Monday, December 30, 2013

GreenWorld | News, Views, & Musings for a Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free future

GreenWorld is published by Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS, As you might expect, we will be covering nuclear power in all its manifestations and issues: nuclear reactors, old and new; radioactive waste; uranium and the front end of the nuclear fuel chain, the effects of radiation, and more. We make no effort to shroud our position: NIRS was founded in 1978 to work with grassroots groups and individuals across the world for the speediest possible end to nuclear power. In short, we’re against it–and for good reason: the facts show that it is a dangerous, dirty and expensive way to produce electricity, among other drawbacks.
But it’s not, of course, enough to be simply against something. If nuclear power were the only way to generate electricity, the facts might look differently. Context matters. Electricity is a necessity, and we’re not Luddites. For that matter, no one who publishes an internet blog could seriously claim such a title anyway. Fortunately, there are many ways to generate electricity, and increasingly many ways to store and distribute electricity. Some, like coal, are also dangerous and dirty. We’re against those too.
What we’re for, what we strive for, is a clean, sustainable, affordable energy future; one that we encapsulate in the phrase “nuclear-free, carbon-free.” That means renewable energy, especially solar and wind, but also geothermal in appropriate locations, and some types of biomass–though certainly not the industrial, forest-clearing, polluting technologies that currently encompass far too much of what is termed “biomass” these days. It means energy efficiency and distributed generation; energy storage too, which is becoming increasingly practical on almost a daily basis.
As we move further into the 21st century, it’s clear we are beginning to develop entirely new models of electricity production and distribution. The model that initially served well to electrify the nation and much of the world last century, that relied on large “baseload” power plants with their electricity distributed through centralized electric utilities private and public to homes and businesses, is growing obsolete, as are the technologies–nuclear, coal and the like–that formed the basis for the model. Too much electricity–about two-thirds of that generated–is simply wasted as heat or on long-distance power lines. Too much carbon is emitted into the air, endangering our entire planet. Too much radioactive waste is created and radiation routinely released into our air and water. There are better ways to meet our planet’s need for power.
We’d like to say that the sustainable energy future we envision is inevitable. And in the long run–if indeed our planet still has a long run to go despite the best efforts of some to destroy it–it probably is inevitable. But the electric utility industry is large and powerful–in many Congressional districts for example, the local utility is the largest single employer. That gives them clout. And the nuclear, coal and other polluting energy industries are also large, powerful, and persistent. They’re not going to just give up. The natural gas fracking revolution shows that dirty industries can take advantage of new technology just as clean ones can: change is always inevitable; the right change requires people to care, to learn, and to act.
All of which makes this, from the perspective of an advocate and an author, an exciting time. Times of great transition and conflict usually are–and that’s what GreenWorld will be covering and commenting upon.
We’ll be linking to the most interesting and/or important news stories of the day, and often writing about them–providing background journalists and other scribes either leave off or don’t know themselves. We’ll be providing in-depth coverage of issues otherwise entirely uncovered. We hope we’ll be doing this in a manner that is both informative and fun to read. You, the readers, will be the ones who will let us know if we’re accomplishing those goals.
At the onset, GreenWorld will be written and produced by NIRS’ President, Michael Mariotte. In the coming weeks and months, all of NIRS’ staffers will be provided their own pages on this site to write about their own areas of expertise and their own opinions. While this is a NIRS site, opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of NIRS–we want to give our staff free reign to comment how they please...

GreenWorld | News, Views, & Musings for a Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free future

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Inspector General Finds EPA Justified in Intervening to Protect Drinking Water from Fracking | EcoWatch

 December 24, 2013
Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Inspector General found EPA Region 6 was justified in legally intervening to protect Parker County, TX residents’ drinking water from drilling impacts. At Sen. Inhofe’s (R-OK) request, the Inspector General investigated to determine if Region 6’s intervention against Range Resources was due to political influence by the Obama administration.

Lipsky sets fire to gas flowing through the hose that he attached to the vent, Oct. 13. Range Resources claims the use of the hose made it seem like Lipsky was setting his water on fire. Photo credit: Julie Dermansky
Steve Lipsky, who lives near a fracking operation in Weatherford, TX with his flammable water. Photo credit: Gasland Part II.

“The EPA’s internal watchdog has confirmed that the EPA was justified in stepping in to protect residents who were and still are in imminent danger,” said Sharon Wilson, Gulf regional organizer of Earthworks. “Now we need an investigation as to whether political corruption caused EPA to withdraw that protection.”

The EPA invoked its power to protect drinking water in 2010, prompting Oklahoma Sen. Inhofe to request the Inspector General’s investigation in 2011. The EPA withdrew its legal complaint against Range Resources in 2012 despite having a report from an independent scientist showing that a gas well drilled by Range likely polluted nearby water supplies.

