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The U.S. Department of Energy revises wind energy potential
map for the entire U.S. and which shows the areas of the United States
evaluated with increased (or new) wind energy potential with siting of
a larger/taller generation of wind turbine systems that are now available....compared
to  publication of wind energy potential map areas previously considered practical or
recognized from previous DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
findings on wind energy potential:

http://energy.gov/...

See map on PDF page 6.

DOE's page for this report has some other pertinent links of interest:

http://energy.gov/...

See also article in Power Engineering Magazine:

http://www.power-eng.com/...

Note in particular that wind energy potential of the Southeastern quadrant of the United States is now considered to be improved over previous estimates for this U.S. region.

......Sorry for the abbreviated diary, but I've got a garden to get planted today....and this limited diary is better than no diary for purposes of the information getting out.

Discuss

These musings by the Editor in Chief of the American Chemical Society's publication, Environmental Science & Technology, are a worthy read for those interested in the interaction between science, policy, the public and consumer attitudes.

http://pubs.acs.org/...

The piece from EST's editor concerns polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), which are fire retardants that have been historically in widespread use in the manufacture of furniture, and which are a hard fought issue of consumer protection and chemical regulation.   PBDEs are contained in the cushion foam and other plastics to retard combustability of those materials.   However, particles containing PBDE can be shed from such foam by mechanical wearing action and material degradation.

Some PBDE compounds are ubiquitous environmental contaminants and have been found in human tissue.

More on PBDE compounds:

http://www.epa.gov/...

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/...

http://www.clu-in.org/...

PBDEs in house dust and clothes dryer lint:

http://pubs.acs.org/...

Discuss

National environmental organizations and Democrats [often motivated by Tom Steyer campaign contributions] have created a mythology about the Keystone XL Pipeline claiming this to be an "export pipeline" and alleging that crude oil deliveries from the proposed pipeline would go to China or everywhere else other than the United States.

Sierra Club sends out fund solicitations showing cartoon graphics of tankers labelled "China" being loaded by KXL crude and Steyer's NextGen shows dramatic footage in a polished political ad making this claim alleging the crude oil will go to China.   Michael Brune goes to a congressional committee and on national television making similar claims alleging that the United States will not receive any benefits from the alleged "export pipeline."

For both Democrats and environmental organizations...the claim that the Keystone XL Pipeline is an "export pipeline" is reality denial and engineering denial.   Engaging in such reality denial is not compatible with ethical conduct considerations, science-based conservation stewardship and public trust energy/environmental protection decisionmaking.

Nothing in Department of State Final Supplemental  Environmental Impact Statement supports the claim or notion that the Keystone XL Pipeline is an "export pipeline."   There is no basis in the DOS FSEIS for President Obama to make a decision on TransCanada's application on the basis that it is a crude oil export pipeline.

The DOS FSEIS document acknowledges the physical and economic realities that KXL-delivered heavy sour crude is destined for United States petroleum refineries on the Gulf Coast.   These same USA petroleum refineries sell the majority of their total finished petroleum products in the USA.   Even if such refineries sold their products mostly for export, it would not change the fact that KXL as proposed is a USA crude oil import pipeline and NOT an "export pipeline."

In order to drive the point home that KXL is not an "export pipeline," recent news yields a very clear example demonstrating a proposed border crossing pipeline that actually and legitimately is a USA crude oil export pipeline.

This is a clear example of a pipeline project which will need a Presidential Permit for an international border crossing that is clearly an "export pipeline"  -- recent news yields this story on TransCanada's proposed Upland Pipeline Project running from North Dakota to Saskatchewan.  

The Upland Pipeline Project will carry Bakken crude for export from the United States to Canada....making it a "USA crude oil export pipeline."

http://www.chem.info/...

http://www.manufacturing.net/...

http://business.financialpost.com/...

Discuss

Sat May 02, 2015 at 10:04 AM PDT

Michigan Seismic Event -- 4.0

by LakeSuperior

Michigan experienced a 4.0 seismic event ----8 kilometers south of Galesburg, MI --  at 12:23 PM today, Saturday.

