IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: They found BP's oil; "Corn sugar", anyone?; Pakistan floods impact national security; Aging pipeline, gaps in oversight at heart of San Bruno, CA tragedy ... PLUS: Sexy, sexy infrastructure ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Carbon nanotube "solar funnel" boosts solar panels; EPA holds contentious hearings on "fracking"; Coal Industry is Safe, says new Australian climate minister; Electric bicycle range reaching the 100 mile mark; Egg Recall: USDA knew of dirty plant conditions; Scientists investigate massive walrus beachings in Alaska; DOE proposes $3.5 million in efficiency penalties; Organic strawberries have better taste & nutrition ...PLUS: GOP candidates nearly all climate zombies who deny science ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Big Birthdays for Clean Air Act and OPEC (NYT Dot Earth)
- "Corn Sugar": Industry Seeks New Name for High Fructose Corn Syrup:
- Corn Refiners ask FDA to replace “HFCS” with “Corn Sugar” (Marion Nestle, Food Politics):
For the record once again, HFCS is not poison. It is just a mixture of glucose and fructose in almost the same proportions as table sugar, sucrose.
Mind you, I am not fond of the idea that Americans use 60 pounds of corn sweeteners per capita per year and another 60 pounds of table sugar, and I am not particularly eager to help the Corn Refiners sell more of their stuff.
This move is driven not only by bad press, but also by the fact that the price differential has all but disappeared. HFCS started out at one-third the cost of table sugar. Growing corn to make alcohol changed all that.
- Corn syrup producers want sweeter name: corn sugar: Americans' consumption of corn syrup has fallen to a 20-year low on consumer concerns that it is more harmful or more likely to cause obesity than ordinary sugar, perceptions for which there is little scientific evidence. (BusinessWeek)
- A New Name for High-Fructose Corn Syrup:
The Corn Refiners Association, which represents firms that make the syrup, has been trying to improve the image of the much maligned sweetener with ad campaigns promoting it as a natural ingredient made from corn. (NY Times)
- Pakistan Floods: Military Overextended, Millions Homeless, International Agencies Fear Destabilization as Militant Groups Move to Take Advantage:
- Floods Stunt Pakistani Fight Against Insurgents (NY Times)
- Floods change Pakistan’s campaign against militants (LiveMint/Wall St. Journal)
- U.S. Remains Committed to Flood Relief, Commander Says (U.S. Dept. of Defense)
- Pakistan floods: Surviving Swat (BBC)
- Floods delay Pakistan anti-insurgent fight (UPI)
- Pakistan's Manchar lake overflows (International Herald Tribune)
- In Pakistan 85% Of Those Displaced By Flooding Are Women, Including 500,000 Pregnant Women (Feminist Peace Network)
- Update: BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf:
- Scientists find thick layer of oil on sea floor (NPR):
Scientists on a research vessel in the Gulf of Mexico are finding a substantial layer of oily sediment stretching for dozens of miles in all directions. Their discovery suggests that a lot of oil from the Deepwater Horizon didn't simply evaporate or dissipate into the water — it has settled to the seafloor.
- Huge fish kill reported in Plaquemines Parish (NOLA.com)
- BP Claims Czar Kenneth Feinberg May Give Spill Victims A Big Concession (AP)
- Buried in BP's Report: Decision to Pump Leftover Fluid Into Well May Have Contributed to Disaster: BP's report acknowledges that the properties of an unusual fluid mixture it chose to pump into the well may have skewed its pressure readings. (Pro Publica)
- Ignore this story: scientists discover thick layer of oil on Gulf seafloor (Peter Daou)
- Only 160 deepwater rig workers have applied for aid from $100 million BP fund (NOLA.com)
- Rogue oil well in Gulf of Mexico could be officially killed this week (NOLA.com)
- San Bruno Gas Explosion, and PG&E's Spending Priorities
- DONATE TO THE VICTIMS via Red Cross, Salvation Army, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the San Francisco Foundation.
- Disaster fatigue: The San Bruno gas fire and the futility of harping on fossil-fuel disasters (Grist)
- Aging gas pipes at risk of explosion nationwide (AP):
Utilities have been under pressure for years to better inspect and replace aging gas pipes " many of them laid years before sprawling communities were erected around them that now are at risk of leaking or erupting.
But the effort has fallen short. Critics say the regulatory system is ripe for problems because the government largely leaves it up to the companies to do inspections, and utilities are reluctant to spend the money necessary to properly fix and replace decrepit pipelines.
"If this was the FAA and air travel we were talking about, I wouldn't get on a plane," said Rick Kessler, a former congressional staffer specializing in pipeline safety issues who now works for the Pipeline Safety Trust, an advocacy group based in Bellingham, Wash.
- VIDEO: San Bruno Gas Explosion: Residents Return to Destruction: Home Video Showing Fire's Fury Surfaces; Officials Look for Answers (ABC News)
- PG&E ordered to inspect entire gas system after San Bruno blast (LA Times)
- NTSB official describes blown gas pipeline, course of the investigation in San Bruno explosion and fire (LA Times)
- Boxer and Feinstein ask federal regulators to order inspection of gas pipelines (LA Times)
- New Analysis Finds Prop. 23 Would Cut Jobs and State Revenue (UC Berkeley):
An independent analysis of Proposition 23 says the initiative would create legal uncertainty, reduce California state revenue, and jeopardize new and existing clean energy jobs. The white paper, released today by UC Berkeley School of Law's Center for Law, Energy & the Environment, reports Prop. 23 would also slow California's efforts to reduce climate change and could have a domino effect on other states.
