What About Pollution

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Moving Beyond Oil’

Leaked Internal Presentation Details the Oil Industry’s Coordinated Multi-State Campaign to Stop Progress on Clean Energy

Merrian Borgeson, Senior Scientist, Energy and Transportation, San Francisco The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) – whose members include Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, ConocoPhillips, BP, and others – was caught red-handed last week when a leaked internal presentation revealed a coordinated campaign to stomp out climate and clean energy progress in California, Oregon and Washington by propping up over 15 front groups that purport to represent the views of concerned citizens and the broader business community. The leak comes on the heels of NRDC’s report released this month, which unmasked eight of the front groups that are campaigning against California’s climate and clean energy laws, as having direct ties to the oil industry. Fortunately, Californians have shown they can see… Read More

A landmark plan for conservation and renewable energy

Helen O’Shea, Director, Western Renewable Energy Project, San Francisco Today, when the Department of Interior and the California Department of Natural Resources released a draft of the long-awaited Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), the agencies set the stage for a first-of-its-kind project … in more ways than one. Not only does the DRECP have the potential to serve as a blueprint for conservation and clean energy development in the California desert, it could become a model for how federal, state, and local agencies can work together … and how those collaborations are better overall for everyone involved. ‘Smart from the Start’ Planning The DRECP is the result of an unprecedented collaboration between the Bureau of Land Management, the… Read More

Huge Ponds Hold Tar Sands Sludge, And Great Risks

Danielle Droitsch, Director, Canada Project, Washington, D.C. On August 4, 2014, the catastrophic failure of a mining company’s dam in British Columbia, Canada, released over 2.5 billion gallons of contaminated water from a containment pond into the upper Faser River watershed. Only a few hundred miles east in Alberta, at least half a dozen dams containing the wastewater from the tar sands mining industry hold more than 100 times the volume of the British Columbia release and span over 43,000 acres of Canada’s boreal forest. A breach from any one of these mine-tailings ponds would pose enormous risks to local communities and the surrounding boreal forest ecosystem. And yet, Canadian authorities offer virtually no public information about the safety… Read More

Satellite images show tar sands extraction obliterating Boreal forest right before our eyes

Liz Barratt-Brown, Senior Advisor, Washington, DC Today, the Global Forest Watch program of the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Global Forest Watch Canada released maps of forest loss in the tar sands region of Alberta, in the heart of Canada’s Boreal forest.  These maps make very clear how prevalent the forest loss is in and around the tar sands operations.  The map below shows forest loss over the span of twelve years in red points – slowly eating up chunks of forest until 2010.  Then in 2010, huge areas of intact forest around Ft. McMurray and in the Athabasca River watershed literally disappear before your eyes.  The forest loss is so complete that by 2013, most of the map… Read More

India Green News: Singh and Obama shake hands to cooperate on climate change policy and HFC-phasedown

Kristina Johnson, Program Assistant, Food and Agriculture, India Initiative, Urban, San Francisco September 26th-October 2nd India Green News is a selection of news highlights about environmental and energy issues in India Climate Change India-US announce joint working group on climate change Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama have announced formation of a joint working group to enhance bilateral cooperation on addressing global issue of climate change. The announcement to establish India-US Climate Change Working Group came through a joint statement issued after Obama-Singh meeting at the Oval Office yesterday. (Business Standard, 9/28/2013) Indo-US joint statement to cut use of chemical refrigerants opens door for talks NEW DELHI: India’s agreement with the US to work together to… Read More

Leading the Sustainability Pack: Portland, Of Course

Deron Lovaas, Federal Transportation Policy Director, Washington, D.C. I am one of many longtime fans of Portland. I love the walkable streets of downtown, love the light rail that goes to the airport (PDX!), love the parks such the rose garden overlooking the city, and of course I love Powell’s book store. I have only missed one plane flight because I was enjoying myself too much, and that was at PDX several years ago. I even love the city’s quirkiness, as captured hilariously Portlandia clips like this one: I first studied Portland in the mid-1990s, when as part of a series of events I organized for another environmental nonprofit I contrasted their urban growth boundary (UGB) with Boulder’s growth… Read More

Protecting the Environment By Reducing Regulatory Burden

David Goldstein, Energy Program Co-Director, San Francisco Protecting the environment often requires reforming how business is regulated by government. In some cases, this requires increased regulation. But this blog describes a major example of how it can go the other way. We all want smarter land use and transportation planning that can provide more affordable housing, offer choices in transportation and housing that are not widely available today, and reduce the costs and environmental impacts of transportation. NRDC wants to minimize the need to rely on cars by offering options for walking, transit, and biking that are convenient and affordable. Consumers would prefer the option to live in places where personal transportation costs a lot less than its current level… Read More