It shook my house in East Lansing, was noted by MSU employees and East Lansing Police Department and 2-3 neighbors here on Spartan Avenue.

Here is the USGS site:

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/...{%22feed%22%3A%221day_m25%22%2C%22search%22%3Anull%2C%22listFormat%22%3A%22default%22%2C%22sort%22%3A%22newest%22%2C%22basemap%22%3A%22grayscale%22%2C%22autoUpdate%22%3Atrue%2C%22restrictListToMap%22%3Atrue%2C%22timeZone%22%3A%22utc%22%2C%22mapposition%22%3A[[-8.407168163601076%2C-164.35546875]%2C[66.16051056018838%2C4.39453125]]%2C%22overlays%22%3A{%22plates%22%3Atrue}%2C%22viewModes%22%3A{%22list%22%3Atrue%2C%22map%22%3Atrue%2C%22settings%22%3Afalse%2C%22help%22%3Afalse}}

Galesburg, MI area:

https://www.google.com/...

Continue Reading

The Lipsky Family in Parker County, TX has defeated a Range Resources petition in a SLAPP lawsuit seeking to reinstate certain business disparagement and civil conspiracy claims brought by the natural gas developer.   SLAPP is the acronym for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.

In Texas a state law protects citizens exercising First Amendment rights from lawsuits by businesses who bring actions against parties who are critics of their actions, policies or developments.   The Texas law enables defendants in such SLAPP lawsuits an expedited procedure to dismissing such harassing, vexatious lawsuits by corporate entities and others.

In the case of the Steve Lipsky family in Texas that was shown in Gasland, Range Resources filed defamation and conspiracy claims against Steve Lipsky and his wife and their environmental consultant, Alissa Rich.

Although the Texas law is intended to protect the public, it did not function in this manner for Steve Lipsky, who faced Range Resources relentless litigation and appeals against them.

Last Friday, Lipsky won decisively against Range Resources in the Texas Supreme Court through rejection of a Range Resource petition, although the appeal also involved rejection of a petition by Steve Lipsky as well.   The Texas Supreme Court concluded that Range Resources could not continue its claims against the Lipsky family concerning civil conspiracy, and that the court of appeals did not properly consider the issue of evidence of 'business disparagement.'  

However, it appears that Steve Lipsky may have to continue to defend against claims of simple defamation against Range Resources as the Supreme Court did not grant Lipsey's petition on those issues.

----------

13-0928
IN RE STEVEN LIPSKY; from Parker County; 2nd Court of Appeals District (02-12-00348-CV, 411 SW3d 530, 04-22-13)

2 petitions

The Court denies the petitions for writ of mandamus.

Justice Devine delivered the TX Supreme Court opinion [which should be studied by all anti-SLAPP lawyers, nationwide]:

http://www.txcourts.gov/...

All pleadings:

http://www.search.txcourts.gov/...

Oral argument:

http://texassupremecourt.mediasite.com/...

video:

http://texassupremecourt.mediasite.com/...

------------------------------

The Lipsky family and Range Resources have been in a dispute which has had previous involvements by U.S. EPA and the Texas Railroad Commission, and other scientific researchers, with allegations that natural gas drilling, hydraulic fracturing and production operations caused thermogenic gas to be found in the Lipsky's and other neighboring wells, allegedly from a Range Resources operation a half mile away.

EPA declined to continue Safe Drinking Water Act litigation with Range Resources over the issue after Range Resources claimed the presence of nitrogen in the Lipsky well gas was an indicator that its origin was in the relatively shallow Strawn Formation and not in the formation in which Range Resources well was drilled.  

The Texas Railroad Commission has largely rejected the allegation that there is a connection between the Range Resources operation and gas intrusion in the Lipsky well.

Discuss

The Obama Administration Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issues a pipeline safety bulletin in today's Federal Register pertinent to operations
throughout the United States:

Pipeline Safety: Potential for Damage to Pipeline Facilities
Caused by Flooding, River Scour, and River Channel Migration

http://www.gpo.gov/...

