June 12, 2010

Wankers

Seems that Brits have their knickers in a twist about the USA’s criticism of British Petroleum. Some of them claim that this “anti-British rhetoric” is causing a severe drop in the company’s stock and that no dividends will be paid out to UK pension funds. Apparently, pensioners will be thrown out on the streets, and unable to have their pudding because they can no longer afford to eat their meat. Curse those damn socialist and their redistribution of wealth.

We sure didn’t hear this whining when we saved their asses from Hitler and the Nazis. If it were not for us, the Brits would be speaking German and mass producing Volkswagens.

Who needs these snotty tea-sippers? Are they too good for natty light? Hell, they don’t even allow guns. Then there is that uppity accent. We should kick all the Brits out of this country, or at least throw them in the Gulf to soak up the oil.

Now is the time to change our vocabulary to freedom muffins, freedom peas, freedom thermal unit, and you put freedom on the ball. We’ll show those limeys. Also, heard a rumor that Osama Bin Laden is hiding out in Buckingham Palace.

Yeah, this is silly. Just like the French bashing leading up to this country’s invasion of Iraq.
Like then, oil is the catalyst for rancorous rhetoric and rude behavior between allies.

The most vocal public figure is gaffe-prone conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson who is considered in many quarters, including the right, as a buffoon. He rode to victory behind a brilliant strategist who kept Johnson’s mouth shut, limited his public appearances, and was successful in getting out the vote.

Since Johnson seems to be manipulated by conservatives, and his anger is almost exclusively aimed at President Obama, would it be too outrageous to suggest that he is a proxy for GOP operatives across the pond who are whispering in his ear.


Posted by Captain Kroc at 09:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 17, 2010

Hank's spot on... as usual!

In response to the sideshow from the Three Stooges of Texas yesterday, Hank released this...

The announcement yesterday that Governor Perry, AG Abbott and Commissioner Staples have decided to waste taxpayer funds on a futile fight that was settled more than a year ago by the Supreme Court is more than unfortunate, it’s an inexcusable waste of money we don’t have since we are facing a budget, largely the responsibility of these men, that will be in deficit in the next biennium to the tune of $15-20 billion.

More than a year ago the US Supreme Court ruled that the EPA needed to regulate CO2 which makes this legal action a waste of taxpayer money on an election year stunt. The idea that this will somehow hurt Texas agriculture is a laughable one that only someone like Todd Staples could dream up. In point of fact, Texas stands to gain substantially from bioenergy production and refining. What’s been missing is a Commissioner of Agriculture who has the vision to see the future and prepare for it. Finally, to say that the EPA made its decision based solely on information from the IPCC is an outright lie, even bigger than the one Governor Perry told about people getting property tax relief and the story about the death of the TTC.

Texas needs leadership on this issue and this troika is instead providing ideological arguments on a scientific issue already settled by the courts.


Posted by mcblogger at 01:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 04, 2009

It's ok if you give some folks asthma...

...just please, stop giving them cancer. That is the message the State is sending to O&G operators in the Barnett Shale.

Posted by mcblogger at 11:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 19, 2009

Grace is Gone... I Wish!

Libby Montana has become the first place in the country to be labeled an environmental public health disaster. The EPA is going to spend at least $125 million dollars (included in the stimulus package) to clean up the former asbestos mines and proccessing plants that are causing cancer (mesothelioma) at rates higher than anywhere in the country. So, our tax dollars are paying for a major cleanup as well as the associated health costs tax payers have covered for years.

What makes this story all the more compelling is the company that owned and operated the mines... WR Grace. Some of you might remember they are the same company (one of two) detailed in the movie/book "A Civil Action" concerning the Woburn water pollution up in Massachusetts. This company has knowingly perpetrated some of the greatest environmental crimes of the 20th century and was even brought up on criminal charges for attempting to cover them up (they were acquitted because the judge made many rulings in favor of the defendants).

Additionally, this company has been amongst the largest donors to the Republican Party and tort reform campaigns across the country (gee, I wonder why!). The former CEO, J. Peter Grace, was friends with Ronald Reagan and led a commission that in 1984 recommended we replace career civil servants with outside contractors. This practice was continued by W, leading to Halliburton, Blackwater, etc.

