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Stephen Lacey's Posts

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State Department concludes Keystone XL has 'no significant impacts'

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. The State Department issued its final environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline Friday, finding that it would bring "no significant impacts" on the environment -- even while substantially increasing greenhouse-gas emissions and crossing major aquifers and wetlands across the country. The Environmental Protection Agency criticized the last two environmental reviews from the Department of State (DOS), saying they lacked adequate study on almost every major environmental issue associated with building the pipeline. But the DOS worked closely with the EPA on this report. The 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline would bring over 800,000 barrels of tar-sands …

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One billion cars clog traffic worldwide

Photo: Remko TanisCross-posted from Climate Progress. Driven by demand from countries like China, India, and Brazil, the global market for automobiles is accelerating faster than ever. According to an analysis from the auto trade journal Ward's, there are now over one billion cars, light-, medium-, and heavy-duty trucks on roads around the world, up from 980 million at the end of 2009. In just half a year, the global auto fleet expanded by around 35 million vehicles. That's the second-biggest increase ever. The U.S. is still has the biggest population of cars and trucks -- one for every 1.3 people …

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TransCanada says Keystone XL will be 'safest pipeline in the U.S.'

A pipeline in Texas, the ultimate destination of Keystone XL.Photo: Ray BoddenCross-posted from Climate Progress. Construction and operation of the Keystone Pipeline system will continue to meet or exceed world-class safety and environmental standards. That was a statement from TransCanada CEO Hal Kvisle in June 2010 about the commissioning of the company's new Keystone pipeline, built to bring Canadian tar-sands crude from Alberta to refineries in the Midwest. One year later, the company has seen 12 oil spills from its brand new, state-of-the art pipeline -- with one "six-story geyser" dumping 21,000 gallons of oil in North Dakota. Today, TransCanada …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Oil

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Mythbusters: debunking the claim that fuel economy standards ‘kill people’

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. If falsely labeling fuel standards as job killers doesn't work, why not call them people killers? That's exactly what opponents of new fuel-efficiency targets are doing. As we'll see, the transportation community has moved beyond that tired myth, with new analysis showing the overall benefit to drivers of well-designed standards, which in turn lead to well-designed cars. On Fox Business last week, Sam Kazman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and show host John Stossel used outdated figures to claim new fuel standards will kill 2,000 people a year. Kazman -- whose organization has received considerable funding …

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Record heat causes nation's water pipes to 'burst like geysers'

A burst water pipe.Photo: starr61Cross-posted from Climate Progress. This year's record heat has spawned cow-killing algae, caused sidewalks to explode, and turned reservoirs bloodred. Now it's causing an even costlier problem for communities in the U.S. -- exploding water pipes. As severe heat dries out the ground, old pipes shift around and are more susceptible to breaking. The problem is exacerbated by an increased demand for water during hot days. Towns across the U.S. are seeing increased rates of water pipe failures. Oklahoma saw 685 water main breaks since July -- about four times the normal rate. Kemp, Texas was …

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After North Sea oil spill, Shell plans to continue Arctic drilling

The recent North Sea oil spill could be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Arctic drilling.Cross-posted from Climate Progress. Last week, Shell reported a ruptured oil pipeline in the North Sea, where it spilled around 750 barrels of oil. The leak was fixed over the weekend, but Shell has been quiet about exactly what happened, only saying it "responded promptly to the incident." Compared to last year's 5-million barrel gusher in the Gulf, this latest leak is very small and was contained quickly. Shell says it was able to contain and monitor the problem with the …

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It's time to shed more light on solar's potential

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. From a New York Times piece on the closure of coal-fired power plants: No one is sure yet how many or which ones will be shuttered or what the total lost output would be. And there is little agreement over how peak demand will be met in future summers. Here's a bright idea: As heat waves get more intense and cause immense spikes in electricity demand around the country, it doesn't take a genius to ask if the problem -- the sun -- might actually be the solution. But yet again, two major publications -- The …

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DOE panel calls for more study of fracking emissions

Photo: Kara NewhouseCross-posted from Climate Progress. A group of experts brought together by the Department of Energy (DOE) is calling for more research into the life-cycle greenhouse-gas emissions from hydraulic fracturing, a drilling technique that has caused explosive growth in the natural gas industry. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, pumps water, sand, and chemicals underneath shale formations to force out trapped gas. It allows companies to access massive reserves of gas that were formerly unreachable. But drilling operations also leak large amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, which calls into question claims that natural gas is "clean." One recent peer-reviewed …

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Bachmann asked the 'job-killing' EPA for money to stimulate local economy

Michele Bachmann. Cross-posted from Climate Progress. Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann calls the Environmental Protection Agency the "job-killing organization of America" and has threatened to have the agency's "doors locked and lights turned off." But before her strong anti-EPA rhetoric aimed at firing up the Tea Party during election season, Bachmann solicited the help of the agency to bring "long-term benefits to the environment and the economy." The Huffington Post is reporting that Bachmann asked for direct assistance from the government 16 times -- many through the stimulus package, a program that she said made President Obama a "gangster." On …

Read more: Politics

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Rick Perry prays for an end to drought and EPA regulations

Rick Perry.Photo: Gage SkidmoreCross-posted from Climate Progress. Texas Gov. Rick Perry may be announcing his bid for president this Saturday, according to Politico. And last week, in an interview with CBN News, Perry gave a preview of his approach to federal environmental policy by explaining that he prays for the EPA to roll back emissions and air quality standards: Frankly I pray for the president every day. I pray for his wisdom, I pray that God will open his eyes. I wish this president would turn back the health care law that's been passed, ask that his EPA back down …