‘The Plan Is to Let Us Die,’ Coastal Parish President Says

Near the end of the article, it states that BP will spend $500 million over the next 10 years to determine the impact of the spill on the environment, along with the environmental impact of the toxic oil dispersant they are using. It sounds like they’re using Louisiana as a lab to do experiments on.

From CourthouseNews.com:

Almost 70 miles of Louisiana coast are soaked with oil. That’s more land than the seashores of Maryland and Delaware combined, Gov. Bobby Jindal said Monday after Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano were flown over the devastated coast. Napolitano said the federal government would “disperse it, boom it, burn it,” to keep more oil from coming ashore. But St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro had a different idea. “I would be betting the plan is to let us die,” Taffaro said.

Federal officials delivered messages similar to Napolitano’s, but none wanted to address an incident that occurred last weekend, when BP and the Coast Guard abandoned 44 boats loaded with booms on Louisiana’s shores as thick black oil flooded into the marshlands.

BP was nowhere in sight as the oil inundated the fragile marshes. And the oil company has provided little explanation about what made it jump ship rather fight the oil as it hit land.

BP has continued to spray two chemical dispersants into the Gulf despite an order by the Environmental Protection Agency to end the spraying on Sunday night. The chemical dispersants, made by Corexit, are banned in BP’s homeland, the United Kingdom, because of their toxicity.

Ever since the April 20 explosion of the BP oil rig the Deepwater Horizon, oil has spewed unchecked from a broken well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. At least 6 million gallons of crude have already gushed into the Gulf, though the estimates vary widely. Some experts have said that every week the spill has dumped more than the 11 million gallons the Exxon Valdez released off the Alaskan coast in 1989, in what was formerly the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

Far below Louisiana’s fragile wetlands are reserves of crude oil and other valuable minerals. Local residents speculated on Monday that BP is after the mineral rights, which it cannot touch while the wetlands are alive.

It’s a grim prospect, perhaps far-fetched, but not for those who live along the 70 miles of oil-saturated coast, who wonder what the heck happened this weekend when BP refused to fight the incoming oil.

“We can actually see birds that are covered in oil,” Gov. Jindal said Monday at the news conference in Galliano.

Continue reading

They Are Purposely Killing the Gulf

From LivingOutsideTheDialectic:
The private, foreign International Monetary/Banking Cartel controls its puppets in Washington as it controls its oil company executives. And everything the Cartel does is anti-life, there are absolutely no exceptions; and their pretended Gulf oil clean-up is a glaring case in point.

Instead of cleaning up the unprecedented catastrophe created by the Cartel’s mega-corporations (Halliburton, Transocean, and British Petroleum), these very same companies are purposely killing our Gulf of Mexico, under the pretense of cleaning it up.

Instead of using safe, non-toxic ways to gather up the rogue oil gushing from their incompetence, or planned cataclysm, the private Cartel is using an extremely toxic chemical dispersant, with the approval of the Obama administration.

Alan Levine, the head of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals, said: “We don’t have any data or evidence behind the use of these chemicals in the water. We’re now basically using one of the richest ecosystems in the world as a laboratory.”

As reported in Britain’s Telegraph, Louisiana state Secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Robert Barham reported: “We’re very disappointed in their [EPA and oil company executives] approach. The federal procedures call for a consensus between federal authorities, the responsible party and the states involved. When we met and expressed our concerns [over the use of dispersants], apparently they decided to go without us.”

Continue reading

Common weed killer found to chemically castrate frogs

From RawStory:

One of the most common weed killers in the world, atrazine, causes chemical castration in frogs and could be contributing to a worldwide decline in amphibian populations, a study published Monday showed.

Researchers compared 40 male control frogs with 40 male frogs reared from hatchlings until full sexual maturity, in atrazine concentrations similar to those experienced year-round in areas where the chemical is found.

Ninety percent of the male frogs exposed to atrazine had low testosterone levels, decreased breeding gland size, feminized laryngeal development, suppressed mating behavior, reduced sperm production and decreased fertility.

And an alarming finding of the study was that the remaining 10 percent of atrazine-exposed male frogs developed into females that copulated with males and produced eggs.

The larvae that developed from those eggs were all male, according to the study by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

//

Earlier studies have found that atrazine feminized zebra fish and leopard frogs and caused a significant decline in sperm production in male salmon and caiman lizards.

