Category Archives: Energy

New York faces new fracking deadline

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo turned more than a few heads last night at a televised election debate held in Buffalo, New York, when he said that the state’s long awaited public release of its scientific and health analysis of fracking would be done by the end of the year. This, the only planned debate of the campaign, included Republican Candidate Rob Astorino, Green Candidate Howie Hawkins, and Libertarian Candidate Michael McDermott.

Astorino, the Westchester County Executive, aggressively supports fracking in New York because of what he characterizes as a “positive impact” on jobs and “economic development” in the state. He completely dismisses the environmental consequences. Astorino said that one of the “first acts of his administration” would be to kick down the regulatory doors so that fracking and extraction can begin immediately. Both Green candidate Hawkins and Libertarian Candidate McDermott would ban fracking because, they both agree, the science is in and the health consequences are clear.

NYS Governors Election Debate in Buffalo. Empty Chairs, Empty Heads. Empty Ideas - photo by Jay Burney

NYS Governors Election Debate in Buffalo. Empty chairs, mostly empty heads and empty ideas – photo by Jay Burney

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NYS White Man’s gubernatorial election debate in Buffalo, 23 October, 2014. Left to right–Republican Candidate Rob Astorino, NYS incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo, Green Party Candidate Howie Hawkins, Libertarian Party Candidate Michael McDermott

The analysis that Cuomo spoke about has been at the center of attention and controversy since the state issued a series of Draft Environmental Impact Statements starting in 2011, and received a tidal wave of public comments focusing on the idiocy of opening up the state to the dangerous fracking industry. Initially Cuomo had promised that the analysis would be completed and released before the initial public comment period but backed down. It has been widely speculated that several generations of both reports indicate that fracking is not a scientifically provable safe technology.  The educated public knows that fracking is not safe to water supplies and human health. Subsequently Cuomo promised the release of the reports prior to this election. The reports have not been released and 10’s of thousands of New York citizens have bitterly criticized the lack of transparency involved in the creation of the health and science analyses.

“I am not a scientist” Cuomo, who is a lawyer, stated at the debate, “We have to let the scientists decide this issue.”  This may be an entirely disingenuous position, as the fracking debate in New York has been characterized by industry and state government viewpoints that include scientists for hire, academic investments by state funded institutions of higher learning, and well funded disinformation campaigns. We have known that the state decision would not be made until after this election.  We have been waiting for the release of the reports. Now we know that if Cuomo wins the election, he says that they will be released by the end of the year.

After that?

 

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Filed under Energy, Fracking, Great Lakes, Hydrofracking

National Bioenergy Day is a “Dirty Sham”

This press release was sent on Oct. 22, 2014, from Biofuelwatch, Dogwood Alliance, Energy Justice Network, Partnership for Policy Integrity, Save America’s Forests, and Global Justice Ecology Project.

Groups across the country denounce “National Bioenergy Day” as a dirty sham

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Groups around the country denounce the Biomass Power Association, Biomass Thermal Energy Council and their industry partners’ designation of this date as “National Bioenergy Day.” Pointing to growing opposition to bioenergy facilities around the nation and the world, they say burning trees, contaminated wastes, and garbage is grossly and dangerously misrepresented by industry advocates as “clean, green, and carbon neutral.”  The groups point out that biomass power pumps more CO2 into the atmosphere than even coal, along with comparable amounts of toxic air pollution, while also posing new threats to forests, ecosystems, and our health.

Rachel Smolker, Ph.D., co-director of Biofuelwatch, states: “The biomass industry has perpetrated a series of dangerous myths that they just keep repeating to ensure ongoing subsidies and supports. The Biomass Power Association website, for example, is rife with misleading statements, for example proclaiming to ‘Light America with clean, green biomass power—a natural solution to energy independence.’ This is utter nonsense as we would need several planets worth of biomass to provide any significant portion of overall US energy demand from biomass.” (1)

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, BREAKING NEWS, Dr. Rachel Smolker, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing

Partnership for Policy Integrity Maps Biomass Polluters in Pennsylvania

BurningWoodJust in time for National Bioenergy Day (October 22), the biomass industry’s biggest BS marketing day, the Partnership for Policy Integrity (PFPI) has released a new report and online database identifying “The 100 Most Polluting Biomass Energy Facilities in Pennsylvania.”

