Thursday, January 19, 2017

National security and energy independence.

It's over! When Americans become uncomfortable, it never goes away; it just becomes a matter of 'let's get on with this.'

January 19, 2017

Attorneys for a group of Montana landowners, (click here) health advocates and conservationists have filed a lawsuit seeking to force energy companies to divulge more about the chemicals they use in energy production.

Oil and gas industry regulators in September denied a petition to make companies disclose the details on chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

A lawsuit challenging that decision was filed Tuesday in state court in Lewis and Clark County....

The State of Texas gave American consumers Dish, Texas.

May 25, 2011

By Joanna Zelman

Fearing for his children’s health, Mayor Calvin Tillman (click here) is leaving behind his government position and getting out of Dodge... or rather, Dish.

Dish, Texas is a town consisting of 200 residents and 60 gas wells. When Tillman’s sons repeatedly woke up in the middle of the night with mysterious nosebleeds, he knew it was time to move — even if it meant leaving his community behind. In an exclusive interview with The Huffington Post, Mayor Tillman reveals that when it came down to family or politics, the choice wasn’t a tough one to make.

Tillman, first elected mayor of Dish, Texas in 2007, has spent his time in office fighting to regulate natural gas companies that are drilling into the Barnett shale, which holds up to 735 billion cubic meters of natural gas....

And then came Josh Fox.

Now is the time.

President Obama was the greatest energy President in history. He was magnificent and I thank him for all his arduous work. I know it wasn't easy or popular at a time of fossil fuel crony politics. We are a better country today, President Obama and it is due to his undaunted leadership.

January 19, 2017
By Tim Means

Murrysville council (click here) Wednesday night instructed municipal officials to prepare revisions to a draft ordinance regulating unconventional gas and oil drilling in the community.

Council members re-hashed the setback requirements for shale drilling in an effort to strike a balance between providing protection from the impacts of drilling operations for nearby residents and making sure the ordinance is not so restrictive that the law could be challenged as exclusionary and struck down in court.

After a lengthy discussion about how setback distances should be measured, council reached a consensus that a minimum protective buffer zone should be required from the edge of the well pad to any protected structure.

The current version of the draft ordinance proposes a 250-foot buffer zone from the edge of the well pad plus a 550-foot buffer zone to a protected structure....

The only buffer zone needed for wind energy is its shadow and whether it will have an ill effect on plants in the spring time. If people want a wind turbine a variance from the local zoning board might be necessary. It give the neighbors a time to make themselves known.

In Denmark, (click here) the local municipalities determine where wind turbines can be placed. However, there are some rules and regulations that have to be complied with, before a wind farm can be erected in the Danish landscape. The regulation related to wind turbines includes planning, building and nature protection legislation, as well as noise and grid connection regulation.

Set back distance and noise

The most central legislation on wind turbines establishes a requirement for a setback distance of 4 x total height of the wind turbine. To major roads and railways a distance of 1 x total height is required. In addition, specific noise limits determine allowable noise-levels for neighboring houses at different levels of wind speed. The noise limits are outdoors limits and must not exceed:

• In residential areas:
     39 dB (wind speeds of 8 m/s) and 37 dB (wind speeds of 6 m/s)
• Near residences in the open country:
     44 dB (wind speeds of 8 m/s) and 42 dB (wind speeds of 6 m/s)
For both categories of areas the limit for low frequency noise is 20 dB. The limit for low frequency noise applies to the calculated indoor noise level at both 6 and 8 m/s wind speed.

Shadow flicker

The Danish requirements related to wind turbines normally also include a limit on the annual number of hours that neighboring houses are affected by shadow flicker from turbines. It is recommended that the calculated average of shadow hours on neighboring houses do not exceed 10 hours per year. If the shadow limit is exceeded the wind turbine owner may alternatively be required to shut down the wind turbine in critical periods. Usually, wind turbines can be fitted with meters so that the operation can be halted if the sun shines during critical periods.

Communities need to insist on the reporting already required by law.

There needs to be a human rights commission in every city and town that reviews the data. There are human rights commissions in cities and towns in the USA already. That commission can ask to meet with the Chief of Police and the Mayor and Council to bring about change.

The Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP) (click here) collects data on deaths that occur while inmates are in the custody of local jails or state prisons. Local jail and state prison data are collected directly from jails and state departments of corrections. Arrest-related mortality data were collected separately from data on deaths that occur in prisons or jails. The arrest-related death collection was suspended in 2014. The DCRP provides individual-level data on the number of deaths by year, cause of death, and decedent age, race or Hispanic origin, and sex. These data are also used to produce facility and population mortality rates. The collection of individual-level data allows BJS to perform detailed analyses of comparative death rates across demographic categories and offense types and facility and agency characteristics.