Some of the recent spills on the Yellowstone River were mentioned.
..................

In other news....

Meetings: Pipeline Safety: Public Workshop on Pipeline Safety Management Systems

http://www.gpo.gov/...

.......................

P,G&E gets $1.6 billion fine for fatal pipeline accident in San Bruno, CA in 2010:

http://www.latimes.com/...

.......................

Natural Resources Defense Council

News Release -  on Gulf Deadzone Litigation under Clean Water Act...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:          Josh Mogerman, NRDC, 312-651-7909

The Mucky Mississippi: Algae Pollution Case Back in District Court

CHICAGO (April 8, 2015) - A suit to force the Environmental Protection Agency to put limits on nutrient pollution dumped into the Mississippi River was sent back to District Court yesterday.

The ruling from the federal appeals court, revising a lower court ruling, reinforced many arguments made by the Natural Resources Defense Council on behalf of the Mississippi River Collaborative aimed at breaking decades of inaction from the federal government on the issue of the pollution fueling the Gulf Dead Zone off the coast of Louisiana. The court rejected EPA’s argument that it was immune from judicial scrutiny and asked the lower court to rule on whether the Agency’s decision to avoid action on the algae problem was allowable under the Clean Water Act.  

Following is a quote from NRDC attorney Ann Alexander:

“The ruling reinforced our long-standing contention that the EPA’s decisions must be scrutinized in the light of day. They have hidden from the stubborn problem of Mississippi River pollution for decades, and the federal decision reinforces our argument that they cannot expect to hide from the court as well.

“This gives us a chance to further clarify arguments about how the Clean Water Act requires EPA to give the public straight answers on whether federal action is needed to address the problem, since state efforts to address this problem have been too weak or nonexistent to get the job done. Waterways across this nation are being mucked to the point of threatening drinking water supplies.

“We are hopeful that the arguments that won the day before will win again.”

###

Here is the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision:

http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/...

Note the list of plaintiffs includes several other groups, such as Sierra Club and Environmental Law and Policy Center.

.......................

Also....interesting on issue of mercury emissions relating to
NEPA reviews.....

"Judge Nixes Navajo Mine Expansion Permit"   [on basis of potential mercury emissions from coal to be mined]

http://www.law360.com/...

Another Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity victory with a possible precedent-setting effect on NEPA environmental review of cross media transfer and mercury emissions and with implications for federal coal policy.

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The most widely produced and used herbicide in the United States has been determined by a prestigious international scientific institution to be a probable human carcinogen (cancer initiating/promoting chemical agent).

The International Association for Research on Cancer (IARC) made an announcement of its designation on Friday that the most commonly
used herbicide in the United States, Glyphosate (found in "RoundUp")
is designated as Group 2A, probably carcinogenic to humans.

For the herbicide glyphosate , there was limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The evidence in humans is from studies of exposures, mostly agricultural, in the USA, Canada, and Sweden published since 2001.  In addition, there is convincing evidence that glyphosate also can cause cancer in laboratory  animals. On the basis of tumours in mice, the United States Environmental Protection
Agency (US EPA) originally classified glyphosate as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group C) in 1985.

After a re-evaluation of that mouse study, the US EPA changed its
classification to evidence of non-carcinogenicity in humans (Group E) in 1991. The US EPA Scientific Advisory Panel noted that the re-evaluated glyphosate results were still  significant using two statistical tests recommended in the IARC Preamble. The IARC
Working Group that conducted the evaluation considered the significant findings
from the US EPA report and several more recent positive results in concluding that there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.
Glyphosate also caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells, although it gave negative results in tests using bacteria. One study in community residents reported increases in blood markers of chromosomal damage (micronuclei) after glyphosate
formulations were sprayed nearby.

What Group 2A means:
Group 2A means that the agent is probably carcinogenic to humans. This category is used when there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.  Limited evidence means that a positive association has been observed between exposure to the agent and cancer but that
other explanations for the observations (called chance, bias, or confounding)
could not be ruled out. This category is also used when there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and strong data on how the agent causes cancer.
http://www.iarc.fr/...

