Get the Shell Out
Shell Oil’s irresponsible attempts to drill for oil in America’s Arctic Ocean have gone from bad to worse in the past year. Now with the recent grounding of Shell’s drilling rig off the coast of Alaska, we have an opportunity to get the U.S. Department of Interior to suspend Shell’s project and all oil and gas drilling in America’s Arctic.
On New Year’s Eve, Shell’s huge Kulluk oil drilling rig — with 150,000 gallons of fuel on board — broke loose from a tow vessel during a major storm and ran aground on some rocks along Alaska’s coast.
The grounding of its drilling rig is just the latest in a series of troubling incidents in the past year that have marked Shell’s debacle of an Arctic drilling program. They include its oil spill containment system failing catastrophically in a test overseen by government officials, an ongoing criminal investigation of safety and pollution control problems on one of Shell’s drill ships, and an attempt by Shell to allow its rigs to pollute the air beyond the limits that the company had already agreed to meet.
And do you know why Shell was moving its drilling rig on New Year’s Eve in the middle of a massive ocean storm? It’s because they were attempting to avoid paying taxes they would have owed had they remained in an Alaska port on January 1! How can we possibly trust a company to operate in a pristine environment like the Arctic if it runs such enormous risks to its crew, the environment, and wildlife in order to save what amounts to a drop in the bucket of their profits?
We cannot let them get away with this recklessness.
This year, Shell has lost control of multiple rigs in Alaska waters. They haven’t been able to persuade the Coast Guard to certify that their equipment could effectively respond to an oil spill if another disaster struck like in the Gulf of Mexico. And even other oil companies have backed out of any Arctic drilling efforts because of the major potential for disaster.
Earlier this week the Obama Administration announced that they will do a major review of Shell’s Arctic operations and the Coast Guard began an investigation into the Kulluk accident.
This is our opportunity to convince our government to put a stop to Arctic drilling. If they hear from enough of us, at a time when the risks of this terrible project have just been exposed, the Department of Interior can suspend all oil and gas drilling in America’s Arctic. But they need to hear from you today.
The Arctic is home to indigenous communities whose culture, history, and livelihoods are tied to these lands and waters. It is also the habitat of many forms of iconic wildlife including polar bears, arctic foxes, and 17 different types of whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Many Arctic species are already threatened because of the effects of man-made climate change, but would be put at even greater risk if Shell continues with its irresponsible plans to drill.
As Arctic ice melts at an increasingly rapid rate, oil companies like Shell want to use that as an opportunity to drill below waters that had once been frozen solid rather than heeding the warning it provides of how much our planet is warming.
If we have any chance of stopping them, we need to use this moment to hold Shell accountable for their actions and say enough is enough.
With your help we can protect one of our planet’s most important places and those who live there. Thanks for adding your voice to our call today.
From Sierra Club:
The Last Straw: Shell's Rig Runs Aground in Alaska
On January 3, A Shell oil rig loaded with over 150,000 gallons of petroleum products grounded on an island off the coast of Alaska. This is the latest in a series of incidents proving that Shell Oil can't be trusted to drill in America's Arctic.
Tell President Obama to immediately cancel Shell's drilling permits before it's too late:
The Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company is once again pursuing its most risky and aggressive plans to drill in America's Arctic Ocean for the summer of 2013, despite a long list of mistakes and failures from its 2012 drilling program. We need to learn from these mistakes, and Shell's recent grounding of its drill rig on Sitkalidak Island is the last straw. I urge you to avoid a disaster by preventing Shell from drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas this year.
Even under the best circumstances, drilling in the Arctic Ocean would be risky. Currently, there is no effective way to clean up an oil spill in Arctic conditions, and there is a lack of infrastructure in the region to support an adequately safe drilling or cleanup effort. Regardless, Shell was allowed to move forward in 2012 only to prove its own inability to operate in the Arctic.
2012 revealed the chaotic and remote conditions of the Arctic Ocean and Shell's inadequate planning. Problem after problem forced Shell to severely scale down their plans for summer drilling until the season of mishaps and broken promises in the Arctic came to a close in October. Though Shell won approval to conduct "tophole" drilling, it was unable to complete any exploration wells during this open water season. From its inability to prepare spill containment equipment to running its drill rig aground off of Kodiak Island, Shell has made fears become realities. We cannot allow Shell another opportunity to enter the Arctic next year with the same false promises.
