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Steve Brown Pushes For Reform Of Texas Railroad Commission, His Opponent Ryan Sitton Not So Much

by: Joe Deshotel

Sat Jul 26, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

Steve Brown is the Democratic nominee for Texas Railroad Commissioner, the agency that oversees the state's oil and gas industry. Brown is facing Republican Ryan Sitton who was an outlier in a primary otherwise dominated by the Tea Party.

Sitton was able to buck the Tea Party trend in large part because of his support from the very industry he would be tasked to regulate.

According to campaign finance filings the Texas Tribune reports Sitton received $152,000 from the oil and gas industry, more than half of his total money raised.

See why SItton may want to avoid talking about reform below the jump...

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 566 words in story)

Texas 2014 Re-Distribution of Wealth It's No Trickel Down Effect

by: Arctotraveler

Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 06:04 PM CST

Hackers Good-bye CC: FBI
Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Oahu Car Accident Attorney

by: Wilson

Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 00:19 PM CDT

When you are confused on what to do in a car accident, so you should contact a car accident attorney. Many attorneys give a free consultation for car accidents.  A car accident is definitely one of the most stressful situations you may encounter as a driver, and it is important to know what steps to take if you should ever be involved in one.  Your attorney will help you sort through them to determine the number amount that you will need to put on your claim. If you are searching for attorney then you can visit Oahu Car Accident Attorney who are a Law Firm which focuses solely on personal injury cases. Because the law is becoming more and more complicated, it is important to have an attorney who practices a very specific area of law.

Not only do they only practice Oahu Personal Injury Lawyer, but within this area of law they only take auto accidents and slip and fall cases. They have offices on Bishop Street in Downtown Honolulu and Leeward Oahu which is only a couple of blocks from the Hawaii State Courthouse. So if you are searching for a good Honolulu Injury Accident Lawyer then you are in the right place. They have obtained especially large settlements for the clients injured in motorcycle and pedestrian accidents. It goes without saying that those who are injured in these types of accidents tend to have much greater injuries than those who are injured in car accidents.

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Joe Nocera Wades Into A Tar Sands Debate He Doesn't Understand

by: Adam Schwitters

Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 02:53 PM CST

While the US Senate is debating a bill that would revive the moribund Keystone XL pipeline while limiting legal challenges to the route, Joe Nocera of the New York Times published an ill considered OpEd today that shows he understands neither the risks nor the economics of tar sands oil.

Nocera makes at least four completely false assertions in his piece.

  • The first, which makes  up the bulk of the essay, is that the Obama administration’s rejection of Keystone is driving the Canadian government into the arms of the Chinese and thereby endangering US energy security.  Keystone was always aimed at the Chinese market.  As a result of increased efficiency and the global downturn, US oil consumption has steadily dropped since 2005 (from about 20.5 million barrels per day to 19 million bbd in 2010).  China’s demand, on the other hand, rose from about 6.5 million bbd to over 9 million bbd during the same period.  Source: CIA Factbook.  Over this same period, Port Arthur, Texas (the proposed endpoint of Keystone XL) undertook “the largest US refinery expansion to occur in 30 years” with major additions to Motiva and Valero refineries.  That expanded refining capacity and easy access to the Panama Canal made Port Arthur the easiest and cheapest route for tar sands oil to reach the Chinese market.  Tar sands oil has been in the US market for years it just never had an easy path to overseas markets.  A recent Cornell University study on Keystone’s economic impact predicted that were the pipeline built, midwest gasoline prices would likely rise 10-20 cents per gallon.  Also, though Joe asserts that Canada has a “newfound willingness to to business with China,” the Canadian logging industry has never had an issue with selling lumber to China.

