Monday, June 03, 2013
Many experts agree that energy is the defining issue of this century. Ecologist Eric Sanderson explores the interconnections between oil and money, cars and transportation, and suburbs and land use. In Terra Nova: The New World After Oil, Cars, and Suburbs he charts a path toward renewed economic growth, enhanced national security, revitalized communities, and a sustainable environment.
The Doors' Drummer, "The Searchers," Magic and Ricky Jay, Coping with Anxiety, Oil Spill in Arkansas
Thursday, April 18, 2013
John Densmore talks about being the drummer in The Doors and the conflicts that grew along with the band’s success. We’ll look at how the story of Cynthia Ann Parker has inspired operas, plays, and John Ford’s classic movie “The Searchers.” Author, historian, actor, and magician Ricky Jay discusses about his true love, conjuring. Dr. Drew Ramsey on dealing with fear and anxiety. Plus, we’ll look at the damage created by the oil spill in Arkansas and we’ll talk to one of the reporters who’s had trouble just gaining access to the site.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Broadcast Times: Friday, 11pm on AM 820, Saturday, 6am on 93.9FM, Saturday, 2pm on AM820 and Sunday, 8pm on AM820.
In "Global Energy and Innovations," we'll hear how the energy community has debated the need for a balance between oil, gas, and renewables here at home. We'll hear how India and China, with their own booming populations and increasing energy needs, are planning out their own energy needs. And we'll hear how energy technologies being developed at MIT are shaping future technologies, which are being exported to, of all places, the oil-rich Middle East.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
New York Times reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal looks at how much the United States really needs fossil fuels like oil and gas and whether alternative, clean energy from wind, the sun, and the water will ever be able to compete with fossil fuels to provide our energy needs. Her article “Life After Oil and Gas,” was published in the Sunday Review section of the Times.
Friday, March 22, 2013
From our friends at WNYC's Money Talking.
For years, politicians have called for the nation to end its dependence on foreign oil. That time could be fast approaching.
This week, the Energy Information Administration forecast that the U.S. is expected to produce more oil than it imports for the first time since 1995. Most of the increase will come from shale fields in North Dakota and Texas.
This week on Money Talking, regular contributors Rana Foroohar ofTime magazine and Joe Nocera of the New York Times join WNYC's Business Editor Charlie Herman to assess just how the nation is becoming more energy independent and what it means for the economy. Also, with the U.S. consuming less foreign oil and other countries like China picking up the slack, how will that change global alliances.
Friday, March 22, 2013
Politicians for years have been calling for the U.S. to end its dependence on foreign oil. Well, that time could be fast approaching. Now what?
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
(Helena, MT – YPR) – The Montana Senate Natural Resources Committee plans to vote Friday on a bill that would exempt oversize loads from having to undergo a review under the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA).
House Bill 513’s sponsor is Representative Bill McChesney (D-Miles City). He says the measure makes it crystal clear that the Montana Legislature “never intended for routine permits for oversize loads be forced to undergo the same scrutiny for environmental impacts that a new highway, a new coal mine or an oil refinery would be subjected to.”
The issue reached a flashpoint about two years ago when protesters sued to block several megaloads. At that time ImperialOil/ExxonMobil wanted to move oversize loads of equipment bound for the Oil Tar Sand fields in Alberta, Canada. Protesters also tried to stop oversize loads of coker drums traveling through Missoula to Billings.
“Prior to this particular incident in Missoula, the Montana Department of Transportation permitting process was always clearly designed and implemented to ensure the public notice and public safety were given substantial consideration without needless requirements or restrictions on the permitees,” says McChesney.
In order to haul an oversize load through Montana, companies need to obtain a 32-J permit. The current application contains an environmental checklist.
Opponents of HB 513 say because these megaloads could pose a threat to public safety, the environment, and cultural resources, a MEPA review may be appropriate. They add these projects should be subject to the MEPA process that expand the public’s right to know and the right of the public to participate in government decisions on such matters.
“If HB 513 passes, these monstrous, three-story, 200-foot long and 500,000-600,000 pound, made in Korea (loads) will be exempt from review for public safety, local highway infrastructure, cultural resources, the economy, and the environment,” says Montana Sierra Club's Claudia Narcisco.
Not true, says McChesney, a retired MDT employee who worked with oversize loads and the 32-J permits. He says before such permits are issued, MDT reviews the route, load size, and that public input is always welcome. He argues a MEPA review for the 32-J permit is redundant. “There’s no justifiable reason for this superfluous barrier to the commerce and the accompanying perception that Montana is a difficult place to do business.”
