IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Explosion, fire and oil spill at nuclear plant just outside New York City; Here we go again: Shell gets approval to drill in the Arctic this summer; More water restrictions amid California drought; GOP votes to slash funding for NASA Earth research; PLUS: Solar-powered plane embarks on its most dangerous journey yet ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Florida most vulnerable state to sea level rise, but has no statewide plan; Apple pledges to run its China facilities using mainly renewable energy; Track where oil train derailed was inspected day before accident; Proposed rule could mean free coal for mining companies on public lands; CA may add warnings for BPA ... PLUS: Fracking most likely cause of TX earthquakes, USGS says... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Explosion, Fire, Oil Spill at NYC Nuclear Plant:
- AUDIO: The BradCast: NY's Indian Point Nuclear Plant Fire, with guest Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen (BradBlog):
What went wrong at the facility? Why is it still even in operation? And, oh, yeah, should we be worried still about what is happening at Fukushima while we're at it?
- Transformer Burns at Indian Point; Cuomo Cites Environmental Risks (NY Times):
A transformer fire at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, N.Y. sent plumes of black smoke into the air on Saturday and raised concerns that the foam used to extinguish the flames could pose an environmental hazard.
- Indian Point nuclear reactor remains shut down after blast and fire (Guardian UK)
- Indian Point fire raises concerns about aging nuclear plants in N.Y. and N.J. (NJ Star-Ledger)
- Sea Level Rise, Storm Surges And Bursting Dams Threaten Nuclear Plants (Daily Climate):
Safety checks following the Fukushima disaster in Japan in March 2011, when a 10 metre-high sea wall was overtopped by a tsunami, have shown that nuclear plants are at greater risk of catastrophic flooding as a result of climate change.
- Shell Gets Approval to Drill in the Arctic This Summer:
- Obama OKs Shell's Plan to Drill for Oil in the Arctic (Mother Jones):
Royal Dutch Shell cleared a major hurdle this afternoon when the Obama administration announced conditional approval for the company's application to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's North Slope. The decision came after a few months of public comment on Shell's exploration plan, which was roundly condemned by environmental groups and several North Slope communities.
- Department of the Interior Approves Shell’s Risky Arctic Exploration Plan (Earth Justice)
- Shell Flunks Coast Guard Inspection, Pushes on with Arctic Drilling (VICE News):
A drill ship at the heart of Shell's hunt for Arctic oil flunked a Coast Guard inspection last month when a piece of anti-pollution gear that already cost its owner millions in fines failed again.
- Historic Emergency Mandatory Water Cuts in California:
- Sweeping California water cuts begin (BBC):
California's water board has unanimously passed sweeping mandatory drought restrictions for the summer. The new rules will limit watering on public property and impose cuts of up to 36% on water usage from 2013 levels.
- Interactive graphic: How Water Cuts Could Affect Every Community in California (NY Times)
- Water Pricing in Two Thirsty Cities: In One, Guzzlers Pay More, and Use Less (NY Times):
Santa Fe, in addition to raising the basic cost of water, decided to make the heaviest users of water pay more — much more — for the water they consumed.
- California Water Cuts Ignore Past Changes by Some Cities, Like San Diego (NBC San Diego) [emphasis added]:
Billions of dollars were invested to prepare for the next drought, an effort that included building the Western hemisphere's largest desalination plant, which opens this fall. Yet the moves count for nothing under sweeping statewide cuts to urban water use approved this week that require hundreds of cities, counties and local agencies to reduce consumption between 8 percent and 36 percent from 2013 levels, starting June 1. The largest per-capita users must make the biggest percentage cuts, no matter how and where they get their water.
- Congressional Republicans Gut NASA Earth Sciences Budget:
- The GOP attack on climate change science takes a big step forward (LA Times):
According to Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), the committee's ranking Democrat, her caucus "did not even know [the markup] existed before last Friday. ... After we saw the bill, we understood why."
- The GOP’s widening effort to stop environmental policies by targeting science (Washington Post):
Earlier this year, we told you about a strategy that congressional Republicans would increasingly use to attack environmental policies that they don’t like....But now, there’s a new front: Congressional Republicans want to shift funding away from environmental and earth science research that can help policymakers assess how to regulate pollution and plan for the effects of climate change.
- This Is What Happens When You Elect Climate Change Deniers (Huffington Post green):
The supposed rationale for the committee's cuts is that the members believe NASA should be focusing on space, not on earth science...But in practice, funding decisions such as the one regarding NASA's earth science budget actually help ensure that government scientists are unable to discern new facts about the planet. That's what scores of earth scientists have been reiterating since the cuts were proposed.
