Saturday, February 28, 2009

Coal just ain't a good energy source

Racism is a serious problem in our country, and hate groups are exploiting a poor economy and the election of a black president to grow and thrive.
Is there a hate group near you?

You can make a difference.

Take a Stand Against Hate.


* GWB personal memoir will confess alcohol relapses, marital woes, says national weekly. Read.

* President’s Therapist revelations of secret intervention to treat George W. Bush a bestseller. Read.

* President’s Therapist surely not fiction, says NY lit prof to special TV inquiry. See video/ Read

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Coal Action Heats Up Capitol Hill
By Harry Hanbury, American News Project. Posted February 27, 2009.

This weekend thousands of students will come to D.C. to rally, lobby, and get arrested for a clean energy economy. Tools

Global warming is lighting a fire on today's campuses, and this weekend thousands of students will come to D.C. to rally, lobby, and get arrested for a clean energy economy. ANP talks with young activists about why this issue inspires their generation, and we hear from Congressman Jim Moran about why the time is right for civil disobedience.

We can't stand anymore of THE CLEAN COAL TECHNOLOGY, Appalachia has been bombed, blasted and bulldozed right into 3rd world America !!!

Practically ALL solutions to our sorry enviornmental state involve finding something new to BURN, cleaning (or petending to) clean existing fuel like coal, or scams like synfuels and biofuels. Burning stuff is what got us into the mess we're in, now. The same old crap isn't going to work; it's time to begin the research into energy production which doesn't add to the CO2 in the air, or more HEAT, either.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Don't let the contractors take all your brushpiles; the birds won't forgive you

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of mockingbird on brushpile at World Peace Wetland Prairie on February 25, 2009,

The more buds you spot on the ends of small limbs the more likely these limbs are the ones to keep on your property if you want plenty of song birds to be in your neighborhood when spring comes. You might also try to convince your neighbors to preserve some similar brushpiles on their property. And urging neighbors to preserve ice-damaged trees on their property also will help.
Many won't understand. But every property owner who keeps a brush pile or resists pressure to cut down a damaged tree can make a difference in the reproductive success of song birds in the coming spring.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Climate Fears Are Driving 'Ecomigration' Across Globe

Adam Fier, wife Misbah Sadat and daughters Maya and Maha moved to New Zealand partly out of climate concerns. (By Leah L. Jones For The Washington Post)

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 23, 2009; Page A01
Adam Fier recently sold his home, got rid of his car and pulled his twin 6-year-old girls out of elementary school in Montgomery County. He and his wife packed the family's belongings and moved to New Zealand -- a place they had never visited or seen before, and where they have no family or professional connections. Among the top reasons: global warming.

Climate Fears Are Driving 'Ecomigration' Across Globe
Weather Gang: MIT Group Increases Global Warming Projections
Full Coverage: Environmental News
Halfway around the world, the president of Kiribati, a Pacific nation of low-lying islands, said last week that his country is exploring ways to move all its 100,000 citizens to a new homeland because of fears that a steadily rising ocean will make the islands uninhabitable.

The two men are at contrasting poles of a phenomenon that threatens to reshape economies, politics and cultures across the planet. By choice or necessity, millions of "ecomigrants" -- most of them poor and desperate -- are on the move in search of more habitable living space.

There were about 25 million ecomigrants in the world a little more than a decade ago, said Norman Myers, a respected British environmental researcher at Oxford University. That number is now "a good deal higher," he added. "It's plain that sea-level rise in the wake of climate change will inundate the homelands of huge numbers of people."

In Bangladesh, about 12 million to 17 million people have fled their homes in recent decades because of environmental disasters -- and the low-lying country is likely to experience more intense flooding in the future. In several countries in Africa's Sahel region, bordering the Sahara, about 10 million people have been driven to move by droughts and famines.

In the Philippines, upwards of 4 million people have moved from lowlands to highlands as a result of deforestation. And in an earlier era, about 2.5 million Americans became ecomigrants after droughts and land degradation during the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s.

President Anote Tong of Kiribati asked the international community this month to start thinking of ways to help entire nations relocate to higher ground. He called for an international fund to buy land for such mass migrations and said his nation's citizens are prepared to pay for a new homeland. Many citizens of Kiribati are attempting to migrate to New Zealand, and Tong said he is arming his people with skills in vocations such as plumbing that would be valuable in other countries.

A variety of forecasts suggest that environmental disasters are likely to grow in number and intensity in coming decades. Conflicts and war often follow migrations of large numbers of people across international borders. But as the Fier family shows, ecomigration is not just the province of the desperate -- or a phenomenon that involves only people in faraway lands.