HB 513 was sent to the Montana Senate on a 72-26 vote.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
International energy expert Daniel Yergin looks at the oil industry in Iraq ten years after the U.S.-led invasion. He is the author of The Quest: Energy, Security & the Remaking of the Modern World.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
(Helena, MT-YPR) – There's no relief in sight to remedy the long waits for prospective semi truck drivers to get their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
Montana legislators, for now, are not funding a request by the Montana Motor Vehicle Department to retain four full-time equivalent (FTE) CDL examiners. The inaction comes despite acknowledgement by members of the Montana House Appropriations Committee that there’s up to a 60 day waiting period to take the CDL exam.
“I find it unacceptable that we got a 60-day waiting list to put people to work so they can start paying their taxes,” says House Appropriations Chairman Duane Ankney (R-Colstrip). He adds this is not the fault of the MVD.
The reason for the shortage of semi-drivers is multifaceted, but it is exacerbated by the boom in the Bakken oil field in Eastern Montana and Western North Dakota. That has led to more people seeking training to drive the big rigs and the need for a CDL.
Ankney asks if the local community colleges can offer that training and testing.
MVD Administrator Brenda Nordlund says current state law prohibit third-party testing. “That happens in other states, but there are some risks,” she says. “Fraud, particularly when there is a large demand and scarcity of resource.”
Currently MVD has five people, some part-time, temporarily spread across Montana to conduct CDL exams. The money for those positions runs out June 30, 2013.
Initially the House Appropriations Committee tried to fund those positions with money from a consumer protection account. A legal opinion advised them against that action.
The Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee passed the state’s main budget bill without funding the temporary CDL positions. The bill can still be amended on the House Floor or in the state Senate.
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
A program that provides home heating oil for low-income New Yorkers is safe for now despite the death of one of its chief backers — former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Monday, February 25, 2013
For 12 days after Sandy slammed into the Mid-Atlantic coast on October 29, Tim Arata sat in the dark at his family-owned gas station in suburban Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, waiting for the lights to come back on.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
(Matt Bush, Washington, D.C. - WAMU) Maryland Senate President Mike Miller wants to impose a sales tax on gasoline, as well as allow counties that rely on mass transit, like Montgomery and Prince George's, the ability to raise the state gas tax up to 5 cents per gallon in their areas.
It will take a lot of heavy lifting to get it passed in Annapolis, something the long-time president of the Senate knows as well as anyone.
One way Miller is looking to secure votes is by pushing something he himself does not like — a so-called "lockbox" on transportation funding. Critics have long argued that lawmakers end up spending money raised by transportation taxes on other things.
"I personally don't care for this proposal, but to ease the minds of those that think this is a piggyback for some future executive to rob from, I think this might alleviate their concerns," he says.
The biggest fight, however, will come from legislators who feel motorists will be paying higher taxes that will go to mass transit, as those lawmakers feel that more of that money should instead go toward roads.
Meanwhile, across the border, Virginia politicians are negotiating a transportation funding deal that would lower the gas tax and increase the sales tax.
Follow Matt Bush on Twitter.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
If you are up in space looking down on America west of the Mississippi, one of the brightest patches of light at night is on the Great Plains in North Dakota. It's not a city, not a town, not a military installation. What is it?
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
At Transportation Nation, we serve up serious news, with flair, style, and a flash of java.
Rejoice. (And get a tax deduction, too.) You can own a Transportation Nation coffee mug.
'What's so exciting about a coffee mug?' you might ask. 'It doesn't run on a smart grid or move at the speed of a bullet train." But, friends, it is a reminder to you of all the value this site has brought you in 2012. And your donation shows our reporters here at TN that you care.
Plus, the video is hilarious. We present to you the multi-modal mug. Yours as a thank-you gift for a donation of $5 / month to our ad-free, nonprofit public media project.
If you won't donate, consider sending this around to your friends who might.
Monday, December 17, 2012
We start with a pool of oil. We turn on a magnet. The oil travels up a superstructure and blossoms into a tree. Turn off the magnet, the branches, the needles, the tree melt away. It's a puddle again.
Friday, November 02, 2012
To ease widespread gas shortages in the Northeast, the federal government has temporarily lifted a restriction on foreign fuel tankers.
The Jones Act (pdf) -- formerly known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 -- was originally intended to ensure that the U.S. has a strong merchant marine during times of war. It also prohibits foreign ships from touching two U.S. ports consecutively -- meaning all goods that move between two domestic ports must do so on ships that are U.S. flagged and staffed.
