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kristopher

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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
Number of posts: 29,253

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Scientists Urge EPA To Say Why It Thinks Fracking Doesn’t Contaminate Water

Regulatory capture is a theory associated with George Stigler, a Nobel laureate economist. It is the process by which regulatory agencies eventually come to be dominated by the very industries they were charged with regulating.
Regulatory Capture Definition | Investopedia

www.investopedia.com/terms/r/regulatory-capture.asp

Scientists Urge EPA To Say Why It Thinks Fracking Doesn’t Contaminate Water
The EPA draft report lacked clarity in “several critical areas.”


An independent board of scientists said Thursday the Environmental Protection Agency should clarify why it said in a landmark draft report on fracking that there is a lack of evidence of widespread impacts on water.

In a much-awaited report submitted to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the agency’s independent Science Advisory Board (SAB) said it was concerned about the clarity and adequacy to support “several major findings” found in a draft assessment report on fracking the EPA first published last year.

<snip>

“The EPA did not support quantitatively its conclusion about lack of evidence for widespread, systemic impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources, and did not clearly describe the system(s) of interest (e.g., groundwater, surface water), the scale of impacts (i.e., local or regional), nor the definitions of “systemic” and “widespread,” the report reads.

<snip>

The SAB, comprised of 30 experts, also recommended the EPA discuss “significant data limitations and uncertainties” when presenting major findings on the fracking report, a document that condenses available scientific literature and data on the potential impacts of fracturing. It furthermore said the EPA should compile toxicological information on the chemicals employed in fracturing in “a more inclusive manner,” and recognize the many stresses fracking has on surface or groundwater resources.

Environmental groups quickly applauded the SAB review and ...
https://thinkprogress.org/fracking-advisory-board-questions-epas-lack-of-evidence-on-water-impacts-5b1d2e47420b

44 Ways You Can Slow The Solar Century’s Arrival

44 Ways You Can Slow The Solar Century’s Arrival
August 15th, 2016 by Zachary Shahan



Since “22 Ways To Delay The Electric Car Revolution” and then the expanded “50 Tips For Slowing The Electric Car Revolution” were such big hits, I thought I’d run with “44 Ways You Can Slow The Solar Century” to keep the “fun” going. (Of course, as someone wrote under one of those articles, it would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.)

I’m sure I’m again leaving a ton of tips out, so feel free to fill the gaps down in the comments.

Getting to the actors in this one, they are utilities, media, politicians, and university PR teams. Naturally, even if you aren’t a part of any of these industries, you can do your part to slow the transition to solar energy by sticking many of these claims on the bottom of articles across the internet.

Solar obstructionists, start your engines!

Utilities

1. Tell politicians, the media, etc., that the grid would collapse if solar power represented more than 5% of electricity.
When it becomes obvious that isn’t true, raise the percentage to 10%, then 15%, then 20%, and so on. (Ignore that some countries have gone well beyond 20% of electricity from renewables, and some even beyond 40%.)

2. Act as though you need a lot of cheap energy storage before you can integrate more solar power into the grid.

3. Ignore a large buffet of options (like demand response, renewable energy forecasting, quickly dispatchable electricity production from some non-solar power plants, regional grid connections, and time-of-use pricing) that can help to integrate a lot of solar power into the grid.

4. When discussing rooftop solar costs to the utility and other ratepayers under net metering, be sure you don’t indicate the benefits to the grid and society that rooftop solar provides (less need for transmission infrastructure, reduced load at times of high demand, reliable generation, more-secure decentralization of electricity generation, reduced pollution and CO2 emissions, etc.).

5. Try not to admit that the real reason you oppose net metering and rooftop solar is because rooftop solar eats into your profits.

6. Pretend that baseload power is still necessary.

7. Ignore the increasing difficulty of cooling thermal (fossil & nuclear) power plants...
more at: http://cleantechnica.com/2016/08/15/44-ways-can-slow-solar-century/

(Delaware) Business community eyes Coastal Zone Act change

Business community eyes Coastal Zone Act change
Molly Murray, The News Journal 8:27 p.m. EDT August 13, 2016


Some in the Delaware business community say the 45-year-old legislation limiting heavy industry on the coastline may be an impediment to growth of high-wage manufacturing jobs

- The Delaware General Assembly passed the Coastal Zone Act four decades ago.
- It limits heavy industry on the Delaware coastline and is seen as critical to preserving the shore.
- Business leaders have quietly started suggesting the plan needs reforms to encourage more projects.
- Nowhere is the impact of the Coastal Zone Act in Delaware more obvious than at the Pennsylvania border, where the massive Sunoco Logistics refinery straddles the state line.


