NEWS OF: 8/11/2006

Spinach-Powered Yaris?

MIT scientists are addressing the “urgent challenge of our time” - alternatives to greenhouse gases. MIT’s Energy Research Council is leading a university-wide push to develop sustainable fuels, and the ideas are radical. Our favorite? Spinach solar power: Tapping the secrets of photosynthesis — engineering proteins from spinach — to make organic solar cells whose efficiency could outstrip the best silicon photovoltaic arrays today.

Great reading and infinitely smarter approach than a study offered by Kurt Z. House, a Harvard University scientist, suggesting that one-third to one-half of carbon dioxide could be liquefied and pumped deep under the sea into the Earth’s crust at a cost of only billions.

Because given the option of conserving energy or drilling holes into the Earth’s core to store our pollution, we would, of course, choose the latter.

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NEWS OF: 5/5/2006

Tom Allen for Senate

Tom Allen, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has outlined a four-point plan to provide immediate relief from rising oil prices.

H.R. 3936, The Federal Response to Energy Emergencies (or FREE) Act, would give the FTC the explicit authority to investigate and punish those who artificially inflate the price of energy. (At the moment that would be everyone selling energy.)

H.R. 5248, The Prevent Unfair Manipulation of Prices (or PUMP) Act, would require off-market oil speculators to comply with the same rules that already apply to on-market traders.

H.R. 3944, The Small Business Fuel Cost Relief Act is legislation Representative Allen introduced after Hurricane Katrina to allow eligible businesses to claim a tax credit for any amount they spend on fuel (including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and heating oil) over the price on Labor Day 2004, plus the rate of inflation.

Representative Allen also called for an immediate repeal of massive subsidies Congress gave to big oil companies in last year’s energy bill.

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NEWS OF: 4/26/2006

Snowe: Pigs at a Glass Trough

Senator Snowe joined with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Carl Levin (D-MI) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) to introduce legislation that would increase transparency and accountability in the energy markets to better track price gouging.

Said Snowe, “The American people are rightly demanding answers explaining why the price of gas is over $3 a gallon, a jump of almost 70 cents from this time last year.”

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Happy Meals on Wheels

VIEW ALL: Energy

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RenewUs.org offers a more positive view of an alternative energy future complete with converted McDonald’s selling BioDiesel McFuel!

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NEWS OF: 3/31/2006

Maine: Ring of Fire

VIEW ALL: Environment, Energy

The Committee on Natural Resources has voted 6-1 to create rules limiting the amount of out-of-state garbage/debri/waste that can be burned to create energy at 50%. Biddeford Democrat Joanne Twomey, who oppossed the decision, said “This is serious stuff, and we shouldn’t be rushing into it!” Yes. I’m sure it is…zzzz.

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NEWS OF: 2/11/2006

Governor’s Energy Drink

VIEW ALL: Gov. Baldacci, Energy

The Governor’s new energy bill proposes to increase the amount of cost-competitive renewable energy by 10 percent by 2017. This proposal will make use of renewable energy resources such as wind, tidal, biomass, certain hydroelectric, geothermal, and solar power.

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NEWS OF: 2/1/2006

Oxymoronic Energy: Clean Coal

VIEW ALL: Environment, Energy

The President claims that America is addicted to oil (black gold, Texas tea) and he should know. His family has been dealing for years. But is “clean coal” just another Washingtonism that attempts to sell us death on a stick in a bright happy wrapper?

billboard.jpgCoal is the dirtiest of all fuels, requiring mining, transporting, washing, etc. Plus there’s the added benefit that coal mining’s one of the most dangerous jobs on planet Earth. Even if the mining company doesn’t ignore hundreds of safety violations, and even if you escape the inevitable explosions and flooding, you still emerge with a variety of health problems like black lung.

Environmentally, there’s coal slurry spills and devastated landscapes.See OHVEC.org

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NEWS OF: 12/21/2005

Maine Joins Greenhouse Compact

Maine has joined six other Northeastern states in the greenhouse compact - the first regional compact of its kind - to reduce by 10% greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Participating states will cap carbon dioxide emissions at the current level beginning in 2009 and then require incremental reductions of the greenhouse gas through 2019. See BDN

NEWS OF: 12/5/2005

Say Watt? Baldacci Asks Maine to Give 90%

VIEW ALL: Gov. Baldacci, Energy

The goal of Governor Baldacci’s 10% Challenge is to help ease regional energy supply and reliability concerns by reducing electric usage by 10%, which will also yield direct benefits by lowering monthly utility bills, and greenhouse gas emissions. Possibilities include:

- unplug the Christmas tree (that should prevent at least one fire, too)
- pedal power adaptor for x-box 360
- Microwaveable Stouffer’s Turkey Pot Pies (nuke in 3 minutes) for Holiday Dinner

See Gov.

NEWS OF: 9/2/2005

Zero Tolerance

VIEW ALL: Tom Allen, Energy, Oil

Remember that “zero tolerance” policy toward price gouging announced by the President just as your local Citgo was changing the numbers on the pumps? Tom Allen is calling for action…we already have enough rhetoric.

NEWS OF: 8/31/2005

Impeach the President Carpool

VIEW ALL: Energy

Gas prices are expected to climb to $3.80/gallon by the end of September, making a gallon or two a lovely idea for a Christmas present. Gorham, my home town, once again distinguishes itself by having the highest price. Thanks to whoever is selling gas at $3.17/gallon today.

NEWS OF: 7/8/2005

Now if only the sun would come out…

VIEW ALL: Gov. Baldacci, Energy

Picture a solar house that could provide electricity for both heat and all your electronic toys. The good news? Maine’s first solar energy rebate program in decades was signed into law on June 29 by Governor John Baldacci. The rebate should cover approximately 25% of the cost (including installation) of the average-sized residential or small business solar electric or solar thermal system, making it one of the more aggressive solar rebate programs available in U.S. states. The bad news? Funding for the program is limited, making it quite likely the rebates will run out before you can get a photocopy of the receipts filed. See renewable energy access.

NEWS OF: 7/6/2005

First BRAC Now FERC

Just after I got that postcard from Irving Oil telling me that heating prices were going up 40% comes news that New England’s electric bills are expected to rise up to $12-15 billion over the next few years. Collins and Snowe both issued protests to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). See Snowe

NEWS OF: 5/18/2005

It’s Not Easy Being Green

VIEW ALL: Energy

Fastforward to 2035. It costs $140 to fill the tank of your Mini Cooper. Electric fans and air conditioners come with a “luxury” tax. America sucks up energy like Bounty paper towel despite escalating costs. Lawmakers are trying to come up with ways to reduce, reuse, yada yada, and, frankly, no one’s heart seems to be in it.

One proposal calls for hybrid cars to be 10% of car sales by 2009, which is either such a sure thing that it’s unnecessary to legislate it, or completely unenforceable so why even bother. Another proposal would forbid the sale or installation of certain appliances that fail to meet efficiency standards set by the state. Efficiency standards? Do we have those?

Something to ponder the next time you get behind a logging truck puffing thick black smoke on a hot summer day and choose the option of heat stroke because driving with the windows open is making your eyes bleed. See Press Herald.

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