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Crow Tribe strikes $7 billion deal for coal-to-liquids plant on reservation

The Crow Tribe on Thursday agreed to host a massive new $7 billion coal-to-liquids plant on its reservation land in Montana. The plant would produce about 50,000 barrels a day of diesel fuel when it opens, and eventually up to 125,000 barrels a day. Coal for the plant would come from a yet-to-be-developed mine on nearby Crow land with an estimated 9 billion tons of recoverable, largely untapped coal reserves. The project is still many years from even the construction phase, but the deal could eventually become a major economic engine for the tribe's 12,000 members since, like most reservations …


Battered auto markets

Light truck sales drop 25 percent, Toyota screws up

Green Car Congress reports: US sales of light-duty vehicles continued their decline in July, dropping to a total 1.136 million units, a 13.2% reduction in volume compared to July 2007, according to Autodata ... The year-on-year decrease came, in general, out of the light-duty truck segment. Sales of cars in July 2008 slightly increased 0.3% on a volume basis (not on a day-sales rate) to 620,213 units, according to Autodata. Light truck sales, however, dropped 25.2% by volume from the year before to 515,963 units. The car-truck ratio for the month was 55:45, the fifth consecutive month cars have held …


The solar billionaires' club

First recorded solar billionaire in China, U.S. billionaires persue wind

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, executive director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. ----- Hunter Lovins is one of the country's premier prophets of the prosperity we can achieve if we move quickly to establish a post-carbon economy. Vast new markets and investment opportunities are opening worldwide for clean technologies. "Those who recognize this opportunity will be the first to the future and the billionaires of tomorrow," Hunter says. The good news: The race already has begun. It's producing some new billionaires and attracting some old ones. The first recorded solar billionaire was identified by The …


An agricultural Waterloo

Globalization failed, cheap oil is gone, local production is the only way forward

Bigger is always better, isn't it? Big cars, big houses, big businesses, big farms. If you were big, you made more money. Clearly, that is the way of the world. When Europeans colonized the Americas, they wanted more land -- not some of it; all of it. Napoleon wanted more land. Nothing stopped him until Waterloo. So, do you think that the human race, has reached its Waterloo? Have we finally hit the wall with our never-ending desire for "bigness"? I decided years ago that I didn't want my farming operation to get bigger. I liked milking 45 cows, raising …


Wal-Mart urges Federal Trade Commission not to define ‘carbon offsets’

In comments to the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year, Wal-Mart asked the agency not to define the terms "carbon offsets" or "renewable energy certificates" in order to keep the terms flexible and to retain their "less tangible nature." The Federal Trade Commission has been in the process of updating its green-marketing guidelines and asked Wal-Mart and others to weigh in. Consumer advocates like Consumers Union have been advocating for clear, specific definitions to avoid misleading green claims. "Claims are already being made on products that are confusing, misleading, and potentially deceptive," the group said in its comments to the …


Two coal plants given go-ahead by green groups after concessions negotiated

Environmental groups dropped their opposition to two different coal-fired power plant expansion projects in Wisconsin and Texas this week after the utilities agreed to a range of concessions designed to limit the environmental impacts of the plants. In Texas, power company NRG reached an agreement with Texas Clean Air Cities Coalition and the Environmental Defense Fund that requires the company to offset or sequester half of its carbon dioxide emissions until federal climate legislation is passed; cap the levels of mercury, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide the facility can emit; reduce the coal plant's use of water by over half, …



T. Boone’s new ad

Lots of wind, no mention of natural gas:


Toxin-laden e-waste dumped in West Africa

European Union laws prohibiting the export of hazardous materials aren't keeping shipments of electronic waste out of West Africa, according to a new Greenpeace report. Traders obtain e-waste in the E.U. and ship it off "under the false label of 'second-hand goods,'" says the report, adding, "Sending old electronic equipment to developing countries is often hailed as 'bridging the digital divide.' But all too often this simply means dumping useless equipment on the poor." Soil samples taken near two e-waste scrapyards in Ghana showed dangerous levels of phthalates, chlorinated dioxins, lead, and other toxic metals; the report notes that much …


Free to be E.U. and me

Uncertainty, the precautionary principle, and GMOs

Even if we had perfect information on the environmental impacts of industrial chemicals and processes, determining the appropriate levels of regulation would be extremely difficult. In our modern economy, all of us are willing to accept some level of risk, some health and environmental impacts, in order to elevate our material standard of living. In essence, there is no "zero impact" equilibrium, unless we envisage some type of pre-industrial age (and even then it is debatable). Determining the appropriate level of regulation is made exponentially more difficult in a world of tremendous uncertainty about the impacts of even the most …


Dell Inc. claims carbon neutrality

Dell Computer's worldwide business operations are now carbon neutral, the company announced Wednesday. True carbon neutrality is, of course, a chimera for a giant IT company; notes business analyst Clive Longbottom, "You have to question whether they have taken all their workers' commuting into consideration and the materials in making a computer, going all the way back to zinc mining." Perhaps not, but Dell now sources one-fifth of its power from renewable sources, buys renewable-energy credits for the rest, and is paying for forest preservation in Madagascar in order to offset 475,000 tons of emissions. Dell, which aims to be …