Climate Crossroads Blog
BP Oil Disaster
Posted by: Heather M at 8:47AM PST on October 27, 2010
There's a ton of news out there about various clean energy and dirty energy issues, so here's another round-up of what you may have missed in the past week.
First up, today is the final Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) public hearing on its proposed safeguards for handling coal ash (the toxic by-product of burning coal for electricity). Today's hearing is in Knoxville - not too far from the site of the devastating 2008 coal ash spill at the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston coal plant.
The Sierra Club has plenty of concerned community members at the hearing, all calling for strong safeguards from EPA for this toxic waste. Some folks are tweeting during the hearing, so watch the #coalash hashtag for their updates.
Continuing on the coal news front, the NY Times had two good articles up this week about the Navajo Nation in Arizona wanting to move away from coal power and toward clean energy like solar and wind power. Be sure to read "Navajos Come to Grips with Coal Mining" and "Navajos Hope to Shift from Coal to Wind and Sun." Both pieces also include quotes from Sierra Club organizers working hard on these issues.
In other coal news, the fight over this dirty energy source in Texas now includes available wawter resources. From a Houston Chronicle article:
Coal-fired power plants are commonly identified as the nation's biggest emissions villain. But that notoriety hasn't slowed the rush to build them in Texas, where there are nearly 30 coal plants either operating, permitted or proposed.Moving on to natural gas news, yesterday Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell announced a moratorium on any future natural gas drilling on public lands in the state.
"The Sierra Club applauds this stopgap measure, but it is not enough," said Pennsylvania Sierra Club Director Jeff Schmidt. "We are appalled that the Pennsylvania Senate failed to pass a natural gas severance tax, a state forest protection bill, or other Marcellus gas-related legislation before adjourning. Senate leadership has chosen to put political campaigning ahead of the needs of the people of Pennsylvania."The Keystone State is a natural gas battleground right now, with residents uniting to express their concerns about "fracking." On Nov. 3rd, the Pennsylania Sierra Club is joining a massive coalition protesting a natural gas conference in Pittsburgh. The Sierra Club nationally and in Pennsylvania are working hard to call for safe natural gas as a transition fuel.
On the dirty energy front, did you watch PBS' Frontline last night all about BP's history of safety infractions? The special covered not just those infractions that led up to the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, but the company's many other deadly safety issues at a Texas refinery and along Alaska's north slope. You can now watch the full show online.
More depressing dirty energy news - tar sands continue to be terrible. The latest news is that 125 ducks had to be euthanized after landing in a massive tar sands waste pond in Canada. Let's not bring this dirty fuel into the U.S.
And now for some good news. Our good clean energy news comes from Houston, Texas, where settlement with Shell oil company enabled the installation of solar panels on two city high schools.
"We are delighted with this solar power project in the two south Houston schools -- It not only demonstrates the best direction for Texas clean energy future, it also provides real benefits to the schools and the young people," said Sierra Club's Jennifer Powis. "The school district is expected to save over $10,000 annually in reduced electricity bills and the students will study and learn how solar power works."More good energy news, this time on the efficiency front. Yesterday EPA announced the winners of its First National Building Competition to Save Energy.
A residence hall at the University of North Carolina took first place - reducing "its energy use by 35.7 percent in one year, saving more than $250,000 on their energy bills and reducing more than 730 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity use of nearly 90 homes for a year."
The full results are inspiring.
Although apparently it isn't that sort of inspiration that will get people to go green. According to this fascinating Wall Street Journal article, peer pressure and guilt are what gets action.
Posted by: Heather M at 11:59AM PST on October 20, 2010
This is a guest post by Rachel Butler, National Conservation Organizer for the Sierra Club Green Transportation Team.
Today is the six month anniversary of the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig, a tragedy that claimed 11 lives and marked the beginning of the ongoing BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Though the well has been capped, the saga is far from over for the Gulf Coast communities and the Gulf ecosystem.
America's dependence on oil has pushed oil companies to drill in more and more dangerous places for bigger and bigger profits, resulting in disasters like the explosion of BP's Deepwater rig. This disaster and its aftermath highlight the need for America to get serious about breaking our addiction to oil.
