle the case any time soon. This indicates it is going to be a knockdown, drag-out fight.
- PG&E Intends Appeal of $1.4B Fine for Fatal Blast (AP) [emphasis added]:
PG&E spokesman Greg Snapper ... “We’re planning to ask the commission to review yesterday’s recommendation to make sure that a final penalty counts all of the company’s safety investments and actions to make the gas system the best in the country,” Snapper said.
- California Legislature Passes Nation's First State-Wide Plastic Bag Ban:
- California Legislature Passes Ban on Disposable Plastic Bags; If Signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, Bill Would Be First Such Statewide Ban in the Country (Wall St. Journal)
- California Legislature's Historic Measures to Regulate Water:
- California Legislature works into wee hours to pass flurry of bills (San Jose Mercury News) [emphasis added]:
The legislation --- which reflects the most significant changes to state water law in half a century --- triggered the biggest battle in the legislative session's final hours...."But every single member on this floor recognizes we've been over-drafting groundwater in this state --- not just this year, not just since the drought started, but for decades."
California is currently the only Western state that doesn't regulate groundwater pumping.
- California’s New Groundwater Legislation Is Unfair. The Governor Should Sign It Anyway. (Slate)
- California Senate approves bill requiring oil industry to detail water use (Reuters):
"The public has the right to know about the oil industry's use of limited fresh water supplies," said Senator Fran Pavley, the bill's author. Environmentalists applauded the bill's passage, saying it is key to understanding who is contributing to the depletion of aquifers during the drought.
- Desperately Dry California Tries to Curb Private Drilling for Water (NY Times):
Yet for a century, farmers believed that the law put control of groundwater in the hands of landowners, who could drill as many wells as deeply as they wanted, and court challenges were few.
- Battle Wages for California’s Groundwater Rights (Climate Central) [emphasis added]
“In the absence of governance, it’s become a pumping arms race,” says Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. “He with the biggest pump or deepest straw wins.”
Suing has become standard practice in California when groundwater basins are overdrafted because the state lacks regulation and pumping is largely unmeasured. In these cases, a court decides who may extract how much and who will manage the basin to ensure everyone is using water according to the court’s decree, a process called adjudication.
- Op-ed: Water is California's buried treasure that no one's watching (SF Gate)
- Celebrating 50 Years of Protecting America's Wild Lands& Rivers:
- On 50th Anniversary, These Major Environmental Acts Are In Danger After Decades Of Wild Success (Climate Progress)
- Wilderness Act at 50: the economics of open space (Guardian UK):
Outdoor recreation contributes $646bn to the US economy and directly supports 6.1m jobs. On the Wilderness Act’s 50th birthday, we take a look at conservation’s economic contribution
- Nation's premier conservation law enters era of compromise (E & E News)
- 50 Years Later: Honoring the Wilderness Act Through Citizen Science (Huffington Post Green)
- Secretary of the Interior Helps Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Conservation Laws at Great Swamp (Alternative Press)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Erick Erickson and the Bleeding Edge of Purposely Ignorant Climate Change Denialism (The BRAD BLOG):
Wingnut Erick Erickson is on the verge of toppling the proverbial chess board entirely as, once again, he finds himself on the losing side of both the factual and political game when it comes to the "debate" about global warming.
- Mount Polley mine tailings spill nearly 70 per cent bigger than first estimated (Vancouver Sun)
- Think the Southwest’s drought is bad now? It could last a generation or more (Grist):
A new study by Cornell University, the University of Arizona, and the U.S. Geological Survey researchers looked at the deep historical record (tree rings, etc.) and the latest climate change models to estimate the likelihood of major droughts in the Southwest over the next century...The researchers concluded that odds of a decadelong drought are “at least 80 percent.”
- VIDEO: Weather in 2050: Warmer, Wetter, Wilder, According to U.N. World Meteorological Organization (The Weather Channel):
Mega-droughts. Long-lasting heat waves. Flooded coastal cities. These are the weather scenarios for 2050 from a series of imaginary yet realistic reports from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) that predict of future of warmer, wetter and wilder weather.
- For The First Time, Scientists Create Completely Renewable Propane (Climate Progress)
- Water allocation an issue at fracking locations across US and globally (McClatchy DC):
Extracting natural gas for energy from shale rock deep underground requires lots of water, but much of the world's shale gas is in regions where water is already scarce, including part of California, according to a study issued Tuesday.
- Pacific tuna stocks on the brink of disaster, warns outgoing fisheries head Glenn Hurry (ABC Australia) [emphasis added]:
The Australian who heads fishery management in the Western and Central Pacific has warned an international agreement is urgently needed to avert disaster for the tuna industry. Professor Glenn Hurry said bluefin and bigeye tuna should no longer be harvested, as stocks were dangerously depleted.
- A Worrying Factor in Ukraine’s Chaos: 15 Nuclear Reactors (Washington Post):
Chernobyl happened in a time of peace: Today, Ukraine's reactors operate near a war zone.
- Feds want nuclear waste train, but nowhere to go (AP) [emphasis added]:
The U.S. government is looking for trains to haul radioactive waste from nuclear power plants to disposal sites. Too bad those trains have nowhere to go. Putting the cart before the horse, the U.S. Department of Energy recently asked companies for ideas on how the government should get the rail cars needed to haul 150-ton casks filled with used, radioactive nuclear fuel.
- People's Climate March in NYC on Sept. 21 swells to global movement (RTCC):
People's Climate March spreads across six countries, as activists aim to raise the profile of UN climate summit.
- Climate Scientists Spell Out Stark Danger And Immorality Of Inaction In New Leaked Report (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
One word in the latest draft report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sums up why climate inaction is so uniquely immoral: "Irreversible." The message from climate scientists about our ongoing failure to cut carbon pollution: The catastrophic changes in climate that we are voluntarily choosing to impose on our children and grandchildren - and countless generations after them - cannot plausibly be undone for hundreds of years or more.
- VIDEO: As Obama Settles on Nonbinding Treaty, "Only a Big Movement" Can Take on Global Warming (Democracy Now!)
- 4 Scenarios Show What Climate Change Will Do To The Earth, From Pretty Bad To Disaster (Fast CoExist):
But exactly how bad is still an open question, and a lot depends not only on how we react, but how quickly. The rate at which humans cut down on greenhouse gas emissions--if we do choose to cut them--will have a large bearing on how the world turns out by 2100, the forecasts reveal.
- The Climate Scientist Who Pioneered Geoengineering Fears It's About to Blow Up (Motherboard):
"So the idea that huge swaths of the tropics might not be suitable for growing crops," he went on, "is plausible. And if you're unable to grow crops in huge swaths of the tropics, is that going to create political turmoil and migration? It could be a major disruption."
- Zero carbon and economic growth can go together, UN study says (Guardian UK):
The top 15 emitter countries could make deep cuts to emissions while also tripling economic output, according to the study
FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page
- Video Proof That Global Warming is a 'Hoax'!: NASA Temperature Data 1888-2011 (The BRAD BLOG):
- NASA climate change video: This is the U.S. in 2100 (NASA).