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At Rainforest Action, Becky Tarbotton and Matt Leonard write Corporate Tax Dodgers: The Dirtiest Dozen:

Last month’s discovery that GE paid zero in taxes in 2010 has exploded across the news. But GE is not alone. Rainforest Action Network reviewed the top four banks, oil and coal companies in the country, and found that all of them are gaming the system. In fact, Bank of America, Citi, Massey Energy and Chevron have also all paid zero in federal income taxes this year or in year’s past.

We reviewed 12 of the dirtiest corporate tax dodgers: Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Chevron, BP, Shell, Exxon, Massey Energy, Alpha Natural Resources, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal. These 12 banks, oil and coal companies are responsible for foreclosing on millions of people’s homes and polluting our air, water and climate. At the same time, we found that they pay next to nothing into a tax system that provides the very services that protect the homeless, the sick and our environment.

As the graphic below shows, banks, oil and coal companies are making billions in profits annually and paying much less than their fair share in taxes. In fact, the top four oil companies in the country made $1.26 trillion in gross revenues and paid a shocking 2.04% average tax rate. ...

We’re slashing billions from our budget, much of which will come out of social services and environmental protections, while allowing corporate giants to slip ever-increasing profits into offshore accounts. ...

(Click here to see this graphic full size.)

• • • • •

The Green Diary Rescue appears every Saturday. Inclusion of a particular diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement with it. The rescue begins below and continues in the jump.

• • • • •

citisven gave us a view of a model community in German Town Shows How to Achieve Nuclear Free Future: "What I find so inspiring and eye-opening about Ms. Sladek's and Schönau's story is that it puts the kibosh on the conventional wisdom that we are trapped in a lesser of two evils choice between nuclear and fossil fuel power. When she and her community were having the same discussion we're having now about how to reduce their energy consumption and shift to clean energy 25 years ago, she realized that the people with the most say in our energy system have the least interest in changing the status quo: 'We wanted the energy companies to support us, but they said "No," because they wanted to sell energy, not save energy. So one day we had the idea to take over the grid."


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Air, Water and Soil Pollution

Patience John points out the gargantuan Net Savings on Clean Air since 1970: $47 Trillion: "If the Republicans want to have a grown up discussion about the budget and real savings over a long term goal, then unfortunately their gutting of the EPA is one of the worst things we could do. In effect, they want to gut our environmental protection for the short term profit of corporations and their backers. In short: $49,462,119,000,000 net savings since the clean air bill went into effect in 1970."

Agriculture, Gardening & Food

Cornelian cherry blossoms (Cornus mas) by wide eyed lib
In the free food series, wide eyed lib offered advice on Foraging in Your Yard: "When people who don't forage think about foraging, they have a mental image of some grizzled adventurer trekking into a pristine, remote forest and carting away bags of goodness-knows-what. So it surprises such people to learn that foraging can happen just about anywhere-- in a local park, an abandoned field, overgrown farm or even their own yards and gardens. There are many advantages to foraging on your own land. You already know what, if anything, has been sprayed there, and you never have to worry about whether or not what you're doing is legal. Rather than throwing them on the compost heap, the weeds in your lawn and garden can be harvested to add nutrients and variety to your diet."

He used to eat meat, but gnostradamus quit and presented another good reason to do so for anyone who has been thinking about going vegetarian or vegan in the diary Drug-resistant staph in 1/4 of US meat: "If you're a meat-eater, bad karma was on your plate tonight.  If you don't clean your kitchen right after preparing meat, you're leaving staph bacteria lying around your house. …The new study found more than half the samples contained Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that can make people sick. Worse, half of those contaminated samples had a form of staph that's resistant to at least three kinds of antibiotics."

Muskegon Critic gave us My Confession: I Was Once Terrified of Composting. Plus Little Greenhouses: "Yeah, all the websites I've read about the art of composting over the years made it seem like a Grand Production. Turning the compost and the various browns and greens and...like...worms and heat and compost teas and all sorts of crazy crap. Diagrams of huge, three bin structures to build for proper composting. Composting seemed like a big freakin' deal. Like getting a goddamn pet. But ya know what? It's not. It's crazy easy."

PhotobucketIn House Hacking I, Caj showed us the step-by-step way he turned a cellar door into a greenhouse: "We have a four-door house: there's a front door and a back door, a side door along the driveway that opens into the basement stairs, and a concrete-and-steel Bilco (cellar) door on the back of the house. …So what do you do with a concrete stairwell leading into your basement from the outside?  Well, if it faces south, how about turning it into a greenhouse?"

gmoke showed us the simple-but-effective technique of his Recycled Solar Garden Cloche: "Every year I start my garden early by using solar cloches made from 2 liter plastic bottles.  These three cloches were planted with seed in the last week of March and first week of April, respectively, with tomato and basil, cucumber and dill, and zucchini in planting Zone 6A, eastern Massachusetts. The ring of bottles are filled with water to store solar heat during the day and the central bottle has its bottom cut out and pressed into the soil to protect the growing seeds."