  • The second, is that tar sands oil would allow the US “to become, if not energy self-sufficient, at least energy secure, no longer beholden to OPEC.”  Not only is all that Canadian oil not bound for US markets, it will not endanger price points set by, in Joe’s words, “countries that don’t like us.” Countries like Saudi Arabia which possesses the world’s largest oil reserves and which recently indicated that it would keep global oil prices “around $100 per barrel” regardless of new supplies (tar sands) or supply instability (Iran).  $100 per barrel is, conveniently, about the lowest price for tar sands oil to be economically viable, as the cost in extracting and transporting the sticky, nearly solid substance is substantially higher than traditional crude oil.

  • Nocera’s third false premise is that tar sands oil is just ” a little dirtier than the crude that pours forth from the Saudi Arabian desert, but is hardly the environmental disaster many suppose.”  Tar sands oil is a lot dirtier than Saudi crude.  It contains 10 times more sulfur and is 3 times more acidic than traditional crudes.  When piped, it is subject to 3 times more pressure than crude oil, and contains a 3 times greater flow of abrasive quartz and silica than a commercial grade sandblaster.  There already has been a major tar sands oil spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and the increased size and flow of the Keystone XL pipe would raise the risks of another, bigger, spill considerably.  Also, just last week, Canadian officials announced a plan to start poisoning wolves in northern Alberta in an attempt to stave off the collapse of caribou herds which have been affected by massive habitat loss due to tar sands mining that destroys huge tracts of forest to get at the sticky substance underneath. If the massive deployment of strychnine is not an admission of an environmental catastrophe, what is?  See it for yourself.  This is what a tar sands strip mine looks like from space.  This is a whole lot different from the “crude that pours forth from the Saudi Arabian desert.”

  • Nocera’s final wrong assumption is that if Keystone XL isn’t built, Canada will, with a sweep of its imperial hand, find its own “diverse buyers so it won’t be held hostage by American politics.”  To do this, Canada would need an oil exporting terminal along with a pipeline bringing oil to it from Alberta.  This has not proved easy for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s administration.  Enbridge, a major player in Albertan oil, has proposed the Northern Gateway pipeline which would terminate in Kitimat along the pristine northwest coast of British Columbia.  British Columbians, blessed as they are with natural beauty and clean waters, are not pleased with this plan and have been staging large protests ever since Northern Gateway was first proposed.

Joe Nocera should stick to issues he understands, apologia for Canadian oil profiteering is beneath him.

Contact your senators here to let them know that a revived Keystone pipeline is unacceptable.  We have enough oil in this country, and it is dirty enough as it is thank you very much.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Tarsands Pipeline Debate Shifts To Texas As Oil Co Seeks to Avoid State Department Review

by: Adam Schwitters

Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 05:28 PM CST

In the three weeks since the State Department decided to re-evaluate the environmental impact of the proposed route of Transcanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, the focus of the pipeline debate has shifted from Nebraska, where a broad coalition of activists, landowners, and politicians from both parties effectively stopped construction of the pipeline over the state’s sensitve Sand Hills region and forced the Obama administration to reconsider its approval of the project in general, to Texas, where Transcanda (and a competitor, Enbridge) are trying to rush construction of the southern section of the pipeline.

The proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline is split up in to two major segments.  The northern portion begins in the tarsands region of northern Alberta, crosses the international border in Montana, then through South Dakota and Nebraska where it would merge with an existing Transcanada pipeline on its way to Cushing, Oklahoma.  Cushing is a major oil shipping and storage hub, and is the price settlement point for West Texas Intermediate crude, which makes Cushing a critically important link in the chain that brings oil products from the Gulf coast north to consumers.  There is a huge stockpile of diluted bitumen oil (the tarsands oil variety) at Cushing, but no capacity there to refine it into usuable vehicle fuels.  Unrefined bitumen is used in road construction and roofing, but the huge volume flowing out of Alberta has collapsed the price for unrefined bitumen.  In order to get the tarsands oil to market, Transcanada and Enridge hope to connect their stockpiles in Cushing to the major refinery complexes on the Texas gulf coast in Houston and Port Arthur.  This section of pipeline would primarily pass through east Texas, taking over sensitive areas such as the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer recharge zone, and the Neches River.  

