Early Monday morning, radical activist group Greenpeace launched an ill-conceived stunt over the Taft-Kern County Airport in Taft, Calif. in the form of a…dirigible. Yes, Taft is a town that literally exists because of oil production. And, yes, the blimp is powered by propane and made of petroleum-based polyester. Yes, the tires, O-rings and controls of the airship are made of petroleum-based rubber and plastic. Greenpeace isn’t much for optics, it seems.
Our Take: The “ irony of using a large, fossil fuel-powered, petroleum-based polyester airship to protest the production of fossil fuels.”, is not lost on AKHEADLAMP😊
Russia eyes reviving Cold War-era ground-effect vehicles to patrol the Arctic
Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer, August 1, 2018
Russian officials are considering bringing back an unusual vehicle from the late Cold War era to extend the nation’s ability to protect infrastructure in the Arctic. A Lun-class ekranoplan, or wing-in-ground-effect vehicle, first flew in 1987. The massive missile-carrying half-boat, half-plane construction, with a wingspan of 38 meters, was nicknamed the “Caspian Sea Monster” and flew for just a few years before being at the end of the cold war. It’s now stored in Kaspiysk in Dagestan.
Our Take: While Russia pulls out all the stops to strengthen their presences in the Arctic, the U.S. House of Representatives wipes out funding for a new icebreaker for America.
Using data as a carrot, Alaska hopes to entice interest in oil lease sale
Elizabeth Harball, Alaska’s Energy Desk, July 31, 2018
The state of Alaska is offering oil companies a sneak preview on three North Slope areas it’s putting up for bid at this year’s oil and gas lease sale. Under a tax program enacted in 2003, oil companies agreed to release exploration data to the state in exchange for tax credits. Now, the state is offering some of that data on three North Slope areas to other oil companies for a fee. It also has pulled together a wide range of other public data on the areas, like a historical record of bids from previous oil and gas lease sales and compiled it for companies to peruse on the state’s website.
Protestors at Wheeler’s first hearing call him a ‘Pruitt puppet’
Miranda Green, The Hill, August 1, 2018
A group of protestors attending Andrew Wheeler’s first Senate hearing on Wednesday likened the newly appointed acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator to his predecessor, Scott Pruitt. The group of protestors silently held up signs calling Wheeler a “Pruitt puppet.” They were promptly asked to leave without incident.
Coal-fired power plant in Healy accused of violating the Clean Air Act
Jill Burke, KTUU, July 31, 2018
Golden Valley Electric Association and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have reached a settlement agreement over accusations a troubled coal-fired power plant owned by the rural utility exceeded lawful mercury emissions while operating in 2015 and 2016. More than $300 million dollars have gone into construction and upgrades of the 50MW plant, a coal-fired boiler which creates steam to drive electricity-producing turbines. Built in the 1990s with money from the Department of Energy and the State of Alaska, it has never operated correctly and remained unused for nearly 16 years until 2015.
Our Take: Most important information in the story: Regulators told KTUU while mercury is a serious air pollutant, the violations at Healy Unit 2 — likely did not have a significant public health impact. The complaint makes no mention of known health problems stemming from the problem emissions.”
From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
EMISSIONS OF POLLUTANTS DRAMATICALLY FALL SINCE 1970, EPA SAYS: Emissions of six key pollutants have declined by more than 70 percent since 1970, the EPA said in a report Tuesday, even as the economy grew and Americans used more energy.
The report shows the air is has become cleaner by several measures.
Measuring stick: Since 1990, pollution in several categories have fallen: Sulfur dioxide has dropped by 88 percent; lead by 80 percent; carbon monoxide is down 77 percent; nitrogen dioxide has fallen 56 percent; and ozone pollution is 22 percent lower.
Alaska House primary has the most candidates in 22 years
Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO and Alaska Public Media,July 30, 2018
Alaska is headed toward an unusually competitive primary in just over three weeks. And that competition is mostly within the Republican Party. At the top of the ticket, both of the competitive primaries for governor and lieutenant governor are in the Republican Party. There are seven Republican candidates to be governor and six from the party running to be lieutenant governor. Most of the attention right now is focused on the leading candidates for governor: former Wasilla Sen. Mike Dunleavy and former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell of Anchorage. In the House, there are 109 primary candidates running, the most since 1996. Twenty-four of the 29 competitive primaries in the Senate and the House are on the Republican side.