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IN TODAY'S AUDIO REPORT: Obama in Iowa for Earth Day while Congress holds "The Mother of all Climate Weeks"; Marine Corps seeking Camp Lejeune vets to warn of contaminated water; suburban Chicago officials lied about contaminated water; PLUS: Intersex fish in D.C.! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
Download MP3 (6 mins), or listen online here...
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (links below): Chrysler and USPS team up for a small fleet of electric delivery vans; Home-grown bio-diesel leading to backyard fires; Autism rates higher near toxic waste dumps; the Pentagon turns focus to renewable energy sources; PLUS: Grist reflects on food as an environmental issue....See below for more!
Info/links on stuff we talked about on today's episode, plus MORE green news, all follows below...
- Obama Marks Earth Day at Iowa Wind Tower Plant
- REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON CLEAN ENERGY at Trinity Structural Towers Manufacturing Plant, Newton, Iowa (transcript)
- Obama pushes renewable energy, climate change laws
- Hill Gears Up For Big Climate Week
- MIT Scientist: Republicans Misusing My Climate Change Paper
- As House digs into climate bill, debate focuses on costs to American families
As the House begins serious debate on a climate bill, the biggest sticking point is shaping up to be how much it will cost average Americans. The EPA estimated on Tuesday that the bill would cost the average U.S. household $98 to $140 a year, or 27 cents to 38 cents a day. But that didn't stop some Republicans from claiming the bill would wring Americans dry.
The committee's lead Republican, Joe Barton (R-Texas), wasn't present for the opening hearing, but he issued an advance copy of his remarks for Wednesday, in which he repeats the (now thoroughly debunked) estimate that a cap-and-trade plan would cost households more than $3,100 per year. He lambasts the Waxman-Markey bill as an "energy tax" and suggests that it would force Americans back to an 1875 standard of living.
- House Republicans bring strange theories and wacky witnesses to climate hearings
"The earth will end only when God declares its time is over," declared Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), explaining why it's unnecessary to worry about climate change....Shimkus suggested the planet is "carbon-starved" and asked, "If we decrease the use of carbon dioxide, are we not taking away plant food from the atmosphere?"
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) chimed in with his own analysis: "Adapting is a common natural way for people to adapt to their environment ... I think mankind has been adopting, or adapting to climate as long as man has walked the earth. When it rains, we find shelter. When it's hot, we get shade. When it's cold, we find a warm place to stay."
- Conservatives Falsely Assert That Green Economy Legislation Would Impose $3,100 Tax On Families
- New Study Says Reducing Emissions Will Lower Energy Costs: Economic Model Examines Policy Approach Similar to Waxman-Markey Climate and Energy Legislation
The analysis, "Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy," found that implementing a suite of climate, energy and transportation policies would allow the United States to meet an emissions-reduction cap of 56 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and save consumers and businesses $465 billion in that year. The average U.S. household would enjoy a net savings of $900 on its energy bills, including $580 on transportation (fuel, vehicle and driving) costs and $320 on electricity, natural gas and heating oil, after investing in home efficiency improvements. Businesses collectively would realize net energy bill savings of $130 billion.
"We have a historic opportunity to reinvent our economy, tackle global warming, and cut energy costs," said UCS President Kevin Knobloch...."Combining a carbon cap with strong efficiency, renewable electricity, and transportation standards can deliver those emission cuts and save Americans a substantial amount of money."
Consumers and businesses would not have to wait 20 years to see benefits from UCS's recommended initiatives. The analysis found that by 2020 the United States could meet a cap of 26 percent below 2005 levels and save consumers and businesses $346 billion in that year.
- Former Camp Lejuene Residents Sought
CAMP LEJUENE, N.C., April 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Marine Corps is trying to contact 500,000 people who lived and worked at Camp Lejeune, N.C., to warn them about tainted drinking water. The Corps is circulating fliers to be posted at bases around the world in an effort to track down an many Marines, civilians and families who lived at Camp Lejuene between November 1957 and February 1987, Stars and Stripes reported Monday.
- Poison in the well -- Crestwood officials cut corners and supplied residents with tainted water for 2 decades [Chicago Tribune]
For more than two decades, the 11,000 or so residents in this working-class community unknowingly drank tap water contaminated with toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other health problems...Officials kept using the well even though state environmental officials told them at least 22 years ago that dangerous chemicals related to a dry-cleaning solvent had oozed into the water, records show.
- No Conclusion on What's Altering Fish
The bass, first identified in a West Virginia tributary in 2003, have made the Potomac a focus of research into "endocrine disruptors," pollutants that interfere with an animal's natural chemical signals. The study found a substantial proportion of abnormal fish. In some places, between 82 percent and 100 percent of the male fish had some female characteristics.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA': More green news not covered in today's audio report... .... See below!
- Chrysler unveils new electric minivan for the US Postal Service
Chrysler is celebrating Earth Day today by unveiling the first four of what will be a fleet of 250 battery-powered minivans for the U.S. Postal Service. The USPS will be using the vans for a variety of duties at locations around the country - including daily home delivery.
The vans themselves are based on the concept Town and Country EV that was unveiled last Fall by Chrysler. However, because of the duty cycle used by the Postal Service, which generally amounts to only about 18-20 miles per day on a fixed route, these vehicles are being built without the range extender seen on the concept.
- Fuel from cooking oil is starting backyard fires: For some, trying to live green and beat high gas prices comes at a cost
- Higher rates of autism found near toxic waste sites
Autism rates among school children living within a 10- or 20-mile radius of toxic waste sites are nearly twice as likely to have autism compared to children living farther away from such sites. These data support the widely speculated but controversial idea that exposure to chemical contaminants can increase the risk of developing autism.
The incidence of autism in the U.S. has risen dramatically during the past 20 years. Improved diagnoses may contribute to the elevated number of cases, but a recent study calculates that better diagnosis does not explain a large part of the rise. Environment, such as exposure to chemicals, is thought to be a primary driver of the increase.
- Pentagon Prioritizes Pursuit Of Alternative Fuel Sources
For the Defense Department, the largest consumer of energy in the United States, addiction to fuel has greater costs than the roughly $18 billion the agency spent on it last year.
[T]he Pentagon, which traditionally has not made saving energy much of a priority, has launched initiatives to find alternative fuel sources. The goals include saving money, preserving dwindling natural resources and lessening U.S. dependence on foreign sources.
...By some estimates, about half of the U.S. military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan are related to attacks with improvised explosive devices on convoys, many of which are carrying fuel...."Every time you bring a gallon of fuel forward, you have to send a convoy," said Alan R. Shaffer, director of defense research and engineering at the Pentagon. "That puts people's lives at risk."
"The honest-to-God truth, the most compelling reason to do it is it saves lives," said Brig. Gen. Steven Anderson, director of operations and logistics for the Army. "It takes drivers off the road."
- Earth Day reflections on food as an environmental issue
The rise of industrial agriculture in the 20th century dramatically expanded our distance from the processes that sustain us. In a sense, most of us now live like royalty--separated from the land, as removed as we choose to be from the drudgery of growing and cooking food, with the ability to procure food from dizzying distances with little more than a finger snap.