With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/28/2011, 1:29pm PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Record storms kill hundreds across the South; Half the nation lives with dangerously polluted air; New rules for industrial waste dumps in your drinking water; PLUS: Big Oil fights to keep $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies, as near-record gas prices bring record oil industry profits ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The 'sorry state' of America's nuclear safety regulatory system; New study maps nuclear reactor safety worldwide; Google goal: making solar, renewables cheaper than coal; Chief offshore drilling regulator criticizes lack of oversight; What motivates a climate skeptic?; TX Gov: wildfires could blow hole in budget;Oil drilling blowout could spill 58 million gallons in the extreme, fragile Arctic; 21st century West to get even drier; Is biomass energy as 'green' as the industry claims?; New BPA Report Linked to Industry; Maine bans BPA; Energy Secretary Chu admits fracking has caused water pollution; National coal expert: "Mining is a loser" in practically every way ... PLUS: Royal wedding will be slightly greener wretched pile of excess than usual ...

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

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

  • America's Nuclear Nightmare (Rolling Stone) [emphasis added]:
    The U.S. has 31 reactors just like Japan's - but regulators are ignoring the risks and boosting industry profits.
    ...
    But there was one problem with [Gregory Jaczko, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission]'s testimony, according to Dave Lochbaum, a senior adviser at the Union of Concerned Scientists: Key elements of what the NRC chief told Congress were "a baldfaced lie."

    Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer, says that Jaczko knows full well that what the NRC calls "defense in depth" at U.S. reactors has been seriously compromised over the years.

  • New Study Maps Nuclear Reactor Safety Worldwide (Columbia Univ. Earth Institute):
    A new study in Nature News, "Residents, Reactors, and Risk," finds that that many of the world's nuclear power plants are surrounded by large numbers of people.
  • Google's goal of making solar, renewables cheaper than coal (Reuters Biz Green)
  • Who Owns Your Future? Would you bet your future on the chance that climate change isn't real? (Huffington Post Green):
    If your electrician tells you that there is a 30 percent risk that your house will set on fire if you do not change your cables, would you call another electrician? If the next electrician confirms the 30 percent risk, would you hire a third, fourth or fifth electrician in the hope of finding one who would reject the risk? Imagine that you talked to 100 electricians --- 97 recommend that you should change the cables, three reject the risk of fire --- who would you listen to? My guess is that you would change the cables immediately.

    When it comes to climate change the picture is completely upside down. Regardless of the fact that 97 percent of the world's leading climate scientists agree that human-caused global warming is real, several journalists, experts and politicians still continue to question the reality and the seriousness of global warming. They continue to question the 97 percent of the climate scientists' findings, motives, and recommendations --- as if they are teamed up in the greatest scientific plot in history.

  • Chief Offshore Oil Drilling Regulator Criticizes Lack of Oversight and Promises Fixes (Pro Publica)
  • "What Motivates a Climate Skeptic? (DeSmogBlog)
  • A 21st-century water forecast (NYT Green):
    The broad-brush conclusion of a new federal report on the future impact of climate change on water in the West is a bit familiar. Throughout the West, there will be less snow, and what snow there is will melt faster. The dry Southwest is going to get drier, and the wet Northwest wetter.
  • Texas governor: Disaster could blow hole in budget (BusinessWeek):
    "We can't afford [$70 million for wildfires]," says TX Gov spokeswoman. "That's why we asked [feds] for help."
  • Is biomass energy as 'green' as the industry claims?: Unlikely Polluters (iWatch News)
  • Energy Secretary Steven Chu on natural gas: water contamination has happened (NRDC Switchboard)
  • New BPA Report Linked to Industry: Four authors of a new report concluding that bisphenol A is safe have ties to companies and groups that benefit from the controversial chemical. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
  • Blowout Could Spill 58 Million Gallons in Arctic (AP):
    The federal agency overseeing offshore drilling in Alaska says the worst-case scenario for a blowout in the Chukchi Sea lease could result in a spill of more than 58 million gallons of oil into Arctic waters.
  • Royal wedding will be slightly greener wretched pile of excess than usual (Grist)
  • Maine Bans BPA (Consumers Union)
  • National coal expert: "Mining is a loser" in practically every way (Grist):
    Anytime coal's cost to America is discussed, the coal industry reflexively talks about what an economic lifeline it is for the states in which it operates. Headwaters Economics, a Bozeman-based think tank focusing on natural resource issues, has a solid new study that's getting national attention for undercutting those claims. For instance, the Headwaters study finds that "fossil fuel production has not insulated energy-producing states from fiscal crisis," that "fossil fuel extraction has a limited influence at the state level on economic indicators such as GDP by state, personal income, and employment," and that "the volatility of fossil fuel markets poses obstacles to the stability and long-term security of economic growth in energy-producing regions."

    This is a problem for the coal industry, which spends heavily to construct a fantasy world in which it's a "clean" industry to which we should feel grateful, a vital supplier of our power, and an economic lifeline to host communities.

    But in the real world, coal's case is even weaker than the Headwaters study shows.