Seventy percent of the 557 million gallons of oil used daily in the U.S. are for transportation, and the vast majority of that oil is used in our passenger cars and trucks. To move beyond oil, it's clear that we have to reform our outdated, oil-soaked transportation system.
We cannot end our dependence on oil until we emphasize convenient transportation choices that reduce our need to drive, like passenger and freight rail and public transit.
Instead, we must develop our towns and cities into livable communities where people can walk, bike, or take transit to their destinations rather than waste time, money, and gas sitting in stop-and-go traffic. We must develop 21st century transportation system that includes high speed rail that connects city centers and to transit – all without oil!
The good news is that investing in transportation reform that provides 21st century transportation choices is not only the right thing to do in the wake of the BP disaster, but it's also the right thing to do to jump-start our economy.
A recent report released by the White House Council of Economic Advisors and the Department of the Treasury (PDF) shows that investment in public transit infrastructure is in high public demand and will create jobs for the middle class. Analysis of the 2009 economic stimulus also showed that funding for public transportation created twice as many jobs per dollar as funding for roads.
Another report released today by the Apollo Alliance, entitled "Make it in America: The Apollo Clean Transportation Manufacturing Action Plan," (PDF) shows that investment in transportation infrastructure that creates a globally competitive transit and clean vehicle manufacturing sector in the United States can create 3.7 million jobs in the U.S., including 600,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector.
In the shadow of the BP disaster and under the weight of a sagging economy, there's no time to lose. America must invest in a 21st century transportation system that puts America back to work, provides transportation choices, and moves us beyond oil.
To join in the Sierra Club's work for a 21st century transportation system that moves us beyond oil, become a Sierra Club Transportation Activist.
First photo by Jordan Macha.
Posted by: Heather M at 10:27AM PST on September 28, 2010
Yesterday was the first day of a two day hearing by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. The hearing is covering the response following the BP spill, impacts on the Gulf and approaches to long-term restoration.
At the hearing, our own Sierra Club Apprentice Jenny Kordick testified about the Sierra Club's involvement and wishes for the cleanup and restoration. Here is her testimony: (You can also watch it at C-SPAN's website - her testimony starts at about minute 59)
Last week, the Sierra Club brought a delegation of Gulf Coast residents impacted by the spill to Washington DC - these individuals included Sierra Club staff and volunteers working on oil spill response, fishermen, and coastal business owners. The group met with Professor Lazarus, Director Bromwich, representatives from NOAA, and members of Congress with a clear message that the BP oil disaster is not over. Although the BP well may be capped, the Gulf Coast and its residents are still recovering from the disaster, with job losses in fishing and tourism, and massive fish kills as oil finds its way into our shores and ocean bottoms. The environmental, economic, and social impacts from the spill will be felt in years to come.
The Gulf of Mexico and affected coastal communities need federal resources for restoration and recovery. Funding these resources can come from Clean Water Act penalties, creating a Gulf Coast fund whereby penalties from the BP spill go directly towards restoration projects, and securing immediate funding under the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process. We also support the creation of a permanent regional community council to guide recovery efforts and ensure continued community driven oversight of the offshore oil industry.
In wake of the disaster, we must ensure full accountability by the oil industry. A portion of oil and gas industry profits should be directed toward ocean protection and restoration. Long term funding can be provided for independent, peer-reviewed science to supplement federal and state research to obtain a full assessment of the BP spill's impacts on Gulf of Mexico resources like fisheries and marshes as well as seafood and public health monitoring.
A third generation Alabama fisherman who was a part of the Gulf contingent in DC last week expressed concern about the safety of the seafood industry as fishing waters re-open for the first times following the spill. The industry faces challenges ahead to not only restore the fishing stock but also to restore public perception about the safety of Gulf seafood.
The BP disaster reinforces the need to move America beyond oil dependence towards a cleaner, more sustainable energy future. The BP spill demonstrates the certainty that there will be adverse economic and environmental outcomes as drilling continues. Instead of more offshore drilling, we should be building a 21st century transportation system, and investing in the kind of clean energy that will create jobs and infuse new life into our economy.
