Toyota

Since the Dilly, Dally, Delay & Stall Law Firms are adding their billable hours, the Toyota U.S.A. and Route 44 Toyota posts have been separated here:

Route 44 Toyota Sold Me A Lemon



Thursday, July 31, 2008

Burning the Future






Sierra Club commented about Mountaintop Removal:


Mountaintop removal mining is exactly that, instead of digging tunnels to mine for coal, the tops of whole mountains are blown off with explosives to expose the seams of coal hidden underneath. Beautiful mountain ranges are reduced to leveled worksites while the dirt, rock, trees and other debris are bulldozed into the surrounding valleys, blocking and contaminating local rivers and streams, flooding and polluting the water in local communities, and threatening countless animals and plants.


This practice was banned for over a quarter of a century until President Bush legalized mountaintop removal mining again in 2002. It is now estimated that this process will destroy more than 1.4 million acres of American mountain ranges, chiefly in the Appalachian area. That’s why I am asking you to please act now and sign our petition urging Congress to stop this deadly practice.


To make it more difficult for the coal mining companies to use mountaintop removal, we are pushing Congress to pass the Clean Water Protection Act. This important legislation, if passed, will make mountaintop removal impossible by preventing mining companies from dumping their waste into the surrounding valleys and the rivers and streams which flow through them. Since there is nowhere else to dump the resulting huge deposits of waste, the practice will become impractical to continue.


Help us bring a permanent end to this process - tell your representatives to pass the Clean Water Protection Act - now!


The Coal Industry has financed an army of lobbyists and a major ad campaign to sway the opinion of lawmakers and the public to their side. You may have seen one of the many “Clean Coal” television ads that have saturated our airwaves in recent months. But simply adding the word “clean” or any other positive adjective to the word “coal” doesn’t change the many negative unhealthy effects of this dirty fossil fuel.


Fact is, coal emissions are the top contributors to global warming. Increasing our dependence on coal will intensify and expand the effects of global warming. That’s why we must oppose mountaintop removal coal mining. Please sign our petition and put a stop to mountaintop removal - right now!


Sierra Club Petition

Will Beacon Hill Do It?

This is what Winston Vaughan had to say about the Global Warming legislation:

This is Winston Vaughan- I'm the field organizer for Environment Massachusetts. Just wanted to give you the heads up that the Senate has passed the bill! Now it needs to go back to the house for final approval and back to the senate for the same- before midnight. Looking good but keep up the pressure and thanks for the post.
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Will our elected officials work diligently to pass this important legislation? Or ...... ?
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The votes will be posted tomorrow so we all know how our officials voted.

