IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Ding dong the BP well is DEAD, but the disaster lives on; Jimmy Carter was right; Solar panels on the White House?; PLUS: Get ready for Frankenfish!!! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Massey mine failed dust-control standards; Renewable Electricity Standard gets another chance; Mining’s Final Frontier: the deep sea; Walmart unveils thin solar roof panels on stores; Spending blocked for Capitol charging stations; Justice slams FBI probes of environmental groups; How Hillary Clinton's clean stoves will help African women; World's largest mining company says 'We Must Move Away from Coal'; World's largest solar plant wins key approval in CA; Are climate change sceptics just naturally gullible?; Clean Air Act by the numbers; Gas pipeline regulator's industry ties...PLUS: Researchers find future temperatures could exceed livable limits ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- WATCH: Former President Jimmy Carter Talks Energy, Status Quo on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:
- Solar Panels BACK on the White House? Um...no:
- Where the sun don't shine: A White House road trip with a solar rock star (Bill McKibben, Grist)
- WATCH: Bill McKibben On David Letterman: 'I Damn Well Expect My Political Leaders To Do Something' (VIDEO) (Huffington Post Green)
- A Symbolic Solar Road Trip To Reignite a Climate Movement: An activist caravan to bring one of Jimmy Carter’s solar panels back to the White House symbolizes the time that the U.S. has lost in developing new energy technologies – and the urgent need for taking action on climate. (Yale Environment 360)
- White House Spurns Solar Panel (NYT Green) [emphasis added]:
Mr. McKibben met with three midlevel White House officials Friday morning who told him, politely, no dice.
They explained that there were various reasons that the White House roof was not available for a gesture with very little energy-saving potential and that the Obama administration was doing more to promote renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions than any previous government. The word “stunt” may have come up.
- WATCH: Must-see: Bill McKibben on David Letterman
: But Dave, though well-informed, gets one of his facts wrong (Climate Progress)
- Jimmy Carter Was Right (Wonk Room) [emphasis added]:
This is an administration that fully understands the power of “gestures,” like the White House organic garden and farmer’s market. Their discomfort overwhelms the logistical security challenges of putting people to work installing panels on the White House roof. Surprisingly, they did not trumpet the existing solar power installations on the White House complex quietly added by Clinton holdovers during the Bush administration.
Conservatives have transformed the tax-raising, deficit-ballooning, terrorist-supporting Ronald Reagan into a right-wing demigod, and Jimmy Carter into the pariah of presidents, a feckless one-termer responsible for a sweater-wearing malaise. Hopefully Americans will one day be wise enough to realize that Carter was the patriotic leader with a literally sunny vision of American ingenuity and independence, destroyed by the insane fealty to Saudi Arabian oil and strip-mining of our economy by Reagan’s voodoo economics.
- Update: BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf:
- BP oil well is dead, officials say (NOLA.com)
- Reservoir in Gulf May Still Be Used (NY Times)
- Gulf oil well is dead but the pain will remain (AP)
- BP's Press Harassment Continues (Mother Jones) [emphasis added]:
BP workers aren't allowed to dig deeper than 6" to look for oil, even though oil is easily visible before the 6" mark, but Thomas wasn't allowed to dig at all. "You need a permit to do that," a Fish & Wildlife office told the reporter, encouraging him to move down the shore. Thomas did move, but was then accosted by a National Parks officer who told him it was "illegal" to film in a National Park and demanded to see his press pass. "You can't dig in a National Park," the officer told him. "So, no sandcastles, none of that?" a dubious Thomas asked. "You're right," the officer said. The oil leaking from BP's wellhead may have stopped, but looks like their harassment of the press is still going strong.