Posted by: Heather M at 8:17AM PST on August 5, 2010
Yesterday the U.S. government reported that around 75% of BP's oil disaster in the Gulf had been cleaned up, dispersed, burnt, or diluted and the rest poses little additional risk. That still leaves more than 50 gallons out there, but officials were saying cleanup methods and nature itself were doing a good job.
But now other scientists are wondering if the government is stretching the truth just a little. From today's Washington Post:
But, in interviews, scientists who worked on the report said the figures were based in large part on assumptions and estimates with a significant margin of error.Meanwhile, others are claiming environmentalists over-reacted to the disaster, calling it "more hype than harm." Don't worry, we've responded to that OpEd in The Hill.
Posted by: Brian F. at 10:45AM PST on July 23, 2010
Posted by: Heather M at 12:51PM PST on July 21, 2010
This post was written by Edward Hill, intern for the Sierra Club Global Warming & Energy Team.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) must be jealous of Sierra Club; they have to be! In the past few years the Sierra Club, in union with a number of other grassroots organizations, has shifted the debate over climate change from one of skepticism to one where politicians are working to introduce new climate and energy bills.
Now, in the wake of the BP oil disaster, API is ramping up its defenses to dissuade Congress from tightening regulation and tax loopholes on the oil-industry. In recent weeks API has sought to advance its interests by launching its own "grassroots" campaign, titled "Energy Citizens." Needless to say they have a lot to learn.
In response to the public backlash over the BP disaster, API has launched the Energy Citizen's campaign to protect its beloved loopholes, government handouts and lax oversight. The campaign has been pumping ads that use average-looking Americans to advance their cause.
This isn't API's first run at "grassroots" campaigning, as cited by Mother Jones. In 2009, API's Energy Citizen Campaign organized a series of citizen rallies against cap-and-trade legislation. While it was obvious that API was sponsoring the events, it turned out that the rallies were also being organized by oil-industry lobbyists.
From its launch, the Energy Citizens campaign has been catching flak for being a fake citizen's activist movement. When opposition and opinions have to be bought to preserve the status quo, it's clear that it is time for change. It is time for a clean energy revolution and Sierra Club's grassroots movement is going to take us there. We are ready to end our addiction to oil, and we know we will win.
Posted by: Paul Rauber at 1:56PM PST on July 20, 2010
Poor Joe Barton! First the Texas Representative had to apologize for his apology, then he loses $154,000 on investments on his campaign funds--because they were invested in plummeting energy company stocks, including BP. According to CQMoneyline,
Barton saw his bottom line fall in part because of losses in broad-based funds that invested in companies linked to the recent Gulf Coast oil spill. His campaign reported losing more than $13,000 in the Fidelity Select Energy Service, which lists Halliburton and Transocean Inc. among the fund’s largest four holdings. Transocean is down more than 36 percent for the year, while Halliburton is down nearly 6 percent so far in 2010.CQ says that Barton was aware he was investing in energy stocks, but was not aware that they included the biggest perps in the Gulf oil disaster.
Posted by: Gabriel Derita at 2:36PM PST on July 16, 2010
Drilling safety is not a BP problem, it is an industry problem- Ken Salazar and the Department of the Interior agree.
A Louisiana federal Judge threw out the first ban on offshore drilling last week, but citing concerns over industry-wide use of the same blowout preventers that failed BP, the Interior Department issued a new moratorium Monday.
The extreme engineering and technical lengths companies go to extract oil from miles underwater highlights the severity of our oil addiction- and we can take steps to end it today. But establishing new, rigorous standards for drilling safely in complex and dangerous situations needs to be priority number one for the drilling industry and those who regulate it.
BP is one of the richest, most technologically advanced companies in the world- and 13 weeks after the spill, oil continues to gush nearly uninhibited from the sea floor. Can we assume that any other company would do a better job?
The reality is, we can not. The American Petroleum institute has spent millions in public relations to save their image while throwing BP under the bus, but a government review of spill response documents of all five major drilling companies found nothing but boiler-plate, cookie cutter plans- in some cases using the exact same words.
Like BP, three other companies include references to protecting walruses, which have not called the Gulf of Mexico home for 3 million years.
Two other plans are such dead ringers for BP's that they list a phone number for the same long-dead expert.
