Energy

California Drought Legislation Must Target Agribusiness and Big Oil

March 23, 2015 by Source

By Dan Bacher

Photo of person drinking glass of water that has been contaminated by Big Oil's toxic wasteGovernor Jerry Brown and lawmakers touted the introduction of drought legislation in the Legislature on March 19, while leaders of environmental and corporate watchdog groups urged Brown to put real limits on the “most egregious” water users – corporate agribusiness and big oil companies – to really address the drought.

Brown joined Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, and Republican Leaders Senator Bob Huff and Assemblymember Kristin to unveil legislation that they claimed will “help local communities cope with the ongoing, devastating drought.”

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Oil Trains: Death and Destruction on the Rails

March 4, 2015 by John Lawrence

Department of Transportation Predicts Oil Train Derailments Will Become Increasingly Common

train derailmentBy John Lawrence

On Monday Feb 16, 2015 an oil train carrying millions of pounds of crude oil derailed in Boomer, West Virginia. The accident was the latest in a spate of fiery derailments in Canada and the U.S. as vast quantities of oil are being moved across these nations through sensitive environments and large population centers.

A couple days earlier on Feb. 14, there was a crude oil train derailment south of Timmins, Ontario. It took almost a week in subzero temperatures for the fires to burn out. Both the West Virginia accident and the oil train derailment and fire in Ontario involved recently built tank cars that were supposed to be an improvement over a decades-old model in wide use that has proven susceptible to spills, fires and explosions – the Dot-111.

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Nuclear Shutdown News for February 2015

February 25, 2015 by Michael Steinberg

No nukesBy Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear industry, and the people working for better energy alternatives.

As I was gathering information for this issue, one word kept popping up: Entergy.

Entergy is a gigantic energy corporation whose highrise headquarters renders the skyline of downtown New Orleans. Among its holdings are 11 nuclear power reactors, making it the nation’s second largest nuclear power company, after Chicago’s Exelon.

At the turn pf the century Entergy went on a nuke plant spending spree, buying up a half dozen aging reactors at bargain basement prices, as nuke plants go.

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Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 3

February 17, 2015 by John Lawrence
Renewable Solutions Are Here Now and Technically Feasible Today
By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

6a00d8341cca9453ef01b7c74c9f94970bIt is now clear, at least from a technical perspective, that we could eliminate fossil fuels over a period of 20 to 40 years. That’s if we went full steam ahead without being blocked by fossil fuel corporations, the politicians beholden to them and various other vested interests who stand to profit from the status quo.

In 2009 Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University and Mark Delucchi, a research scientist at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, came up with a detailed, groundbreaking road map for just how this could be accomplished.

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How To Save $12,000 a Year – Hint: Drive Less.

February 12, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for How To Save $12,000 a Year – Hint: Drive Less.

By John Anderson

Our family of four is a single-car household. We’ve lived in San Diego since Fall 2009 (5.5 years as of this writing) and have selected our residences in San Diego where we live based on where we work. We’re currently on our third neighborhood. Having a short commute and a variety of transport options is important to us for reasons of both time and money. Today we use bicycles as our primary method of transport, supplemented by our car, bus, Car2Go, and Uber.

Our current car is a 2002 Ford Focus station wagon which we purchased in March 2012. We bought it with 72,700 miles and today, about three years late it has 88,130. 15,430 miles over three years yields an average of 5,143 miles per year. We’ve taken a few road trips to Eureka and Phoenix but mostly have used the car for beach trips and some errands or airport pickups.

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San Diego Group Receives Energy Dept. Grant to Expand Solar Power to Condos and Apartments

February 11, 2015 by John Lawrence

solar 1By John Lawrence

Everywhere in San Diego you see solar panels being installed atop single family homes and large businesses. But hardly anywhere do you see them going in on the large number of local apartment buildings and condos.

