Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin on Environment and Energy

Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK), right, is a hunter, fisherwoman, staunch religious conservative, wife, mother of five, and opposes abortion. She is quite a woman and now she is Senator John McCain's pick for vice president. Governor Palin is pretty standard for a Republican on environmental and energy issues. She was the Ethics Commissioner of the Alaska Gas and Oil Conservation Commission from 2003 to 2004. Palin passed into law a signature bill, called the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, which dictates the way that the state accepted bids for its North Slope natural gas reserves.

Her husband is a commercial fisherman, a seasonal oil production operator for BP on Alaska's North Slope and a member of the United Steelworkers Union. Yet this has not kept her from confronting Exxon Mobil, BP and ConocoPhillips. She pushed new oil taxes through the Alaska Legislature in 2006, which was strongly opposed by Exxon Mobil, BP PLC and ConocoPhillips. The new tax brought in an estimated $6 billion pushin Alaska's treasury to a surplus estimated at $9 billion. Palin then passed an initiative that gave each Alaskan $1,200 to help them cope with high energy costs.

She's does not think humans are the cause of climate change but she will adjust this to match Senator McCain's leadership in Congress in promoting global warming mitigation. She has given the global warming serious consideration though by setting up an executive branch global waming office. On September 14, 2007, she signed Administrative Order 238, establishing the Climate Change Sub-Cabinet. The sub-cabinet is working to consolidate the state's knowledge about climate change in order to recommend policies and measures to guide the state's mitigation and adaptation efforts. She supports nuclear power, which makes her good on the global warming issue from a technological standpoint. There are no nuclear plants in Alaska, but McCain has the largest nuclear plant in the United States in Arizona (Palo Verde).

Some of Governor Palin's other positions:

Palin is a proponent of a natural gas pipeline from Alaska's North Slope.

Palin supports mining in Bristol, which may disrupt salmon, bears, and caribou.

Advocate for more drilling — off Alaska coast and off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts

Sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species

Wants to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling

Palin recently proposed eliminating Alaska's gas tax

Opposes a national windfall profits tax on oil companies.

Said 'NO' to the bridge to nowhere proposed for Alaska.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Will Congressman Ruppersburger Rescue Turner's Station

AAEA and local activists are hoping that Congressman Dutch Ruppersburger (D-MD), left, and either Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) or Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) will introduce legislation during the abbreviated September session that will provide rescue and relief for the polluted Baltimore community of Turner's Station. We are calling for an expensing tax amendment on the 'hybrid legislation' that would provide tax incentives for some local companies to purchase community residences.

The Turner's Station Expensing Admendment should be added to the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 (H.R. 6049),which amends the Internal Revenue Code to provide tax incentives for energy production and conservation, to extend expiring tax provisions, and to extend tax benefits to individual and business taxpayers. Amendment to Energy Tax bill:
Allow AES Corporation and Serverstal to expense the purchase of homes and buyout of renters in Turner Station, Baltimore Country, Maryland. Expensing amounts will equal $200,000 for renters, $350,000 for homeowners and $500,000 for apartment building owners owning more than two units. There are approximately 1,000 residences in Turner Station.
Background:

The community exists in the middle of a perfect storm of pollution sources. Turner Station is surrounded by a steel production plant, landfill, electric utility plant and the high power lines run through the community, soil and groundwater chromium contamination, Interstate Highway 695 yards away and nearby Patapsco River dredge spoil. Turner Station has to be the most polluted neighborhood in the United States.

Norris McDonald Statement to FERC

"AAEA Testifies at FERC Hearing On Baltimore LNG Proposal"

"AAEA Promotes Expensing As Environmental Justice Tool"

"Turner Station: The Most Polluted Community on Earth?"

Current and Proposed Facilities Surrounding Turner Station

AES has a proposal to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility on the front end of the Severstal site at Sparrows Point. The facility would be east of Turner's station.

Riverside Power Plant. Constellation Energy owns the 251 megawatt plant located south of Turner Station. The high power lines that run out of the plant form the northern border of Turner Station. According to the Riverside Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reportable releases in 2002 included 522,000 gallons of number 2 fuel oil (diesel fuel), 1,200,000 gallons of keresene, and 485,000 MCF (million cubic feet) of natural gas. The TRI reportable releases for 2003 were 752,000 gallons of number 2 fuel oil, 240,000 gallons of keresene, and 125,000 MCF of natural gas. The plant is south of Turner's station.