ExxonMobil’s response report has 40 pages on its media response strategy, yet its plans for resources protection is only 5 pages long and its plan for oil removal is just 9 pages long. Clearly they are more concerned with the safety of their brand than the safety of their equipment.
Every response plan document claims the companies can handle between 150,000 and 250,000 barrels per day. The BP spill is currently leaking between 11,000 to 25,000 barrels per day- with almost no ability to contain it.
What this disaster has demonstrated more than anything is that these companies cannot be taken at their word- not a single number BP has released relating to the scope of the disaster or its response capabilities has held up to facts.
The offshore drilling industry needs to seriously raise the bar on integrity and transparency, and forcing a moratorium until this occurs is mandatory to holding these companies accountable.
Our tolerance for risk needs to be at an all-time low as we struggle to contain this disaster, and that means an end to risky deepwater drilling until new safety controls are demonstrably in place.
Posted by: Heather M at 1:47PM PST on July 15, 2010
That's what the Washington Post is reporting - "Oil Leak Stopped for First Time Since April." If the well stays capped, this is fantastic news!
Related to the BP oil disaster, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson was testifying again on Capitol Hill about the disaster. Her testimony is here.
The Oil Independence for a Stronger America Act will set into law the goal of achieving independence from overseas oil in the next 20 years and a specific plan for achieving it. By committing America to developing a robust clean energy economy, the legislation would create new jobs while eliminating the national security vulnerability posed by dependence on oil from overseas to run the economy.To us, this is a great start. From a statement by Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune:
Senators Merkley, Carper, Udall and Bennet are putting us on the right track. This bill to reduce oil dependence is absolutely the right place to start and will focus action where it is most needed. Calling on the President to use all existing authority to reduce the amount of oil we use by at least 8 million barrels a day by 2030 sets an appropriate floor for what together we can achieve. Taking these early steps in the wake of an immediate disaster is also vital to the success of our ultimate goal--an oil-free economy that works for America's middle class.Let's end our addiction to oil! And don't forget about the BP Oil Disaster Group here on Climate Crossroads.
Posted by: Brian F. at 2:47PM PST on July 8, 2010
Posted by: Brian F. at 10:49AM PST on July 7, 2010
Get your BP lies by the numbers by clicking here:
BP's plan has been to throw numbers against the wall to see what sticks. But when all is said and done, it seems like no one knows the number or even what the heck is going on. Take this AP segment for example:
Posted by: Paul Rauber at 2:41PM PST on July 6, 2010
Back in the 1970s. the search for offshore oil was so exciting that BP put out a board game on "the thrills of drilling." Better hope you don't draw a "hazard card," though: "Blow-out! Rig damaged. Oil slick clean-up costs. Pay $1 million." Present day BP wishes it could get off so cheaply; the latest estimate of its costs thus far in controlling its Macondo gusher is $3 billion. (h/t to Metro.co.uk)
In a very similar optimistic mood, the Washington Post reports that in March, BP promised federal regulators that in the event of a major spill it could skim 491,721 barrels of oil each day. In practice, skimming since the disaster began has captured only 67,143 barrels total, or 1/500th part of what BP promised for the period.
Posted by: Heather M at 8:21AM PST on July 6, 2010
If you missed our huge Beyond Oil flag event on the Mall in Washington, DC, last week, we've got some video for you right here.
Posted by: Brian F. at 2:06PM PST on July 2, 2010
With no end to BP's oil disaster in sight and July 4 around the corner, the Sierra Club on Wednesday planted 10,000 flags by the Washington Monument to demand independence -- from oil. For the past two weeks we've been posting some helpful hints here to lessen your own dirty energy usage -- which will be particularly appropriate this holiday weekend when we celebrate our country's break from the British. So let's review!
-- Drive less or not at all! Americans burn 378 million gallons of gasoline a day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. BP and other oil companies do not want to see that number to go down. Show them who's in charge. Take public transit. And dust off your bike and/or increase your car's mileage.
-- Purchase local produce and eat less meat. Challenge yourself to one meatless day a week. It'd vastly improve your personal carbon footprint. The meat industry is a major consumer of petroleum. Are you planning to barbecue this weekend? Click here.
-- Consider a "staycation." And for those of you who are hitting the road, there are probably plenty of lovely destinations within a 100-mile radius of your home. Visit a park and hike a trail!