On the northern portion of the Delaware River site, in Marcus Hook, work is blazing ahead to turn the former oil refinery into a facility to handle natural gas. Yet steps away, in Delaware, the riverfront has little development.

"You can literally walk ... and on one side ... you see all this building activity. They’re building tanks and all this processing stuff for the Marcellus shale," said Phil Cherry, of the Delaware Division of Energy and Climate, which oversees the development rules. "And on the Delaware side, there’s virtually no activity."

The contrast is a stark visual indicator of how the Coastal Zone Act has shaped what gets built on the state's shorelines. Passed in 1971, the landmark legislation bars new heavy industry and bulk product facilities such as oil refineries, paper mills and coal ports from being developed on a two-mile strip along the state's 115 miles of coastline, both sides of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, and a ribbon around Delaware's Inland Bays...
http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/2016/08/12/business-community-eyes-coastal-zone-act-change/87020446/

Marijuana - Liberal Party of Canada

Marijuana - Liberal Party of Canada
https://www.liberal.ca/realchange/marijuana/


We will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.

Canada’s current system of marijuana prohibition does not work. It does not prevent young people from using marijuana and too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug.

Arresting and prosecuting these offenses is expensive for our criminal justice system. It traps too many Canadians in the criminal justice system for minor, non-violent offenses. At the same time, the proceeds from the illegal drug trade support organized crime and greater threats to public safety, like human trafficking and hard drugs.

To ensure that we keep marijuana out of the hands of children, and the profits out of the hands of criminals, we will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.

We will remove marijuana consumption and incidental possession from the Criminal Code, and create new, stronger laws to punish more severely those who provide it to minors, those who operate a motor vehicle while under its influence, and those who sell it outside of the new regulatory framework.

We will create a federal/provincial/territorial task force, and with input from experts in public health, substance abuse, and law enforcement, will design a new system of strict marijuana sales and distribution, with appropriate federal and provincial excise taxes applied.



Current news:
Health Canada changes medical marijuana regulations to allow home growing

The federal government said Thursday that it will allow medical marijuana patients to grow their own pot, a move viewed as a band-aid solution before broader legislation is introduced next year.

The decision creates uncertainty for Canada’s licensed medical marijuana producers, who are currently the only legal source of medical pot. However, it is not viewed as a game-changer for them, and some even see it as a business opportunity. Most stock prices in the pot sector declined on Thursday, but only modestly.

Health Canada announced that beginning Aug. 24, patients will be allowed to produce a “limited amount” of cannabis for their own purposes, or designate someone to grow it for them.....

Read more at: http://business.financialpost.com/news/agriculture/health-canada-changes-medical-marijuana-regulations-to-allow-home-growing

Nuclear power plant? Or storage dump for hot radioactive waste?

Nuclear power plant? Or storage dump for hot radioactive waste?
Robert Alvarez 11 AUGUST 2016


In addition to generating electricity, US nuclear power plants are now major radioactive waste management operations, storing concentrations of radioactivity that dwarf those generated by the country's nuclear weapons program. Because the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository remains in limbo, and other permanent storage plans are in their infancy, these wastes are likely to remain in interim storage at commercial reactor sites for the indefinite future. This reality raises one issue of particular concern—how to store the high-burnup nuclear fuel used by most US utilities. An Energy Department expert panel has raised questions that suggest neither government regulators nor the utilities operating commercial nuclear power plants understand the potential impact of used high-burnup fuel on storage and transport of used nuclear fuel, and, ultimately, on the cost of nuclear waste management.

Spent nuclear power fuel accumulated over the past 50 years is bound up in more than 241,000 long rectangular assemblies containing tens of millions of fuel rods. The rods, in turn, contain trillions of small, irradiated uranium pellets. After bombardment with neutrons in the reactor core, about 5 to 6 percent of the pellets are converted to a myriad of radioactive elements with half-lives ranging from seconds to millions of years. Standing within a meter of a typical spent nuclear fuel assembly guarantees a lethal radiation dose in minutes.