The EPA’s withdrawal from Parker County appears to be part of a larger pattern, in which the Obama administration has blocked or abandoned investigations of whether drilling or hydraulic fracturing polluted drinking water. In addition to the case in Parker County, reports in major news outlets indicate that the Obama administration caused the EPA to abandon studies of potential drilling or fracking pollution in Pavillion, WYand Dimock, PA despite evidence of drilling-related harm.

“The Obama administration appears to be more concerned about protecting corporate interests, not the public interest,” said Steve Lipsky, a Weatherford, TX homeowner who sued Range Resources after the EPA named the company the party responsible for contaminating his drinking water well. “President Obama promised that hydraulic fracturing would occur safely. With this IG report, it now seems clear that he is determined to squash any evidence to the contrary.”

Just prior to the release of the Inspector General report, the Texas Railroad Commission (regulator of oil and gas, not railroads) opened an investigation into the case. The EPA intervened in 2010 to protect area drinking water only after the commission refused to do so. The Commission’s new investigation prevents the EPA from legally intervening now as it did in 2010.

“Regulators shouldn’t have to be pressured into doing their job to protect people like me from drilling impacts,” said Shelly Perdue, a Parker County resident with drilling-polluted drinking water. “If what has happened to me is happening to others, I completely understand why communities across the country are voting to ban fracking and drilling.”

“Releasing this report at noon on Christmas Eve shows the Obama administration is obviously embarrassed by its findings,” said Earthworks energy program director Bruce Baizel. “As they should be. The withdrawal of Obama’s EPA is an abject failure of its mission to protect Americans’ health and environment.”

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

Inspector General Finds EPA Justified in Intervening to Protect Drinking Water from Fracking | EcoWatch


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#NoFracking #FRACKING :: Gov. Brown, Be a true climate champ: Ban Fracking Now.

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Californians Against Fracking | The statewide coalition to ban fracking in California.

Friday, December 20, 2013

New Baucus tax proposal takes an Orwellian approach: would redefine dirty energy as clean



6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 340, Takoma Park, MD 20912 
301-270-NIRS (301-270-6477); Fax: 301-270-4291 

For Immediate Release
  Michael Mariotte, 301-325-8014 (mobile)
Tim Judson, 301-270-6477

December 20, 2013

New Baucus tax proposal takes an Orwellian approach: would redefine dirty energy as clean

The nation’s leading tax code writer, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D- MT), Wednesday unveiled a radical proposal to revise the nation’s energy policy through the tax code.

The draft bill introduced by Sen. Baucus would end forty-two different tax incentives for the energy industry, projected to cost $150 billion. In their place, it would create “technology-neutral” incentives for energy projects that meet a narrow standard for carbon emission reductions. However, the bill would also end incentives that promote energy efficiency improvements and zero-emissions vehicles, by definition two of the most effective ways to reduce greenhouse gases. At the same time, by focusing solely on carbon, Sen. Baucus’s proposal would continue to subsidize other toxic and polluting energy sources, such as nuclear power and natural gas.

“I think they coined the phrase ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’ just for ideas like this,” said Tim Judson, NIRS’ Associate Director. “Tax breaks for the oil and coal industries are irresponsible, unnecessary and counterproductive, but so are subsidies for nuclear power and natural gas. Cutting tax breaks to help people make their homes more energy efficient and giving those dollars to companies to make radioactive waste is simply wrong-minded and counter-productive.”

“We’re getting a little tired of politicians, not to mention self-serving industries, who argue that the only pollutant of concern in the world is carbon,” said Michael Mariotte, executive director of NIRS. “Nuclear power inherently brings with it plutonium, strontium, cesium and the whole alphabet soup of poisonous radionuclides that are released routinely intoour air and water; that form one of our world’s largest unsolved environmental problems— safely managing radioactive waste; and that can at any moment be unleased in a catastrophic accident.”

“Our climate condition is a crisis,” Mariotte added. “But the solution is not to subsidize dirty energy technologies, nor try to portray them as somehow clean. It’s really not hard: we need to renew the tax credits for genuinely clean renewable energy sources like wind and solar, provide greater encouragement for energy efficiency measures, incentivize distributed generation—especially rooftop solar; and support already rapidly-improving energy storage. The clean energy technologies of the 21st century that can quickly and affordably reduce carbon emissions are here: it’s time to take advantage of them.


Please act now and tell your Senators: No tax breaks for dirty nuclear power.

see also
Executive Director, Nuclear Information and Resource Service; December 20, 2013
> whats up: Tell your Senators: No tax breaks for dirty nuclear power | NIRS

Monday, December 9, 2013

Tell Congress: don't slide backward on renewable energy | Friends of the Earth

Tell Congress: don't slide backward on renewable energy.

Solar and wind power have seen an explosion of growth in recent years, due in large part to tax credits.
Unless Congress acts by December 31, a critical incentive for investment in renewable energy will expire.

Tell your senators not to let critical funding for renewable energy expire on December 31.

sign now > Friends of the Earth