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Think Progress

By Rebecca Leber  on Apr 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Mitt Romney’s campaign has benefited from Big Oil and Big Coal’s backing, which have poured more than $16 million into ads attacking President Barack Obama’s energy policies. As a favor, Romney says he plans to open public lands and water to drilling while undoing safety and environmental protections.

Below, we take a side-by-side look at Obama and Romney’s policies and their divisions on fossil fuels, clean energy, public health, and pollution. Beneath the chart is a more detailed comparison of the candidates’ energy proposals and rhetoric.

MORE HERE

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Three Things That Must Happen for Us to Rise Up and Defeat the Corporatocracy

Truthout Friday 26 August 2011

by: Bruce E. Levine, Alternet | Op-Ed

Most Americans oppose rule by the corporatocracy but don’t have the tools to fight back. Here are three things we need to create a real people’s movement.

Transforming the United States into something closer to a democracy requires: 1) knowledge of how we are getting screwed; 2) pragmatic tactics, strategies, and solutions; and 3) the “energy to do battle.”

The majority of Americans oppose the corporatocracy (rule by giant corporations, the extremely wealthy elite,

and corporate-collaborator government officials); however, many of us have given up hope that this tyranny can be defeated. Among those of us who continue to be politically engaged, many focus on only one of the requirements—knowledge of how we are getting screwed. And this singular focus can result in helplessness. It is the two other requirements that can empower, energize, and activate Team Democracy— a team that is currently at the bottom of the standings in the American Political League.

Read article at Truthout Friday 26 August 2011

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G:
Good news from DARPA? Well, I’ll be surprised if it is, because of the use of genetically altered bacteria, and gawd knows what else, in developing these fuels. Electrofuels?, whats that?
We should keep in mind here, that the Defense Industries are involved and that they qualify as “Small Business”, while the sheeple cannot get a loan.

OPXBIO raises $36.5M to accelerate commercialization of renewable chemicals and fuels

Green Car Congress 7 July 2011

OPX Biotechnologies Inc. has raised $36.5 million in the first closing of its C-Round private equity financing. The investment will accelerate OPXBIO’s development and commercialization of renewable, bio-based chemicals and fuels that are lower cost, higher return and more sustainable than existing petroleum-based products. (Earlier post.)

US Renewables Group (USRG) led the C-Round investor syndicate, which also included new investor DBL Investors with strong participation by existing investors Mohr Davidow Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, Altira Group and X/Seed Capital. Pacific Crest Securities provided financial advice to OPXBIO on the C-Round financing. The company also announced that USRG managing director Jonathan Koch has joined the OPXBIO Board of Directors.

The new investment will enable OPXBIO to accelerate development and commercialization of an industrial-scale process for producing its first renewable chemical, BioAcrylic. Acrylic derived from petroleum is today an $8-billion global market and is used to make products such as diapers, detergents, paints and adhesives. During an 18-month pilot-scale program completed in early 2011, OPXBIO demonstrated with speed and capital efficiency the ability of its proprietary EDGE (Efficiency Directed Genome Engineering) technology to make performance-equivalent BioAcrylic that is lower cost and more sustainable than petroleum-based acrylic.

OPXBIO has established a joint development agreement with The Dow Chemical Company to collaborate on the large-scale demonstration of the process for BioAcrylic production. OPXBIO anticipates full commercialization within three to five years.

OPXBIO developed and piloted the microbe and bioprocess that will produce its first renewable chemical product—BioAcrylic—in 18 months. The company’s second product is diesel fuel bio-processed from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. OPXBIO has raised $60 million with venture investors Altira Group, Braemar Energy Ventures, DBL Investors, Mohr Davidow Ventures, US Renewables Group and X/Seed Capital.

Energy,Technology, Biofuels, Electrofuels, Batteries, Electric Vehicles, Department of Energy, DOE, DARPA Obama Administration

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On her Facebook page this week, Sarah Palin outlined a pretty solid case for tough government regulations against corporations. (By the way, none of the sentences ended with the word “also,” nor did the entry read like a really bad local newspaper letter to the editor, so I assume it was ghost-written.)

Yes, seriously. Sarah Palin is in favor of the federal government planting its gigantic boot on the throats of energy companies. She put it in writing. Not only that but she even proposed that our socialist, anti-capitalist, wealth-redistributing president call her on the phone so she can describe to him specifically how to impose all kinds of big government regulations against BP and others.