Now the Department of Energy SunShot initiative has made a $712,000 grant to San Diego’s Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) to study the reasons and do a pilot project to implement solar in such projects.

Condos and apartment buildings represent a huge amount of rooftop real estate which could be gathering in the sun’s rays to provide energy to the occupants within.

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Navy Pledges to Restore Point Loma Shoreline After Removing Fuel Pipeline from La Playa Trail

January 30, 2015 by Source
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By Tony de Garate

Trenches and jackhammers could be coming to Rosecrans Street by year’s end to relocate several miles of an aging Navy fuel line, according to the commanding officer of Naval Base Point Loma (NBPL).

It’s a two-year project to replace the first five miles of a 17.3-mile pipeline that carries diesel and jet fuel from Point Loma to Miramar, said Capt. Howard Warner, who assumed command for a three-year term last August.

Warner earlier this month addressed two local groups — the Peninsula Community Planning Board and Midway Community Planning Group — in an attempt to assure citizens that the $26 million project will cause inconvenience but won’t prevent residents and businesses from using the Peninsula’s most congested and well-traveled artery.

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Extreme Weather Watch: 2014 Hottest Year on Record

January 21, 2015 by John Lawrence

Extreme Weather WatchBy John Lawrence

It’s official: NOAA and NASA have confirmed that 2014 was the hottest year on record. Despite the fact of Arctic cold winters on the US east coast, the average earth surface temperature was the hottest on record. Those cold temperatures were more than made up for elsewhere.

The fact that the three hottest years on record are 2014, 2010 and 2005 points in the direction that climate change is indeed a reality, a reality that is only getting worse as time goes on. The 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1997, …

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Not So Happy New Year: Obama Pushing Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2015

January 5, 2015 by Jim Miller

TPP_finalBy Jim Miller

Last week, I wrote about Project Censored’s Top 25 most underreported stories, one of which was “Wikileaks Revelations on Trans-Pacific Partnership Ignored by Corporate Media.”

Coming in at number three on their list, Project Censored notes that what is important about this story is that :

Eight hundred million people, and one-third of all world trade, stand to be affected by the treaty—and yet only three people from each member nation have access to the entire document. Meanwhile, six hundred “corporate advisors,” representing big oil, pharmaceutical, and entertainment companies, are involved in the writing and negotiations of the treaty.

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Like the Low Gas Prices? They Could Be Even Lower in 2015

January 2, 2015 by Source

oilpricedeclineBy Carl Gibson / Reader Supported News

Oil prices are currently down by 40 percent from where they were in June, and the economies of oil-exporting countries like Russia and Venezuela are tanking. Coincidence? A simple case of more supply than demand? Cunning moves in a global chess game between a desperate empire and its rivals?

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New York State Bans Fracking – Is California Next?

December 30, 2014 by John Lawrence

Fracking CaliforniaBy John Lawrence

In a huge victory for the environmental movement, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has banned fracking. I guess President Obama is not the only one that can get things accomplished by executive order. Experts have made analyses that identified contamination threats to water, soil and air, the absence of reliable health studies or proof that drillers can protect the public, as well as diminishing economic prospects. All good reasons for the public to demand a fracking ban.

fracking calif mapFracking is also being delivered a death knell by market forces. Since it costs more to access oil by fracking than it does by conventionsl drilling, if the price per barrel falls below a certain point, fracking becomes uneconomical. Lo and behold, thanks to the Saudis who have been keeping production up, the cost per barrel has fallen to around $60. It has to be higher than $80. for fracking to be profitable.

Hooray and Halleluja! Who would have thought that market forces, the Saudis and the environmental movement would all have combined with remarkable synergy to put an end to fracking?

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Nuclear Shutdown News, December 2014

December 19, 2014 by Michael Steinberg
Thumbnail image for Nuclear Shutdown News, December 2014

by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear power industry. As nuclear power reactors approach or surpass their planned operating life of 40 years, they have become less and less reliable and more and more threatening. What to do about this? A complete and immediate shut down of them all! NO NUKES!