“Atrazine exposure is highly correlated with low sperm count, poor semen quality and impaired fertility in humans,” the study said.

Atrazine is widely used by farmers around the world as a weed- and grass-killer, particularly in production of corn, sorghum and sugar cane.

According to the Washington-based Natural Resources Defense Council, the chemical herbicide has been banned in the European Union, although advocates for atrazine, who say the weed-killer increases crop yields, say only some European countries have banned it.

The US Environmental Protection Agency said four years ago that there was insufficient data to determine whether the chemical herbicide affects amphibian development and refused to ban the chemical.

Around 80 million pounds of atrazine are applied annually to crop fields in the United States alone, and half a million pounds of the herbicide fall to earth in rainfall in the United States, including in areas hundreds of miles from the farmland where it was originally applied, the study says.

“Atrazine can be transported more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from the point of application via rainfall and, as a result, contaminates otherwise pristine habitats, even in remote areas where it is not used,” the study says.

Calif. power company seeks higher rates for energy efficient customers

Most people think that by being energy efficient (like using mercury filled CFLs) they are going to reduce their energy bills. However, from what I’ve been reading, more and more energy companies realize that they are going to lose money, so they want to charge customers who use less energy more money to make up for the losses they will experience. Most people are buying the energy efficient appliances and lights and other items for the savings they hope to see on their energy bills, not because they want to be good citizens on planet earth.

From Raw Story:

Think it’s keen to be green? Not if you’re California’s Pacific Gas & Electric, according to a recent report.

Utility provider PG&E, in documents filed with the state, is seeking a five percent rate increase for its most energy-efficient customers. The increase is reportedly so the company can give it’s highest-volume customers a price break.

“[The] company, with profits up 4.6 percent in the third quarter of this year, said they’re just trying to be fair,” California blog Mission Local noted.

“It’s necessary to avoid the continued shifting of costs associated with utility services to a limited set of residential customers,” PG&E spokesperson told blogger Heather Duthie.

That “limited set of residential customers” the company refers to are those who use between 131 and 300 percent of average customers, Mission Local added. Under the proposal, they can expect future savings between 2.5 and 5.7 percent on their electric rates.

Meanwhile, the company is promoting energy efficiency through its residential Web portal, even launching a flash-based renewable energy promotion on the domain wecandothis.com.

If approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, the rate increases for energy efficient users would take effect on Jan. 10, 2010.

The Utility Reform Network, otherwise known to Californians as TURN, filed a protest on Thursday with the utilities commission, objecting to the rate increases.

When PG&E went bankrupt in 2001, the company was carrying over $9 billion in debt and had listed assets of up to $36 billion.

New film blames drug firm for plight of honey bees

From  The Independent (U.K.):

By Michael McCarthy, Environment editor

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

It’s a question that has baffled the worlds of agriculture and science – what is it that has caused the mysterious deaths of honey bees all over the world in the last five years? A new film may have the answer.

Vanishing of the Bees, which will be released in Britain next month, claims the cause is the use of a new generation of pesticides that weakens the bees and makes them more susceptible to other diseases.

Narrated by the British actress Emilia Fox, the 90-minute film tells the story of what has become known as colony collapse disorder.

The problem first appeared in America in the winter of 2004, when many beekeepers across the country found that their bees had suddenly vanished, leaving behind empty hives. Since then scientists have failed to find a single cause for it.

The film goes on to suggest that neonicotinoid pesticides, some of them made by Bayer, one of the world’s biggest chemical companies, may be behind the disappearances.

The pesticides include the widely-used imidacloprid (marketed under the trade name Gaucho), which has been banned in France following pressure from beekeepers. It is still in use in Britain, the US and elsewhere.

Neonicotinoids are systemic compounds, which means they are applied to seeds rather than sprayed on to growing plants. They enter into the plants themselves and affect the insect pests that consume them.

In theory, insects that are not pests should not be affected. But Vanishing of the Bees, made by the independent filmmakers George Langworthy and Maryam Henein, suggests that long-term, low-level exposure to these compounds may be having a sub-lethal but debilitating effect on honey bees.

The pesticides, it suggests, may be the final straw for a bee populationhas already been weakened in recent years by diseases ranging from the devastating varroa mite to the nosema fungus and other viruses.

In particular, the film targets Bayer, the long-established German firm which invented aspirin and is the world’s fourth-largest pharmaceutical company.

