IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Big victory for clean air in TN; Wildfire outbreak in TX; Tornado outbreak in the Southeast; Youth optimism outbreak in the nation's capitol, in the fight for a clean energy future; PLUS: Linked forever in history: Earth Day and the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig in the Gulf... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Secret memos show Big Oil plotted for Iraq's oil before fall of Saddam; Toxins found in gas drilling fluids; Opponents of climate bill far outspent environmentalists; GOP attack on environment moves to states; U.S. on track for 1M electric cars by 2015; WaPo attacks GOP climate change deniers; Supreme Court to rule on state's greenhouse gas push; Scalpers flipping Yosemite reservations; Potent new rat poisons killing CA wildlife; Chemicals dumped in PA mine haunt residents; Repelling bugs with essence of grapefruit; Antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in 47% of US meat; German house generates more energy than it uses; Mediterranean fish threatened with extinction ... PLUS: Here’s what Earth was like last time CO2 was this high ....
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- WATCH: Lou Dobbs: Obama "Has Made No Secret Of The Fact That He Wants To Destroy The Coal Industry" (Media Matters)
- Forever Linked: EARTH DAY and the Tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon Offshore Drilling Rig in the Gulf of Mexico:
- TAKE ACTION: Make BP Pay Protest Day, April 20th (PowerShift 2011):
On Wednesday, we're organizing flash-mobs at BP stations nationwide. We will creatively, nonviolently disrupt business as usual at BP locations on the anniversary of the start of the worst oil disaster in US history - and then tell our story with great photos and videos afterward.
1. Register your event: Use the sign-up tool below or text BP to 228466 to put your action on the map!
2. Make a plan: Pick a BP station near you, and a agree on a meeting time and place with a group of friends. Agree on how you'd like to make your voices heard on Wednesday. [MORE]
- Video: Power Shift 2011 flashmob swarms BP, “Don’t forget the BP oil disaster!” (Climate Progress)
- Studies Begin to Reveal Effects of Gulf Oil Spill (Oceana)
- Meet the Gulf 'Spillionaires': Profiteering and Mismanagement in the Wake of the BP Oil Spill (Pro Publica):
Some people profiteered from the spill by charging BP outrageous rates for cleanup. Others profited from BP claims money, handed out in arbitrary ways. So many people cashed in that they earned nicknames --- "spillionaires" or "BP rich." Meanwhile, others hurt by the spill ended up getting comparatively little.
In the end, BP's attempt to make things right --- spending more than $16 billion so far, mostly on claims of damage and cleanup --- created new divisions and even new wrongs. Because the federal government ceded control over spill cleanup spending to BP, it's impossible to know for certain what that money accomplished, or what exactly was done.
- Wildfire Outbreak in Texas, Tornado Outbreak in Southeastern US:
- Storms Kill 45 as GOP, White House, Cut Weather Service Funds (ABC News):
At least 45 people have been confirmed dead after a furious storm that has reportedly spawned over 100 tornadoes during the past week tore through the Midwest and moved on to southern states. Meanwhile, budget cuts in the stopgap 2011 spending bill will diminish the National Weather Service's ability to predict weather that may harm people, property, or businesses.
- Fires burn across Texas with no end in sight (CNN)
- Crews battle wildfires amid severe Texas drought (MSNBC)
- Wildfires in Texas Rage On: Fueled by Texas' worst drought in nearly half a century, wildfires continued to destroy homes and consume acreage (NY Times)
- Wildfires in Texas: Does the Lone Star State have an arson problem?: Wildfires have burned 2,500 square miles and destroyed more than 250 homes. A majority of the fires have been set by hand, either on purpose or unintentionally, says the Texas Forest Service. (Christian Science Monitor)
- Can US handle historic Texas wildfires?: Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked President Obama on Sunday for more resources to help quell the 'unprecedented' Texas wildfires. (Christian Science Monitor)
- Tornado Outbreak Deadliest Since 2008: The storm system that brought tornadoes from Oklahoma to North Carolina in recent days turned out to be the deadliest in more than three years (AP)
- Tornado Outbreak Kills 45 in Southern US (VOA News)
- North Carolina tornadoes were no surprise (Washington Post)
- Storm Cleanup in NC Could Come with Massive Price Tag (AP)
- U.S. Nuclear Power Output Hits Lowest in 4 Years After Tornado (Bloombergh)
- Tornado passed Surry nuclear power plant, Dominion says (AP)
- US nuclear regulator monitoring plant after tornado (Reuters)
- Big Victory for Clean Air in Tennessee: Moving Away From Coal:
- EPA Forces Tennessee Valley Authority To Shut Dirty Coal Plants (Forbes)
- TVA Agrees to Shutter 18 Generators That Use Coal (NY Times)
- READ: Tennessee Valley Authority Clean Air Act Settlement: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations at 11 of its coal-fired plants in Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee. (EPA.gov)
- TVA, EPA, states settle (Chattanooga Times Free-Press):
TVA’s board of directors on Thursday approved what they called a historic agreement to settle a 12-year-old string of clean-air lawsuits involving the EPA, four states and three environmental groups.
