Enn Original News
Air Emissions and Disaster
August 12, 2011 06:53 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
As a result of the fire that shut down Valeroâ€™s Memphis, Tennessee refinery, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has exercised its authority under the Clean Air Act to temporarily waive certain federal clean gasoline requirements for parts of Tennessee. This waiver will allow greater flexibility for the fuel distribution system to support an adequate supply. This waiver was granted by EPA in coordination with the Department of Energy (DOE), at the request of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson determined that extreme and unusual supply circumstances exist, which are likely to result in a shortage of gasoline compliant with federal regulations. The federal waiver will help ensure an adequate supply of gasoline in the affected area until normal supply to the region can be restored. In other words air emissions will be slightly increased in order to have gasoline available during the duration of this emergency resulting from the fire.
Riverside 550 Megawatt Solar Project
August 11, 2011 05:51 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has just approved the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, a 550-megawatt (MW) solar power project to be built in the California desert east of Palm Springs. The solar-photovoltaic facility will create more than 630 jobs at peak construction and infuse an estimated $336 million into the local economy. When built, Desert Sunlight will generate enough energy to power over 165,000 homes. "The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is the largest photovoltaic facility Interior has approved thus far and, when built, will help power our nation and economy," Secretary Salazar said. "With 12 large-scale solar projects approved in the last 18 months, we continue to make significant strides in spurring innovation, job-creation, and investment in the private sector while strengthening Americaâ€™s energy security." The facility will use thin film photovoltaic (PV) technology, which generates electricity with low visual impact, no air emissions, waste production or water use, and has the smallest carbon footprint of any PV technology. An on-site substation and a 230-kiloVolt (kV) generation tie line will connect the project to the Red Bluff substation which will convert the power from 230 kV to 500kV for transmission on Southern California Edisonâ€™s regional grid.
MIT Researchers Claim UN Arctic Predictions are Inaccurate
August 11, 2011 01:04 PM - David A Gabel, ENN
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had released its most recent report in 2007. It forecasts that the Arctic Ocean will have an ice-free summer by the year 2100. However, that finding has been contradicted by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). They say the Arctic summer will be ice-free several decades earlier, within the lifetimes of many of us.
August 11, 2011 07:21 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
SETI is the search for extraterrestrial life by studying and watching the stars. Perhaps frivolous in the current economy but extremely important if contact is ever made. After hitting its $200,000 fundraising goal on 3 August, SETI announced that it will be putting its iconic Allen Telescope Array (ATA) back online after a 4-month hiatus. The nonprofit SETI Institute announced on April 22 grants from the University of California, Berkeley, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and others had run out and that SETI could no longer afford to operate the 42 radio telescopes that make up ATA. While some UC Berkeley scientists were laid off, others were not idle. They were kept at work analyzing the data they had. In the meantime, on a donation site, SETIstars.org, alien lovers pleaded with donors across the world to bring ATA out of hibernation and keep the search going. The gifts poured in from "around the globe, literally from everywhere that had an Internet connection.
New Nuclear Reactors
August 10, 2011 01:11 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
An attempt to build the first brand-new nuclear power plant in a generation has taken a step forward now that staff at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says plans to build new reactors in Georgia meet safety requirements. The federal regulators issued two related safety reports Friday that cleared the design of Westinghouse Electric Co.'s AP1000 nuclear reactor and plans by the Atlanta-based Southern Co. to build two of those reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta. The NRC's commissioners must still decide whether to give final approval to the reactor design and its construction in Georgia. It's been more than 20 years since the last commercial energy reactor was constructed in the U.S.
August 10, 2011 09:10 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
People like tuna. (Tuna may not like people of course.) However, natural wild populations are in sharp decline. One answer may be a tuna farm. The experiment took place at Umami Sustainable Seafood Inc.'s commercial fish farming facility Kali Tuna, based on the Croatian island of Uglian in the Adriatic sea. Umami also claimed to breed the five-year-old tuna without adding artificial hormones. Because the fish naturally spawn in deep, open waters, many have tried with limited success to breed tuna in captivity. Others have questioned whether a tuna breeding program could even work without large amounts of hormones regulating the life cycle of the fish.
Truck, Bus Improved Efficiency
August 9, 2011 05:19 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
President Obama will meet with industry officials to discuss the first-of-their-kind fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas pollution standards for work trucks, buses, and other heavy duty vehicles and to thank them for their leadership in finalizing a successful national program for these vehicles. This meeting marks the administrationâ€™s announcement of the standards, which will save American businesses that operate and own these commercial vehicles approximately $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of the program. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the standards in close coordination with the companies that met with the president today as well as other stakeholders, following requests from companies to develop this program. The cost savings for American businesses are on top of the $1.7 trillion that American families will save at the pump from the historic fuel-efficiency standards announced by the Obama Administration for cars and light duty trucks, including the model year 2017-2025 agreement announced by the president last month.
NOAA Releases July Climate Assessment
August 9, 2011 02:37 PM - David A Gabel, ENN
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has compiled and analyzed climate data for the United States in the month of July. The results will come as no surprise for many in the country, but now there is solid data to back up what we all know. In brief, it was hot, unbearably and persistently hot. Only now, a week into the month of August, has the heat begun to dissipate for the northern half of the country. The scorching July has shattered records in many places, making it the fourth warmest July on record in the US.
August 9, 2011 07:03 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
The NASA Mars rover Opportunity has gained a view of Endeavour crater from barely more than a football-field's distance away from the rim. The rim of Endeavour has been the mission's long-term goal since mid-2008. Endeavour offers the setting for plenty of productive work by Opportunity. The crater is 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter -- more than 25 times wider than Victoria crater, an earlier stop that Opportunity examined for two years.
August 8, 2011 02:06 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The Moon does have effects on the Earth because it makes the tides be pulled, but gravity pulls them back. It might also effect the weather. Scientists have long believed that, without our moon, the tilt of the Earth would shift greatly over time, from zero degrees, where the Sun remains over the equator, to 85 degrees, where the Sun shines almost directly above one of the poles. A planetâ€™s stability has an effect on the development of life. A planet see-sawing back and forth on its axis as it orbits the Sun would experience wide fluctuations in climate, which then could potentially affect the evolution of complex life. It is theorized by some that life itself would be virtually impossible without a moon, since the moon has a stabilizing effect on the orientation of earth's axis. Without the moon, the north-south axis would vary tremendously-- to the point where the poles would sometimes be in our orbital plane. These changes would mean that there would be no stable seasons, and it's questionable whether or not the planet would be able to sustain life.