Bayer rejected the allegations last night, insisting that its products did not harm bees.

“Everybody knows this is about the varroa mite, the nosema pest and a number of fungal and viral diseases,” said Dr Julian Little, a UK spokesman for Bayer CropScience.

“The healthiest bees in the world are in Australia, where they have lots of neonicotinoids but they don’t have varroa. If you look at a country where they have restricted the use of neonicotinoids, France, they have a worse bee problem there than they do in the UK,” Dr Little added.

The British Beekeepers’ Association said it did not have the evidence to say if neonicotinoids were behind honey bee declines.

“All the data we have seen so far is inconclusive,” said Tim Lovett, the association’s president.

California hoses its energy future – again

It’s funny; the same people who are championing “green” energy and the huge “green” economy it will create seem to be fighting the creation of wind farms and solar panel farms. They claim to want these things, but not in their state or in their neighborhood or in what might be protected areas or apparently anywhere at all. But they’ll continue to call for investment in “green” energy (government subsidized at taxpayer expense) while fighting nearly every project that comes along.

From WattsUpWithThat.com:

According to the New York Times, a major solar power project in California has been canceled. It seems that even creating solar power in the middle of nowhere in a desert can’t get past California environmentalists these days. If not here, where then on earth will be acceptable? Don’t hold your breath.

Ivanpah Solar Power Project - scrapped Ivanpah Solar Power Project – scrapped 

Excerpt:

BrightSource Energy Inc. had planned a 5,130-acre solar power farm in a remote part of the Mojave Desert, on land previously intended for conservation. The company, based in Oakland, Calif., said Thursday that it was instead seeking an alternative site for the project.

The Wildlands Conservancy, a California environmental group, had tried to block the solar development, as had Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, who proposed that the area become a national monument. 

The land was donated by Wildlands to the Interior Department during the Clinton administration, with assurances from President Bill Clinton himself, the group says, that it would be protected in perpetuity. But the Energy Policy Act of 2005, a Bush administration initiative, opened the land to the development of solar projects.

Here’s the details on the project from the company website:

BrightSource is currently developing its first solar power complex in California’s Mojave Desert. The Ivanpah Solar Power Complex will be located in Ivanpah, approximately 50 miles northwest of Needles, California, and about five miles from the California-Nevada border. The complex will be a 6-square mile facility (4065 acres) within the 25,000-square mile Mojave Desert and will generate enough electricity to power 140,000 homes and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 450,000 tons per year.

Fast facts

* Location: Ivanpah, California
* Output: Up to 440 megawatts
* The Ivanpah Solar Power Complex will power 150,000 homes and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 450,000 tons per year.
* The Ivanpah Solar Power Complex will nearly double the amount of solar thermal electricity produced today in the US.
* Ivanpah will create 1,000 jobs at the peak of construction.

Project details

The 440 megawatt Ivanpah Solar Power Complex will be built in three phases – two 110 megawatt facilities and one 220 megawatt facility. The first phase (110 megawatts) is scheduled to begin construction in early 2010 and completed by 2012. The second phase will begin construction roughly six months after the start of the first phase in early 2010.

A 100 megawatt solar thermal plant utilizes approximately 50,000 heliostats.

New Envion Facility Turns Plastic Waste into $10/Barrel Fuel

From Inhabitant.com:

What if we could turn all the plastic waste we create on a daily basis into fuel to power our cars? A Washington, DC-based company called Envion claims it can do just that with a process that turns plastic into an oil-like fuel for just $10 per barrel. According to Envion, the resulting fuel can be blended with other components and used as either gasoline or diesel.

sustainable design, green design, plastic fuel, energy, renewable, recycled materials, power, envion, waste, oil

Envion makes its plastic-to-oil conversion by heating up plastic to a pre-set temperature using infra-red energy. The process removes hydrocarbons without the use of a catalyst, resulting in a net gain of captured energy–82% of all material that goes in is transformed into fuel. In the past, attempts to turn plastic into fuel have resulted in a net loss of energy.

Each Envion machine can process up to 10,000 tons of plastic waste each year (including bottle caps) and produce three to five barrels of fuel per ton with a total electricity cost of 7 to 12 cents per gallon.

We’ll find out soon whether Envion’s process works as well as the company claims — the $5 million inaugural plastic-to-fuel plant opened today in Washington, DC, and an undisclosed company has already agreed to buy Envion’s product to blend into vehicle fuel