Malathion also received the same designation from IARC.

Glyphosate is used on everything from corn crops, to electric utility right of ways, to getting rid of nuisance European variant invasive phragmites in the Great Lakes region.

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You heard it here first on Daily Kos, and the only reason you're hearing this today instead of yesterday is that I just got around to looking at the Federal Register index for Friday.

President Obama's Department of Energy - Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is beginning the scoping process considering a project with likely over twice or more the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions impact of the KXL Pipeline net emission increase.  

The following entities, Alaska Gasline Development Corporation; BP Alaska LNG, LLC;
Conoco Phillips Alaska LNG Company; ExxonMobil Alaska LNG, LLC;
TransCanada Alaska Midstream, LP
, are planning the Alaska LNG project which features an 800 mile twin pipeline to the original Alaska pipeline from the north slope down to Nikiski, Alaska where liquifaction, storage and marine shipments would occur on the Cook Inlet.  

The LNG processing at Nikiski would have a capacity for transhipment of 20 million tons of LNG [liquified natural gas].   There would be other, new tributary gas pipelines on the North Slope would collect stranded gas main line for transhipment to Nikiski.   A pipeline would cross the Cook Inlet [I've already let the Cook Inletkeeper know about that.].

Here's how to get from tons of LNG to metric tons of CO2:

CH4  + (2)O2 yields CO2 + (2)H20

So 1 mole of methane at 16 grams per mole upon combustion will yield 1 mole of carbon dioxide at 44 grams per mole.   Solving a proportionality...

16 grams/mole CH4       44 grams/mole CO2
-----------------         =   ------------------------------  
2E+7 tons CH4                            X

Solving for X...

X =     44 *  2E+7 tons CO2
          --------------
                  16

X =   5.5 E+7 tons CO2

Which is about 49.9 million metric tons of CO2 just for combustion of the methane to be trans-shipped by the Pipeline through Nikiski.   Additional energy inputs [with associated CO2 emissions] that would be considered in a lifecycle analysis would look at the energy required to liquify the natural gas, as well as energy required for marine shipments, compressor stations and for production/extraction up on the North Slope.  

Here is a PDF of Friday's Federal Register notice.  This is an announcement of the beginning of a scoping process for the environmental impact statement review to be conducted on the project by FERC.   Apparently the application for the project is not yet received, but FERC wants to begin the public involvement process at an earlier stage for scoping purposes:

http://www.gpo.gov/...

PUBLIC COMMENTS DUE:   December 4, 2015

Once the applicants actually file their formal application, there will be an opportunity to actually intervene in the matter as a formal party in front of FERC, and other opportunities to comment.  

This is unquestionably a big project and certainly has an emissions impact far higher than the KXL Pipeline from greenhouse gas emissions.  

Continue Reading

This is a heads up to the Daily Kos community and to other environmental networks I deal with concerning information in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine on the childhood health respiratory health benefits of the significant reduction  that has occurred in Southern California PM-2.5 and nitrogen dioxide air pollution......something brought to us all as products of the works of Senator Edmund Muskie and his Clean Air Act allies.

Here is the new NEJM article that explains that improvement in air quality associated with reductions in PM-2.5 and nitrogen dioxide led to an increase in respiratory function growth (as forced expiratory volume) for children and teens in the Southern California health study.

http://www.nejm.org/...

Here is the just released NEJM Editorial in the same issue:   Clean Air, Bigger Lungs

http://www.nejm.org/...

Brief NEJM Video on the article:

http://www.nejm.org/...=

Levels of 4 air pollutants in Southern California communities from 1994 to 2011:

http://www.nejm.org/...

Air pollution in Los Angeles, 1980 and 2014:

http://www.nejm.org/...

Continue Reading

This is a brief 'heads up' to the DK community about an item in today's Federal Register from the U.S. Department of Labor -- on the issue of Discrimination on the Basis of Sex in federal contracting.

