This is such a cool idea. I do not know which plants take in the most carbon. Probably young tree saplings. So they would not be good to use because their uptake slows down as they age. Maybe switch grass? Anyway this is about the concept and the New Mexico experiment to attempt it.

http://www.boulderweekly.com/article-13275-your-next-roadside-attraction-carbon-storage.html

Thursday, August 28,2014

Your next roadside attraction: Carbon storage

By Marianne Lavell

As you watch the miles roll by on family road trips this summer, look just behind the guard rails to see what some scientists believe is a significant untapped resource in the battle against climate change.

Roadside soils and vegetation on federal lands and along U.S. highways are already capturing nearly 2 percent of total U.S. transportation carbon emissions

The land alongside the 4 million miles of U.S. public roadways, already being maintained by federal, stat, and local governments, could be planted with vegetation that helps transfer carbon from the atmosphere into the soil, say scientists. Road banks and berms, in other words, could be managed as valuable “banks” for carbon sequestration.

“We’re talking millions of acres,” says biologist Rob Ament, of the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University, who led a recent study to gauge carbon storage potential on just a fraction of that real estate — roadsides on federal lands.

Shrubs, grasses and other plants already along roads in U.S. National Parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands currently are capturing about 7 million metric tons of carbon each year, Ament said in a report on his findings at this month’s North American Congress for Conservation Biology. That’s equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of 5 million cars — without any effort made to optimize the mix of plantings and soil management practices for carbon storage.

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This is absurd.

 

http://www.sj-r.com/article/20141211/NEWS/141219899/-1/json

 

$137M Ameren rate increase approved

 

By Tim Landis
Business Editor
Posted Dec. 11, 2014 @ 9:05 am
Updated at 9:23 AM

State utility regulators have approved a $137 million rate increase for power-grid upgrades on the Ameren Illinois system.

The 17.4 percent increase in electricity distribution rates, announced Wednesday by the Illinois Commerce Commission, take effect Jan. 1. Commissioners also approved a $245 million increase for system upgrades on the Commonwealth Edison system, serving Chicago and northern Illinois.

Ameren serves 1.2 million electric and 806,000 natural-gas customers in central and southern Illinois.

Commission chairman Doug Scott said in a statement the rates were set under the 2011 Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, a state law that allowed Ameren and ComEd to recover annual costs for installation of smart grid technology such as high-tech meters, real-time pricing of electricity, more control options for consumers and more accurate energy data.

Scott said commissioners tried to balance the need for network improvements with long-term benefits to ratepayers.

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He killed over 20 people, so I think he needs to die. This is one arrogant son-of-a-bitch.

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2014/11/21/347725.htm

Blankenship Pleads Not Guilty to Charges Linked to Massey Mine Explosion

By Jef Feeley and Margaret Cronin Fisk | November 21, 2014

Former Massey Energy chief Donald Blankenship pleaded not guilty to charges linked to the West Virginia mine explosion that killed 29 workers in the worst U.S. coal industry disaster in almost 40 years.

The former executive, 64, once a powerful figure in the coal industry and state politics, wore a gray business as he stood with four lawyers in federal court in Beckley, West Virginia, and said, “Not guilty.”

Blankenship is accused of hampering regulators’ safety inspections of the Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County where the explosion occurred in April 2010.

The judge set a trial for Jan. 26. About 50 spectators were in the courtroom.

If the former chief executive officer is convicted of the four charges, he faces a maximum penalty of 31 years in prison, according to prosecutors.

Blankenship is accused of setting hyper-aggressive coal- production quotas and instructing subordinates to ignore basic safety measures, such as controlling explosive coal dust and providing proper ventilation in the mines

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They take to much room, they lower land values, they don’t generate enough income, they are unnecessary, and finally they are a blight on the land. I believe that Grid upgrades are require for the use of alternative energy sources and so I say “Build Baby Build”.

http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140802/News/140809877

Wind power drives demand for new transmission lines

By Tim Landis
Business Editor
Posted Aug. 2, 2014 @ 9:30 pm

A second high-voltage transmission line — this one intended for power from Kansas wind turbines — is making its way toward central Illinois.