From League of Conservation Voters:
Tell President Obama: “Thanks, Now Keep Fighting For Clean Air Protections!”
President Obama just finalized soot pollution standards that will save thousands of lives and prevent asthma attacks, heart attacks and hospital visits. Now he needs to rein in America’s largest source of carbon pollution: power plants. This single act will protect public health, spur innovation in clean energy industries critical to our economy and finally start addressing climate change.
Donate to LCV Victory Fund. Karl Rove is up with a new round of attack ads in critical Senate races. Help LCV Victory Fund keep up the momentum through Election Day.
Polls are fluctuating wildly right now. A poll released just yesterday gave Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown a 4-point lead over Elizabeth Warren.
And what about the day before? A poll released on Wednesday put Warren at 47 percent and Brown at 42 percent.
Now, I’m as bad as anyone. As LCV Victory Fund’s Vice President of Communications, every morning I pour through the latest polling data. Frankly, I’m a little obsessive about it. I’d be kidding myself if I said I could ignore all of these daily polls, but the truth is that the key Senate races we’re focused on are going to remain tight all the way to Election Day, no matter what today’s polls say.
Donate to LCV Victory Fund. So far, friends like you have helped LCV Victory Fund raise more than $62,000. That puts us halfway to our $120,000 goal by the September 30th FEC deadline. Will you chip in to get us even closer?
Karl Rove and his big polluter buddies aren’t buying the polls either. They know most of these Senate races are basically tied and that there are no clear front runners, especially 46 days from Election Day. And believe me – anything can happen during these final few weeks.
Rove isn’t leaving anything to chance and he has plenty of money to burn. That’s why he’s still dropping millions on massive TV advertising campaigns in states like Wisconsin, where the latest polls show environmental champion Tammy Baldwin surging against former Governor Tommy Thompson. Just this week, Rove’s Crossroads GPS made a $1.8 million TV ad buy targeting Baldwin. And there’s more to come from Rove in Wisconsin, Virginia, Montana, Ohio, Nevada, Connecticut, Arizona and elsewhere.
I know we can’t match Rove dollar-for-dollar. That’s just never going to happen. But our path to victory doesn’t depend on spending tens of millions on TV ads. Our campaign teams are taking our environmental message door-to-door and neighbor-to-neighbor. We’re mobilizing a grassroots army in key battle ground states to win on Election Day.
We’re competing in several critical Senate races across the country. Here’s an update on just a few of the states where we’re mobilizing:
In Virginia, we just launched a 2.2 million piece mail program to defeat former Senator George Allen. This is one of the largest mail programs of the entire 2012 election cycle. Why? Because the race between Tim Kaine and George Allen is one of the closest in the country right now. And the 2006 Virginia Senate race was decided by just 9,329 votes. I guarantee you that the 2012 Virginia race will be just as close.
In Montana, LCV has already knocked on the doors of more than 100,000 voters in our effort to help re-elect Senator Jon Tester, a strong clean energy champion. As Vice President Biden might say, this race has literally been tied all year. Remember – when Jon Tester won his Senate race in 2006 it was by just 3,562 votes. This year will be just as tight. That’s why it’s critical we have the resources necessary to keep engaging voters at the door in Montana.
Thank you for your support of LCV Victory Fund.
House Republicans Voted Against The Environment More Than 300 Times Since 2011
The House of Representatives added to its historic tally of anti-environment votes with a 245 to 161 vote on Friday approving the GOP’s “No More Solyndras Act” — a messaging bill that hampers Department of Energy loan guarantees to clean energy projects.
Under GOP leadership, the House has voted 302 times against the environment since 2011, according to the latest report from House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats. More than one hundred of these votes have favored profits in the oil and gas industry. Since June, the House has added 55 votes and counting to this list, amounting to more than one vote for every day it has been in session.