NourishingthePlanet discussed Community Seed Banks to Empower Women and Protect Biodiversity: "For fifteen years, Muniyamma, a farmer in Karnataka, India, practiced agriculture with the help of agro-chemicals, such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides, but in recent years she noticed a drastic decrease in yield. After attending a village meeting conducted by the GREEN Foundation about organic farming, she decided to try their environmentally friendly techniques to grow bananas. When it was harvest time, Muniyamma’s plot was healthy and green, while her neighbor’s banana plot, which still relied on agro-chemicals, showed stunted growth, pale leaves, and thinner stems. That was enough to convince Muniyamma of the benefits of organic farming."

Lare Pumpkin NourishingthePlanet also introduced us to The Lare Pumpkin: Orange You Glad it’s Not Orange?: "The Lare village is located in a part of the Rift Valley where rainfall has become increasingly erratic, likely as a result of climate change. In August 2009 during an interview with IRIN published in AllAfrica, Samuel Karanja, a 70 year old farmer from the region, described the farmland as, 'stunted, barren fields of parched browns and pallid yellows in what should be tall, lush and green, bursting with life.' The decreased quality of land was the result of a severe drought that caused massive crop failures in what is considered the 'bread-basket' of Kenya. But lare pumpkins, because they are adapted to harsh conditions, are becoming an important source of food and income for farmers."

In the umpty-tenth installment of her Saturday Morning Garden Blogging series, Frankenoid wrote: "I tell ya, the weather here has been driving me nuts.  On the few nice, non-windy days we've had, I've been dreaming Percocet dreams (the only advantage to dental work).  Otherwise we've been windy and/or cloudy — but until Wednesday evening we've had a dearth of moisture."

TigerMom discussed spring flavors in What's for Dinner?: "The flavors of spring are brighter and lighter than the heavier meals of winter. The menu for this diary tries to highlight those fresh, bright flavors that we haven’t had for a while – sweet peas, lemon and citrus, fresh herbs and wonderful spring vegetables like asparagus, fennel and leeks."

In another installment of Macca's Meatless Monday, beach babe in f l talked about seafood and ...fixing a hole in the ocean: "We are living in an age of rolling catastrophes all self inflicted. All the result of our over consumption of fossil fuels or due to our choice of dangerous energy sources.  We have made the choice of living in a hyper crisis environment rather than make the personal choices that would free us from our addiction to oil. Our personal choices of the transportation we use, our home environment and especially the oil we eat are responsible for continuing the atmosphere of crisis. "


blueyedace2 made a lot of Kossacks go "awwwwwww" with the little red foxes photo diary.

Stuart H Smith delved into some forensics in Fingerprint: Dead Dolphins Have BP’s Oil On Them: "NOAA officials have finally come clean, admitting that at least some of the dead dolphins washing ashore on the Gulf Coast are coated in oil from BP’s Macondo well. Although the disclosure is a step in the right direction, agency officials are quick to caution against assuming the oil killed the marine mammals. That, of course, would be a silly conclusion to jump to. How could 200 million gallons of crude oil and 2 million gallons of toxic dispersant have any sort of adverse effect on the Gulf’s marine life?"

Kestrel was up for the Dawn Chorus: Shorebird Sensations: "Most of these shorebirds methodically work their way across the shallow water in which they're foraging, their heads bobbing up and down like needles in a sewing machine. Others, like the egrets and herons, stand seemingly dead still or move so slowly that they seem to be in slow motion. They stare at a spot and then strike so fast it will make your head spin. Here's a Green Heron in wait-and-snatch mode. It will stand there motionless for long periods of time and then snatch its prey from the water in the blink of an eye."Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

DWG didn't buy Lame excuses to kill elephants by GoDaddy CEO: "Crop damage from elephants is a problem that has arisen from the growth of the human population, compounded by declining rainfall associated with climate change. During the dry season, elephants are forced to forage over a large area, increasing human contact and crop damage. Killing the elephants does not solve the problem. Parsons claims his actions protect the crops as well as provide needed food for the village. Killing an elephant does provide a few servings of protein for people in the surrounding area. However, the entire village could be fed for a year for what Parsons spends on his annual two-week shooting spree."

Barred Owl In the Daily Bucket series, bwren gave us an update on the Barred Owl pictured above: "Last I reported, the female Barred Owl was making impatient noises from the nest as she waited for her partner to bring her some food. He didn't show up that day, but he's around. What you don't see is the Douglas Squirrel scolding from a safe place in the underbrush. The owl heard. And saw. He went into alert mode, hunkered up and launched himself out of sight down towards the scolding."

DWG noted that The most commonly used fungicide kills frogs: "Here is another story too small to attract media attention. Researchers have found that chlorothalonil, the most commonly used pesticide to control fungus and mold formation, is highly toxic to frogs. We use 14 million pounds of chlorothalonil per year in the United States, much of it sprayed on peanut, potato, and tomato plants. About 10% of it is sprayed on golf courses to control fungus growth on the turf."