BJS began the DCRP in 2000 under the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-297), which required the collection of individual data on deaths in the process of arrest, local jails, and state prisons. BJS continued the program after this legislation expired in 2006 and continues it with the reauthorization of the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013 (P.L. 113-242).

This is a reporting from "Mother Jones" in 2014:

December 17, 2014

By Allie Gross and Bryan Schatz

Over the weekend, (click here) tens of thousands of marchers rallied against police brutality, standing in solidarity with families who have lost loved ones to police violence. With public scrutiny zeroed in on deaths at the hands of law enforcement, one thing is noticeably missing: a federal record of just how many people die in police custody each year.

This, however, could be changing. Last week, Congress passed the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013. Currently awaiting Obama's signature, it mandates that states receiving federal criminal justice assistance grants report, by gender and race, all deaths that occur in law enforcement custody, including any while a person is being detained or arrested. This would include events like the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, says Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a sponsor of the bill, in an interview with Mother Jones.

The bill also mandates that federal law enforcement agencies annually gather and report these deaths to the US attorney general, who in turn has two years to analyze the data, determine if and how it can be used to reduce the number of such deaths, and file a report to Congress....

Local ordinances can be adopted as well. It would create an infrastructure that not only gathered information under the law, but, also sought input from community members. Human rights of Americans have never been more important.

Human Rights Commissions can do a lot more than track police activity, it can assist in understanding struggling students and economic failures. There is a lot to be done and it is time cities and towns organize under what works. 

There are local chamber of commerce to discuss the working poor, health care and minimum wage. There are also issues of environmental justice that insures clean air and water. There are also issues of organizing unions to bring about equity in the workplace. 

Now is the time to get started and make local economies work for everyone without the threat of violence anywhere.

The bill also mandates that federal law enforcement agencies annually gather and report these deaths to the US attorney general, who in turn has two years to analyze the data, determine if and how it can be used to reduce the number of such deaths, and file a report to Congress....

Shhhh,...the era of oil is over.

18 January 2017
By Leigh Collins

For those who think the direct purchase of renewable energy (click here) by corporations is an insignificant corner of the clean power world, consider this: in the US in 2015, more new wind capacity was bought by businesses than utilities.
While the 3.24GW of corporate renewables installed in 2015 was something of a one-off as the industry reacted to the impending expiration of the production tax credit, the overall demand has been steadily rising.
And the momentum is growing.
Last May, four non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with their own corporate energy campaigns, supported by more than 60 green-minded companies, clubbed together to form the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance(REBA) to promote the business case for renewables and help firms navigate the energy-purchase process. Generally speaking, the economic case for corporate renewables has been twofold: meeting companies’ sustainability goals, while locking in a low, stable power price for 15-20 years — a potentially valuable long-term hedge at a time when the cost of utility-supplied electricity seems to be continuously rising.
Yet the cost of wind and solar has fallen so much over the past seven years — 60% and 80% respectively — that some companies are now finding it cheaper to buy renewable energy directly from developers (or to build projects themselves) than to purchase fossil-fuel-based electricity from a utility....
Alternative energy is attainable by everyone, from the homeowner to the production plant. It is clean and safe. There really is no cost comparison to building a natural gas plant and building renewable energy production. Anyone can own their own power plant.

Volatility? Alternative energy? No. Fossil fuels, you betcha.

January 17, 2017
By Rakteem Katakey

Top oil industry officials in Davos (click here) aren’t turning completely bullish just yet. Capping their enthusiasm is U.S. shale oil, which is likely to limit price increases and usher in a period of greater volatility.
U.S. supply is already returning at $50 a barrel, Saudi Arabia Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih and BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday. Higher prices will accelerate that process, according to International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol. 

“I expect U.S. production will start to increase again -- all the indications are there -- as a result of the higher prices,” Birol said. “Prices will go up, U.S. and other production will go up and put downward pressure on prices again. And up and down. We are entering a period of greater oil-price volatility.”...
There simply is no doubt at all that oil is as dead as the dinosaurs that rotted in the ground to be pumped out of their graves.
On the lighter side.

In case no one recognizes them, those are seals and a very large turtle.

I would like to add my support for still yet another burgeoning use of hemp.

Oceans, seas and all waterways free of PLASTIC!


Let's do this thing!

My sincerest sympathies for families and friends of any lost. I am hoping there are none lost.

I tend to hope against hope none are dead, because, in the year 2017 we should be able to beat this stuff. I never say surrender. I never embrace death as inevitable. No one else should either.

If I am not mistaken, the USA Park Service in some instances provides ID radio markers to hikers. I would like to think that current technology could be applied to areas such as Italy to facilitate a quick response to those that are trapped and/or lost. Wearing a radio marker also makes people think about their safety and how it is secured in uncertain times.