It’s about damn time.

I knew if we just continued to make the case for serious government regulation of corporations, we’d finally win some minds and hearts — even minds as airy, and wolf-snipering hearts as hardened as Sarah Palin’s.

Here’s the centerpiece of what she wrote:

Unless government appropriately regulates oil developments and holds oil executives accountable, the public will not trust them to drill, baby, drill. And we must!

I can only assume she was suggesting that “we must!” regulate and drill. For the record, we’re already drilling offshore, so enough of this hackish “drill, baby, drill” screeching. There are already 3,858 oil and gas platforms operating in the Gulf of Mexico alone, according to NOAA. Here’s a convenient map with yellow dots indicating all of the locations where we’re already, you know, drilling, baby, drilling:

2010-06-09-Gulf_Coast_Platforms.jpg

I understand, however, that most Republicans aren’t satisfied and want more drilling. They want the moratorium on new deepwater drilling permits to end, and they want new exploration for oil in heretofore untapped leases all along the entire coast of the United States. The problem is that it would take around 10 years to get platforms online and producing in the areas where there are untapped leases, and the deepwater platforms that are ready to drill now don’t have the failsafe mechanisms — and the regulations Sarah wants — in place yet. So how about this compromise: we continue to drill with the existing offshore wells, but, as Sarah Palin suggests, we regulate the hell out of them? Once those regulations are in place, maybe we can talk about new offshore leases rather than drilling willy-nilly.

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The Hidden Costs of Nuclear Power

Huff Post  By- Alec Baldwin

Posted: February 23, 2010 02:58 PM

Sitting in Bill Richardson’s office while he was Secretary of Energy under President Clinton was an opportunity that my colleagues and I from Standing for Truth About Radiation had worked hard to obtain. We wanted Richardson to not only close the research reactor at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, but also to shut down the Millstone plant in Waterford, Connecticut, which we asserted had been killing enormous amounts of fish with its water intake system for cooling. Local groups had been charging Millstone with destroying millions of pounds of local fish and with pumping superheated water back into the Long Island Sound, the temperatures of which had negatively impacted fish and shellfish habitat for decades.

Richardson, like any DOE Secretary before or after him, wasn’t all that interested in closing Millstone. Everywhere we went, government officials like Richardson invoked the figure “20 percent.” Twenty percent of domestic power in the US is derived from nuclear energy. The clean and safe source of power.

Often when discussing the advent of a new era in nuclear power generation, advocates for nukes, like Stewart Brand, who I referenced in my previous post, tread lightly over certain subjects, such as waste disposal and security issues. Other problems inherent in nuclear power generation, they simply ignore completely. One such issue is the impact of mining and processing radioactive materials into actual fuel. The mining and processing of material like uranium is one of the most carbon intensive processes used in creating energy. To mine, mill and refine uranium and to then submit the material to the enrichment, or gaseous diffusion, process takes vast amounts of energy. In sites around the US, massive coal burning plants pollute the air while providing the energy for uranium enrichment. Add to that the power needed to fabricate the enriched UF6 into fuel rods, and the resources needed to store the byproduct, reduced or depleted UF6. You begin to see that everything that leads up to a utility reactor going on line is anything but clean.

Another issue that nuke advocates sidestep is calculation of the true cost of bringing nuclear power plants on line. Just as oil, and thus gasoline, actually costs astronomically more than what we pay at the pump, due to the cost of US military interventions in the oil-rich areas of the world ( not to mention the costs in human lives, US and foreign), nuclear power has its own menu of hidden costs that are now, or one day will be, inherited by our children. Waste storage is the primary issue here. But the actual decommissioning and decontamination of reactors themselves will soon come to pass. Even with current licenses being foolishly extended and, thus, pushing the operational lives of these units years, even decades, beyond their original design, these units will eventually expire. The cost of closing them safely in current dollars is staggering. In the future, that will only get worse.

Scott Simon never asked Stewart Brand about Price Anderson. Even as utility operators put hundreds of millions into the Price Anderson fund respectively and billions collectively, one accident at, say, Indian Point, adjacent to New York City, would mean potentially many billions in costs. Who pays that? US taxpayers do, while Entergy, a private energy company, profits from the operation of the plant. Insuring these plants, over a hundred of them in the US, all aging, falls largely to US taxpayers. Another hidden cost. At least hidden in so far as most US citizens are concerned.