So, to sum up, our tax dollars are paying to clean up someone else's mess. This someone is a close Republican ally that has a history of creating messes across the country with reckless disregard for the impact of their dumping practices on the communities they inhabit. Yet Republicans CONTINUE to argue that we need "tort reform" to become more business friendly.

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April 14, 2009

The Texas Observer is no damn fun

TO is apparently kinda upset that it was so easy for a guy to move from TCEQ to being a lobbyist for Waste Management. Not long after helping to push through their application to deposit radwaste in West Texas.

And no, by radwaste, I'm not talking about MBS.

Bunch of damn killjoys over at the Observer. What's next, y'all... forbidding political contributions from lobbyists?


Posted by mcblogger at 10:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 04, 2009

Abandoning the WaPo

What irritates me most about the Washington Post is that they allow people like George Will to, you know, LIE.

And with that, I'm dropping my subscription. Seriously, what's the point of having to endure brainless bullshit from the likes of Will and Krauthammer?


Posted by mcblogger at 02:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 23, 2009

Harris County is dirty...

This is a Google Earth overlay showing the carbon output of counties in the US. The project, produced by scientists at Purdue, is really very illuminating.

Posted by mcblogger at 08:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 02, 2009

Do businesses pay for their pollution?

Apparently, no. And TCEQ's fines are more a cost a doing business than an actual deterrent.

The recent pollution history of prominent Texas company Exxon Mobil Corp. helps put the numbers in perspective.

On a January day nearly three years ago, the three-member Texas Commission on Environmental Quality told Exxon Mobil that it owed $8,662 for a single pollution episode. Investigators had found that the company had failed to obtain permits and to record unauthorized emissions, according to state records.

Despite the fines, Exxon Mobil's Harris County chemical plants violated pollution rules at least nine times over the rest of 2006, belching into the air tons of carbon monoxide, smog-related chemicals and carcinogens. One of the emissions violations, according to state records, ran 201 hours.

The total bill for those penalties came to $146,450.

But the violations kept occurring. In 2007 the firm was fined 10 separate times to the tune of $247,066 — an incidental cost, critics say, for a corporation that had $11.66 billion of profit in the final three months of that year, or $264,000 every three minutes.

"You hope that you hold a company accountable for violating the law with a certain threat of a high penalty that will deter the company from violating the law in the first place, or deter them from doing it again," said Tom McGarity , an environmental law professor at the University of Texas. "But you figure they have written the penalty into the cost of doing business. It costs more to do something about it, to remedy the problem."

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December 30, 2008

Dummer with Hummer

While the big-ass-fucking-fusion-laser has got me rolling higher than a hippie, this image satisfies me.

dummer-05.png


AWESOME

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December 22, 2008

Just one more thing...

...other than the economy that Obama will have to fix.

The Environmental Protection Agency ruled yesterday that new power plants are not required to install technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, rejecting an argument from environmental groups.

The ruling, in a memorandum signed by EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, turns on a seemingly arcane regulatory question that could govern the future of new fossil fuel-burning buildings and power plants under the Clean Air Act.

During the Bush administration, the EPA has rejected the idea that greenhouse gases should be regulated like soot, smog precursors and other kinds of air pollution, despite an April 2007 Supreme Court ruling that said carbon dioxide fit the definition of a pollutant that could be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

In case you're wondering, it's bending the country over and fucking it right here at the end that really pisses me off. It would be great if someone would prosecute this cocksucker.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 14, 2008

Where are the bees?

Normally, I'd be thrilled by diminished numbers of flying insects that have the capacity to sting. However, in this case, it's kind scary.

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June 30, 2008

Tell me when it melts...

Thanks, AP, but I'd really much rather read about it actually happening. That's so much better than one asshole shouting about a one in two chance that the ice cap will melt.

I COULD HAVE TOLD YOU THAT.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 27, 2008

Japan and US agree to accelerate global warming

Oh, shit... this has 'bad idea' written all over it.

AOMORI, Japan (AFP) — Japan and the United States on Saturday agreed to cooperate on research into methane hydrate, known as the "ice that burns" which is seen as a promising future energy source.

Energy ministers from the world's two largest economies signed the cooperation agreement at a meeting in northern Japan that comes amid mounting concern about record-high oil prices.

Methane hydrate, or methane gas trapped in frozen water, looks like ice but burns. Its deposits can be found in permafrost regions and seabeds.

