Energy

Solar power and Native American rights clash in the Mojave Desert
April 18, 2015 10:00 AM - Roy L Hales & Robert Lundahl, ECOreport

In a remote corner of the Mojave Desert, 15 miles from Las Vegas, stands the expansive Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System. Occupying 5 square miles, the facility seems to swallow up a stunning expanse of desert including animals, plants and now, spiritual and cultural resources.

Native elders filed a suit against the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, and the Department of Energy in 2010, for failure to properly consult with the tribes in regard to the development of six renewable projects.

Litigants Alfredo Figueroa (Yaqui/Chemehuevi), Phillip Smith (Chemehuevi), and Reverend Ron Van Fleet (Mojave) complain that the government and the companies involved have lent a deaf ear to their concerns, which has brought a new level of anxiety and spiritual pain to people who have long felt their voices muffled in the face of commercial development by others.

New report identifies possible next steps in US energy development
April 9, 2015 10:09 AM - American Geosciences Institute via EurekAlert!

The U.S. energy portfolio changes over time. Scientific and technologic advances related to hydraulic fracturing have dramatically increased the supply of U.S. oil and gas; because of this, a methane economy - in which natural gas provides the leading share of primary energy consumption - is now a possible scenario for U.S. energy development. In a report released by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI), the social, political, technical and environmental components of a methane economy are identified. The report also addresses how industry, government and the public might best work together to advance common energy goals.

Fracking appears to be linked to rise in radon levels in Pennsylvania homes
April 9, 2015 06:35 AM - JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, via EurekAlert.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers say that levels of radon in Pennsylvania homes - where 42 percent of readings surpass what the U.S. government considers safe - have been on the rise since 2004, around the time that the fracking industry began drilling natural gas wells in the state.

The researchers, publishing online April 9 in Environmental Health Perspectives, also found that buildings located in the counties where natural gas is most actively being extracted out of Marcellus shale have in the past decade seen significantly higher readings of radon compared with buildings in low-activity areas. There were no such county differences prior to 2004. Radon, an odorless radioactive gas, is considered the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the world after smoking. 

President Obama approves Arctic drilling
April 5, 2015 08:01 AM - Kevin Mathews, Care2

President Barack Obama has seemingly spent a lot of his second term trying to cement his reputation as one of the United States’s most environmentally conscious leaders. However, his most recent decision to approve controversial oil and gas drilling in the Arctic is certain to lose him favor within the environmental community. How can he preach about the consequences of global warming and carbon emissions and simultaneously give corporations permission to drill in a vulnerable region for decades to come?

As Scientific American reminds us, although we tend to romanticize some of Obama’s environmental policy, his decision to give Arctic drilling a thumbs-up is not incongruent with his overall scheme to have America reliant on multiple sources of energy, including both renewable options, as well as gas and oil.

Plowing prairies for grains
April 2, 2015 09:08 AM - University of Wisconsin-Madison via EurekAlert!

Clearing grasslands to make way for biofuels may seem counterproductive, but University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers show in a study today (April 2, 2015) that crops, including the corn and soy commonly used for biofuels, expanded onto 7 million acres of new land in the U.S. over a recent four-year period, replacing millions of acres of grasslands.

Study suggests methane in drinking water is unrelated to fracking
March 31, 2015 02:00 PM - Eric Hand, Science/AAAS

Fracking doesn’t appear to be allowing methane to seriously contaminate drinking water in Pennsylvania, a new study finds—contrary to some earlier, much publicized research that suggested a stronger link. But the lead authors of the two bodies of research are sparring over the validity of the new results.

Study finds electric vehicles will travel further than drivers expect
March 30, 2015 04:19 PM - ClickGreen Staff

Electric vehicles (EVs) will meet the daily travel needs of drivers longer than commonly assumed, according to the first study of its kind carried out by scientists at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Many drivers and much prior literature on the retirement of EV batteries have assumed that EV batteries will be retired after the battery has lost 20 percent of its energy storage or power delivery capability. This study shows that the daily travel needs of drivers continue to be met well beyond these levels of battery degradation.

France passes law to promote green roofs
March 26, 2015 09:05 AM - Kevin Mathews, Care2

Environmentalism is fast becoming a top concern in France – a rooftop concern, to be precise. Excitingly, the nation has just passed new legislation that will require all upcoming commercial construction projects to feature either green roofs or solar panels above their top floors.

How to reduce your car's impact
March 25, 2015 09:02 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

As we all know, cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles aren’t the best friends of the environment. However, for many of us it’s simply not practical to depend strictly on mass transportation or make the switch to an all-electric vehicle. As a green-thinking member of society, where does that leave you? What should your stance be on driving with relation to sustainability?

The True Cost of Gasoline
March 16, 2015 08:31 AM - RP Siegel, Triple Pundit

Financial markets notwithstanding, most of us were happy to see gas prices fall. It has certainly helped to put a little extra breathing room in our household budgets, even though we suspect it could lead to increased use of fossil fuels. On the other hand, it could open the door for some new initiatives to help control emissions, such as a carbon tax, or a fee and rebate plan that would tax the production of fossil fuels and give the proceeds out to all Americans.

Perhaps this would be a good time to take a closer look at what that gallon of gasoline actually costs us, when all the impacts are considered. 

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