With guests in tow for a hike, yuriwho ran into a creature hard at work, which he described in Hinterland Who's Who: The Canadian Beaver: "We hiked to the edge of the escarpment cliffs and soaked in the wonderful views, then we hiked inland to a natural pond, almost a lake created by one of the local beavers. I had been there several times in the last year and seen evidence that it was a beaver created natural wetland. Anyway, as we were standing by the waters edge, who should arrive? None other than the creator of this wonderful wetland. "

RLMiller was one of several diarists who lamented the possible future of The Inconvenient Species: "The Clean Air Act dodged a bullet in last night's budget agreement when GOP-sponsored riders to the budget were removed from the final agreement. However, the Endangered Species Act wasn't so lucky. Now wolves will be dodging bullets - literally, as the budget gives the northern Rocky Mountain states the right to delist the wolf. Many Americans love the idea of wolves free to roam around the northern Rocky Mountain states. Many ranchers in the northern Rocky Mountain states hate the idea of wolves free to roam around their land, and politicians in their home states listen to them."

Gallatin was also on that story in Obama, Tester set to wipe out Endangered Species Act: "In an unprecedented move, Democratic Senator John Tester along with Rep. Simpson have placed a rider in the budget bill that would remove wolves in the Northern Rockies from the endangered species act. As any reasonable person knows, this is a scientific issue, and should be managed by those with such expertise, and not congress. Sad news. And if you don't think it's a big deal, think again. This is big picture stuff that goes far beyond jobs."

As was frandor55 in Wolf Killing Rider Sneaked Into Budget Bill: "Senators Jon Tester (D-Montana) and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) are responsible for the rider being inserted in the budget bill. …The wolf populations could show a precipitous decline once hunting begins, no one really knows how many wolves will be killed."

And Scott in NAZ in The budget deal will be the end of wolves in the Rockies: "Wolf reintroduction in the Rockies has been a huge success, but this bill will allow hunting, trapping, and aerial shooting of wolves in the Rockies.  If you want to hear a wolf howling in the wild, I'd make that trip to Yellowstone soon.  Because there won't be many left if the states have their way."

Leafcutter trail in creek NovIn Small Worlds, loblolly showed us the marvelous industriousness of Leafcutter Ants: "Although leafcutter ants are mainly a tropical species, Texas can boast of having its very own species of leafcutter, Atta texanis, the  Texas Leafcutter ant. Here in the Lost Pines area of South Central Texas, our sandy soil is ideal for construction underground ant tunnels. I often see a leafcutter trail when I go walking with my dog in our woods.The trails are amazingly long.  This Leafcutter trail began in the woods, and continued across a nearby seasonal creek bed to the ant mound, extending over 120 feet! The ants had to clear  dead pine needles many times larger than their bodies to make the trail."

The Bohemian Dilettante wants to join People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, but being a meat-eater makes it problematic, he discussed at length in PETA is Black and White in a Rainbow World (Hatchery Law Reform and Continued Awareness): "I would be a supportive, active member of PETA to help facilitate an end to torture and abuse of animals, but PETA doesn’t support me. The animal rights group is certainly known for its shocking ads, aggressive tactics and bountiful photos of naked ladies touting vegetarianism, pet adoption and animal birth control. One of the latest posts on its blog still manages to push the envelope, with the aforementioned correlation between a meat eater and a terrorist. Blogger Logan Scherer writes a post about how Ghulam Rasool Khan, who was arrested in India with suspected links to al Qaeda and the Taliban, insists on eating large quantities of meat rather than the vegetarian food served in prison."


hester reminded us of an upcoming date of importance in The Deadly Toll for Life in the Gulf: "Wednesday April 20 it will be a full year since the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. It was a monumental catastrophe with the loss of life of eleven men and untold numbers of birds, marine mammals, turtles, fish, even invertebrates. ...The full effect of the catastrophe won't be known for years. But one thing is very clear: the reported numbers of oiled/harmed/killed birds, dolphins and other mammals, sea turtles and fish were a small fraction of the real toll. The dying continues. Peraspera has reported here on the increase in dolphin deaths. They were miscarrying. Also being reported is an increase in sea turtles washing ashore. Pelicans are trying to nest on filthy beaches that are still littered with tar balls and subsurface oil."

jamess took heart that the Secretary of Energy is not provincially minded in Dr Chu takes part in International Initiatives targeting a Clean Energy Future: "Here's some good news on the Clean Energy front.  The U.S.A. was an active participant, in the latest International Meeting of the minds, on how to best tackle the Clean Energy and CO2 problems, we all face. Looks like the days of the Kyoto foot-shuffling, may finally be behind us.  Hopefully. Secretary Chu Announces Progress on International Initiatives to Promote Clean Energy."