Under the three-year cooperation agreement, Japan hopes to conduct an on-shore production test in Alaska.

The deal was signed between Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari and US Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman.

The Japanese ministry and US department plan "extensive research with respect to methane hydrate exploration and resource assessment," a statement announcing the bilateral cooperation said.

"To establish technology for commercial production, we have to conduct test-production for several months," a Japanese ministry official said.

Yeah. There are so many problems with this, it's not even funny. For one thing, this stuff will be extremely difficult to bring up. For another, it's methane, a much nastier greenhouse gas than CO2. All that carbon that was in the atmosphere millions of years ago? This is where a lot of it is stored. And it's comparatively easy to destablize. In fact, temperature changes in the oceans RIGHT NOW may soon cause deposits of the stuff to flash over from their frozen form to gas. And then they'll bubble up, which will make the current carbon load in the atmosphere look like a non-issue.

Oh, and most of the stuff is in international waters. It'll be a lot of fun going to war over this crap.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:37 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 23, 2008

Winning the stupid olympics, pt 2

Here's the WaPo. Click on it and scroll down the second story (the one under the thing about the douchebag lobbyist).

Congress has tied itself in knots over whether to permit more domestic drilling for oil and gas. But Gingrich, through his organization, American Solutions for Winning the Future, has come up with a phrase that has inspired a torrent of support via the Internet.

In just three weeks, more than 750,000 people have signed on to a cyber-petition that endorses the phrase "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less." In a single day last week, nearly 100,000 people endorsed the simple-to-understand concept.

"It's far exceeded all of our expectations," said Dan Kotman, spokesman for the group.

Really, Newt? I always thought of you as the smart Republican. Exactly where would you like to drill where you can bring up 2-3 mn bbl per day?

Posted by mcblogger at 11:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 11, 2008

Are you hungry?

Apparently, so is the rest of the world.

Farmers the world over are producing flat-out. American agricultural exports are expected to increase 23 percent this year to $101 billion, a record. The world’s grain stockpiles have fallen to the lowest levels in decades.

“Everyone wants to eat like an American on this globe,” said Daniel W. Basse of the AgResource Company, a Chicago consultancy. “But if they do, we’re going to need another two or three globes to grow it all.”

In contrast to a run-up in the 1990s, investors this time are betting — as they buy and sell contracts for future delivery of food commodities — that scarcity and high prices will last for years.

If that comes to pass, it is likely to present big problems in managing the American economy. Rising food prices in the United States are already helping to fuel inflation reminiscent of the 1970s.

UGH. Why is it that an article about tight commodities markets always has the doom and gloom quote from some guy who thinks the future is going to look a lot like Soylent Green? There's never the quote from the fella who points out that, historically, times of limited supply and relative scarcity have always been of relatively short duration and are always followed by long periods of overabundance?

As for needing two or three earths? Not at all. What we need is for the rest of the planet to start farming like us. Well, maybe not with all the pollutions and problems of the past but instead with the best practices of today. Let's see some modern farming in Africa instead of the poor ass subsistence farmer plowing a field with technology from the 1860's.

When you read the article, please note how much Nigerians love them some toast.

Posted by mcblogger at 10:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 10, 2008

I'll have water without the diazepam

Feeling a little mellow? Maybe you find yourself developing erections without any provocation? Do you find that you're growing hair in weird places? It's nothing to worry about. It's probably just the pharmacological residue in your drinking water. Unless you live in Austin. Then it's just you being a freak.

A vast array of pharmaceuticals - including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones - have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.

To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe.

But the presence of so many prescription drugs - and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen - in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists about long-term consequences to human health.

To expand a bit, we've got a lot of long term usage data about the effects of medicinal doses of Valium, for example. What we don't know are the longer term effects of near constant microdosages. Not to mention that some of these drugs are harmful to reproductive health at ANY dosage. The scary part? That bottled water you're drinking may not be safe either since most of it comes out of a tap.

The good news? Those of us that live in Austin have no detectable levels of pharmacological residue in our water. The bad news? Austin's water has no detectable level of pharmacological res...

Posted by mcblogger at 01:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 27, 2008

GM and GIANT Hybrid SUV

This is it. The Yukon Hybrid. At best, this beast gets 22 miles per gallon. It's also $50k. Which is why GM will sell few of them and then moan about how the market really doesn't want hybrids.