The Grain Belt Express power line would carry electricity from wind farms in western Kansas across central Missouri and Illinois to Indiana, following the same general corridor as the Illinois Rivers power line already announced by Ameren Transmission Co. of Illinois. Illinois Rivers also would carry wind-generated power west to east.

Kansas and Indiana utility regulators have approved the $2 billion Grain Belt project, www.grainbeltexpresscleanline.com, and regulators in Missouri plan to hold public hearings this week. As with the Illinois Rivers project, the Grain Belt Express has generated controversy. Proponents argue for jobs and clean energy. Opponents fear falling land values and health hazards.

Illinois is expected to be the next regulatory stop for the 750-mile power line.

“We’re taking a state-by-state approach to our regulatory process,” said Adhar Johnson, project manager for Grain Belt Express.

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Normally I do not run purely local environmental articles, but this is pretty cool. I hope this actually happens.

 

http://www.sj-r.com/article/20141119/NEWS/141119436/-1/json

 

Study urges better use of Sangamon River

  • By Tim Landis
    Business Editor
    Posted Nov. 19, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

The Sangamon River is a major untapped resource for tourism, recreation and Abraham Lincoln history in the region.

A just-completed state study of an 85-mile section from Petersburg to Decatur also concluded the river is in need of a major image upgrade, including acknowledgement of the role it played in the life of Lincoln, improved boat access, bike and hiking trails, more public facilities, scenic driving routes, conservation incentives, and stepped-up efforts to reduce fly dumping.

Public presentation of the report — “Lincoln Heritage Water Trail” — at a policy breakfast of the Citizens Club of Springfield on Friday is timed to the 50th anniversary in 2015 of the Lincoln Heritage Canoe Trail.

Gov. Otto Kerner approved creation of the original 65-mile river trail in 1965

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The last excuse by the industrialists and their mouth pieces just went out the window. They totally bought the cancer and smoking defensive fall back approach. First they said that Climate Change wasn’t happening. Then they said we couldn’t “prove” it and came up with “scientists” that refuted it. Then they said it wasn’t as “bad” as what we were saying. Finally they said, “Well China isn’t doing it so why should we?”. So I am sure now they will say that any carbon tax or carbon emissions limit will be TOO MUCH. You heard it here first.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120242/us-and-china-reach-agreement-climate-change

 

Environment

November 12, 2014

The World Has Waited for the U.S. and China to Take Action on Climate Change. They Just Did.

By

President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced on Wednesday commitments to reduce both countries’ greenhouse gas emissions. The surprise announcement, which came while Obama visits Beijing this week, is the clearest sign yet the two countries are serious on climate change.

After months of negotiations with China, Obama has pledged the U.S. to cut emissions between 26 and 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. This is double the pace of carbon cuts the U.S had already pledged to reach by 2020.

But China’s commitments might be even more unexpected, because it is the first time the growing economy has committed to a year for capping its emissionsseen as a crucial step for avoiding the worst-case scenarios of global warming. Xi pledged this will happen around 2030, though it will try to reach this peak as early as possible. China also agreed to increase the share of energy that doesn’t come from fossil fuels to 20 percent by 2030.

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Actually falling oil prices are not good because cheaper oil and gasoline means more of it gets used, thus more global warming. Still if there is a silver lining this would be it.

 

http://www.npr.org/2014/11/04/361204786/falling-oil-prices-make-fracking-less-lucrative

Falling Oil Prices Make Fracking Less Lucrative

Oil prices are down than more than 25 percent since June and are staying low for now. Drivers may appreciate that, but for oil companies, it’s making some of the most controversial methods of producing oil less profitable — and in a few cases, unprofitable.

Most of the world’s oil is selling for about $80 to $85 a barrel now. But not all oil is created equal. In the Middle East, it’s cheaper to produce, at a cost of less than $30 a barrel on average, according to the Norwegian firm Rystad Energy.

But in the Arctic, producing a barrel costs $78 on average. From Canada’s oil sands, it’s an average of $74 a barrel. And because those are averages, some companies have costs that are higher — which means there could be drillers currently producing crude at a loss.

Here in the U.S., the oil drilling boom is due largely to technologies like hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, used to force oil from shale formations deep underground. Producing this oil, Rystad figures, costs an average of $62 a barrel.