In the next piece that I post here, I will touch upon the issue of the health hazards posed by exposure to ambient radiation, which I believe is the least discussed and among the most insidious components of the nuclear powered utility legacy.

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The Truth About Nuclear Power in Utility Reactors

Huff Post  By- Alec Baldwin

Posted: February 22, 2010 12:41 PM

It was in 1996 that I was first contacted by an organization called the Standing for Truth About Radiation (STAR) Foundation. The Long Island-based group, a loose bundle of veterans of the anti-nuclear movement, local artists, businessmen with large investments in second homes on the East End and scientists with a career-long dedication to the issue were attempting to raise awareness about the Brookhaven National Laboratory and its nuclear-powered research facility, the High Flux Beam Reactor.

The reactor operations at Brookhaven were reported to have released billions of gallons of tritiated water into the headwaters of the Peconic River during the period of its operations from 1965 to 1996. BNL, the U.S. Army’s former Camp Upton and the site of decades-long research into all things nuclear, had been the base of operations for some of the earliest work on the atomic bomb. A coalition of different community groups had been opposing the HFBR at BNL for years. Pro-business lobbying groups warned that closing the reactor would have dire consequences to the Long Island economy, as national laboratories, with their high-skill, high-paying jobs, were viewed as “sexy” components of any area’s business landscape. Opponents of BNL pointed out that levels of soft tissue cancers and rare diseases such as rhabdomyosarcoma were extraordinarily higher adjacent to the water recharge area near the lab. More effectively, the anti-BNL groups pointed out that Long Islanders had already voiced their opinion of having nuclear reactors in the area when they agreed to absorb the unconscionable amount of money necessary to shutter the Shoreham nuclear power plant several years earlier.

The Long Island Lighting Company, one of the most horrifically mismanaged public utilities in U.S. history, had thrown the switch and already gone “online” with a utility reactor on the North Shore of Suffolk County, a decision that represented a game of chicken with the area’s rate payers. Once the reactor went “hot”, any move to shut it down would surely mean hundreds of millions of dollars extra in decommissioning and decontamination costs. Long Island residents said, “Bring it on.” Already the highest utility rate payers in the forty-eight contiguous states, LILCO customers absorbed billions in costs, amortized over several years, and Shoreham closed. Soon after that, then Governor George Pataki set up another darling of Albany politicos, a quasi-public authority (the Long Island Power Authority or LIPA) to, among other things, evacuate LILCO’s overpaid executives who were responsible for the Shoreham debacle. All the information you could possibly want on this issue was brilliantly covered by one of the greatest journalists in the area, Karl Grossman.

Shoreham was closed because even the Feds could not argue that Long Island had no effective evacuation plan, a vital issue for people who would have to either bottleneck through the biggest city in the U.S. or swim to Connecticut in the event of some disaster. That fear also applied to BNL. Soon, the HFBR was closed as well.

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Coal River Mountain, WV

For eighth day, climate activists block bulldozers at WV’s Coal River Mountain.

Think Progress- By Brad Johnson on Jan 28th, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Yesterday [Wednesday] in Washington, DC, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) exhorted citizens to “get angry about the fact that they’re being killed and our planet is being injured by what’s happening on a daily basis by the way we provide our power and our fuel.” In West Virginia, climate activists are not just getting angry, they’re taking action — blocking the demolition of Coal River Mountain by coal company Massey Energy. The activists, members of the aptly named organization Climate Ground Zero, have been living in trees for over a week to prevent bulldozers from reaching the summit:

High up in the trees near the summit of Coal River Mountain, two activists dangle in the air near a mountaintop removal mine site. Eric Blevins and Amber Nitchman are still preventing the expansion of mining on the summit of Coal River Mountain, a mountain that has the best wind energy (and therefore economic) potential in the area.

Employees of coal baron Don Blankenship, the “scariest polluter in the United States,” have been blasting the tree-sit activists with air horns and flood lights. Following hundreds of phone calls from supporters of the non-violent civil disobedience action, Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV) met today with Climate Ground Zero representatives and “asked the activists to scale down their campaign.”

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