This is part of President Obama's overall advocacy against gender discrimination and for an even playing field on such things as equal pay for equal work.

PUBLIC COMMENTS DUE MARCH 31, 2015 on the proposed rules.

SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Labor's (``DOL'') Office of Federal
Contract Compliance Programs (``OFCCP'') is proposing regulations that would set forth requirements that covered Federal Government contractors and subcontractors and federally assisted construction contractors and subcontractors must meet in fulfilling their obligations under Executive Order 11246, as amended, to ensure nondiscrimination in employment on the basis of sex and to take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their sex.  This proposal would substantially revise the existing Sex Discrimination Guidelines, which have not been substantively updated since 1970, and replace them with regulations that align with current law and legal principles and address their application to current workplace practices and issues. Most of the proposed provisions in this NPRM would clarify well-established case law or applicable requirements from other Federal agencies and therefore would not change existing requirements for entities affected by this rule. The NPRM's approach
with respect to pregnancy accommodation is consistent with the interpretation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act adopted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and by the Government in Young v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 707 F.3d 437 (4th Cir. 2013), cert. granted (U.S. No. 12-1226, July 1, 2014).  [emphasis added]
This proposed rule should be of considerable interest to those working with organizations like NOW, ACLU, Planned Parenthood Advocates, etc.
Discuss

I've been a member of the national environmental group, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), for 40 years.   I still remember the first NRDC workproduct I ever reviewed.   It was a 1974 briefing paper on the Clean Air Act of 1970 and what state air pollution control program requirements had to be met to gain EPA approval of individual State Implementation Plans.

NRDC is a principle guardian and steward of the Clean Air Act, including the heart of  the Act with Senator Muskie's vision and enactment of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect public health from common pollutants called "criteria pollutants" named for the Air Quality Criteria that are the basis for EPA's setting of NAAQS.  

In this recent blogpost, NRDC Attorney John Walke, a former EPA air enforcement attorney, shows Democrats and everyone else, just how public trust defense of the Clean Air Act and outstanding, highly effective environmental & public health advocacy is done.

Clean Air Act ninja Walke's take on Energy-in-Depth's Steve Everley's blogpost attack on current efforts to increase the stringency of EPA's NAAQS for ozone is what I'd like the DK community to see.

Note that Everley cites Cass Sunstein's involvement in holding back previous attempts by EPA to make the ozone NAAQS more stringent because the present standard does not comply with this section of the Clean Air Act's requirements on the stringency of EPA NAAQS.

In the middle of this entire dispute is the specific requirements of the Clean Air Act for what a NAAQS must do and how NAAQS are established:

http://www.gpo.gov/...

NAAQS must protect public health (including sensitive population subgroups) from adverse health effects with a margin of safety.

There has been considerable advancement over the last decade on information on the health effects of ozone.   The ongoing emergence of evidences shows that adverse health effects from ozone occur below the present ozone NAAQS ambient concentrations.   The result of this finding is that the current EPA ozone NAAQS no longer adequately protects public health and that EPA's standards should be made more stringent as is presently proposed.

Discuss

This is a heads up on the steward-to-steward-protocol to those Democrats that now govern on the City Council of Richmond, California and Daily Kos participants from that area.    

During the last November election, the insurgent political campaign in that community achieved a virtual rollover of the elected city council leadership in Richmond, CA where a Chevron refinery is located here:

https://www.google.com/...

Next Wednesday, January 28, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) will hold a public meeting, to present the third and final investigation report and safety recommendations from the August 6, 2012, crude unit fire that occurred at the Chevron Refinery in Richmond, CA.  That fire endangered 19 workers and sent more than 15,000 residents to the hospital for medical attention.

The Draft report is here [big PDF file]:

http://www.csb.gov/...

This public meeting will be of significant interest to the local community of Richmond, CA.

The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) will convene a public meeting on January 28, 2015, starting a 6:00 p.m. at the 450 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA, 94804.

More info from CSB news release is below the fold.

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