Keystone 1 oil pipeline leaks 210,000 gallons days ahead of Keystone XL permit decision

November 17, 2017 by  
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210,000 gallons of crude oil seeped out of the TransCanada -owned Keystone 1 pipeline this week – mere days before Nebraska’s Public Service Commission (PSC) is set to make a decision on whether or not to grant a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The first Keystone pipeline, running from Canada through the Great Plains, leaked oil southeast of Amherst, South Dakota. According to The Washington Post , this spill is just the most recent in a series. The first Keystone pipeline leaked in 2011 and 2016. This new spill was detected early in the morning, and happened in “either a grass or an agricultural field,” according to South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources environmental science manager Brian Walsh, and that, based on what they know, “the spill has not impacted a surface water body.” Related: Nebraska landowners install solar panels in the path of the Keystone XL pipeline Image of Amherst incident taken earlier today by aerial patrol as part of our initial response. For more updates, visit https://t.co/8yWI1Oq2EM pic.twitter.com/uRNtYUdVjL — TransCanada (@TransCanada) November 16, 2017 TransCanada said the leak was completely isolated in 15 minutes. They said they got permission from the landowner to assess the spill and start planning for cleanup. Next week on Monday, the PSC will decide whether or not to grant a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, also to be owned by TransCanada. Critics and activists say the company shouldn’t receive one, especially after the recent spill. 350.org executive director May Boeve said in a statement, “This is exactly the kind of disaster we can expect more of if Keystone XL is approved. No matter what TransCanada says, there’s no such thing as a safe fossil fuel pipeline.” President Donald Trump gave TransCanada a federal permit in March, and other states have approved Keystone XL’s path. According to Reuters, PSC isn’t allowed to consider the potential of spills from Keystone XL as the venture has an environmental permit. Their decision will be on whether or not the pipeline’s route would be in the best interest of the state’s residents, but a rejection would be a setback for the controversial project. Boeve said, “ Indigenous peoples , farmers, and ranchers along Keystone XL’s proposed route have been holding the line against this project for years. Whatever Nebraska commissioners decide on Monday, we’ll be ready for the work ahead to stop this and all new fossil fuel projects that threaten our communities and climate .” Via The Washington Post and Reuters Images via shannonpatrick17 on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Keystone 1 oil pipeline leaks 210,000 gallons days ahead of Keystone XL permit decision

Build your own BIG-designed LEGO House with LEGO Architectures newest kit

August 30, 2017 by  
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As if playing in a LEGO wonderland wasn’t enough, we just got wind of another reason to get excited over the BIG-designed LEGO House’s grand opening next month. The iconic toy company just unveiled official images of a new LEGO Architecture kit that’ll let you build your very own LEGO experience center at home. The 774-piece model replica of the nearly complete LEGO House in Billund, Denmark will be sold exclusively at the center when it opens on September 28. The new LEGO House, also known as the “House of the Brick,” will be an experience center where fans can learn about the history of the company, the philosophy of LEGO play, and interact with LEGO through a wide variety of hands-on experiences. Starchitect Bjarke Ingels , an enthusiastic LEGO fan, was tapped to design the LEGO House project and drew inspiration from the modularity of the toy brick. Related: BIG’s LEGO House tops out with opening date in September The nearly completed LEGO House was created as “a cloud of interlocking LEGO bricks…a literal manifestation of the infinite possibilities of the LEGO brick,” said Ingels. The 774-piece LEGO Architecture kit is a small-scale replica of the stunning building that, when assembled, will form 21 stacked white bricks complete with the classic eight-knob LEGO brick-shaped Keystone, colorful surfaces, glazing in the form of translucent bricks, and an interior public square. The kit takes 197 steps to complete. Full instructions and product description can be found here . + LEGO Architecture Via ArchDaily

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Build your own BIG-designed LEGO House with LEGO Architectures newest kit

