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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: 72,258

Journal Archives

Report: Industry proposes to phase out older tank cars

The oil industry and the railroad companies responsible for transporting crude oil, have offered U.S. regulators a plan that would phase out the type of older tanks cars connected to recent fiery derailments.

The proposal comes after pressure on Capitol Hill and in states impacted by crude-by-rail crashes has increased, raising expectations that regulators will update standards for the oil tankers transporting the product.

The plan also requires slightly thicker walls for new cars to protect them from punctures, according to people close to the proposal, Bloomberg reports.

All parties agreed to trash thousands of DOT-111s tank cars within three years if manufacturers say they can replace or retrofit the cars in that timeframe.

More: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/212249-report-industry-proposes-to-phase-out-older-tank-cars

Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Wed Jul 16, 2014, 12:56 AM (8 replies)

Brave duo attempts to schlep across Eurasia in solar-powered tuk-tuk

If you were going on a 6,200-mile road trip with a friend, you probably wouldn’t select a vehicle with a top speed of 25 mph. And you’d probably search for something with a lot of elbow and leg room. But Naveen Rabelli isn’t your average road tripper.

He’s devoted to sustainable living and wants to raise awareness for the potential of solar-powered vehicles. Rabelli plans to drive his tuk-tuk, a motorized rickshaw, to London. For an estimated 100 days, Rabelli and a companion will be locked in a very cozy passenger cabin.

“It will be quite challenging for both of us to fit in this tuk-tuk and to travel 10,000 kilometers, but I think that’s a whole part of the journey to understand the problems and make flexible solutions,” Rabelli explained in a video promoting his trip.

Raoul Kopacka was selected as his partner in part because his short stature makes it possible to sleep in the rear of the tuk-tuk.

More: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2014/07/15/brave-duo-attempts-to-schlep-across-eurasia-in-solar-powered-tuk-tuk/

Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Wed Jul 16, 2014, 12:50 AM (13 replies)

Texas judge upholds $3 million fracking verdict

A Texas judge upheld a $3 million jury verdict by ruling in favor of a family who claimed that oil and gas drilling near their land made them sick, in a landmark case hailed as a victory by anti-fracking activists.

Last week's ruling, confirmed by lawyers on Tuesday, is the latest step in a three-year case that began when Bob and Lisa Parr filed suit against a handful of oil companies claiming that fumes from drilling around their 40-acre (16-hectare) ranch exposed them and their livestock to hazardous gases and industrial chemicals.

Some of the initial claims related to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations were settled out of court or dismissed, leaving the couple, who have a young daughter, to face Aruba Petroleum in a jury trial in Dallas County Court.


The Parrs' case is one of the first complaints of its kind to make it in front of a jury. The family was featured in the anti-fracking documentary "Gasland Part II" by filmmaker Josh Fox


Getty Images
Pump jacks and wells are seen in an oil field on the Monterey Shale formation where gas and oil extraction using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is on the verge of a boom on March 23, 2014 near McKittrick, Calif.
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Wed Jul 16, 2014, 12:40 AM (1 replies)

New York Won't Keep Oil Train Details Secret

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's homeland security agency is refusing requests from freight railroads to further restrict public information about their crude oil shipments, concluding it's not sensitive security information and will be given to local emergency planners.

Federal officials reached a similar conclusion in June, ordering railroads to give state officials details about oil-train routes and volumes so emergency responders can be better prepared for their duties.

Railroads sought to keep the information secret, arguing that information on oil train routes and volumes are security sensitive. The issue followed a string of fiery accidents. A derailment and explosion in Quebec last July killed 47 people.

Jerome Hauer, Homeland Security and Emergency Services commissioner, told CSX Transportation and Canadian Pacific Railway that New York won't adopt special non-disclosure agreements.


In this April 15, 2014 file photo, an oil-tank train with crude oil from the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota travels near Staples, Minn. (AP Photo/Mike Cronin,File) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

Seven small earthquakes rattle Oklahoma

This is the latest swarm in a state where a recent upsurge in seismic activity which may be linked to fracking

The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded seven small earthquakes shaking central Oklahoma in a span of just about 14 hours.


Those follow four other quakes, including a 4.3-magnitude temblor near Langston recorded shortly after noon Saturday. The other Saturday morning quakes ranged in magnitude from 2.9 to 3.2.

Residents in central Oklahoma have said they want to know whether the surge in earthquake activity in the region is caused by oil and gas drilling operations in the area. Last month, Oklahoma City’s KOCO news reported that Oklahoma has had nearly double the number of earthquakes as California, local news reported after five earthquakes on Thursday morning rattled an area of the state where oil and gas drilling is prevalent.

At the Seismological Society of America’s annual meeting in May, scientists said that underground disposal of vast amounts of wastewater generated by fracking likely induce earthquakes by changing the state of stress on existing faults.


Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Sun Jul 13, 2014, 11:50 PM (4 replies)

Who is shaping the nation's railroad safety rules?