Here’s our December report.

On December 3 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that central Missouri’s 30 year old Callaway nuclear reactor had experienced a sudden unplanned shutdown. As the Dispatch-Post stated,“Power in the [nuclear] core went from 100% to 0” right away.

The 1200 megawatt Calloway nuke plant supplies 20% of the electricity produced by its owner and operator, Amergen—when it’s at full power.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission commented, “No safety relief valves opened that would have exposed the [nuclear] core to the outside.” This means the nuclear fuel in the reactor supposedly didn’t release any of its radiation into the environment because of the accident.

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Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 2

December 12, 2014 by John Lawrence

earthonfireBy Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Part 1 can be found here

We are lucky to have advanced to a stage that scientists can determine the relationship between the rate of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere, the absolute value in tons of CO2 already in and projected to be in the atmosphere, the rate of increase of CO2 emissions and the relationship between amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface temperatures.

If we didn’t have this science, we might go right ahead destroying the earth’s environment to the point of extinction of human life without even understanding what was happening to us.

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Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe

December 11, 2014 by John Lawrence

By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Part 1 of a Multi-Part Series

Introduction

climate x johnA facile denial of reality sits in the DNA of human nature – and climate change is no exception. The inbred fantasy-culture of endless growth, technology, and a throwaway consumeristic lifestyle fueled by exploiting pollutive fossil fuels has reinforced the illusion that we can do so without destroying the environment and even life itself.

The threat to human life and the planet seems to need to be truly imminent before we humans can change our course. By then, however, it will be too late …

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Stand with Indigenous Peoples, Stop the Pipelines

November 17, 2014 by Source

As so often happens, Native Americans are leading the fight to save the world.

Moccasins on the Ground workshop where participants are trained in the skills, tactics, and techniques of nonviolent direct action.By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

While half of the world’s species are disappearing, while the remaining 48 hunter/gatherer societies are literally fighting for their survival, while 32 million acres of rainforest are cut down a year, and while three hundred tons of topsoil are lost a minute, we are again at war with those who would destroy the planet.

There have been many wars fought on behalf of our life-giving land in North America. The overwhelming majority of those killed in defense of the land have come from peoples like the Sioux, the Cheyenne, the Nez Perce, the Sauk, and the Apache. Native Americans have long stood in the way of this destructive culture.

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What’s Not to Like? Gas Prices Down, Solar Energy Production Up

November 5, 2014 by John Lawrence

Wikimedia photo circa 2006

By John Lawrence

Gas prices have dropped below $4.00 a gallon for the first time in several years.

Every one-cent drop in gas prices means a $1 billion annual decline in energy spending by Americans. Consumers can use the savings to eat out more often, buy more goods or pay down debt. That’s good for US motorists and consumers, but that’s not the whole story.

Part of the story has to do with the fact that …

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Massive Dumping of Fracking Wastewater into Aquifers Shows Big Oil’s Power in California

November 4, 2014 by Source

california-fracked-315x288By Dan Bacher

As the oil industry spent record amounts on lobbying in Sacramento and made record profits, documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity reveal that almost 3 billion gallons of oil industry wastewater were illegally dumped into Central California aquifers that supply drinking water and irrigation water for farms.

The Center said the wastewater entered the aquifers through at least nine injection disposal wells used by the oil industry to dispose of waste contaminated with fracking (hydraulic fracturing) fluids and other pollutants.

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One of the More Stranger Things that Happened During Tuesday’s Crazy Storm

September 18, 2014 by Staff
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Check this out – this has got to be one of the most strangest things that occurred during Tuesday’s crazy storm: burning palm trees in Pacific Beach – hit by lightning.