- San Bruno pipeline could not be inspected with new technology: Ruptured segment was too old and curved to accommodate in-line device required on newer lines. PG&E says it met all federal requirements and used several other inspection methods at least once a year. (LA Times)
- PG&E, Owner of San Bruno Pipeline, Has Had 19 Pipeline Incidents Since 2002 (Washington Indpedendent)
- PG&E Does Not Reveal Location of Pipelines, Violating Regulations (Washington Independent)
- Fatal Pipeline Accident Turns Attention to Nation's Aging Pipelines: More than half of the nation's gas pipelines are more than 40 years old, and only about 7 percent are required to be inspected by regulators. (Pro Publica)
- Oil and Gas Industry Writes Its Own Pipeline Standards:
Pipeline Regulator PHMSA Adopts All or Parts of At Least 29 Standards Written by Oil and Gas Industry (Washington Independent, 8/13/2010)
- GET MORE INFO: The Pipeline Safety Trust
- FLASHBACK: PG&E spending on Proposition 16 reaches $44 million (LA Times, May 24, 2010)
- In Case You Missed It (the networks did!): President Obama's Backyard Speech on Our Future Competitiveness:
- Obama takes his economic message to small gathering in Va. couple's back yard (Washington Post)
- Obama Defends Economic Initiatives, Stance on Taxes: Policy makers should focus on promoting economic growth and job creation rather than deficit reduction, a majority of respondents said in a survey by the National Association for Business Economics released today. (BusinessWeek)
- WATCH: President Obama in a Fairfax Backyard: The President spoke about his plans to put people to work rebuilding America, his plans to boost small business, and his plans to incentivize new investment. (WhiteHouse.gov)
- U.S. Should Put Growth Ahead of Deficit Cuts, Economists Say (BusinessWeek)
- READ IT: Transcript of Remarks by the President in Discussion on the Economy in Fairfax, Virginia (WhiteHouse.gov):
Now, the second part of the challenge, though, is to make sure that even as we're digging ourselves out of this hole, we start making some better decisions so that, long term, we don't find ourselves in the circumstance again, and we start creating the kind of economy that's working for middle-class families.
A second area where I hope we can still make progress is on energy. Everybody agrees our energy policy doesn't make sense. We don't have an energy policy. We've talked about this since Richard Nixon. Remember OPEC, '73, and oil --- lines at the gas station? And every President has said this is a national security issue, this is a crisis, we've got to do something about it. But we don't do anything about it.
So my suggestion is let's both --- let's join hands, Democrats and Republicans, and go ahead and take the leap and try to solve this problem. And there's not a silver bullet, there's not one magic solution to our energy problems. We're going to have to use a bunch of different strategies.
- LAST WEEK: WATCH President Obama's Major Policy Speech on Infrastructure Spending: White House, GOP Clash Over Economic Plans (C-SPAN)
- LAST WEEK: READ IT: Transcript: President's Remarks on the Economy at Cuyahoga Community College, Parma, OH (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
- And Just Cuz It's Interesting: The Economic Impact of Democratic v. Republican Administrations --- Guess Who Does Better?:
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Carbon nanotube "solar funnel" for smaller, more efficient solar cells (Gizmag)
- Strong positions on either side of "fracking" at EPA hearing: The occasion was the first of two public sessions conducted Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency to gather public comment on its study of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," a technique for unlocking natural gas from rock formations thousands of feet underground with high-pressure injections of water, chemicals, and sand. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
- Coal Industry is Safe, says Greg Combet: Australia's new climate minister, Greg Combet, has vowed to bring "common sense" to the climate change debate. And he has warned that he will fight for coal industry jobs as he pursues a price on carbon. (The Australian)
- Electric bicycle range reaching the 100 mile mark (Gizmag)
- Egg Inspectors Failed to Raise Alarms: Agriculture Officials Noted Bugs, Trash on Farm at Center of Recall, but Never Notified Agency in Charge of Safety Issues (Wall St. Journal)
- Scientists Investigate Massive Walrus Haul-Out in Alaska: Scientists fear declining Arctic sea ice may have caused an unprecedented mass migration to dry land (Guardian UK)
- DOE proposes $3.5 million in efficiency penalties (The Hill)
- Organic Strawberries Have Better Taste & Nutrition Than Conventional & Better For Soil Too: New Study (Treehugger)
- Dawn of the brain-dead Senate: GOP fills candidate slate with climate zombies who deny science (Climate Progress):
Many of the Senate candidates are signatories of the Koch Industries' Americans For Prosperity No Climate Tax pledge and the FreedomWorks Contract From America. The second plank of the Contract From America is to "Reject Cap & Trade: Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation's global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures."
In reality, a carbon cap-and-trade market - by rewarding work instead of pollution - would increase jobs, lower electricity bills, restore American competitiveness, and forestall a climate catastrophe.