This guy stole from a fund that pays for fuel tank removal at Gas Stations in Illinois. Much like abandoned mines, abandoned bore holes, and most landfills, abandoned fuel tanks are a huge environmental issue. If the IEPA can’t even protect the funds, how the hell can they protect us. Me really.
Michael Keebler sounded sorry Monday when he finally faced the music.
He turned emotional, putting his forehead down on the defense table for several minutes after tearfully apologizing to U.S. District Court Judge Sue Myerscough, who sentenced him to five years for stealing more than $13 million from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
“I don’t get emotional ever,” Keebler told the judge. “I’ve worked ever since I was born. I’ve worked to help my mom out. This has just killed her. It’s torn my family apart. … I can make more money if I need to – that’s not the issue. I can’t come back and spend the time (in prison) with my kids.”
It could have been worse for Keebler, who faced a maximum of 20 years in prison if he’d fought the charges. Instead, he pleaded guilty last spring in a plea bargain that should have him out of prison in time to see his eldest child graduate from high school.
Keebler, an engineer who lives in Sherman, stole millions from the IEPA in massive fraud scheme that went undetected for a dozen years. The money came from a surcharge on gasoline sales that was supposed to pay to clean up leaking underground storage tanks. It was supposed to keep drinking water clean and protect public health. Instead, it went into the pockets of Keebler and his co-defendants, including two of his brothers, who have also pleaded guilty and are expected to receive lesser sentences.
In the quiet of summer, a couple of U.S. scientists argued in the pages of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that modern civilization has drained the Earth — an ancient battery of stored chemical energy — to a dangerous low.
Although the battery metaphor made headlines in leading newspapers in China, India and Russia, the paper didn’t garner “much immediate attention in North America,” admits lead author John Schramski, a mechanical engineer and an ecologist.
And that’s a shame, because the paper gives ordinary people an elegant metaphor to understand the globe’s stagnating economic and political systems and their close relatives: collapsing ecosystems. It also offers a blunt course of action: “drastic” energy conservation.
It, too, comes with a provocative title: “Human domination of the biosphere: Rapid discharge of the Earth-space battery foretells the future of humankind.”
The battery metaphor speaks volumes and then some.
Go there and read. Be very scared. More next week.
President Obama announced EPA’s new Clean Power Plan at the White House yesterday, citing the need to reduce carbon pollution from power plants as an historic step in taking real action on climate change.
Natural gas, renewables, nuclear and efficiency are the winners. Coal is the loser.
The President stated that the final Clean Power Plan is fair, flexible and designed to strengthen the fast-growing trend toward cleaner and lower-polluting American energy.
“With strong but achievable standards for power plants, and customized goals for states to cut the carbon pollution that is driving climate change, the Clean Power Plan provides national consistency, accountability and a level playing field while reflecting each state’s energy mix. It also shows the world that the United States is committed to leading global efforts to address climate change.”
(hip hip hurray, oh) Go there and read. More next week.
I never thought I would applaud the Pope. But hurray for him as his message spreads to the Chicago diocese. By its self the church can not solve the problem but it could put a dent in Global Warming. Here is hoping it spreads.
Answering a plea from Pope Francis to protect the planet, Chicagoans — Catholics and non-Catholics alike — pledged Thursday to collect rainfall, conserve tap water, recycle their cans and bottles, and switch off the lights when they leave a room.
It’s an unusually tangible, immediate and ecumenical response to a papal encyclical, a letter expounding on Catholic teachings.
But the encyclical itself is an extraordinary letter. Francis’ first solo encyclical (he co-wrote one with his predecessor) is the first time the leader of the world’s billion Roman Catholics has addressed the environment. And the letter is more than a manifesto for clergy and bishops to use as a teaching tool. It’s a call to action with scientific rationale, written in plain language and addressed to “every person living on this planet.”
“I’m so excited about the courage of this pope. He’s done his homework,” said Gina Orlando, an instructor of science and spirituality courses at DePaul University and a Catholic who recently returned to Ascension Catholic Church in Oak Park after spending the last several years church shopping. “I’m back now because of this encyclical and the possibility that it holds for spirituality and environmental change.”
