Keystone Redux: TransCanada is Now Seeking An Ocean Route for its Dirty Tar Sands

February 5, 2016 by Danielle Droitsch

Tar Sands Risks

The company that eventually lost a bid to build the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline (and has filed a lawsuit against the United States government for $15 billion for lost profits) is eyeing to get its tar sands oil to the Gulf Coast another way: by sea.[read more]

Another Year of "Regulatory Flexibility" in Response to California's Drought May Lead to Extinction

January 28, 2016 by NRDC Switchboard

More than 40 years ago, a bipartisan Congress enacted - and President Nixon signed into law - the Endangered Species Act. The Act effectively declares that human beings have a moral obligation not to so fundamentally alter the Earth that we drive other native species on our planet extinct, recognizing that what affects the web of life will inevitably affect us too.[read more]

There's Plenty of Blame for Flint, Michigan's Water Crisis

January 22, 2016 by Steven Cohen

Whenever I hear that environmental protection is a partisan issue, I'm reminded of New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia's famous statement that there is no Democratic or Republican way to pick up the garbage. The provision of clean air, safe drinking water, solid waste management and flood control are all basic public services that people who pay taxes expect to receive. Too bad the folks running Flint, Michigan, and the state of Michigan didn't get that memo. It's also too bad that the federal Environmental Protection Agency sat on the sidelines and allowed Michigan to damage Flint's water supply.[read more]

SEVMORPUT Completes Trials After Overhaul; Signs for the Future

December 31, 2015 by Will Davis

Nuclear Powered Ships

ROSATOMFLOT, operator of Russia's nuclear powered icebreaker fleet, recently announced that the unique nuclear powered, icebreaking cargo ship SEVMORPUT (which means "Northern Sea Route") has completed its shakedown cruise after undergoing a heavy overhaul.[read more]

Microbeads, Marine Debris, Regulation, and the Precautionary Principle

December 29, 2015 by Steven Cohen

A small, one could say, micro-sized miracle took place earlier this month as the United States Congress enacted the Microbead Free Waters Act of 2015. This legislation requires that manufacturers remove the beads, largely used in cosmetics, from their products by July 2017.[read more]


An Energy Sea Change Is Required

December 22, 2015 by Jim Baird

Sea Energy Sources

The oceans are the only thing keeping atmospheric temperatures and its oxygen content within habitable limits. Ring fencing them may preclude the very actions that could save them, the life forms that reside within them and ourselves from irreparable harm.[read more]

COP 21: A Pathway for 1.5°C

December 10, 2015 by David Hone

How to Hit the Right Temp

The case for limiting the rise in global temperatures to 2°C was made many years ago and finally agreed at COP16 in Cancun in 2010. But the text noted the importance of an even more aggressive target, notably 1.5°C, proposed by the small island states who were deeply concerned about future sea level rise.[read more]

Desalination Gets a Graphene Boost

November 13, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Graphene Technology and Safe Water

With the intensifying drought in California, the state has accelerated the construction of desalination plants. Yet due to high construction and operating costs we’re not likely to see reclaimed seawater represent more than a small fraction of America’s clean water reserves for some time to come.[read more]

Do Bloom Fuel Cells Qualify as Low-Emissions Distributed Generation?

November 11, 2015 by Eric Wesoff

Fuel Cells and Emissions

In a just newly revised proposed decision, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) lowered the emissions threshold to be eligible for its Self-Generation Incentive Program subsidy to 334 kilograms of CO2 per megawatt-hour in 2016.[read more]

New Evidence Shows Government Grossly Underestimated Risks of Atlantic Oil and Gas Exploration

November 6, 2015 by NRDC Switchboard

Last year the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued an environmental analysis that would open the east coast, from the New Jersey/Delaware border down through central Florida, to seismic airgun surveys. These surveys are what the offshore industry uses to prospect for oil and gas.[read more]

Beyond China, Other Southeast Asian Countries Plan for Significant Hydroelectric Additions

November 3, 2015 by U.S. EIA: Today in Energy

Asia and Hydro Power

China's long-terms and substantial development of hydroelectric power, including the largest power plant in the world at Three Gorges Dam, has overshadowed the relatively large hydroelectric expansion plans of other Southeast Asia countries.[read more]

Leaking Coal to Asia

October 29, 2015 by Maximilian Auffhammer

Coal Export Terminals

The view from my window high up in the ivory tower is spectacular. But recently I climbed down to attend a hearing at Oakland’s city council about the possible construction of a coal export terminal right here smack dab in the heart of the most liberal metropolis in North America.[read more]

Shell, Arctic Drilling, and the Obama Administration: Keep On Keepin' On

October 29, 2015 by NRDC Switchboard

Arctic Drilling and Environmental Risk

It just keeps getting better and better for the Arctic and the environment. First, Shell Oil pulled the plug on its horrific current drilling effort there two weeks ago. Now the Obama administration has taken its first concrete steps to reduce future threats.[read more]

Using Microbes to Clean Up Oil Spills

October 22, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Microbes and the Environment

Catherine Drennan, a professor of chemistry and biology, likes to wax poetic about the complex chemistry of microbes. "I think they’re elegant and beautiful," she says. Of course, she also sees that they have plenty of useful practical applications.[read more]

33 More Injection Wells Shut Down in California

October 22, 2015 by Briana Mordick

The California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources issued orders last Thursday requiring operators to shut down 33 of the more than 2,500 injection wells improperly permitted to pump potentially toxic oil and gas wastewater and other fluids into federally protected drinking water aquifers.[read more]