Scientists protest Congress’s plan to open vital Arctic wildlife refuge to oil exploration

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

An Alaska senator recently introduced legislation to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. 37 Arctic wildlife scientists, including several former officials from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the United States Geological Survey, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, responded the next day with a letter . They oppose oil and gas exploration and development, stsating “such activity would be incompatible with the purposes for which the refuge was established, including ‘to conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their natural diversity.’” Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican of Alaska and chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, released the legislation Wednesday. On Thursday, the 37 scientists sent the letter to Murkowski and Maria Cantwell, Ranking Member of the committee and Democrat from Washington. Related: Obama shuts the door on Arctic and Atlantic drilling for next five years Murkowski’s legislation targeted the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but the scientists said in their letter, “Decades of biological study and scientific research within the Arctic Refuge have confirmed that the coastal plain specifically is vital to the biological diversity of the entire refuge.” They said polar bears, several migratory bird species, wolves, wolverines, Arctic grayling, caribou, Dolly Varden char, muskoxen, and grizzly bears all live in the coastal plain, which they said “contains the greatest wildlife diversity of any protected area above the Arctic Circle.” Polar bears are among the animals that stand to lose if drilling moves forward in this part of the Arctic. The scientists said three fourths of the coastal plain “is designated as critical habitat for polar bears, which are highly vulnerable to disturbance due to oil and gas activities.” Cantwell told Reuters she’d oppose the legislation. Murkowski’s spokesperson did not comment. Audubon , which made a copy of the letter available online , is calling on people to reach out to their representatives in Congress and ask them to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from development. Via Reuters , The Washington Post , and Audubon Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons , lead image via DepositPhotos

Excerpt from:
Scientists protest Congress’s plan to open vital Arctic wildlife refuge to oil exploration

United Kingdom joins Europe in banning bee-killing pesticides

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The United Kingdom is joining Europe on a key environmental issue by supporting a total ban on neonicotinoids, pesticides that have decimated bee populations across the world. According to British environment secretary Michael Gove, the United Kingdom has reversed its previous opposition to such a ban after new research has shown that neonicotinoids cause significant damage to bee colonies. Gove was also moved to adopt this new policy position after reading reports of 75% declines in insect populations in Germany . “The weight of evidence now shows the risks neonicotinoids pose to our environment, particularly to the bees and other pollinators which play such a key part in our £100bn food industry, is greater than previously understood,” said Gove, according to The Guardian . “I believe this justifies further restrictions on their use. We cannot afford to put our pollinator populations at risk.” Although neonicotenoids are the world’s most used insecticide, their use on flowering crops was banned by the European Union in 2013. The United Kingdom nonetheless opposed the ban, though the times have changed. As the EU moves towards a total ban on neonictenoids outside of greenhouses, the United Kingdom’s change in its policy position adds momentum to the European reform effort. Related: “Bee-friendly” plants sold in the UK are coated in harmful pesticides “As is always the case, a deteriorating environment is ultimately bad economic news as well,” said Gove, citing figures that pollinators boost the profitability of UK crops by £400m-£680m each year. Gove also pointed out that, in the face of declining pollinator populations, British gala apple growers are forced to spend £5.7m per year to compensate for the loss of the natural ecological services provided by pollinators. Environmental and science groups are applauding Gove’s decision. “We warmly welcome the UK’s change of position,” said Matt Shardlow, of the insect conservation group Buglife, according to The Guardian . “Brexit will give the UK more control over the health of our ecosystems and it is essential in doing so that we apply the highest standards of care.” Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1)

More here:
United Kingdom joins Europe in banning bee-killing pesticides

1,021 MW solar plant will generate steam for Oman oilfield

November 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

  Solar thermal energy could create steam for operations at an Oman oilfield. GlassPoint Solar has finished the first block of what will be a 1,021 megawatt (MW) solar plant, Miraah , for Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) – that will help them save around 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year. Miraah will be comprised of 36 blocks, or greenhouse -like structures housing solar arrays to protect them from harsh conditions like dust storms and strong winds, at the Amal West oilfield. According to GlassPoint , “The greenhouse enables major cost and performance advantages compared to exposed solar designs, from reducing overall material usage to automated washing operations.” The solar plant will concentrate sunlight with the help of large mirrors to boil oilfield water into steam. The plant recently delivered its first steam for the oilfield – and when finished will generate 6,000 tons of solar steam every single day. Related: GlassPoint is Using Solar Power to Draw Oil From the Earth The steam will be used for thermal enhanced oil recovery, where steam is injected into an oil reservoir, heating the oil, according to CleanTechnica . It’s then easier to pump the oil up to the surface. Natural gas often helps generate steam, but the Miraah solar plant will save around 5.6 trillion British thermal units of natural gas a year. Miraah will offer the same amount of carbon savings as if 63,000 cars left the roads. PDO Managing Director Raoul Restucci said in a statement, “Solar-powered oil production is a sustainable, long-term solution to meet the Sultanate’s future energy demand and utilize its natural resources most efficiently…Miraah is a real statement of intent from PDO as we begin the transition away from an exclusive focus on oil and gas to becoming a fully-fledged energy company with a greater focus on renewables .” + GlassPoint Solar Via CleanTechnica and GlassPoint Solar ( 1 , 2 ) Images via GlassPoint Solar

