IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: SoCal is sooo hot - all-time record heat in L.A. this week, leads us to a Fox "News" February flashback; "Hockey Stick" graph vindicated - again; Half a billion corporate dollars to kill clean energy legislation ... PLUS: DOJ gives a pass to BP ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Halliburton Makes the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (and pigs fly); More than 100 Arrested at White House Demanding End to Mountaintop Removal; Australian climate activists close down world's largest coal port; 100% green electricity in Scotland 'achievable' by 2025; For U.S. Wildlife, a Climate Change Blueprint; Reported leak rate for PG&E's 'high-consequence' gas lines far exceeds national average; California raises Renewable Portfolio Standard to 33%; The Perils of Hydro-Fracking; Water Use in Southwest Heads for a Day of Reckoning ...PLUS: Energy Production Pushing Water Supply to Choke Point ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- BREAKING: Drenched Mexico hillside collapses; at least 7 die, hundreds missing (AP)
- SOOO Hot in SoCal
- L.A.'s hottest day ever: How hot was it? The National Weather Service's thermometer downtown reached 113 degrees for the first time since records began being kept in 1877 â?? and then stopped working. The record highs follow a summer of record lows (LA Times)
- "Hockey Stick" Graph Vindicated --- AGAIN (Twice!):
- The 'Hockey Stick' Lives (NYT Green):
Yet while the attacks continue, the "hockey stick" graph's basic premise - that the planet's recent warming is unprecedented over at least the last millennium - continues to draw support from a growing number of independent studies.
- Polluters Spend Half A Billion Dollars to Kill Clean Energy & Climate Legislation:
- Dirty Money: Big Oil and corporate polluters spent over $500 million to kill climate bill, push offshore drilling (Center for American Progress):
The 20 biggest-spending oil, mining, and electric utility companies shelled out $242 million on lobbying from January 2009 to June 2010 . Trade associations that generally oppose clean energy policies spent another $290 million during this time. This is over $1,800 in lobby expenditures a day for every single senator and representative.
Six of the seven companies with the largest lobbying expenditures are Big Oil companies-ExxonMobil (1), ConocoPhillips (2), Chevron (3), BP (5), Koch Industries (6), and Shell (7). Their 18-month lobbying expenditures total $143 million. Their agenda varies among companies, but generally they oppose most proposals to reduce global warming pollution from oil refineries and transportation fuels. And they seek to limit companies' liability for oil spills like the BP oil disaster.
- I know what you spent last summer: Oil companies and special interests spend millions to oppose climate legislation (Grist)
- Update: BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf:
- EXCLUSIVE: DOJ Refuses to Revoke BP's Probation Over Safety Violations at Texas City Refinery (Jason Leopold, Truthout.org):
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has refused to pursue a probation revocation case against BP after the company was found to have violated a federal judge's March 2009 felony judgment, which required BP to fulfill the terms of a settlement agreement it entered into with government regulators five years ago to make certain safety upgrades at its Texas City refinery by September 2009, according to documents obtained by Truthout.
Instead, the DOJ will allow BP to spend two additional years to correct hundreds of safety problems that have plagued the refinery - the third-largest in the country - for a decade and have played a part in the deaths of 19 people over the past five years.
- Oil-Spill Panel Pushes for Subpoena Power (Wall St. Journal)
- Gulf Scientist: The Oil's Still Out There: Dr. Ian MacDonald, an oceanographer at Florida State University, told the National Oil Spill Commission on Monday that he believes more than half of the oil is still in the Gulf, and that "much of it is now buried in marine and coastal sediments." (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones)
- When moratorium ends, it won't hasten drilling: 'It is going to take time,' official says as panel looks at U.S response (Houston Chronicle)
- WATCH: National Commission on BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Hearings (C-SPAN)
- MAIN site: National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling
- Confusion hampered Gulf oil spill response, says Thad Allen (AFP)
- Barack Obama under fire for grossly underestimating Gulf oil spill: White House commission finds that administration lost public trust and may have sabotaged clean-up operations (Guardian UK):
In a scathing critique of the administration's handling of the disaster, the two co-chairs of the commission yesterday said government officials made a serious blunder by releasing early estimates of the spill that were about 60 times too low.
"It's a little bit like Custer underestimating the number of Indians on the other side of the hill and paying a price for that," Bob Graham, a former Democratic senator from Florida, told reporters.
In testimony yesterday, the coast guard commander Admiral Thad Allen insisted the underestimates had had no effect on the response. "The answer is no," Allen said. "We assumed at the outset this would be a catastrophic event."
- US commission told 50 percent of oil spill remains in Gulf: More than half the oil released from a busted BP well remains in the Gulf of Mexico, a presidential panel was told Monday, as the US pointman lamented a "dysfunctional" response to the disaster. (AFP)
- Enviro Groups Ignored Gulf Before BP Disaster (Greenwire) [emphasis added]:
Focused on climate change and watch-dogging drilling in Alaskan waters, environmentalists were wary of upsetting a détente that blocked oil production on both coasts and the eastern Gulf of Mexico. They had ceded the drilling zone off Alabama, Louisiana and Texas as hostile territory.
