Fw: Daily Grist [Senate begins to debate energy bill, and more]
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Wednesday, 13 Jun 2007
Ain't Too Proud To Bleg
Nope, it's not a typo -- a "bleg" is a shameless question asked on a blog. Here's today's shameless question: Could you send a little money our way? We'd be forever grateful.
We Propose They Give Everyone a Pony
Senate begins to debate energy bill
The U.S. Senate began debate on a honkin' new energy bill yesterday. In its current form, the bill would increase vehicle fuel-economy standards by up to 40 percent by 2020, significantly boost ethanol production (both corn and non-corn), promote green-collar job training, and mandate a reduction in imported-oil use by 10 million barrels a day by 2031. Let the amending begin! Coal-state Democrats want billions of dollars in loans and other incentives for the bane of greens' existence, coal-to-liquid fuel. Republicans want incentives for domestic fossil-fuel production. One proposal in the works would weaken the bill's fuel-economy goals, to the joy of the auto industry. An amendment may surface to make some businesses report annual greenhouse-gas emissions; another would require utilities to source 15 percent of their power from renewables. The White House has issued a statement opposing pretty much everything. The House will soon begin debating its version; Congress hopes to produce its grand finale before the Fourth of July recess.straight to the source: The Wall Street Journal, John J. Fialka, 13 Jun 2007 (access ain't free)straight to the source: The Boston Globe, Associated Press, H. Josef Hebert, 12 Jun 2007straight to the source: The Washington Post, Steven Mufson, 13 Jun 2007straight to the source: The New York Times, Edmund L. Andrews, 13 Jun 2007
Ready to Barack
Obama qualifies his support for coal-to-liquid fuel
Illinois senator and presidential hopeful Barack Obama (D) has qualified his support for coal -- which is, you may recall, the enemy of the human race. In January, Obama cosponsored legislation to provide incentives for production of coal-to-liquid fuel. He was lambasted by enviros; influential advocacy group MoveOn.org waged a petition opposing the bill. And the public pressure seems to have worked: Yesterday, Obama sent an email to green groups that stated, "Senator Obama supports ... investing in technology that could make coal a clean-burning source of energy. However, unless and until this technology is perfected, Senator Obama will not support the development of any coal-to-liquid fuels unless they emit at least 20 percent less life-cycle carbon than conventional fuels." Was it a flip-flop? A clarification, as Obama aides claimed? Or the result of an environmentalist "jihad" against the industry, in the words of a Big Coal spokesflack? Regardless, many greens are back on the Obandwagonstraight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Peter Wallsten, 13 Jun 2007new in Gristmill: Obama, CTL, and opportunity costs
A South African reader ponders how to get her feet wet installing a solar hot-water heater, and energized by all things sunny (or at least solar) this week, Grist's resident advice maven shines some light on the process. Unleashing rays of wisdom, she offers plenty of hot tips for going solar.
NEW IN GRIST
Something New Under the Sun
Umbra on solar hot-water systemsnew in Ask Umbra: Something New Under the Sun
Bad to the Roan
BLM OKs drilling on Colorado's Roan Plateau, new grazing rules blocked
Steamrolling the opinions of various Colorado politicians, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has OK'd oil and gas drilling on 73,602 acres of the Roan Plateau, known to be rich in both underground fossil fuels and aboveground wildlife. Two of Colorado's Democratic representatives had asked the BLM for a one-year moratorium on drilling in the area, and Governor Bill Ritter (D) had asked that the decision be postponed 120 days -- to no avail. "Unfortunately, the BLM's rush to lease this special area could inhibit my ability to weigh in on this extremely important decision," said a bitter Ritter. But lest you fear that the BLM can muscle its way into whatever it wants, take heart: a judge recently blocked the agency from loosening restrictions on livestock grazing on 160 million acres of federal land. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill declared that the new regulations violated several federal environmental laws and were a result of giving in to pressure from Big Ranching.straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, Keith Coffman, 12 Jun 2007straight to the source: MSNBC.com, Associated Press, 08 Jun 2007straight to the source: MSNBC.com, Associated Press, 11 Jun 2007
How Much CO2 Does a Kegger Emit?
College and university presidents sign on to climate pledge
Aiming to give greenhouse-gas reduction the old college try, 280 institutions have signed on to the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. Modeled after a pact signed by mayors across the country, the agreement commits schools to promoting research on global warming, keeping track of emissions, and aiming for carbon neutrality. The effort is being led by President Michael Crow of Arizona State University, which plans to turn down the AC, increase solar power, and provide free bus passes to students, faculty, and staff. Some non-signers are lukewarm to the pact: University of Virginia President John T. Casteen III said signing would lead to spending taxpayer money "without appropriate planning or cost justification," and an administrator at Johns Hopkins University asked, "If a student goes on spring break to Daytona Beach, are we responsible for that, too?" Naysayers aside, Crow hopes 1,000 college presidents will sign on by the end of next year. Top that, mayors!straight to the source: The Washington Post, Susan Kinzie, 12 Jun 2007straight to the source: The Arizona Republic, Anne Ryman, 12 Jun 2007straight to the source: University of Virginia Office of the President, 21 Mar 2007
NOW IN GRIST
Like Father, Like Son. Send a question to InterActivist and conservationist A. Carl Leopold.
Volt Early, Volt Often. Umbra advises on installing solar power.
From Splits to Stamps. A new Grist List by Sarah van Schagen and Sarah K. Burkhalter.
Sour Milk. A big "organic" dairy has long skirted regulations, and is finally stripped of its certification.
When I'm Climate Czar ... If you were in charge of tackling global warming, what policy changes would you prioritize?
Obama, CTL, and opportunity costs. Better, but still not great.
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