Here is a breakdown of some of Republicans’ votes against clean energy and in favor of oil:
The latest vote today had little to do with Solyndra, and even less to do with smart investments in clean energy. After spending $1 million of taxpayer money, holding 12 hearings, and 300,000 pages of documents, House Republicans have found “no evidence” of wrongdoing. Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) has admitted the ploy is political, and would likely stop on election day.
As the House’s anti-environment record grows, oil, gas and coal’s political spending has reached record levels. In addition to the $153 million in TV ads from fossil fuel groups this election, oil, gas and coal have contributed 88 percent of its $45 million to Republican candidates. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the coal mining and oil and gas industries have contributed 89-90 percent of their $12.6 million donations to House Republicans.
Check out the full database of anti-environmental votes here.
Senator Levin and Kirk persue bipartisan legislation to protect the Great Lakes Ecosystem:
In 2010, Senators Levin (D-MI) and Voinovich (R-OH) were joined by many Senate colleagues to introduce The Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection Act (GLEPA). Specifically, this bipartisan, bicameral legislation would formally authorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), an inter-agency program designed to address the most significant problems in the Great Lakes ecosystem, with a focus on tangible, measurable results. The bill would also reauthorize two other existing programs: (1) the Great Lakes Legacy program, which supports the removal of contaminated sediments at more than thirty Areas of Concern (AOCs) across the Great Lakes, and (2) the Great Lakes National Program Office, which handles Great Lakes matters for the EPA. The bill would formally establish an interagency task force, as well as an advisory board to ensure that federal programs are coordinated efficiently, reflect input from a variety of stakeholders, and ensure that taxpayer funds are effectively directed to worthwhile restoration projects, which produce tangible, measureable results.
For more information, click here
The Fight for American Jobs on Labor Day
This Labor Day, many Americans are enjoying the unofficial end of summer while celebrating the hard-fought victories of the labor movement that have made all of our lives better. Unfortunately, right now thousands of men and women working in our country’s fledgling wind industry may be bracing for the possibility that their jobs are on the chopping block.
If Congress doesn’t extend the wind industry’s Production Tax Credit—a 2.2-cent per kilowatt-hour tax support that expires at the end of the year—nearly half of the 75,000 workers in the U.S. wind industry could lose their jobs. We can’t let this happen.
Around the country, the BlueGreen Alliance is bringing the fight to save these jobs to those in Congress. We are holding grassroots events with unions, environmental groups and business allies—and also with members of the Obama administration— focused on drumming up support from members of Congress, bringing the fight to their districts during the August recess, like this and this.
If America is to succeed in the global economy, we need to continue our investments in clean, renewable energy sources that will be there for the long haul. Wind energy has grown significantly over the last 10 years, going from less than five gigawatts of capacity to 50 this year. The Production Tax Credit helped make that happen.
As we remember the sacrifice and dedication of those workers who came before us and fought for the high standard of living we enjoy, let’s not forget those who need our help right now. Support our efforts to save good, American jobs today.
Thank President Obama for the 54.5 mpg fuel efficiency standards that will cut global warming pollution and save us money at the pump!
We just won a major victory: The Obama administration has finalized new fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards that will raise the average gas mileage on cars to 54.5 mpg by 2025.
This year, more than 35,000 LCV activists like you spoke out in support of stronger fuel and emissions standards and the Obama administration responded by creating a standard that will cut the amount of global warming pollution from our tailpipes in half, save you money at the pump, and create thousands of jobs.
This is a big win for our economy, our health, and our planet. These standards will not only help struggling families by creating an estimated 570,000 jobs, but they are also predicted to save us $8,000 on the life of every new car. Additionally, by making our cars go further on a tank of gas, we will drastically cut down our oil consumption, lowering the amount of carbon pollution that puts our health at risk and fuels global warming.
Perhaps most importantly, the fact that the major U.S. automakers, the United Auto Workers, consumer advocates, health professionals and environmental and science-based groups have all come together to support these standards speaks to the extraordinary scope of the new rules and the enormous positive impact they will have on our country.
If we want to curb global warming and keep our families healthy, we need bold initiatives like this from our government. While enacting these standards was a very important move, President Obama may face a backlash from oil companies that don’t want to see a dip in their obscene profits.