Read more from the original source:
1,021 MW solar plant will generate steam for Oman oilfield

Erin Brockovich helps Oklahoma Pawnee Nation take on fracking companies

July 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Erin Brockovich helps Oklahoma Pawnee Nation take on fracking companies

Oklahoma has become an earthquake hotspot in recent years, and many are blaming companies that engage in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking . Last year, the state saw its largest earthquake ever recorded at a 5.8 magnitude, close to the town of Pawnee. The Pawnee Nation is suing over 25 oil and gas companies, with the help of famous consumer advocate Erin Brockovich . The amount of earthquakes with a magnitude of 3 or higher in Oklahoma was greater than in California for the first time in 2014. Many people blame the practice employed by oil and gas companies of injecting wastewater from fracking into the Earth. Related: Oklahoma earthquake activity up 4000%, locals sue oil and gas companies National Geographic explained the amount of earthquakes in Oklahoma spiked as did activity from fossil fuel companies. Once the state saw either none or a couple of magnitude 3 earthquakes every year. In 2009 that number escalated to 20. From there the situation only worsened: the state had 109 magnitude 3 or higher earthquakes in 2013, 579 in 2014, 903 in 2015, and 623 in 2016. That’s two or three of these quakes every day. Brockovich actually used to spend her summers in Oklahoma with her grandparents as a child. She told National Geographic, “The only thing I’d worry about growing up there was tornadoes. Now I’d be afraid not of a tornado, but an earthquake? That’s just bizarre.” She said it’s hard “to go back to Oklahoma, to see how on edge [the Pawnee people] are. The question they keep asking is, ‘When will it end?’ The Pawnee Nation is suing Eagle Road Oil LLC, Cummings Oil Company, and 25 other companies for damage to reservation property and historical buildings, with the help of Weitz & Luxenberg along with Brockovich. They say the companies were knowingly causing the earthquakes and their actions “constitute wanton or reckless disregard for public or private safety .” Via EcoWatch and National Geographic Images via Sarah Nichols on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

Read more from the original source: 
Erin Brockovich helps Oklahoma Pawnee Nation take on fracking companies

ExxonMobil exhorts White House to keep Paris agreement

March 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on ExxonMobil exhorts White House to keep Paris agreement

When a fossil fuel company under fire for covering up past knowledge of climate change exhorts the President of the United States to stay in the 2015 Paris agreement , something’s not quite right. ExxonMobil manager of environmental policy and planning Peter Trelenberg wrote a letter to the White House earlier this month reiterating ExxonMobil’s position on the deal. He made it clear ExxonMobil thinks President Donald Trump should not pull out of the historic, hard-fought agreement. On the campaign trail Trump promised to yank the United States out of the Paris agreement. But so far the White House hasn’t taken that step, even in a recent environmentally devastating executive order . Meanwhile Trump’s new Secretary of State, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson , has said in the past the president is wrong about climate change , and perhaps could have now persuaded Trump to stick with the deal. Related: Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson says Trump is wrong about climate change On March 22, Trelenberg wrote to G. David Banks, Special Assistant to the President for International Energy and Environment, thanking Banks for a recent inquiry on the oil and gas giant’s views regarding the agreement. Trelenberg said ExxonMobil welcomed the agreement both in December 2015, when it was announced at COP21 , and in November 2016 when it went into force. Don’t get too excited – Trelenberg didn’t write off fossil fuels altogether. He said, “We believe that the United States is well positioned to compete within the framework of the Paris Agreement, with abundant low-carbon resources such as natural gas , and innovative private industries, including the oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors.” Trelenberg said natural gas is the “cleanest-burning and least carbon-intensive fossil fuel” that has helped American attain 20-year lows in carbon dioxide emissions . He did point out ExxonMobil has invested $7 billion in lower emission fuels – such as biofuels made from algae – for around 15 years, and ended his letter with a final call to stay in the Paris agreement. The irony of the ExxonMobil letter prompted Senator Bernie Sanders to tweet : “It is pathetic that the largest oil company in the world understands more about climate change than the president of the United States.” Via The Independent Images via Roy Luck on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

See the rest here:
ExxonMobil exhorts White House to keep Paris agreement

Colorado appeals court sides with teenagers fighting oil and gas industry

March 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Colorado appeals court sides with teenagers fighting oil and gas industry