Trump ignores clean energy jobs in first address to Congress

March 1, 2017 by  
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In his first address to Congress Tuesday night, President Donald Trump failed to mention the clean energy jobs boom taking place across the United States. Instead of talking up the more than three million domestic jobs that have been created in solar, wind and other renewables, Trump touted the “tens of thousands of jobs” that construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines would create — adding that he directed the pipelines be made with American steel. Trump also boasted about ending an Obama-era coal mining rule that protects waterways from coal mining waste, telling Democratic and Republican lawmakers gathered on Capitol Hill that the regulation “threatens the future and livelihoods of our great coal miners.” Trump also failed to mention climate change in his speech, an issue that the president has been ambivalent about at best, in denial about at worst. In perhaps an encouraging sign for the majority of Americans who support the US staying in the Paris climate deal , including Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the president didn’t talk about withdrawing from the landmark agreement to curb carbon emissions, instead discussing his withdrawing the US from the “job-killing” Trans-Pacific Partnership. Related: Trump will give architects just five days to submit proposals for a Mexican border wall Earlier in the day, Trump signed an executive order aimed at rolling back an Obama-era environmental regulation to protect American waterways. New EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is also expected to undo major environmental rules on clean water, climate change and air pollution. So it is no surprise that many in the environmental community found it a bit hypocritical when during Trump’s address he pledged to “promote clean air and clear water.” Boosting the defense budget (at the expense of domestic programs) was a major talking point during the address. Trump said that he is sending Congress a budget that “rebuilds the military, eliminates the Defense sequester, and calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.” That isn’t good news for the environment as Trump is expected to ask Congress to  cut the EPA’s budget 24 percent, or nearly $2 billion. Related: New EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s emails reveal troubling oil-industry ties An area that could be a positive sign for the environmental community and clean energy industry is Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan . Saying that the time has come for a “new program of national rebuilding,” Trump said that he will be asking Congress to approve the massive infrastructure investment. Could new public works projects include green infrastructure? That remains to be seen, although Trump has said previously that he is a big fan of high-speed rail . At the end of his speech, Trump set a vision for what the country could achieve by the nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026. He looked back at the country’s 100th anniversary in 1876 when American inventors showed off their new technology such as Thomas Edison’s electric pen and an early attempt at electric light. But while Trump seems adamant about reviving 20th century energy sources such as coal, there is another electric revolution led by the revolutionaries of our time, including Elon Musk and his vision for electric vehicles, rooftop solar and battery storage. Will Trump embrace the clean energy future or be stuck in the dirty energy past? That is still an open question after his first address to Congress. + Transcript: President Trump’s First Address to Congress Images via KTBS

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Trump ignores clean energy jobs in first address to Congress

New images reveal Google’s plans for a futuristic solar-powered California headquarters

March 1, 2017 by  
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New images submitted to the City of Mountain View in January provide our best look at Google’s proposed 18.6-acre Charleston East campus – the first the technology giant is constructing from the ground up. The heart of the new space, according to plans drafted by the design teams of Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studio , is a two-story, 595,000-square-foot building. It’s topped by an expansive tent-like canopy that conjures up images of Bonnaroo rather than stuffy business meetings. The roof is studded with photovoltaics, plus other enhancements designed to regulate indoor climate, air quality, and sound. There will be plenty of breathing space, both within and without. The building will enclose “flexible building components” that can be reconfigured on a whim, as well as indoor and outdoor green spaces, populated by native, drought-tolerant flora, to bolster biodiversity. Google , in collaboration with city biologists, has made special considerations for the burrowing owl, once one of California’s most common birds but now a species in decline due to habitat loss. “No plants will be installed that would provide perches for raptors or hiding places for feral cats, both of which prey on the owls,” the plans read. “Grasses, forbs, and small shrubs that provide habitat for insects will be targeted to support owl foraging.” Related: New tent-like HQ plan emerges from the ashes of Google’s original vision Google’s proposal also includes a detailed “landscape narrative” featuring the so-called Green Loop, a “linearly connected canvas of trees” that bridges the Charleston Basin and the main Googleplex headquarters by way of Charleston Park. Could this make up for the planned removal of 160 trees, 100 of which have been designated heritage? We can hope. More than a place of business, Google’s new campus will apparently serve as a “destination for the local community.” Myriad small green hubs scattered throughout the site will house pedestrian walkways, and bike paths will abound in the small green hubs scattered throughout. An open plaza could host al fresco seating, food trucks, small stalls, perhaps a seniors’ tai chi class or two. “Quieter and more intimate” spaces will support collaboration and private conversation. Pulling all this together would hardly be a modest endeavor. If approved by the city, construction on Charleston East will span roughly two-and-a-half years. + City of Mountain View Via 9to5google