In the settlement, TVA agreed to idle retire 18 older coal-fired power-generation units at three plants, shutting down the Johnsonville plant entirely and turning the John Sevier plant into a gas-powered electric generating plant. The Widows Creek plant will continue to operate two coal units with advanced pollution controls, TVA said.
Additionally, TVA will invest $3 billion to $5 billion on additional pollution controls at its remaining coal plants and commit $350 million to “environmental improvement” projects over the next five years.
The utility also must pay a $10 million fine to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. From that, Alabama and Kentucky will receive $500,000 each and Tennessee will receive $1 million.
“It was the right thing to do,” said TVA CEO Tom Kilgore, calling the agreement part of the federal utility’s vision of being the nation’s leading provider of low-cost and cleaner energy by 2020.
- TVA moving away from coal as part of deal with EPA, states and citizen groups (Coal Tattoo)
- EPA Coal Plant Settlements (SourceWatch)
- Youth Optimism Outbreak at the POWER SHIFT 2011 Conference in DC:
- POWER SHIFT 2011 Main Site
- Power Shift Recap (Grist)
- President Obama meets with youth climate leaders (Climate Progress)
- Van Jones at Power Shift 2011: ‘While they’re stuck on stupid in D.C., your generation is rising’ (Grist):
The strongest moments of his speech came when he discussed America's basic principles, in the context of arguing with "your uncle Joe" who watches Fox News at the Thanksgiving table. "Don't you believe in liberty?" Van asked. "Shouldn't we have the right as Americans to be energy producers?" he asked. "Shouldn't we have the right and liberty to be free from energy companies who dictate how much we pay, what air we breathe?" Coal and oil companies try to divide us with cultural stereotypes and political ideology, when a green economy is actually the truly American economy
- WATCH: Power Shift 2011: Tim DeChristopher On The Chamber’s Corporate Crimes (Think Progress):
"No corporations have been prosecuted for killing 29 people in West Virginia in the Big Branch mining disaster last year. No corporations have been prosecuted for killing 11 people and destroying an entire ecosystem in the Gulf last year. Those are the big crimes that we need to be fighting."
- WATCH: Beck: Youth Climate Activists Are 'Radicals' Being Organized To 'Kill The Parents' (Think Progress):
Beck isn't the only agent of the corporate right to attack the Power Shift activists today. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce belittled the youth who organized a protest of their climate denial and their polluter cash at their Washington headquarters as an "anti-business crowd" like "an off-pitch band marching past your office window."
- WATCH: Bill McKibben’s must-watch speech at Power Shift (Grist):
All right, listen up. Very few people can ever say that they are in the single most important place they could possibly be, doing the single most important thing they could possibly be doing. That's you, here, now.
You are the movement that we need if we are going to win in the few years that we have. You have the skills now. You are making the connections. And there is no one else. It is you.
That is a great honor and that is a terrible burden. There is no one else.
- WATCH: Van Jones' Inspirational Keynote Address at Power Shift 2011:
- How to Help: Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (NY Times)
- UPDATED Coverage of Japan's Nuclear Disaster at BRAD BLOG.COM (BradBlog.com)
- Updated: Japan's Nuclear Emergency Explained (Mother Jones)
- Updated Full Coverage: JAPAN NUCLEAR CRISIS (Kyodo News)
- Updated Full Coverage Page at Reuters (Reuters)
- IAEA Update on Japan Earthquake (International Atomic Energy Agency)
- Facts: Nuclear Power Safety (Union of Concerned Scientists)
- Asia Nuclear Reactors Face Tsunami Risk (AP):
- Robots Record High Radiation Levels at Japan Reactors (BBC News)
- Japan Nuclear Plant Starts Pumping Radioactive Water
- TEPCO President Under Fire From Japan Lawmakers (AFP)
- Mysterious Trades in a Big Block of Tokyo Electric Shares Draw Regulators' Interest (NY Times)
- Liquefaction Major Culprit in Japan Quake(UPI)
- W.H.O. Eyes 20 Year Nuclear Health Watch in Japan (AFP)
- Special Report: The Nuclear Industry's Trillion Dollar Question (Reuters)
- EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Nuclear Regulator A Policeman or Salesman? (Reuters):
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission exists to police, not promote, the domestic nuclear industry --- but diplomatic cables show that it is sometimes used as a sales tool to help push American technology to foreign governments.
