Shell sued over 2004 pollution
October 4, 2007 09:46 AM -
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch public prosecutor is suing Royal Dutch Shell for not notifying authorities swiftly when one of its Dutch plants released a cloud of ethylene oxide into the atmosphere in March 2004.
Oil major Shell said the emission of the substance, which is highly flammable and can lead to explosions, took place by accident during the start up of the Moerdijk plant after a major turnaround.
A Shell spokesman said the firm initially thought the emission was less than 100 kilograms of the substance -- the threshold for informing authorities - but an investigation later showed between 1,000 and 2,000 kilograms was released.
Santa Isabel Agrees to Close Its Municipal Landfill
October 4, 2007 08:15 AM - EPA
Kazakh Oil Venture to Fight Environmental Fine
October 4, 2007 07:48 AM - Reuters
ALMATY - A Chevron-led oil venture in Kazakhstan will challenge a $609 million fine imposed on it for environmental law violations at the huge Tengiz oilfield, a spokeswoman said on Thursday. The fine was announced on Wednesday by Ecology Minister Nurlan Iskakov who cited the group's slow progress in removing open air sulfur stocks at the oilfield in the west of the vast and sparsely populated Central Asian state.
Scientists Get $1 Million To Demonstrate How Restored Prairies Filter Water, Produce Bioenergy
October 3, 2007 07:44 PM -
MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL - University of Minnesota researchers Clarence Lehman, John Nieber and David Tilman and colleagues have been awarded a $1.07 million grant to show how restored prairie areas can act as buffers to filter water polluted by agriculture while simultaneously producing bioenergy.
The strategy will also conserve prairies, expand areas available for wildlife habitats, reduce the amount of water needed for biofuels, enhance biodiversity in Minnesota and reduce Minnesota's greenhouse gas emissions by sequestering carbon.
Coal "Whipping Boy" For Greens Complaims Coal Exec
October 3, 2007 03:35 PM - Steve James, Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The coal industry has become the "whipping boy" of environmentalists who fail to come up with realistic alternatives for energy, the head of one of America's biggest coal producers said.
Brett Harvey, chief executive of Consol Energy Inc (CNX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) also suggested a surcharge on electricity use to help pay for development of technology that makes coal burn off less carbon dioxide and converts the fossil fuel into liquids and gas.
"If you're not going to use coal anymore what are you going to use?" he said he asks anti-coal advocates. "Well, they respond to you: new technology, solar and wind.
EPA Urged To Limit CO2 Pollution From Cargo And Cruise Ships
October 3, 2007 12:04 PM -
Washington, D.C., - A US supreme court decision has cleared the way for the Environmental Protection AGency to order shipping companies to lower the pollution caused by ships.Today a coalition of environmental advocates filed a petition today with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asking the agency to set pollution rules for large, ocean-going marine vessels. These vessels include cargo and cruise ships. Earthjustice, the leading U.S. public interest environmental law firm, filed this first ever petition on behalf of Oceana, Friends of the Earth and the Center for Biological Diversity.
California Attorney General Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown, Jr. also filed a petition to U.S. EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson on behalf of the state of California today, with a similar request.
The petitions would require the EPA to assess ships’ contributions to global warming, seek public comment and issue rules to reduce this pollution or explain why it will not act.
New method could advance development of hydrogen-fueled cars
October 2, 2007 09:29 PM - UCLA News
Los Angeles, California - Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a model that could help engineers and scientists speed up the development of hydrogen-fueled vehicles by identifying promising hydrogen-storage materials and predicting favored thermodynamic chemical reactions through which hydrogen can be reversibly stored and extracted.
The new method, published online in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Materials, was developed by Alireza Akbarzadeh, a UCLA postdoctoral researcher in the department of materials science and engineering; Vidvuds Ozolins, UCLA associate professor of materials science and engineering; and Christopher Wolverton, professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern University in Illinois.
Obama would seek nuclear ban if elected
October 2, 2007 08:28 PM - Andrew Stern
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Tuesday if elected president he would pursue a global ban on nuclear weapons as he sought to pick up ground on his front-running rival, Hillary Clinton.
"Here's what I'll say as president: America seeks a world in which there are no nuclear weapons," Obama said.
Obama marked the five-year anniversary of a speech he gave as a U.S. Senate candidate outlining his opposition to the Iraq war, noting it came just 10 days before his top rival for the party nomination, New York Sen. Clinton, voted to back the invasion of Iraq.
"Let's be clear: without that vote, there would be no war," Obama told DePaul University students. "This is not just a matter of debating the past. It's about who has the best judgment to make the critical decisions of the future."
Going Beyond Formaldehyde Binders in Manufactured Wood Products
October 2, 2007 01:20 PM - , BuildingGreen
Manufactured wood products—including plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), laminated-strand lumber, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard (MDF)—have the environmental advantage of being made from small-diameter or other low-quality trees or waste from wood-processing operations, conserving higher-quality timber.
With these products, the wood is peeled into thin veneers, chipped into small strands or flakes, or ground into wood flour; in each case, the pieces are then glued to produce a durable and stable panel or lumber product. Two glues, or binders as they are called in the industry, dominate the manufactured wood products industry: urea formaldehyde (UF) and phenol formaldehyde (PF).
Ancient Fossils Points to Carbon Dioxide As a Driver of Global Warming
October 2, 2007 12:37 PM -
PASADENA, Calif.--A team of American and Canadian scientists has devised a new way to study Earth's past climate by analyzing the chemical composition of ancient marine fossils. The first published tests with the method further support the view that atmospheric CO2 has contributed to dramatic climate variations in the past, and strengthen projections that human CO2 emissions could cause global warming.
In the current issue of the journal Nature, geologists and environmental scientists from the California Institute of Technology, the University of Ottawa, the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Brock University, and the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve report the results of a new method for determining the growth temperatures of carbonate fossils such as shells and corals. This method looks at the percentage of rare isotopes of oxygen and carbon that bond with each other rather than being randomly distributed through their mineral lattices.