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New images reveal Google’s plans for a futuristic solar-powered California headquarters

Elon Musk wants to build an electric roller coaster at Tesla’s campus

March 1, 2017 by  
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Tesla is quickly becoming one of the coolest places to work. After an employee spoke out about working conditions in a Medium post, Elon Musk sent out an email detailing his vision for company fun – including free frozen yogurt stands and an electric pod car roller coaster . Tesla employee Jose Moran penned a post titled Time for Tesla to Listen earlier this month, calling out the electric car company for 60-70 hour work weeks and hourly wages lower than those earned by average automotive workers. He said many employees were exploring unionizing, and had contacted the labor union United Auto Workers (UAW). Moran said he believes in Tesla’s vision, but wants to make the company better. Related: Tesla just announced plans to build up to five Gigafactories In response, Musk sent out a company-wide email. He said he was distraught at the mention of the UAW, because in Musk’s view the union favors large car companies and doesn’t share Tesla’s mission. He also accused UAW of employing disingenuous tactics. Musk said Tesla awards employees shares and offers the opportunity to buy stock at lower prices than the public, in contrast to other car companies. Regarding work hours, Musk pointed to changes to reduce overtime hours such as the addition of a third shift. Of course, an average Tesla worker’s week is still slightly longer than 40 hours at 43 hours a week. He also looked ahead to changes that can be enacted when Tesla becomes profitable. When the Model 3 attains volume production, the company will host what Musk described as a really amazing party. But a fancy shindig isn’t all Tesla employees can look forward to; Musk said in the email, “There will also be little things that come along like free frozen yogurt stands scattered around the factory and my personal favorite: a Tesla electric pod car roller coaster (with an optional loop the loop route, of course!) that will allow fast and fun travel throughout our Fremont campus, dipping in and out of the factory and connecting all the parking lots. It’s going to get crazy good.” Via TechCrunch Images via Austin Kirk on Flickr and OnInnovation on Flickr

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Elon Musk wants to build an electric roller coaster at Tesla’s campus

Repurposed shipping containers make a bold statement at the National Theater Company of Korea

March 1, 2017 by  
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Seoul’s trendy mall made of shipping containers isn’t the only place you’ll see cargotecture in the city. Urbantainer , the same local firm behind the world’s largest cargotecture mall Common Ground , recently completed an extension for the National Theater Company of Korea , one of the nation’s flagship theater companies based in the capital. The new visitor area comprises a series of red shipping containers skillfully transformed into a contemporary and functional space that still preserves an industrial character. The National Theater Company of Korea (NTCK) commissioned Urbantainer to create a visitor area that would serve as a social space within the grounds. To integrate the new space with the existing buildings, the designers aligned the containers with the building axis and painted them the same shade of red as the NTCK logo. “While highlighting the modular form of containers, the design is deliberately held light and maintains a balance with existing features and objects such as a former oil station and the grass square,” writes Urbantainer. Related: World’s largest shipping container shopping mall pops up in Seoul Although the cargotecture building looks like it’s made up of separate containers stacked together, many of the container walls were removed to create an interior with a 12-meter-long column-less space to accommodate large gatherings. High ceilings, access to natural light, and the light color palette give the interior a spacious and open feel. The flexible open-plan area can be manipulated with partitions and moving walls to allow for a variety of functions. + Urbantainer Images © Kyungsub Shin

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Repurposed shipping containers make a bold statement at the National Theater Company of Korea

