IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: BP made 'poor decisions' in the Gulf, says the National Obvious Commission; GM is back, baby!; Lame ducks and Lame Dems: No food safety bill for you, but BPA stays in your food supply...PLUS: A Republican blasts --- blasts --- Republican climate change deniers ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Tea Party: Smart development is really a global conspiracy; EPA: Major US cities violate lead standards; UN, World Bank say act now on climate change or pay much more later; Illinois Spending $2M to Ship Asian Carp Back to China; Climate Change Set to Cause Migrant Surge; Exxon to Pay $25 Million to Settle Brooklyn Spill Suit; Four Ways to Harvest Solar Energy from Roads ... PLUS: Which has a bigger footprint, a coal plant or a solar farm?...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- WATCH: Chair Apparent: Joe Barton Is An Expert on the Wind Industry, and John Shimkus Knows God Will Not Destroy the Earth (Colbert Report):
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
- GM Is BACK, Baby!:
- U.S. Taxpayers Recover Billions in Sale of G.M. Stock (NY Times):
American taxpayers' ownership of General Motors was halved on Wednesday, and billions of dollars in bailout money was returned to the federal government, as a result of the nation's largest initial stock offering ever.
The offering, which raised $23.1 billion, is bigger and more ambitious than had once seemed possible. But the recently bankrupt automaker will have to build on its revival for the government to recoup its entire $50 billion investment and validate the Obama administration's decision to keep G.M. from collapsing.
- Happy GM Day. (My explanation why IPO should NOT be used to judge success of bailout) (Marcy Wheeler, FireDogLake):
Indeed, it may be something far worse. It may be a propaganda stunt that will allow the banksters - the ones in charge of the bailout, as well as the current private equity CEO, as well as the firm which consulted on the IPO whose Chairman is auditioning to take on a top advisory role in the Administration, as well as the big banks involved in the IPO whose TBTF status the Administration has fiercely protected - to claim victory.
- FLASHBACK: Republicans Warned That GM Rescue Was 'Road Toward Socialism,' 'Predictable' Disaster (Think Progress)
- L.A. Auto Show: Chevrolet Volt wins 2011 Green Car of the Year Award (LA Times)
- Electric cars are charging into the marketplace: With the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf available by year's end, shoppers will for the first time be faced with choices that include whether they want a gas-powered car. (LA Times)
- BP Cut Corners, Made "Poor Decisions," Says National Engineering Panel:
- Poor decisions set the stage for Deepwater Horizon disaster, panel finds (LA Times):
Wednesday's report seemed to confirm conclusions drawn last week by the presidential oil spill commission that managers on the rig made a series of inexplicably bad decisions at crucial times, most notably ignoring alarming results from tests of pressure inside the well.
The committee differed with the presidential panel, however, by more explicitly linking those decisions to financial considerations on the part of BP, which owned the federal lease to drill and rented the rig from Transocean Ltd.
"They appear to be made in the direction of reduced schedule and reduced cost," said Donald C. Winter, the committee chairman, former secretary of the Navy and professor at the University of Michigan, in a conference call. "That causes us to question the overall risk management approach used and causes us to question the adequacy of checks and balances to weigh cost and time versus risk and safety."
- BP Chose Less Expensive, Higher-Risk Routes Before Oil Well Blowout, Scientists Say (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
- Academy Tallies Missteps by Gulf Drillers: (Dot Earth)
- READ IT: Interim Report on Causes of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Blowout and Ways to Prevent Such Events (National Academy of Sciences)
- No Food Safety Bill For You!.... But BPA Stays in the Baby Bottle:
- Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) Votes Against Cloture On Stalled Food Safety Bill (US Senate Roll Call, h/t Dday)
- Michael Pollan: It Would Be "A Tragedy" If It Didn't Pass (Ezra Klein, Washington Post)
- Reid threatens weekend session to pass food-safety bill (The Hill)
- Proposed food safety bill good for 'everyone who eats' (USA Today)
- Senate advances bill to overhaul food safety (Washington Post)
- BPA ban fails in the Senate (Milwaukee Journal_Sentinel)
- Industry Opposition Scuttles Bipartisan Senate Bid for BPA Curbs (Greenwire):
Feinstein told reporters that she and Sen. Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) had reached agreement last night on adding language to the Senate's pending food safety bill, which cleared a key procedural hurdle today on a 74-25 vote, to set a six-month window for banning BPA from baby bottles and children's drinking cups.
But the American Chemistry Council (ACC), chemical manufacturers' chief Washington lobbying arm, "opposes even that" and has mobilized other Republicans against any attempt to address BPA on the food legislation, Feinstein said.
- EPA Will Test 134 More Chemicals For Endocrine Disruption: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified a list of 134 chemicals that will be screened for their potential to disrupt the endocrine system. (Environmental News Service)
- What's in the Senate Food Safety Bill? (PBS NewsHour)
- A Departing Republican Slams Republicans On Climate Change Denial:
- One last climate hearing, just for the record... (Nature):
Humorous. Tragic. Entertaining. Tense. Terrifying. Downright goofy. The Democrats' final climate hearing on the House Science Committee Wednesday was all of the above.