So, I hope you’ll join me in sending President Obama a message right now to thank him for fighting for strong clean energy policies.
Obama slams Romney's opposition to wind energy tax credit
PUEBLO, Colo. – President Obama kept the pressure on GOP opponent Mitt Romney on Thursday in a fight over a wind energy tax credit, as he stumped in southeastern Colorado, a hub of wind power.
“At a moment when homegrown energy, renewable energy, is creating new jobs in states like Colorado and Iowa, my opponent wants to end tax credits for wind energy producers. Think about what that would mean for a community like Pueblo,” Obama told a crowd of about 3,500 people at the Colorado State Fairgrounds. “The wind industry supports about 5,000 jobs across this state. Without those tax credits, 37,000 American jobs, including potentially hundreds of jobs right here in Pueblo, would be at risk.”
With that jab, the campaign welcomed to the trail a perennial feature: the swing state micro-issue.
Whether it’s ethanol subsidies in Iowa or Yucca Mountain nuclear waste facility in Nevada, candidates have long sought to land on the right side of local concerns out of fear that they can have an outsized impact in an important state. In the case of the wind credits, the impact could be felt in two key states: Iowa and Colorado, both major producers in the still-nascent industry that is dependent on federal tax credits.
Romney has said he does not support the extension of the tax credit, a position in line with his criticism of Obama’s investment in alternative-energy production. Romney has cast Obama’s green energy push as ill-advised and wasteful, zeroing in on the federal investment in the failed solar firm Solyndra.
More at the LA Times
Stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline: Tell Secretary Clinton to do a thorough environmental review of this dangerous project!
This is it. For more than a year, we’ve worked together to stage protests, grab media attention, educate our legislators and communities, and send hundreds of thousands of messages to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline – and the Obama Administration has listened! They rejected this dangerous project and promised us that the State Department would do a full review of the environmental impacts of this dirty pipeline should it come up again.
Now TransCanada is back with a new proposal to build this disastrous pipeline, so it’s time for the State Department to make good on their promise. And we need your help to make sure they do.
The last time that the State Department did this type of review – before President Obama wisely rejected the risky pipeline – they came up way short. They claimed that this project would have “no significant impact” on the nearby environment even though all kinds of studies have shown that there will be major environmental consequences if we allow this dirty pipeline to be built. This time around, they can change their tune, but only if we call on them to give us a totally new and thorough investigation.
It’s time for our government to reject this dangerous project once and for all. We know that this dirty pipeline would put the water supply of millions of Americans at risk, hasten the destruction of Canada's boreal forest, and accelerate harmful climate change since tar sands create even more global warming pollution than traditional oil production – without lowering gas prices or increasing U.S. energy security. With the effects of climate change already causing hardship to families across America, we simply can’t afford to let this disastrous project through. But if we want the State Department to acknowledge these facts and say no to this destructive pipeline, we need to speak out NOW.
This is our best chance to win this fight. So thank you for taking action and forwarding our message on to your friends and family today.
Michigan's Natural Resources are Being Threatened
As Michiganders, we're lucky enough to enjoy the most beautiful land and water in the country. From the Great Lakes, to rivers and streams, to beautiful forestry, these natural resources are a way of life for us all.
But now, our environment is being threatened by the Republican Michigan Supreme Court. You don't have to take our word for it, just listen to the non-partisan Michigan League of Conservation Voters. The MLCV has set up a tool on its website that tracks Michigan Supreme Court cases and their impact on the environment. GOP Justices Stephen Markman and Brian Zahra are among the worst offenders - ruling for polluters and against citizens and the environment time and again.
Check out the MLCV's "Green Gavels" tool by clicking here. You can read the cases and see how Republican Justices like Markman and Zahra have consistently ruled for polluters and big corporations.
We can't continue to put our environment at risk. Too much is at stake. Michigan relies on its water, land, and air to attract tourists and new businesses that bring in new investment and jobs.