You might notice that these suggestions are not anything new. But walking the talk a little at a time will go a long way. And if you're frustrated by the slow political process in Washington, click here to take action. Have a happy and safe long weekend!
Posted by: Carl Pope at 9:14AM PST on July 1, 2010
The tide of public response to BP's Maconda oil catastrophe continues to rise. On Saturday, the world witnessed almost 1,000 rallies, with hundreds of thousands of people holding "Hands Across the Sand" to protest of off-shore oil drilling.
And today the Sierra Club planted 10,000 flags on the National Mall here in Washington, a literal representation of the tens of thousands of "virtual" flags that our online supporters have planted in the cause of moving Beyond Oil. The Club was joined in planting the flags by the Truman National Security Project and the Communications Workers of America. The flags spell out these words: "Freedom From Oil." But as you might imagine, reading them from ground level is not easy -- so we wondered whether anyone other than the tourists looking down from the Washington Monument would get the message on-site.
But as Club Executive Director Mike Brune stood up to begin the ceremony, Marine 1, the helicopter that carries the President of the United States, flew overhead. So, thanks to the folks who asked to bear witness with us today, at least one very important part of the audience for America's national demand that we get off oil saw the message right there on the Mall.
To see for yourself how the flags looked from the air, check out the Sierra Club's homepage.
And if you haven't already added your flag online, you can still join the crowd -- and you won't have to go through airport security to be a part of it.
Posted by: Paul Rauber at 2:53PM PST on June 30, 2010
In the wake of the BP oil disaster, the U.S. Minerals Management Service--the agency that signed off on the Macondo well's ludicrous disaster plan--was disbanded. Bidding MMS adieu, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is auctioning off MMS paraphernalia, including MMS safety whistles, oil drop paperweights, and embossed lunch bags.
"These kitschy souvenirs exhibit a blithe cluelessness that helps explain the agency's mindset," noted PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "For example, what was the focus of the 2009 Safety Week at MMS? Well, if you guessed diet conscious snacks, you would be correct."
Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar ordered the breakup of the disgraced MMS into smaller units, the largest bearing the onerous title of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement. There is apparently some disagreement within the new agency as to how it should properly be referred. Initially new director Michael Bromwich suggested BOE, a directive that was countermanded days later by an urgent email insisting on the full acronym, BOEMRE. There is as of yet no official pronunciation guidance, but the new agency is inevitably already known as "Bummer."
Posted by: Brian F. at 9:02AM PST on June 30, 2010
Brian Williams of NBC News is broadcasting from the Gulf this week and producing compelling coverage of the BP oil disaster.
"The view out the window for most of the two hours was either the sheen of oil, looking for the next sheen of oil, or seeing the tritest of the clean-up of vessels, skimmers, shrimp boats that have been retrofitted with booms to lay out in the open water. [...] and we've seen where they have lost the battle."
Posted by: Heather M at 7:18AM PST on June 30, 2010
UPDATED - here are some more photos of the 10,000 flags on the Mall. And Getty Images took some great photos from above as well - Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4, Photo 5, and Photo 6. Scroll down to the original entry from this morning - these photos are from our Beyond Oil event where 10,000 flags spelling out "Freedom from Oil" were planted on the Mall in Washington, DC.
Above - Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune (left) and banner holders look back at President Obama's helicopter flies nearby during the press conference.
George Kohl, Senior Director of the Communications Workers of America, speaks at today's Beyond Oil rally.
Iraq War veteran and Truman Security Project CEO Jonathan Powers speaks at today's Beyond Oil rally.
All photos above by Javier Sierra. All photos below by Heather Moyer.
---End of Update - The original Post is Below --
It's not officially Flag Day (that was June 14th), but on the National Mall in Washington, DC, today is a sort of an unofficial flag day.
We've got our Beyond Oil action up and flowing in the wind on the Mall - 10,000 flags that spell out "Freedom from Oil," that volunteers worked late in the night on Tuesday to stake into the ground.
These 10,000 flags represent the more than 50,000 people who took action on our Beyond Oil website asking President Obama to move our country beyond oil.
Glen Besa of the Sierra Club in Virginia took a great video of the flag planting last night, so take a look. (Sorry, the humidity got to our flipcam)
Posted by: John Byrne Barry at 11:33AM PST on June 28, 2010
Saturday was not a beach day. Foggy and cold, though not windy. No blue sky in sight.
That didn’t stop about 200 people from gathering at Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands for Hands Across the Sand, a worldwide gathering to oppose offshore oil drilling and promote clean, renewable energy.
While we held hands, facing the Pacific, an Exxon oil tanker appeared on the horizon. Empty, as someone near me noted, riding high in the water, most likely after having unloaded at Chevron or one of the other refineries along San Pablo Bay.
A few people gave the tanker the finger, but the woman to my right said she didn’t feel that was appropriate, given that she had driven her car to the beach.
We got a short hike in too, and wildflowers were everywhere.
Posted by: Brian F. at 10:22AM PST on June 21, 2010
Posted by: Brian F. at 3:40PM PST on June 18, 2010
Ask yourself, what would John Muir do? He wouldn’t sit on his duff, that’s for sure. Some of those politicians in Washington, D.C., have an insular view of the world. And they don’t necessarily correlate the BP oil disaster with the need to shift to clean energy and move beyond oil in the next two decades.
Help them connect the dots! Visit the Sierra Club’s Beyond Oil action center, where you can send a message to the president, find information on hosting a Gulf action house party, and get involved locally. On July 4th, you can have the Sierra Club plant a flag in your name for freedom from oil. On Independence Day, the Sierra Club will plant flags at the Washington Monument to represent the demand to end our oil dependency. The Club needs at least 50,000 sign-ups to make it happen. Click here and be one of them.
In addition to thinking nationally, consider what you can do in your area. Write letters to the editorial pages of your local newspapers. Watch what city and county planners are up to. Grist has a great list of ten things that cities can do, for instance, such as building dense housing near public transit, phasing out parking lots, and setting up bike corrals and safe pedestrian spaces.
The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was caused by BP and its reckless negligence. Ultimately, though, the real long-term solution is up to the American people. Until we demand and get a plan from our leaders for getting off of oil, we shall remain at the mercy of those who extract, refine, and sell it.
Posted by: Heather M at 11:01AM PST on June 18, 2010
Check out Michael Brune talking to Don Lemon about the BP oil disaster on yesterday's Rick Sanchez show on CNN.
Posted by: Brian F. at 12:17PM PST on June 17, 2010
"The average household spends 18 cents of every dollar on transportation, and 94% of this goes to buying, maintaining, and operating cars, the largest expenditure after housing," according to the American Public Transportation Association.
In addition to bicycling, taking public transit is one of the cheapest and easiest things you can do to lower your oil intake. In the U.S., it saves 37 million metric tons (pdf) in carbon emissions every year. And it save you a lot of money in gas, car maintenance, and insurance.
If you need help and you're wondering where to turn, start with Google Maps, which provides directions that include public-transit information. If buses or trains aren't your cup of carbon-cutting tea, see what's out there in terms of car-sharing services -- like Zipcar or CarSharing.net.
Read Part V of "Quitting Oil."
Posted by: Bruce Nilles at 10:01AM PST on June 17, 2010
No surprise here, on the heels of President Obama's Tuesday night speech, the coal industry front group -- American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity -- released a statement saying they agree with his call for a clean energy future:
"The president also renewed his call for bolder action to create a clean energy future. We share the President's commitment, and recognize the steps we take as a nation must balance America's environmental, economic, and energy goals."As we said in a post a few weeks ago, the coal industry is working harder to convince you that to address our oil problem, we should mine and burn more coal.
Wrong. 19th Century energy sources have no place in a clean energy economy. Coal belongs in the same category as oil - too dirty and dangerous and energy sources we must phase out as soon as possible.
The President got it right when he said, "The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic."
We must restore the Gulf and push President Obama to put the weight of his office behind treating the cause of the epidemic, our reliance on oil. We must end our dependence on oil and coal.
So leading up to July 4th, we want you to join us for one the largest visual displays in Sierra Club's history as we call for Freedom From Oil this Independence Day.
Head to our Beyond Oil website to plant a flag and demand our freedom from our oil addiction and a commitment to a clean energy economy.