The waiver means tankers that would otherwise be barred can immediately begin shipping petroleum products from the Gulf of Mexico to the Northeast.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, "it is either essential for national security or a vast barnacle on the hull of U.S. growth, depending on your point of view." Bob Parrish, the president of the Maritime Law Association of the United States, told TN the Jones Act is "really a deep subject that's been debated."
At a press conference Friday morning, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the waiver was necessary to speed delivery of fuel to area ports. Soon after, the Department of Homeland Security released a statement that read, in part: "As a result of impacts caused by Hurricane Sandy, today Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano issued a temporary, blanket waiver of the Jones Act to immediately allow additional oil tankers coming from the Gulf of Mexico to enter Northeastern ports, to provide additional fuel resources to the region...Secretary Napolitano's action immediately allows additional ships, that would otherwise be barred, to begin shipping petroleum products from the Gulf of Mexico to Northeastern ports, increasing the access to fuel in the storm damaged region."
Also on Friday, Cuomo signed an executive order allowing distributors and transporters to bring gasoline, diesel, and kerosene into New York without having to meet the usual registration requirements. "I don’t like to waive the tax, I don’t want to lose the money," he said, "but we do want to accelerate the flow of gasoline."
The waiver of the Jones Act lasts through November 13.
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
As part of the Brian Lehrer Show's 30 Issues in 30 Days series, the WNYC Data News team is designing interactive visualizations, tools and graphics to illuminate the data behind the issues. Join the full conversation on the current state of environmental and energy policy here.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Researchers in California have translated air pollution into futuristic soundscapes.
The website Atlantic Cities reports that scientists at University of California-Berkeley collected air samples from different locations across the state, then assigned tones to the different chemicals they found.
The authors write: "You can actually hear the difference between the toxic air of a truck tunnel (clogged with diesel hydrocarbons and carcinogenic particulate matter) and the fragrant air of the High Sierras."
Give it a listen.
According to the researchers, Bakersfield -- a town situated in California's Central Valley -- sounds a lot like Oakland's Caldecott Tunnel. This is "the result of fresh hydrocarbons from a main trucking highway and oil and gas fields surrounding the sampling site."
Despite decades of progress, Southern Californians are among those at highest risk of death due to air pollution. The American Lung Association gives failing grades to more than half of California's counties.
Read more over at Atlantic Cities.
Thursday, September 06, 2012
(Billings, MT – YPR) – Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) officials say the railroad is keeping pace with the rapid growth caused by the Bakken Formation, the largest oil field in the lower 48 states.
The lack of pipeline capacity has led oil producers to turn to rail and semi trucks to bring crude from fields in western North Dakota and eastern Montana to market.
BNSF recently announced it has increased capacity to haul one million barrels of crude per day out of the region, known as the Williston Basin.
“Yeah, it’s fun isn’t it,” says Denis Smith, BNSF Vice President of Marketing of Industrial Products. "Three years ago there was one facility that could load a crude petroleum train up there. Now we’re going to have 10 by the end of the year and a dozen by next year. " These terminals load oil onto 100 car trains.
He says customers have spent about $1 billion on these loading facilities, rail cars, and other infrastructure. In turn, Smith says the railroad has had to make sure it had the capacity to move those trains to market.
“It’s about a dozen trains,” Smith says. “And it is impressive, but if you put it in light of something like our coal business where we haul 50-plus trains a day, we’re capable of doing it.”
According to a BNSF press release, the railroad’s network reaches all major coastal and inland markets and directly serves 30 percent of US refineries in 14 states through direct and interline service. The company has 1,000 miles of rail line in the Williston Basin area, serving eight originating terminals. BNSF also connects to 16 of the top 19 oil producing counties in central and western North Dakota and five of the six oil producing counties in eastern Montana.
The railroad recently announced it spent $197 million on projects in North Dakota and Montana. The company also hired more than 560 new employees across its service area.
Smith anticipates BNSF will continue to be a key transporter of Bakken/Williston Basin crude even if the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is constructed from Canada to the US Gulf Coast. The pipeline is primarily to transport Canadian tar sands crude to the US for refining, but on-ramps are planned in Montana to also transport Bakken crude.
“We go to the Texas/Louisiana gulf but some of the other markets are better markets for producers up there [ND/MT],” Smith says. As an example, he says rail can deliver crude directly to markets in Philadelphia, Chicago, Florida, and the Pacific Northwest. “That’s the beauty and the surprise I think to the producers,” he says. “The reach that we have in terms of getting them to markets that give them the best buck for their oil.”