Go there and read. It is up lifting. More next week.
When homosapiens invented fire did we doom ourselves? Because it seems fire will always come into contact with fire and global warming is the result. I think this implies that there is a limit on large animals ability to survive on Earth. I think it means that the Earth is locked into cycles of mass die offs. Finally, I think it means humans better get out of here soon. Yet, I wonder why that is just dawning on me at 60?
From the back kitchen window of his little house on a ridge in east-central Pennsylvania, John Lokitis looks out on a most unusual prospect. Just uphill, at the edge of St.IgnatiusCemetery, the earth is ablaze. Vegetation has been obliterated along a quarter-mile strip; sulfurous steam billows out of hundreds of fissures and holes in the mud. There are pits extending perhaps 20 feet down: in their depths, discarded plastic bottles and tires have melted. Dead trees, their trunks bleached white, lie in tangled heaps, stumps venting smoke through hollow centers. Sometimes fumes seep across the cemetery fence to the grave of Lokitis’ grandfather, George Lokitis.
This hellish landscape constitutes about all that remains of the once-thriving town of Centralia, Pennsylvania. Forty-three years ago, a vast honeycomb of coal mines at the edge of the town caught fire. An underground inferno has been spreading ever since, burning at depths of up to 300 feet, baking surface layers, venting poisonous gases and opening holes large enough to swallow people or cars. The conflagration may burn for another 250 years, along an eight-mile stretch encompassing 3,700 acres, before it runs out of the coal that fuels it.
Remarkably enough, nobody’s doing a thing about it. The federal and state governments gave up trying to extinguish the fire in the 1980s. “Pennsylvania didn’t have enough money in the bank to do the job,” says Steve Jones, a geologist with the state’s Office of Surface Mining. “If you aren’t going to put it out, what can you do? Move the people.”Nearly all 1,100 residents left after they were offered federally funded compensation for their properties. Their abandoned houses were leveled. Today Centralia exists only as an eerie grid of streets, its driveways disappearing into vacant lots. Remains of a picket fence here, a chair spindle there—plus Lokitis and 11 others who refused to leave, the occupants of a dozen scattered structures. Lokitis, 35, lives alone in the house he inherited from “Pop”—his grandfather, a coal miner, as was Pop’s father before him. For fans of the macabre, lured by a sign warning of DANGER from asphyxiation or being swallowed into the ground, Centralia has become a tourist destination. For Lokitis, it is home.
Across the globe, thousands of coal fires are burning.
I never thought I would ever see this. Really as a post it has nowhere to fit in. BUT. It is important so I just thought I would cram it in here and live with it. When people surf this blog in future years they can just think of it as a speed bump. Can you believe that there are people who want to flaunt their ignorance?
“I accept that the planet has warmed,” said conservative columnist Mark Steyn from the podium. “And I rejoice that it is warm.”
Steyn was one of many speakers at the libertarian Heartland Institute’s 10th “International Conference on Climate Change,” a major event for climate science contrarians. The two-day conference, held in mid-June at the classy Washington Court Hotel just a few blocks from the US Capitol, had all the trappings of an academic conference, but you wouldn’t mistake it for a Geological Society of America meeting. Tables set up outside the hotel’s main ballroom hosted conservative advocacy groups and think tanks like CFACT, the Ayn Rand Institute, and the Heritage Foundation (which attracted visitors with a life-size cardboard cut-out of Ronald Reagan). The audience contained some meteorologists but seemed mostly composed of retired couples with an interest in politics, along with a handful of state legislators.
The goal was to gather speakers—who, organizers frequently reminded the audience, were some of the most famous and well-respected experts in the world—who could arm attendees with the information they needed to take the Good Fight back out to the streets. A small number of the talks presented research into climate science, but most were arguments against climate policy based on economic impacts. In other words, imagine the opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal plus a podium.