Transcanada believes that the Cushing to Texas segment would not require State Department approval since it does not cross an international border, and is rushing to begin construction on the line.  It is not altogether clear whether it is legal for Transcanada to consider the southern segment as a separate entity from the northern portion, and several groups in Texas are already considering lawsuits if Transcanada does attempt to move forward with this plan.

While Transcanada’s pipeline is stalled for the moment, a competing company, Enbridge, is trying to move forward with its own plans to reverse the flow of an existing pipeline.  In its current state, the Seaway Pipeline brings crude oil from the gulf north to Cushing, but Enbridge proposes to use Seaway to bring tarsands oil south from Cushing to the gulf where it can be refined and exported.  Now, Enbridge has a horrible safety record on lines it manages including, but not limited to, a 2010 spill of 840,000 gallons of bitumen into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River that has cost at least $700 million to clean up, and a 2003 natural gas pipeline explosion in Ontario that killed 7.  Enbridge is also trying to build its own tarsands pipeline from Alberta to the Pacific Ocean in British Columbia, a prospect so atrocious to Canadians it does not seem likely to be built.  

The primary concern with these pipelines is the odious nature of the diluted bitumen(PDF) that they contain.  Bitumen is nearly solid at room temperature, so it has to be heated to over 158 degrees farenheit in order to be transported (conventional crude transportation temperatures are approximately 100 degrees farenheit).  Bitumen contains 10 times more sulfur, is three times more acidic, and is subject to almost 3 times more pressure inside the pipeline than conventional crude.  Each one of these factors increases the risk of pipeline corrosion, and thereby spills, considerably.  That the tarsands oil would have a three times greater flow of abrasive quartz and silica than a commercial grade sandblaster ensures that these pipelines would be extremely stressed.  A study released by Alberta’s provincial government disputes these findings, but remember that Alberta is basically run as a personal fiefdom of the tarsands industry, and its findings have to be taken about as seriously as cigarette manufacturers’ “evidence” that tobacco isn’t harmful.

Here in Texas, non-idealogical groups such as local volunteer fire departments and landowners along the proposed route are simply trying to figure out what the results of a spill in the east Texas woods would mean for their communties.  Given the unprecedented drought and wildfire season we have experienced, it would seem as if these are legitimate concerns.  A number of chemicals are used to dilute the bitumen, some of them might be flamable or hazardous to residents living near a spill, but Transcanda and Enbridge refuse to disclose the chemicals used, considering them to be “proprietary.”  Chief George Bostok of the Gallatin, Texas fire department estimates that it would take the nearest hazmat team (from either Tyler or Longview) over an hour to respond if there was a leak in his jurisdiction.  

There is still time to stop Transcanada and Enbridge from building these dangerous pipelines.  Visit the Texas Sierra Club and stoptarsands.org for more information on how you can get involved.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Keystone: A Pipeline to Texas Jobs

by: jackrafuse

Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 04:36 PM CDT

The State Department's public meeting in Austin tonight will give Texans a chance to weigh in on the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. This massive infrastructure project-stretching from Hardisty, Canada to Houston and Port Arthur-has the potential to really boost our economy and give us a big leg up in securing our future energy supply from a close, friendly ally. And while tonight's meeting at UT will likely showcase a wide range of views, I hope that in the end actual facts rather than inflated fears prevail.

What facts? Well, Keystone XL's economic benefits for Texas cannot be overstated, especially in this bad economy. According to the Perryman Group in Waco, construction and development of Keystone XL throughout the lifetime of the project will inject more than $2.3 billion in increased business activity into the state. Additionally, a $1.6 billion jump in personal income will result. And the pipeline will pump $7.7 million and $41 million into local and state government treasuries respectively.

Since the recession hit, Texas' unemployment rate has almost doubled-skyrocketing from 4.4 to 8.5 percent. Luckily, with Keystone XL expected to immediately create 20,000 jobs and another 118,000 indirect jobs nationwide, unemployed Texans along the 371 miles that the pipeline would stretch through the state will be dealt a good card.

