Energy & Environment

Latest oil platform accident is a grim reminder of our energy challenges (Sen. Tom Carper)

My visit to the Gulf Coast of Louisiana this week turned out to be even more interesting than I had expected. We went on this trip to investigate the progress of the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill cleanup and the ongoing claims process for those affected by the disaster. However, shortly after the Army Black Hawk helicopter touched down in Grand Isle, Louisiana, right on the Gulf of Mexico, we were greeted by news of an oil platform explosion some 135 miles or so to the southwest of us out in the Gulf. Thirteen men went over the side of the platform into the water following the explosion. Fortunately, all of them survived, apparently without serious injury. They were luckier than the eleven men who perished during the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig more than four months ago.


Senate should move on climate change legislation

At the turn of the 20th Century, smoke meant jobs. When noxious fumes spewed from factory stacks, workers brought home paychecks. Industries hired. The future was bright as molten iron flowing from a blast furnace.

In industrial Pittsburgh’s heyday, the smoke was so dense streetlights remained lit at noon. White collar workers changed soot-covered shirts mid-day. The region’s residents suffered high rates of asthma and emphysema. In 1948, an inversion trapped industrial pollution in a small town south of Pittsburgh, killing 20.


Feinberg let BP renege on compensation promise (Rep. John Conyers)

Since the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20, ending the lives of eleven men, injuring many others, and causing the largest environmental disaster in United States history, the victims have been waiting for BP to make them whole. Unfortunately, thus far BP's response has been a day late and a dollar short -- many dollars short. Over three thousand people filed claims for personal injuries from the explosion and the resulting oil spill and cleanup effort, but BP paid only a tiny fraction of those claims, totaling less than $6,000. As respiratory problems among cleanup workers and symptoms of depression among coastal residents continue to mount, it shocks me that the fourth-largest corporation in the world has thus far paid such a paltry sum to make amends for the damage it has caused.


American spirit stronger than Katrina (Sen. Harry Reid)

Five years ago today, Nevadans and all Americans watched with sadness and heartache as Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city of New Orleans and the entire Gulf Coast region. We will never forget that storm and its aftermath. Nor will we forget the resilience of those living on the Gulf Coast, or the generosity of their fellow Americans.


Ethanol for America

For more than two years, a coalition of strange political bedfellows has done all it can to derail the advancement of the U.S. ethanol industry. These opponents of ethanol have engineered a well-orchestrated campaign that has misled and misinformed the American public about ethanol and its impacts and benefits – particularly when it comes to the American farmer’s ability to grow enough corn for food, feed and fiber.


End the moratorium now

News leaked out this weekend that the Obama administration knew that the moratorium on oil production would cost 23,000 jobs, yet rushed ahead anyway and that could be on the low side. The Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association predicts 46,200 jobs potentially lost due to the moratorium and a Global Insight analysis says that job losses could reach 120,000 in 2014 if the moratorium is extended beyond six months.


It's time to get cooking on egg safety

How it is possible for a few Iowa “chicken coops” to make thousands of people sick from California to Massachusetts? The resulting recall of over half a billion eggs is just the latest example of a broken food safety system. This outbreak is a tale of two delays: One in adopting needed egg-safety regulations, and the second was Congressional inaction in modernizing food safety legislation. Faster action on either might have prevented this outbreak. 


Ready or not, climate change, and climate displacement, is happening

The devastating floods in Pakistan have claimed the lives of at least 1,500 people and rendered millions more homeless and displaced.  According to the United Nations, the deluge’s human toll, which has reportedly affected 14 million Pakistanis, is worse than the 2004 tsunami, the January earthquake in Haiti, and the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan combined.  The record-breaking floods – along with other recent unprecedented climate-related catastrophes such as the heat wave in Russia and torrential rains and subsequent mudslides in China – are in line with the predictions of climate scientists that global warming will cause an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.