Climate & Energy

Nuclear pork: enough is enough

No more subsidies for nuclear power, McCain et al

Once your power source has reached, say, 10 percent of the electricity grid, let alone 20 percent, it should be time to cut the cord to government funding. Yet after more than $70 billion dollars in direct subsidies, billions more in insurance subsidies, plus another $13 billion available through the energy policy act of 2005, Sen. McCain and others still feel that climate legislation must not merely create a price for carbon dioxide that would advantage all carbon-free sources of energy, but that we must also throw billions more dollars of pork at the industry. At some point, infatuation has turned to obsession. I am not against building new nuclear power plants; far from it. But when is enough enough, in terms of massive taxpayer support for a mature industry? We had such an incredible clamor for welfare reform in the 1990s, to change "government's social welfare policy with aims at reducing recipient dependence on the government." If we reduced the poor's dependence on government, why not the super-duper rich?

Big Stone II sinking fast

Administrative law judges give controversial coal plant thumbs down — final decision up to PUC

One of the most controversial coal plant proposals in the country just took yet another big hit. Minnesota's two administrative law judges on the hearings for the Big Stone II plant in South Dakota, Steve Mihalchick and Barbara Neilson, recommended today that the state Public Utilities Commission deny a certificate of need for the plant's transmission lines in western Minnesota. If adopted by the PUC, the ruling will kill the highly controversial project. According to the ALJs' recommendation [PDF], the sponsors of the plant "have failed to demonstrate that their demand for electricity cannot be met more cost effectively through energy conservation and load-management measures ..." In September 2007, two of the co-sponsors of Big Stone II, representing about 27 percent of the plant's capacity, pulled out of the project. The withdrawal rocked the project, but the remaining sponsors announced plans to redesign it and continue seeking permits. Today's ALJ recommendation, which has been closely watched by the broad multi-state coalition that had gathered against the plant, is not curtains for Big Stone II -- but we may be in the final act. The demise of the plant promises to unlock the huge wind potential of the Upper Midwest region, which to date has scarcely been tapped.

The $3 trillion shopping spree

How are you going to spend your $3 trillion? I just put this in my cart.

Colbert on gas prices and oil profits

(thanks LL!)

Break up with your utility company ... or get dumped

Millions of Americans may not be able to afford heat or power this year

So, I spent almost $2,000 today ... to fill up our oil tank. We heat primarily with wood, but we use oil as a backup system to keep the pipes from freezing and occasionally on days when we're going to be out for an extended period. Our hot water is also heated with oil. For whatever reason, most oil heat in the U.S. is in the Northeast, mostly in towns beyond gas lines like mine. I suspect today's purchase may well be the last tank of heating oil we ever buy. Unfortunately, that's not true for most Americans.

Polar-bear listing would hurt the poor, says industry

If the U.S. Interior Department decides that polar bears are endangered, litigation will be immediate from a group arguing that bear protection will “result in higher energy prices across the board, which will disproportionately be …

Timothy LaSalle of Rodale on the surprising climate benefits of organic farming

Organic methods: good for carrots and for the climate. The Rodale Institute, founded by organic farming visionary J.I. Rodale, is one of the nation’s leading organic-farming research and advocacy organizations. Today, Rodale sits on a …

Gearing up for an eco-week

McCain kicks off series of environmental events with address in N.J.

John McCain gave a campaign speech in New Jersey today in which he touched on environmental issues and talked up his record in that area. “There is no doubt our environment is globally challenged,” McCain …

Coal is the enemy of the human race: Criminal negligence edition

Mining accidents and deaths cause a flurry of press coverage and then fade into our collective memory. But for a moment, let’s think back to those horrific weeks last year as we waited to find …

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