Teenagers fighting environmental destruction at the hands of the oil and gas industry in Colorado just celebrated a victory. Last week the Colorado Court of Appeals sided with teenage activist and Earth Guardians director Xiuhtezcatl Martinez , who filed suit, and reversed a lower court ruling so the state could have to prioritize environmental protection before the interests of the fossil fuel industry . Back in 2013 Martinez and other teenagers approached the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), a state organization that according to their website is charged with promoting responsible development of fossil fuel resources in Colorado “in a manner consistent with the protection of public health , safety, and welfare, including the environment and wildlife resources.” But apparently the kids didn’t think they were doing such a great job with that mission – and they weren’t alone. According to The Denver Post, COGCC officials for over 10 years have interpreted their mission to balance fossil fuel industry interests against public health. Since the commission’s formation, over 50,000 oil wells have been drilled. Related: 16-year-old activist demands US gov end fossil fuel use by 2026 The kids asked the organization to not issue any new drilling permits “unless the best available science demonstrates, and an independent third party organization confirms, that drilling can occur in a manner that does not cumulatively, with other actions, impair Colorado’s atmosphere, water, wildlife, and land resources, does not adversely impact human health, and does not contribute to climate change .” COGCC refused after holding a hearing. The teenagers appealed, with the support of over a dozen advocacy groups. But the Denver District Court backed the COGCC. So the teenagers appealed again, and last week a three-judge appeals court panel sided with the teenagers. The fight isn’t over. The COGCC doesn’t have to now implement the teenagers’ rule. Instead the ruling means the organization illegally rejected the rule, and the case returns to district court. Via Business Insider and The Denver Post Images via Xiuhtezcatl Martinez on Facebook and Teja Jonnalagadda on Facebook

Original post: 
Colorado appeals court sides with teenagers fighting oil and gas industry

Circular home boasts 360-degree views so owners can watch their dogs

March 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Circular home boasts 360-degree views so owners can watch their dogs

The biggest motivation behind this circular home’s 360-degree views isn’t the beautiful landscape—it’s the homeowners’ dogs. Dutch architecture firm 123DV designed 360 Villa, a contemporary dwelling in the Netherlands that shows how architecture can be inclusive of humans and animals. Commissioned by a couple who own a pair of beautiful Alaskan Malamutes, the custom home is wrapped in glazing to allow the couple to stay in constant contact with their dogs both in and outside the home. Surrounded by a sloped lawn, the 85-square-meter 360 Villa offers ample space for the homeowners’ two Alaskan Malamutes to play and release their high energy. To give the dogs space and the constant contact they need with their owners, 123DV designed the home with a circular plan and wrapped it in a “continuous window” to provide visual contact between the dogs and couple. The roof extends over the edge of the home to create a wraparound canopy that provides shelter from the rain and sun. Related: This house has a special staircase designed just for dogs To preserve privacy, the architects built up the land into a hill on the street-facing side of the villa so that the owners can see their dogs without needing a full-height window . Despite the small footprint, the 360 Villa feels spacious thanks to the large windows and the open floor plan. The open-plan kitchen, dining room, and living area take up around two-thirds of the interior and open to an outdoor deck. The bedroom and bathroom can be closed off from the living room by sliding doors. A large circular skylight in the middle of the home lets in additional natural light. + 123DV Via ArchDaily Images © Hannah Anthonysz

Read the original post: 
Circular home boasts 360-degree views so owners can watch their dogs

Trump’s press secretary indicates the Dakota Access Pipeline will proceed

January 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Trump’s press secretary indicates the Dakota Access Pipeline will proceed

Hundreds of thousands of people protested the Dakota Access Pipeline last year in North Dakota, and were joined by people from around the world. But it appears President Donald Trump doesn’t care that thousands of people made their voices heard on Native American rights; his press secretary just indicated the president may move forward with the controversial oil pipeline . The United States Army Corps of Engineers denied Energy Transfer Partners the permit they required to keep working on the Dakota Access Pipeline near the North Dakota Standing Rock Sioux reservation in December. Army Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy said they would “explore alternate routes” for the pipeline that was set to extend through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. Related: Trump officially supports completing the Dakota Access Pipeline, but it has “nothing to do” with his investment But the new Press Secretary Sean Spicer hinted the White House wants to plunge forward with the pipeline. In a press conference, Spicer said, “I will tell you that areas like the Dakota and Keystone pipeline areas that we can increase jobs, increase economic growth, and tap into America’s energy supply. That’s something that he’s been very clear about.” It seems Trump views natural resources as supplies America should consume instead of conserve. Spicer said, “The energy sector and our natural resources are an area where I think the president is very, very keen on making sure that we maximize our use of natural resources to America’s benefit. It’s good for economic growth, it’s good for jobs, and it’s good for American energy.” Lawmakers also appear confident Trump will move forward on the pipeline. North Dakota Republican representative Kevin Cramer told a Fargo radio station it’s possible for Trump to cancel the Environmental Impact Study Obama ordered that helped lead to the permit denial. Cramer said, “I expect [the EIS] will be rescinded quickly, that the easement [to drill under Lake Oahe] will be ordered and issued, you know, maybe as early as Monday. And I would expect that Dakota Access could begin finishing that line within a week.” According to The Independent, Trump still held an under $50,000 stake in Energy Transfer Partners last year, although his campaign said his stance on continuing the pipeline had nothing “to do with his personal investments and everything to do with promoting policies that benefit all Americans.” Via The Independent Images via Fibonacci Blue on Flickr and screenshot