Rep. Barney Frank Works For Sensible Energy Solutions

I received the following responses from Rep. Barney Frank after expressing my opposition to expanded oil drilling leases and the need to reduce energy consumption. Since the responses explaining the complex issue of energy don't lend themselves to soundbytes, it is presented in its entirety with permission.
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I appreciate your asking if you could post my letter. I think that any mail that a Member of Congress sends out in response to a constituent should be considered a public document, in part to guard against people giving different answers to different people, so I of course have no objection.
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I also, however, want to answer your suggestion that I "begin to address conservation." In fact, I have been working on conservation issues for some time - for example I have been a strong supporter of higher fuel efficiency standards for automobiles. In my role as Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, which began last year, I began an initiative to significantly improve the energy efficiency of homes, which is a major area where conservation has been neglected. As I dictate this letter to you, I am preparing for a meeting of the committee I chair on Wednesday, July 30th - the day after this - in which we will call for a significant increase in energy efficiency in the way in which we live in our homes. I think we have neglected this aspect of conservation and I am very proud that it was under my chairmanship that we began to take it up.
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BARNEY FRANK
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Thank you for contacting me with your opposition to drilling for oil in sensitive areas. I agree with you, and I am against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). I am a cosponsor of H.R. 39, introduced by my colleague Congressman Ed Markey, that would permanently protect the ANWR. If oil companies utilized the 68 million federal acres of currently leased land, they could generate an estimated 4.8 million barrels of oil a day - six times what ANWR would produce at its peak. Additionally, 80 percent of the oil available on the OCS is in regions that are already open to leasing, but the oil companies have refused to drill there. The current industry practice of stockpiling oil leases has clearly demonstrated that opening new areas to drilling offers no guarantee of additional oil production, and in fact it demonstrates the opposite. I would not favor providing the oil industry with additional areas to drill until it more fully utilizes the current areas that are readily available.
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I am taking a number of other steps to deal with the rising cost of energy in our country. The high fuel costs have arisen due to several factors; OPEC's decision to maintain high oil costs by not producing enough oil, continuing political unrest in Venezuela, Nigeria, and the Middle East, anticompetitive activity in the oil industry, and continuing strong demand in China and India in particular. As you may know, an increase in one type of fuel such as crude oil often creates a ripple effect throughout the entire fuel market place, thus increasing the costs of gasoline, propane, heating oil, and natural gas. I realize what a hardship this creates and I am doing what I can to mitigate these increases.
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For several years, I have strongly supported the proposal to have the Bush administration temporarily suspend oil purchases for the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) until prices stabilize. I believe that suspending oil purchases for the SPR would put downward pressure on rising oil and gasoline prices. The SPR has a maximum capacity of 727 million barrels and a current inventory of about 700 million barrels of oil. I believe suspending oil purchases for the SPR and in turn selling that oil on the open market, instead of putting it into the reserve, would have a moderating impact on prices. Unfortunately, President Bush has stated his opposition to suspending oil purchases and consumers are now paying the price in the form of these higher fuel costs. In light of President's failure to act, I recently voted for H.R. 6022, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Fill Suspension and Consumer Protection Act. This important bill will suspend petroleum acquisition for the SPR until crude oil prices dip below $75 a barrel. I am pleased that the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed H.R. 6022, and that the President reversed his stance and signed the bill into law. Suspending oil purchases for the SPR would warn OPEC immediately that the U.S. stands prepared to use the SPR to break the spiraling oil prices. President Clinton used this approach to good effect during his term to protect consumers from the manipulations of OPEC and the oil companies.
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Additionally, Speaker Pelosi has urged the President to not only stop filling the SPR, but to begin releasing oil from it. I agree with this approach to providing relief on prices and I recently voted for H.R. 6578, the Consumer Energy Supply Act. This important bill will temporarily release nearly 10 percent of the oil from the SPR, and replace it later with heavier, cheaper crude oil. This could bring gas prices down, strengthen our national security, and be a good deal for the American taxpayer. The SPR has been tapped or suspended before by President Bush, President Clinton, and the first President Bush, and each time oil has been released the impact on prices has been dramatic and immediate. In 1991, oil prices immediately dropped by 33 percent. The 2000 exchange drove oil prices down by 19 percent. And the release by President Bush in 2005 resulted in a 9 percent drop. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is currently more than 97 percent full - the highest level ever - with enough oil to meet our national security needs, and the legislation requires that the reserve be kept 90 percent full. We have more oil in SPR than we did at the beginning of the Iraq War. To strengthen American national security, the bill reforms the SPR to maximize protection for the nation's energy supply, by making the SPR supply more compatible with U.S. refinery capacity, as recommended by the GAO and the Department of Energy. Right now, the 11 refineries on the Gulf Coast can only process heavy crude - yet the SPR does not have any heavy crude if there is stoppage of heavy oil imports. It is also a good deal for the American taxpayer. It will potentially raise $840 million in revenues by exchanging more than 70 million barrels of light sweet crude oil for more than 70 million barrels of heavy crude - which is currently $12 per barrel cheaper than light crude. That money deposited in the SPR account could be used to increase its total inventory -- further strengthening our energy supply against potential disruptions. Unfortunately, while the bill received a majority of the votes cast (268 for to 157 against), it did not pass the House because it was brought up under a parliamentary mechanism known as "suspension of the rules" in which a two-thirds vote is required for passage, and there was not enough Republican support (only 37 Republicans votes for the bill) to reach the two-thirds threshold and therefore the bill was defeated. While I am disappointed with this result, you can be sure I will continue working for the passage of this legislation.
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In addition, I strongly supported and voted for H.R. 6, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which became law last December. This bill included a provision that increased corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for cars and light trucks. This is the first such CAFE increase in 22 years. Specifically H.R. 6 requires that cars and light trucks sold in the United States meet a fleet wide average of 35 miles a gallon by 2020. This new standard will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and will cut production of gases that cause global warming. Additionally, the Energy bill mandates that at least 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels be incorporated into gasoline annually by 2022. Improving vehicle fuel economy standards is an important long-term step in coping with the increased demand and cost of gasoline.
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While this legislation did not include tax subsidies for alternative energy sources, the House recently considered a separate bill focusing on these issues. Specifically, the House passed and I voted for legislation called the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008. This bill, which was introduced by my colleague Congressman Charles Rangel, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, will end unnecessary subsidies to oil companies, and take positive steps towards combating global warming by extending federal tax credits for renewable energy, such as wind and solar, as well as many energy efficiency programs. The bill has not so far been approved by the Senate, and I am doing what I can to encourage my Senate colleagues to take action on it.
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I also voted for H.R. 1252, the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act. This bill makes it unlawful during a period proclaimed by the President as an energy emergency to sell gasoline or any other petroleum fuel at a price that is unconscionably excessive. This bill passed the House in May of 2007 by a vote of 284-141. Additionally, I voted for H.R. 2264, the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act ("NOPEC"). This bill would make it illegal for any foreign country (including OPEC members) to limit the production or distribution of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product when such an action has a direct adverse effect on the price of petroleum in the United States. This bill would finally hold OPEC accountable for price fixing and it would allow the Attorney General to take action against OPEC in U.S. District Court. This bill passed the House last May by a vote of 345-72. I also voted for H.R. 5351, the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act, which would remove billions of dollars worth of subsidies and tax loopholes for large oil companies and in turn invest those funds in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. This bill passed the House last February by a vote of 236-182. Unfortunately, President Bush issued veto threats after each of these important bills passed the House, effectively blocking the Senate from acting on the bills due to the slim Democratic majority in that body and Senate Republicans' willingness to block bills that are opposed by the energy industry.
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I have also cosponsored H.R. 6256, the Responsible Ownership of Public Lands Act, introduced by Congressman Markey, which would address the issue mentioned above relating to unused leases. This bill will help increase domestic oil supply by compelling oil companies to begin producing oil and gas on the roughly 68 million acres of public land that they currently hold but are not using. Oil companies are not producing oil or gas on the vast majority of federal land onshore and offshore already under their control. In fact they are only drilling on 23% of the land they hold. This bill will charge oil companies an escalating fee for unused oil leases, providing a strong incentive for them to develop these federal lands instead of stockpiling them.
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President Bush also expressed willingness to expand our oil refining capacity, but according to the President's own Energy Information Administration (EIA), our refineries are currently running at 88% capacity - well below the 95-98% capacity use rates we've seen at this time of year for the last decade. Additionally, no new oil refineries have been built in the past 30 years because major oil companies have not sought to build them. In fact, one facility received a permit, but the company never constructed it. ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP and Shell have all publicly stated they have no plans to build new refineries. Instead, they prefer to expand existing facilities. Shell, ConocoPhillips and BP all testified that they were unaware of any environmental regulations preventing them from building new refineries or expanding existing ones, and internal memos from oil companies make it clear they've made the determination that they need to reduce refinery capacity to drive up their profits.
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Recently, I also joined several of my colleagues in sending a letter to Speaker Pelosi supporting her call for the President to immediately use his authority to release oil from the SPR in order to provide immediate relief to our constituents now. Additionally, the letter asks the Speaker to consider legislation to increase funding and expand eligibility for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help counter price increases for heating and cooling expenses. The letter also asks the Speaker to provide additional funding for Weatherization Assistance. More funding for this important assistance will provide long-term energy conservation savings. I have enclosed a copy of this letter for your review.
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I will continue to work with my colleagues to pressure the President to act to the fullest capacity to deal with the current energy emergency. Thank you again for contacting me.
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BARNEY FRANK BF/JNJuly 16, 2008
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The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House of RepresentativesH-232,
US CapitolWashington, DC 20515
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Dear Madam Speaker:
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Our delegation strongly supports your call for the President to immediately use his authority to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), in order to lower the price of oil and give relief to our constituents now.
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Additionally, as you plan the remaining weeks of the Legislative session, the New England delegation urges you to take action that addresses the rising price of home heating oil and could provide immediate relief to our constituents. Specifically, we ask for two vital measures to be taken. First, that you consider legislation or include provisions to a second economic stimulus package that will increase the funding and expand the eligibility of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Second, we request you provide additional funding to Weatherization Assistance programs. The rising cost of home heating oil will be difficult for millions of families throughout New England in the coming winter, but for some, it may be impossible to pay to heat their homes and also properly feed themselves. We have heard stories from our constituents of elderly individuals who have had to turn over their Social Security checks to pay for home heating oil, and of middle class families in search of third jobs in order to heat their homes. If oil prices remain close to the current highs, we expect the situation to get much worse in the coming winter. Fire Marshals are concerned that some may turn to dangerous makeshift solutions in an attempt to stay warm. Low-income families, especially those with children and senior citizens, are at risk of serious illness or even death during winter months if they do not receive help.
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The continued volatility in the home heating oil market does not bode well for our constituents in the coming winter. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), there are over six million households in New England that will be affected by rising home heating oil prices. The average New England household uses 850-1200 gallons of oil to heat their home during the winter. With prices expected to remain above $4.00 a gallon, they could expect to spend minimally between $3,400 and $4,800 on heating oil this winter. This is going to severely stretch the budgets of New England families for which heating oil already comprises about 50 percent of household energy expenditures. Given the high and volatile price of oil, members of the New England delegation believe that it is necessary to expand the eligibility and increase the funding for LIHEAP. Because of rising energy costs, it will cost twice as much just to cover the same number of households as last year. Under the leadership of Chairman Obey, the House Appropriations Committee has already made LIHEAP a priority and, even with the budget constraints, has provided $770 million over the President's request for LIHEAP. As more and more family incomes that do not meet the traditional LIHEAP qualification threshold are squeezed by skyrocketing fuel and food prices, we believe it may require as much as $9 billion to reach those in desperate need this winter. Fully funding LIHEAP will ensure that all states receive additional funding and will enable states to provide meaningful assistance to their residents during this time of economic instability. In addition, the Weatherization Assistance Program represents another effective measure that must be a part of any strategy to help homeowners address rising energy costs. The program will immediately help stimulate the economy as homeowners take advantage of the incentive by putting money directly into the economy for home improvements and it will provide long-term conservation savings. Weatherization provides three important benefits: it lowers homeowners' bills by over $400 every year for the life of the measures, reduces overall energy usage, and drives labor demand that can inject local economies with cash. While the President's FY09 budget request did not include any funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program, the House-passed budget rejected this cut. It is critical that the second stimulus reflect Congress's commitment to this program. For this reason, we request that the Weatherization Assistance Program be funded at a level of at least $1 billion. Funding Weatherization Assistance will help bring both immediate and long-term energy relief to New England families this winter.
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Finally, we would like to reiterate our strong support for your call for President Bush to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in order to provide immediate relief to American consumers facing skyrocketing gas and energy prices this summer. The SPR currently holds 706.2 million barrels of oil and is filled to over 97 percent of its capacity. Deploying our nation's oil stockpile has a proven history of success in quickly lowering prices for American families. We applaud you for your leadership in calling on the President to take this common sense and long overdue action, and we hope to work together to provide much needed relief now to families in New England facing record energy prices. We would also note that if oil prices remain high, it may also be necessary to tap the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve to assist New England consumers.
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Madam Speaker, as we continue to consider initiatives to help stimulate the economy and provide relief to our constituents from skyrocketing energy costs, expanding LIHEAP eligibility requirements, increasing LIHEAP funding, funding Weatherization Assistance programs, and releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve will provide relief now to millions of Americans trying to prepare for the coming winter.
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We look forward to continuing to work with you on these important matters.
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REP. EDWARD MARKEY
REP. BARNEY FRANK
REP. RICHARD NEAL
REP. JOHN OLVER
REP. PATRICK KENNEDY
REP. ROSA DELAURO
REP. TOM ALLEN
REP. JAMES MCGOVERN
REP. JOHN TIERNEY
REP. MICHAEL CAPUANO
REP. NIKI TSONGAS
REP. PETER WELCH
REP. CHRISTOPHER MURPHY
REP. CAROL SHEA PORTER
REP. JOE COURTNEY
REP. PAUL HODES