The Keystone XL pipeline would only create 35 full-time, permanent jobs

January 26, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump seems to think the words ‘create jobs ‘ grant him the ability to forgo any fact-checking. He’s said he supports the Keystone XL pipeline because it would create 28,000 jobs , but it turns out the controversial project would generate a mere 35 full-time, permanent jobs. Trump’s mysterious 28,000 number doesn’t originate in TransCanada’s government application or the State Department’s years-long study of the pipeline, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Instead, they say the pipeline would create 35 full-time, permanent jobs, and maybe 15 temporary contractor positions. Back in 2014 the State Department provided that 35-job figure in their 11-page report. The pipeline would also create 3,900 “person years of employment.” Related: Trump signs executive actions to reinstate Keystone and Dakota Access Pipeline Let’s dig into that “person years of employment” figure. According to the NRDC, that number means there’s enough pipeline construction work for 3,900 people to work full-time for one year. But since the pipeline could take two years, the NRDC said “a more realistic way to view this number is 1,950 full-time construction jobs lasting for the two year timeline of the project’s construction.” Those jobs could benefit thousands of people, but the figure isn’t even close to 28,000 jobs. The 35 full-time positions would work in TransCanada’s Nebraska office and monitor day to day operations for the pipeline. The reasons against the pipeline that led to President Barack Obama’s rejection still hold true today. According to NRDC, “It’s an environmental disaster waiting to happen, a climate-wrecking project with no place in today’s energy mix, and it’s not in America’s national interest.” They said the pipeline will benefit Canadian oil companies far more than the American economy. If Trump actually wants to create jobs instead of just blathering about it, he should take a closer look at renewable energy – the growing industry could add not 28,000, but millions of jobs . Via Natural Resources Defense Council Images via Wikimedia Commons and NRDC pix on Flickr

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The Keystone XL pipeline would only create 35 full-time, permanent jobs

Rogue national park tweets climate change facts in defiance of Donald Trump

January 25, 2017 by  
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Whoever runs the Twitter account for Badlands National Park is a national hero. After the Trump Administration imposed a social media blackout on the National Park Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, Badlands Park fired off a series of tweets that flew in the face of president Donald Trump’s stated beliefs on climate change – only to have those messages removed from the account just hours later. On Tuesday Badlands National Park’s Twitter account was flush with statements such as “Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. #climate” and “Burning one gallon of gasoline puts nearly 20 lbs of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. #climate” As Time notes, the tweets came in the aftermath of a brief suspension of all National Park accounts. The act required the U.S. Department of the Interior to suspend operations of its Twitter account after the National Park Services official account retweeted two posts that didn’t reflect well on the Trump Administration. According to Recode , the Park Service issued an apology that said the tweets were a mistake, which apparently earned back its Twitter privileges. And while it might have displeased the president, the posts helped the NPS Twitter account jump from 7,000 on Monday to 60,000 on Tuesday. Related: Trump signs executive actions to reinstate Keystone and Dakota Access Pipeline The kerfuffle comes amidst an even bigger one on the same day that saw Trump sign executive orders aimed at advancing the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines . Trump told reporters at the Oval Office he planned to “renegotiate some of the terms” on the projects, but that he would seek to “get that pipeline built,” while issuing other executive actions requiring the pipelines be built in the U.S. with U.S. materials. + Badands National Park Twitter Via Time and Recode Images via Stefan Fussan and Recode  

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Rogue national park tweets climate change facts in defiance of Donald Trump

Episode 5: How to buy clean energy; when green marketing actually works

November 13, 2015 by  
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Step behind the headlines in sustainable business with the GreenBiz 350 podcast. Up this week: life after Keystone XL and a guide to investing in renewable energy.

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Episode 5: How to buy clean energy; when green marketing actually works

President Obama vetoes Keystone pipeline citing concerns about climate change

November 6, 2015 by  
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After much ongoing debate, President Barack Obama vetoed legislation to approve further construction on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline .  What makes the announcement particularly exciting is that Obama cited environmental concerns, and particularly concerns about climate change, as his reason for issuing the veto. With the move, the President is proving himself to be a leader when it comes to taking action against global  climate change. Read the rest of President Obama vetoes Keystone pipeline citing concerns about climate change

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President Obama vetoes Keystone pipeline citing concerns about climate change

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