- U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Oversight Called Too Lenient (Hearst Connecticut Media Group/New England Center for Investigative
- Nuclear Dead End: It's the Economics, Stupid (The Nation)
- Entergy Corp. Sues To Keep Vermont Yankee Open (Business Week)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Secret Memos Show Big Oil Plotted For Iraq's Oil Before Fall Of Saddam (Forbes)
- Democratic Report: CARCINOGENS INJECTED INTO WELLS: Millions of gallons of potentially hazardous chemicals and known carcinogens were injected into wells by leading oil and gas service companies from 2005-2009, a report by three House Democrats said Saturday. (AP)
- GOP Push in States to Deregulate Environment (NY Times)
State governors elected amid the Tea Party fervor are setting about dismantling laws and rules that protect people from environmental pollution, saying they are too burdensome on business.
- Opponents of Climate Bill Far Outspent Environmentalists (Climate Progress):
The data suggest opponents of the bill far outspent environmentalists during the climate bill debate of 2009 and 2010:
* 8-to-1 on lobbying in 2009
* 4-to 1 (or more) on advertising in 2009
* 8-to-1 in donations to candidates and Congress members in 2010 cycle
* 10-to-1 on independent election expenditures in 2010
- Energy Dept. says U.S. on track for 1M electric cars by 2015: U.S. President Barack Obama’s goal to have more than 1 million plug-in electric cars on U.S. roadways by 2015 is well on its way to being completed, according to Assistant Energy Secretary David Sandalow. (Venture Beat)
- WaPo stunner: “The GOP’s climate-change denial may be its most harmful delusion.” (Climate Progress):
what makes this a stunner is for this to come from Fred Hiatt — the Washington Post’s Editorial Page Editor who in the past had printed multiple columns by George Will and Sarah Palin spreading disinformation on climate science and who has recycled Wall Street Journal op-eds from the likes of Bjorn Lomborg. Hiatt has today published an amazing op-ed, “On climate change, the GOP is lost in never-never land."
- At Supreme Court, "States Seek Greenhouse Gas Curbs: A battle over whether states can use nuisance laws to curb greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants will come to the Supreme Court Tuesday in a casethat puts a twist on the debate over climate policy. (Wall St. Journal)
- Scalpers flipping Yosemite reservations (Sacramento Bee):
Ticket scalping is a crass reality for the Giants, the Lakers and Lady Gaga, but here's a wave of price-gouging you may have missed: Yosemite National Park.
Campsite reservations and permits to scale Half Dome have become such hot commodities that the National Park Service is scrambling to halt the auctioning of park access to the highest bidder.
- Potent New Rat Poisons Killin CA Wildlife (Sacramento Bee):
Over the years, rat poison has spared [California] residents untold filth and disease. But a new generation of highly toxic, long-lasting poisons is killing not only rats, mice and ground squirrels, but whatever feeds on them, too.
- Chemicals Dumped in PA Mine Haunt Residents (Wilkes-Barre Times Leader):
If you didn't know, there are about 70,000 gallons of oil and industrial waste pooling beneath the city of Pittston. That's about 10 of the petroleum tankers you've seen at your local gas station. In the late 1970s, truck drivers for the Hudson Oil Refining Corp., of Edgewater, N.J., illegally dumped between 1.5 and 2.7 million gallons of oil, liquid cyanide and carcinogenic petrochemicals into mined-out coal veins beneath the city.
- Repelling Bugs With the Essence of Grapefruit (NPR):
Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control are trying to develop a new product that both repels and kills insects. Called nootkatone, it is found in Alaska yellow cedar trees and citrus fruit. Consumers may prefer it to DEET, and that may mean a chance to lower the chances of insect-borne disease.
- Staph in meat: Are US cattle and poultry over-drugged? (Christian Science Monitor):
A new report warns that Staph bacteria are showing up in high rates at supermarkets, raising concerns about whether US meat and poultry industries rely too heavily on antibiotic drugs.
- A house in Germany that generates more energy than it uses: An experimental passivhaus has a cutting-edge water-cooled solar PV system, a heat pump, a heat exchanger, big windows, and thick walls filled with shredded newspaper. (David Roberts, Grist)
- Mediterranean fish threatened with extinction
- Climate Change: Here’s what Earth was like last time CO2 was this high (Grist)
CORRECTION: Our initial audio version of today's Green News Report had misstated the date of Earth Day (believe it or not!). In fact, it's this Friday, April 22nd. We've updated the audio report with the corrected date.