Energy Tips #4

In response to a friend's call that she couldn't find Energy Saving links on this site, the entries at this time can be found:

Energy Tips

There are additional links and information to be added, maybe on a rainy August weekend, but the summer sun beckons! The entries will be posted as "Energy Tips," so by using the search feature at the top of the blog, and entering "Energy Tips," the entries will appear or use the link above. The information is publicly available, widely circulated and practical.

To the doubters, I would call attention to the information below offered by experts who indicate that 20-30% of energy is wasted. What would that savings represent in your personal household budget or your local municipal budget?

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Massachusetts Technology Collaborative offers information, beginning with Ten Remarkably Easy Ways to Save Energy (and Money) at Home .
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MTC offers Community Energy Opportunities.
Their 45 page pdf report includes:

K-12 Schools & College
Residence Halls-
Energy costs are second only
to salaries for many school
districts-
About 30% of energy used is
“waste” energy, from system
inefficiencies-
Low-cost measures can reduce energy bills by 10% or more;
other investments can yield 25-30% savings

Government Office Buildings &
Courthouses-10% of a government agency’s
operating budget is spent on energy

(source: DOE)-
About 30% of energy used is “waste”energy,
from system inefficiencies

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

California considers ban on plastic bags.....

San Jose Mercury News reported California considers ban on plastic bags to protect marine life , why not Massachusetts?
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The staggering numbers? What is the wasted energy equivalent nationwide?

An estimated 19 billion plastic bags are used in California each year - roughly 522 per person.


If China is doing it, why not the US?
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China Watch: Plastic Bag Ban Trumps Market and Consumer Efforts

DiMasi Comes Through. Now Will the Senate Cave to Polluters?

Massachusetts stands on the brink of enacting some noteworthy legislation that will help establish the Commonwealth as an energy leader. This is just the first step we need to take.
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The House passed legislation today that must again be approved by the Senate.
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That legislation is already being misrepresented by Big Polluters to undermine its impact.
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Your Senator has already voted on this --- make sure the clock doesn't run out because Big Polluters have his/her ear.
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Please send the message by completing the email form below.
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EnvironmentMassachusetts posted the following:

Together, we've accomplished something big.
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I just came back from Beacon Hill, where the House of Representatives finally passed our Global Warming Solutions Act. It was unanimous, and when the last vote was cast, the entire chamber rose to applaud.
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It's the moment we've been working toward. Now, we're so very close -- but it's still too early to declare victory.
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The global warming bill has to be approved once more by the Massachusetts Senate. But they only have 24 hours to make it happen. And lobbyists for big carbon polluters will be pushing the Senate to delay.
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Don't let them run out the clock.
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Don't get me wrong: After today, I'm highly optimistic. But Beacon Hill being Beacon Hill, we can't count on anything until the final votes are cast.
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In fact, when I came back to my office and logged onto the Boston Globe's Web site, the first thing I saw was a sharp -- and off base -- attack on the global warming bill by lobbyists for the state's biggest polluters.
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You can be sure your senator will hear from lobbyists for big polluters in the halls of the Statehouse tomorrow. That's why I want to make sure they hear from you now.
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Think about how far we've come: Just 60 days ago, it was far from clear we'd win in the House. And today, we crossed the biggest hurdle to making our global warming bill the law of the land.
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Let's make sure Beacon Hill finishes the job.
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Sincerely,
Ben Wright
Environment Massachusetts
GlobalWarming Advocate
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P.S. Thanks again for your support. Please feel free to share this e-mail with your family and friends
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Send a message to your Senator. Let's let them know we're watching to ensure that they represent us and not Big Polluters by clicking on this link:
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Transportation by the Numbers

EDF offered the following (click link to see the information and additional facts, free email subscription available):

Transportation by the Numbers

With gas prices skyrocketing, public transit ridership is at an all time high. Instead of cutting back on public transportation services, we should be reforming our national transportation system to create more affordable travel options for the whole country.