Heat from the radioactive decay in spent nuclear fuel is also a principal safety concern. Several hours after a full reactor core is offloaded, it can initially give off enough heat from radioactive decay to match the energy capacity of a steel mill furnace. This is hot enough to melt and ignite the fuel’s reactive zirconium cladding and destabilize a geological disposal site it is placed in. By 100 years, decay heat and radioactivity drop substantially but still remain dangerous. For these reasons, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) informed the Congress in 2013 that spent nuclear fuel is “considered one of the most hazardous substances on Earth.”

US commercial nuclear power plants use uranium fuel that has had the percentage of its key fissionable isotope—uranium 235—increased, or enriched, from what is found in most natural uranium ore deposits. In the early decades of commercial operation, the level of enrichment allowed US nuclear power plants to operate for approximately 12 months between refueling. In recent years, however, US utilities have begun using what is called high-burnup fuel. This fuel generally contains a higher percentage of uranium 235, allowing reactor operators to effectively double the amount of time the fuel can be used, reducing the frequency of costly refueling outages. The switch to high-burnup fuel has been a major contributor to higher capacity factors and lower operating costs in the United States over the past couple of decades.

While this high-burnup trend may have improved the economics of nuclear power, the industry and its regulator, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), have taken a questionable leap of faith that could, according to the Electric Power Research Institute, “result in severe economic penalties and in operational limitations to nuclear plant operators.” Evidence is mounting that spent high-burnup fuel poses little-studied challenges to the temporary used-fuel storage plans now in place and to any eventual arrangement for a long-term storage repository...
http://thebulletin.org/nuclear-power-plant-or-storage-dump-hot-radioactive-waste9775

Comparing “energy poverty” in Germany with other countries

Comparing “energy poverty” in Germany with other countries
By Craig Morris on 9 August 2016



Main Street in Lake Mills, Iowa; 7% of households in the state had their power shut off in 2015



Recently, I had dinner with a group of North Americans who had come to Berlin to see what they could learn from the German energy transition. A Canadian expressed his concern that “Germany has hundreds of thousands of people who cannot pay their power bills.”

“The exact number is around 350,000,” I answered, “and we know this because the country’s Network Agency publishes the figure every year.” I then asked the group whether that number was high or low. For instance, how many households in Canada or the US had their power cut off for failing to pay the bills?

No one knew.

As we pondered the irony of energy experts not knowing statistics about their own countries that they know about Germany, I put the numbers into context. “That’s 0.9 percent of the 39.9 million households in Germany.” Still, how does that performance stack up internationally?

The visitors to Germany did not know because other countries don’t always publish their statistics. Whenever the US press reports on such matters, we get a hodgepodge of numbers from particular utilities. Usually, we are only provided with the number of households affected (such as 70,000 in Memphis over eight months) without any indication of the percentage. Another example: 91,000 households in Iowa (equivalent to seven percent of all households in the state) received disconnection notices in the fall of 2015. There are no statistics on “energy poverty” for the US as a whole.

Judging from this article, Canada does not collect official statistics either (but please drop us a link in the comment box below if you know better). We simply know that a bank survey of Canadian households with incomes of at least 50,000 CAD found that 40 percent had trouble paying their monthly energy bills at least once in 2014...
Read more at http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/comparing-energy-poverty-germany-countries-79480

‘Twist her wrist until she shuts up’




‘Twist her wrist until she shuts up’
By Dan McKay / Journal Staff Writer
Published: Thursday, August 11th, 2016

The inmate lay on the floor sobbing, and Sgt. Eric Allen decided he’d had enough.

“Put her in a wrist lock,” he tells another jail officer at the Metropolitan Detention Center, “and twist her wrist until she shuts up and stops crying.”

It doesn’t work. Almost nothing does. The inmate – a petite woman named Susie Chavez – spends the next 45 minutes shrieking, sobbing and crying out in pain as Allen and other officers escort her to a medical unit.

The crying starts after Chavez is hit with a stun gun to the back. She later endures the wrist lock and inflammatory spray to the face. At one point, she starts banging her head on the ground.

The stomach-churning video, released by the county Wednesday in response to a request by the Journal under the Inspection of Public Records Act, is part of an investigation into Sgt. Allen, who’s been on paid leave since January, county and union officials say....
http://www.abqjournal.com/823915/county-releases-disturbing-video-of-jail-incident.html

A Volcanic Eruption Hid a Critical Climate Signal for Twenty Years

A Volcanic Eruption Hid a Critical Climate Signal for Twenty Years

Maddie Stone


As our planet heats up, the pace of sea level rise is expected to quicken, making it harder for cities like Miami to stay above water. But since 1992, scientists have studied Earth’s mean sea level via satellites, and they’ve watched it rise at a steady 3 millimeters per year—no evidence for acceleration.

