Archive for February, 2013


Plaintiffs say BP’s greed caused the Gulf spill (LA Times).

Shell suspends Arctic drilling for 2013 (BBC).

AFL-CIO backs Keystone XL (NY Times).

Drought is hurting a Texas town (NY Times).

A road through an Alaskan refuge could hold up the Interior Secretary nominee (Washington Post).

Three coal-fired plants will close as part of a settlement (Washington Post).

(Posting for Matt)
Sick and tired of unwrapping the plastic around the cardboard box? Then you open the box and the item is in a plastic bag and has some “cushion” (most likely styrofoam) around the bag. Ridiculous, right? Well, The Disappearing Package  is on the case.
The solutions revolve around 5 ordinary household items: a bar of soap, tea, a jar, laundry detergent and trash bags. The keys for the disappearing packages are a couple of things. There’s packaging ink on something such as the Oxo jar that washes off in the sink. Then there’s the idea with the Glad trash bags that there’s nothing to really protect and so you wrap it in the product itself. The proposed Glad trash bags actually resemble the City of Boston’s recycling bags, which are self contained in a roll and have no cardboard box around them.
The problem that the environment faces from packaging is spelled out on the website’s front page. Americans use 140 billion pounds of packaging a year. That’s 140 billion pounds of nearly pure waste. I can’t see any reason not to give The Disappearing Package a chance, right?


The BP trial gets underway on Monday (Washington Post). Settlement talks don’t appear promising (NY Times).

There’s finally compromise on snowmobiles in Yellowstone (Washington Post).

Poor air quality plagues Utah (NY times).

The drought out West is forecast to persist (LA Times).

Siberian permafrost is in danger of thawing (BBC).

PNC shareholders will vote on a climate change resolution (LA Times).

Advocates try to promote an international standard on water use reduction (BBC).


BP’s civil trial is set to get underway next week (LA Times, NY Times). Meanwhile, the government agreed to credit BP for the oil it recovered (Washington Post).

Iceland looks to export geothermal energy (NY Times).

Tesla’s long-term viability is questionable (LA Times).

Gas prices are climbing again (Washington Post).

Invasive species are a larger threat in Europe than previously thought (BBC).

President Obama – adding to his full-throated push for climate change in his inauguration speech – turned the heat up on Congress to act on climate change during his state of the union address. Now, it’s more than words – his actions over the next month could help set the agenda for the rest of his term.

He needs to fill his three cabinet positions (heads of EPA, Energy and Interior). He also needs to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, which in the opinion of this blogger he will appove. (And if you’re wondering more about the Keystone XL pipeline, please follow Terry Adams’ twice weekly news links posts on this blog – he’s superbly tracking Keystone articles.)

With those two moves, he will begin action on climate change one way or the other and send a message to Congress to act. We know of one senator who will stay on the sidelines on climate change. Will the rest do it as well? Will the president continue his focus on energy efficiency rather than renewable energy? Wait a couple months and we’ll know a lot more.


Keystone XL presents risks for Obama (NY Times).

Protesters in DC oppose Keystone XL (Washington Post). Some were arrested (Washington Post).

New England is over-reliant on natural gas (NY Times).

Tires are making fuel efficiency gains (NY Times).

Desalination won’t be a panacea for California (LA Times).

Wood-burning stoves are polluting Alaska (LA times).


Climate change is a high risk for the government (Washington Post).

A Mississippi River levee plan pits farmers against environmentalists (Washington Post).

Michael Bloomberg wants to ban plastic foam containers (NY Times).

A judge accepts Transocean’s guilty plea for the Gulf spill (NY Times).


Action on Keystone XL could be near (Washington Post).

Green isn’t easy (NY Times).

The Netherlands may be a good electric car test case (NY Times).

Lisa Murkowski releases a “20/20″ vision for energy policy (Washington Post).

Northeastern states plan to lower the carbon cap under RGGI (Stateline).


The U.S. is on track to miss its 2020 climate goal (Washington Post).

The State of the Union may propose emissions rule changes (Wall Street Journal).

TransCanada’s CEO wants Keystone XL approved (Washington Post).

The Interior Secretary nominee has oil industry and conservation experience (NY Times).

Greenpeace says an Arctic oil spill plan is useless (BBC).

President Obama nominated his new choice for Interior Secretary and it’s somebody with ties to the famed outdoor chain REI. Sally Jewell, president of REI, is the choice to replace Ken Salazar as head of the Interior Department.

It’s an interesting choice as Jewell has little political experience. She did, however, not only work for conservation organizations, but she also worked as an engineer for Mobil. It seems like she will ultimately be confirmed as reaction was mostly positive.

“Sally Jewell has the mind of an engineer, the heart of an environmentalist and the know-how of a businesswoman,” said a statement from Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke, who is regarded as one of the most influential environmental advocates on climate policy, while Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams called Jewell “a tremendous leader for conservation at every level.”

While it can be expected that she will be pro-environment in her role, you can question how effective she will be since she’s a political novice. On the heels of Steven Chu’s slightly disappointing term as Energy Secretary, the question must be raised about how effective she can be in a cabinet role that involves a lot of politicking. It’s an outside-the-box pick by Obama, but only time will tell if it’s a good pick.