- OP-ED: BP stops the oil, but the spill is not forgotten: An editorial (NOLA.com)
- Don't count your chickens if you can't count: The feds' oil-spill number games (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones)
- Barrier berm advocates not deterred by environmental regulators' misgivings (NOLA.com)
- Rig deal: Drilling moratorium caused minimal job loss (Grist)
- Oil spill claims czar: 'I over-promised and under-delivered' (Mobile Press-Register)
- Oil spill claims checks aren't close to covering losses, say business owners (Mobile Press-Register)
- Interior: Idle wells in Gulf must be plugged (AP)
- Oil industry says Obama administration plan to double offshore inspection fees could cost jobs: The industry recognizes the need for improved inspections and oversight following the BP oil spill, said American Petroleum Institute president Jack Gerard. But doubling the fees is not appropriate, especially during a recession, he said. (Mobile Press-Reigster)
- New post-oil spill rules slow Gulf drilling pace in shallow water : The drilling moratorium enacted after the BP oil spill applies only to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Yet energy exploration in the Gulf's shallow waters has come to a virtual standstill as drillers grapple with tougher federal rules since the spill. (Mobile Press-Register)
- Get Ready for FRANKENFISH: FDA To Approve Transgenic Salmon:
- The Creepy Science Behind Genetically Engineered "Frankenfish" About to Enter Our Food Supply Unlabeled (Jill Richardson, Alternet) [emphasis added]:
This salmon would be the first genetically engineered animal to enter the U.S. food supply, and the science behind its approval process is frightening.
When the FDA announced it found the genetically engineered AquAdvantage salmon safe just before Labor Day, news headlines and even Alaska Senator Mark Begich called it a "frankenfish." A closer look at AquAdvantage makes it seem unlikely that Mary Shelley could have ever dreamed up anything as wild as the fast growing GE salmon. Even more worrisome is the science used to justify the salmon's safety, which Consumers Union senior scientist Michael Hansen calls "sloppy," "misleading," and "woefully inadequate."
If approved, AquAdvantage will be the first genetically engineered animal to directly enter the U.S. food supply --- a fact that raises the stakes of the FDA's approval process, as it sets a precedent for all future GE animals. Because of a regulatory decision in the 1980s that no new laws are needed to regulate genetically engineered foods, the FDA is actually regulating the GE salmon as a drug.
- Tipping the scales: Why is the FDA about to rubber-stamp GE salmon? (Jill Richardson, Grist) [emphasis added]:
The approval process for the GE salmon will set a precedent for all future GE animals; if the FDA does not set the bar high for solid science, it will mean a lack of scrutiny for other, perhaps less safe, GE animals in the future.
Unfortunately, the FDA appears poised to rubber-stamp the AquAdvantage salmon. After working with AquaBounty since the mid-1990's on the application for the GE salmon, the FDA has only just recently released 255 pages of technical information --- and then allowed a mere 14 days for the public to comment on it. And there is something decidedly fishy about the makeup of the committee chosen to weigh the scientific risk assessments. One might say that the scales are heavily weighted in favor of pro-biotech interests.
- Tell Obama to stop the approval of genetically engineered salmon! (Food & Water Watch.org) [emphasis added]:
The scary thing is, the FDA doesn’t do its own testing of genetically engineered animals, it relies on information provided by the company that wants approval. And because GE salmon are being considered as a new animal drug, the process isn’t focused on what happens to people who eat genetically engineered animals. So on top of the health concerns posed by raising salmon in crowded factory fish farms that rely on antibiotics and other chemicals, the FDA could be adding the unknown risks of GE salmon to the mix.
- WATCH and TAKE ACTION (Food & Water Watch)
- Transgenic Fish Go Large: Approval expected for genetically modified salmon. (Scientific American)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Coal Tattoo Exclusive: Massey mine failed dust-control standards in 79 percent of samples (Coal Tattoo):
According to data that the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration presented to families of the 29 miners who died in that April 5 explosion at Upper Big Branch. During a closed-door meeting last evening in Beckley, MSHA officials gave told the families of these results:
- 1,803 samples taken
- 78.92 percent out of compliance
- Not Dead Yet!: Renewable Electricity Standard Gets Another Chance (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones):
Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) will unveil their plan to create a national renewable energy standard at a press conference, where they'll be joined by Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tom Udall (D-N.M.). While Brownback is better know for strident view on abortion and the creation of human-animal chimeras, he's been the most vocal Republican supporter of an RES in the Senate.