Public meetings like these are a great part of our democracy. And pipelines like Keystone XL are a fantastic way to jump start our economy and get people back to work. Therefore, hopefully there won't be too many Robert Redford-types in the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium tonight to smear this very important project. Texas deserves better, and America at-large sorely needs better.

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Texans Unite Against TransCanada's Tar Sands Pipeline

by: Texas Sierra Club

Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 07:23 AM CDT

(This is a huge event today, and an important opportunity to protect Texas water and lands.   - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

PhotobucketWhen was the last time you saw Jim Hightower and Debra Medina together at the same rally?

Today a broad coalition of local officials, property rights activists, religious leaders, and environmentalists will gather together in Austin at the U.S. Department of State public hearing to sound the alarm about the threat of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would transport dangerous tar sands oil across east Texas properties and wetlands.  If this pipeline were allowed to be built, up to 1.7 million gallons of toxic tar sands oil could flow into east Texas drinking water and land before the proposed automatic shutoff valve would trigger in the event of a spill.

The U.S. Department of State needs to re-do its faulty analysis that did not include the heightened threat to water resources with exceptional drought conditions in Texas.  At the hearing, Uris Roberson and the Mayor of Gallatin, TX will announce the formation of a '391 Commission' creating local authority to address the threat.

  • Uris Roberson, East Texas 391 Commission
  • Neil Carman, Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club
  • Debra Medina, We Texans (Tea Party)
  • David Daniel, East Texas landowner and founder of STOP, Stop the Tar sands Oil Pipeline
  • Amanda Yaira Robinson, Texas Interfaith Power & Light
  • Jackie Joy, Sierra Student Coalition at University of Texas Pan-American

  • United States Department of State public hearing on a proposed toxic Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline
  • Prayer Vigil, Press Conference, Public Hearing and Rally

  • Wednesday, September 28, 2011
  • 10:30am - Interfaith Prayer Vigil
  • 11:30am - Press Conference
  • Noon - Hearing begins
  • 6:00pm - Rally Featuring Jim Hightower, Debra Medina and Rep. Elliott Naishtat
  • 8:00pm - Hearing ends

  • LBJ Auditorium,University of Texas at Austin, corner of East Dean Keeton Street.
  • Free parking. Click here for a map.

This is our best opportunity to communicate directly with the Obama administration. Let's generate a good turnout and tell TransCanada: Don't mess with Texas!

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Campaign for TX-17 on the Issues: Energy

by: liberaltexan

Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 10:11 PM CDT

Among the issues that voters are concerned about during the midterm elections, energy may not be a deciding factor in how they cast their votes. However, energy is often considered to be a component of the economy, and the economy will easily be the most important issue during the midterm elections. According to a recent Gallup poll, 30% of those survey said that the "economy in general" is the most important problem facing the country, and 28% said that "unemployment/jobs" are the most important problem. Where do each of the candidates for Congressional District 17 stand on the issue of energy?

According to his campaign web site, Flores believes that America should focus on fossil fuels and develop "more of our own oil, natural gas, oil shale, clean coal, and geothermal resources." Also, Flores argues that nuclear power should be developed and we should eliminate "barriers to create new nuclear power plants" because "it is proven to be safe, clean for our environment, and a cost effective energy source." However, Flores does endorse alternative energy and states that "expand incentives to allow more wind, next generation solar, and other energy technologies to emerge." While Flores states that he supports alternative energy he also is against Cap and Trade and argues that it would "stifle domestic energy development, kill our economy, and cause the export of American jobs."

Edwards makes the case on his campaign web site that there "is no one silver bullet to ensure more energy independence" and that it "includes more domestic production, research on renewable energy and clean coal technology, robust expansion of America's nuclear power and sensible conservation." Also, Edwards supports "tax incentives such as oil depletion and intangible drilling costs" as well as supporting "domestic gas producers to use hydraulic fracturing," and Edwards also supports "increasing nuclear loan guarantee programs."  

More Below the Fold...

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 521 words in story)

Oil and Gas Money Study: Texas can lead with Solar

by: Texas Sierra Club

Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 04:49 PM CDT

There's a very thorough new study funded by the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation – yes, old oil and gas money – by former Deputy Comptroller of Public Accounts Billy C. Hamilton, that says with a modest commitment to renewable energy, Texas could add 22,900 new jobs a year through 2020.

Read the report for yourself right here.

We are talking 220,000 jobs, $280 million per year in local and state taxes and a growth in the Texas GSP of $2.7 billion - per year.

 The study, an exhaustive 120 pages reviewing Texas's electricity market and variouspolicies, found that if Texas were to increase its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard by some 13,000 MWs of clean power, including a required solar commitment of 3,500 MWs, some 20 percent of Texas's electricity would be either wind, solar, or biomass, even as coal plants went from some 19% to some 16% in electricity.

That's right, folks.

The study assumes no carbon tax or cap and trade legislation takes place, but just making a commitment to clean energy would help transition us away from dirty coal toward clean energy.

The study also discusses other policies beyond the expansion of the RPS that could help –including tax incentives, a true net-metering policy – where homeowners are actually paid a fair value for any electricity they generate from solar panels– and making sure that Homeowners Associations stop outlawing solar panels.

Hamilton is going around from Texas city to Texas city to join up with leaders like State Senator Kirk Watson.

Join the conversation. Texas leads the nation in wind development – already over 10,000 MWs installed -- we can do the same in solar.

By Cyrus Reed, of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. Follow us at @texassierraclub

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Edward James Olmos on the Definition of "Insanity"

by: Heather TaylorMiesle NRDC Action Fund

Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 02:25 PM CDT

Yesterday, the NRDC Action Fund launched a campaign featuring a powerful new ad by renowned environmental activist and celebrated actor, Edward James Olmos. In the video, which you can view here, Olmos explains what makes people - himself included - "locos" when it comes to U.S. energy and environmental policy. Now, as the Senate moves towards a possible debate on energy and climate legislation, we need to let everyone hear Olmos' message.

Hi, I'm Edward James Olmos. They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I guess that's what makes Americans "locos." We keep yelling "drill baby drill" and expecting things to turn out ok. But the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is nothing new. The oil industry has been poisoning our oceans and wilderness for decades. It's time to regain our sanity. America doesn't want more oil disasters. We need safe, clean and renewable energy now. Think about it.

Sadly, Olmos' definition of "insanity" is exactly what we've been doing for decades in this country -- maintaining policies that keep us "addicted" to fossil fuels instead of moving towards a clean, prosperous, and sustainable economy.

As we all know, dirty, outdated energy sources have caused serious harm to our economy, to our national security, and of course - as the horrible Gulf oil disaster illustrates - to our environment. In 2008 alone, the U.S. spent nearly $400 billion, about half the entire U.S. trade deficit, importing foreign oil. Even worse, much of that $400 billion went to countries (and non-state actors) that don't have our best interests at heart.

As if all that's not bad enough, our addiction to oil and other fossil fuels also has resulted in tremendous environmental devastation, ranging from melting polar ice caps to record heat waves to oil-covered pelicans and dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico.

As Edward James Olmos says, it's enough to drive us all "locos."

Fortunately, there's a better way.

If you believe, as we passionately do, that it's time to kick our addiction to the dirty fuels of the past, then please help us get that message out there. Help us air Edward James Olmos' ad on TV in states with U.S. Senators who we believe can be persuaded to vote for comprehensive, clean energy and climate legislation. If we can convince our politicians to do their jobs and to pass comprehensive, clean energy and climate legislation this year, we will be on a path to a brighter, healthier future.

Thank you for your support.

NRDC Action Fund
Discuss :: (0 Comments)

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