RLMiller wrote, Stop. We're going about it all wrong.: "President Obama favors a "clean energy standard" — a requirement that energy be obtained from certain "clean" sources including natural gas, nuclear power, and the chimera of clean coal. Some environmentalists who prefer a renewable energy standard (solar, wind, and the like) doubt whether a CES can decrease carbon emissions and strengthen reliance on domestic fuel, two oft-cited goals of a CES. Now, two reports show that natural gas is neither. It's worse for the climate than coal. And domestic American natural gas is being acquired by foreign companies for their use."

bdemelle pointed us toward one of those stories, the one from Cornell that says  "Fracking" Shale Gas Emissions Far Worse Than Coal For Climate: "The Hill reported this morning on a groundbreaking report from Cornell University researchers confirming that shale gas recovered through high volume hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking,' will produce even more greenhouse gases than the burning of coal in the next two decades — a critical window in which society must reduce emissions to combat climate change.  While natural gas is often viewed as a 'cleaner alternative' to conventional fossil fuels — and is often promoted as a 'bridge fuel' by environmentalists and politicians alike — the new Cornell report explodes this myth."

Consumer Watchdog gave us the key to answering the question What's Causing the Gas Hole in Your Wallet? You've Got to See This Movie: "If you want to know why we're really paying over $4 per gallon for gasoline, and there appears to be no end in sight, the film Gas Hole lays it all out for anyone who wants to know the history of the pain at the pump."

DreamNumber9 had an answer to that question, as well, in Why Gas Prices are High, for Dummies: "Did you know that the US government is issuing off shore drilling permits at the rate of 1 every 4 days now and there's still hundreds of thousands of leased land that hasn't been tapped, not once, by oil companies? The Dept of Energy just released a report that said the demand for oil is down, while gas prices are almost a third higher. Soooooo it's NOT supply and demand, rather it is Wall St Speculators driving up the price of oil."

An embedded distortion in the how mortgages are structured led A Siegel  to write Someone (their banker) should have told them …: "Towns that grew 30+% over the decade with good numbers of people driving 30+ miles each way to work. Worth it, of course, because they could buy a larger home living out in Exurbia. They were living the American dream. Now, with employment stressed and gasoline prices up, dreams are turning into nightmares. Could a simple change in the mortgage process have avoided much of this pain?"

He also wrote It is all about capability ...: "Over the past several years, the U.S. military has been moving toward incorporating Energy Smart practices as a core value. This derives from a recognition that energy-smart practices foster greater effectiveness at all levels (tactical, operational and strategic) of warfare. The U.S. Navy provides an excellent example of how Energy Smart approaches improve capability."

tmservo433 gave the backhand to a certain oil company in Congratulations to BP on Record Profits: "Almost a year ago, investors became so nervous in the weeks following the Macondo blowout in the Gulf of Mexico that they briefly wouldn't lend to BP. They feared the British oil giant could be crushed under the weight of tens of billions of dollars in fines, cleanup costs, and payments to families of the 11 rig workers killed and businesses affected by the worst oil spill in U.S. history. They turned out to be wrong. Not only is BP still in business, it has more cash today than before the spill."

In Public opinion and corruption in Gulf states after BP spill, DWG alerted us to what Americans think about what happened and is happening in the Gulf of Mexico: "The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire studies the economically vulnerable in our society. One of their recent surveys caught my eye. As part of their Community and the Environment in Rural America (CERA) project, they surveyed residents of counties in Louisiana and Florida affected by the BP spill. There was considerable agreement between the residents of the two states on most trusted source of information about the spill (scientists, environmentalists) and least trusted sources (BP, blogs/websites). Likewise, in terms of response to the spill, BP and the federal government were held in contempt by survey respondents. However, there was one striking difference in perceptions concerned trust in local and state officials. 'Respondents from Florida were much more likely to think their local and state governments were doing a poor or fair job responding to the spill, while Louisianans generally thought their local and state governments were doing a good or excellent job.'"

boatsie urged us to actions in time to meet aDeadline: Join Greenpeace Online Challenge to UnFriend Coal @ Facebook: "The countdown is ticking but it's not to late to join the huge online GreenPeaceand UnFriend Coal effort to force Facebook to go green by Earthday! There are a few hours left to participate in this attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the greatest number of comments on a Facebook post within 24 hours!"

Mary Anne Hitt wrote about how Coal Ash Continues to Poison Americans: "Across the country, millions of tons of coal ash are being stored in precarious surface waste ponds, impoundments, unlined landfills, quarries, floodplains, and abandoned mines. (It’s also a problem in India, check out our recent post on that problem.) The coal industry generates more than one hundred million tons of coal ash every year – the nation’s second largest waste stream after household garbage – and it’s full of harmful toxins like arsenic, lead and mercury. People living near some coal ash sites have a staggering 1 in 50 risk of cancer.

ThirdandState dug into the public record to do some Fact Checking West Virginia Drilling Claims: "Pennsylvania's Acting Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser told lawmakers in a budget hearing last month that only 20 Marcellus Shale gas wells have been drilled in West Virginia since that state enacted a drilling tax, while Pennsylvania has had more than 600 such wells drilled. As we explained in a recent policy brief, that’s not quite accurate. According to World Oil Online, West Virginia led the nation in new gas wells in 2010, along with Texas and Arkansas — all of which have drilling taxes. Pennsylvania, without a drilling tax, came in sixth, with 833 new wells."

