A bipartisan group of Virginia lawmakers want to bring oil and gas drilling off the commonwealth's coast. And now, the state's senators are crafting legislation to force the federal government's hand.
Thomas Stackpole, editorial fellow at the Washington, DC, bureau of Mother Jones, talks about the Enbridge pipeline and how it’s gone largely unnoticed and uncovered while the Keystone XL pipeline has gotten all the attention criticism. He's written about it in Mother Jones: "Keystone Light: The Pipeline You've Never Heard of Is Probably Going to Be Built."
As mayors of towns in the Chicago suburbs Karen Darch, mayor of Barrington, IL, and Tom Weisner, mayor of Aurora, IL, have seen rail freight traffic quadruple due to a rail merger between Canadian National Railway and EJ&E Railway. These trains contain crude oil, and fearing a disaster similar to the tragedy in Lac-Megantic, the mayors have formed a coalition to increase safety regulations on crude oil transport. Mayors Darch and Weisner tell us about their concerns and the regulations they want to put in place. They co-wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.
On today’s show, find out about the Enbridge pipeline. Like the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, it will transport oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, but hasn’t received much attention. The mayors of two Illinois towns share their concerns about the safety hazard posed by the oil that travels by train. We’ll mark the 75th anniversary of the Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum’s Medieval art collection. Peter Mattei talks about his novel The Deep Whatsis. We’ll look at United States policy on compensating the families of civilians killed in drone strikes. And 10 years after the major Northeast blackout, we’ll find out what’s been done to improve our power grid.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
(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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
(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.
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?
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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.