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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: NE New York
Home country: USA
Current location: Serious Snow Country :(
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 76,040

Journal Archives

An unlikely alliance: Ranchers and green activists fight Texas pipeline

ALPINE, Texas — In late March, approximately 50 representatives from Energy Transfer, a Dallas-based energy company, stood smiling in a conference center in this small town, attempting to diffuse tensions with a community that has been largely resistant to a proposed pipeline planned for its backyard.

If completed as scheduled, the 143-mile Trans-Pecos pipeline would transport natural gas from West Texas all the way to the U.S.-Mexico border. On the way, it would pass through the Big Bend region of Texas, a rural area beloved for its natural beauty by tourists and residents. The energy company is hoping landowners will agree to a permanent 50-foot easement along the pipeline’s route so it can serve northern Mexico. It says it will pay the owners a fair market price in return. But while some welcome the promised compensation, a vocal group of ranchers and landowners have vowed to resist the pipeline and its potential use of eminent domain to take over their land — especially because such laws may not even apply to a pipeline that would serve residents of another country.

In the process, they’ve formed an unexpected partnership with a local environmentalist group, the Big Bend Conservation Alliance, or BBCA. While West Texas ranchers and environmentalists have rarely seen eye to eye, mostly because environmental regulations and endangered-species restrictions limit how ranchers can use their properties, they share a respect for the land. “We all agree that the land needs to be regarded a little more highly,” says Joel Nelson, manager of the Anchor cattle ranch, which the pipeline will traverse.

This part of Texas, home to Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park, is a popular tourist destination. “It’s kind of like the state’s backyard,” says David Keller, a BBCA steering committee member. Thanks to its famously dark night skies, the region is also home to the McDonald Observatory, the University of Texas’ astronomical-research facility. One common concern is that pipeline operations would disturb the area’s treasured peace and quiet. “This is the last great place in the state to enjoy quiet and dark skies,” says Florence Cox, whose home is near the pipeline route. “I moved to Alpine to get away from all that — and now they want to bring it here?”


Joel Nelson, second from right, the manager of the Anchor cattle ranch, speaking to local landowners opposed to the Trans-Pecos pipeline at a meeting hosted by the Big Bend Conservation Alliance. Jessica Lutz
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Fri May 15, 2015, 03:36 AM (0 replies)

A Road Map to Fix America’s Transportation Infrastructure

Why is America's transportation system so outdated, why should we care, and what can we do about it? Rosabeth Moss Kanter offers a road map to roadway recovery in her new book, Move: Putting America's Infrastructure Back in the Lead.

Any highway commuter who has wasted hours stuck in traffic can see the cracks in the United States' transportation system, as can any airline passenger who has been stranded overnight in an airport. Yet while many agree that the need for infrastructure change is urgent, where is the sense of urgency to make these changes happen?

That's one of the questions Harvard Business School Professor of Business Administration Rosabeth Moss Kanter asks in her book published today, Move: Putting America's Infrastructure Back in the Lead.

"Given so many situations and factors that should arouse enormous concern, why is it so hard to secure public support for long-term infrastructure investments and get Congress to vote for them?" Kanter writes. "I think it's a structural issue. Silos, narrow interests, and fragmentation mute outrage. Perhaps we're stuck not only with aging infrastructure but also with obsolete ways of talking about it."

Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Fri May 15, 2015, 03:29 AM (8 replies)

Drilling Begins 3 Miles From BP Oil Spill

Just 3 miles from the catastrophic BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a Louisiana company is seeking to unlock the same oil and natural gas that turned into a deadly disaster.

Drilling has begun in the closest work yet to the Macondo well, which blew wild on April 20, 2010, killing 11 people and fouling the Gulf with as much as 172 million gallons of crude in the nation’s worst oil spill. Federal regulators gave their blessing last month to LLOG Exploration Offshore LLC. to drill the first new well in the same footprint where BP was digging before.

The resumption of drilling at the former BP site comes as the oil industry pushes into ever deeper and riskier reservoirs in the Gulf. It reflects renewed industry confidence — even as critics say not enough has been done to ensure another disaster is avoided.


Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Fri May 15, 2015, 03:24 AM (0 replies)

Drilling to resume near 2010 BP oil spill site

Deep-water drilling is set to resume near the site of the catastrophic BP PLC well blowout that killed 11 workers and caused the nation's largest offshore oil spill five years ago off the coast of Louisiana.

A Louisiana-based oil company, LLOG Exploration Offshore LLC, plans to drill into the Macondo reservoir, according to federal records reviewed by The Associated Press.

Harper's Magazine first reported the drilling plans late Tuesday.

LLOG's permit to drill a new well near BP's site was approved April 13 by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, an agency overseeing offshore oil and gas drilling operations. The company's exploration plan was approved last October following an environmental review by a sister agency, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

The company, a privately owned firm based in Covington, Louisiana, will be looking to extract oil and gas deep under the Gulf of Mexico's seafloor, an undertaking that proved catastrophic for BP.

Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Thu May 14, 2015, 02:19 AM (3 replies)

Exclusive: Anti-Fracking Filmmaker Josh Fox Arrested In Finger Lakes Protest

The creator of the award-winning film ‘Gasland’ was just arrested at a protest in rural New York. Here’s the mini-documentary he made on the eve of his arrest.

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Josh Fox, who wrote and directed the acclaimed fracking film Gasland, was arrested this afternoon while engaging in a human barricade at a natural-gas storage facility in the Finger Lakes.

“People need to see what’s happening at Seneca Lake, and also understand that this isn’t isolated, it is happening everywhere,” Fox told The Daily Beast before the protest. “We need to educate people that our dependency on fossil fuels has got to change, and it has to change now.”