"The guy who moves from here to New Zealand is no different than the guy who moves from the lowland in the Philippines to the highland, or from El Salvador to Honduras," said Rafael Reuveny, a political economist who studies ecomigration at Indiana University at Bloomington. "Down the road, probably sooner than we think, we are facing major environmental changes. These changes have started to occur and are moving relatively slowly, but the pace of change will accelerate in our lifetime."

Fier, 38, a computer security professional who used to work at NASA, said he thought hard about the risks of global climate change. He knew moving to a new country would be difficult but thought that the dangers of staying in the United States were worse. Several years ago, he drew up a list of countries and studied how they might fare over the next century. He examined their environmental policies, access to natural resources and whether they would be safe from conflict. He decided that New Zealand would offer a comparable quality of life, has an excellent environmental record and is isolated from global conflicts by large tracts of the Pacific Ocean. Its tropical, subtropical, temperate and arctic zones also offer a variety of "bioenvironments" as a hedge against the vagaries of climate change.

New Zealand's environmental credentials are no secret: Nearly half of all skilled migrants to the country cite its "climate or the clean, green environment to be a main reason" for moving there, according to a survey conducted by the nation's Department of Labor.

Although the nation of 4.3 million produces only one-fifth of 1 percent of the world's greenhouse gases, it is ramping up production of energy from renewable sources, said Roy Ferguson, New Zealand's ambassador to the United States.

Sierra Club to meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 24, 2009, for presentation on environmental bills in legislature

The Ozark Headwaters Group of the Sierra Club will be meeting
tomorrow, Tuesday Feb. 24th, at 7 pm at U.S. Pizza Company on Dixon
Street in Fayetteville. The Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks has a fun
and informative presentation planned. Also Bill Kopsky of the Arkansas
Public Policy Panel will be discussing the environmental bills that
will be coming before the Arkansas Legislature this year and the
upcoming rally day at the Capitol building. You do not have to be a
member to attend!
For more information contact Molly at or at 479 527 9499

Friday, February 20, 2009


Study: New Regulations Could Cost Turk Coal Plant $2.8 Billion 
By The Associated Press - 2/19/2009 5:08:01 PM
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A proposed coal-fired power plant being built in southwestern Arkansas could end up paying $2.8 billion over 40 years because of new federal carbon penalties, a study by opponents released Thursday claims.
New figures from the Southwestern Electric Power Co. put the cost of building the plant at about $2 billion, counting the costs of upgrading power lines and substations and obtaining an air permit. But opponents say a tougher stance by the Environmental Protection Agency on greenhouse gases will drive costs even higher for the project - which will be funded by ratepayers.
"The main thing that the utility was not willing to admit ... was that the future costs of containing or controlling the (carbon dioxide) from this plant will be vastly greater than they ever anticipated or were willing to admit at the time," said Jim Metzger, the study's author, told reporters Thursday.Metzger estimated the John W. Turk Jr. plant being built in Hempstead County would likely have to spend more than $163 million annually - or $2.8 billion over 40 years - just to contain or abate carbon dioxide emissions.The 60-page study, done on behalf of the Sierra Club and Audubon Arkansas, comes after the EPA announced it was reviewing a Bush policy on new coal-fired power plants. The old policy prohibits using the federal permit process to require new coal-fired power plants to install equipment to reduce carbon dioxide.Because of moves like that, at least 59 proposed coal-fired projects nationwide have been canceled or delayed, according to anti-coal groups.SWEPCO officials dismissed the study as speculative."It's another delay tactic," SWEPCO spokesman Scott McCloud said. "All their purpose is, is to derail the Turk project."Opponents are challenging an air permit for the plant granted by the state environmental regulators. Meanwhile, the utility asked the state for a $53.9 million rate increase Thursday, in part to cover financing costs for the power plant.\SWEPCO, based in Shreveport, La., is a subsidiary of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power, among the largest electric utilities in the country.(Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Loss of Louise Russert Kraemer will be felt by many environmental and social-justice organizations