January 19, 2017
By Stefano Pitrelli

 Italian rescuers (click here) dug frantically Thursday through a wall of snow and splintered trees that buried a resort hotel after an avalanche was shaken loose by a string of earthquakes, trapping at least 30 people, including children. Some bodies were found, and officials feared many more were dead.

Deep snow in the central Abruzzo region — which also was battered by major quakes last summer — slowed efforts to reach the Hotel Rigopiano, located off a hairpin-path alpine road at about 4,000 feet....

Italy is a NATO ally. The USA should be doing everything it can to bring expertise and economic suppor and stabilityt to such a valuable ally.

The USA Navy has a major port in Italy. It is the port the Republicans always point to as not having mind readers in their ranks the day Benghazi occurred.

It wouldn't hurt if the Swiss Guard checked the walls in the Vatican for new cracks. That entire complex has an underground area that should be well mapped in regard to geological stability. Pope Francis is very precious and the devil is in the details.

The Vatican or better said the Roman Catholic infrastructure has geologist priests among them somewhere, too. They need to get busy for emergency routes and artifacts to protect. Throw in a few engineers as well.

...There are three (click here) major geomorphical settings within the Mediterranean basin; areas with stable margin characteristics, areas with unstable convergent margin charactericstics, and areas with extensional margin (rifting) characteristics. Thus the Mediterranean basin is a location of an intercontinental interplate system; with compressional and extensional events occurring within close proximity. Geologists have yet to come to a consensus about which plates in addition to the African and Eurasian ones, if any, are involved in Mediterranean tectonics. Subsidence-related and other vertical displacements are also found in compressional and extensional areas. A few notable events occurred during the Cenozoic which affected the entire Mediterranean; the Messinian "salinity crisis", when the closing off of the Mediterranean-Atlantic seaway caused complete isolation of the Mediterranean and thus widespread evaporation; and then the Pliocene "revolution", when the channel opened back up, causing reestablishment of marine conditions; and the Quaternary "transgressive raised terraces," of controversial geological origin; among others....

The Mediterranean is where plate movement can cause a great deal of impact. There are enormous forces that come to play in small areas where people have lived and thrived for centuries if not millennia. So, this problem Italy is facing is not likely to end soon. The Pacific has been moving in very large measure and it has concentrated some of the movement in that one edge off New Zealand.

But, the plate movement in other major plates will translate into the Mediterranean over time. 

...The Central portion of the Mediterranean basin exemplifies the juxtaposition of compressional and extensional tectonic activity in the area. The region bordered to the west by Sicily and to the east by Turkey's west coast (encompassing the Aegean, Ionian, and Adriatic seas) exhibit a particular set of features and will be the focus of my study.

There were four major periods of extension in this area. The first one occurred in the Mid-Upper Jurassic; evidence of this phase is seen in the Strepanosa Trough and Ionian plain. A second one occurred in the Mid-Late Triassic, opening up the Ionian sea and the Eastern Mediterranean. A third extensional phase occurred in the Mid-Upper Cretaceous, as evidenced by the stretched features of the Sirte Rise, a monocline with normal faults and tilted blocks. The fourth one, occurring in the Mid-Upper Miocene through to the Quaternary period, affected many areas of the Central Mediterranean. This extensional phase is closely associated with compressive motions; it is part of the reason for a counter-clockwise rotation of the Southern Appennine area which begins in the upper Cretaceous. All four of these extensional phases are the cause of geologic features found in the area, such as volcanic activity and rift-related sedimentary processes. Due to such extension, the oceanic crusts of the Central Mediterranean are considerably thinned in some places....

On a geologic timescale we are in the Phanerozoic Eon [542.1 mya (million years ago) to present], the Cenozoic Era (65.5 mya to present), the Quaternary Period (2.588 mya to present), and the Halocene Epoch (11,700 mya to present) are current.

Quaternary (2.588 mya to present) (click here)

  • Holocene (11,700 yrs to present)
  • Pleistocene (2.588 mya to 11,700 yrs)
AS A BRIEF POLITICAL NOTE: See that 11,700 years ago called the Holocene? How many years ago does the political right wing state Earth was created? I guess they missed everything but the Holocene, right? Their Christian scientists haven't gotten the word yet there is more to Earth's creation than just the Holocene. Being a real scientist with real evidence contradicts their STORY.

I am confident there are seismic recorders surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. If not there needs to be. There needs to be monitoring on a continual basis. The geologists working on this need to find some type of pattern in the chaos. I also suggest they extrapolate their information to include recent plate movement in the Pacific and otherwise. A super computer should be able to discern the patterns and project activity into the future. There might be large ERROR in those projections, but, it is a place to start and then refine the data to encourage insight to protecting Italy and otherwise. I am confident the universities in the region, including, Saudi Arabia have qualified people that MAY HAVE specialized in regional activity.

Good luck!