Honeywell International. Allied Chemical Company (Allied Signal) produced pesticides at its plant west of Turner Station and large areas around the facility are contaminated with chromium and arsenic. Honeywell International merged with Allied in 1999 and is now responsible for cleanup of the site. The contamination is west of Turner's Station.

Severstal, Russia's largest steelmaker, run by billionaire Alexei Mordashov, purchased and is currently operating the Sparrows Point steel mill southeast of Baltimore for $810 million, fulfilling an antitrust mandate that Arcelor Mittal divest itself of the Mittal Steel plant. The plant is east of Turner's Station.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Amory Lovins Disses and Dismisses African American Environmentalist Association

Physicist Amory B. Lovins, right, is Cofounder, Chairman, and Chief Scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute and he has issued a new report entitled, "The Nuclear Illusion," which concludes that:

"The case for nuclear power to protect the climate and enhance security is purely rhetorical and cannot withstand analytic scrutiny. The supposed nuclear revival is a carefully manufactured illusion that seeks to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, yet it cannot actually occur in a market economy, as many energy-industry leaders privately acknowledge."

Lovins mentions four people who support nuclear power and refutes their positions. He states that no green groups share their view and then Lovins dismisses AAEA in the first footnote in the report by stating:

"No environmental group of any consequence—only industry front groups—shares their views."

Well AAEA is NOT an industry front group. We have been around for 23 years and have a rich history of environmental work. The quote is aimed directly at us because we are the only environmental group in the United States that supports nuclear power. He at least recognizes the four other people who support nuclear power, but these individuals, like Lovins, ignore AAEA's nuclear power work too.

It is not unusual that Lovins would ignore us because the environmental movement is one of the most segregated and racist sectors of American society. AAEA has also documented the elite racism of the environmental movement. So we are not surprised by Lovins rendering us invisible. Clearly, many self-worshipping scientists emulate the example of James Watson and they are a dime a dozen. Maybe it is this feeling of superiority that explains why most environmental groups do not hire blacks in policy positions or hire just one to cover their general discrimination.

Of course, Mr. Lovins must not think much of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson or the Congressional Black Caucus either. She is including us on her Science and Technology Braintrust at the CBC's annual conference this year. Lovins must think that Congresswoman Johnson has bad judgment. Moreover, AAEA's president organized the first energy forum in 1981 for the CBC for the late Congressman Mickey Leland. We could go on with our accomplishments but it will not matter to people like Lovins. We clearly are of no consequence to him and his ilk, but we provide a very valuable service to society in general and the African American community, which is excluded and ignored by the environmental movement. It is accurate to say that we are 'little known,' but saying we are of 'no consequence' appears to us to be an expression of one's opinion about the Black community.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hybrid Energy Bill Will Include Offshore Drilling & Green Jobs

When Congress returns after labor day for a hyper three week session, energy legislation will be on the front burner. Although they could not pass a bill before the August recess, and some Republicans even stayed in town calling for members to return to pass a bill, Congress will probably merge the offshore oil drilling and green jobs components of the two bills described below that failed to pass.

A bipartisan group of 10 senators ("Gang of Ten") are cosponsoring New Energy Reform Act of 2008 in hopes of breaking the Senate deadlock on energy legislation. The legislation includes limited offshore drilling with increased investment in new energy technologies. A portion of the funding for renewables would come from taking back tax breaks from the oil industry. The bill also sets a goal of fueling 85 percent of the country's automobiles with alternatives to oil within 20 years. (More)

The Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 (H.R. 6049) amends the Internal Revenue Code to provide tax incentives for energy production and conservation, to extend expiring tax provisions, and to extend tax benefits to individual and business taxpayers. The bill was sponsored by House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel and was passed by the House on May 21, 2008, but failed cloture votes in the Senate on June 10 and June 17. (More)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

AAEA on Eddie Bernice Johnson Science & Technology Braintrust

On September 26th, Congresswoman Johnson (D-TX), a long-time member of the House Science Committee, will host the Science and Technology Braintrust. The Braintrust is a panel discussion that is part of a larger event called the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Annual Legislative Conference. This year's Braintrust will focus on the technology of energy and environmental conservation. We will discuss sustainability from the academic-, corporate-, and federal perspectives as well as the education and skills needed for students of color to pursue careers in these areas.