At a conference on nuclear power, finehelen10 looked for answers to the question, Will New Mexico Lead The Way In Nuclear Energy?: "Dr. Van Romero, Vice President of Research at New Mexico Tech, said New Mexico is well-positioned to be a leading voice in nuclear energy development. 'Almost the entire cycle is contained in New Mexico,' he said, 'from mining to waste storage. This conference is an important step in bringing together key players in the area and continuing a dialog about energy and our national policies.'"

Eclectablog bemoaned the return of something eco-advocates thought was dead and gone in Wolverine Power's zombie coal-fired plant rises from the dead in Michigan: "Celebrated as a WIN for environmentalists fighting climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions and for those pushing for Michigan to adopt cleaner energy sources, the celebration has now been cut off. Last August, Wolverine Power sued the State over the denial. The fight against carbon-spewing power plants in Michigan was dealt a blow when, in February, a Circuit Court judge remanded the permit denial back to the DNRE for further consideration. In the ruling the judge said the DNRE (now known as the Department of Environmental Quality, DEQ) failed to base its permit denial on specific air quality concern which it was compelled to do."

Amber6541 also bemoaned a project that deeply troubles eco-advocates Oil to be extracted from tar sands in Utah: "Beneath the lush, green hills of eastern Utah's Uinta Basin, where elk, bear and bison outnumber people, the soil is saturated with a sticky tar that may soon provide a new domestic source of petroleum for the United States. It would be a first-of-its kind project in the country that some fear could be a slippery slope toward widespread wilderness destruction."

LaughingPlanet was delighted that California may enact bold renewable energy standards: "Under the bill, California utilities and other power providers would have until the end of 2020 to draw 33 percent of their power from solar panels, windmills, landfill gases, small hydroelectric plants and other renewable sources. Supporters said the increase from the current 20 percent target will reassure investors that demand for renewable energy will grow, fueling a field that has been one of the few growth spots for California's economy during the recession."

Climate Change

boatsie reported on an important new collaboration in black swan sunday: bring on a climate justice protocol!: "What's it gonna take for mainstream America to shrug off the 'xpertly constructed Climate Denier Cape & reconnect with the reality of real life experience? In a week which brought news of a magnificent merger of 350.org and 1SKY and the emergence of the powerful voice of activist Naomi Klein as a board member of this 'new phase' of climate activism, alongside the mind-numbingly nuanced and politically top-heavy itsy bitsy step forward at the end of Bangkok's international climate negotiations, I say it's time for a revolution in thinking on climate change. Not only do we have to change the lingo, we have to change the goal."

RLMiller discussed the next round of building for the Durban conference with her diary, Five nights in Bangkok.: "While political folk in the United States have understandably been transfixed by domestic drama, the United Nations has just wrapped up a five-day meeting in Bangkok, a preliminary to the big COP-17 meeting in Durban, South Africa in December to negotiate an international climate treaty. The good news: they agreed on the shape of the table. The bad news: everything to be discussed at the table is being kicked down the road. The ugly news: does it really matter?"

A Siegel reported on President Obama's meeting with Climate Activists: "The President's decision to join the meeting was perhaps driven by Washington Post (and other) coverage highlighting the youth climate activists' deepening disillusionment with inadequate action from Washington to deal with mounting climate disruption risks and realities and how that disillusionment could lead to reduced grassroots support for the President's reelection campaign."

And wrote If the Tea Party visited the White House, would Americans know as well: "However, the "youth blame Obama" narrative about Power Shift 2011 seems disempowering and trapped within the frame that all we needed to win was a stronger president. Coverage of Power Shift needs to break out of the hero-savior-villain electoral politics mold and elevate the transformative aspirations of this conference, namely the largest mobilization and leadership training of a generation.  Sure, DC reporters love to write stories about how the disenchantment among youth with Obama over climate could affect his electoral chances, but that's not what we're fighting for. We're fighting against the destruction of our air, our land, our democracy, our dreams of a better world. The dynamics of the Obama 2012 campaign and its relationship to the Millenial generation can be a powerful lever for change, but that's all it is. A means, not an end."

RealityBias provided a possible argument to use with run-of-the-mill deniers in Climate Change: Consider the Source: "A common right-wing talking point against regulation of carbon dioxide is that it is equivalent to government control of your breathing.  The argument is that since we exhale it, regulating its release is absurd.  Even those who are concerned about climate changed caused by human activities sometimes cite greenhouse gases emitted from livestock. But comparing those to fossil fuels is a false equivalence (and not because of magnitude)."

DWG gave us the skinny on a big deal in TVA is coming clean and going green: "The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just announced a consent agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) that will require that the TVA clean up emissions from its coal-fired plants. As part of the consent decree, the TVA is also going to invest in clean energy projects. 'The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations at 11 of its coal-fired plants in Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The settlement will require TVA to invest a TVA estimated $3 to $5 billion on new and upgraded state-of-the-art pollution controls that will prevent approximately 1,200 to 3,000 premature deaths, 2,000 heart attacks and 21,000 cases of asthma attacks each year, resulting in up to $27 billion in annual health benefits. TVA will also invest $350 million on clean energy projects that will reduce pollution, save energy and protect public health and the environment.'"