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Scientists Find ‘Direct Link’ Between Earthquakes and Process Used for Oil and Gas Drilling

September 18, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for Scientists Find ‘Direct Link’ Between Earthquakes and Process Used for Oil and Gas Drilling

By Emily Atkin / Climate Progress – News Investigation / Nation of Change / Sept. 17, 2014

The controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing is “directly linked” to the increase of earthquakes throughout the U.S. And the likelihood of these quakes getting stronger is in our future.

A team of scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey have found evidence “directly linking” the uptick in Colorado and New Mexico earthquakes since 2001 to wastewater injection, a process widely used in the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and conventional drilling.

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Community Energy in San Diego Threatened by “Poisoned Chalice” Electric Rate Fix

September 15, 2014 by Source

By Jay Powell

This – below – was one of six parting observations offered by Public Utilities Commissioner Mark Ferron when he resigned from the PUC due to serious health issues in January of this year:

poisoned chalice “… with the passage of AB 327, the thorny issue of Net Energy Metering and rate design has been given over to the CPUC. … recognize this is a poisoned chalice: the Commission will come under intense pressure to use this authority to protect the interest of the utilities over those of consumers and potential self-generators, all in the name of addressing exaggerated concerns about grid stability, cost and fairness.

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How OBGO brought back the OB Rag and the “California Energy Crisis”

June 10, 2014 by Marc Snelling

SDG&E customer burning bill - OB Rag July 1975

OB Group Brought Activism Back to the Streets of Ocean Beach

The original OB Rag published from 1970-1975. Twenty five years after the last OB Rag newspapers were circulated on the streets of Ocean Beach, OBGO launched an effort to bring the stories back into the digital realm.

The Ocean Beach Grassroots Organization (OBGO) was a group formed by local activists existing from 2000-2005. Through the group’s website OBGO.org the first story republished was in August of 2000. ‘SDG&E Wants 20% More’ was the title of the article republished from the Volume 5 Number 6 issue of the Rag of July 1975.

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San Diegans Called on Obama to Reject Keystone Pipeline During La Jolla Visit

May 9, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for San Diegans Called on Obama to Reject Keystone Pipeline During La Jolla Visit

Rally along Torrey Pines Road with 50’ Keystone Pipeline Banner, signs, chants

From SanDiego350

On Thursday, May 8, 2014, over 100 San Diegans gathered along Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla to call on President Obama, who was in the neighborhood for a fundraiser, to reject a permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. The “KXL”, which would carry dirty tar sands oil from Canada to Texas for refining and export, has been called “game over” for the climate by the nation’s foremost climatologist, Dr. James Hansen.

Participants held large signs, including a 50-foot cardboard depiction of the Keystone Pipeline with the words “Stop the Keystone Pipeline. Fight climate change” in huge letters on it, and a large banner with a quote from the President that participants want to see him keep:

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”

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Fukushima Meltdown – US Sailors Sue Japanese Electrical Company

April 14, 2014 by Source

050629-N-5060B-006By Kathleen Gilberd

Three years ago, a massive earthquake led to a triple melt-down and explosions at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In the wake of the disaster, the US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan was sent to Honshu Island, where the reactor is located, to render aid as part of Operation Tomadachi (Friendship). With the ship as close as a mile off shore, sailors worked 18-hour days to rescue civilians in the radiation area.

Now sailors from the Ronald Reagan have filed a one billion dollar class action suit against the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), owner of the nuclear plant, alleging that they were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, far in excess of what TEPCO told the Navy to expect. There are over 100 plaintiffs in the class action, which was filed in San Diego on February 6

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Extreme Weather Watch: March 2014

April 3, 2014 by Source

Winter Weather Made a $55 Billion Hit to US Economy

By John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

weather5The winter of 2014 broke records and budgets. NBC News reported that the economy took a $55 billion hit because of the extreme winter weather. There was $5.5 billion in damage to homes, businesses, agriculture and infrastructure.