Check out our 10 Facts About Oil and Gas to learn more.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Energy Scam

I silently promised that I would avoid posting about energy and stop torturing folks who are torturing themselves over the current energy costs, but the Brockton Enterprise published the following article:
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Consumers ‘petrified’ about heating costs
Advocates say “people are petrified” about how they will stay warm in winter with the cheapest oil heat over $4 a gallon


And ended with the following, surely unnoticed by most:


Lindsay said .....the money is better spent on conservation efforts — insulation, window replacements, weather-stripping and other measures.
“That’s the best investment no matter what fuel source you use,” ....


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While my sympathies are with those who will struggle or be unable to pay for heating fuel this winter, I envision a scenario of a Dude entering a bar whose parking lot is packed with shiney, gas guzzling pick up trucks,(still on those dozey 5 year financing deals).


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The Dude says "I need a stiff drink. Just got some bad news."


The patrons are silenced.


The bar tender ask what the bad news is that got him so depressed as he pours his drink.



Dude responds "I just found out that the World Oil Supply PEAKED in 2005."



At that, laughter fills the bar and the pick up truck owners cajole Dude that t'aint gonna happen, oil is infinite, even if we run out of oil there's that coal gassyficashun they's gonna do, and assure him he's mistaken.


Dude explains about Mountain Top Removal and the hazards ignored of abandoned mines (MSNBC , LATimes , WP , Mineweb , TheArizonaRepublican ), gales of laughter are punctuated with shouts of "Tree Hugger." and assurances that there's that other stuff from shale and sand. (ENN)


Dude struggles to explain the science as each attempt is rebuffed by those lacking the education to comprehend the statistics of 86 million barrels a day being consumed (and climbing) and 85 million barrels being produced (and declining). Dude rebuffs each comment with fact filled statements, only to be met with gales of laughter and jokes.


Dude explains about the lack of long term national policy that included permanent tax credits for alternatives equivalent to dirty fuel subsidies (Deadlock, stock, and oil barrel), the historical refusal to increase CAFE standards, the failure to stress energy efficiency, but by now, the patrons have resumed their personal conversations and have lost interest in the issue or the facts.


When a billionaire oilman advertises about Peak World Oil, and Republican Congressmen are telling you about Peak World Oil, it makes me wonder how many are like the Dude and willing to inform themselves of the facts and reduce their consumption.


Each house uses the equivalent of 2 cars in energy consumption. By reducing consumption, don't we also reduce DEMAND?

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Bill Scher offered the easy to understand, well-organized explanation below. Maybe it's time to listen:


Who Is Coastal Drilling Really For? Follow The Money.
By
Bill Scher
Who is really going to benefit from opening up our coastal shores to oil drilling? You, or BigOil?

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Follow the money and get your answer.
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Last month, Sen. John McCain changed his position on coastal oil drilling. And all of a sudden, the fossil fuel crowd took a big liking to his campaign. The Washington Post reports that even though "oil and gas executives have not traditionally been a major source of campaign money for McCain,"
in June McCain took $1.1 million from oil and gas corporate executives -- five times more than in the previous month.
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(Check out
Huffington Post's David Donnelly for more.)
Why? Because while coastal drilling
amounts to nothing in regards to lower energy costs for you and me, it does amount to a fat giveaway to Big Oil.
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You may say, so what? Who cares if oil companies do well, so long as they increase the supply of oil and lower prices for me.
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Except that there's
not nearly enough oil off our shores to lower the price of oil (both the White House and McCain concede, when pressed, that opening up the coasts for drilling won't lower prices.)
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And there's no reason to expect that oil and gas companies would be in any rush to use the leases and actually drill.