Meanwhile, Toyota and Honda will sell every hybrid they can make.

Posted by mcblogger at 11:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 19, 2008

Paying for the nukes twice

The NYT has a great article up about all the nuclear waste that's piling up waiting for permanent storage. The cool part is that we paid for disposal of it with our electricity rates. The other cool thing is that we're going to pay for the delay in storing the waste with our tax dollars.

Cool, huh?

The only answer is to recycle the waste into plutonium and uranium and continue the fuel cycle. It's saves on uranium mining and gives us a long term solution since the wastes left over from the recycling usually have extremely short half-lifes, in some cases minutes or hours. Those wastes can then be vitrified into glass and they won't affect the water table in a long term storage facility.

What we have to do is get more comfortable with running reactors on plutonium. REACTOR grade plutonium, Ralph.

Posted by mcblogger at 07:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 04, 2008

Did you know?

Apparently, the rain forests at or near the equator are being destroyed at a very rapid pace. We should be concerned because they are the 'lungs of the world' and they are shrinking as our ability to pollute the air and overload it with CO2 is increasing. But there's hope! The Europeans want to pay the poor equatorial countries not to cut down their forests.

That's the goal of the post-Bali talks, looking for ways to integrate forest preservation into the world's emerging "carbon trading" system. A government earning carbon credits for "avoided deforestation" could then sell them to a European power plant, for example, to meet its emission-reduction quota.

"These forests are the greatest global public utility," Britain's conservationist Prince Charles said in the lead-up to Bali. "As a matter of urgency we have to find ways to make them more valuable alive than dead."

Observed the World Wildlife Fund's Duncan Pollard, "Suddenly you have the whole world looking at deforestation."

I'm all for carbon caps and a trading system. The problem is, how do you get that money down to the guy who's cutting trees for a living and making $0.75 PER DAY? Love the macro idea, just want to see the mechanism to get that money down to the micro level.

As a side note, here are some other things that are shrinking:

  • The likelihood that I'll soon be taking a trip to The Betty. I kinda shit all over that idea yesterday at the Superbowl Fun Time Party/Intervention with some people who are no longer friends.
  • President Bush's relevance
  • Senator John Cornyn's ability to stand up like real Senator instead of a coward
  • Y'all have a goodun'!

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    November 08, 2007

    Global warming and tasty lobster

    Lobster have been disappearing for years from the Long Island Sound. I thought the only thing that ever lived there was sewage from Manhattan and CT, but apparently there is marine life there. Or rather, there used to be until the temp went up a bit and all the lobster croaked.

    Just to provide a little fuel for the fire, the Arctic ice extent minimum, the point in the year where the arctic ice cap is smallest, went all the way to late September this year. Which very clearly points to, you guessed it, warmer climate.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    November 06, 2007

    Plastic electricity

    Gizmodo has the low down on dual layer plastic photovoltaics. While less efficient than semiconductor based PV systems, these plastic cells are very cheap to produce and drop price/efficiency ratios significantly.

    Nobel prize-winning scientist Alan Heeger and his buddies have figured out a way to print more-efficient plastic solar cells, boosting their efficiency to 6.5%, a world record for these photovoltaic polymers. Heeger and his colleagues perform this trick by using two layers of different types of plastic, and whenever one layer doesn't turn light into electricity, the other one picks up the slack. Now the scientists are getting cocky, saying they can improve the tech even further.

    Plus, you can make them out of plant or petroleum polymers. Granted this is all still in prototyping, but as we've seen in other systems, the pace of R&D has accelerated in recent years. It's not unlikely that you'll see plastic PV systems commercially deployed by the end of 2009. Shortly thereafter, Sears will be begin offering it as a siding option.

    Oh, and here's a graphic.

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    October 31, 2007

    Dallas : Bag the Trinity Tollway

    (via Texas Cloverleaf)

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 30, 2007

    Even the Brits have dumb judges

    A British judge has ruled that An Inconvenient Truth is not science. IBD recaps the take down without a bit of critical thinking.

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Gee, Justice Burton, we knew about the islands being evacuated that have subsequently been swallowed by the sea. We blogged about it. The problem with the argument that the movie isn't science is flawed by the notion that it's a legal argument being made. It's not. The film is a documentary and all the evidence used to make it is available from the producers and their company. Not to mention on the web with just a bit of research.