"The Gulf of Mexico was pretty much written off as a sacrifice zone," said Kieran Suckling, head of one of the country's most aggressive environmental litigants, the Center for Biological Diversity. "The focus was put on more pristine areas."
- Gulf Coast restoration plan coming Tuesday (Politico)
- Spill panel presses BP on response plan (Washington Post)
- Gallup: Depression Up 25 Percent on Gulf After Oil (AP)
- Alaska's oil spill response technology is outdated and underfunded, lawmakers warned (Anchorage Daily News)
- EPA Administrator Addresses Concerns About Oil Spill Waste Management (Washington Independent)
- Landrieu Says She Plans to Keep Block on Budget Director Nominee: U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu said she plans to extend her hold on Jack Lew's confirmation to lead the White House budget office until the administration lifts or modifies its moratorium on deep-water drilling.(Bloomberg)
- Fla. panel again blasts oil spill claims process
- NOAA head: Scientists' work on Gulf spill far from done (McClatchy DC)
- BP Fines for Gulf Spill Should Pay for Restoration, Panel Says (Bloomberg)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- When Pigs Fly: Halliburton Makes the Dow Jones Sustainability Index: "the company we love to hate" was just named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) as both a North American and a World leader. This means that they were considered to be in the top 10% among companies in the oil field services sector. (Environmental News Network)
- More than 100 Arrested at White House Demanding End to Mountaintop Removal: Dr. James Hansen, Appalachian residents and retired coal miners arrested calling for abolition of mountaintop mining and immediate veto of Spruce mine project (Appalachia Rising)
- Australia: Climate activists close down world's largest coal port (Reuters):
The action by climate change group Rising Tide in Newcastle stopped operations at all three terminals operated by Port Waratah Coal Services, which normally run continuously, a company spokesman said.
Rising Tide said about 50 people in total were involved in the protest, some entering before dawn Sunday morning, abseiling down machinery and attaching themselves to loaders. Others demonstrated with banners.
Spokeswoman Annika Dean said nine protesters attached themselves to infrastructure, calling it an "emergency" action to highlight climate change, which she blamed for recent fires in Russia and floods in Pakistan.
"We have stopped all operations in the coal port," Dean said.
- Scotland Goes Greener: 100% green electricity in Scotland 'achievable' by 2025: First minister Alex Salmond at the Scottish Low Carbon Investment conference says that Scotland could theoretically generate all its electricity from renewable sources by 2025 (Guardian UK):
Over the past five days, Salmond has doubled his government's target for generating "green" electricity. Last Thursday he tore up the Scottish government's goal of making half of Scotland's electricity from renewable sources by 2020, and replaced it with a new target of 80%.
Today at an international low carbon investment conference in Edinburgh, he set a higher goal, claiming Scotland could actually generate all of its electricity - currently about 6.8GW - from green sources by 2025.
- For U.S. Wildlife, a Climate Change Blueprint: New efforts to measure what warming temperatures are doing to forests, streams and animals at a regional level are at the core of a strategic plan by the Fish and Wildlife Service to respond to the effects of climate change. (NYT Green),/li>
- Reported leak rate for PG&E's 'high-consequence' gas lines far exceeds national average: The company whose pipeline exploded into a fireball in San Bruno this month has reported leaks at a rate six times the annual average for other large pipeline operators (LA Times)
- California raises Renewable Portfolio Standard to 33%: California regulators raised the state's renewable portfolio standard to 33 percent by 2020 in a unanimous vote yesterday that extends the mandate to public power and opens the door to more clean power imported from other states. (Energy & Environment News)
- Water Use in Southwest Heads for a Day of Reckoning (NY Times):
Barring a sudden end to the Southwest's 11-year drought, the distribution of the river's dwindling bounty is likely to be reordered as early as next year because the flow of water cannot keep pace with the region's demands.
For the first time, federal estimates issued in August indicate that Lake Mead, the heart of the lower Colorado basin's water system - irrigating lettuce, onions and wheat in reclaimed corners of the Sonoran Desert, and lawns and golf courses from Las Vegas to Los Angeles - could drop below a crucial demarcation line of 1,075 feet.
If it does, that will set in motion a temporary distribution plan approved in 2007 by the seven states with claims to the river and by the federal Bureau of Reclamation, and water deliveries to Arizona and Nevada would be reduced.
- The Perils of Hydro-Fracking (The Nation) [emphasis added]:
By design, hydrofracking causes miniature underground explosions - fracturing rocks and consequently releasing gas, along with radioactive and other carcinogenic and highly toxic substances from deep within the earth. These carcinogens, along with radioactive materials and the toxic sludge known as frack fluid, can contaminate aquifers and spoil water supplies.
Gasland tells the gripping and awful story of how fracking became the dominant technology in US gas production. As Eisenberg explained, Halliburton and Dick Cheney are prime actors in the fracking drama.
- Energy Production Pushing Water Supply to Choke Point: Report warns that without water, there can be no energy security (Solve Climate)