Ian Gunsolley's blog

Oil and Gas Drilling Surges Despite Increased Oversight

by Nicholas Kusnetz ProPublica, June 30, 2011 (Photo Credit: Dani Simmonds SXU)

Energy companies have spent the last couple of years fighting off added government regulation, saying red tape is slowing development.

But recent data show that the pace of drilling is just short of the 20-year high it reached before the recession. Gas drilling has dropped off as the price of natural gas has stayed low, but high oil prices (and the widening price gap between oil and gas) have spurred enough oil drilling to more than make up the difference.

U.S. Nuclear Regulator Faces Fresh Scrutiny for Bending Safety Standards

by Marian Wang ProPublica, June 20, 2011, 4:41 p.m

In the wake of Fukushima, story after story has been published about the cozy relationship between Japan’s nuclear industry and its regulators: Japanese nuclear regulators extended the use of reactors despite concerns about equipment upkeep and left key safety measures to the initiative of plant operators, as many have reported in the months since.

While nuclear regulators in the United States don’t have their Japanese counterparts’ explicit dual mission of both regulating the industry and promoting nuclear energy, an investigation by the Associated Press published today shows that in several critical ways, the two countries’ regulatory agencies may not be so different.

The Unconstitutionality of Iowa's Nuclear Plant Bill

By James Larew

One of the fundamental principles of government is that the power of taxation and expenditure of taxes shall not be exercised for private benefit. Iowa's founders recognized this principle when they required that for any payment or promise of public funds there had to be a defined public benefit.

Senate File 390 violates this fundamental principle by setting forth an unprecedented scheme for forcibly transferring private citizens' money and public taxpayer funds to MidAmerican Energy, a privately owned, for-profit utility corporation. The purpose for the legislation is subsidizing the possible construction of one or more nuclear power plants of indeterminate sizes, of undefined costs, at undisclosed locations and at some indefinite time in the future -- if at all.

Happy Earth Day 2011!!!

Happy Earth Day 2011 From EcoEvolution

It's been a rough year since the last Earth Day. There have been environmental disasters: the explosion and deaths at the Massey Coal mine, the BP/Transocean oil spill, and now the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster. There has been erosion of political support for the environment with the new Tea-Bagger driven Congress seeking to zero out funding for environmental protection, clean energy and parks and nature reserves. And now anti-environment lobbying will become supercharged as the Citizen's United ruling opens the floodgates for dirty industry to spend as much as they want to try and kill the political futures of green politicians and legislation. WIth all the horrible things going on, it's easy to get discouraged; and yet there is hope that this could be the year that things start to turn around.

Japan Crisis, Are the "Experts" Telling the Whole Story?

It's been four weeks since the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan and crippled the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, causing the deaths of plant workers and the evacuation of thousands of Japanese citizens. Though evolving the ongoing crisis shows no real signs of abating, even as the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power gain more control of the plant and it's reactors. While intense short term problems and threats abound, there are also long term issues that the nation of Japan and the world will have to come to terms with. Unfortunately, mainstream media seems to be relying on industry sources to explain these issues, sources that seem to have a vested interest in keeping nuclear power alive at the expense of a well-informed public. Let's try and unpack some of the themes making the rounds.

Fukushima: The Nuclear Disaster in Japan


Is 2011 The Year Nuclear Power Dies?

The damage from the horrific earthquake and tsunami in Japan is quickly being dwarfed in scope by the events unfolding at the  Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Plant. As of this writing, three reactors in the multi-reactor plant are losing cooling and/or have exploded, releasing radioactive steam, smoke and debris into the environment. Nuclear fuel rods that power the plant are partially to completely exposed, There are also growing concerns about radioactive waste containment pools at the same location that are potentially an even greater nuclear threat as the waste there goes unmonitored and uncontrolled, reacting and heating up as the material becomes unstable.

The Environmental Commuter's Essential Podcasts



If you spend a lot of time commuting on a bus or train, or simply have a news junkie itch that needs to be environmentally scratched, check out these top-notch sources of green news and commentary for your listening pleasure. All of these outstanding news sources serve up regular free content to meet all your green news needs.

EcoEvolution Organization Spotlight: Giveacar UK


Heap of junk, or precious cargo? The true value of car recycling

Metal recycling is big business - in the UK alone it’s a £5 billion a year industry, and it contributes more than any other sector to nationwide targets set for the prevention of waste through recovery of ‘end of life’ products. And the major source for metal recycling? Vehicles. Over 75% of a car is metal, and approximately half of what is processed by metal recycling shredders comes from the automotive industry.
Yet, when it comes to cars, we’re not taking full advantage of what is a potentially precious resource for creating new consumer goods.

Eisenhower and the Smart Grid

It’s the 50th anniversary of the famous farewell speech by president Eisenhower, where the outgoing President outlined his fears about the growing military industrial complex. Seen as a unusually candid statement about the threat to our democracy from corporate power, we can see the impact of the failure to heed Eisenhower’s warnings; militarization has changed our society, how we perceive all development and how green we can become as a nation.



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