Read the original here: 
Trump’s press secretary indicates the Dakota Access Pipeline will proceed

Big Oil celebrates Trump’s goal to open up drilling in national parks

January 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Big Oil celebrates Trump’s goal to open up drilling in national parks

How should the government best manage America’s national parks ? It’s a question that has provoked debate for years, and President-elect Donald Trump ‘s pro- fossil fuel campaign pledges have ignited even more controversy. As he will be inaugurated later this month, oil industry members expressed delight at the potential of more leases to drill or mine the vast amounts of oil , coal, natural gas, and uranium hiding on those contentious federal lands. During President Obama ‘s time in office, the number of leases for mining and drilling stagnated, but Trump promised to “unleash America’s $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves” and might be able accomplish that through new leases to drill for fossil fuel companies. Big Oil is thrilled with that goal; American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard told Reuters, “This opportunity is unique, maybe once in a lifetime.” Related: Obama creates two new western national monuments in last minute effort During his campaign, Trump said Obama denied “millions of Americans access to the energy wealth sitting under our feet,” in part by restricting leases. Some people agree with him, such as former U.S. Bureau of Land Management officer Bob Turri who lives amidst a federal forest in Utah and told Reuters, “We can’t maintain our families here because there are no jobs. That’s the only hope we have left, is what Trump may be able to do for us.” Federal land oil output accounted for around one fifth of the country’s total oil output in 2015, according to Reuters, after comprising over one third of oil output in 2010. In a late November blog post , the Trump-Pence Transition Team said, “Rather than continuing the current path to undermine and block America’s fossil fuel reserves, the Trump Administration will encourage the production of these resources by opening onshore and offshore leasing on federal lands and waters.” In the very same post they said they plan to conserve “our wonderful natural resources and beautiful natural habitats.” If they’re actually committed to the latter promise as they claim, perhaps they should take a closer look at the havoc drilling has wreaked on the environment in the past . Via Reuters and EcoWatch Images via brewbooks on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

Read more from the original source: 
Big Oil celebrates Trump’s goal to open up drilling in national parks

Australian state announces the country’s first permanent ban on fracking

August 31, 2016 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Australian state announces the country’s first permanent ban on fracking

Australian state Victoria  is taking an unprecedented step after they announced this week that they would protect farmers by banning “onshore unconventional gas,” including fracking . Outcry from local farmers helped push the government to make the historical ban. Victoria is the first Australian state to ban such gas exploration and development. A 2015 Parliamentary Inquiry into Onshore Unconventional Gas in Victoria obtained 1,600 submissions. They found most respondents were against fracking, fearing such practices endangered the agriculture sector in Victoria, public health, and the environment. Dairy farmer Julie Boulton told The Guardian, “It has been so heart-wrenching at times, when we thought the drill rigs were coming and there was nothing we could do. But we pulled together as a community and decided to fight this threat to our farmland, water, and health.” Related: Germany just banned fracking for all practical purposes 190,000 people work in the Victorian agriculture sector. While the gas industry had claimed there would be economic benefits to fracking, research from think tank The Australia Institute appeared to indicate otherwise. They found that when ten gas jobs were created, 18 jobs were lost in agriculture. Many farmers felt fracking would threaten Victoria’s reputation for ” clean, green ” food. The Australia Institute Principal Adviser Mark Ogge said any benefits have nearly all gone to ” overseas owners of global oil and gas companies .” He said the ban is “sound economic and energy policy .” A ” permanent legislative ban ” will be introduced later in 2016 to Parliament, but a “current moratorium” will ensure unconventional gas development and exploration doesn’t occur for now. The ban includes ” exploration and development ” of Victoria unconventional gas, from fracking to coal seam gas. The ban does not cover offshore gas exploration. There are also exemptions for “carbon storage research” and gas storage. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement, “Victorians have made it clear that they don’t support fracking and that the health and environmental risks involved outweigh any potential benefits.” Via The Guardian Images via Lock the Gate Alliance Facebook

Excerpt from: 
Australian state announces the country’s first permanent ban on fracking

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 894 access attempts in the last 7 days.