An environmental engineer’s perspective on the BP oil spill

I received what follows from a very good friend who, it just so happens, is an environmental engineer. It is more than thought provoking.  Pay particular attention to the second and third paragraphs. Read more

Obligatory “Green Police” Super Bowl Audi ad video

I’m not quite certain to make of the Audi “Green Police” advertisement debuting during the Super Bowl on Sunday. I watched it, laughing and cringing at the same time.

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EPA climate change position falling apart from the inside

Michelle Malkin has pointed us to a fascinating set of e-mails between Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees that, in my opinion, show how the agency is turning into a political organization helping to support the environmental climate change agenda of the far left.

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No more carbon dioxide, the final chapter

If you are an avid reader, the final chapter of any book always brings promise. You know you will learn who the villain is, and, the hero and heroine will live to see a brighter future.  With this final chapter there is neither promise, nor a brighter future.

EPA’s decision to declare carbon a danger just as Congress was considering the Cap and Trade legislation was no coincidence.  If the EPA ruling was reasoned it would have been accompanied by regulations defining, among other things, how much carbon can be emitted, and by whom.  It didn’t.  Were I a suspicious person, I would think that the administration had something to do with the timing of the  EPA’s “finding”.  You make your own decision.

The EPA took the highly unusual step of not accompanying its endangerment finding with actual proposed regulations. For now, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson claims her agency will only target cars and trucks.

If you believe that, I have a nifty bridge in Brooklyn I would love to sell to you.

Which brings us back to the Obama Administration’s political roulette. Democrats know that their cap-and-tax agenda is losing ground, notably among Midwestern Senators. The EPA “endangerment” is intended to threaten businesses and state and local governments until they surrender and support the Obama agenda.

And, if you think business and non-federal governments won’t surrender, think again.

Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey [a co-sponsor of Cap and Trade] put it this way at MIT recently: “Do you want the EPA to make the decision or would you like your Congressman or Senator to be in the room and drafting legislation? . . . Industries across the country will just have to gauge for themselves how lucky they feel if they kill legislation in terms of how the EPA process will include them.”

Final chapter…Rahm (Dead Fish) Emanuel, tells the EPA to declare carbon a threat.  Ed (Dirty Harry) Markey asks Congress “how lucky do you feel”.  And the President gets his way.

Hope and change.  I hope that within my lifetime technology will catch up to the change being forced down our throats.  If not, well, I’m told the Amish live quite comfortably.

Offshore energy platforms provide great fishing!

I have not had the opportunity to dive any oil rigs, but I have been around other hunks of metal underwater. The wrecks in New England, the Bahamas, Florida, and Cayman Brac are usually surrounded by marine life, and I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing.

Although some energy platforms are mobile, some stay put. For the Louisiana shoreline, retired stationary platforms mean fish, and fish means food. Platforms off the coast of the Bayou state provide more than 75 percent of the oil and gas produced in the continental United States; and tons of shrimp gumbo.

From Humberto Fontova’s piece at American Thinker today…

“Environmentalists” wake up in the middle of the night sweating and whimpering about offshore oil platforms only because they’ve never seen what’s under them. Louisiana produces almost 30 per cent of America’s commercial fisheries. Only Alaska (ten times the size of the Bayou state) produces slightly more. So obviously, Louisiana’s coastal waters are immensely rich and prolific in seafood.

These same coastal waters contain 3,200 of the roughly 3,700 offshore production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. These oil production platforms off the Bayou state’s coasts also extract 80 percent of the oil and 72 percent of the natural gas produced in the Continental U.S., without causing a single major oil spill in half a century of this process. This record stands despite dozens of hurricanes — including the two most destructive in North American history, Camille and Katrina — repeatedly battering the drilling and production structures. So for those interested in evidence over hysterics, by simply looking bayou-ward, a lesson in the “environmental perils” of offshore oil drilling presents itself very clearly.

