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New Report Details “Koch Industries’ Layoffs and Environmental Harm” Across U.S.

Posted By Lowell F. on August 15th, 2014

We all know that the Koch brothers are seriously bad news, having built their fortune on super-dirty tar sands oil, spent millions of dollars to promote dirty energy while trashing clean energy and the environment, and funded a variety of fossil-fuel front groups like this one. Now comes a new report which details the “job loss, significant environmental damage, or both, at the hands of the Kochs’ business empire” in key states across America. For instance:

  • Iowa: “1981: Koch Pipeline Ruptured, Dumped 900,000 Gallons Of Crude Oil In Eastern Polk County, Near The Des Moines River; Cleanup Costs Exceeded $250,000″
  • Kentucky: “Coal Mining Operation Was Sued For Destroying Homes”
  • Michigan: “Koch Carbon Vendor “Detroit Bulk Storage” Dumped Petroleum Byproduct Called ‘Petroleum Coke’ Along Detroit Waterfront”
  • Minnesota: “2006 Oil Spill Was Fourth Largest Oil Spill In Minnesota Within The Previous Decade”
  • West Virginia: “Freedom Industries Leaked The Chemical Crude MCHM, Consisting Mostly Of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, Into West Virginia’s Elk River.” Also worth noting on this item: “In 2008, Freedom Industries secured a contract to distribute a line of products called Talon that are used as a binder in coal processing, according to a news release issued at the time. Freedom distributed Talon to eight states, including West Virginia. … Talon is made by Georgia-Pacific Chemicals LLC. Georgia-Pacific is owned by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. The Koch brothers have, through a conservative group called Americans for Prosperity, spent millions of dollars campaigning against a wide array of environmental regulations.”

On and on it goes in states across America — damage by Koch Industries and its subsidiaries. All while receiving bailouts and taxpayer subsidies. The question is, why do we put up with this?

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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (8/15/14)

Posted By Lowell F. on August 15th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (8/15/14).

  1. Slate asks: “America is making lots of solar energy. What’s holding it back from making solar panels?”
  2. According to Newsweek: “Despite German environment minister Barbara Hendricks’ recent reassurances that most forms of hydraulic fracking will be prohibited until 2021, Germany’s 1,300 brewers worry a long campaign lies ahead of them. Hendricks’ declaration came after pressure from the German Brewers Federation – representing both craft breweries and global players including Becks and Warsteiner – had applied pressure on the government, concerned about the toxic chemicals used in the process of fracking.”
  3. The Star (Canada) reports, “The Alberta government hired a former Hillary Clinton aide to reframe a public relations war about the Keystone XL pipeline project and ‘blunt’ criticism from environmentalists, documents show.”
  4. According to the NRDC Switchboard blog, “The California Public Utilities Commission today unanimously adopted significant program enhancements for the state’s largest energy efficiency program dedicated to cutting bills and electricity waste for low-income households. While the program served over 300,000 people last year at an investment of $360 million, huge savings remain untapped.”
  5. The Guardian reports: “Between 1851 and 2010, only a quarter of glacial mass loss was due to human-induced climate change, scientists calculated. But during the last two decades of that period the human contribution rose to two thirds.”
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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (8/14/14)

Posted By Lowell F. on August 14th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (8/14/14).

  1. RenewEconomy discussees the “madness of [Western Australia]’s multi-billion fossil fuel energy disaster.”
  2. According to Clean Technica, “Saudi Arabia Could Beat US To Low Cost Solar Punch.”
  3. The New York Times reports, “NRG Energy, one of the country’s largest independent power producers, is getting into the mobile solar business with the acquisition of a start-up called Goal Zero, company executives said on Thursday.”
  4. Greentech Media asks, “How Long Until Residential Battery Storage Reaches Grid Parity in Germany?” The answer: “It’s very close, according to the German government and some industry observers.”
  5. InsideClimate News reports, “Two major oil companies have asked a Texas judge to dismiss a civil lawsuit that could draw new attention to the toxic air emissions from oil and gas production.”
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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (8/13/14)

Posted By Lowell F. on August 13th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (8/13/14).

  1. Climate Progress reports: “To hear its critics tell it, Germany’s ambitious push to switch over to renewable energy has delivered an electrical grid that’s capricious, unreliable, and prone to blackouts. But according to data highlighted by ECO Report last week, the reality on the ground couldn’t be further from that caricature.”
  2. According to Media Matters: “The media heralded a report in early 2014, which claimed that building the controversial Keystone XL pipeline would not have a significant impact on climate change. Since then, multiple studies have found that same report to be flawed, but most mainstream media outlets have refused to give these studies coverage.”
  3. Gigaom reports that “advanced, more efficient power electronics can reduce the energy used by the battery by 20 percent, which means the cars can use a smaller battery, and reduce overall cost of building a car by 8 percent, which would be $6,000 off the cost of the [Tesla] Model S.”
  4. Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations writes that “Fossil fuel subsidies are an economic, environmental, and security scourge,” but that there are “[t]wo thought-provoking new studies suggest ways forward” in reform[ing] and reduc[ing] them.”
  5. Greentech Media reports, “In California, where rooftop solar PV, distributed energy storage and energy-engaged consumers are becoming an increasingly important part of the grid mix, state regulators and utilities are starting to think about how these grid-edge systems will work together for the benefit of the grid, the environment and ratepayers alike.”
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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (8/12/14)

Posted By Lowell F. on August 12th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (8/12/14).

  1. Climate Progress reports: “A massive wind farm in Wyoming is getting closer to reality. Last week Wyoming’s Industrial Siting Council voted unanimously to approve a permit to construct and operate the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, which could eventually generate 3,000 megawatts of energy — enough to power nearly one million households. The $5 billion project, which could include up to 1,000 wind turbines, is being undertaken by Power Company of Wyoming.”
  2. According to Reuters, “Grappling with its worst energy crisis in more than a decade, Brazil is making its first big move to develop a local solar power industry that could help reduce its dependence on a battered hydro power system.”
  3. The Economic Times (India) reports, “The government plans to rapidly accelerate wind energy generation, adding an ambitious 10,000 MW every year, or five times the total new capacity that came up in the last fiscal, as the Modi government takes steps to reduce India’s dependence on costly energy imports. ”
  4. According to, Prospects for large-scale wind farms off North Carolina’s coast got a lot smaller Monday when the U.S. Department of Interior announced it reduced the areas of the Atlantic Ocean where turbines can be built.”
  5. DeSmogBlog reports, “An alarming new study has found that human activities mostly associated with burning fossil fuels has resulted in a massive increase in the levels of toxic mercury in the world’s oceans.”
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