Tag Archives: power

Great Lakes Saved from Nuke Waste Shipments

5 Aug

by Emma Lui / Intercontinental Cry

Detroit-News-graphic-of-route

Communities and organizations around the Great Lakes received heartening news over the weekend. A plan to ship radioactive waste across the Lakes was officially cancelled after years of community opposition.

Swedish company Studsvik announced that the plan was annulled in its interim report for the first half of 2013.   Continue reading

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Strip Coal Mines Resurfacing in Nova Scotia

16 Feb

strip mining

Almost six years after Nova Scotia imposed a moratorium on 13 surface coal mining projects in Cape Breton, the province is about to release a report that can reopen operations.

Next month, the ministers of environment and natural resources will be handed a study –  produced by the government and university scientists – that allows a surface mine in Cape Breton to proceed as a case study.

The study and the moratorium started in 2006 due to public opposition to the provincial government’s decision to grant a surface mining permit to Pioneer Coal Ltd. of Antigonish.

The company was told it could begin mining 1.6 million tons of coal from close to the surface of the former Prince mine near Point Aconi, the last operating underground mine in Nova Scotia, which closed in 2001.

Two years later, the province issued a call for proposals to restart development of the Sydney Coalfield — the largest coal operation in Eastern Canada. The result was 14 surface mining proposals and a single seven-year permit for Pioneer.

The operation has moved into a reclamation phase that includes cleaning up the old Prince mine site and restoring the land and its vegetation. The work is supposed to be completed within a year of the mine’s closure, expected in 2013.

Local residents say the Pioneer project has been a disaster from Day 1.

“How would you like to have a bulldozer in your backyard all night long?” said Brian Gerrow, who lives within a kilometre of the mine site.

“All summer, we can’t open the windows because of the noise and the dust. You can’t get a breath of air. . . . This has been going on since they started.”

Officials with Pioneer did not respond to two requests for an interview.
Continue reading

Thousands of protesters surround White House in opposition to TransCanada Pipeline

7 Nov

Demonstrators carry a giant mock pipeline while calling for the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline during a rally in front of the White House. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/REUTERS

By Katarzyna Klimasinska

Environmentalists opposed to TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline encircled the White House, urging President Barack Obama to reject the project even if it means overruling his own State Department.

“It will be the real test of his character, you know: Is he going to stand with people’s power, or oil power?” Bill McKibben, organizer of the demonstration, said in an interview after the rally in Washington yesterday whose sponsors said it drew as many as 12,000 people.

The $7 billion pipeline would carry oil from Alberta across Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas to Gulf Coast refineries. Pipeline opponents say extracting crude from Canada’s oil sands emits three times more carbon than conventional oil production and a spill could pollute fresh- water supplies.

For full article and more information visit article source as cross-posted from here

Also covered by other mainstream media such as here

Protests Rising on Environmental Concern in China

20 Sep

By Bill Savadove

A major anti-pollution protest has forced the Chinese government to take swift action for the second time in as many months, spurred by a rising environment movement that is spreading online.

More than 500 residents living near a plant making solar panels protested for three days last week in the eastern city of Haining, forcing authorities to temporarily shut the factory, which belongs to the US-listed Jinko Solar.

The incident came just over a month after authorities in the northeastern city of Dalian agreed to relocate a chemical plant following similar protests, underscoring official concern over mounting public anger about pollution.

“Citizens, particularly a rising Chinese middle class, have become more aware about how deep the impact of environmental issues is to their health,” said Phelim Kine, senior Asia researcher for New York-based Human Rights Watch.

“They are no longer willing to take it passively.”

Protests against pollution are not new to China, as breakneck economic growth over the past three decades has caused severe degradation of air, land and water.

But the growth of social networking, in particular Twitter-like “weibo” or microblogs, has helped spread the word about environmental issues and mobilize protests against perceived polluters.

Wong Yiu-chung, a politics professor at Hong Kong’s Lingnan University, said the shutdown of plants in Haining and Dalian was directly linked to the rising power of the Internet.

To read full article go to source as cross-posted from here

Earthquake reignites debate over safety of nuclear power

24 Aug

cross-posted from The Hill

by Andrew Restuccia

Virginia’s largest earthquake in more than a century shook the East Coast on Tuesday and is likely to revive a long-standing debate about the safety of the country’s nuclear power plants.

The 5.8 magnitude earthquake caused the shutdown of two nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Station in Louisa County, Va. The plant, which is located less than 20 miles from the epicenter of the quake, lost offsite power and was running its cooling systems on diesel generators Tuesday.

While there were no reports of damage at the North Anna reactors and plant operator Dominion said the cooling systems were working properly, nuclear opponents quickly pounced on the incident Tuesday.

They say the incident shows that U.S. nuclear reactors are vulnerable to major natural disasters and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should move quickly to implement a series of sweeping regulatory changes recommended by a federal task force last month.

“The earthquake near the North Anna reactors clearly underscores the need for the rapid implementation of the recommendations of the NRC’s Fukushima task force,” said Tom Clements, southeastern nuclear campaign coordinator at Friends of the Earth, a group that has long been critical of nuclear power.

“This event affirms that reactors located outside active earthquake zones are also at risk and that increased steps to protect against earthquakes must be implemented at all sites. It is time to push aside industry and NRC foot-dragging and strengthen nuclear reactor safety regulations.”

Paul Gunter, director of reactor oversight at the group Beyond Nuclear, echoed Clements sentiments.

“Once again, Mother Nature is warning us that nuclear power is the most brittle of electrical power systems,” Gunter said.

