Posted on June 3, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Regional plan helps speed reviews
New solar energy projects are sprouting across the sunny Southwest.
FRISCO — Up-front planning helped speed three big new solar projects through the federal review process, the U.S. Department of Interior said this week, touting the administration’s Western Solar Plan as a model for renewable energy development on public lands.
The plan mapped out solar energy development zones in areas where there was little potential for conflicts over resources. The reviews three new projects in Clark County, Nevada, where completed in 10 months, about half the time it previously took under the project-by-project system. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, energy, Environment, global warming, renewable energy | Tagged: BLM, public lands, renewable energy, solar energy, Solar energy zones, Western Solar Plan | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Multinationals say they’re ready to be part of the solution and emphasize the importance of natural gas
A coal power plant in northwest Colorado is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the region. @bberwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — U.S. politicians and energy companies may not have warmed to the idea of putting a price tag on carbon pollution, but the chief executives of six major multinational oil companies say it’s the best way to “reduce uncertainty and encourage the most cost effective ways of reducing carbon emissions widely.”
The six companies — BG Group, BP, Eni, Royal Dutch Shel, Statoil ASA and Total SA — set out their position in a joint letter from their chief executives to United Nations climate policy leaders, timed to precede the critical COP21 climate meeting in Paris this December. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, climate change, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling, renewable energy | Tagged: carbon pricing, carbon trading, climate change, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gas reductions | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 29, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Last, best hope for endangered birds?
FRISCO — If plans, press releases and political mud-slinging could help greater sage-grouse, the majestic western bird would be well on the way to recovery. But the only thing that will really help the imperiled species is on-the-ground action — protecting and restoring the habitat the birds need to survive.
A series of proposed land-use plans released by the federal government this week aims to do just that, by minimizing and avoiding new disturbance to habitat, restoring habitat when possible and reducing threats like wildfires and invasive species. Here’s a fact sheet. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, energy, Environment | Tagged: BLM, endangered species, energy, Greater sage-grouse, public lands, U.S. Forest Service | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 19, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
‘In their development plans, power providers are not taking into account climate change impacts …’
Renewable energy sources may be less susceptible to climate change impacts.
FRISCO — The Western power grid is vulnerable to projected global warming impacts, and should be climate-proofed to minimize the risk of future power shortages, according to a new study by two Arizona State University engineers.
Their findings show that extreme heat waves and droughts and related changes in precipitation, air and water temperatures, air density and humidity, are all factors in the energy equation, and that those changes could significantly constrain the energy generation capacity of power plants. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, energy, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change, climate change impacts, energy, global warming, renewable energy, western power grid | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 17, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Habitat exchange scheme eyed as key component in efforts to protect dwindling western birds
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is ordering state agencies to boost greater sage-grouse conservation efforts. Photo courtesy USFWS.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is calling for an all-out state effort to protect greater sage-grouse by stepping up coordination among state agencies, improving habitat on state-controlled lands, and boosting the role of the state’s oil and gas commission.
The new conservation push, announced in a May 15 executive order, also outlines a market-based habitat exchange program that would let ranchers and other landowners buy and sell conservation credits to developers, including the oil and gas industry with the goal of mitigating “residual impacts” to sage-grouse habitat. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, Colorado, endangered species, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Colorado, conservation banking, endangered species, Greater sage-grouse, habitat exchange, oil and gas drilling, ranching | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 15, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Scientists say more study needed before the next big spill
Oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster approaches the Alabama coastline. Courtesy U.S. Navy.
FRISCO — Fallout from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster is still rippling through the Gulf of Mexico — and through the scientific community studying the effects of the largest oil spill on record.
Along with 210 million gallons of crude oil that leaked from BP’s failed deep-sea well, cleanup workers applied 1.84 million gallons of chemical dispersant intended to break down the oil and prevent it from reaching the shoreline in massive quantities. Continue reading
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, coral reefs, Environment, gas drilling, Marine biology, oil drilling | Tagged: BP Gulf oil spill, Deepwater horizon oil spill, dispersants, Gulf of Mexico | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 13, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A new study raises more questions about public health risks in oil and gas development zones.
Findings confirm health risks to people living near oil and gas wells
FRISCO — Careful air sampling near active natural gas wells in Carroll County, Ohio showed the widespread presence of toxic air pollution at higher levels than the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for lifetime exposure, according to scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Cincinnati.
The study reinforces the need for more extensive air quality monitoring in fracking zones around the country, where exposure to the poisonous emissions are likely to lead to increased risk of cancer and respiratory ailments. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: air pollution, fracking, Ohio, oil and gas, PAHs, pollution, public health | 2 Comments »