Cities had additional costs for salt for roads and asphalt for potholes. There were more than 30,000 potholes in Toledo, OH alone. The companies that supply salt and asphalt are making a fortune. This winter also saw 79.3 inches of snow falling in Chicago where there were 23 days below zero.

In California drought covers 99.8% of the state. The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which typically holds at least half of all the water that will flow to the state’s farms and cities each year, is at just one-fourth of its normal level.

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San Diego Environmentalists Chartering Buses for Sacramento March 15th Anti-Fracking Protest

March 14, 2014 by Source

no frackingEnvironmental groups are mobilizing statewide for a big rally on March 15th in Sacramento to urge Governor Brown for a moratorium on fracking in California.

Organizers expect the March 15th event to be the largest mobilization against fracking ever seen.More than one hundred fifty environmental organizations will be represented at “Californians Against Fracking.”

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Not one drop of water for fracking in California!

February 26, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for Not one drop of water for fracking in California!

by Dan Bacher / Daily Kos

Apparently responding to recent articles written by Adam Scow of Food and Water Watch and others about the insanity of using water for fracking during an unprecedented drought, the oil industry has fired back with its standard response claiming that the oil industry uses insignificant amounts of water for fracking and is going out of its way to conserve and recycle the water it uses.

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Is the Drought Over in Ocean Beach?

February 26, 2014 by Judi Curry
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By Judi Curry

So, is the drought over in OB? If you have driven down Sunset Cliffs Boulevard in the past three months you would sure think so. I stopped driving down this street months ago when there was construction going on and I had to take detours.

Guess what? There is still construction going on and the street is like a floating river.

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Point Loma Kelp Forest to Be Tested for Radiation from Fukushima

February 3, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for Point Loma Kelp Forest to Be Tested for Radiation from Fukushima

The U-T San Diego is running an interesting story about locals testing the kelp off Point Loma and Ocean Beach for signs of radiation from Japan’s Fukushima disaster of 2011.

Local Matt Edwards and students from San Diego State University will test Point Loma’s kelp forest – which reaches 5 miles out – and includes the shores off Ocean Beach – for traces of radioactive material from the earthquake-generated tsunami damaged nuclear power plant. He is one of about 50 such scientists who will be testing kelp up and down the West Coast.

The fear is that the radioisotopes cesium-134 and cesium-137 may have gotten picked up by Pacific Ocean currents that possibly would result in trace amounts to the California coast in 2014. Edwards told the U-T:

“We don’t know if we’re going to find a signal of the radiation. And I personally don’t believe it’ll represent a health threat if there is one. But it’s worth asking whether there’s a reason to be concerned about a disaster that occurred on the other side of the planet some time ago.”

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Nuclear Power Plant Shutdowns in 2013

January 15, 2014 by Michael Steinberg
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Announcements of US nuclear power plant permanent shutdowns in 2013 came seemingly in a flurry.

Crystal River in Florida on February 13. Kewaunee in Wisconsin on May 4. San Onofre in Southern California on June 13. And Vermont Yankee in the Green Mountain State on August 27.

Together this comprises five nuclear reactors with an electrical generating capacity of nearly 4300 Megawatts.

Yet the lights haven’t gone out, or even dimmed, in any of the communities these plants served.

The causes of these nuclear plant closures are multiple. Ultimately, however, they all add up to an industry in decline, desperate to squeeze as much profit as it can out of aging, increasingly

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Global Warming: How to Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit – Part 2

January 10, 2014 by Source

Offshore Wind TurbineBy John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

This series of articles is based on an excellent book by Tom Rand: “Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit- 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World.” In Part 1 we dealt with all the possibilities for solar power generation. In this article we will consider wind. For centuries wind powered ships and windmills drew water out of the ground. We are now in a position to reconnect with this form of energy and convert it into electricity. How it works is very simple: As the wind blows, enough force is created to spin a turbine which in turn generates electrical energy. These days a single wind turbine can power a decent sized town.

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