It's time for a change on the Michigan Supreme Court. We can't afford more of Markman and Zahra's damaging decisions. We need Justices who will rule based on the facts of the case and not for the powerful special interests. We need to elect Connie Kelley, Shelia Johnson, and Bridget McCormack to the Michigan Supreme Court. Kelley, Johnson, and McCormack will help to restore fairness to the Court. Vote Kelley, Johnson, and McCormack on the non-partisan ballot this November and help take back your Court from polluters and special interests.
Chair, Michigan Democratic Party
A New Strategy for Managing Public Lands
Congress Should Focus on the Broader Economic Value of Our Public Wilderness
It’s often said that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The “Domestic Energy and Jobs Act,” which is being debated and voted on in the U.S. House of Representatives this week [PASSED BY HOUSE], is a clear example of that adage. This package of seven drilling and energy bills is based on the premise that opening up additional public lands and waters to oil and gas drilling and rolling back decades-old public health laws will put more Americans to work and will decrease the price of gasoline at the pump.
These bills, championed by the House leadership, ignore two important facts:
But there is an even deeper problem with this simplistic vision of “drill, baby, drill.” Promotion of unhinged drilling on public lands and waters—drilling conducted under weak environmental regulations—ignores the other important values of these places. In particular, our taxpayer-owned lands support other types of jobs and economic activities that are at risk of being displaced by a dramatic increase in extractive industries. This includes hunting and fishing, recreation, landscape restoration, and other forms of energy development such as solar, wind, and geothermal.
Energy is a legitimate and important use of our public lands, but rather than prioritizing increased drilling, we need a more comprehensive approach to managing the lands and waters administered by the federal government. If managed wisely, our 700 million acres of public lands can serve multiple national purposes, among them:
Such an approach to public lands management requires that we recognize that “multiple uses” have economic value beyond their ability to put people to work for the oil and gas industries.
Germany Swaps Nuclear for Solar and Wind Power
In response to the Fukushima meltdown - which did $50 billion in damage to Japan’s economy - Germany aims to close all its reactors by 2022.
Germany, the world’s most aggressive adopter of renewable energy, is taking a bold leap toward a future free from nuclear energy. In March, the German government announced a program to invest 200 billion euros, or approximately $270 billion, in renewables. That’s 8 percent of the country’s GDP, according to the DIW Economic Institute in Berlin.
Last year, in response to the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a plan to close down all 17 of Germany’s nuclear reactors and replace them with renewable energy, mostly solar and wind power.
Germany has already closed eight nuclear reactors, and the rest will be shut down by 2022. For now, natural gas is filling the void left by nuclear power, which formerly produced 20 percent of the country’s electricity. Under Merkel’s plan, 80 percent of Germany’s energy will come from renewables by 2050, according to the German Advisory Council on the Environment. Studies by the council show that 100 percent renewable power is a realistic goal for Germany.
Great Lakes Remain Vulnerable to New Wave of Dangerous Mining, According to New Report
Weak laws, lax enforcement undermine efforts to protect natural resources, wildlife, communities from mine waste
Gaps, inconsistencies and loopholes in U.S. state and Canadian provincial laws are leaving the Great Lakes and other natural resources vulnerable to a new wave of mining activity sweeping the Upper Great Lakes states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota and Canadian province of Ontario, according to a new legal analysis by the National Wildlife Federation and Ecojustice Canada.
“Weak laws and lax enforcement undermine efforts to protect our water, wildlife and communities from this dangerous form of mining,” said Michelle Halley, National Wildlife Federation attorney. “There is an urgent need for the region to address these issues now or likely face decades of contamination and clean-up.”
Stop the Radical Attack on Clean Air:
The life-saving clean air protections that we’ve worked so hard to put in place are under attack -- and we need your help to fight back.
We’ve told you before about Senator James Inhofe’s wild assertion that “global warming is a hoax,” his support for billion dollar handouts to Big Oil, and his push for drilling in the Arctic Refuge and off our coasts. Well he’s at his worst right now, pushing legislation that would not only remove the new EPA limits on mercury and other harmful pollution from power plants, but would also block the agency from ever taking any future action to protect us from these sources of pollution.
We only have two weeks before the expected Senate vote to build enough opposition to strike down Senator Inhofe’s dangerous and extreme resolution. Please write your senators today to ensure they vote NO on this lethal legislation!
These EPA clean air standards are expected to save thousands of lives and prevent as many as 130,000 asthma attacks every year. Mercury is beyond dangerous when it gets into our air, water, and fish -- causing lung problems, kidney damage, and even mental retardation in children. So why would Senator Inhofe and his allies in the Senate want to block these vital regulations? Because they care more about protecting the profits of the big polluters who fund their campaigns, like the Koch brothers, than they do about us.
With your support, we got the EPA to stand up for our public health and protect us from the mercury, arsenic, and acid gases coming out of dirty power plant smokestacks. Don’t let Senator Inhofe and the Koch brothers roll it back!
With this vote, your senators will be making a clear choice between you and big polluters. On top of the benefits for our families and the environment, these vital clean air protections are also estimated to save Americans up to $90 billion in health care costs and create thousands of jobs cleaning up our power sector. No matter how you look at it, there’s no good reason to undermine these critical protections -- unless you want dirty energy’s campaign cash.
Tell your senators that you expect them to stand on the side of the American workers and families, not polluters who profit from poisoning our families and our environment. Take one minute to email them now!
It’s going to be a close vote and the stakes for our planet’s future are high, but with your help we know we can stop this deadly resolution. So thank you for taking action and spreading the word today!
From Robert Redford - I'm challenging you to stop the Dirty Dozen with me and the LCV Victory Fund:
You protected the Grand Canyon from uranium mining. You helped secure historic new limits on toxic mercury pollution power plant emissions. You helped bring about the first-ever proposed standards to limit global warming pollution from power plants. LCV supporters like you know what it takes to win big victories.
And I know you won't let Big Oil and Dirty Coal turn back the clock now. I'm calling on you today, because this election season, we're taking the fight to their doorstep.
Will you join me in helping defeat some of the worst candidates corporate polluters have to offer? My challenge: 1,000 donations before May 31 to defeat the Dirty Dozen. I hope I can count on you, Friend.
LCV Victory Fund's top-notch political strategists run aggressive field campaigns. Believe me, I know they can win tough elections because I've seen it happen, time after time. But we need to get ads on the air and canvassers on the ground now. We can't let the Dirty Dozen – and their dirty energy backers – get a head start.
In fact, LCV Victory Fund is already off to a strong start. Just last month, LCV Victory Fund helped defeat the second member of the 2012 Dirty Dozen – Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Holden. And now LCV Victory Fund is targeting Dirty Dozen members like former Virginia Senator George Allen and former New Mexico Rep. Heather Wilson.
Because if lawmakers like George Allen return to the Senate, their Big Oil and Dirty Coal backers will get unbridled access to the Capitol. We can expect them to continue to supply Big Oil with billions of dollars in tax breaks while they help them win elections. The latest polls put Allen in a statistical dead heat with former Virginia governor Tim Kaine. Your contribution today could be the one that keeps Allen from returning to the U.S. Senate.
If former Congresswoman – and previous Dirty Dozen member – Heather Wilson heads back to Washington, every indication is that she'll lead the charge to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, destroying a natural wonder. And we expect her to continue to oppose clean energy solutions, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency’s critical efforts to reduce harmful carbon pollution and enforce the Clean Air Act.
Too much is at stake. Join me: Stop the Dirty Dozen. Support the LCV Victory Fund today.
These candidates for Congress are among the worst of the worst – hell-bent on gutting environmental and public health safeguards while equally dedicated to padding the coffers of oil and coal companies. With your support today, I know we can stop them together.
Army Corps of Engineers speeds up discussion of Asian carp in Great Lakes
The Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday that rather than wait for studies to be completed in 2015 or 2016 on the best plan for keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes, it will present a menu of options to Congress – and the public – late next year and let them decide.
By doing so, the Corps, at least in part, heeds recent calls for quicker action in response to the threat posed by the voracious carp and worries that it could spread from the Mississippi River and into the Great Lakes. Last month, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to require the Corps to finish its plan by July 2014, and two Michigan members of Congress – U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Dave Camp of Midland, a Republican – introduced legislation forcing the Corps to submit an expedited plan.