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I do not propose to write a treatise on Trailer’s as abodes. I have never seen one that was energy efficient, but I am sure they exist. I have a Trailer Park in my precinct so I am familiar with them a bit. My experience with them is that if the owners care, they can be really nice and homey. On the other hand if they are occupied by renters or they are occupied by people who do not take care of them, they can be real slums. Course the same could be said for most houses.

http://ced.berkeley.edu/bpj/2013/04/how-the-other-half-lives-exploring-trailer-parks-in-the-american-sunbelt/

 

How the Other Half Lives: Exploring Trailer Parks in the American Sun Belt

Written by on April 2, 2013 in Urban Fringe3 Comments

I believe that trailer parks are an important source of affordable housing for low-income households. I also believe that they serve as an important transitional step for social mobility. These conclusions are a culmination of a complex and emotional although enriching personal journey of writing my senior thesis at UC Berkeley.

As an urban studies undergraduate, I first sought to investigate the concept of colonias because to me it represented the Third World phenomenon of informalities on First World territory. The journey began in the summer of 2012 when I received the Judith Lee Stronach Summer Travel Scholarship to explore poor migrant settlements near the U.S.-Mexico border. During my travels, I drove along the U.S.-Mexico border through the States of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to study this phenomenon of underdevelopment. But what I saw was very different from what I expected, based on the academic papers and scholarly books I had read.

Naively, I had expected to find isolated pockets of poverty that could be addressed through institutionally coordinated efforts and proactive legislation. But what I found were not isolated settlements but whole poverty-stricken neighborhoods, suburbs and, in some cases, cities, built entirely of mobile homes and trailer parks. I had never inquired into this scattered pattern of settlement clusters before, where people seemed to be camping permanently in mobile homes over the vast expanse of desert land. Initially, residences looked empty, isolated and neglected, uprooted and restless. But after spending a few weeks in the Sun Belt, I began to question my preconceived notions about life in the desert. I became conscious of very different ways of life that exist outside American metropolises. I started to wonder whether there was not one, but multiple American Dreams.

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But it appears that the world is changing.

 

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/big-utilities-push-into-booming-home-solar-market/

 

Big Utilities Push into Booming Home Solar Market

By Nichola Groom (Reuters) – For years, the utilities responsible for providing electricity to the nation have treated residential solar systems as a threat.

By Nichola Groom

(Reuters) – For years, the utilities responsible for providing electricity to the nation have treated residential solar systems as a threat. Now, they want a piece of the action, and they are having to fight for the chance.

If utilities embrace home solar, their deep pockets and access to customers could transform what has been a fast-growing, but niche industry. Solar powers only half a million U.S. homes and businesses, according to solar market research firm GTM Research.

But utility-owned rooftop systems represent a change the solar installation companies who dominate the market don’t want, and whether the two sides can compromise may determine if residential solar truly goes mainstream.

In Arizona, the state’s largest utility has proposed putting solar panels on 3,000 customers’ homes, promising a $30 monthly break on their power bills. In New York, regulators are weighing allowing utilities to get into the solar leasing business to meet the state’s aggressive plan to incorporate more decentralized, renewable power onto the grid.

 

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I was really suprised to open up my SJ-R today and see this really great article. Hope they print more.

http://www.sj-r.com/article/20141013/ENTERTAINMENTLIFE/141019833/-1/json

Commentary: Climate change is our problem

By Maggie Lenkart
Voice Correspondent
Posted Oct. 13, 2014 @ 10:29 pm

The effects of climate change and the environment have been in the news a lot in the past few weeks. Last month more than 300,000 people marched in New York to demonstrate for more regulations to help the environment. Celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio took to the podium to discuss the need for change. Even President Barack Obama called on the American public to start paying attention to this issue.

I plan on majoring in environmental studies in college, and all this focus on climate change makes me happy. I want to be someone to make a change, as I’m sure many other teens do. If we lose the earth, we can’t get it back. I hope that by doing things such as majoring in environmental studies and writing about climate change, I can make a change.

I’m not the only teen who cares about these changes. Other teenagers care — and they should.

“Environmental change will possibly cause our earth to die around us,” said Kayla Houston, a junior at Southeast High School.

Isaac Miller, a senior at Springfield High School, agreed with Kayla and said “If (the earth) gets too bad, we won’t be able to survive.”

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