With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/13/2009, 1:23pm PT  

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IN TODAY'S AUDIO REPORT: Another win for coal companies; Of green roofs & red tomatoes ... PLUS: Town Hall Follies, now with Clean Coal!... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (links below): LUSH cosmetics says 'Don't Buy Palm Oil'; 'Feed-in Tariffs' help spread solar across the country; Solar thermal energy saves on homeowners' energy bills... PLUS: Stowaway mosquitoes threaten Galapagos wildlife...

Info/links on those stories and all the ones we talked about on today's episode follow below...

  • Breaking news: Court rejects Obama MTR rule change (Coal Tattoo)
  • Obama EPA approves another mountaintop removal mine: The Obama administration late last week quietly approved one of six major mountaintop removal permits that were said to be undergoing close scrutiny by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (West Virginia Gazette)
  • FLASHBACK: Coal Mining Debris Rule Is Approved (NY Times, Dec. 2008):
    The rule gives coal companies a legal right to do what, in the past, they could do only in exceptional circumstances, with special permission from the government.
  • GREEN ROOFS: Raising the Prairie: The Nation’s First Organic Roof Farm Rises in Chicago (SolveClimate.org) [emphasis added]:
    In Chicago, where green-roof culture has gone from a fad to a standard, a restaurant roof on Chicago’s north side has acquired the nation’s first designation, by the Midwest Organic Services Association (M.O.S.A.), as an organic rooftop farm.

    It started as a passion for sustainability on the part of Uncommon Ground restaurateurs Helen and Michael Cameron, who for 17 years built enduring relationships with regional organic farmers, and then – when scouting a new location for their restaurant in 2007 – decided to try organic farming themselves.

  • Northeast Tomatoes Lost, and Potatoes May Follow (NY Times):
    The source of the outbreak is being investigated by pathologists. Home gardens likely helped spread the infection: Lowe’s, Home Depot, Kmart and Wal-Mart all sold tomato seedlings with late blight in their garden centers from April to June. All are offering refunds or credits to gardeners who must destroy their plants.
  • OP-ED: You Say Tomato, I Say Agricultural Disaster (NY Times)
  • 'Energy Citizens' Take Aim at Climate Legislation (Greenwire) [emphasis added]:
    A coalition of industry groups and conservative advocacy organizations will launch a "grass roots" campaign next week aimed at urging the Senate to make business-friendly changes to the House-passed energy and climate bill.
  • Group pushes 'clean coal' in ad blitz
  • 'Citizen Army' Carries Coal's Climate Message to Hinterlands (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
    Coal's biggest lobbying group is launching a $1 million campaign to win support from Senate Democrats, an effort that employs the same public relations firm ensnared by a scandal over forged letters to Congress.
    ...
    The new project will use 225,000 volunteers dubbed "America's Power Army." They will visit town hall meetings, fairs and other functions attended by members of Congress and ask questions about energy policy.
    ...
    Lawmakers, as well, Slocum said, need to know whether concerns they are hearing in their districts and states are organic "or whether it's being orchestrated by hired guns working for the coal industry."
  • Leaked Memo - Oil Lobby's ‘Energy Citizens’ Astroturf Campaign Exposed Before Launch (DeSmog Blog)
  • Coal industry planning big Labor Day event (Coal Tattoo)
  • Oil and Gas Industries Fuel Unruly Townhall Meetings (Media Matters):
    FreedomWorks Released An August Recess Action Kit. On August 5, 2009, FreedomWorks released its August Recess Action Kit and encouraged people to "find a town hall meeting near you." Chairman Dick Armey wrote: "We've provided an August Recess Action Kit for you packed with good talking points, important questions, handouts to invite friends to attend events with you, and other helpful resources. Thank you in advance for doing your part.
    ...
    As Media Matters Action Network noted, FreedomWorks' Action Kit is full of false talking points about cap-and-trade and health insurance reform.
  • Lobby Groups to Use Town Hall Tactics to Oppose Climate Bill (Wall St. Journal) [emphasis added]:
    Taking a cue from angry protests against the Obama Administration’s health care restructuring, the oil industry is helping organize anti-climate bill rallies around the nation.

    The American Petroleum Institute, along with other organizations such as the National Association of Manufacturers opposed to the climate legislation Congress will consider again in the fall, is funding rallies across 20 states over the August recess.

    In template fliers for rallies produced by the API-founded alliance, EnergyCitizens, the public is warned that “Climate change legislation being considered in Washington will cause huge economic pain and produce little environmental gain.”

  • Town Hall Protests, Dubious Studies... Must Be August! (The New Republic) [emphasis added]:
    Where did this "huge economic pain" business come from? Ah, well, you see, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) just released its own study today arguing that climate legislation would ravage U.S. manufacturing and destroy some 2 million jobs by 2030.

    So, let's take a peek. Technically, NAM is using the same economic forecasting model as the Energy Information Administration, but NAM fed its own, very different assumptions into the model. Not all of those assumptions have been disclosed yet, but the ones that have seem a little dubious.
    ...
    Hmm... Essentially, the manufacturing industry is saying that in the worst-case scenario—with everything going wrong, technological progress stagnating, companies choosing not to wring out inefficiencies, and wind and nuclear power taking a step backward for some unknown reason—that reducing greenhouse-gas emissions will cause the economy to grow $8.9 trillion between now and 2030 instead of $9.5 trillion. Feel free to decide whether that downside risk is totally unacceptable or not.

'GREEN NEWS EXTRA': More green news not covered in today's audio report... See below!

  • LUSH cosmetics launches campaign against palm oil (MongaBay.com):
    LUSH, which is now selling a palm oil-free soap, has launched a two-pronged campaign to make consumers aware of the impacts of palm cultivation on tropical forests and encourage other consumer-products companies, including Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Nestle, to reformulate their products using alternatives to palm oil.
  • Feed-in Tariffs for Solar Continue To Spread (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
    The policy, called a feed-in tariff, offers small-scale producers of solar energy long-term contracts (usually at above-market rates) for the electricity they sell. Last week, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, which serves 1.4 million people, approved a feed-in tariff that allows homeowners with solar panels a chance to sign up for 10, 15 or 20 years of guaranteed payments. The policy will take effect next January. The city of Gainesville, Fla., adopted a feed-in tariff this spring, as did Vermont. Washington state also has such a policy, and Hawaii is currently considering one.
  • More than Hot Air: Solar thermal energy, or “solar hot water,” may not get much hype, but don’t count it out of the renewable energy equation. (Scienceline.org)
  • Stowaway mosquitoes threaten Galapagos wildlife (Reuters) [emphasis added]: