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Exxon Lawsuit Signals the Start of a Big Tobacco-Style Showdown for Oil and Gas


4/19/2016


Exxon (now ExxonMobil) is showing signs that it’s gearing up for history’s largest ever battle over the future of fossil fuels and climate change.
 
The oil and gas titan has been sowing the seeds of climate change denial since the 1980s, when it and other energy giants created the Global Climate Coalition to aggressively lobby Congress and lawmakers to their side, and away from environmentalists concerned over early evidence of global warming. 
 
As the seeds began to grow, doubt and a fierce anti-science mentality flowered among public opinion. In 2002, the coalition disbanded, explaining that it had “served its purpose by contributing to a new national approach to global warming.” 

 

The Buoy That May Finally Make Wave Energy Feasible


4/11/2016


We already harness energy from the sun, the wind, and many other natural processes for our own uses, and electricity generated from ocean waves could be the next big thing in renewables. Known as wave energy, the concept is relatively new and technologies are still a bit rudimentary (and expensive), especially when it comes to large-scale energy generation. CorPower Ocean, based in Sweden, has developed a buoy that is surprisingly productive. One small buoy can generate enough electricity from the ocean to power 200 homes. Imagine what a farm full of floating buoys could do.
 
At just 26 feet wide, CorPower’s buoy is small in comparison to other wave energy generators. The company says their floating orange buoys are five times more efficient than the next competing technology, due to the addition of phase-controlled oscillation which makes high energy density possible. By setting up farms where hundreds of buoys would simultaneously generate clean electricity, CorPower estimates as much as 20 percent of the total electricity on Earth could be supplied through wave energy.
 
Because the ocean is always in motion, wave energy could potentially be more efficient than solar or wind, both of which suffer in less-than-reliable conditions. Wave energy generation is just as clean as solar and wind, too, with zero carbon dioxide emissions. So far, a one-half scale model of the wave energy converter has passed tank tests with flying colors, and the CorPower team is heading out to open waters later this year for field tests of its game-changing technology.
 

Crude oil spilled into Louisiana waterway


3/29/2016


The U.S. Coast Guard said early Tuesday an unknown amount of crude oil had spilled from a tank into a Louisiana waterway and the source of the leak had been secured.
 
The tank was being filled with crude oil when the spill occurred in Bayou Teche, a 125-mile-long waterway winding through south-central Louisiana, the Coast Guard said.
 
PSC Industrial Outsourcing reported the spill.
 

Oceans of Plastic


The oceans are the most magnificent, diverse and abundant ecosystem on the planet, and every day they are facing attack in the form of plastic, toxic chemicals and waste which is extremely damaging to marine life, plants and habitats. 
 
Every year we dump over eight million tons of plastic into the ocean. Not only does this plastic get mistaken for food by wildlife, it also manages to find its way back to coastlines and beaches causing damage and destruction on its journey. Plastic takes, on average, 400 years to degrade, and even then it only breaks down into smaller pieces, which may not be visible to the human eye. 
 
Toxic chemicals are also being deliberately dumped into the ocean by industrial sources at an alarming rate. Additionally, surface run-off from rain and flooding carries chemicals such as fertilizers, petrochemicals and animal waste with them into oceans. 
 
Small, free-floating plastics have the ability to absorb these toxic chemicals, as do the plankton which form a key part of marine food chains. Plankton is eaten by small marine creatures, which are then eaten by larger fish, which inevitably end up on our plates. 
 

Two Connecticut Companies Settle EPA Claims of Violating PCB Regulations


Two Connecticut companies, a scrap metal recycling facility and a waste oil transporter, agreed to pay fines to settle claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that they violated federal laws regarding toxic substances in their handling of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). In addition, as part of the settlements one company will clean up PCB contamination and the other has voluntarily changed operations to reduce the chance of contaminating waste oil shipments with PCBs.