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Louise Kraemer on June 30, 2009, after a Ward 4 meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Louise "Weez" Rothmund Russert-Kraemer, 85, professor emeritus of zoology at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, died Friday, Feb. 13, 2009, at Hillcrest Hospital in Cleveland.
She was born Dec. 17, 1923, to John W. and Wilhelmina Rothmund Russert in Milwaukee.
Weezie, as she was known to her friends, attended the Milwaukee University School and began her college education at Wellesley College, finishing a B.S. in biology at Marquette University. She went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for her graduate studies. On completing her M.S. and graduate course work, she accepted a tenure-track position as assistant professor of zoology at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville in 1948, where she met William S. Kraemer, professor of philosophy. They married in the spring of 1949. Due to a nepotism rule preventing married couples from teaching in the same college, Louise lost her academic position.
While being the devoted mother to her four children, Weez returned to adjunct teaching in the department of zoology at the University of Arkansas in the mid-1950s. With her four, young children in tow, she revived her graduate studies and completed her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1966 with a specialization in malacology, the study of mollusks (clams and snails). She regained a full-time position in the U of A zoology department where, as a dynamic teacher and innovative researcher, she quickly rose to the rank of full professor. Nationally and internationally recognized for pioneering research combining malacology and animal behavior, she was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and served as president of the American Malacological Union and of the American Microscopical Society. She was a cofounder of the Society for the History and Philosophy of Biology. In the school year 1987-1988, she was a visiting fellow at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge University. Retiring in 1993, she founded Bionomia, a U of A biology department newsletter that highlights activities of faculty and graduates. By the time of her death, she had produced 13 issues.
In her community and on the U of A campus, Weez was a tireless force for social change. As a young mother, she worked through the League of Women Voters for the desegregation of Fayetteville's public schools. At the U of A she was involved in many important causes, but her most lasting contribution was her work to improve the situation for women, fighting sexist regulations, mentoring young faculty and students, and helping to raise the consciousness of the campus on many important issues. In her retirement she still worked on campus to redefine the role of emeritus faculty. She was actively involved in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, organizing lay services, serving as chairwoman of the Aesthetics Committee for many years and working in numerous ways to improve the organization. Late in life she still energetically engaged in local environmental and political matters, serving as League of Women Voters local chapter president and as chairwoman of the Washington County Democratic Women.
Preceded in death by her beloved husband, William; sisters, Audrey Lowe and Joan Russert-Haber; and brother, Roger Russert-Malakoff, she is survived by her four children, Eric Russert Kraemer and his wife Francine Klein, Robert Russert Kraemer and his wife Ginger, Lisa Russert Kraemer and her husband Richard Lang and Soren Russert Kraemer and his wife Karen; Weez's 12 grandchildren, Jonathan Lang and his wife Deborah, Ryan Kraemer and his wife Marion, Alexander Kraemer and his wife Jennifer, Katherine Lang, Sarah Kraemer, Bradley Kraemer, William Lang, Michael Kraemer, Daniel Lang, Kevin Kraemer, Kyle Kraemer and Anna Kraemer; and a greatgranddaughter, Madeleine Kraemer.
A service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 901 W. Cleveland St., Fayetteville, which will be followed by a reception.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Louise Russert-Kraemer memorial fund, University of Arkansas Foundation Inc., University House, Fayetteville, AR 72701.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Coal-powered power plants take a hit

February 17, 2009
Contact: Harlan Hentges, 1-405-808-7669 or Robert Huston, 1-479-629-1073

Today’s decision by AES to cancel plans to build a second coal-fired generating plant in Panama is proof the handwriting is on the wall for burning coal to produce electricity.
Robert Huston of the Center for Energy Matters, the citizen-based group fighting the proposed expansion, says public outcry for newer, cleaner technologies is forcing companies to take a second look at how they generate electricity.
Combined with today’s Obama Administration action to begin regulating carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, according to Huston, “It’s no wonder AES pulled their application.”
“With today’s EPA ruling, the cost to AES to clean up carbon emissions from their existing Panama plant, much less a new plant twice the size, would make any company’s shareholders think twice about using coal to generate electricity, especially when cleaner technologies exist.” Huston said.
The Center for Energy Matters contends the six coal-fired generating plants in eastern Oklahoma creates smog, contaminates rivers, steams and water supplies with mercury and arsenic and creates a loss of economic viability to the region.
“This also proves that the people of eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas don’t just accept things at face value. The people from Leflore and Sequoyah Counties who voiced their concerns about the health and economic ramifications prove they aren’t going believe everything a large, multi-national corporation tells them.” Huston said
“Adding another dirty coal-fired generating plant to our area could potentially force Tulsa, Fort Smith, Fayetteville and Bentonville out of attainment for air quality standards under the Clean Air Act. That could limit the entire region in attracting new industries to the area.” Huston said.
The Environmental Protection Agency, under the new leadership of Administrator Lisa Jackson, granted a petition from the Sierra Club and other groups calling for reconsideration of an unlawful, midnight memo issued by former EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson which sought to prohibit controls on global warming pollution from coal plants.
Today's decision is consistent with a previous ruling by the EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) in the Utah Bonanza case, which found that there was no valid reason for the Bush administration's refusal to limit carbon dioxide emissions from new coal-fired power plants. The so-called Johnson Memo sought to unlawfully overturn that decision.