Industry calls biomass energy “a way to keep forests healthy” and touts burning wood as a “green” solution to energy and climate change.

This false solution, characterized by destruction of forest ecosystems and release of airborne toxins, should be an embarrassment, not a marketing ploy.

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, Greenwashing

Colorado Biomass = Clearcut=False Solutions to Climate Change

It is difficult to imagine that in 2014 we are still facing clearcut  strategies for our rapidly disappearing forested lands. Biomass is certainly a false solution to climate change. From the Summit County Colorado Summit Daily

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Is biomass all its cut up to be? 

Howard Brown    17 October 2014    Summit Daily

One possible reason for sticking to the ill-advised Ophir Mountain and other clear-cutting plans is that the clear-cut trees would go to the biomass power plant in Gypsum. Biomass power is renewable energy. It wouldn’t justify destroying Summit County’s wonderful forests and trails, but biomass is green energy right? Maybe not.

Is biomass power a good renewable energy source that we should promote here in Colorado? To answer this, we need to back up and look at where biomass energy comes from. As with most of our energy sources, it starts with energy from the sun. In photosynthesis, plants use solar energy to convert water and carbon dioxide to carbohydrates. Energy is stored in the carbon-hydrogen bonds. (Geologic pressure over time strips the oxygen from plant material to create hydrocarbon fossil fuels.) When animals metabolize carbohydrates, or when plant or fossil fuel material combusts (burns), that energy is released as oxygen combined with the material, returning to the lower-energy carbon-oxygen and hydrogen-oxygen bonds of carbon dioxide and water.

The problem with fuels such as coal and wood is that they are solids. The combustion process requires direct contact between oxygen molecules and molecules of the fuel. For gaseous fuels such as natural gas, that is very easy, individual oxygen molecules readily mix directly with individual methane molecules. For liquid fuels such as petroleum products, vegetable oil or ethanol, that mixing is more difficult and the resulting combustion less efficient. With solid fuels, however, it is exceedingly difficult for individual oxygen molecules to contact individual fuel molecules, so the combustion process is incomplete and far less efficient.

Read the Full Article Here

 

 

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Climate Change, Energy, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Uncategorized

Don’t like Coal, how about Nukes?

A cautionary tale of the unintended consequences of stopping fossil fuels without addressing the problem of overconsumption and demand for energy.  And yet another example of why we need to fundamentally address the system driving ecological destruction and climate change and not just promote bandaids.

In Tennessee, Time Comes for a Nuclear Plant Four Decades in the Making



Cooling towers rise above two adjacent nuclear reactors, Watts Barr 1 and 2. Construction on the second was suspended in 1988 and resumed in 2007. CreditShawn Poynter for The New York Times 

SPRING CITY, Tenn. — When the Tennessee Valley Authority first ordered Watts Bar 2, the nuclear reactor now approaching completion here, demand for electricity was growing at 7 percent a year and coal supplies were uncertain. The mercury, soot and acid rain that coal produced were simply accepted as the way things were, and many of the people who now worry about global warming had not yet been born.

But that was 1970. Today nearly all of that is reversed as Watts Bar 2, the nuclear industry’s version of a time traveler, prepares to begin operations. Now there is barely any growth in electricity demand, and plenty of coal, but most aging coal-burning plants need expensive cleaning or replacement. Thus the reactor, the T.V.A. reasons, is arriving at an opportune moment, even if almost every projection made over the last 44 years has proved wrong. With halting progress amid changing projections, construction has taken longer than that for the Panama Canal or the Great Pyramid of Cheops.


Read the rest of the story here

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Filed under Climate Change, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Nuclear power, Uncategorized

Thousands march in Bolivia demanding justice for 2003 Gas War massacre

Friday's gas war march in Bolivia. Photo: Ben Dangl.

