Energy & Environment

Safety of fruits and vegetables

Produce safety has gotten a lot of attention lately. Too often rhetoric around the issue is doing more harm than good. Calls to exempt any farmers from food safety legislation, including small ones, will harm all farmers and their consumers while lists of so-called “dirty” fruits and vegetables needlessly turn consumers away from healthy eating.

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Gulf Coast restoration delayed is justice denied

The national news media — obsessed with the upcoming election — missed a significant news story two weeks ago: President Obama signed an executive order to create a Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force that is a key first step to fulfilling his promise to restore the Gulf of Mexico and to make it even better than it was before the BP Macondo well exploded six months ago, on Apr. 20. What exactly does “better than it was before” mean?

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EPA needs to do more, not less, to protect health

In this volatile election season, some are arguing that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) needs to be “reined in” or even eliminated.  They are out of touch with the realities of people’s lives and priorities.  The vast majority of Americans want EPA to do more, not less, to protect health and the environment.

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Leading the military toward a more secure energy future (Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus)

October 13th is the 235th Anniversary of the founding of the United States Navy. So it was incredibly appropriate that yesterday I had the opportunity to speak at two events focused on our military’s energy policy, because how the Navy and Marine Corps have harnessed energy has shaped our history since the birth of the Republic. And how energy is used and produced in the United States will continue to affect both our national security, and the strategic and tactical capabilities of our forces, long into the future.

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New salmon can address a myriad of problems

Natural fish stocks have been so depleted in the past few decades that more than half of the salmon we consume here in the United States comes to us from “fish farming,” 97 percent of which is imported. That’s because we consume highly-desirable fish like salmon at least twice as fast as it can reproduce in the wild.

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Virginia Attorney General's new investigation is just a form of intimidation (Rep. Edward Markey)

In another disturbing instance of politically-motivated intimidation of climate scientists, last week Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued a new civil investigative demand (CID) to the University of Virginia for emails and documents related to Dr. Michael Mann. This follows on an earlier demand issued by Cuccinelli that was fought by the University and rejected by an Albemarle County Circuit Court judge for being unfounded. Cuccinelli's latest demand is a revised version of his first, unsuccessful CID, and attempts to work around the judge's prior ruling. 

To anyone that reads Cuccinelli's demand, it looks more like a fishing expedition designed to smear scientists than a real fraud investigation. Cuccinelli demands documents related to 39 people, but many of them are unrelated to Dr. Mann's research grant that is nominally the focus of the investigation.

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EPA policies are hurting the economy (Rep. Phil Roe)

Since the Senate will not pass the flawed cap and trade legislation, the administration is taking matters into their own hands, using the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as their lead enforcement agency. New regulations planned by the EPA could have detrimental effects to our economy – particularly causing a loss of jobs, impeding economic recovery and harming livelihoods.

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Inspiring private businesses to implement better environmental standards would yeild more effective climate change

Ambassador Nancy Soderberg’s Sept. 23 column, “Investments in climate change solutions can break the global logjam,” rightly argues that we need to undertake innovative approaches to invest around the world in climate change solutions. But Ambassador Soderberg’s proposal could run the risk of throwing the baby out with the bath water when it comes to OPIC.

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Response to ‘Investments in climate change solutions can break the global logjam': OPIC agency contributes to renewable energy

Nancy Soderberg’s suggestion that the United States invest in green development for developing countries in order to enlist their support in the climate change effort is absolutely correct. She will be interested to know that the Overseas Private Investment Corporation  (contrary to the assertion in her article) is leading the very USA effort she calls for and doing so with zero subsidy – doing so while charging commercial rates and generating revenue for the U.S. government.

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Running on empty: the end of oil as we know it

Crude oil is obtained by drilling into petroleum reservoirs far below the earth’s surface.  Despite the common parlance, we do not “produce” oil; we extract it from deep within the earth where it has been created by intense heat and pressure over hundreds of millions of years.

Now, after just 150 years of oil extraction, we have burned through roughly half of it. The world is consuming four barrels of oil for every one we find, more than 80 million barrels of oil every day. The United States alone consumes more than 20 million barrels a day. Most major oil exporting nations are well past their supply peaks, with giant fields rapidly diminishing in size and new finds proving to be small and relatively insignificant.  Worldwide oil supplies have plateaued and now face a decline from which there is no return.  This peak, plateau and decline is referred to as “Peak Oil.” 

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