Gladys Tiffany
Omni Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology
Fayetteville, Arkansas USA
479-973-9049 --

Friday, February 13, 2009

Endless battle against coal-mining pollution

Appeals Court Overturns New Mountaintop Mine Rules
Friday 13 February 2009
by: Tim Huber, The Associated Press

Charleston, West Virginia - A federal appeals court Friday overturned a ruling requiring more extensive environmental reviews of mountaintop removal, a form of coal mining in Appalachia that blasts away whole peaks.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., ruled the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the authority to issue Clean Water Act permits for mountaintop removal coal mines without more extensive reviews.

The ruling is a blow to environmentalists and coalfield neighbors who oppose the highly efficient but destructive practice that exposes thin, shallow coal seams. Rocks, dirt and other debris typically are dumped into valleys containing intermittent streams, which is how clean water rules become involved.

The decision is a big win for mine operators. The coal industry says most of the nearly 130 million tons of coal produced at mountaintop mines in Appalachia goes to generate electricity for 24.7 million U.S. customers. Moreover, mountaintop mines employ some 14,000 people across West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Mountaintop permits have slowed to a trickle since March 2007, when the Corps was ordered by U.S. District Judge Chuck Chambers to rescind several permits. It was Chambers' ruling that the appeals court overturned.

"It's Friday the 13th, what do you expect?" said Janet Keating, executive director of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition.

"We are deeply disappointed," Keating said. Her coalition plans to get together with two other environmental groups involved in the case to determine their next step.

The Corps is reviewing the decision to determine how it affects the agency's process, spokeswoman Peggy Noel said.

"We'll follow the guidance that the court tells us to do," Noel said. "Public health and safety is a top priority of the Corps."

West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney praised the decision, saying it brings stability to the industry at a time when it faces sluggish demand due to the weak economy.

"It's so reassuring to have the stability of the appeals court that recognizes the professionalism of the Corps of Engineers," Raney said. "They really protected the jobs of the miners."

Appalachian mining giant Massey Energy Co. also praised the ruling, which directly involved several permits issued for the Richmond, Va.-based company's mines.

"Even though we have not had an opportunity to fully review the 4th Circuit's decision, we are pleased with the fact it has rejected Judge Chambers' previous ruling," Massey spokesman Jeff Gillenwater said in an e-mail. "This should put an end to much of the uncertainty regarding the issuance of surface mine permits."

Massey, the nation's fourth-largest coal producer, and other mine operators have been bracing for the better part of two years for potential production cuts stemming from an inability to get permits.

"Naturally people will be looking at what it says for environmental policy going forward. I think it's also potentially very significant economic news and very good news for the region," National Mining Association spokesman Luke Popovich said.

Coal companies have been cutting production, closing mines and laying off workers across the country amid anemic demand, particularly for utility coal overseas and coking coal used to fire steel mill blast furnaces. At least 1,310 jobs have been trimmed at various Appalachian mines in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, American consumers are facing higher electric rates as 2009 coal delivery contracts take effect that were signed last year, at a time when prices had risen as much as double from the year before.

"We think this could easily free up more supply," Popovich said. That could help bring down fuel costs for electricity.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wind power industry growing and employs more people than coal industry

Wind Now Employs More Than Coal In U.S.
The wind industry now employs more people than coal mining in the United States. Wind industry jobs jumped 70 percent in 2008 from the previous year, according to a new report by theAmerican Wind Energy Association.

The wind energy sector now employs 85,000 people in the country, up from 50,000 one year ago. Wind sector jobs are varied and include turbine component manufacturing, construction and installation of wind turbines, wind turbine operations and maintenance, legal and marketing services, and more.

In contrast, coal mining employs about 81,000 workers, according to a 2007 U.S. Department of Energy report.

The new wind projects completed in 2008 account for 42 percent of new power-producing capacity added nationally last year, and will avoid nearly 44 million tons of carbon emissions, the equivalent of taking over 7 million cars off of the road.