As did Mary Anne Hitt in Major Victory for Clean Air: "Earlier today the Board of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) voted to approve a settlement that provides for the single largest coal retirement announcement in the nation's history. The settlement requires the permanent retirement of 18 coal units, totaling 2,700-megawatts of TVA's coal fleet.  In addition, it requires the retirement or clean up of an additional 2,800-megwatts over the next decade."

Steven D presented us with just about the scariest news imaginable in Earthquakes & Climate Change: Study Shows Possible Connection: "[S]cientists have for the first time released a study that indicates that man made changes to our climate are also quite probably effecting the movement of tectonic plates around the globe as well. The implications of their research are far ranging as well as frightening"

Green Essays & Green Philosophy

Windtalker had a lesson about real life in My ewe gave me a lamb and some perspective: "I came home from work on Friday and found Spotsy lying down calmly in the sheep shed with her new lamb.  He is as beautiful and sweet as his sister was, white with black spots around his eyes, on his ears, on his back.  My flock management plan had been to keep the ewe lambs and have the male lambs butchered at about 10 months.  In fact, last year's 100% organic male lamb is in my freezer.  But not this little guy.  If you're not bored or shocked by all of this farm talk, more after the jump. …In the midst of this bliss, I've been reading the ongoing "discussion" about President Obama, the budget wars, the Prosser-Kloppenburg-Waukesha debacle, etc., etc., etc.  I agree that people seem to be taking out their frustration on fellow Kossacks. "

beach babe in fl discussed a long-term budget solution that hasn't gotten much ink anywhere in I have your One Trillion in savings right here: "'For the first time in history, lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart disease, some cancers and others kill more people than communicable ones. Treating these diseases — and futile attempts to "cure” them — costs a fortune, more than one-seventh of our GDP. The treatment of these diseases costs us about 2.3 trillion annually now, stunning!... The Federal Government absorbs at least 60% of the cost for this treatment.  We can save some of that money, though, if an alliance of insurers, government, individuals — maybe even Big Food, if it’s pushed hard enough — moves us towards better eating."

veritas curat discussed exponential growth in a era of resource entropy in Apocalyptic Nihilism: "Personally, I see no hope that any of the people who have struggled mightily to obtain positions of power in our civilization care in the least about these simple mathematical facts. They care about economic growth - exponential economic growth, you know x% per year - but not at all about the consequences of that exponential growth; 99% of the products of which are waste generated during the production process and waste from those products being thrown "away" after an average of 6 months. "

Green Policy, Green Activism & Politicians

credstone informed us about the Eight Young Climate Activists Arrested for Interrupting Congress: "The activists interrupted the proceedings in the US House by singing one at a time. As each activist was detained and taken out, another began and Congress was forced to pause their proceedings. They sang the following words to the Star Spangled Banner: 'Oh why can't you see/ It's my life that's at stake/
When you sell out our world/
You are stealing my future/
Can you look in my eyes/
As you gamble our lives/
When will you stop the lies/
So that we can survive?/
If you represent me/
Not the fossil fuel industry/
You must stop wasting time/
Chasing your dollar signs/
Oh, say will you listen/  to
Our generation/
If you refuse to hear us now/
Then we have to shut you down'"

Congressman Ed Markey dropped in to say Nuclear safety must be first priority: "There is a reason nuclear has stalled, and it hasn’t been anti-nuclear protesters — it has been Wall Street investors. Financial markets have determined that the costs and risks associated with building nuclear plants exceed their value. The permitting and construction of a nuclear reactor can take a decade or more, and can exceed $8 billion. By comparison, natural-gas and wind projects can move from the drawing board to full operation in just two to three years, and cost far less. In the last four years America has added 28,209 megawatts of wind, 36,535 megawatts of natural gas, 1,166 megawatts of solar and zero new megawatts of nuclear to the electrical grid. Competition is meeting our energy needs."

boatsie cheered ¡Viva Bolivia! EarthDay 2011 @ Ecojustice: "Redefining natural resources as 'blessings,' Bolivia's Law of Mother Earth (first introduced as part of the country's 2009 constitution) has the potential to 'radicalize' the climate justice generate a fervent prise de fer of 'hyper-activism' at Montreal's  Cochabamba  + 1 next weekend."

CA TreeHugger also talked about the Latin Amercan country's eco-advocacy in Bolivia to grant nature equal rights to humans: "Bolivia is set to pass the world's first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans. The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country's rich mineral deposits as "blessings" and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry. "

Phil Radford II Greenpeace urged us to Protect our oceans, one supermarket at a time: "Last month, a group of Greenpeace volunteers in Denver trekked to over 30 Colorado supermarkets to investigate the sustainability of the seafood being sold inside. Armed with an "endangered fish check-list," what they found--a thousand miles away from the nearest ocean--was shocking. In the freezers, wet cases, and can aisles they discovered nearly every species on their list, including Chilean sea bass, Atlantic cod, swordfish, orange roughy, hoki, red snapper, shark, and other environmentally unsound seafood options."

