fossil fuels

Reptile dysfunction

...Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson says the federal government is suffering from “reptile dysfunction.”
As the local paper, The Gonzales Cannon, noted, Patterson has declared that Texas will sue the federal government if it lists the [Dunes Sagebrush] lizard and other previously-unheard-of species on the Endangered Species List, thereby limiting development of West Texas land for oil, gas and heavy-metals exploitation and production.
Speaking at Faye Hardin’s “Insight USA” conference in Lubbock, Texas, on March 29, Texas Senate Republican candidate Ted Cruz seized on the issue as well, saying that in Texas, “we talk more about that lizard than the Geico lizard.” He said, “That’s our lizard,” quickly adding, “They make darn fine boots”...
Definitely read the whole column.
And on a related note, why don't we hear more about cogeneration?  I'll tell you why—because it's a viable technology that's based on—gasp!—natural gas.

Anyone for dining in the dark on delta smelt whilst shod in lizard boots?

All Of The Above, None From Below energy policy

Hilarity ensues.

At the Las Vegas Sun: turbine that cost the city [of Reno] $21,000 to install saved the city $4 on its energy bill. Overall, $416,000 worth of turbines have netted the city $2,800 in energy savings.

At the Reno Gazette-Journal, a reminder that this is your tax dollars at work:

Nearly two years after Reno started installing energy-producing windmills at city facilities from downtown to Stead, some have proven to be better at generating electricity than others despite claims made by manufacturers...
...The windmills were installed between April and October 2010 and cost about $1 million out of a $2.1 million federal energy grant given to the city that was part of the stimulus package approved by Congress in February 2009...
...The most successful of Reno’s six operational windmills is located at the city’s water sewer facility in Stead. It features two white blades and has generated 11 megawatt-hours over the last 365 days with an average wind speed of 2.3 miles per hour.
I'm not even going to go there.
And for all you Gaia afficionados:
Before it was constructed in October 2010, it was expected to generate 10.5 megawatt-hours, according to its Scotland-based manufacturer, Gaia-Wind.
Well, then.
But wait!—there's more! Since total reliance on intermittent renewables means that "energy prices will necessarily skyrocket," those entrepreneurial animal spirits in the administration have come up with a couple of new products. Click on the image (from the brilliant Maksim) to embiggen—believe me, it's worth it. 

Mercury Theatre

You will feel so much better secure in the knowledge that these ladies,

pregnant (they look pregnant, don't they?), subsistence fisherwomen, who eat 300 pounds of self-caught fish reeled in exclusively from the most polluted bodies of water, are being protected by EPA regulations.

No, really.

...EPA’s Regulatory Impacts Assessment (RIA) for their mercury regulation known as the Utility MACT—which was (until possibly this week) the most draconian of the coal regulations—... requires plants to install “maximum achievable control technology” (MACT)—otherwise known as scrubbers—to remove mercury and other toxins from exhaust. The rule is one of the most expensive in history: EPA estimates it will cost almost $11 billion annually to implement. Already, these compliance costs have led to the shutdown of dozens of coal-fired power plants...
Yes, we all learned in elementary school that mercury is bad.  But $11B bad? Worth shutting down all those coal-fired plants?  Wait for rolling brownouts to become commonplace in hot weather, with computers shutting down as well.... Won't it be fun?
And why exactly has this draconian regulation been enacted by the nameless, faceless, unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats at EPA?
...Because mercury is a neurotoxin, the fear is that pregnant women can engender development disorders in their fetuses by eating fish that have bio-accumulated mercury. Accordingly, EPA identifies pregnant women as the population at highest risk from U.S. power plant mercury emissions...
But we know that mercury emissions from U.S. coal-fired plants pose a negligible danger to fetuses. How do we know this? Because EPA said so (click on the table to go to the EPA report):
So we'll be forced to spend $11B (minimum) to protect a phantom population of "pregnant super-anglers with voracious appetites for self-caught fish from the most polluted lakes and rivers."
Why do we put up with this nonsense?

Temperance movement

One of these old girls is Dryden's own Dora Dogood.  Can you guess which one?

While you're thinking about that, here's another little essay from Dora:

I am an old lady, having lived in the Town of Dryden now for 88 years.  I’ve watched our town board members and members of our legislature including an energy activist from the eastern part of Dryden take the lead in banning drilling in our areas.  Surely their actions will extend to the next vital step, ending energy use in the area.
So, naturally, I assumed that none of these activists would accept power from the electric grid or heat their own homes with fossil fuels.  Imagine then my surprise when I learned that all members of the legislature who advocate against drilling are on the grid and that all use fossil fuels or sources that impact our environment, either directly or at least at times from the power grid!  Not one has disconnected from the grid.
Why won’t these activists be true to their own principles?  My suggestion is they take a pledge, “I, _____, advocating against drilling in Tompkins and New York State do solemnly swear, or affirm, that I will live my own life off the power grid and without use of fossil or earth impacting fuels, no matter whose back yard they are developed in.  If fossil fuel production is not suitable for Tompkins, Tompkins residents must not use fossil fuels.  Therefore, I will introduce or support legislation that no person in Tompkins, regardless of pre-existing uses, may use any fossil fuel or any fuel that endangers our water, our air, the quiet in our neighborhoods, and, such as solar panels, the beauty of our neighborhoods, or puts combustion products in the air, destroys natural resources, or produces radioactivity or nuclear waste.  Residents who don’t accept this life style should leave the area.”
The pledge and the suggested legislation is necessary if our legislators are truly committed to saving our planet.  To do less than that is to be hypocritical.  Our activist legislators must lead by example, renouncing all personal use of fossil or polluting fuels, whether they pollute now or might pollute in the future.  Otherwise, these legislators condemn the people of other lands or other places in the U.S. to producing energy for our local use while not caring enough about the people whose own backyards are being impacted by the very problems they don’t want here.
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