ole georges carbon print can be seen from Pluto
Coal Mining Debris Rule Is Approved
By ROBERT PEAR and FELICITY BARRINGER
Published: December 2, 2008
WASHINGTON " The White House on Tuesday approved a final rule that will make it easier for coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys.
The rule is one of the most contentious of all the regulations emerging from the White House in President Bush’s last weeks in office.
James L. Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, confirmed in an interview that the rule had been approved by the White House Office of Management and Budget. That clears the way for publication in the Federal Register, the last stage in the rule-making process.
Stephen L. Johnson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, concurred in the rule, first proposed nearly five years ago by the Interior Department, which regulates coal mining.
In a letter to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, dated Tuesday, Mr. Johnson said the rule had been revised to protect fish, wildlife and streams.
Mining activities must comply with water quality standards established by the federal government and the states, Mr. Johnson said.
But a coalition of environmental groups said the rule would accelerate “the destruction of mountains, forests and streams throughout Appalachia.”
Edward C. Hopkins, a policy analyst at the Sierra Club, said: “The E.P.A.’s own scientists have concluded that dumping mining waste into streams devastates downstream water quality. By signing off on this rule, the agency has abdicated its responsibility.”
Mr. Bush has boasted of his efforts to cooperate with President-elect Barack Obama to ensure a smooth transition, but the administration is rushing to complete work on regulations to which Mr. Obama and his advisers object. The rules deal with air pollution, auto safety, abortion and workers’ exposure to toxic chemicals, among other issues.
The National Mining Association, a trade group, welcomed the rule, saying it could end years of uncertainty that had put jobs and coal production in jeopardy.
The coal industry could be the largest beneficiary of last-minute environmental rules.
“This is unmistakably a fire sale of epic size for coal and the entire fossil fuel industry, with flagrant disregard for human health, the environment or the rule of law,” said Vickie Patton, deputy general counsel of the Environmental Defense Fund.
The Environmental Protection Agency is trying to finish work on a rule that would make it easier for utilities to put coal-fired generating stations near national parks. It is working on another rule that would allow utility companies to modify coal-fired power plants and increase their emissions without installing new pollution-control equipment.
Joan M. Mulhern, a lawyer at Earthjustice, an environmental group, denounced the mining regulation.
“With less than two months left in power,” Ms. Mulhern said, “the Bush administration is determined to cement its legacy as having the worst environmental record in history.”
At issue, she said, is a type of mining in which “coal companies blast the tops off mountains to reach the seams of coal and then push the rubble into the adjacent valleys, burying miles of streams.”
Administration officials rejected the criticism.
“This rule strengthens protections for streams,” said Peter L. Mali, a spokesman for the Interior Department office that wrote the regulation. “Federal law allows coal mine waste to be placed in streams, and the rule tightens restrictions as to when, where and how those discharges can occur.”
The rule gives coal companies a legal right to do what, in the past, they could do only in exceptional circumstances, with special permission from the government.
As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama expressed “serious concerns about the environmental implications” of mountaintop mining.
“We have to find more environmentally sound ways of mining coal than simply blowing the tops off mountains,” Mr. Obama told one environmental group. At the same time, he proposed a major federal investment in clean coal technology.
Gov. Steven L. Beshear of Kentucky and Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, both Democrats, had urged the Bush administration not to approve the rule. Mr. Beshear said he feared that it would lead to an increase in pollution of “Kentucky’s beautiful natural resources.”
Several members of Congress also opposed the rule, including Representative John Yarmuth, Democrat of Kentucky.
In giving his blessing to the new regulation, Mr. Johnson, the head of the E.P.A., noted that Mr. Bush had promoted the use of clean coal technology as a way to reduce dependence on foreign oil.
“Americans should not have to choose between clean coal or effective environmental protection,” Mr. Johnson said. “We can achieve both.”
But environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council see the mountaintop mining rule and pending changes in air pollution regulations as part of a final effort by the Bush administration to cater to the needs of energy industries.
The proposal that would give more leeway to coal-burning power plants, to increase their emissions when they make repairs and renovations, was on the original wish list of the energy task force convened by Vice President Dick Cheney in 2001.
In 2006, a federal appeals court struck down an effort by the Bush administration to loosen the rules on such coal-burning plants.
Our next President will certainly have his work to keep the planet in one piece. Bush family has raized the planet earth. His grandfather was partners with the Germans for NINE months after WWII began. It took an act of Congress literally to stop him. Then after the war ended he and his Scull friends changed the military intelligence - OSS - to the CIA with the prime intention of controlling the banking system in the USA.
Still creaking in this weather.
Spendius, I agree with you about the clearing - there is a song from my younger days about you never know what you got until after clearing land for a parking lot.
The songs that whales and dolphins use to communicate, orient themselves and find mates are being drowned out by human-made noises in the world's oceans, U.N. officials and environmental groups said Wednesday.
That sound pollution " including increased commercial shipping, seismic surveys and a new generation of military sonar " is not only confounding the mammals but also further threatening the survival of these endangered animals.
But good news , among the bad. Hurrah for Bank of America.
December 4, 2008, 11:53 am
Bank of America to Stop Financing Mountaintop Mining
By Tom Zeller Jr.
Executives from the bank were given a personal view of mountaintop mining near Kayford, W. Va. (Photo: Associated Press)
The Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the nation’s most powerful environmental groups, has managed to persuade Bank of America, one of the nation’s leading financial institutions, to take a measured stand against certain surface mining practices.
From an announcement released yesterday by the bank:
Bank of America is particularly concerned about surface mining conducted through mountain top removal in locations such as central Appalachia. We therefore will phase out financing of companies whose predominant method of extracting coal is through mountain top removal. While we acknowledge that surface mining is economically efficient and creates jobs, it can be conducted in a way that minimizes environmental impacts in certain geographies.
At the N.R.D.C.’s Switchboard blog, Rob Perks, director of the organization’s Center for Advocacy Campaigns in Washington, said the group managed to persuade Bank of America executives to visit several mountaintop mine sites in Appalachia " including Kayford Mountain, which has been laid low by mountaintop mining methods.
“NRDC decided we could be more useful engaging BofA in a different way,” Mr. Parks wrote. “By talking to the bank’s executives directly and explaining the great opportunity available to them as responsible corporate citizens to help end this travesty.”
The Toronto Star examined the practice of mountaintop mining " and the controversy surrounding it " earlier this year:
Instead of extracting coal the old-fashioned way, by burrowing, the mountain is extracted from the coal " blown up sequentially to reveal each black seam. Everything left over " trees, soil, plants and rock " is considered “overburden.” It’s dumped into the valleys below, filling them up.
Some say as many as 470 mountains in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia have been flattened this way. For the industry, it’s a financial jackpot " fast, cheap and thorough. But for the mountains, and the communities nestled between them, it’s war.
For their part, mining interests have long argued that mountaintop mining and its ancillary effects on the landscape, water flows, and other areas of the environment are wildly overblown.
Earlier this year, in an op-ed published in The Tampa Tribune, Bill K. Caylor, the president of the Kentucky Coal Association, said of mountaintop mining practices: “Drinking water sources are not being polluted. Appalachian communities are not destroyed. E.P.A. did not rewrite rules to pollute more streams.”
[A]s all the activists who so eloquently and passionately speak of the ills of coal and mountaintop mining get up in the morning, drink their hot coffee, eat some toast, blow dry their hair while watching the morning news, attend their meetings in a room with lights and warm heat and write to their representatives on laptops and computers while calling others on their charged cellphones, please remember who provides the electricity. It is provided by coal.
That is good news, sue! Thanks
Can we be seeing the beginning of corporate cooperaton?
Dan, i believe the new administration will not allow enviornmental perks be given to industry. We must be vocal when the new Congress and House resumes in January.
From what I read, the whole world is looking forward to our next President.
the wildclickers have supported 2,921,903.6 square feet!
Marine Wetlands habitat supported: 218,726.8 square feet.
American Prairie habitat supported: 68,495.5 square feet.
Rainforest habitat supported: 2,634,681.3 square feet.
I always preferred cash. Preferably paper cash.
An appropriate post for me to reply to. Clicked today, for the 1st time in a while. Hope you are all well and enjoyed a good Thanksgiving and soon, a Merry Christmas, if you celebrate. Very cold here, on the Jersey Shore, but appropriate for the season. My 2 trees, (artificial) are decorated with "green" led lights, just like Rockefeller Center. My "fleur de Lis" are on the large tree, with my New Orleans collection, my miniature village with the little people and my red/white/blue tree with all of my patriotic ornaments and Uncle Sam Santa, complete the look.
When my adult children come over, they head straight for the Whitman's Sampler and anything else they can devour! It's always "crazy" here amidst the "calm"! Looking forward to a beautiful new year, with a new administration. Can't say enough about Obama and how he's electrified this Nation. Hopefully, he'll stick to the agenda, he set forth in his campaign.
Hope all of you enjoy this season and continue clicking, as I remind myself to do the same. God be with you all!
Sharon "Teeny" Boone
What with all the destruction that Bush's rules and regulations have caused, or will cost, it will take alot of work to overturn them, and some will probably have to go the court route. Such a waste of time and manpower, but so necessary.
Hello Stradee and gang. Nice to see TeenyBoone.
Friday. Weekend is mine. Maybe some fishing.
Hi Teeny and all Wildclickers
Tis the season ~
aktbird57 and the WildClickers have supported 2,922,007.3 square feet!
Marine Wetlands habitat supported: 218,763.9 square feet.
American Prairie habitat supported: 68,495.5 square feet.
Rainforest habitat supported: 2,634,747.9 square feet.
I decided to stop in all day and lie on my sofa reading and watching TV. How much did I save E?
I use energy conservation bulbs in my reading lamp.
It's not E, but, Spendius, you are saving an enormous amount of your own money in energy savings. Average energy savings per year = a forty watt - equvilient - energy savings bulb - if left on for 24/7 for an entire year will cost only approximately $12.00 dollars. And, they stay lit for about 9 yrs now. Another cost saving. To paraphrase one of my favorite people, "It's a good thing." That would be Martha Stewart - a very smart lady.
Oh, by the way, figure out what all your electricity will cost by using these twelve formulas = I have reduced them to four =
P over I times E.
E over I times R.
P over I squared times R.
E squared over R times P.
P = Watts
I = Amperage
E = Voltage
R = Resistance
If you memorise those four formulas you can easily take and pass the test and become a licensed electrician.
There are twelve formulas, but, the above four solves the others.
The first = P over I and E.
answer = P is the equal of I and E multiplied.
If you wanted to know I, then you would divide P by E.
It's algebra............ Simple.
All the rest is the same except for the times at's self ones. You can figure that out = multiply the number by it's self and use that number as in the figures above.
Anyone can become an electrician. The above is all that is required.
Hi Teeny, Glad to see Ya again!! Stay with us - we need you.
And, Alex. Great to see another guy on board - we haven't had over two guys clicking on this thread since Merry Andrew dropped out. By the way, folks, Merry Andrews Birthday is the 26th of this month. Will we all congratulate him?
Thanks all caring for the health of the Earth.
Hurray for Brazil!
Brazil's Decision on Deforestation Draws Praise
By Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, December 6, 2008; A09
RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 5 -- Brazil's decision to set a target for reducing deforestation by 70 percent over the next decade to combat climate change was hailed by environmentalists Friday as a significant goal for a major polluting country.
"This is an enormously important step," Stephan Schwartzman, an Amazon expert with the Environmental Defense Fund, said by telephone from a climate change conference in Poland. "This is the first time that a major developing country, whose greenhouse gas emissions are a substantial part of the problem, has stepped up and made a commitment to bring down its total emissions. Brazil has set the standard. Now we want to see the U.S. and President Obama come up to it."
The clear-cutting and burning of the Amazon rain forest for cattle and soybean ranches, roads and settlements makes up one of the world's largest sources of the types of gases that contribute to global warming. Since reaching a recent peak of 10,588 square miles of forest destroyed in the Amazon in 2004, deforestation dropped for the next three years, before rising slightly this year to 4,621 square miles, according to data from Brazil's National Institute for Space Research, which monitors deforestation.
Brazil is one of the world's top four emitters of greenhouse gases, with China, the United States and Indonesia. The destruction of the world's rain forest accounts for about 20 percent of annual greenhouse gas pollution, of which Brazil makes up 40 percent, Schwartzman said.
Brazil's plan, announced this week and detailed Friday by Environment Minister Carlos Minc, calls for reducing the annual rate of deforestation to 1,900 square miles by 2017, down from 7,300 square miles, which has been the average rate of deforestation over a recent 10-year period. Minc said reaching this target would prevent 4.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide from being pumped into the atmosphere, more than the combined commitment of industrialized countries under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
"Climate change is one of the issues that most worries our civilization these days," Minc said. "Many people used to say it was just the delirium of environmentalists, but after they started to see ice melting on their TVs, they changed their minds."
Under Minc's predecessor, Marina Silva, Brazil set aside millions of acres of forest as protected areas. But in practice, it has been difficult to protect the vast, sparsely populated areas because of pressure from farmers and ranchers, corruption, illegal clearing and a lack of economic incentives.
Ana Cristina Barros, the Brazilian representative for the Nature Conservancy, called the new deforestation target a "time for celebration."
"It is possible for the government to control the Amazon frontier," she said. "It doesn't mean we have to prevent agriculture; we just need to control it."
Minc said he would create an environmental police force of 3,000 people to protect national parks and target illegal loggers. But he said deforestation cannot be solved by police action alone and requires economic incentives for farmers and other residents of the Amazon.
Farmers were encouraged that the government's plan included a program to pay those who preserve forest on their property, said Marcelo Duarte Monteiro, executive director of an association of soybean farmers in the western Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. There are 62 million acres of cattle farms in the state, he said, and some of this land can be converted for soybean and other agricultural products.
"From our perspective, we are going to be looking at conversion, from pasture into cropland. That, in our opinion, is the way we should be going," he said. "On the other hand, we think it's fair to think of economic incentives for farmers who have forest and are delivering these environmental services, of carbon, of biodiversity, for free. And then everybody's going to be happy."
Other possible appointees are discussed in the article proper.
Next on Obama's Dance Card, Mother Nature
By Al Kamen
Friday, December 5, 2008; A23
The Obama transition team, moving along smartly to fill Cabinet posts, is planning to trot out nominees as early as next week for three jobs much watched by enviros: the secretaries of energy and the interior and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
There's no shortage of names floating for energy secretary, a job where the majority of the workload in the past has been dealing with nuclear waste, nuclear weapons handling and the various nuclear laboratories. Even so, a cast of luminaries have been mentioned, including Duke Energy executive Jim Rogers, former Energy Department official Dan Reicher, former top Clinton White House environmental aide Kathleen McGinty, FedEx chairman and Republican backer Fred Smith, New Jersey utility chief executive Ralph Izzo, and Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.).
The chatter about each of them seems to have waxed and waned, doing more of the latter of late. Recently retired California energy utility executive John Bryson, who's well liked by the environmental community, may not make the cut, but Kansas Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius's considerable stock seems to be holding steady for energy -- or at least some Cabinet post.