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Remember, with supply of oil as it is, and the price of oil as it is, oil companies are doing quite well thank you very much.
ExxonMobil recorded the highest annual profit of any company in the history of companies last year, $40 billion.
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Tight supply + high gas prices = good times for Big Oil.
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Same reason why oil companies don't invest in more refineries.
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Not because of environmental standards, as they typically complain about. But because they're not interested in increasing supply, driving prices down and reducing their profits. The National Resources Defense Council explains: "...refiners reap higher profits when capacity is tight, so they actually have a disincentive to significantly expand production. In fact, oil executives have stated that the reason they did not expand refining capacity in the 1990s is that the low profitability of the business did not justify the investment."
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Same reason why oil companies aren't drilling in all of the 68 million acres of federal space for which they already have leases. As
Sen. Joe Biden recently noted in a Wilmington News Journal op-ed:
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First, the oil companies in this country now hold 7,000 leases to drill offshore, yet only 20 percent of those leases are producing oil. That is 68 million acres for which they already have the rights to drill. Nearly 80 percent of our offshore oil is already available for leasing -- approximately 54 billion barrels total. They could be drilling in these areas, but they are not.
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Here in Delaware, we are paying $10 more a day for gas -- around $3,600 a year -- than we were seven years ago. That is a bite out of a family's budget.
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During the same period, permits for new oil drilling leases increased by 361 percent. Put simply, allowing more drilling does not equal cheaper gas.
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Sure, it's not fair to expect drilling in every inch of that 68 million acres, because oil wouldn't be found in every inch. But even
a defense of oil companies from the Houston Chronicle acknowledges that there is available crude that Big Oil chooses not to pursue because "it still is not cost-effective to drill for oil in some places" and "some oil companies hold onto leases to prevent competitors from drilling on them."
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What's "cost-effective" for Big Oil isn't the same as what's cost-effective for you.
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What's cost-effective for Big Oil, in the era of dwindling oil supplies and rising gas prices, is to string out what oil is left for as long as possible, and slowly prepare for an inevitable transition to alternative energy sources (What oil company TV ad doesn't try to assure you, "We're investing in clean energy, really! Nothing to worry about! Go buy oil.")
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While fighting off a rapid transition to clean energy which would mean actual competition and consumer choices (Eek! Capitalism!) from upstart alternative energy companies.
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That means a painfully slow transition to alternative energy, with you still having no choice but to buy increasingly expensive oil for decades, as Big OIl, propped up by conservative government policies, keeps making a mint.
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It does not mean Big OIl would be in any rush to exploit what little oil is there off our shores. They want leases wherever they can get them, but just so they can string out oil supplies for as long as possible, not to provide any relief to you. If they did, they'd be working their current leases harder.
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Big Oil is making money now. And if you're them, it ain't broke, so don't fix it. No need to rush and extract all the oil we have.
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But for us energy consumers, our energy policy is beyond broke.
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As
Al Gore sharply put it last week:
It is only a truly dysfunctional system that would buy into the perverse logic that the short-term answer to high gasoline prices is drilling for more oil ten years from now.
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Am I the only one who finds it strange that our government so often adopts a so-called solution that has absolutely nothing to do with the problem it is supposed to address? When people rightly complain about higher gasoline prices, we propose to give more money to the oil companies and pretend that they're going to bring gasoline prices down. It will do nothing of the sort, and everyone knows it.
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If we keep going back to the same policies that have never ever worked in the past and have served only to produce the highest gasoline prices in history alongside the greatest oil company profits in history, nobody should be surprised if we get the same result over and over again.
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But it's not just Al Gore warning that there's not enough oil to lower prices.
Oilman T. Boone Pickens, trying to get ahead of the curve on wind power, lays it out:
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Can't we just produce more oil?
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World oil production peaked in 2005. Despite growing demand and an unprecedented increase in prices, oil production has fallen over the last three years. Oil is getting more expensive to produce, harder to find and there just isn't enough of it to keep up with demand.
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The simple truth is that cheap and easy oil is gone.
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We can recognize that fact, and develop policies that make sense for us energy consumers. Or we can keep propping up Big Oil and let them suck our pocketbooks and our planet dry.
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Oil companies keep shoveling in campaign cash to conservative politicians in hopes of keeping our government, our tax dollars and our resources in their service, with no benefit to you.
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But we can choose to change our energy policy to serve us, not oil company CEOs. We can invest in clean energy and energy-efficiency instead of allowing yet another boondoggle for Big Oil. We can give ourselves the ability to power our lives without dependence on expensive oil.
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We are under no obligation to remain subservient.



OurFuture

Will DiMasi Sell Out to Polluters?

There is a great deal of work that needs to be accomplished to make Massachusetts an energy leader. The pending legislation is merely the beginning, but we need to begin NOW. The Big Polluters are the Big Campaign contributors and we need to out shout them.
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Please speak up for sensible energy policies that benefit us, the consumers.
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Please sign the petition below:


Speaker DiMasi: Act now on global warming

We need to make sure Speaker DiMasi on our side on global warming. But time is short -- the session ends on July 31 -- and he's hearing from big carbon polluters dead set against a global warming bill with real teeth. With as much noise as they're making on Beacon Hill, we've got to raise our voices even louder.

Please sign the petition to Speaker DiMasi below.


Speaker DiMasi: Massachusetts needs to act now to fight global warming, and the Global Warming Solutions Act will do what it's going to take. The Senate has already passed the bill, and 110 members of the House (of 160) have pledged to support it. Please throw your support behind the Global Warming Solutions Act and call it to a vote right away.
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To sign the petition:

$1260 a year ???

Take the quiz: National Wildlife

Monday, July 28, 2008

Energy Conservation: It's Time

Salon offers Why we never need to build another polluting power plant which helps dispel some of the energy conservation myths.
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After watching the wealthy NIMBYS fight Cape Wind and listening to the Beacon Hill blame game, it's refreshing to have some facts and information to corroborate that the Dirty Coal plant in Salem and the proposed Dirty Brockton Plant have better alternatives.
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It's time to get beyond the myths and expect more of Beacon Hill and our local officials. Excerpts of the article are below, emphasis mine. Click on the link above and read the entire article about savings accomplished by Dow.
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America is the Saudi Arabia of energy waste. A 2007 report from the international consulting firm McKinsey and Co. found that improving energy efficiency in buildings, appliances and factories could offset almost all of the projected demand for electricity in 2030 and largely negate the need for new coal-fired power plants. McKinsey estimates that one-third of the U.S. greenhouse gas reductions by 2030 could come from electricity efficiency and be achieved at negative marginal costs. In short, the cost of the efficient equipment would quickly pay for itself in energy savings.
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While a few states have energy-efficiency strategies, none matches what California has done. In the past three decades, electricity consumption per capita grew 60 percent in the rest of the nation, while it stayed flat in high-tech, fast-growing California. If all Americans had the same per capita electricity demand as Californians currently do, we would cut electricity consumption 40 percent. If the entire nation had California's much cleaner electric grid, we would cut total U.S. global-warming pollution by more than a quarter without raising American electric bills. And if all of America adopted the same energy-efficiency policies that California is now putting in place, the country would never have to build another polluting power plant.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Municipal Job Openings

The following job openings are currently posted on the MMA web site:

