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Gas Industry’s Solution to Toxic Wastewater: Spray It on Roads E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 21:06



Oil and Gas Production Waste Spread to Deice New York, Pa. Roads With Little Oversight
Spreading roads with brine from oil and gas operations might be dangerous, scientists say, but states still consider it a safe way to recycle the material. 

In parts of Pennsylvania and New York, the answer to ice-slick wintry roads is simple: Put some gas production waste on it. Municipalities in the northern parts of both states use the salty wastewater from oil and gas production to melt ice in winter and suppress road dust in summer.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 March 2015 21:09
PVLA raising money to offset legal fees in ongoing fight against Site C E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Monday, 02 March 2015 16:36
From today’s Energeticcity.ca
Site C is often protested by communities slated to be directly affected by the dam.Don Hoffmann
The Peace Valley Landowners Association (PVLA) is looking to raise $200,000 to help offset legal fees as they continue fighting B.C. Hydro’s Site C Dam in two court cases.
“The lawyers have given us a pretty good ballpark what they think it’s going to cost,” president of the PVLA Ken Boon says. “And that’s to get through both of our cases – the B.C. Supreme Court case and the Federal Court case.”
The PVLA has managed to raise $128,390 out of their $200,000 goal at the time of publication.
“We do have a ways to go, but we’re getting funding from far and wide,” Boon goes on to say. “..People realize this is it. We’re down to the crunch and down to the court case that says basically yes or no. There’s no other Plan Bs after this.”
The PVLA’s next Supreme Court date is April 20, 2015, while the Federal Court case is slated for July.
“That’s another way people can help,” explains Boon. “The more people we can have just sitting in the court room – a presence of supports there is important.”
Posted: 20 hours 55 minutes ago
Protesters march in Oakland, push for Jerry Brown to ban fracking E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Thursday, 26 February 2015 18:32

By Victoria Colliver - Saturday, February 7, 2015

Protesters against fracking rallied at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza and marched for two miles to Lake Merritt Boulevard, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. Photo: Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle / ONLINE_YES

Thousands of antifracking activists took to Oakland’s streets Saturday to call for Gov. Jerry Brown to change his stance and ban the controversial practice, which uses large amounts of a pressurized water mixture to crack subterranean rocks and release oil or natural gas.

Petition against B.C.'s wolf cull garners more than 173K signatures E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Thursday, 26 February 2015 12:14



Petition against B.C.'s wolf cull garners more than 173K signatures

The government has said it plans to have hunters shoot as many as 184 wolves from helicopters this year.

Photograph by: Gary Kramer , THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

VICTORIA — A coalition of 60 environmental groups has sent the B.C. government an open letter supporting a petition that demands it stop killing wolves.

More than 173,000 people from all over the world signed the online plea saying that shooting wolves in two regions in B.C.’s Interior — one in the northeast and one along its border with Idaho — will not protect shrinking caribou herds.

The government has said it plans to have hunters shoot as many as 184 wolves from helicopters this year.

Petition backers and letter signatories Pacific Wild and The Valhalla Wilderness Society argue that caribou are threatened by human encroachment, not by wolves.

They say limits to mining, snowmobiling and backcountry skiing would be a better way to allow herds to increase.

The provincial government plans to continue culling wolves by sterilizing and shooting them for four more years.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 February 2015 12:20
The Buck Stops Here – Greece is Fighting to Save Europe E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Thursday, 26 February 2015 12:01

By Mark Weisbrot CEPR



This article was distributed by the Tribune Content Agency on February 26, 2015


Greece has been dragged through a lot of mud in the media over the past few years because previous governments overborrowed, and that contributed to the initial crisis that – we should remember – Spain, Portugal, Italy and almost everyone else in the eurozone had to go through. But the initial crisis could have been resolved relatively quickly. In the United States, which was hit by the explosion of an $8 trillion housing bubble, our recession lasted just 18 months. In Greece it has been six years, with a loss of a quarter of its national income, and more than 25 percent unemployment (and twice that for youth).