The Natural World & The Great Outdoors

stevej took us on a Nature and a Photographic Journey.Ogden gardens april 2011 CactusMark Sumner published a Belated edition: "The idea of 'spring' in St. Louis once again proves to be somewhat ephemeral as we've moved the dial back to the 90 degree end. From the kitchen window, you can see that the warmth is starting to wake the big oak trees. Overnight they've grown a fuzzy crown of pale green leaf-lings. Give it another week and this scene will look a lot different. Give it two, and those hills across the way will be invisible."

He followed up with the Green, green everywhere edition: "After those weeks of dithering back and forth between winter and spring, Missouri seems to have finally settled into a season. And that season is... summer. Actually, though we had two days at 90+ degrees with a wind that seemed to be emerging from God's own hair dryer, we're back at more equitable temperatures today, and it looks like we'll cruise through the rest of this week without topping 75 or seeing anything that looks like ice."

TheOrchid visited a California State Park You Should Know - Cuyamaca Rancho: "One of my favorite San Diego-area State Parks is Cuyamaca Rancho, a 26,000-acre tract of land lying in the mountains about 50 miles east of the City proper. The park has it all—hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, grassy meadows, rocky mountains, streams—and ghosts of pine forests left by the 2003 Cedar Fire. I split my time at the park roughly 3:1 mountain biking to hiking."

Ed in Montana described the delights of Death Valley National Park: "Deep in the Mojave Desert on the boundary of California and Nevada lays the largest national park in the lower 48 states, Death Valley National Park. At 3.4 million acres it is a million acres larger than Yellowstone, almost Alaskan in size. But nobody would mistake this arid landscape for Alaska, except maybe the similarity of its soaring mountain ranges stretching across miles of landscape."

Mesquite Dunes

Round-ups, Wrap-ups, Live Blogs & Summaries

Gulf Watchers #500 by Lorinda Pike: Why did BP buy a beach? - BP Catastrophe.

Gulf Watchers #501 by shanesnana BP Money Paid for That? - BP Catastrophe.

Gulf Watchers #502 by peraspera: Gulf Watchers Mississippi AG v/s Feinberg, Round 2 - BP Catastrophe.

Gulf Watchers #503 by Lorinda Pike:We'll Have Another Blowout Within Five Years - BP Catastrophe.


In Sunday Train BruceMcF explained that Oil Addiction is a Political Choice, not a Necessity: "When you listen to a speech, the speaker dictates the pace. You have as much time to reflect on the content as is allowed ~ unless you zone out through the next section ~ and you have a sequence of claims to assess. A skilled speaker could use this to present a Dirty, Oil and Coal and Nukes strategy as if it was a Living Energy Independence Strategy"

MadIrishWoman pondered aloud on some Thoughts on Cars and Going Green: "One good thing that may come from gas prices skyrocketing is it will force people to start considering alternatives to large vehicles. If we turn away from SUVs and trucks in favor of smaller, more fuel efficient cars then auto manufacturers will put more time and effort into fuel economy and hybrids. The reason manufacturers continue to build gas guzzlers is that people continue to buy them. If there is no market for them then we will see fewer of them being produced."

Matt Osborne said that  Driving Isn't Always the American Way: "Watching us from orbit, an alien surveyor might think American cities and suburbs were a trap designed to make humans buy cars and drive them. The last generation saw accelerated suburban sprawl as the amount of developed land in the United States increased 50% between 1982 and 2007. Due to inflating home prices and stagnant wages, the hourlong commute became a new, unsustainable American phenomenon. The new American city will offer residents more choices in getting around because more and more Americans prefer not to drive."

Dem Beans pointed us in the direction of how to make practical the green vow to Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle: "All of us would like to incorporate more Green aspects into our homes, but where to begin?  If you have basic home maintenance items on your to-do list or you have a room that you'd like to renovate, chances are you have a great Green option in your town to help you recycle, repurpose or reuse building materials and supplies: a Habitat for Humanity ReStore."

Et Cetera

Stuart H Smith alerted us to a Food Chain Breach: Radioactive Sludge Used for Fertilizer on Farms: "The revelation that natural gas drilling companies are dumping radioactive waste water into our rivers virtually unregulated was shocking enough, but now the New York Times is reporting that radioactive sludge is being used for fertilizer on our nation’s farms. You heard right: radioactive fertilizer – a direct line to the food chain. Has the whole world gone stark raving mad? "

Given how bad other things are, that the radiation leak at Fukushima doesn't really show up as a blip, according to NNadir in the diary Oh. Oh. Plutonium Contamination Suspected.: "Of course, when people test or use dangerous fossil fuel powered weapons, no one is affected by the by products, because the by products of burning oil are all risk free. (Similarly, despite the existance of many people who have written articles in the scientific primary literature about the carcinogenicity of crude oil and its distillates, like, um, say, gasoline, there is no risk of cancer from tens of thousands of cars smashed into little pieces by the tsunami and distributed all over Japan, since "they" guarantee that cars are absolutely safe.)"

