Thursday, March 31, 2011

Newspaper correction of the month!


The New York Times carried a story on President Obama’s speech this week in which he called for the nation to reduce its oil imports by one-third over the next decade.

As Jon Stewart has pointed out Obama is the eighth consecutive president to call for such action. The first seven crashed and burned.

The Times apparently realized this a bit too late. They added this wry, pointed and somewhat deflating addendum at the bottom of their story:

Correction: March 30, 2011
A previous version of this article misstated how many of the president's proposals  to reduce the country's reliance on imported oil were new in his speech on Wednesday. None of them were, not one of them.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Synder Administration inexplicably blocks outdoor burn barrel ban; and it is not an April Fools joke


April 1 was to have been the day Michigan’s ban on burning household garbage in backyard burn barrels took effect. It would have taken Michigan off the dubious list of a handful of states that still allow the practice.

Now Gov. Rick Snyder’s Department of Environmental Quality has halted the ban They say they want to review it and provide more public input.

It sounds like an April Fools Day joke. But it’s not.

 

It’s appropriate for Snyder, the new sheriff in town, to take a hard look at pending decisions made by his predecessor. New governor, new philosophy. But seriously, who in the administration looked at the medieval practice of outdoor trash burning and thought “hmmmm….maybe we should take a second look at whether it’s not a good idea to spew dioxins, particulate pollution, carbon monoxide, VOC’s, hexachlorobenzene, PAH’s, benzene, toluene, hydrogen cyanide and other dangerous stuff I can’t pronounce into the environment with no safeguards, filters, scrubbers or limits?”

 

The EPA is unequivocal about the dangers: Many dangerous health conditions can be caused by inhaling or ingesting even small amounts of these pollutants. Small children, the elderly, or people with preexisting respiratory conditions can be especially vulnerable....

It’s a troubling decision on what should be a no-brainer issue. And it reinforces the image that Michigan is an ass backwards Rust Belt state struggling to move into modernity.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Report: 241 Michigan companies employ 10,000 workers in wind and solar supply chains


...in solar energy jobs
Michigan has 241 companies supplying parts for wind and solar industries and they employ 10,000 Michiganders according to this report issued this week by the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC).

Michigan ranks 4th in the nation for jobs in the solar industry, and is leads the nation in clean energy patent applications. Clean energy is the fastest growing sector of the state’s economy; there is $10 billion in new clean energy investment in the pipeline right now. 

The ELPC report isn’t complicated. It mostly lists the businesses and their locations, including maps. But it’s nice to have around the next time some grump wants to know “so where are these so called clean energy jobs?” 

This story in Crain’s Detroit Business finds some other savvy business folks who think the wind and solar industries are a pretty good bet in Michigan.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

"We are cutting the science and warning systems that protect us from this kind of disaster."


This quote on CNN’s earthquake/tsunami coverage tonight from Jeffrey Sachs, an economist,  director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people:

“The Republicans are cutting the science and the warning systems that protect us from this kind of disaster … they’re making terrible decisions, this should be a wakup call to Congress to stop being so anti-scientific, to stop neglecting these powerful forces of nature.”

Make no mistake, the same type of shortsighted nonsense is brewing in Michigan’s legislature, fueled by the anti-government wing of same political party that once was home to proud conservation heroes like Teddy Roosevelt and Bill Milliken.
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