Friday’s gas war march in Bolivia. Photo: Ben Dangl.

Benjamin Dangl of Upside Down World covered Friday’s protest march in Bolivia, in which thousands demanded justice for the 2003 massacre of over 60 people during the country’s Gas War under the Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (Goni) administration. Dangl provide both a quick history and photos from the march, all taken by him.

Photo Essay: Thousands March in El Alto, Bolivia Demanding Justice for 2003 Gas War Massacre
Written by Benjamin Dangl. Upside Down World. 19 October 2014

Thousands of people marched in El Alto, Bolivia on Friday, October 17th to demand justice for the 2003 massacre of over 60 people during the country’s Gas War under the Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (Goni) administration. Sanchez de Lozada is currently living freely in the US, and marchers demanded he and others in his government be brought to Bolivia to be tried for ordering the violence. October marks the anniversary of that assault on the city, and people mobilized on Friday to remember and to demand justice.

Check out the whole article and many more photos on Upside Down World!

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Energy, Political Repression, Politics

Brazil to Build Huge Biomass Plant

BOLT Energias has secured the 150 MW Campo Grande biomass power plant.  The facility will be operational in 2017, and will be fueled with woody biomass. This will be Brazil’s largest biomass plant. Areva has already constructed 95 biomass plants globally with a total installed capacity of over 2,500MW.

French Energy Firm Areva will build the BOLT Energias 150MW Campo Grande biomass plant.

French Energy Firm Areva will build the BOLT Energias 150MW Campo Grande biomass plant.

 Areva secures contract to build Brazil’s largest biomass power plant

Clean Technology Business Review (CBTR)  15 October 2014

French energy firm Areva has secured a contract to build the 150MW Campo Grande biomass power plant for Brazilian utility BOLT Energias.

Planned to be built in the northeastern state of Bahia, the Campo Grande plant is claimed to be the largest biomass facility in Brazil.

The contract requires Areva to deliver engineering, procurement and construction services for the plant, which will feature three 50MW modules.

The facility, which is expected to commence operations in 2017, will be fueled with woody biomass.

Areva Renewables CEO Louis-François Durret said: “Awarded as part of the first biomass plant project undertaken in Brazil in recent years, this success illustrates BOLT Energias’ recognition of AREVA’s knowledge in construction and technological expertise.

“This contract will mark the first step of a successful collaboration with our Brazilian partner.”

Areva has already constructed 95 biomass plants globally, with a total installed capacity of over 2,500MW.

Read the whole article here

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Climate Change, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, Greenwashing, Uncategorized

Alberta Tar Sands–Enter Kuwait

You may have heard the news recently that a Chinese business with strong ties to the Chinese government (we are shocked) has recently purchased the iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan.

The historic structure with its secret underground train station, used as a private escape route for the extremely wealthy and a succession of U.S. Presidents, is also the permanent residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and hosts hundreds of U.S Diplomats during UN General Assemblies. The U.S. State Department is more than a little concerned that the announced plans by the new owners to undertake huge renovations will turn the hotel into one big infiltrated spy center by the new owners.

Read more here.

Now from the DESMOGBLOG comes a story about how another nation, Kuwait, is investing heavily in the North American Oil and Gas business. On the same day that the Bejing based Anbang Insurance Group purchased the Waldorf Astoria, the state-owned Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company purchased a $1.5 billion stake in the Alberta Tar Sands.

Steve Horn and the DESMOGBLOG bring us the story.

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Tar Sands Trade: Kuwait Buys Stake in Alberta As It Opens Own Heavy Oil Spigot

Steve Horn, DeSmogBlog, 14 October 2014

Chevron made waves in the business world when it announced its October 6 sale of 30-percent of its holdings in the Alberta-based Duvernay Shale basin to Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC) for $1.5 billion.

It marked the first North American purchase for the Kuwaiti state-owned oil company and yields KUFPEC 330,000 acres of Duvernay shale gas. Company CEO and the country’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, called it an “anchor project” that could spawn Kuwait’s expansion into North America at-large.

Read the whole article here.

 

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Filed under Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Fracking