    Actually, let's take a look at just one more of Justice Burton's mistakes...

    Error 3 - This one is pretty easy since the gulfstream depends on a delicate balance of salinity and temperature to drive it. Should that be altered by higher levels of freshwater or higher/lower temps in the wrong zones and the current COULD shut down rapidly. We just don't know and the point of the movie was to show it was something that warming could make happen. Could 'slow down' in his 'expert' opinion? Ha. I love me some judges but when it comes to climate science the last person I'm going to listen to is a JD. I read the IPCC report... 'slowdown' was the best we could expect.

    Now, take a look at what Justice Burton posted above and then consider why a judge should never be the one deciding something like this. Specifically, look at Errors 5-7 and Burton's rebuttal. When WILL they start teaching Occam's Razor to the kids in law school?

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 19, 2007

    Global warming is pretty damn expensive

    According to a new study, the costs of global warming and climate change far outweigh the benefits.

    The analysis, conducted by the university's Center for Integrative Environmental Research and funded in part by the advocacy group Environmental Defense, represents the first comprehensive economic analysis of global warming's impact on the nation in the years to come. But the study's authors declined to put an overall price tag on climate change's future impact, saying it is impossible to predict how it would affect the U.S. economy on a broad scale.

    "Economic costs of climate change will occur throughout the country," said Matthias Ruth, the study's lead author, in a conference call with reporters. "We've connected the dots as far as the data would allow."

    Global warming will strain public budgets and raise the costs of cooling American homes, the authors write, and it will provide only temporary benefits to the mid-Atlantic's agricultural sector. For example, a predicted rise in sea level would require Hawaii to spend nearly $2 billion on upgrading its drinking water and wastewater facilities over the next 20 years.

    Posted by mcblogger at 06:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 01, 2007

    Super advanced electric car? Yeah. Sure.

    Many companies are talking about electric cars that charge in 5 minutes and can run for 500 miles. Yeah, while we think eventually this will happen, we have serious doubts as to it happening now.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    September 24, 2007

    More proof we're effecting the climate

    Accuweather has a good piece up on the findings of a new report out of LLNL...

    A recent study from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California states that observations and climate model results confirm that human-induced warming of the planet is having a pronounced effect on the atmosphere's total moisture content.

    More moisture creates a feedback loop which increases heat and drives more and more powerful storm systems. That's almost easy enough for the mongo in the White House to understand.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 27, 2007

    UAW tries (and fails) to shit on the environment

    As it turns out, the Big Three US automakers (soon to be known as the Three Little Pigs) teamed up with the UAW to kill tougher fuel efficiency standards in the Senate. This is being spun as helping Nissan, but in reality it helps every automaker who produces high efficiency vehicles.

    Unfortunately, that group doesn't include any of the Big Three.

    The UAW tried spinning this as harming as many as 17,000 US jobs. What this bill does is put American automakers on notice that they better rethink their business plans and get on hybrids ASAP since that's the only way they'll meet the new standards. That means the automakers and their suppliers are going to have to invest a lot of money. Which means jobs and future prosperity. I guess no one filled in the UAW's leaders about that.

    Which is why they are running a union into the ground.

    Alan Reuther, the UAW's legislative director, wrote that the proposal "would pose a serious threat to American automotive jobs and to efforts to promote the use of alternative fuels."

    Stevens, the ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, strongly rejected the UAW's arguments.

    "There isn't anybody that's harmed in the long run. They all benefit by what we've done," Stevens said.

    I find myself agreeing with Ted Stevens of 'The Pipes' fame. For this, I shall always hate you, UAW.

    American autoworkers have been too long ill-served by terrible management at the automakers and even more horrendous management at their union. The time for change has come from the Local level on up. If you need any help, just let The Mayor and I know. He's not so much for unions in foreign countries (i.e., The Third World), but he loves them here.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 24, 2007

    Dude... where's my lake?

    Who moved the damn lake?

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    A five-acre glacial lake in Chile's southern Andes has disappeared—and scientists want to know why.

    Well, so do I...I'd also like to know

    1) Why did Arrested Development really get cancelled?
    2) What's floating in my scotch? Ash or a gnat?
    3) Will I ever get caught for killing that hobo that time?
    4) Tie tacks...why?
    5) When going out for drinks with friends is it required that I be polite to the asshole husband of a friend? I'd really rather not.
    6) If you're bad in this life, will God reincarnate you as a pony belonging to a fat kid?
    7) Why are there so few needlepoint artists with epilepsy?
    8) If the Mayor wins the TDP Chair, will he let me head up the 'To Be Purged' Committee?
    9) How much is a can of HotShot Wasp and Hornet Killer in rural Mongolia?

    $20 bucks says Winona Ryder went klepto and made off with the lake. I'm totally right about this.

    Posted by mcblogger at 05:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 23, 2007

    Google jumps into plug-in hybrids

    Google, through it's philanthropic arm, Google.org, has announced an effort to persuade industry to offer plug-in hybrid vehicles by providing money for R&D (you know, since the automakers, at those in the US, continue to drag their feet on it).

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Google said Tuesday it is getting in on the development of electric vehicles, awarding $1 million in grants and inviting applicants to bid for another $10 million in funding to develop plug-in hybrid electric vehicles capable of getting 70 to 100 miles per gallon.

    The project, called the RechargeIT initiative and run from Google's philanthropic arm, Google.org, aims to further the development of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles - cars or trucks that have both a gasoline engine and advanced batteries that recharge by plugging into the nation's electric grid.


    Granted, this money is a drop in the bucket for the automakers who have R&D budgets on individual car lines that run over $100 million. Still, it's a start and these awards will more than likely go to companies and developers who will concentrate on ways to remake cars and trucks already on the road. Might the next major auto company arise from this project?

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    June 14, 2007

    TXU gets Oak Grove

    And Austin gets some motherfuckin' dirty air...

    The TCEQ has determined that the Oak Grove air permit will be protective of human health and the environment. This permit contains some of the cleanest emission standards ever set for a lignite power plant, and the plant will help meet Texas' near-term need for power."

    Uhmmm... lignite. The absolute dirtiest coal you can use and one of the dirtiest fuels, other than peat, on the planet. Hello, EPA non-attainment!

    Posted by mcblogger at 07:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 18, 2007

    Those cunning Swiss

    Damn them! They've developed a semi-workable prototype hydrogen car and fueling system. I say semi because it's still got some kinks... like the fact that car hasn't been tested in the rain (a biggie) and that the refueling electrolyzer is the size of a garage (massive problem). Still, these innovative mountain dwellers have developed a bottom up system from scratch that works in the real world, not some DoE fantasy land. And they didn't need billions from the government to do it, GM.

    I'm still not sold on the hydrogen thing, mostly because I think by the time you get PV systems efficient enough to make electrolyzing cost competitive, you could just use them to juice batteries combined with a good capacitor system. However, those batteries are a quantum leap in materials science away. This could be developed in 5-10 years.

    And here I was thinking they just made great watches and decent chocolate.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 14, 2007

    Is it real, or is it South Park?

    Bob Geldorf, the man who solved the problem of world hunger back in the Eighties, whining about Al Gore's planned Live Earth concerts:

    I hope they're a success. But why is he actually organizing them? To make us aware of the greenhouse effect? Everybody's known about that problem for years. We are all fucking conscious of global warming

    To say nothing of the devastating amounts of hot air released by celebrity dogooders when their egos boil over.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 03:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 03, 2007

    Dallas and Houston stink...

    The American Lung Association released it's air pollution study Tuesday. Dallas and Houston made the list for the worst in the nation. Good work, y'all!

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 14, 2007

    Giant pile of mulch is STILL on fire...

    B and B has more about the endless saga of the Helotes mulch fire. The most amazing thing? The folks at TCEQ don't appear to know much about the Edwards Aquifer.

    It's quite amazing that it took so long for TCEQ to agree to a cautious approach such as this, especially given the well contamination discovered a few weeks ago after the initial fire-fighting efforts. Late last week, Dig Deeper Texas pointed to an Express-News editorial that may partially explain this, as TCEQ officials reportedly were unaware that there are no treatment plants for Edwards aquifer water. That such plants are not necessary is one reason why the aquifer is so valuable. Even with its chronic lack of funding, TCEQ has no excuse not to know such basic facts about their state.

    Take that back... the most amazing thing is that this damn thing is still burning (it started EIGHT WEEKS AGO). The second most amazing that is that the state agency tasked with protecting natural resources (like the Edwards Aquifer) knows little about them.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 31, 2007

    It's getting hot in here...

    ... and North Texas Liberal has more about it.

    We know things are getting warmer, but it's very hard to visualize how catastrophic climate change might impact Texas. Last year's record-breaking temperatures, coupled with the worst drought in fifty years, gave us a preview of things to come, but dry, cracked reservoirs don't compare with glaciers melting and crashing into the sea. Dying livestock can't capture the public's attention like polar bears drowning.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 08, 2007

    The UCS takes on Exxon

    The Union of Concerned Scientists has issued a public call to Exxon to stop funding misleading, ideologically driven climate research that erroneously claims global warming is not a threat. We talked about this months ago when I introduced to you to Myron who might as well be on Exxon's payroll (yes, Myron, I think your brain is an integrity-free zone). It's great to see UCS take a real stand on this and come out publicly... even though it received less attention than Britney's latest revealing.

    Exxon Mobil lists on its Web site nearly $133 million in 2005 contributions globally, including $6.8 million for "public information and policy research" distributed to more than 140 think tanks, universities, foundations, associations and other groups. Some of those have publicly disputed any link between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

    Alden Meyer, the Union of Concerned Scientists' strategy and policy director, said in a teleconference that Exxon Mobil based its tactics on those of tobacco companies, spreading uncertainty by misrepresenting peer-reviewed scientific studies or emphasizing only selected facts.

    Dr. James McCarthy, a professor at Harvard University, said the company has sought to "create the illusion of a vigorous debate" about global warming.

    The company said its financial support doesn't mean control over any group's views.

    Sure. Seriously, is there anyone out there dumb enough to think that if Myron started talking about reality, instead of his 'carbon is good' bullshit, he'd still be getting his allowance from Exxon?

    Didn't think so.

    (Much love to the Somervell County Salon)

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 13, 2006

    It's in the water, part 2

    Both Can-O-Fun and Somervell County Salon have articles up about oil waste disposal wells coming soon to a community (and water supply) near you. Can-O-Fun has a video up of a meeting in Hico discussing it and Somervell has a list of sites in their county where wells are being drilled.

    Check out the video on COF... notice that there is no requirement for monitoring around the waste injection wells. So, the only way you'll know that your water has been contaminated is when you see an oily film on the top of a glass of water. Or when your skin 'starts to burn' while bathing.

    At this point out I'd like to send a massive shout out to Todd Staples, douche extraordinaire. Take a bow, Todd! You've done your part to make it easier for polluters to destroy the environment with toxic chemicals!

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 12, 2006

    Yeah, there's something in the water

    “When I take a bath in it, it burns. I think

    we’ve been neglected because we’re black.”

    - Earnestene Roberson

    So what IS going on in Panola County? TCEQ and the RRC won't say. All they'll say is that the high levels of benzene (a cancer causing chemical), hydrocarbon wastes and barium that are contaminating the water (in some cases, hundreds of times over EPA limits for human consumption) couldn't possibly be caused by oil and gas waste disposal wells that have been dropped in the ground all over the county. Across the border in LA, no problems.

    That's because in LA the state regulates the disposal of oil-drilling waste. In Texas it's up to counties and as you may have guessed... Panola County has no rules, other than what federal law will allow.

    Who are the companies who've brought industry to this area (in the form of waste disposal) and are busily dropping it into the ground? Basic Energy Services and Falco. Falco's already settled one dispute with the RRC. But don't worry, they won't have to deal with another because of two words... campaign contributions. Is TCEQ doing anything? Yeah, they're testing...

    Surface-water runoff could have contaminated residents’ wells, although Tintera contends pollution wouldn’t have left the Basic site. Yet, samples at a monitoring well at the disposal site and a neighborhood spring showed nearly identical concentrations of barium and chloride. In TCEQ documents reviewing Basic’s test results, someone wrote in the margin, “interesting coincidence.”

    Oh sure. That's why the same chemicals being dumped (in some instances) 300 feet away are showing up in a water well that people use for potable, life sustaining water. It's all just a big 'coincidence'.

    The Lege, last session, restricted the ability of individuals to begin an enforcement action against a polluter. So, technically, TCEQ can't investigate based on complaints from the people who are affected. The author of that bill? None other than Todd Staples, current Republican candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture.

    Hank Gilbert is running against him... go here to help him out!

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:55 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack