Mora County, N.M., has a message for the oil and gas industry: "You're not welcome here."
County commissioners voted 2-1 on Monday to ban all oil and gas extraction in their drought-ravaged county near Santa Fe, home to fewer than 5,000 people. A temporary drilling moratorium is already in place in neighboring San Miguel County, but it is believed that Mora County is the first in the nation to impose an outright ban on all oil and gas drilling.
Could California put a halt to fracking? Some lawmakers are pushing legislation that would do just that.
On Monday, the state Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee approved no fewer than three bills calling for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing until its environmental and health effects are thoroughly studied by the state. Meanwhile, another bill pending in the state Senate would allow fracking to continue for now but would impose a moratorium if the state fails to complete a comprehensive review by January 2015.
David Roberts recently offered a list of reasons why a California fracking frenzy is a bad idea, one of which is the lack of oversight from state regulators so far. The new proposed bills aim to address this problem. From The Sacramento Bee:
Back in 2011, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) declared war on energy-efficient lightbulbs, calling “sustainability” the gateway into a dystopic, Big Brother-patrolled liberal hellscape. When the lights went off during Beyoncé’s halftime set at the last Superbowl, conservative commentators from the Drudge Report to Michelle Malkin pointed blame (erroneously) at new power-saving measures at New Orleans’ Superdome. And one recent study found that giving Republican households feedback on their power use actually encourages them to use more energy.
Why do conservatives, who should have a natural inclination toward conservation, have a beef with energy efficiency? It could be tied to the political polarization of the climate change debate.
A study out Monday in thejournal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined attitudes about energy efficiency in liberals and conservatives, and found that promoting energy-efficient products and services on the basis of their environmental benefits actually turned conservatives off from picking them. The researchers first quizzed participants on how much they value various benefits of energy efficiency, including reducing carbon emissions, reducing foreign oil dependence, and reducing how much consumers pay for energy; cutting emissions appealed to conservatives the least.
The study then presented participants with a real-world choice: With a fixed amount of money in their wallet, respondents had to “buy” either an old-school lightbulb or an efficient compact florescent bulb (CFL), the same kind Bachmann railed against. Both bulbs were labeled with basic hard data on their energy use, but without a translation of that into climate pros and cons. When the bulbs cost the same, and even when the CFL cost more, conservatives and liberals were equally likely to buy the efficient bulb. But slap a message on the CFL’s packaging that says “Protect the Environment,” and “we saw a significant drop-off in more politically moderates and conservatives choosing that option,” said study author Dena Gromet, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.
The chart below, from the report, shows how much liberals and conservatives value each argument for efficiency: While liberals (gray) valued all three equally, conservatives (white), were significantly less moved by and most at odds with liberals over the carbon-saving argument.
For many, the battle over the Keystone XL pipeline is about national energy strategy and global climate change.
For residents of the Manchester neighborhood in Houston, it's also about what will be processed and spewed into the air in their backyards.
Activist Doug Fahlbusch recently brought some attention to the community when he held up a sign at a Valero-sponsored golf tournament that said, "TAR SANDS SPILL. ANSWER MANCHESTER." That protest got him carried away from the links by security guards and arrested.
What did Fahlbusch mean? Why are he and his colleagues at Tar Sands Blockade so concerned about Manchester?
Oil companies can keep on spraying toxic oil dispersants willy-nilly over toxic oil spills in Louisiana waters.
An effort to encourage -- not to require, just to encourage -- oil companies to use nontoxic alternatives to dispersants when cleaning up their spills was killed amid oil industry opposition in the Louisiana state Senate.
Heads up, pollinators of the world: Now would be a great time to take that European vacation you’ve always dreamed of. The European Commission -- the E.U.’s governing body -- voted on Monday to implement a continent-wide ban on the class of insecticides widely suspected of contributing to colony collapse disorder, the mysterious phenomenon that’s been decimating bee populations since 2006.
In January, the European Food Safety Authority warned that three types of neonicotinoid pesticides should be considered unacceptable for use based on their danger to bees. A growing body of scientific evidence has found that, while neonics can't be blamed directly for colony collapse disorder, they do mess with bees’ navigation, foraging, and communication abilities, throw off their reproductive patterns, and weaken their immune systems, leaving colonies more vulnerable to natural threats like mites and fungi. Neonics are the world’s most ubiquitous pesticides, used extensively on major crops like corn, soy, and canola. They're applied to seeds before planting and then show up in the pollen bees come to collect.
Three neonics -- thiamethoxam, clothianidin, and imidacloprid -- will be banned for two years from use on crops bees pollinate, likely starting in December. From the BBC:
Today President Barack Obama will nominate the mayor of Charlotte, N.C., to the post of transportation secretary.
If confirmed by the Senate, Anthony Foxx will succeed Ray LaHood, who is stepping down from the position. Early media reports paint the Charlotte mayor and former city council member as a bright up-and-coming leader who has prioritized public transportation projects in the city that he has led for almost four years.
Mark Zuckerberg’s new political group, which bills itself as a bipartisan entity dedicated to passing immigration reform, has spent considerable resources on ads advocating a host of anti-environmental causes — including drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and constructing the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
The umbrella group, co-founded by Facebook’s Zuckerberg, NationBuilder’s Joe Green, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, Dropbox’s Drew Houston, and others in the tech industry, is called FWD.US. ...
FWD.US is bankrolling two subsidiary organizations to purchase TV ads to advance the overarching agenda — one run by veteran Republican political operatives and one led by Democratic strategists.