Event: Science & Technology Braintrust: How Science is Saving the Environment. A panel discussion on novel efforts to promote sustainability, and the science behind the efforts.
Date: Friday, September 26, 2008, from 9-noon
Place: Washington, D.C. Convention Center, Room 149-A
Audience: Approximately 100. Many will be school children from the D.C. area, and there will also be federal agency officials, nonprofit leaders, and other policy leaders.

Panelists:

- Sheryl Lee Ralph - Actress and education advocate
- Norris McDonald - President, African American Environmentalist Association
- Miquela Craytor - Executive Director, Sustainable South Bronx
- Miranda Anderson - Director of Corporate Affairs for Sustainability, Wal-Mart
- Bob Langert - Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, McDonald's
- Donald Foley - Executive Director, Progressive Automotive XPRIZE
- DC-area schools

Moderator:
- Cynné Simpson - Anchor, ABC7/WJLA-TV

Congressman James Clyburn Sponsors Nuclear Power Conference

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) is sponsoring a nuclear power conference entitled, "Securing Our Future: The Nuclear Alternative," in Charleston, South Carolina from August 21-23, 2008. Congressman Clyburn supports nuclear power and half of South Carolina's electricity is generated by fission. The conference will address the following questions about nuclear power:

Is nuclear energy a viable, cost-effective alternative to other generation methods?

Is it safe and reliable?

Will environmental justice concerns be addressed when planning, building and operating nuclear energy facilities?

Under what circumstances will American embrace nuclear energy as an acceptable alternative to existing generation methods?

Assuming a new generation of nuclear powered generating stations are built, does America have a sufficiently educated and trained workforce to build, operate and maintain such facilities in a safe, reliable fashion?

The conference document states that:
Until these questions are answered to the satisfaction of citizens, public and private interest groups, corporation, policy-makers and elected officials, the future of nuclear powered generating stations is unclear
The South Carolina Congressional delegation along with the governor and mayor the city have been invited to provide opening remarks. Panels include: The Nuclear Regulatory Process as a Function of Government, A Utility Industry Perspective on the Nuclear Regulatory Process, A Wall Street Perspective on the Financial Realities of Nuclear Energy, Disposal, Transportation and Storage of Radioactive Waste Material, 21st Century Technology and the Nuclear Energy Industry, The Community/Citizen Perspective on Nuclear Energy, Workforce Development for the Nuclear Energy Industry, and Energy and the Election.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

National Clean Energy Summit

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Center for American Progress Action Fund and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) organized and held the National Clean Energy Summit this week at the Cox Pavilion at UNLV. The conference with politicians and energy experts is pushing for a future without a dependence on oil. Reid calls Nevada "the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy," and it has 57 operating renewable energy projects, which heat and cool 200,000 homes.

Texas oilman-turned-windpower advocate T. Boone Pickens, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, Utah's Republican Gov. John Huntsman, and former President Bill Clinton, among others, spoke at the conference. Panel discussions included green jobs creation, improving efficiency for businesses, and government's role in encouraging a transition from fossil fuels.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Large Solar Plant Project Planned for California

Two companies are planning to cover 12.5 square miles of central California with solar panels, which will generate about 800 megawatts of power, roughly equal to the size of a large coal-burning power plant or a small nuclear plant. A megawatt is enough power to run a large Wal-Mart store or 1,000 homes.

The power will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric, which is under a state mandate to get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010. Though the California installations will generate 800 megawatts, they will operate for about a third of the time of a coal or nuclear plant and thus will produce about a third as much total electricity. It is also not dedicated power and there will always have to be backup power available because of cloudy days. And of course no power is produced at night.

OptiSolar will install 550 megawatts in San Luis Obispo County. The SunPower Corporation will build about 250 megawatts at a different location in the same county. The companies are forbidden by contract terms to talk about price.

The largest photovoltaic installation in the United States, 14 megawatts, is at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, using SunPower panels. Spain has a 23-megawatt plant, and Germany is building one of 40 megawatts. A recently built plant that uses mirrors to concentrate sunlight, called Nevada Solar One, can produce 64 megawatts of power. The 12.5 square miles of the project represents about one-fifth the size of Washington, D.C. (The New York Times 8/15/08)

Clean Skies Group Running Full Page Ads Too

The American Clean Skies Foundation is running full page ads in major newspapers promoting natural gas. The foundation also includes their website: CleanSkies.org and their television show: CleanSkiesTV (part of the American Clean Skies Network). Must be nice. Those ads can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for each one. Sure wish we could run ads like that promoting our agenda. We support their recommendation by the way.