“NASA leads the world in the exploration of and study of planets, and none is more important than the one on which we live," [NASA Administrator Charles] Bolden said.
- Solar Impulse 2 Embarks On Dangerous Voyage Across Pacific Ocean:
- Solar Plane Set for Nonstop 5-Day Leg of Epic Flight (National Geographraphic):
Swiss pilot has little room for error during a long journey over Pacific/
- Solar Impulse 2 readies for Pacific Ocean crossing: Longest leg of round-the-world flight will take 5 days, 5 nights (CBC)
- VIDEO: Solar Impulse Prepares for Pacific Voyage (NBC News)
- VIDEO: Solar Plane Set to Embark on Toughest Journey Yet (Wall St. Journal)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Apple pledges to run its China facilities using mainly renewable energy (Mashable):
Apple is extending its environmental initiatives to China, with large solar installations planned and forest protection partnerships.
- Track Where Oil Train Derailed Was Inspected Day Before Accident: FRA (Grand Forks Herald):
Railroad tracks where an oil train derailed Wednesday in central North Dakota had been inspected by BNSF Railway a day earlier and by the Federal Railroad Administration about three months before the fiery derailment, an FRA spokesman said Friday.
- Obama's Proposed Rule Could Mean Mining Public-Land Coal for Free (InsideClimate News):
Recently proposed federal rules on mining royalties, intended to close loopholes that subsidize exports of coal mined from public lands, may instead end up giving away the coal to the industry for free, according to an environmentalist think tank.
- California May Require Warnings on Products Containing Chemical BPA (Reuters):
Plastic drinking bottles, canned goods and other items containing the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) distributed in California might soon be required to carry a label disclosing that the compound can cause reproductive harm to women.
- What's Causing Texas Earthquakes? Fracking 'Most Likely,' Report Says (CNN):
The US Geological Survey says a spate of earthquakes near Dallas is most likely caused by fracking.
- Sea Rise Threatens Florida Coast, But No Statewide Plan (AP):
America's oldest city is slowly drowning. St. Augustine's centuries-old Spanish fortress sits feet from the encroaching Atlantic, whose waters already flood the city's narrow streets about 10 times a year — a problem worsening as sea levels rise. The city relies on tourism, but visitors might someday have to wear waders at high tide.
- David Cameron and Conservatives Emerge Victorious in British Election (NY Times):
The Conservative Party's win in UK elections will keep Prime Minister David Cameron in place. While Cameron had promised after the last election to lead the "greenest government" ever, environmentalists found much to be disappointed with.
- California Environmentalists Sue Over Oil Industry Water Practices (Reuters):
California environmental groups filed a lawsuit on Thursday that seeks to halt oil industry injections of drilling wastewater into nearly 500 wells, a practice they say threatens fresh water supplies and is particularly critical in light of a prolonged drought.
- Global carbon dioxide levels break 400ppm milestone (Guardian UK):
Dr Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading told the Guardian: “This event is a milestone on a road to unprecedented climate change for the human race. The last time the Earth had this much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was more than a million years ago, when modern humans hadn’t even evolved yet....But even if manmade emissions were dramatically cut much deeper than most countries are planning, the concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere would only stabilise, not fall, scientists said.
- With 38,000 battery buyers in 1 week, Tesla may need bigger Giga (SF Chronicle):
“There’s no way we could possibly satisfy this demand this year — we’re sold out for the first half of next year,” Musk said, during a conference call with Wall Street analysts. “It’s crazy, off the hook. It seems to have gone super viral.”
- Rate Of Climate Change To Soar By 2020s, With Arctic Warming 1°F Per Decade (Climate Progress):
New research from a major national lab projects that the rate of climate change, which has risen sharply in recent decades, will soar by the 2020s. This worrisome projection - which has implications for extreme weather, sea level rise, and permafrost melt - is consistent with several recent studies.
- Now's Your Chance to Help Save the Imperiled Monarch Butterfly-and Get Paid to Do So (Take Part) [emphasis added]:
Another threat, according to Grant, has been well-intentioned individuals who have planted a tropical form of milkweed, which competes with native varieties and is not beneficial to monarchs or other pollinators.
FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page
- Video Proof That Global Warming is a 'Hoax'!: NASA Temperature Data 1888-2011 (The BRAD BLOG):
- NASA climate change video: This is the U.S. in 2100 (NASA).