Gas prices have fallen below $3 per gallon in much of the US, and the explanation isn’t the simple seasonal differences that always make gas cheaper in autumn. The bigger reason: US oil shale deposits are turning the global oil market on its head.
How did cheap gas happen?
In the simplest terms, supply is up and demand is down.
Travel drops between the summer travel season and the holidays, and cooler temperatures actually make gas cheaper to produce. That’s why gas prices always fall in the fall.
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.