Friday, August 30, 2013

Edison Hates Rooftop Solar | California utility taxes solar power, censors video about it

Edison Hates Rooftop Solar - YouTube Published on Aug 14, 2013
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The big utilities in California like Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, and San Diego Gas & Electric are heavily lobbying Latino leaders in the State Legislature. The utilities are trying to get Latino leaders to support efforts to obstruct California's rooftop solar growth. California Latino voters support rooftop solar by wide margins. Latino leaders in the state legislature should listen to Latino voters instead of siding with the big utilities.

August 30, 2013 | Greenpeace USA News & Blog | David Pomerantz

The promise of making our own electricity from the sun, without producing pollution or writing a painful check to a utility every month, has been growing larger on the horizon for decades.

Now, that promise is about to be fulfilled. Rooftop solar technology has advanced so far and become so cheap, that, like the Internet and cell phones did, it is growing at an exponential rate: two thirds of all the solar energy in the world has been installed in the last three years. Economists expect rooftop solar energy to double again in the next two and a half years, then double again. And again. Remember how your telephone went from a landline, to the Zack Morris brick phone, to an iPhone 5 in what felt like no time at all? That’s what’s happening right now to the way we make electricity.

That energy revolution is a great news story for nearly everyone who lives on this planet – though not quite everyone. Utility companies in the US have grown fat and lazy thanks to protection from government regulators that they’ve neutered with political donations.

These companies are terrified that rooftop solar power will do to them what cell phones did to landline companies, digital cameras did to Polaroids, and the Internet has done to a million other kinds of commerce: make them obsolete. A January report from the utility industry’s own lobby group said rooftop solar power could cause “irreparable damages to revenues and growth prospects” of utilities...

more > California utility taxes solar power, censors video about it | Greenpeace Blogs

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Keystone XL Controversy: Investigation Reveals Scientific Misconduct, Abuse of Whistleblowers in Review of Pipeline

For Immediate Release, August 8, 2013
Contact: Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495

Keystone XL Controversy:
Investigation Reveals Scientific Misconduct, Abuse of Whistleblowers in Review of Pipeline
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Scientists Punished for Objecting to
Downplaying of Pipeline Impact to Endangered Species

WASHINGTON— Yet another scandal surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline surfaced today: Media are reporting that an investigation by the Interior Department’s inspector general has found that agency scientists were improperly retaliated against after blowing the whistle on flaws with a map of American burying beetle habitat along the pipeline’s southern route.

“Here we go again: Keystone is at the center of another controversy, this time over an apparent attempt to downplay how this pipeline is going to hurt endangered species,” said Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Good policy decisions require good science and an honest review of the facts. That’s especially true for Keystone, whether you’re talking about harm to wildlife or the impacts on climate change.”

Last month, the Interior Department’s inspector general asked Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to take “immediate action” to address an “unreasonable and inappropriate response” by agency officials in response to three U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists who questioned the use of a new map that reduced the range of the American burying beetle in Oklahoma along the route of Keystone’s Gulf Coast segment.

The new map would have replaced an existing map that delineated the beetle’s range based on spatial models rather than county lines, reducing the beetle’s Oklahoma range from 17 million acres to 12.6 million acres and making it more palatable to TransCanada, the proponent of Keystone XL. 

After the three biologists filed a 29-count complaint about the new beetle range map and other issues related to the Interior Department’s scientific integrity process, the map was withdrawn. However, in retaliation, two Fish and Wildlife Service supervisors docked the biologists’ pay and transferred their duties. After the biologists complained about the reprisals, the inspector general investigated and found wrongdoing, but the officials have yet to be disciplined.
“The biologists should be applauded for standing up for good science, not punished by their own supervisors,” Greenwald said. 

The map that was withdrawn could have lessened the need for mitigation or avoidance measures in connection with the Gulf Coast Segment of the Keystone XL pipeline. The segment has been constructed pursuant to a separate path than the northern segment, which is currently being reviewed by the State Department for a permit to cross the U.S.-Canada border.

In 2011, the Center and allies brought legal action and successfully halted the preemptive relocation of endangered American burying beetles in the Nebraska Sand Hills. That lawsuit resulted in a change of Fish and Wildlife Service policy regarding the use of “recovery permits” for endangered species, making clear that scientists may not use such permits on behalf of industry.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 625,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Keystone XL Controversy: Investigation Reveals Scientific Misconduct, Abuse of Whistleblowers in Review of Pipeline | Center for Biological Diversity