Building Commissioner
Town of Lancaster
The town of Lancaster (population 7,000) has an opening for a Building Commissioner to enforce the state building code and local zoning bylaws. In an addition to assisting with conducting plan reviews and issuing building permits, the duties include inspecting buildings under construction, plan review, and investigate complaints. Minimum of five years’ experience in supervision of building construction, Massachusetts Building Supervisor’s License, ability to access all areas and levels of construction, and use computer office applications. Ability to obtain state certification required. Starting salary up to$52,000. MMA
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Council on Aging Director
Town of Wareham
Applications are being accepted from qualified candidates for the full-time position of Council on Aging Director. Candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree, preferably in gerontology or social service with some business course work. Master’s degree or higher degree preferred. Minimum three years’ experience as a director or assistant director and two years working with the elderly in a social service or public health position or related field with supervisory experience, or any equivalent combination of education and experience. Position develops and implements programs and services designed to meet the needs of the aging and those in need within the community and oversees the COA/Social Service operational budget. The Director administers daily operation of senior center/council on aging/social services, maintains direct link with service providers (health, meals, transportation, etc.) and writes and prepares grants. Starting salary: $51,491.00 MMA
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Town Accountant
Town of Mansfield
The town of Mansfield (population 23,500; General Fund budget $75 million) is seeking a highly qualified individual for the position of Town Accountant. The Town Accountant is a key member of the town’s financial team. Responsibilities include maintenance of comprehensive accounting records in accordance with UMAS, GASB, GAAP and Massachusetts Municipal Finance laws, financial analysis and reporting, control of town expenditures through the warrant process and performance of other required duties of the town accountant. Position assists the town manager and departments in budget preparation for general and enterprise funds. Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in accounting or related field and five to seven years of municipal accounting experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Massachusetts Certified Governmental Accountant status is required. Experience with MUNIS integrated financial software is highly desirable. Candidate should have demonstrable experience in computerized spreadsheet and word processing operations and be willing and able to work in a team environment. Full job description is available on the town’s Web site, (http://www.mansfieldma.com ). Salary range: $71,546-$90,923 (Grade J, steps 1-11). Salary dependent upon qualifications. MMA
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Town Accountant
Town of Needham
Position is full-time with benefits. Salary range: $66,079-$88,348. The town of Needham is seeking a highly qualified individual to fill the position of Town Accountant. Under the direction of the finance director and in accordance with state statutes and town by-laws, responsible for planning, controlling, and directing all accounting programs and internal auditing and financial reporting functions of the town in compliance with Massachusetts General Laws. A full job description is available a http://www.needhamma.gov/jobs.asp
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Water Maintenance Supervisor
City of Haverhill
The city of Haverhill is seeking a full-time Water Maintenance Supervisor for the city’s distribution and meter divisions. The successful candidate must have B.S. in civil engineering or related field and minimum of three years' experience managing a water distribution system or related utility. Please see complete job description at... Salary: $1,284-$1,372 per week. MMA
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Prinicipal Assessor
Town of Fairhaven
Applications for the position of Principal Assessor, 20 hours per week, will be received until 4:00 p.m. on Aug. 11. This position requires a thorough knowledge of municipal law related to the assessment of 8,000 parcels, abatements and setting of the tax rate. Position works under the supervision of the town’s finance director and with a three-member part-time board of assessors. Must possess a Massachusetts Accredited Assessor (M.A.A.) certification. Salary range: $28,121.00-$33,207.00. MMA
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Fire Chief
Town of Dartmouth,
Fire District No. 1
The Community of Dartmouth, located in Southeastern Massachusetts, is comprised of a landmass of sixty-four square miles making it the fifth largest town in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The year-round population of Dartmouth is 29,000. The town is divided into three independent fire districts. Fire District Number One covers approximately 18 square miles with a year-round population of 13,000 and up to 20,000 people during the summer months. District 1 has about 18 miles of coastline that borders Clarks Cove, Padanaram Harbor, Apponagansett River and Buzzards Bay. Dartmouth Fire District No. 1 is seeking qualified applicants for the position of full-time Fire Chief for an on-call fire department of about 45 firefighters and officers. The Fire Chief is responsible for administering all department programs including fire prevention, fire suppression, investigation, communication s, staff training and budgetary requirements. The successful applicant must have an understanding of federal, state and local fire laws and building codes. He/she must have a minimum of 10 years of firefighting experience including five years in a supervisory position as fire officer. Strong management, leadership and communication skills are required. The position requires residency in the Fire District after one year. The position offers excellent benefits and a salary of $60,000. MMA
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Consultant
Town of Medway
The town of Medway is seeking a consultant to review its current job descriptions and classification/compensation plan to determine the appropriate groupings of positions in classes on the basis of the duties, responsibilities and requirements of the positions and the proper pay levels on the basis of qualitative (position worth) and quantitative (comparable survey) data. The current classification/compensation plan includes both union and non-union positions, approximately 30 of which are intended to be addressed by this study. MMA
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Chief Technology Officer
Town of Arlington
Salary: $78,007-105,000 annually. Professional, supervisory, administrative and technical work planning and directing the information technology department servicing both the town and Arlington Public Schools. Master’s degree in computer science, business or related field; five years of experience in information technology involving system planning and GIS management and operations, training, programming or related skills with mid-range or client server systems; five years of supervisory responsibility within a related field. MMA

Get Out Your Calculators or More Drilling Scam

Nothing defines Big Oil more than the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. The above photo from Prince William Soundkeeper. Maybe some were paying attention to the recent Supreme Court decision that rewarded Exxon for their environmental destruction.
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Wow! A bonanza of oil and gas reserves reported by USGS! Until one works out the equivalent years that the discovery would last at the current rates of usage. Get those calculators out and figure out just how long those big finds will last at 86 million barrels a day consumption and climbing.
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The Independent UK has done just that for us:
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This includes 90 billion barrels of oil, enough to supply the world for three years at current consumption rates, or to supply America for 12, and 1,670 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas, which is equal to about a third of the world's known gas reserves.
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However, what the report does do is to indicate a very different future for one of the world's last remaining pristine and utterly unspoilt regions. If the oil is there, countries which own it will be very likely to seek to extract it, whatever the environmental cost.
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In the entire off shore drilling scam that is being handed to Americans, make sure you don't miss these 2 sentences:
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The report did not include an estimate for how long it might take to bring the reserves to markets, but it would clearly be a substantial period.
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Offshore fields in the Gulf of Mexico and west Africa can take a decade or longer to begin pumping oil.
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Some reports, by notable experts in the field indicate that this gas or oil would not reach the market for 20 years. Why would T. Boone Pickens, a multi-billionaire oilman, not think this is a viable option? Could it be because this represents Peak World Oil?

Greenwashing Nuclear Power



The above photo from the Wikipedia entry that includes a map of nuclear power plants in France.

Proponents of nuclear power often cite France as an example of its great success. (Apparently unfamiliar with the French history of dumping nuclear waste in the oceans.)
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The Guardian reports the following regarding nuclear power in France (read the full article regarding the recent leak using the link):
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Last month an accident at the treatment centre during a draining operation saw liquid containing untreated uranium overflow out of a faulty tank. About 75kg of uranium seeped into the ground and into the Gaffiere and Lauzon rivers which flow into the Rhône. Eymard's house is 100 metres from one of these streams.
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The French government has now ordered tests on the groundwater around all nuclear sites in France. The environment minister, Jean-Louis Borloo, said there were 86 level-one nuclear incidents in France last year and 114 in 2006.
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France's IRSN nuclear safety institute has pinpointed high levels of uranium in the groundwater that it said could not have been caused by the recent leak alone. A separate commission raised the possibility that this contamination could be linked to military nuclear waste at the Tricastin plant from 1964 to 1976.

Downtown Middleboro Foot Traffic

More than a year ago, the need for a downtown Bulletin Board was discussed and seems to have been forgotten.