February 3, 2009 | Permalink
(National Wildlife Federation)
Posted by Global Warming Staff in Energy and Economics

Friday, February 6, 2009

Climate history helps conservation groups set goals

Climate history 'helps conserve'
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website
Understanding a region's climatic history can help locate areas rich in species, scientists say.
A research group from North and South America used the climatic history of Brazil's Atlantic Forest to pinpoint likely hotspots of genetic diversity.
With frogs, at least, the idea worked, pinpointing places with a rich lineage.
Writing in the journal Science, they say this could set "new priorities" for conservation in regions likely to harbour interesting plants and animals.
"With this method, we can identify areas that have been working as refugia for biodiversity," said research leader Ana Carolina Carnaval from the University of California at Berkeley.
"These are areas that have remained climatically stable through time, where local communities have been able to persist.
"Despite the fact that we haven't sampled them exhaustively yet, we think there is a lot of undocumented, hidden diversity there, the potential for a lot of species still unknown to science."
The Atlantic Forest once stretched for thousands of kilometres down the Brazilian coast, and extended inland through Paraguay into northern Argentina.
Less than 10% of its original area remains - largely fragmented into hilltop groves - and is categorised as a World Biosphere Reserve because of the ecological riches dwelling within.
On target
Dr Carnaval's team used climate models to show that the central part of the forest had seen less climatic variation over the last 20,000 years than the more explored southern region.
This ought to mean, they hypothesised, that species might have survived there undisturbed by climatic fluctuations, whereas in other parts of the forest their existence would have been more transitory.
To confirm the idea, they took DNA from three frog species occurring across the region and found that those in the central part of the forest were more genetically diverse, indicating that populations there had been more stable over the millennia.
If the idea holds true generally, they say, this could help pinpoint areas that researchers could usefully target.
"We think this technique could be applied in other countries and other hotspot areas to identify regions that haven't been well sampled yet, regions that could possibly harbour as yet undiscovered unique diversity," said Dr Carnaval.
"This is a general method for identifying and prioritising hotspots within hotspots, for finding highly diverse areas that have not been fully explored."
The concept of "biodiversity hotspots" was developed by the UK scientist Norman Myers 20 years ago, and is something that conservationists routinely use.
Even so, hotspots can be really big - the Atlantic Forest is an example - so, practically, targeting areas within them as priorities for research or for protection ought to be worthwhile.
"It's really interesting and a good piece of science," said Jonathan Baillie from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
"There are all sorts of limitations, but this is definitely a positive thing that gives you one extra view of the situation, and it's a tool that conservation organisations may incorporate into their decision-making."
Some of the limitations probably include the region of the world concerned. Within 20,000 years, for example, many northern lands have experienced widespread glaciation, which wrought much rougher changes on ecosystems.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/02/06 18:21:24 GMT

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fourth District Rep. Mike Ross rolls over for SWEPCO power plant, needs to join GOP now

The Associated Press story below suggests that Mike Ross of Prescott, who represents Arkansas' Fourth Congressional District in the U.S. House and who previously has run as a Democrat, is about ready to pull a Tommy Robinson and join the GOP!
That trick didn't keep Robinson in Congress and it won't work for Ross. But it may be his only option. His support for a coal-fired power plant in south Arkansas flies in the face of thousands of his former supporters.

Ross Visits Power Plant, Reaffirms Support
FULTON -- Fourth District Rep. Mike Ross has gotten his first look at the $1.5 billion coal-fired power plant that is being built in Hempstead County by Southwestern Electric Power.
The Prescott Democrat, whose congressional district includes the construction site, supports the project that landowners, hunters and environmentalists oppose because of concerns that plant emissions will degrade the air quality and harm wildlife. Coal-fired power plants also are a main source of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
During a Monday tour, Ross downplayed the environmental concerns. He said that because of new technology, Arkansans can be assured that the environment will be protected.
"I'm an environmentalist," Ross said. "The way coal power plants operated then is different than the way they do now. Using new technologies, we'll continue to find ways to continue to clean coal up. We can get electricity we need with the plant here and still be good stewards of the environment."
Ross reaffirmed his support for the project and said the power station was already providing an economic boost to the area.
The Arkansas Public Service Commission has approved the project but Swepco faces a March 9 administrative trial over a challenge to an air permit from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.
Ross predicted an electricity shortage in the decades ahead, and said the plant would be a necessary source of power.
"An electricity crisis will hit in 20 or 30 years. The electric crisis will hit harder than the gas crunch we've already been through. We have to become less dependent on oil and use what's here. Coal is the most abundant fuel to use for an energy source -- we've got to do it all," he said.
Accompanying Ross were officials from Swepco and parent-company Arkansas Electric Power, as well as people affiliated with the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope and the Shaw Group, which is building the John W. Turk Jr. plant. Jennifer Methvin, vice chancellor of the community college, said the school was training students to work at the site.
"There have been 100 students enrolling at UACCH so far to learn these jobs. We want to help the economy and we're thrilled and flattered at AEP's confidence in us to create the curriculum for the program," Methvin said.
Officials said about half of the 500 people working construction at the site are from the area. A warehouse is under construction, and steel for the power plant is to be erected in May. Swepco has been granted permission to build even though appeals of its permits are pending.