Now, after more than twenty years of head-scratching, we finally have an explanation: the Mt. Pinatubo volcanic eruption of 1991. The largest eruption of the late 20th century, Mt. Pinatubo blew its top less than two years before modern sea level record-keeping began. According to research published today in Scientific Reports, the eruption cooled the oceans enough to briefly depress global sea level, masking the expected acceleration in the record so far.

Acceleration could be the difference between two and twenty feet of sea level rise by the century’s end.
“We got a very biased view of sea level rise, based on the happenstance timing of the launch of altimeter satellites,” lead study author John Fasullo of the National Center for Atmospheric Research told Gizmodo.

Accounting for Mt. Pinatubo, Fasullo and his co-authors conclude that sea level rise is already escalating today, and will continue to do so in the future.

There’s a finite amount of water on our planet, but it rearranges itself in all sorts of ways when the climate shifts...
http://gizmodo.com/a-volcanic-eruption-hid-a-critical-climate-signal-for-t-1785081249

What happens when your dire predictions start coming true?

If you’re a climate scientist, what happens when your dire predictions start coming true?
The ongoing anthrax outbreak in Siberia is offering us a preview: What was once considered a future theoretical possibility — a re-animated deadly bacterium emerging from the permafrost — is now a reality.


Throughout July, temperatures in northern Siberia have soared as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) during what’s typically the warmest part of the year. It’s unknown exactly how the disease emerged — possibly via a thawed reindeer carcass or human remains at a crumbling, above-ground cemetery that’s typical of the region. Russia has sent troops trained for biological warfare to help establish a quarantine in what’s become the first anthrax outbreak in the region since 1941.

As my colleague Francie Diep wrote on Tuesday, this is an “apocalyptic-sounding chain of events” and the initial news coverage surely capitalized on that tone. But what’s happening in Siberia — while scary! — will not, by itself, threaten the viability of human civilization. In fact, it was expected.

Scientists have been warning for years that melting permafrost might release ancient pathogens, frozen for millennia or longer in northern soils. Over the last decade or so, bacteria have been discovered alive in Alaskan permafrost at temperatures as low as minus-40 degrees Celsius, and in permafrost layers as old as three million years in Siberia. Although the vast majority of known bacteria are harmless, we don’t yet know what’s buried up there, or how dangerous it might be to humans.

And it’s clear that, for now, weather conditions in Siberia are far outside their normal range. Last month, parts of Siberia near where the anthrax outbreak is occurring were as much as 18 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) warmer than normal, averaged over the entire month. That’s like New York City suddenly adopting the climate of Tucson, Arizona, for the whole month of July. To say the Arctic climate is off the charts this year is an understatement.

“The record-warm Arctic so far this year...
https://psmag.com/for-climate-scientists-the-siberian-anthrax-outbreak-is-a-sign-of-whats-to-come-5b73e88cdf12#.5z6x9oq5r

Coalition Of U.S. States Signed Pact To Keep Exxon Climate Probe Confidential

Coalition Of U.S. States Signed Pact To Keep Exxon Climate Probe Confidential
Besides Exxon, the agreement says other entities could be targeted if states felt they were delaying action to fight climate change.


HOUSTON, Aug 4 (Reuters) - A pact that 15 U.S. states signed to jointly investigate Exxon Mobil Corp for allegedly misleading the public about climate change sought to keep prosecutors’ deliberations confidential and was broadly written so they could probe other fossil fuel companies.

The “Climate Change Coalition Common Interest Agreement” was signed by state attorneys general in May, two months after they held a press conference to say they would go after Exxon, the world’s largest publicly-traded oil and gas company, and possibly other companies.

The signed agreement has not been made public until now, and Reuters reviewed a copy of it on Thursday.

It provides considerably more detail about the prosecutors’ legal strategy than the general outline provided at their announcement in March, which was headlined by former Vice President Al Gore...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/exxon-mobil-climate-change_us_57a2d553e4b0e1aac914ce59?utm_source=Inside+Climate+News&utm_campaign=d2ba41ed30-Today_s_Climate12_10_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_29c928ffb5-d2ba41ed30-327768601
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