As for the speakers, they viewed themselves as voices of reason speaking truth to power—all of them trying desperately to keep the Western world from slipping over the precipice to certain economic ruin. And to hear them tell it, Heartland and its allies were winning the battle against the “climate alarmists.” The public remains divided on the issue of climate change, with some recent polling placing it low on the priority list of concerns. Attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through legislation have been stymied. International negotiations have been arduous.
The U.S. Department of Energy has accepted 92 teams from industry and academia to compete in its Wave Energy Prize program that seeks to encourage the development of wave energy conversion devices.
The program, which was introduced in April by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy during the National Hydropower Association’s Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., is a design-build-test competition that supports the department’s goal of making marine hydrokinetic generation more competitive with traditional forms of production.
Teams will be competing for a total prize purse that totals more than $2 million.
“We’re extremely pleased with both the quantity of teams and the diversity of participants reflecting broad expertise from so many established companies in the ocean energy space, universities, and newcomers to the industry,” said Julie Zona, Wave Energy Prize administrator.
Since registration for the program closed June 30, teams are working on the first requirement for the prize — a technical submission describing their concepts, which is due later this month. A panel will then select up to 20 of the top teams by mid-August, with those groups invited to build a 1/50th scale model for small-tank testing.
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down new rules for America’s biggest air polluters on Monday, dealing a blow to the Obama administration’s efforts to set limits on the amount of mercury, arsenic and other toxins coal-fired power plants can spew into the air, lakes and rivers.
The 5-4 decision was a major setback to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and could leave the agency more vulnerable to legal challenges from industry and Republican-led states to its new carbon pollution rules.
It was also a blow to years of local efforts to clean up dangerous air pollution.
Go there and read. Be prepared to be sad. More next week.
My mind is blown. My eyes disbelieve. My ears thunder. I smell a rat and I tingle in my toes. I am happy that school children will ride buses past the failed energy generator of the past and the successful energy generator of the future.
This Huge Wind Turbine Floating on Water Is Fukushima’s Energy Solution
Bryan Lufkin Filed to: japan 6/23/15 12:30pm
A mere 12 miles from the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will soon sit a 620-foot, 1,500-ton windmill atop a 5,000-ton podium. It’ll be the biggest floating wind turbine on Earth, and it could usher in a new age of green energy for a region largely fed up with nuclear energy.
The turbine, completed Monday, will generate up to 7 megawatts of electricity, making it Japan’s most powerful wind turbine, and the most powerful floating turbine in the world. That’s good news for Japan, a country that’s shut down nuclear power plants in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and subsequent meltdown.
The beast of a turbine sports three 270-foot-long blades and is built to stand against winds nearly 200 mph. It’ll be part of a wind farm that will include three turbines total, and will be stationed in the Pacific in the coming months. One is already in place in the ocean—that smaller one generates 2 megawatts of electricity.
The $401 million Fukushima wind farm project is a government-sponsored collaboration among 11 companies and research orgs, like Mitsubishi, Hitachi, and the University of Tokyo.
But how is the Catholic Church going to pitch in? His statement was aimed at policy makers, so politicians everywhere scrambled to comment. But what measures are the church(es) going to take. Solar panels on catholic churches? What?
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Thursday called for a radical transformation of politics, economics and individual lifestyles to confront environmental degradation and climate change, as his much-awaited papal encyclical blended a biting critique of consumerism and irresponsible development with a plea for swift and unified global action.
The vision that Francis outlined in the 184-page encyclical is sweeping in ambition and scope: He described a relentless exploitation and destruction of the environment, for which he blamed apathy, the reckless pursuit of profits, excessive faith in technology and political shortsightedness. The most vulnerable victims are the world’s poorest people, he declared, who are being dislocated and disregarded.
The first pope from the developing world, Francis, an Argentine, used the encyclical — titled “Laudato Si’,” or “Praise Be to You” — to highlight the crisis posed by climate change. He placed most of the blame on fossil fuels and human activity while warning of an “unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequence for all of us” if swift action is not taken. Developed, industrialized countries were mostly responsible, he said, and were obligated to help poorer nations confront the crisis.