The ad shows a sign of gasoline prices and shows that natural gas prices would be half the price of petroleum based fuel. The ad states that Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is an EPA-certified alternative fuel that can use the natural gas lines from your home to refuel. It shows the Honda Civic GX natural gas fueled vehicle. It notes that we spend $1.7 billion a day on imported oil and products. It ends by stating that CNG is clean, abundant, afrordable, american.

Are they working with T. Boone Pickens or simply supplementing his effort? Because part of Picken's strategy is to 'back out' natural gas use at electricity power plants with wind turbines and utilize the 'avoided' natural gas in transportation vehicles.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

SmartBike DC: Rent-A-Bike Comes to the Nation's Capital

SmartBike DC is renting 120 bikes at 9 self-service racks in downtown Washington, DC, that includes Gallery Place, Shaw, Logan Circle, Farragut Square, Foggy Bottom, Reeves Center, Dupont Circle, Metro Center and Judiciary Square metrorail stations. The annual fee is $40 to get a membership card to rent a three-speed red bike for three hour intervals. Only those with a membership card can rent bikes.

SmartBike members receive by mail the membership card, a safe-cycling guide, a pocket manual outlining the District's cycling laws and a bicycling map of the city. Riders have to provide their own locks and helmets and the replacement fee for a stolen or damaged bike is around $550. The District's program will be maintained by Clear Channel Outdoor and is part of a 20-year bus shelter contract.

Monday, August 04, 2008

AAEA and The Anthrax Incident in Washington, DC

It appears that suicide victim Bruce E. Ivins was behind the anthrax attack on Washington, D.C's main post office. It is worth revisiting the 2001 situation because, although it is not being reported now, the postal workers at Brentwood felt abused by the reactions of the responsible policy decision-makers at the time. Most of the postal workers at Brentwood are African American.

They felt that the response to their anthrax contamination was handled differently from the response at the Hart Senate Office Building. Brentwood remained open after anthrax was discovered and the Hart Building was immediately evacuated and closed after an anthrax letter was found in Senator Tom Daschle's office. Brentwood was later closed and employees worked out of a building nearby.

Bruce Ivins, 62, is being described in the press as the prime suspect in the anthrax attacks. He was a biological-weapons specialist at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at the Fort Detrick lab in Frederick, Maryland. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Ph.D. in microbiology. He was described by his brother as being an egotist who thought he was omnipotent and "like a god." This idiot god evidently murdered Thomas Morris, Joseph Curseen and three other people with anthrax.

AAEA organized a rally to support the plight of the postal workers at the Brentwood postal facility, now known as the Joseph Curseen, Jr. and Thomas Morris, Jr. Processing & Distribution Center. The rally was held on October 30, 2001 in front of the closed Brentwood building to show support for the postal workers. The rally was cosponsored by EPA Victims Against Racial Discrimination, Friends of the Earth, Gray Panthers, Urban Protectors, EPA-Nat'l Treasury Employee’s Union, Chapter 280, Women Like Us (Brenda Richardson), Donald Temple Law Offices, and the DC Statehood Green Party. The rally was covered by numerous news outlets.

Photo: AAEA President Norris McDonald: By Joe Marquette, AP

MORE

Obama Announces New Energy Plan

Presidential candidate Barack Obama (D-Il) announced his new energy plan in Lansing, Michigan today and it will:

Provide short‐term relief to American families facing pain at the pump by providing an "emergency energy rebate" that would give individual citizens $500 and families $1,000 to help them cope with high gas prices -- paid for by a "windfall profits tax" on oil companies.

Help create five million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future.

Within 10 years save more oil than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela combined.

Put 1 million Plug‐In Hybrid cars –cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon –on the road by 2015, cars that we will work to make sure are built here in America.

Ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.

Implement an economy‐wide cap‐and‐trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

The New Energy Reform Act of 2008 (New ERA)

A bipartisan group of 10 senators are cosponsoring New Energy Reform Act of 2008 in hopes of breaking the Senate deadlock on energy legislation. The legislation, which could be considered when Congress returns in September, includes limited offshore drilling with increased investment in new energy technologies. A portion of the finding for renewables would come from taking back tax breaks from the oil industry. The bill also sets a goal of fueling 85 percent of the country's automobiles with alternatives to oil within 20 years.

The group, calling itself the "Gang of 10," is led by Senator Kent Conrad and includes five Democrats and five Republicans: Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), and John Thune (R-S.D.). The goal of the bill is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.