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 February 2015 12:45
Portland's New Pipes Harvest Power From Drinking Water E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Saturday, 21 February 2015 05:45



If you live in Portland, your lights may now be partly powered by your drinking water. An ingenious new system captures energy as water flows through the city's pipes, creating hydropower without the negative environmental effects of something like a dam.

Small turbines in the pipes spin in the flowing water, and send that energy into a generator.

"It's pretty rare to find a new source of energy where there's no environmental impact," says Gregg Semler, CEO of Lucid Energy, the Portland-based startup that designed the new system. "But this is inside a pipe, so no fish or endangered species are impacted. That's what's exciting."

CIA’s Nuclear-Bomb Sting Said to Spur Review in Iran Arms Case E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Saturday, 21 February 2015 05:20
Parchin Test Site in Iran
The Parchin site in Iran is seen in this satellite image on Dec. 9, 2012. AEA inspectors don’t only rely on spy data, according to one of the diplomats, who pointed to the agency’s assessment of Iran’s Parchin Military complex, where the country is alleged to have tested high explosives. Satellite imagery analysis and open-source data also play roles, the person said. Source: DigitalGlobe via Getty Images

International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors in Vienna will probably review intelligence they received about Iran as a result of the revelations, said the two diplomats who are familiar with the IAEA’s Iran file and asked not to be named because the details are confidential. The CIA passed doctored blueprints for nuclear-weapon components to Iran in February 2000, trial documents have shown.

“This story suggests a possibility that hostile intelligence agencies could decide to plant a ‘smoking gun’ in Iran for the IAEA to find,” said Peter Jenkins, the U.K.’s former envoy to the Vienna-based agency. “That looks like a big problem.”


The UN agency is charged with deciding whether the Iranian government has been trying to develop nuclear weapons and its ruling may determine whether international sanctions against the country are lifted. While Iranian officials have consistently accused the IAEA of basing its case on forged documents, the agency has never acknowledged receiving tampered evidence.

CIA Whistle-Blower

A spokesman for the IAEA said the agency carries out a thorough assessment of the information it receives. The CIA didn’t immediately respond to e-mail and telephone requests for comment.

The CIA documents were filed as evidence to an Alexandria, Virginia court on Jan. 14 for the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, who was convicted of leaking classified information about operations against Iran. Sterling worked on a CIA project aimed at misleading Iranian scientists by feeding modified designs for nuclear-weapons components to the country’s IAEA mission in Austria.

“The goal is to plant this substantial piece of deception information on the Iranian nuclear-weapons program, sending them down blind alleys, wasting their time and money,” according to a May 1997 cable submitted to the court.

The project remains relevant because elements of the IAEA’s suspicions about Iran rest on older information provided by intelligence agencies.

Monitoring Iran

IAEA inspectors don’t only rely on spy data, according to one of the diplomats, who pointed to the agency’s assessment of Iran’s Parchin Military complex, where the country is alleged to have tested high explosives. Satellite imagery analysis and open-source data also play roles, the person said.

Iran probably stopped pursuing a nuclear bomb in 2003, according to the most recently published U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, the consensus of 16 intelligence agencies including the CIA. Still, suspicions linger. The IAEA reported Thursday that its 12-year probe of Iran has stalled.

“While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material” inspectors cannot “conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities,” the IAEA said in its quarterly report.

The CIA sting shows the kind of tactics that the U.S. and its allies have used against Iran, according to Dan Joyner, a law professor at the University of Alabama.

“The falsification of nuclear-related documents is a very real part of such states’ efforts to frustrate Iran’s nuclear program,” said Joyner, who has written extensively on nuclear proliferation risks. “This revelation highlights the dangers of reliance by the IAEA upon evidence concerning Iran provided to it by third party states whose political agendas are antithetical to Iran.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Tirone in Vienna at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Crawford at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Ben Sills, Tony Czuczka 

What’s Happening To Canada? An Open Letter To Stephen Harper E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Friday, 20 February 2015 06:57

By Ralph Nader

19 February, 2015

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister:

Many Americans love Canada and the specific benefits that have come to our country from our northern neighbor’s many achievements (see Canada Firsts by Nader, Conacher and Milleron). Unfortunately, your latest proposed legislation—the new anti-terrorism act—is being described by leading Canadian civil liberties scholars as hazardous to Canadian democracy.

