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Dodge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

Court rules with EPA on power-plant pollution controls Imagine that gavel sound from Law & Order, and here we go: In 1999, the U.S. EPA sued Cinergy Corp. for modifying several coal-fueled power plants without following Clean Air Act pollution-control requirements. (Moment of silence for the days when eco-laws were enforced.) One month before President Clinton left office, Cinergy agreed to settle. Then, when the Bush administration said it would review Clinton-era enforcement cases, the company backed out, prompting a follow-up suit from three Eastern states. Cinergy (since acquired by Duke Energy) argued that hourly emissions rates had not risen …

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Capitalism v. environmentalism: a poll

Don Boudreaux, an economist, argues that doing nothing is the best policy for global warming. As David, biodiversivist, Tim Lambert, and ThinkProgress point out, this argument has a lot of screws loose. (ThinkProgress also has a picture of Boudreaux, who looks slightly insane. He is also, by sheerest chance, with the Cato Institute, which according to a book by two University of Colorado law school scholars, "receives most of its financial support from entrepreneurs, securities and commodities traders, and corporations such as oil and gas companies, Federal Express, and Philip Morris that abhor government regulation.") Just for a moment, let's …

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Hey Man, Nice DOT

More Alaska drilling proposed as DOT considers new pipeline regulations Spurred by oil giant BP's many Alaska leaks, the Department of Transportation will soon propose tighter rules for minor petroleum pipelines. BP's North Slope lines were exempt from certain federal regulations because they operated at low pressure in a rural area, and weren't near commercially navigable waters. Thus, despite as much as 14 years of neglect, BP may not have violated any federal regs. The new rules could make life easier for DOT's fewer than 100 inspectors, who are responsible for 200,000 miles of pipeline. Low-pressure lines account for half …

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IMBY

Residential wind systems gain popularity It's somewhat ironic, considering all the NIMBY opposition to wind farms, that more and more consumers are seeking out wind power for, well, their back yards. Three-bladed turbines are popping up at personal abodes across the country, with the potential to save consumers 30 to 90 percent on their electric bills. Some models can be efficient in wind speeds as low as nine miles per hour, and the turbines are no noisier than an air conditioner. Still, some clean-energy seekers face opposition from Not-In-Your-Back-Yard-Either types who just shudder to find a turbine in their line …

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Getting a toehold on your company’s climate footprint

"What's your company's climate footprint?" It's a hot question these days -- one being asked increasingly of companies by customers, investors, activists, regulators, and others. OK, it may not be exactly that question, but it's probably in some form, like, "What's your company doing to reduce its climate impacts?" Or, "How do you call yourself environmentally responsible when you take so damn many plane trips?" Photo: iStockphoto Whatever the question, providing an answer will require understanding what, exactly, your company does to contribute greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. And therein lies a challenge: Calculating a company's climate footprint (sometimes referred …

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Spill ‘er Up!

Oil spills from Japanese and Philippine tankers It's been an oil-spillarific few days. A Japanese tanker, en route from Jordan, collided yesterday with a distressed cargo ship and spilled about 1.4 million gallons of crude into the eastern Indian Ocean. The ship's owner claims the spill has been contained and there's no need to clean it up, as the oil will naturally disperse into the sea. Um? A Philippine tanker sunk Friday, and the over half-million gallons of oil it was carrying have already created an oil slick over 17 miles long, the worst spill in Philippine history. The crud …

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How’s That Mars Exploration Going?

News flash: as world warms, weather gets worse As the globe warms, the risk of more frequent and severe forest fires, droughts, and floods rises. So says, well, the entire scientific community, forever. But a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is being billed as the most comprehensive look yet at the effects of climate change. With data from 52 climate simulations, British researchers looked at a range of scenarios. A global average temperature rise of up to 3.6 degrees is inevitable, they say, and could cause Europe, Asia, Canada, central America, and the Amazon …

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Tim Flannery on Big Picture TV

I don't know how they do it, but Big Picture TV has added author and Australian scientist Tim Flannery to their impressive list of talking heads. Tim Flannery wrote The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means For Life on Earth which was reviewed by Grist back in March. In this four-part series, Flannery chats about the carbon debt, action for solutions, the end of denial, and taxing carbon.

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Party at Jim’s House!

Idaho governor says no to coal, yes to whoopin' it up Exhibiting the flair and confidence only a short-timer can afford, Idaho Gov. Jim Risch (R) has announced that the state don't need no stinkin' coal. Risch, who took office when Dirk Kempthorne resigned in May to head the Interior Department, will step down when the term ends in January. So why not have some fun? The guv will opt out of a federal mercury-trading program Kempthorne committed to, and told a cheering crowd on Wednesday that the state can meet its energy needs without mercury-spewing, coal-fired power plants -- …

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