EJToday: Top Headlines
EJToday is SEJ's selection of new and outstanding stories on environmental topics in print and on the air, updated every weekday. SEJ also offers a free e-mailed digest of the day's EJToday postings, called SEJ-beat. SEJ members are subscribed automatically, but may opt out here. Non-members may subscribe here. EJToday is also available via RSS feed. Please see Editorial Guidelines for EJToday content.
"The world's largest solar power plant cleared an important hurdle on Wednesday, laying the groundwork for a dramatic expansion in solar energy generation in the United States and around the world. The proposed $6 billion-plus Blythe, California plant, originally proposed by Chevron Corp. and Solar Millennium AG, won clearance to build from the California Energy Commission."
"A powerful lobbying coalition is campaigning to require more electricity to come from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal. But the effort hasn't gotten any traction in the Senate this year, despite the push by environmental groups, renewable energy providers, more than half the nation's governors and even some utilities."
"Oliver Kuttner and his team of designers have seen the future of fuel-efficient cars topping the dreamed-of mark of 100 miles per gallon. This week, the Edison2 team is being rewarded for its vision with half of the $10 million X Prize."
"Italy Tuesday seized Mafia-linked assets worth $1.9 billion -- the biggest mob haul ever -- in an operation revealing that the crime group was trying to 'go green' by laundering money through alternative energy companies."
"A biotech company plans to announce Tuesday that it has won a patent on a genetically altered bacterium that converts sunlight and carbon dioxide into ingredients of diesel fuel, a step that could provide a new pathway for making ethanol or a diesel replacement that skips several cumbersome and expensive steps in existing methods."
"The tragic explosion of a gas pipeline in a San Francisco suburb has shed light on a problem usually kept underground: Communities have expanded over pipes built decades earlier when no one lived there. Utilities have been under pressure for years to better inspect and replace aging gas pipes — many of them laid years before sprawling communities were erected around them — that now are at risk of leaking or erupting."
"Candidates are lining up behind the issue of gas drilling as the controversial method called hydrofracking takes center stage this election season in the Finger Lakes region."
"The first wave of mass-produced advanced batteries funded by the Obama administration's economic recovery program is starting to roll off assembly lines, setting the stage for new hybrid and electric vehicles."
"Bill McKibben, an environmental campaigner from Vermont with a flair for showmanship, was rebuffed Friday morning in his effort to get the White House to reinstall one of the solar panels that President Jimmy Carter had placed on the White House roof."
A 30-inch natural gas pipeline routed through a densely populated area in San Bruno, Calif., exploded Thursday, killing at least 7 people. The fireball rose some 1,000 feet in the air and destroyed dozens of homes.
"In the rush to develop America's biggest new source of domestic energy, one community is fighting to protect its rural way of life from the environmental strains that accompany shale gas drilling."
"The Environmental Protection Agency sent letters to nine drilling companies on Thursday requesting detailed information about the chemicals contained in fluids used to crack open underground rock formations in the hunt for oil and natural gas."
Author Bill McKibben and a group of activists have found the old solar panels that Jimmy Carter installed atop the White House, and that Ronald Reagan removed. McKibben's group 350.org has been hauling the panel on a publicity road trip to DC to urge Barack Obama to reinstall them. The symbolism has everything to do with the fossil industry's victory in quashing climate legislation, the future of a world climate treaty, and the political future of a president whom environmentalists see as AWOL on his campaign promises. McKibben has booked a meeting with Obama for today.
"A far-reaching federal program of research and analysis, funded by Congress and designed to help the nation anticipate and temper the mounting conflict between rising energy demand and diminishing supplies of fresh water, has been brought to a standstill by the Department of Energy, according to government researchers involved in the project."
Three environmental groups have issued a report detailing some 39 cases across the U.S. where pollution from the ash left from coal-burning electric power plants has cause pollution that often threatens human health. Now as EPA moves to close the electric utilities' longtime exemption from hazardous waste laws, industry lobbyists may have quietly put the fix in at the White House Office of Management and Budget.