Monthly Archives: March 2010

Activists: Obama drill plan is betrayal

"Today’s announcement is unfortunately all too typical of what we have seen so far from President Obama’s promises of change, a year of ‘deliberation,’ and ultimately, adoption of flawed and outdated Bush policies as his own,"

‘Clean energy’ talk not convincing; natural gas a future bridge?

President Barack Obama on Wednesday wrapped himself in green themes and even imagery – including a fighter jet that uses a plant-based fuel – but that wasn’t enough to convince any environmental groups that his plans for offshore drilling were a fair compromise on the path to a clean energy future.

While Republicans criticized the proposed new leases in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic as limited, environmental activists were as vigorously opposed – but for reasons having to do with oil spills and carbon emissions tied to climate change.

For many activists, the sense was one of betrayal.

"Today’s announcement is unfortunately all too typical of what we have seen so far from President Obama’s promises of change, a year of ‘deliberation,’ and ultimately, adoption of flawed and outdated Bush policies as his own," said Brendan Cummings, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, which has made a name for itself by filing endangered species lawsuits.

"Drilling our coasts will doing nothing to lower gas prices or create energy independence," added Michael Brune, who recently took over as director of the Sierra Club. "It will only jeopardize beaches, marine life, and coastal tourist economies, all so the oil industry can make a short-term profit."

Instead, environmental groups said, greater effort should be placed on renewable energy, improving vehicle mileage and making other energy uses, from refrigerators to home heaters, more energy efficient.

‘Clean energy’ pitch
For more than 20 years, drilling was banned in most offshore areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, because of concerns that spills could harm the environment.
The administration has been weighing the pros and cons of offshore drilling since it took office and put the brakes on a Bush-era proposal that called for drilling along the U.S. East Coast and off the coast of California.

The president’s speech at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland was designed to get Republican support for the energy and climate bill languishing in the Senate. But while the oil industry voiced support, Republicans generally rejected the plans.

The Environmental Defense Fund, which has worked with industry on projects to reduce pollution, said it understood that Obama needed to reach out to Republicans "after hearing from key senators that it’s a necessary step to succeed in passing climate and energy legislation in the Senate."

But Steve Cochran, the group’s climate director, added that "now it’s time for the supporters of new drilling and an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to energy policy to step forward and support comprehensive legislation, including a limit on carbon pollution. And the president must provide the leadership and drive to make that happen."

Obama and top aides on Wednesday emphasized a "clean energy" strategy that continues to use oil and coal while also developing less polluting and less carbon-intensive energy sources like solar, wind and natural gas.

"The president knows we cannot drill our way to energy independence," Carol Browner, Obama’s czar for energy and climate issues, told reporters.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, whose agency manages those offshore areas, said the strategy represents "a new direction that will balance both development as well as conservation."

Bigger future for gas?
Natural gas, which contains much less carbon than petroleum and coal, could become part of that balance. Already used to fuel most modern power plants, natural gas could even become a major vehicle energy source, since plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles have to draw their electricity from power plants.

Indeed, the federal government estimates that:

  • Gulf of Mexico waters contain 161 trillion to 207 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, economically recoverable natural gas resources, and 36 billion to 41.5 billion barrels of undiscovered, economically recoverable oil.
  • Atlantic coast waters hold 37 trillion cubic feet of gas and nearly 4 billion barrels of oil.
  • Pacific Coast waters hold 18 trillion cubic feet of gas and 10.5 billion barrels of oil.

To put that in context, the United States imports about 2 billion barrels of oil a year from OPEC nations and is expected to import 2.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from all sources this year, according to the Energy Department.

Obama did not dwell on those numbers in his speech Thursday. But he did tout research into "homegrown fuels" like the mix used for the F/A-18 Super Hornet being tested by the Navy. Its biofuel blend uses the camelina sativa plant – a domestic, renewable, non-food source.

"This Navy fighter jet – called the Green Hornet – will be flown for the first time in just a few weeks, on Earth Day," he said beaming. "If tests go as planned, it will be the first plane ever to fly faster than the speed of sound on a fuel mix that’s half biomass."

Delaware Republicans still fighting “health insurance reform”

[The following was in our morning email.  Many people opposed the "reform" bill, or were indifferent to it, as too much of a giveaway to drug and insurance companies.  I guess these Republicans are really opposed to it as not enough of a giveaway to special interests?  Just think what they would be saying about a real health care reform bill along "single payer" lines.  The Constitutional argument seems intended to take us back to the days when the US Supreme Court was knocking down the anti-Depression measures of the Roosevelt administration.


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Our Turn?

Monday 29 March 2010

by: James Howard Kunstler  |

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Samantha Decker, vidalia_11)

Nations go crazy. It’s terrifying when it happens, especially to a major nation with the ability to project its craziness outward. We look back on the psychotic break of Germany in 1933 and still wonder how the then-best-educated population in Europe could fall under the sway of a sociopathic political program. We behold the carnage and devastation left in the wake of that episode, and decades later you still can do little more than shake your head in bewilderment.

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Alert 680: Don’t let Del. regulators fund incinerator promoters

Alert 680:  Del. regulators give $25,000 contract to incinerator promoters–“Contaminated Air Council”

“We are very happy to have this opportunity to partner with your organization to improve environmental quality in our state”
–letter from David Small, Acting Secretary

Please take action (below)

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[From: Elizabeth Allen]

The following statement was released today by leaders of Physicians for a National Health Program, Their signatures appear below.

As much as we would like to join the celebration of the House’s passage of the health bill last night, in good conscience we cannot.

We take no comfort in seeing aspirin dispensed for the treatment of cancer.
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Evil in a small place–harassment and selective prosecution by New Castle County

Evil in a small place–harassment and selective prosecution by New Castle County
What does this say about Chris Coon’s fitness to be a Senator?

This is about evil.  It could be a lot worse.  It is not about people being dragged out of their homes in the middle of the night and tortured.  It’s not about being locked up in a Delaware prison and murdered through denial of medical care.  One can live with it and I’ve been doing so since about 2001. Continue reading

The Fog of (Class) War: Corporate media and the creation of false consciousness

“One measure of the falseness of what is being peddled can be encapsulated by a single fact: despite our 24/7 news outlets, the rise of the Internet, and the availability of thousands of print publications, year after year international surveys show that Americans are the most poorly informed – or perhaps, most richly misinformed is a more accurate way of putting it – population of any advanced society on earth.”

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Alert 678: Thoughts on environmental work and politics in Delaware….

Markell emulates Reagan?
Changes coming to Green Delaware
Environmental victories as tough as ever, if not more so.
Coons ramps up harassment of Green Delaware


I’ve always thought it was part of Green Delaware’s task to hold up a mirror to Delaware from time to time, in a way that goes beyond the scope of particular environmental controversies.

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