Diving decommissioned platforms can also be a pleasant surprise, especially to environmentalists who assume the area is a wasteland of debris, with oil and trash floating everywhere.

The Louisiana energy rigs are a perfect example of environmentalist twisting the truth. If you asked any kid in elementary school, you’d find that they have been brainwashed into thinking these rigs are a disaster for the Earth. Fontova continues…

Amongst the greenie scoffers of the environmental bonanza described above were some The Travel Channel producers, fashionably greenish in their views. They read these claims in a book titled “The Helldiver’s Rodeo.” The book described an undersea panorama that (if true) could make an interesting show for the network, they concluded, while still scoffing.

They scoffed as we rode in from the airport. They scoffed over raw oysters, grilled redfish and seafood gumbo that night. More scoffing through the Hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s. They scoffed even while suiting up in dive gear and checking the (sic) as we tied up to an oil platform 20 miles in the Gulf.

But they came out of the water bug-eyed and indeed produced and broadcast a program showcasing a panorama that turned on its head every environmental superstition against offshore oil drilling. Schools of fish filled the water column from top to bottom — from 6-inch blennies to 12-foot sharks. Fish by the thousands. Fish by the ton.

The cameras were going crazy. Do I focus on the shoals of barracuda? Or that cloud of jacks? On the immense schools of snapper below, or on the fleet of tarpon above? How ’bout this – WHOOOAA – hammerhead!

Fontova’s article starts off with Obama administration touting – on Earth Day – that it was time to cut the ties to foreign oil. They noted environmental wackos (OK, they did not use that term) need to understand their days of “dictating energy policy in this country are over”.

I’m calling that statement hogwash. Actions, not words, must be measured and I’m certain those fools are pandering. I’m just not sure to who.

Will the Obama administration stop pandering to groups that want to ensure not one oil rig, oil refinery, nuclear power plant, or power station is created in the United States?

Environmental micromanagement – dish soap smugglers in Washington

When the state bans a product that has utility or desirability, it almost always leads to some sort of defiance.  This has been seen with Prohibition most famously, but occurs with other products as well.  Allow me to introduce you to the latest contraband good:  dishwater-detergent.

“SPOKANE, Wash. – The quest for squeaky-clean dishes has turned some law-abiding people in Spokane into dishwater-detergent smugglers. They are bringing Cascade or Electrasol in from out of state because the eco-friendly varieties required under Washington state law don’t work as well. Spokane County became the launch pad last July for the nation’s strictest ban on dishwasher detergent made with phosphates, a measure aimed at reducing water pollution. The ban will be expanded statewide in July 2010, the same time similar laws take effect in several other states.

But it’s not easy to get sparkling dishes when you go green.

Many people were shocked to find that products like Seventh Generation, Ecover and Trader Joe’s left their dishes encrusted with food, smeared with grease and too gross to use without rewashing them by hand. The culprit was hard water, which is mineral-rich and resistant to soap.

As a result, there has been a quiet rush of Spokane-area shoppers heading east on Interstate 90 into Idaho in search of old-school suds.”

You couldn’t make this up — folks smuggling soap across state lines.

Now, technically, these individuals aren’t *really* smugglers — the state of Washington only bans the sale of phosphate-containing detergents, not their possession…  yet.  However, local feedback on the ban has been less than enthusiastic.

“It’s nice to be on the cutting edge,” Spokane resident Ken Beck, an opponent of the ban, said sarcastically.

Due to the inferior detergents, Mr. Beck taken to using the “pots and pans” setting of his dishwasher, increasing the use of water and,presumably, energy to do the same job and, as a result, asks a fair question:

Beck wonders if that isn’t as tough on the environment as phosphates.

“How much is this really costing us?” Beck said. “Aren’t we transferring the environmental consequences to something else?”

In other words, could the cure be having a more detrimental impact that the disease…  A good question, Mr. Beck. Given similar substitutions in other venues, it is indeed a good question.