There had previously been a large bulletin board on the Town Hall lawn that was removed when the Town Hall was renovated.
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Currently, public meetings are posted in an alcove of the Bank Building that is locked when the bank and offices are closed. So unless you bring your binoculars, you can't read the postings after hours.
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If the bulletin board contained locked sections that could be accessed only by those having keys, couldn't the Town Clerk post public meetings and hearings on one section of the board and others post notices of other events on other sections?
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If a visitor arrives in town, would it make sense to post businesses and services? activities such as Soule Homestead concerts? a calendar of library reading programs? Park Department programs? events such as "Miss Firecracker Concert" ? church services?
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Increasing attendance and promotion of local businesses and events seems to be a positive benefit to us all and assure their continuance. And foot traffic seems to be positive.
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Would it make sense to erect a Bulletin Board in the Kramer Pocket Park?

Brockton Power Plant

For those seeking information regarding the proposed Brockton Power Plant, check their web site: Stop Brockton's Power Plant.

This is my favorite part:

1,600,000 gallons of treated sewage water mist into our air every day from cooling towers.

What is particularly troubling about the location of this plant is that the area already has among the worst air quality and this plant will compound the problem. It's the wrong location, with the wrong fuel, at the wrong time.

Middleboro's Green Committee and Knee-Jerk Reactions

During a Middleboro Board of Selectmen's Meeting, Chairman Adam Bond introduced the subject of the Town of Middleboro creating a Green Committee, which other towns have long since accomplished. Several of those committees have been active and involved in reducing their towns' energy consumption. (There is a public discussion forum on nemasket regarding the topic.)
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The first step in the process of reviewing municipal energy consumption is completion of an energy audit.
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Selectman Marsha Brunelle's immediate response was that 'we did an energy audit' to conceal her historical lack of leadership and planning for the future, as well as her abrogation of fiscal responsibility. Of course, she can't provide the date or the information because it was never done, but then that's consistent with Mrs. Brunelle's response: 'we already did it.' Maybe it's time to be honest and acknowledge there's work to be done.
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During a free Town Hall Lawn Concert, organized by the Health Agent, Jean Spalding, to raise funds for the Park Department and the Animal Shelter, ALL of the interior lights of the Town Hall building were on, including those in locked and vacant offices.
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When I blogged about that observation, I noticed those lights extinguished on subsequent occasions. Kudos to those reading the blogs and acting on the comments!
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But maybe we can adopt those first incremental steps toward energy reduction prior to creation of a committee.
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How about the following? (And I would encourage others to toss out some of the basic simple ideas that work.)
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1. Power strips are available for sale at Ocean State Job Lot for about $3.00. How about working with the IT Director to install those strips on every computer, monitor and printer to shut off those hidden energy VAMPIRES when leaving the office?
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2. If the Town's Web Site were externally hosted, would that allow for the Town's computer to be shut down other than during business hours?
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3. The spotlights on the Town Hall lawn become extremely hot shortly after illumination. Would that be a good location to consider the investment of LEDs?
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4. The rear Town Hall stairwell, exiting the stage, is illuminated like daylight. While illumination is necessary for safety reasons, would it make sense to reduce the level of illumination, install CFLs, and motion sensors on the switches? Maybe someone could work with the Building Commissioner to ensure code compliance, but reduce the energy consumption.
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5. Do all municipal buildings have programmable set back thermostats? During a recent radio program, a Middleboro G&E representative commented that the G&E was only now installing those in the Philander Washburn building. So, in other words, that must mean the building was being heated or air conditioned overnight or all weekend when vacant. Would you do the same in your own home if you went away for the weekend? I was in one municipal building that had ALL of the thermostats set at 72 degrees in the winter.
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6. 2 representatives of the Middleboro G&E spoke during a recent radio program. One indicated that you should turn your thermostat down in the winter and your A/C up in the summer.
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OK. So, I'm an MG&E ratepayer. That's it?
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The Coffee Shop Talk program has been posted on nemasket. It's worth the listen.
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I would like to believe that MG&E spokespersons are at the pinnacle of information and education.
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Did I hear a mention of CFLs or any of the other initial first steps?
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One of those representatives was an elected G&E Commissioner, Don Triner. Now Don, you and I have met. You should know better. Some older folks in Middleboro need solid information and they look to you to provide it. Is that the best you can do? If that's all that you can tell folks, Don, you need to call me. My number is 508 946-9761. Don, we can do better. The information is out there. It's on my blog. It's on the internet. We --- all of us -- need to get the information out to folks to reduce the impact of heating costs this winter and energy usage.
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Let's begin with encouraging folks to install CFLs. Do you have CFLs? They're cheap and will reduce electric bills ~ 10%. Then we look around for the other basics. There's a great deal that can be accomplished to reduce wasted energy consumption. The experts say the first 20-30% is easy and inexpensive.
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Now, Don, you may have a new home at Oak Point that is well insulated. What about other folks who have lived their lives in Middleboro and their homes are not as well insulated? Can't we look around and recognize that some folks need some upgrading? Maybe some insulation? Maybe some weatherstripping? some caulking and tightening? Maybe they need some additional information beyond lowering the thermostat in the winter. What can we do for them?
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The G&E knee jerk response was that 'we don't want to participate with the state pool of $$.' Does that make sense? Have WE, the people discussed it? Voted on it? Are we loosing out on a potential annual $10 million grant/loan? Are we missing $10 Million for a surcharge of $.0025 on our G&E bills?
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The most recent enclosure with the utility bills indicates that the G&E reduced electric expenses for municipal buildings in Middleboro and Lakeville by $250,000. What would happen if that money were instead used to reduce consumption? What would happen if street lights were replaced with LEDs for the $25,000 that is being reduced?
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Maybe all of us should abandoned the knee-jerk mindset and look for some real solutions. What else can we do?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Energy and Demand Response

In response to Massachusetts' Green Communities Act , the following comment was posted:


George Murphy said...
It's great that they're working on a bill for residents in the community, but they should also try to focus on nonresidential buildings who are inefficient. These businesses, hotels, and schools are using the most energy, and by being forced to consume less energy and implement a
demand response solutions, it could really help.