- Outgoing Rep. Inglis Blasts GOP Skepticism on Global WarmingInglis, who has served six terms in the House, was soundly defeated by a more conservative opponent in a Republican primary this year and has blamed the loss in part on his belief in climate science, which hurt him with voters. (ClimateWire)
- WATCH: Republican Rep. Bob Inglis Blasts GOP For Denying Global Warming (Think Progress):
And we're here with important decision to be made. And I would also suggest to my Free Enterprise colleagues - especially conservatives here - whether you think it's all a bunch of hooey, what we've talked about in this committee, the Chinese don't. And they plan on eating our lunch in this next century. They plan on innovating around these problems, and selling to us, and the rest of the world, the technology that'll lead the 21st century. So we may just press the pause button here for several years, but China is pressing the fast-forward button. And as a result, if we wake up in several years and we say, "geez, this didn't work very well for us....
They plan on leading the future. So whether you - if you're a free enterprise conservative here - just think: it's a bunch of hooey, this science is a bunch of hooey. But if you miss the commercial opportunity, you've really missed something.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- The Tea Party Targets... Sustainable Development?: If you believe conservative activists, smart growth is really a global conspiracy to herd Americans into "human habitation zones." (Mother Jones):
First, they took on the political establishment in Congress. Now, tea partiers have trained their sights on a new and insidious target: local planning and zoning commissions, which activists believe are carrying out a global conspiracy to trample American liberties and force citizens into Orwellian "human habitation zones."
At the root of this plot is the admittedly sinister-sounding Agenda 21, an 18-year-old UN plan to encourage countries to consider the environmental impacts of human development. Tea partiers see Agenda 21 behind everything from a septic tank inspection law in Florida to a plan in Maine to reduce traffic on Route 1. The issue even flared up briefly during the midterms, when Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes accused his Democratic opponent of using a bike-sharing program to convert Denver into a "United Nations Community."
- Major U.S. Cities Violate New EPA Lead Standards: Los Angeles, Cleveland, Muncie, and 13 other U.S. areas violate new lead standard, EPA says (Scientific American):
Sixteen areas, including Los Angeles, Tampa and Cleveland, have unhealthful amounts of lead in the air that violate national standards, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday.
Lead, at low levels, can damage children's developing brains, reducing their IQs and causing learning disabilities or behavioral problems. It also has been linked to high blood cancer in adults and is a probably human carcinogen.
A national health standard for lead originally was set in 1978, but research in recent years has shown that children are susceptible to neurological damage at lower levels, prompting the EPA in 2008 to strengthen the standard by tenfold.
- Illinois Spending $2M to Ship Asian Carp Back to China (Treehugger):
Big River Fish, which already processes fresh and dried fish, plans to ship 30 million pounds of Asian carp to China, under a contract with Beijing Zhuochen Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd. Apparently, the Chinese will jump at the chance to eat wild, river-raised Asian carp, which coincidentally are known for jumping out of the water and smacking Illinois anglers in the head. Rivers in China are too polluted to grow good-tasting jumpers.
- Climate Change Set to Cause Migrant Surge (CNN):
The devastating effects of climate change and conflicts fought over ever-scarcer resources such as water could cause a surge in migration that experts fear the world is totally unprepared for.
- Exxon to Pay $25 Million to Settle Brooklyn Spill Suit (Bloomber):
Exxon Mobil Corp. agreed to pay $25 million to settle a lawsuit over a decades-old oil spill and related environmental contamination in Brooklyn, New York, state Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo said.
- The Myth of "Concentrated Energy": Which has a bigger footprint, a coal plant or a solar farm? (grist):
[It] sense if you're just comparing the land footprint of a coal plant to the land footprint of a solar thermal plant. California's proposed Blythe plant will require a whopping 7,000 acres of Mohave Desert in order to deliver 2,100 GWh per year. The area of a coal plant producing the same output will typically be one square mile (640 acres) or less.
But is that really a fair comparison? What about the land required to mine the coal? Shouldn't that be part in the equation?
Unlike sunlight, coal does not fall from the sky. It has to be dug out of the ground, at the expense of substantial areas of forests, mountains, and prairies...
- Four Ways to Harvest Solar Energy from Roads (EcoGeek):
Knowing what we know now about climate change, it's clear that the tangled web of black asphalt roads that outlines our country is working against us. Asphalt can absorbs tons of heat, often reaching temperatures of up to 140 degrees in the summer and the process by which it's made isn't environmentally friendly either, but there may be a way to turn that pavement into an energy resource.
Researchers at the University of Rhode Island have come up with four ways to harness the solar energy absorbed by pavement and put it to good use and they're working on ways to implement them now...