Did biodiesel mandates leave kids stranded in Minnesota?

This is not a laughing matter, especially when the cold flow performance is a known issue. Some blends of biodiesel do not perform well in cold temperatures and can turn to jello. I’m not certain if this was the case in Minnesota, but I do know mandating biodiesel brings in a certain level of complexity to the situation that I’m not smart enough to understand.

Hat tip goes to Minnesota resident Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air. Here is a chunk of the story from the StarTrib. Kids were actually treated for mild hypothermia when some school buses failed to get the kids to school or even pick them up.

Rick Kaufman, the district’s spokesman, said elements in the biodiesel fuel that turn into a gel-like substance at temperatures below 10 degrees clogged about a dozen district buses Thursday morning. Some buses weren’t able to operate at all and others experienced problems while picking up students, he said.

“We had students at bus stops longer than we think is acceptable, and that’s too dangerous in these types of temperatures,” Kaufman said.

About 50 of the district’s 10,000 students were affected. Some waited at bus stops for up to 30 minutes; others were stuck on stalled buses.

When I first saw this story, I questioned if it was the biodiesel or the blend of biodiesel used. Certainly they must have certain additives (chemical) to prevent the stuff from freezing up. After about 10 minutes of research, it looks like there is a balance between better cold flow and longer storage time. In other words, if you buy the stuff with the best cold flow performance, you best use the stuff up quick.

This reminds me of the problems everyone is having with their lawn mowers and small engines. The new fuel blends – all government mandated – were reeking havoc on powered lawn tools. The gasoline, if not used quickly, seems to turn to varnish.

I know, I’ve ripped apart at least three or four carburetors in the past couple of years.

Enough amateur science for the day. If you’re interested in reading more, click on the image below.


What’s Wrong With A Little Socialism?

They’re here … they’re feeling strong … and they’re coming out of the closet. Earlier this week the Washington Examiner Revealed, up until June  Obama’s Environmental Czar Carol Browner was a member of Socialist International, a worldwide umbrella group for socialist parties. Their motto … “Progressive policies for a fairer world.” Arghhhhh!

All for the common good comrade. In the past this would have been a deal breaker … but not today. With “Dear Obama” in charge … they are coming out of the closet. Exhibit A … Fox’s Bob Beckel discussing the Browner story this afternoon. Asks Beckel, “What’s so bad with a little socialism?”


I would say the conservative didn’t handle the come back very well. So I will. What’s so bad with socialism? It substitutes individual thought for collective thought. It restricts and regularly eliminates and often punishes personal liberty and freedom for a common cause normally determined by self appointed Czars. It says I am smarter than you and YOU will do as I say. Socialism is collective slavery. It enslaves the mind, it enslaves the individual. Key point: Notice who they point a finger at the minute they are criticized … the Bush administration. I swear this Republican led bailout has seriously hurt conservatives.

Now back to Browner. Specifically she was part of an environmental group that believes “global warming” should be governed by international law (set by the socialists, the deciders, I am sure) … complete with international taxes:

Browner’s CSWS is similarly open about the economic costs it is willing to impose, across national borders to achieve its environmental utopia. On Sept. 5-6, 2008, the commission noted that the costs of its proposals would “rang[e] in the hundreds of billions of dollars over the next two decades,” and it called for a “redesign of the international rules on intellectual property.” That is international bureaucratese for compelling an inventor to surrender property rights in order to “share” technologies with less-developed countries.

At the Congress of the Socialist International held last June 30-July2, the CSWS officially resolved that “market solutions alone are insufficient and will not provide the financial support and resources necessary to achieve the required combination of deep emission reduction, adaptation to already changing climate conditions, energy security and equitable and environmentally sound economic development.” Again, that’s bureaucratese. It means that international taxes should be imposed to provide the “resources necessary” to impose what the CSWS repeatedly refers to as a ‘regime” against “global warming.”

Nuff said.