Working through the night prior to his arrest, Fox put together a new short documentary, exclusively premiered below, on what he says are the facts behind the situation in Seneca Lake.


Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Thu May 14, 2015, 01:43 AM (5 replies)

Awwww! Lovely kitties and great story! I also have a Felix, found him in a grocery store parking lot

Last August. He was so little! The vet said he was about seven weeks and healthy. He is almost all black and is growing up to be quite a beautiful cat...

Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Thu Apr 16, 2015, 12:29 PM (2 replies)

BP oil spill at issue in two federal court cases next week

Legal battles arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill play out in two federal courtrooms in New Orleans next week. On Monday, trial resumes in a district courtroom where BP and a minority partner in its ill-fated Macondo well are trying to fend off billions of dollars in Clean Water Act penalties, and on Tuesday, appeals court judges consider BP's request to oust the man overseeing payments to businesses claiming harm from the spill.

The trial is entering its third week. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier has been hearing from dueling experts. They are witnesses called by each side as the Justice Department presses for a penalty for BP at or near the $13.7 billion maximum.

Government witnesses have cited evidence of real and potential harm to environment. Coastal communities' economies and social fabric also were damaged, they say.

BP witnesses have painted a picture of a robust response and strong recovery from the disaster. They disputed government witnesses' findings as BP lawyers argue that the government has ignored some of its own data in pressing for the high fine.


This cane pole indicates where land was once located near a marshy patch along the Bay Jimmy in Plaquemines Parish on Tuesday, April 9, 2013. The grass and mangroves in this area were weakened by the effects of the BP oil spill in 2010 and then later hit hard by Hurricane Issac causing it to erode at a quicker than expected pace. (Photo by Chris Granger, Nola.com | The Times-Picayune)
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Mon Feb 2, 2015, 05:39 AM (1 replies)

Millions of gallons of BP oil found resting on the Gulf floor

Yet another study raises questions about the long-term impact of the 2010 disaster

Another study has identified a massive amount of oil resting on the Gulf of Mexico’s floor, contradicting BP’s claims that everything is totally better now and raising questions about the lasting impact of the 2010 spill.

Researchers at Florida State University identified some 6 to 10 million gallons of BP oil buried in the sediment at the bottom of the Gulf, covering a 9,300 square mile area southeast of the Mississippi Delta. Their findings, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, help solve the mystery of where all the oil went: a federal judge ruled that BP spilled about 134 million gallons of oil in total, although government estimates put that amount even higher.

Last year, geochemists at the University of California-Santa Barbara identified a similar phenomenon, of what they called a “bathtub ring” of oil the size of Rhode Island scattered across the Gulf. The authors of this study, as with that one, express concern about what it’s doing down there. Jeff Chanton, a professor of oceanology at FSU and the study’s lead author, notes that as oil remains deep underwater, it encounters less oxygen, making it more difficult to decompose.

And just because it’s buried doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. “This is going to affect the Gulf for years to come,” Chanton said. “Fish will likely ingest contaminants because worms ingest the sediment, and fish eat the worms. It’s a conduit for contamination into the food web.


A member of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's staff reaches into thick oil in the Northern regions of Barataria Bay in Plaquemines Parish, La., Tuesday, June 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (Credit: Gerald Herbert)
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Mon Feb 2, 2015, 03:31 AM (11 replies)

Crashed AirAsia's tail hoisted from sea in search of boxes

Source: AP

PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia (AP) — Investigators searching for black boxes in the crashed AirAsia plane lifted the tail portion out of the Java Sea on Saturday, two weeks ago after it went down, killing all 162 people on board.

It was not immediately clear if the cockpit voice and flight data recorders were still inside the tail or have been detached when the Airbus A320 plummeted into the sea Dec. 28. Their recovery is essential to finding out why it crashed.

The tail was hoisted from a depth of about 30 meters (100 feet) using inflatable bags that were attached to the rear of the aircraft and a crane to lift it onto a rescue ship.

Intermittent underwater ping-like sounds were picked up Friday about a kilometer (half mile) from where the tail was located, but it was unclear if they were coming from the recorders located in the back of the aircraft. It was possible the signals were coming from another source.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/d5a95bb1618a41c2b901d91914a60f51/divers-fight-waves-hoist-tail-crashed-airasia-jet

Portion of the tail of AirAsia Flight 8501 floats on the water as Indonesian navy divers conduct search operations for the black boxes of the crashed plane in the Java Sea, Indonesia, Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015. Investigators searching for black boxes in the crashed AirAsia plane lifted the tail portion out of the Java Sea on Saturday, two weeks ago after it went down, killing all 162 people on board. (AP Photo/Adek Berry, Pool)
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Sat Jan 10, 2015, 04:10 AM (3 replies)

Golden Gate Bridge closing for safety upgrade this weekend

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Golden Gate Bridge will shut down to private vehicles for 52 hours starting at midnight Friday so workers can install a moveable median barrier designed to prevent head-on collisions, part of an effort to increase safety along the iconic structure.

Transit buses, emergency vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists will be able to cross the bridge while the barrier is being installed, the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District said. The bridge is scheduled to reopen to all traffic Monday at 4 a.m.

The weekend closure will be the longest in the bridge's history and the first since 1987, when the bridge closed for a few hours for a celebration of the 50th anniversary of its construction.


In this Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013 file photo, Golden Gate Bridge workers shift traffic lanes during the end of the morning commute in San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge will close to vehicles for 52 hours starting early Saturday morning, Jan. 10, 2014 to install a steel and concrete moveable median barrier that will help make the iconic bridge safer to commuters.
Photo: Eric Risberg, AP

Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Sat Jan 10, 2015, 02:20 AM (5 replies)
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