Giving Congress an array of possibilities to choose from may or may not result in a speedier process, of course, with even routine legislation sometimes getting stuck between the House and the Senate. But giving Congress several feasible means of controlling Asian carp from reaching the lakes at least should expedite the public and political debate over what to do and how to fund it.
Both Stabenow and Camp praised the move by the Corps, with Stabenow saying, “Having action moved years ahead of schedule is a very positive development.” If there are future problems with the electronic barrier on the Chicaco Sanitary and Ship Canal, however, expect even greater pressure on the Corps to conclude its study.
“Last week's temporary failure of the electric barriers shows we need to begin implementing a permanent solution as soon as possible,” Camp said.
Not Shocking: Power Outage Shuts Down Electric Carp Barrier
Early Wednesday morning the juice came loose from the electric fence that stands as the last option to keep the invasive menace of Asian carp out of Lake Michigan. At 12:58 a.m., a power outage knocked the Army Corps of Engineers' electric barrier offline for 13 minutes as personnel on the site rushed to manually reset the system after backup systems failed to kick in.
An investigation is underway into the source of this, the latest in a series of carp crises. But in a week when at least a half dozen regional papers editorialized on the need for more aggressive Asian carp action, you can expect the volume to ratchet up the barrier once is once again shown to have problems. We checked in with Henry Henderson at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a former Commissioner of the Environment for the City of Chicago and prominent voice calling for a re-envisioning of the Chicago Waterways, to get his take on the incident:
"That's the problem with an electric fence; the electricity. As good as the grid's track record of reliability is, we see outages during the violent storms that have become more commonplace in recent years. The Corps needs to get serious about the hard work of figuring out how to install a permanent physical barrier into the system that addresses legitimate commercial concerns while finally stopping the movement of all invasive species between the Mississippi River system and Great Lakes; not just the big, bad Asian carp."Henderson is not alone in this take. Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and Representative Dave Camp are promoting a bill (along with Illinois Senator Dick Durbin) in Congress that would force the Army Corps of Engineers to pick up the pace on their study of solutions to keep the carp at bay (it is not currently expected until 2015). According to the AP:
Camp and Stabenow are among critics who contend the electric barrier network is inadequate. They favor erecting solid obstacles to permanently separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi watersheds, which a study this year said would cost billions.
Big Oil's $200 Million Man
Contribute to LCV Victory Fund: Help expose Mitt Romney's ties to Big Oil.
The Koch brothers have pledged $200 million to help Mitt Romney – and you can bet that much of that money will get spent attacking the environmental issues you and I care about.
Right now, many voters are just getting to know Mitt Romney. At this stage in the campaign, we’ve got an opportunity to get in early and educate swing voters about the real Romney. Our new TV ad highlights the fact that Romney has fully embraced Big Oil’s agenda – in particular, opposing efforts to eliminate the oil industry’s special tax breaks.
A Romney administration would be disastrous for our environment. As president, Romney would roll back the progress we’ve fought so hard for in recent years, while destroying any hope for meaningful environmental progress in the future. Just consider where the Romney stands on the issues:
Given Romney’s record, it’s not surprising that Big Oil is spending big money to protect its big profits. And that’s why LCV Victory Fund is partnering with Priorities USA Action – the Pro-Obama Super PAC – to get out the message about Romney’s ties to Big Oil.
Our new television ads are running in Colorado and Nevada – two of the most important swing states in the country. President Obama must do well in these critical states in order to win in November. And we’ve got a role to play in helping to make that happen.
If Mitt Romney wins in November, not only will Big Oil and other corporate polluters get unfettered access to the White House, but many of our nation’s bedrock environmental laws will be at risk – laws the protect the air we breathe and water we drink could be wiped away. We need to maximize the power of environmental voters like you to make sure that does not happen.
So please, take a moment right now and chip in whatever you can to help LCV Victory Fund expand our TV ad buy. If we can get 850 new donors in the next 48 hours, we can show American voters just how deeply indebted Mitt Romney is to his Big Oil cronies.
With your help, we can stop the disastrous environmental consequences of a Mitt Romney presidency and re-elect President Obama for four more years.
I hope I can count on you.
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