With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 3/31/2011, 1:33pm PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama's 'new' blueprint for energy security --- not so 'new' after all; Offshore drilling --- not actually 'safer' after all; US falls further behind in the global clean energy race; PLUS: The 'Chernobyl Option' for Japan's nuclear reactors at Fukushima, as radiation continues to spike and spread ... All those disasters and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): US energy efficiency gains eclipsed by new gadgets; Dead dolphins confiscated from Gulf scientists; PA enviro chief to personally approve violation citations; PA's gas drilling commission stacked with industry; Lose the 'smart' meter, but it'll cost ya; Packaged foods raise levels of BPA; Organic farmers sue Monsanto; Aircraft contrails impact climate change; Joshua Tree NP escapes nearby landfill threat; CA approves nation's strongest clean energy standard; Student's Solarball creates drinkable water ... PLUS: At least he's honest: Pawlenty Admits 'Every One Of Us' Running For President Has Flip-Flopped On Climate Change ....

STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

  • Household Energy Efficiency Gains Eclipsed by Too Many Gadgets (GreenBiz) [emphasis added]:
    Americans are using energy more efficiently in their households with better windows, insulation and products that meet Energy Star standards, such refrigerators and clothes washers. Yet those gains are being canceled out by the proliferation of electronic devices now used in homes, including a growing number of personal computers, DVRs and rechargeable gadgets, according to new data released Monday by the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

    "You've got everything becoming more efficient, but there is just more of everything," said Bill McNary, a DOE statistician working on the Residential Energy Consumption Survey.

  • Dolphin samples leaving Coast (Miami Sun-Herald):
    The hundreds of samples have been stored at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies since mid-January when the animals started dying in unusually high numbers. Most of the unusual deaths came well before the normal birthing season.
    ...
    The samples will be transported via commercial delivery service, he said.

    Where?

    “I don’t know,” Solangi said. “They have their own labs … We’ll have to let all the samples go.”

  • Pennsylvania environment chief now must approve any shale-drilling citations (Philadelphia Inquirer) [emphasis added]:
    In an unprecedented policy shift, inspectors in Pennsylvania have been ordered to stop issuing violations against drillers without prior approval from Gov. Corbett's new environmental chief.
    ...
    "I could not believe it," said John Hanger, the last DEP secretary under Gov. Ed Rendell. "It's extraordinarily unwise. It's going to cause the public in droves to lose confidence in the inspection process."

    The order applies only to enforcement actions in the Marcellus Shale.

  • Industry fills majority of seats on PA's gas drilling panel:
    Business and industry representatives outnumber environmental advocates by more than 3 to 1 on the governor’s new 30-member Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission.
    ...
    Yet the balance of interests on the commission is tipped heavily in favor of the drilling industry, critics said, at a time when concern over the environmental impacts of drilling is higher than ever.
  • Dumbing down smart meters: PG&E to let customers disable their smart meters—for a price (Grist) [emphasis added]:
    On Thursday, PG&E, acting under orders from state regulators, unveiled a proposal to let customers have their smart meter's radio turned off --- for a price. PG&E would charge a one-time fee ranging from $105 to $270 and then customers would pay between $14 and $20 a month for two years. All in all, it would cost about $600 for the average customer to disable their smart meter.

    "This cost is based on what it costs PG&E to disable the radio, adjust our IT system, adjust our billing system, and to manually read customers," Paul Moreno, a PG&E spokesperson, said in an email.

  • Study: Packaged Food Raises Levels of BPA (SF Chronicle):
    Forgoing packaged foods such as canned soups and vegetables could dramatically lower levels of a hormone-disrupting chemical that has been linked to myriad health problems, including birth defects, autism and reproductive issues, according to a study released today.
  • Organic Farmers Sue, Seek Protection From Monsanto (Reuters):
    A consortium of U.S. organic farmers and seed dealers filed suit against global seed giant Monsanto Co. on Tuesday, in a move to protect themselves from what they see as a growing threat in the company's arsenal of genetically modified crops.
  • Aircraft Contrails Stoke Warming, Cloud Formation: Study (Reuters):
    Aircraft condensation trails criss-crossing the sky may be warming the planet on a normal day more than the carbon dioxide emitted by all planes since the Wright Brothers' first flight in 1903, a study said on Tuesday.
  • Joshua Tree National Park Escapes Threat of Nearby Landfill (Environmental News Service):
    The U.S. Supreme Court [Monday] declined to hear an appeal from Kaiser Ventures LLC on an appeals court decision overturning a federal land exchange. The land deal would have allowed the world's largest garbage dump to be built on the boundary of Joshua Tree National Park.
  • California Assembly OKs increased renewable energy requirement: The mandate, now headed for governor's desk, would require utilities to increase renewable energy sources to 33% by 2020. (LA Times)
  • Student-designed Solarball creates drinkable water (Gizmag)
  • At least he's honest: Pawlenty: 'Every One Of Us' Running For President Has Flip-Flopped On Climate Change (Think Progress)