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Pennsylvania Greens Speak Out Against Coal Scheme

In Pennsylvania, coal is still king. The state’s economy currently depends upon huge coal deposits, shipping coal to power plants far outside its borders. Most political leaders in Pennsylvania are therefore reluctant to do anything that might harm the interests of the coal industry.

The Green Party of Pennsylvania stands against this dirty energy arrangement. Jay Sweeney, chair of the Green Party of Wyoming County, Pennsylvania, spoke yesterday against a new state-sponsored scheme to try to make coal appear like a clean energy source. The idea is carbon sequestration, a yet-to-be-invented process of capturing carbon emissions as they leave coal-fired power plants, mixing the carbon into a slurry, and pumping that slurry into the ground. Sweeney said of the plan,

“Carbon capture and storage is no substitute for reducing carbon emissions. Pennsylvania should be reducing its coal fired power production by 50% and increasing its solar and wind energy production to compensate for this reduction… Capturing carbon, liquefying it and building a system of pipes to move the liquefied carbon to a sequestration site poses many environmental hazards including leakage into soil and water. The science is unproven and the results could be far more harmful than the benefits.”

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Green Party Critical Of House Energy Bill

In a release yesterday the Green Party (US) went after the Energy Bill in Congress, calling it “dangerously inadequate and a concession to polluting industries”.

“The Energy Bill passed by the US House of Representatives is not a transition to a sustainable energy future,” said Audrey Clement, a Virginia Green and member of the Eco-Action Committee. “It moves us in the wrong direction by subsidizing more coal and nuclear power, and it”s far too weak in its support of earth-gentle renewable energies and in its effort to reduce carbon emissions.”

Greens called the the bill’s cap on greenhouse gas emissions a fraction of what it should be and said that the cap is undermined by the allowance of annual “offsets” that allow polluters to keep polluting.

“These offsets are a handout to large corporations,” said Ms. Clement.

Read it all below.

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Ban New Coal & Nuclear Plants Now

Despite the desperate warnings of global climate disaster plans continue to build new coal and nuclear power plants. This must stop.

Green Change among others is leading a Call to Immediate Action to demand the new Administration ban the establishment of new coal plants and nuclear power plants. Please go and see what you can do to help.

Stop new coal and nuclear plants now

The global climate crisis is the defining challenge of our generation.

We’ve got to halt all new coal and nuclear plants in the United States.
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Local Greens on the Energy Defensive

While most (of any) attention often is placed on the Presidential race, Greens on the ground is where the action often is found. The Green Party (US) is made up of State Green Parties, many of which are themselves made up of Local Green Party chapters. It is at this Local level where the Four Pillars (Ecological Wisdom, Social Justice, Grassroots Democracy, Peace & Non-violence) are put into action.

In Oregon, local Greens are fighting a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal, the Jordan Cove Energy Project.

Perhaps the most significant setback is the state’s finding that the county hadn’t adequately addressed safety issues at the 170-acre project site; namely, that the terminal would sit atop a sand dune prone to liquefaction in the event of a major earthquake — a phenomenon similar to the ground turning into instant quicksand — and that it’s squarely in the middle of a tsunami hazard zone, which the state Department of Geology and Mineral Industries has expressly advised against, said James Nicita, co-chairman of the Pacific Green Party, which contributed arguments in the LUBA appeal.

LUBA rejected several portions of the hazards argument, but sustained at least part of the case, which will force the county to consider the risk, Nicita said.

“In the 1990s, (the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries) actually recommended to Coos County to zone hazardous facilities away from areas of high earthquake risk,” Nicita said. “Jordan Cove will say there’s an engineering solution to everything. We’ll see how this all plays out.”

In New York, the Chenango (County) Greens are all over a proposed natural gas drilling plan that involves “Hydrofracking”, a process that involves blasting vertically into the rock where the natural gas is trapped, releasing both the gas and at the same time toxic-laden water, which is brought to the surface to merge its carcinogenic properties into both running water and ground water.

From the Times Union, “Toxic Gas-Drilling Technique”

Most drilling states inject the tainted water back into the ground in areas where solid rock layers keep it isolated from drinking water, but the geology in New York and Pennsylvania makes that impossible.

Ensuring the water gets treated isn’t part of DEC’s permit review, so long as the end result complies with state laws that say it meets discharge standards.

Read the entire article, it is a classic case of deregulation gone wild in the energy sector with no care given to the health risks posed by such ventures. Also browse through the posts on the Chenango Greens website for more thoughts on this dangerous issue.

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EcoAction Committee’s First 100 Days

First 100 Days Energy and Environmental Policy
The Green Party Platform:
Ecological and Energy Sustainability.

The human community is an element of the Earth community, not the other way around.

All human endeavors are situated within the dynamics of the biosphere. If we wish to have sustainable institutions and enterprises, they must fit well with the processes of the Earth. The ideology of industrialism, in both capitalist and communist countries, insists that modern society lives on top of nature and should rightly use and despoil the rest of the natural world as we desire—because any loss of the ecosystems is merely an “externality” in economic thought and Continue Reading

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Moody’s reports: Nukes dangerous to a utility’s rating

A trade publication reported today that Moody’s Investors Service believes that a utility’s credit quality could be negatively impacted by building a new nuclear power plant, as much as a 25 to 30% reduction in it’s financial credit metrics.

Apparently the bottom line is that the size, cost and complexity of new plants can increase risk, possibly leading to lower bond ratings in the short to intermediate term.

The same article goes on to say that nukes will cost more than $7000 per installed kilowatt, twice as expensive as a “clean coal” power plant, and three times more than a natural gas fired combined cycle power station. Not only that, but in the case of a combined cycle gas fired power station, they can go from idea to reality in under five years.

The Moody’s report also pointed out that utilities should not depend on government deals to guarantee them a profitable nuclear future. They warn, as new leadership takes control they may not be as enthusiastic about nuclear.

Anyone wondering why we Greens say “No nukes is good nukes.”

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Alan Auguston: the Cost of Gas and Peak Oil

Green Party Congressional Candidate Alan Augustson (IL, CD-05) called upon all Presidential and other candidates to back off from promises of lower gasoline prices.

“Cheap gas is over,” said Augustson, who will be seeking to unseat the powerful Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) in November. “Any candidate who promises lower gas prices is making a false promise, plain and simple. It’s a cheap, obvious election gimmick. Don’t fall for it.”

In a communique to a number of online media outlets, Augustson contended that speculators and taxation amount to very little in determining the price of a gallon of gasoline. “Gas is expensive,” he said, “because the oil is running out. And that which remains is harder to find, harder to extract, harder to refine and harder to distribute.”

In fact, he said, gas prices would be even higher still if not for government subsidies.

“Whether you drive an SUV or ride a bike everywhere, you’re paying for gas,” Augustson said. “Your taxes pay for enormous subsidies to the energy industry. Without those subsidies, you’d see gasoline prices similar to what they pay in Europe.”

He speculated that gasoline prices might fall “maybe a quarter or so, just in time for the election. But they’ll snap right back to the upward trend, immediately afterward.”

Augustson’s solution to high gas prices? “Stop using gas. Take public transit if you have it. Get an electric vehicle — not a hybrid. Ride a bike. Walk. Move closer to work. Shop closer to home. Just stop driving. I know that’s not going to be a popular answer, but the truth seldom is.”

Alan Augustson, 44, is an economist, statistician and management consultant living in Chicago. He announced his candidacy for Congress in June of 2007.