- Mining’s Final Frontier: A new generation of prospectors is eager to explore the ocean floor. Will deep-sea digging damage one of the earth’s most valuable ecosystems? China is angling to be first to exploit a source of minerals that has tempted and frustrated dreamers for almost 150 years: the floor of the deep sea. (Newsweek)
- Rooftop sale: Walmart says thin (solar) is in (Grist):
When Walmart announced on Monday that it would install 15 megawatts' worth of solar arrays on as many as 30 of its stores in California and Arizona, it set out to shape the solar market in more ways than one.
The reason? The world's biggest retailer specified that many of the new solar installations should use thin-film photovoltaic panels. Thin-film solar cells are printed or deposited on glass or flexible materials. And although they are less efficient at converting sunlight into electricity, they can be produced at a lower cost than traditional crystalline silicon solar cells.
- Spending Is Blocked for Capitol Charging Stations (NYT Green) [emphasis added]:
Last week, the Government Accountability Office issued a finding that the Architect of the Capitol, the steward of the Congressional campus, cannot use money from its budget to buy and install battery charging stations on the Capitol grounds so employees and members of Congress can charge their electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles while at work. That holds true even if the vehicle owners reimburse the government for the costs related to the use of the charging stations, it said.
“The use of appropriations for recharging personal vehicles of employees is a matter for Congress to address through legislation,” Lynn Gibson, acting general counsel for the General Accounting Office, wrote.
- FBI Probes [of Environmental Groups] Improper, Justice Says (Washington Post):
But the report cited what it called other "troubling" FBI practices in its monitoring of domestic groups in the years between the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and 2006. In some cases, Fine said, agents began investigations of people affiliated with activist groups for "factually weak" reasons.
In others, the report said, the FBI extended probes "without adequate basis" and improperly kept information about activist groups in its files. Among the groups monitored were the Thomas Merton Center, a Pittsburgh peace group; People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; and Greenpeace USA. Activists affiliated with Greenpeace were improperly put on a terrorist watch list, the report said.
- How Hillary Clinton's clean stoves will help African women: Poorly ventilated small fires are claiming millions of lives – as wood for them wrecks the environment (Guardian UK)
- World's Largest Mining Company: We Must Move Away from Coal (Treehugger)
- World's largest solar plant wins key approval in California: The world's largest solar power plant cleared an important hurdle on Wednesday, laying the groundwork for a dramatic expansion in solar energy generation in the United States and around the world (Reuters)
- Are the climate change sceptics with no evidence just naturally gullible?: To dismiss a scientific canon on the basis of evidence that has been debunked evinces an astonishing level of self-belief (George Monbiot, Guardian UK)
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Clean Air Act!: The Clean Air Act by the Numbers (Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator, Huffington Post Green)
- Here We Go Again: Critics Fault Oil and Gas Pipeline Regulator's Industry Ties (Greenwire):
The top federal regulator of oil and gas pipelines is facing withering criticism for her ties to industry and her agency's floundering response to recent oil-pipeline spills in the Midwest and last week's deadly gas pipeline explosion in California.
- Researchers find future temperatures could exceed livable limits (Purdue Univ. News Service) [emphasis added]:
Reasonable worst-case scenarios for global warming could lead to deadly temperatures for humans in coming centuries, according to research findings from Purdue University and the University of New South Wales, Australia.
The study did not provide new evaluations of the likelihood of future climate scenarios, but explored the impacts of warming. The challenges presented by the future climate scenarios are daunting in their scale and severity, he said.
"Whole countries would intermittently be subject to severe heat stress requiring large-scale adaptation efforts," Huber said.
- Tell Obama to stop the approval of genetically engineered salmon! (Food & Water Watch.org) [emphasis added]: