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Another Off Shore Oil Explosion

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Another offshore oil facility caught fire Thursday morning in the Gulf of Mexico, sending 13 workers into the water to be rescued by boat, and sending enough petroleum into the water to create a mile-long by 100 foot wide sheen, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The cause of the explosion is not yet known and is under investigation. It comes a little more than four months after BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig blowout, which killed 11 workers and resulted in the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The government and BP are still working on completely sealing that well, which has not leaked since mid-July.

Among environmentalists and liberal lawmakers, reaction was swift.

“In the wake of the BP catastrophe, this is an extremely disturbing event,” said Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who has led a congressional investigation into the BP spill. “I call on the administration to immediately redouble safety reviews of all offshore drilling and platform operations in the gulf and take all appropriate action to ensure safety and protection of the environment.”

In a news conference Thursday afternoon, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said that the oil platform’s operator, Mariner Energy reported that all of the site’s seven active wells had been “shut in,” meaning they were not leaking oil. Though a fire was still burning on the platform, Jindal said the company had told officials that it was being fed by an oil product stored on the platform.

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September 2, 2010 at 1:28 PM Leave a comment

California alternative energy legislation gets broad backing

Reporting from Sacramento —

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is spurring California legislators and conflicting interest groups to settle past differences and adopt the nation’s toughest renewable energy law to reduce the state’s dependence on oil and serve as a model for other states.

The effort is supported by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is eager to burnish his environmental legacy before leaving office in January even though he vetoed a similar bill last fall.

Both the governor and the Democrats who control the Legislature want to require privately and publicly owned electric utilities to generate one-third of their power from wind, solar and other clean sources by 2020.

After last fall’s veto, Schwarzenegger issued an executive order unilaterally imposing the 33% renewable standard. But Democrats denounced the action as mainly symbolic because it does not bind future governors.

This year, Democrats came back with a compromise bill, which has its first legislative hearing Thursday in the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee.

“One needs only to look to the Gulf of Mexico and the tragedy and what happens when you just rely on oil,” Schwarzenegger said at an alternative fuel summit last week. “It is shameful how desperate and how dependent we have become on fossil fuels.”

With images of gushing crude and oil-covered birds dominating TV screens, Schwarzenegger’s chief of staff, Susan P. Kennedy, said environmentalists, utilities generators, labor unions and other industry groups that waged war over last year’s bill now are meeting at least weekly and are closing in on a deal.

“I’m very optimistic,” she said. “There’s always been a consensus around the goal. It’s simply a matter of identifying what the obstacles are in the implementation.”

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June 25, 2010 at 11:42 AM Leave a comment

Spill-related measures advance in Congress

Reporting from Washington and Los Angeles —

A congressional stampede to pass oil spill legislation gathered momentum Thursday as a Senate committee voted to impose tougher penalties on water polluters, and lawmakers unveiled a comprehensive bill to strengthen environmental and safety rules on offshore drilling.

The measures expected to move forward in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon blowout also include a rewrite of decades-old maritime liability law and a tightening of ethics rules for officials who oversee offshore drilling.

“The incident is a game-changer in the way we manage America’s offshore energy resources,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall II (D-W.Va.), who introduced the measure to strengthen off-shore drilling regulations.
The flurry of activity came as alarm continued to mount on the Gulf Coast. A mass of tar balls swept into the Mississippi sound, a biologically rich area surrounding Mississippi’s barrier islands. And Florida officials closed a quarter-mile section of the popular Casino Beach in Pensacola Beach after thick masses of oil washed ashore.

“It’s pretty ugly — there’s no question about it,” said Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

It is unclear whether Congress will pass a series of individual measures or wrap legislation into a sweeping energy bill that would also seek to boost renewable resources and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

That legislation, which had passed the House but stalled in the Senate before the oil spill, is backed by President Obama and many Democrats as a way to address global warming. But it is opposed by the oil industry and other businesses, along with most Republican lawmakers who say it will boost energy costs.

The lack of consensus was evident Thursday as lawmakers broke into partisan finger-pointing over the administration’s efforts to impose a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling.

Sen. John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican, accused the administration of “putting ideology over scientific integrity” in imposing the moratorium. During a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, he also attacked the presidential commission that is investigating the rig explosion as “stacked with people who philosophically oppose offshore exploration.”

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who was testifying before the committee, shot back: “There is nothing political about this. It’s an issue about safety and making sure that we’re protecting the environment.”

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June 25, 2010 at 10:53 AM Leave a comment

San Francisco vs Amsterdam in Green City Rivalry

December 2, 2009 by Glenn Chapman

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San Francisco and Amsterdam set an online stage for an environmental rivalry regarding which city is more nature-friendly. Mayors of the major US and Dutch cities on Tuesday kicked off a green match-up while joining technology titan Cisco in a call for urban centers worldwide to rally to fight global warming and other environmental woes.

December 2, 2009 at 3:43 PM Leave a comment

Climate change bill is in trouble-Political tactics tie up the Senate version, and efforts to salvage it may be too little too late.

If you think the partisan divide over healthcare reform is ugly, take a look at the animus in the Senate as debate continues on a key climate change bill. So wide is the gulf that long-held Senate traditions on decorum are breaking down. And as Washington fiddles, the Earth burns.

The Senate version of a House bill aimed at capping greenhouse gas emissions was stalled last week by Republicans on the Environment and Public Works Committee, who boycotted the discussion, demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency agree to do a more thorough study of the bill’s economic impact. It was an ugly and highly unusual tactic aimed at delaying a bill that has already been thoroughly vetted by the EPA, leaving Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the committee chair, little choice but to resort to extremes herself. She put the bill, S. 1733, up for a vote Thursday without a single Republican present. That angered Republicans but was even more frustrating for Democrats — several wanted to amend the bill, but with no one from the minority party present, no amendments were allowed. The bill passed, 11-1.

Full Story HERE

November 13, 2009 at 2:18 PM Leave a comment

USF Net Impact Undergrad Launch Event: What is Social Entrepreneurship? An idea forum for conscious students

Come out tomorrow night to learn about the growing field of social entrepreneurship, 6-8pm, Fromm Chapel.

USF Net Impact Launch event

USF Net Impact Launch Event

Join the University of San Francisco’s Net Impact Undergraduate Chapter as they present a panel of young entrepreneurs at the forefront of socially responsible and sustainable business. As our generation moves into the workforce and familiarizes itself with the complexities of the business world a new frontier has emerged that looks to combine the energy and enthusiasm for a fulfilling life with the necessity of making a living. A plethora of new businesses and non-profits led by dynamic, passionate, and inspired young people with a vision for a better world have developed over the last couple of years and we hope to spark discussion around the opportunities that are possible in today’s environment.

Come to learn and explore. Be inspired to grow and succeed.

Panel:

Hans Chung, Co-Founder of Mokugift (http://mokugift.com)

Our mission is to foster environmental solidarity by making it easy and rewarding for anyone to fight climate change and by providing the tools to inspire others to do the same. Mokugift makes it possible for concerned citizens, even those lacking access to planting space, to plant real trees for $1 apiece, either for themselves or as gifts to others. Gifting a mokugift tree is similar to sending an e-card, and recipients can display their trees online at Facebook, MySpace, MyYahoo, iGoogle and other popular Web sites. Award-winning nonprofit organizations specializing in agroforestry project—which restore depleted lands and boost the agricultural productivity and incomes of indigenous peoples in some of the poorest parts of the world—plant the actual trees purchased via mokugift.

Mike Del Ponte, Founder and CEO of Sparkseed (http://sparkseed.org)

At a time when the economy, the environment, and global institutions are undergoing a massive shift, young social innovators are leading the way with creative approaches and dynamic business models. Sparkseed is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing guidance, funding, and tools to this new generation of leaders.

Over the past two years, Sparkseed has launched 31 ventures throughout the country. These ventures are changing lives and protecting the environment. The students who lead these ventures are becoming effective social entrepreneurs.

Talis Apud-Martinez, Co-Founder and Director of Operations for Feel Good World (http://feelgoodworld.org)

FeelGood’s (FG) mission is to “unleash OUR potential for creating lasting social change.” We are an innovative social enterprise that empowers college students to become global citizens, socially responsible leaders and entrepreneurs while taking an active role in the sustainable end of poverty. Specifically, students create and run non-profit delis where they “give away” grilled cheese sandwiches for a voluntary donation. In addition to gaining critical business skills and inspiring their peers, they invest 100% of their profits in organizations sustainably ending poverty. We ensure their success as global citizens, entrepreneurs and changemakers through business consulting, investment capital and a formalized education curriculum

USF NEt Impact Undergraduate Chapter

USF NEt Impact Undergraduate Chapter

November 10, 2009 at 12:29 PM Leave a comment

Cash Cows: Farm Converts Cattle Manure into Electricity

A Vermont dairy farm is producing something other than milk. Earlier this month, state officials were on hand to visit Vermont’s newest methane facility. Westminster Farms Inc., along with Green Mountain Power (GMP), have been working together in an on-site plant that converts methane gas released from cow manure into electricity.

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October 30, 2009 at 9:36 AM Leave a comment

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