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GM proposes nationwide zero-emissions vehicle sales mandate

SF Gate | Posted on November 1, 2018

General Motors says it will ask the federal government for one national gas mileage standard, including a requirement that a percentage of auto companies' sales be zero-emissions vehicles.  Mark Reuss, GM's executive vice president of product development, said the company will propose that a certain percentage of nationwide sales be made up of vehicles that run on electricity or hydrogen fuel cells."A national zero emissions program will drive the scale and infrastructure investments needed to allow the U.S. to lead the way to a zero emissions future," Reuss said.

60,000 tons of dangerous radioactive waste sits on Great Lakes shores

Detroit Free Press | Posted on November 1, 2018

More than 60,000 tons of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel is stored on the shores of four of the five Great Lakes — in some cases, mere yards from the waterline — in still-growing stockpiles. \“It’s actually the most dangerous waste produced by any industry in the history of the Earth,” said Gordon Edwards, president of the nonprofit Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.The spent nuclear fuel is partly from 15 current or former U.S. nuclear power plants, including four in Michigan, that have generated it over the past 50 years or more. But most of the volume stored along the Great Lakes, more than 50,000 tons, comes from Canadian nuclear facilities, where nuclear power is far more prevalent. It remains on the shorelines because there's still nowhere else to put it. The U.S. government broke a promise to provide the nuclear power industry with a central, underground repository for the material by 1998. Canada, while farther along than the U.S. in the process of trying to find a place for the waste, also doesn't have one yet.But the remote possibility of a worst-case scenario release — from a natural disaster, a major accident, or an act of terrorism — could cause unthinkable consequences for the Great Lakes region. 

Offshore wind farms planned on East and West coasts

Western Mass News | Posted on November 1, 2018

The U.S. government is taking steps to develop offshore wind farms off both coasts. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced this week the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold an offshore wind auction Dec. 13 for nearly 390,000 acres (157,831 hectares) of ocean off Massachusetts.Zinke said the area, if fully developed, could supply power to nearly 1.5 million homes.He also announced the bureau is opening its environmental review of a 15-turbine project off Long Island, New York, proposed by Deepwater Wind, operators of the nation's lone commercial wind farm off Rhode Island.And in California, Zinke announced the bureau is seeking comment on possible areas for wind development off the state's central and northern coasts.The administration hopes that will lead to the West Coast's first offshore wind auction.


General Motors Texas Plant Runs 100% on Wind Power

Industry Week | Posted on October 25, 2018

The energy sourced from Cactus Flats combined with power procured from the Los Mirasoles Wind Farm meets the electricity demand.

These huge new wind turbines are a marvel. They’re also the future.

Vox | Posted on October 25, 2018

The latest model has blades longer than football fields.The math on wind turbines is pretty simple: Bigger is better. Specifically, there are two ways to produce more power from the wind in a given area.The first is with bigger rotors and blades to cover a wider area. That increases the capacity of the turbine, i.e., its total potential production.The second is to get the blades up higher into the atmosphere, where the wind blows more steadily. That increases the turbine’s “capacity factor,” i.e., the amount of power it actually produces relative to its total potential (or more colloquially: how often it runs).

Injury rates jump at coal giant Murray's West Virginia mines

Reuters | Posted on October 25, 2018

 Injury rates have more than doubled at five West Virginia coal mines acquired by Murray Energy Corp. in 2013, according to a Reuters review of federal data, as the firm sharply increased the amount of coal produced per manhour.

New York Sues Exxon Mobil, Saying It Deceived Shareholders on Climate Change

The New York Times | Posted on October 25, 2018

New York’s attorney general sued Exxon Mobil claiming the company defrauded shareholders by downplaying the expected risks of climate change to its business. The litigation, which follows more than three years of investigation, represents the most significant legal effort yet to establish that a fossil fuel company misled the public on climate change and to hold it responsible. Not only does it pose a financial threat to Exxon that could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars or more, but it could also strike a blow to the reputation of a company that has worked to rehabilitate its image, framing itself as a leader on global warming.The suit does not charge Exxon with playing a role in creating climate change, though the burning of fossil fuels is a major contributor to human-driven warming. Rather, it is a fairly straightforward shareholder fraud suit, the kind that New York attorneys general have long brought and successfully prosecuted under state law.

Fighting to Breathe in the Shadow of a Coal Power Plant

Esquire | Posted on October 25, 2018

A glimpse at a small Pennsylvania town in the middle of a health crisis, all while the Trump administration moves to relax what regulations there still are on how their nearby plants operate. ut there are also thousands of smaller casualties of this effort to dismantle the EPA. The Flint water crisis increasingly looks to have been a harbinger, not an aberration, something that will not improve with looser water standards. Some of the rollbacks have been almost comical, like the administration's twin moves—based on fringe science—to loosen restrictions on asbestos and small amounts of radiation exposure on the basis their threats to human health are overstated. And then there are the ordinary American victims—past, present, and future—of coal power generation, a dangerously dirty process given a new lease on life with the CPP's rollback, but which has been decimating small and powerless communities for decades.Here is one such community: an area of Pennsylvania called Allegheny County that is home to a large coal power plant in the town of Springdale—and a mortality rate in some areas that's 87 percent above the national level. People in this little corner of the country get cancer, and they get asthma, and they get it early and often. They have no doubt about the cause. It is not a question of bureaucracy or environmentalism or liberty to them—it's life and death. 

Trump Gives Farmers a Jolt of Fuel

Wall Street Journal | Posted on October 18, 2018

President Trump’s decision last week to allow the year-round sale of E15 is a promise made and kept to farmers throughout rural America. E15 is shorthand for gasoline blended with 15% ethanol, instead of the more common E10, and was prohibited for sale in the summer by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2011.Biofuels are a part of everyday life in Iowa, the top corn-and ethanol-producing state in the U.S. Ethanol supports more than 43,000 Iowa-based jobs and 350,000 jobs throughout the country, directly and indirectly. Ethanol contributed $44.4 billion to gross domestic product and $5 billion in federal tax revenue in 2017.Year-round E15 sales will bring increased stability to the market and create new growth opportunities. Today only about 1,400 out of 122,000 filling stations in the U.S. sell E15. That’s a result of the Obamaera regulation, not a lack of consumer demand. With filling stations prohibited from selling higher-ethanol blends for nearly a third of the year, it often didn’t make economic sense to install the infrastructure necessary to sell the product at all. That will change after the implementation of year-round E15.The change couldn’t come at a better time. Farm income is down 47% over the past five years. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement will help, but there’s still unrest in America’s heartland about trade negotiations between the U.S. and China. The administration’s E15 action will deliver a timelyinfusion of optimism to farmers. It will also put an end to an unnecessary government regulation that hinders consumer choice at the pump.

Sony Shifts US 100% Renewable Energy Goal Forward By A Decade

Clean Technica | Posted on October 17, 2018

Only a month after it announced that it was joining the RE100 initiative and committing to sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2040, entertainment and electronics giant Sony Corporation has announced this week it is bringing forward its US goal by a decade.