Sarah Laskow, for The Media Consortium, wrote Weekly Mulch: Cost-Cutting at the Environment's PerilThe cost-cutting deal that the House passed yesterday stripped the Environmental Protection Agency of $1.6 billion, which made up 16% of the agency's budget. Funds for clean energy were cut. Republicans put in a provision that would keep the Department of the Interior from putting aside public lands for conservation and one that killed the nascent climate center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration."

credstone let us in on an event in Climate Hero Tim DeChristopher to be Keynote Speaker at Powershift: "The Powershift conference runs April 15-18th and has over 10,000 young climate justice activists in attendance. For a small donation, conference goers can pick up an orange sash at the Peaceful Uprising table on the first floor of the Washington conference center. The sash is a symbol of solidarity with Tim, support for his action and a symbol of the red rock wilderness Peaceful Uprising is fighting to protect."

Fukushima Nukes

boatsie: radioactive h20 & robots to rescue @ fukushima? rov 45.

middleagedhousewife: 10,000 Terabequerels of Radiation/Hr for Several Hours: ROV 46.

boatsie: Fukushima Eyes: ROV 47.

rja: Months to cool Fukushima reactors, 10 years to decommission - Toshiba draft: ROV 48.

rja: Video of Spent Fuel Pool sampling at Fukushima: ROV 49.

FishOutofWater: Radioactivity Increases in Fukushima Water, TEPCO is out of Storage Tanks: "Radioactivity levels in water increased dramatically at Fukushima reactor units 1 and 2.  Moreover, Cs-134 and I-129 levels 15km offshore now exceed safety standards. TEPCO pumped contaminated water out of the tunnel of reactor unit 2 into a reactor condenser but TEPCO has run out of places to store radioactive water from other reactors. The lack of storage tanks for radioactive water is stopping TEPCO from restoring the cooling systems of the damaged reactors. TEPCO is trying to finish building makeshift storage tanks by the end of May."

HoundDog:Japan Will Raise the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Rating to Level 7: " This latest analysis is more consistent with the high levels of radiactive contamination across the surrounding area, and an expansion of the suggested evacuation area to 30 km, in selected areas.  Today, the commission reports broader areas where radiation will cause residents to exceed annual limits, but stopped short of broadening the exclusion zones. "

Radical def: Fukushima: Greenpeace Urges Wider Evacuation Zone: "Field testing by Greenpeace radiation monitoring teams has been consistently recording unacceptably high levels of contamination on gardens and crops outside of the present exclusion zone declared by the Japanese government. Recently, in Minamisoma, residents say they have received no information about radiation levels, nor any warnings about potential hazards, despite reports of government testing in the area. Yet in several parts of Minamisoma, measurements by Greenpeace were up to 4.5 microSievert per hour on garden spinach, unacceptable for human consumption, compared to the reading reported by the only official government monitoring location, of .07, which might be considered relatively 'safe'."

Joieau: Happy Talk from Reuters: How does Fukushima differ from Chernobyl?: " In a supercilious attempt to make light of Japan's announcement that the Fukushima-1 nuclear disaster is now at Level 7 along with Chernobyl but still isn't as bad as Chernobyl, we get in Reuters today this little gem… 'Q+A: How does Fukishima differ from Chernobyl? 'At Chernobyl, the initial explosion resulted in the death of two workers. Twenty-eight of the firemen and emergency clean-up workers died in the first three months after the explosion from acute radiation sickness and one died of cardiac arrest.' Excuse me? At Fukushima, the initial triggering tsunami resulted in the death of two workers, whose bodies were found floating in highly radioactive water flooding a turbine building basement three weeks later. We don't know the fate of the original 50 'sacrificial volunteers' (a.k.a. 'Heroes') who stayed with the melting reactors to spray water in the general direction of melting fuel when all the bigwigs and other workers left for safer environs early on."

nathguy: Fukushima : Recriticality or a level 8 disaster: " According to TEPCO, radioactive iodine-131 amounting to 220 becquerels per cubic centimeter, cesium-134 of 88 becquerels and cesium-137 of 93 becquerels were detected in the pool water. Those substances are generated by nuclear fission."

LeftOfYou: Dosimeters for Fukushima: "Thousands of ordinary Japanese people are unknowingly accumulating higher than usual doses of radioactivity while consciously suffering many other deprivations and disruptions after the earthquake and tsunami. Reports exist of efforts to get dosimeters to first responders and TEPCO workers, but little evidence suggests much of an effort to supply personal dosimetry to ordinary citizens suffering exposures in this incident. If it were me, and I was a Japanese resident of the areas West and North of the stricken reactors, and I knew everything I could find out about reported radiation monitoring in my vicinity, then I would want to know my personal dosage as I have gone about my business."

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Apr 16, 2011 at 02:45 PM PDT.

Also republished by J Town.

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