WASHINGTON • A string of fiery train derailments across the country has triggered a high-stakes but behind-the-scenes campaign to shape how the government responds to calls for tighter safety rules.

Billions of dollars are riding on how these rules are written, and lobbyists from the railroads, tank car manufacturers and the oil, ethanol and chemical industries have met 13 times since March with officials at the White House and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Their universal message: Don't make us pay for increased safety because that's another industry's problem.


Since 2008, there have been 10 significant derailments in the U.S. and Canada in which crude oil has spilled from ruptured tank cars, often resulting in huge fireballs. A year ago this month, a runaway train with 72 tank cars of crude en route from the Bakken to a refinery in Canada hurtled into the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, exploded and killed 47 people.


FILE - This July 6, 2013 file photo shows smoke rising from railway cars carrying crude oil after derailing in downtown Lac Megantic, Quebec. A string of fiery train derailments across the country has triggered a high-stakes and behind-the-scenes campaign to shape how the government responds to calls for tighter safety rules. Billions of dollars are riding on how these rules are written, and lobbyists from the railroads, tank car manufacturers and the oil, ethanol and chemical industries have met more than a dozen times since mid-May 2014 with officials at the White House and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Their universal message: Don’t make us pay for increased safety _ that’s another industry’s problem. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson, File)
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Sun Jul 13, 2014, 11:42 PM (3 replies)

Tepco Says Fukushima Reactors Undamaged by 6.8 Magnitude Quake

Source: Bloomberg

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501)’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power station, crippled by a tsunami in March 2011, was undamaged by a 6.8 magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast of the area today.

Inspections and monitoring showed “no abnormality” at the power facilities including reactors and workers were safe, the company said in an e-mailed statement. The earthquake triggered a tsunami of about 30 centimeters (1 foot), it said.

The quake struck at 4:22 a.m. local time and its epicenter was about 140 kilometers (87 miles) off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture at a depth of about 10 kilometers, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said on its website.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-12/tepco-says-fukushima-reactors-undamaged-by-6-8-magnitude-quake.html?
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Sat Jul 12, 2014, 04:13 AM (21 replies)

Major New Study Says Obamacare Is Working — Even For Republicans

The Affordable Care Act has been successful at achieving some major goals in the first year of its full implementation, according to a new study from The Commonwealth Fund.

There are three important findings from the study: The uninsured rate is dropping, most people like their new insurance plans (even Republicans!), and most people are finding it easy to visit a doctor.

The study found the uninsured rate in the U.S. declined by one-quarter over the last nine months, which included the law's first, six-month open-enrollment period in which individuals could sign up for private insurance plans through exchanges established by the law.

From the July-to-September 2013 period to the April-to-June 2014 period, the uninsured rate of people between the ages of 19-64 dropped from 20% to 15%, according to the study. The research found 9.5 million people gained insurance, either through the exchanges or through the law's expansion of the federal Medicaid program.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/study-obamacare-reduces-uninsured-rate-2014-7#ixzz378RZASv1

The findings show the law has been successful at reducing the uninsured rate among the poor — which was, of course, one of its main goals:

Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Fri Jul 11, 2014, 12:38 AM (0 replies)

Billionaire Koch brothers are big oil players in Alberta

The ultra-right U.S. Koch brothers, little-known to Canadians, are major players in Alberta's oil patch, where they control at least 1.1 million acres.

PEACE RIVER, ALTA.—Trevor Newton braves the driving sleet and the boot-sucking bog as he moves along an unmarked path through the Middle of Nowhere.


A trim, sandy-haired man who spends part of his time on his cattle farm near Vancouver, Newton is chairman of the board of a small oil company. And until recently, he had no idea that he was surrounded by vast tracts of land acquired by Koch — the oil giant at the centre of a political storm in Washington and beyond.

“We knew they were alongside us, but we didn’t realize the extent to which they were all around us,” Newton says through the gusting wind. “When we looked at the recent (geological) survey we found they had assembled an absolutely massive land package in the Peace River area.

“Total Koch holdings in the region would be more than 360,000 acres — an area larger than Los Angeles. Koch’s holdings in the area dominate all the other leaseholders, including Shell.”


Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Sun Jul 6, 2014, 04:02 PM (2 replies)

Coastal Winds Intensifying With Climate Change, Study Says

Summer winds are intensifying along the west coasts of North and South America and southern Africa and climate change is a likely cause, a new study says.

The winds, which blow parallel to the shore and draw cold, nutrient-rich water from the deep ocean to the surface in a process known as coastal upwelling, have increased over the last 60 years in three out of five regions of the world, according to an analysis published Thursday in the journal Science.

Stronger winds have the potential to benefit coastal areas by bringing a surge of nutrients and boosting populations of plankton, fish, and other species. But they could also harm marine life by causing turbulence in surface waters, disrupting feeding, worsening ocean acidification, and lowering oxygen levels, the study says.

The shift could already be having serious effects on some of the world’s most productive marine fisheries and ecosystems off California, Peru, and South Africa.

Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Fri Jul 4, 2014, 01:21 AM (3 replies)
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