Plant a 'virtual flag' on our website and, if we get 50,000 people to do so, we'll recreate the scene in real life in front of the Washington Monument right before July 4th where Congress and the White House are sure to notice.
If we don't want to repeat the BP Oil Disaster, we must do better than using coal and oil to power our country. Let's stand up to these powerful interests and build a clean energy future.
Posted by: Heather M at 7:11AM PST on June 17, 2010
BP CEO Tony Heyward is on Capitol Hill today to testify before the House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment at the "The Role of BP in the Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Oil Spill" hearing.
You can watch the hearing live at that link above - as of 10am ET, it was underway.
UPDATE: Two quotes of note from this morning's hearing thus far. First up, the big one - Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward for the government making them create a $20 billion liability fund to pay for the impact of the disaster on Gulf residents.
Yes, you read that right. Barton pretty much said, "Thank you, sir, may I have another?" Or as a Twitterer Delrayser paraphrased, "We're sorry we got all that seawater in your oil, Mr. Hayward." Here's video of that apology:
Posted by: Brian F. at 2:36PM PST on June 16, 2010
Wouldn’t it be nice to work in your pajamas from home? Americans spend about 100 hours a year commuting. That's a lot of time, money, and oil. If you have a job that allows you to telecommute one or two days a week, jump on it. If your boss is flying you around the country, look into alternatives such as web seminars and phone conferencing from home.
Spending more time at home for work can have its drawbacks, namely with your energy bill. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider your home's energy usage. Turning to programmable thermostats and putting on layers during the winter months are good starts. Here are tips on minimizing your need for an air conditioner during the summer months. And lastly, look into Google’s PowerMeter, a free energy monitoring tool for your home. Along those same lines, consider a home energy audit here and here.
Read Part IV of "Quitting Oil."
Posted by: Paul Rauber at 9:38AM PST on June 16, 2010
In my last post I noted that the estimated size of the BP oil disaster had been revised upward, so that it was believed to be spewing the equivalent to the oil from the Exxon Valdez every 5 to 13 days. That was so yesterday! In the meanwhile the government panel judging the spill rate upped its estimate once again, this time to 60,000 barrels a day, or an Exxon Valdez's worth every 4 days. As noted by the New York Times, "It continues a pattern in which every new estimate of the flow rate has been dramatically higher than the one before."
Posted by: Brian F. at 4:06PM PST on June 15, 2010
Americans burn 378 million gallons of gasoline a day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. Oil is the lifeblood of the automobile, and there's no better place to start cutting down your oil usage than that metal box sitting in your driveway.
We're not saying you have to sell your car. But if you can make your trips to the pump less frequent, it'll add up. Start by inflating your tires, clearing your trunk (Carting around an extra 100 pounds can reduce your mileage by 2 percent), driving more slowly (or at least not over the speed limit), and biking or walking short trips.
Just how much better is bicycling compared to driving? Mr. Green had fun with some arithmetic by comparing gas usage of a car to that of a bicyclist who eats cornmeal for his or her fuel. Let's say it takes two gallons of gas to drive 48 miles. A typical cyclist would need about 1.25 pounds of cornmeal for the energy to bike 48 miles. "It takes a gallon or so of fossil fuel to produce 50 pounds of corn, so the amount of fossil-fuel energy needed to grow enough corn for the 48-mile ride is a meager .025 gallons," says Mr. Green. Imagine every American walking or bicycling short trips. Do you think BP (and other oil companies) would take notice?
Do you want to start cycling to work and nearby locations and don't know how to get started? The Crossroads blog has some excellent starting tips by Canyon Kyle here, here, and here. Also, check out Commutebybike.com's Commuting 101.
Have you got other ideas about oil and cars? Share them in the comments.
Read Part III of "Quitting Oil."
Posted by: Paul Rauber at 1:10PM PST on June 15, 2010
The Sierra Club ran this ad in the New York Times in 1989 after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. "Who should pay for this mess? Exxon. And not just for the short term cleanup. And not just through advertisements and PR." Sound familiar? Note that at this point, the BP oil disaster is now estimated to be dumping an Exxon Valdez sized amount of oil into the Gulf of Mexico every 5 to 13 days.
For more oil-spill deja vu see here.
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