A central criticism was ably summarized in a February 2015 Globe and Mail editorial titled “Parliament Must Reject Harper’s Secret Policeman Bill,” to wit:

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper never tires of telling Canadians that we are at war with the Islamic State. Under the cloud of fear produced by his repeated hyperbole about the scope and nature of the threat, he now wants to turn our domestic spy agency into something that looks disturbingly like a secret police force.

Canadians should not be willing to accept such an obvious threat to their basic liberties. Our existing laws and our society are strong enough to stand up to the threat of terrorism without compromising our values.”

Count on us for peace, never for war E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Thursday, 19 February 2015 10:27

Colombian Indigenous Peoples believe in peace dialogue, in spite of continuous violence in their territories

by February 18, 2015
Photo: www.onic.org

Photo: www.onic.org

Mystical amphibian venerated by Aztecs nears extinction E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Monday, 16 February 2015 09:04

by  @dfdocs

February 15, 2015 5:00AM ET

Scientists believe the dying axolotl, or Mexican salamander, holds secrets of aging and regeneration

MEXICO CITY — Dark, slimy and mysterious, the creature moves with a sluggishness reminiscent of prehistoric animals. But when it pulls in its legs, it can swim fast like a fish. If it loses a limb, it can grow it back.

The axolotl (pronounced ASH-oh-LOH-tuhl), as it was called by the Aztecs, is a fantastic amphibian that embodies the mysteries of Mexico’s ancient world. Revered for centuries, this Mexican wonder is under threat

Xochimilco fisherman Roberto Altamirano says axolotls he catches in the wild fetch nearly $300 apiece.
Diana Ferrero

The Mexican salamander is found only in its original habitat, Xochimilco. The area contains the last remnants of a system of lakes and canals upon which the Aztec capital thrived. But Xochimilco is now a UNESCO World Heritage site at risk of being swallowed by massive urbanization and pollution in this sprawling capital of 22 million people.

The fall from grace E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Monday, 16 February 2015 08:35


By Science in Society



The dramatic fall in oil prices of nearly 60 % since June 2014 to a five-year low has fueled speculations on its causes and economic consequences. Superficially, the causes for tumbling oil prices are oversupply and decreased demand. The US’ ‘fracking boom’ has greatly reduced its oil imports, while the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has steadfastly refused to decrease production, resulting in a glut in supply. At the same time, the global economic downturn, especially the slowed growth in China’s economy, has substantially reduced the demand for oil.

The reality is more complicated, as pointed out in an article posted on Foresight Investor. Until 1973, the oil prices were controlled by the importing countries and kept as low as $2.50 to $3.50 a barrel (~$10 to $15 in today’s money). However, OPEC’s embargo on Western countries in 1973 caused prices to skyrocket. OPEC increased production, and prices eventually settled down to ~$35 a barrel, fluctuating around that level for almost thirty years.

After 2000, the low-cost high-yielding oilfields became depleted, and oil had to be extracted from less economical fields, thereby putting off investment at a time when the growth in emerging markets, especially China, was pushing up demand for oil. As a result, oil prices soared to over $140 a barrel just before the credit crunch of 2008.

During the credit crunch, oil price plunged from $140 in June 2008 to $44 in February 2009, but soon recovered to ~$110 a barrel and stayed around there until June 2014. The high price made previously uneconomic oilfields profitable and the US output grew about 50 % in the past five years to 13.5 million barrels a day as supply was collapsing in Nigeria, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Iran. However, production from those countries has recently recovered to some extent, with the largest increase in Libya. This sudden surge in supply caused oil prices to drop, and continue dropping when OPEC decided it would not cut back its supply to raise the price.

The article went on to spell out the economic consequences for different countries, the ‘biggest winners’ being those dependent on imported oil, the ‘biggest losers’ being producers that depend on oil for their economy. But it may have underestimated the impacts from more profound changes in the global energy landscape within the past decade.

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