Nonetheless, great post, the Bill sounds great!
Tuesday, 01 July, 2008


Middleboro Review said...
Mr. Murphy, You didn't indicate if you were connected with EnerNOC or live in the area, but the introduction to the organization is appreciated.
A search of MR will indicate that I have posted comments about municipal energy consumption, building waste previously and successfully ruffled many local feathers.
Middleboro spent millions restoring an Historic Town Hall, but failed to insulate or install storm windows (or address glazing in any fashion). It's a magnificent building, worthy of preservation that houses 12 employees. The entire 2nd floor is a 2 story auditorium that is not isolated from HVAC.
The school department of an abutting city, Taunton retained a firm to save energy costs and realized $570,000 the first year.
Other towns surrounding Middleboro have taken proactive steps to reduce their energy costs and generate their own alternative power.
But Middleboro seems reluctant to save money or examine the issue.
Maybe some leadership is required or the costs need to increase more.
On the Environmental Stewardship page of EnerNOC, the following was included:
EnerNOC also offers our employees hybrid car subsidies and energy efficiency incentives to promote intelligent energy use. Employees who purchase hybrid cars receive monthly subsidies. With EnerNOC’s Green Green! program, EnerNOC encourages employees to install compact fluorescent light bulbs, commute environmentally (walk, bike, take public transportation, car pool, or drive a hybrid), replace old appliances with energy efficient equivalents, conduct home energy audits, and influence family and friends to follow EnerNOC’s environmental stewardship.
Sounds great to me!
I hope you'll continue to contribute other information you are aware of.

EnerNOC has a great deal of information about demand response that Middleboro might consider employing.

A proactive approach to reducing personal and municipal energy costs seems sorely needed.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Rockland Industries July 28, 2008 Middleboro BOS

On Monday, July 28, at 7:05 PM, DEP will attend the Middleboro Board of Selectmen's to provide information regarding the hazardous waste site of Rockland Industries on Plymouth St. AGENDA
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The Striar property on Plymouth St. is one of 3 hazardous waste sites that have been linked to clusters of ALS and other neurological conditions.
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Please attend if you are concerned about the long overdue cleanup of this property.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dirty Coal's Dirty Salem Plant

My friend and fellow blogger, Ryan Adams has posted Salem's Power Plant: Bye Bye? that will hopefully lead to the death of a dirty coal-fired power plant.
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The most glaring omission in the discussion has been MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL, the current method of coal production, the most devastating environmental disaster in US history that has been largely ignored and Big Coal's dirty secret.
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The comments appearing in the article are indicative of the willingness of many to label others without addressing or understanding the surrounding issues. While the comments seems articulate and intelligent, many fail to grasp that by accepting think tank rhetoric, much disservice is accepted.
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We don't often consider our homes as energy consumers, but an average home uses about as much energy as 2 vehicles. While we're complaining about the cost at the gas pumps, reductions in household energy consumption are easily achievable if one accepts some personal responsibility and begins making modifications.
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It has been estimated by energy experts that 20-30% of household and municipal energy consumption can be eliminated easily with minor changes. About 10% of that can be achieved by installing CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) and electrical power strips that allow the shut off of energy VAMPIRES -- the consumers of energy when not in use, like the tv, vcr, dvd player, computer. The power strips are inexpensive and the total payback in savings is months.
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For those unfamiliar with this blog format, there is a search feature at the top that will provide information about energy conservation, dirty coal, or alternative energy.
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Energy is a complex issue and a great deal of exciting new technologies are entering the marketplace. Instead of clinging to the old solutions of the past, we need to be willing to accept the forthcoming changes and the new ideas, like tidal/wave generation that holds great promise. And we need to listen to proposals of folks like T. Boone Pickens, Al Gore and others that bear merit. By maintaining an open mind, we just might hear sensible solutions.
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If Wal-Mart and Home Depot are conserving energy to improve their bottom lines, shouldn't we, as consumers, also do the same?
Please sign the petition: Stop the Plant Now!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

DIRTY COAL IS DIRTY

When the energy waste of Americans leads to the environmental destruction caused by MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL to fuel coal-burning power plants that spew particulates and soot and mercury that sterilizes lakes across our great land, that increases asthma in children, why can't we conserve?

Conservation isn't sitting in the dark and freezing, but rather adequately insulating our homes, installing CFLs (compact fluorescent lights), buying the most energy efficient appliances available when replacing old appliances, sealing those air leaks that cause heat loss, killing the energy VAMPIRES that use power when not in use, like the vcr, dvd player, tv, computer, battery chargers, by installing those inexpensive power strips and other nominal steps that will level the playing field and allow Americans to compete with our European counterparts without wasting money on energy costs.

I sometimes wonder what legacy we are leaving to the next generation, if there is one.
There are links below that provide additional information about DIRTY COAL. (Email subscriptions are available for GRIST)





Dear Umbra,
I noticed that several of the presidential primary debates were
sponsored by clean coal. This was announced during breaks and several commercials aired. I have since seen several more commercials and online advertisements. Is clean coal an oxymoron? Is this a PR stunt or are there any real environmental benefits to clean coal that rival solar and wind? See www.americaspower.org. GRIST (for complete answer or to subscribe)
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....coal is affiliated with our most famous environmental problems here in the U.S.: Almost all acid rain is coal-derived; coal is the leading source of mercury emissions; mountaintop removal mining has destroyed ecosystems in the Southeast; and now, it is one of two fuel sources most closely affiliated with global climate change.
It is this last infamy that so concerns not only coal executives but anyone with half an ear tuned to the dire radio station of the future. Coal is a currently cheap, plentiful domestic fuel; it is also plentiful in other electricity-hungry nations such as India and China. In the U.S., electricity from coal already produces
more carbon dioxide emissions than the entire transportation sector.
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Not that coal has any undue advantage
Coal industry sponsors another presidential debate GRIST
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Do you suppose there might be a reason that DIRTY COAL sponsored the debates of the Presidential Candidates?
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Sponsorship of tonight’s debate appears aimed at influencing Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R), who is leading a “crusade against coal.” Crist has unveiled a plan to reduce his state’s carbon dioxide emissions by replacing coal plants with solar thermal power plants. He has also canceled plans to build new coal plants that were pushed by his predecessor, Jeb Bush. GRIST
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Energy Myths #2

During the local weather reporting of the current path of Hurricane Dolly, it is being universally reported that oil drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico are not at risk because only 25% have been reconstructed after the destruction of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. HUH?
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In the intervening 3 years, is anyone asking why existing platforms were not replaced?
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And then I flipped to CSPAN to watch Republicans in the House extol the virtues of drilling anywhere and everywhere to reduce gas costs, ignoring reality.
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When T. Boone Pickens, a multi-billionaire oilman, tells you that there is no evidence of oil deposits the size that are proclaimed, and experts tell you that oil from new leases won't hit your local gas station for 10 or 20 years, what are we willing to accept? And of the + 5,000 existing oil leases, why is no drilling currently being done?
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If we reduce our consumption by 20-30% that seems easily achievable and follow the Pickens' Plan, the targets are attainable. (10% of the reduction should be easily achievable by reducing lighting costs with CFLs.)
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Maybe it's time for some real leadership not beholden to Big Energy, that actually represents Americans and sensible solutions. And maybe it's time for each of us to research the rhetoric and be less willing to accept propaganda.