The earthquake comes at a sensitive time for the NRC and the nuclear industry, which is dealing with the fallout from the March disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

A task force mandated by President Obama in the aftermath of the Japanese disaster said in a report released last month that the NRC should make wide-ranging improvements to the its “existing patchwork of regulatory requirements and other safety initiatives.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Canadian Tar Sands Pipeline Still Opposed by EPA

23 Jun

Landowners, agriculture group keeping up the fight against eminent domain and the Keystone XL pipeline. Is the State Department listening?
By Kate Schwab, 6-23-11

As the third phase of work on the international Keystone XL pipeline looms, the foreign corporation behind the tar sands project is posturing as a handful of landowners in eastern Montana gear themselves up for a fight over land rights.

The $13 billion project comes courtesy of TransCanada, a Canadian firm. It runs approximately 1,711 miles from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. Most of the proposed route—1,384 miles of it— is in the United States. The first two phases of the pipeline have already been completed and are fully operational, the company’s website reports. It is supposed to be completed by 2013 and has been in the works for more than three years.

The company says it has already held dozens of meetings for public involvement and points to a Department of Energy study that concluded the pipeline could reduce American dependency on foreign oil from nations outside North America by up to 40 percent. The American Petroleum Institute, which supports the pipeline, also suggested recently that the U.S. could lose the tar sands crude to more cooperative overseas markets if the process continues to be stalled. But the proposed route cuts through a small triangle of northeastern Montana, and locals are not happy about it.

“I’m especially concerned about the safety and emergency preparedness along the route should there be a spill,” landowner Rick Kniepkamp, a resident of Lindsay, Mont., said. Kniepkamp is a member of the Northern Plains Pipeline Landowners Group, an association of affected property owners who have banded together to negotiate environmental and financial issues with TransCanada. Neither he nor any of the other stakeholders contacted by New West responded to requests for further comment.

Kniepkamp has legitimate reason for concern. The finished portion of the pipeline has already experienced several questionable incidents, including leaks in North Dakota and Kansas in May. And in comments released earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency said it is far from satisfied with the U.S. State Department’s current draft analysis of the project’s potential impact. In particular, the EPA objects to the report’s claim that the precise nature of the chemicals used to help bitumen flow through the pipeline should remain “proprietary information.”

The EPA also says that the pipeline could pose a hazard to the Ogallala aquifer, and concluded that the State Department had not pushed hard enough for thorough examination of alternate routes. Also called the High Plains aquifer, it lies below eight states, including Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.

Montana landowners are none-too-thrilled with a recent change in state law that directly pertains to the pipeline. Governments, schools and some corporations serving public needs have long possessed the power of eminent domain – essentially, the right to purchase and use any piece of private property, regardless of an owner’s approval. Traditionally, eminent domain was reserved as a last resort for public works purposes, such as getting a road, power line or school built. House Bill 198, which passed in Montana’s 2011 legislative session, redefined eminent domain as the privilege of any company holding a Major Facilities Siting Act (MFSA) certificate. The bill has been heavily criticized as drastically expanding the power of private corporations to take land for nonpublic purposes, despite counter-claims from defenders that it merely reaffirms existing legal precedent.

Count Ed Gulick as one who disputes that defense. The chair of the Northern Plains Resource Council, a nonprofit agricultural advocacy group, Gulick attacked the change in a recent column distributed to Montana newspapers. He said the law was changed because proponents lost a court battle.

Another Canadian company tried to claim eminent domain for a private power line in Montana. Landowners fought back in court; the company lost when a judge found the company did not possess the eminent domain right. Previously, Gulick wrote, state law required companies “to prove that the project is for a public use, is necessary and is compatible with the greatest public good and least private injury. This test helped prevent eminent domain from being abused.” In contrast, he said, holding an MFSA certificat doesn’t offer adequate protection. “MFSA wasn’t written to protect the rights of landowners facing condemnation by a private corporation,” he wrote.

His organization, however, has been busy, hosting meetings with affected landholders. According to a statement from Northern Plains Research Council, the group has been working with Bozeman attorney Hertha Lund, who specializes in agricultural and land rights issues. She could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for the Northern Plains Resource Council also declined comment, saying staff were not permitted to speak to the media. A message left for a second staff member was not returned.

In February, a U.S. Department of Energy study concluded that the Keystone XL pipeline was not presently needed. In March, the State Department announced its intent to subject the project to new study. Notice was published in the Federal Register in April, with a new 45-day public comment window.

That window is now closed. The State Department is expected to release a completed environmental impact statement and make a final decision on the fate of the pipeline by the end of the year.

Kate Schwab is an intern for New West.

News source here

Editors note: EF!ers and allies in the struggle against the tar sands are invited to this years Summer Rendezvous which will take place in the Lolo National Forest along Hyw. 12 and will focus on building opposition to Exxon’s proposed tar sands corridor. From July 5th through the 12th we will gather in the Northern Rockies (Idaho, Montana) to unite minds, spirits and forces in order to prevent the Rockies from becoming a devastated landscape… For more information you should contact nref@rocketmail.com and/or visit northernrockiesrisingtide.wordpress.com

Court sets aside land allotment for Andhra power project

23 Jun

Hyderabad, June 23 (IANS) The Andhra Pradesh High Court Thursday set aside a government order, allotting land to a thermal power project in Srikakulam district of north coastal Andhra [India].

Dealing with a petition filed by some environmentalists challenging the land allotment, the court set aside the order issued in 2008.

Under the order issued Sep 15, 2008, the state government had allotted 972 acres of land to Nagarjuna Construction Company, which proposed to develop a 2,640 MW plant at Sompeta at a cost of Rs.12,000 crore.

Local communities and the environmental groups have been opposing the project on the ground that it is coming up on a wetland. They argued that the project not only threatens the ecology but also endangers the livelihood of fishermen and farmers.

The National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) on July 14, 2010 had cancelled environmental clearance for the project on the ground that it was given in violation of norms.

The NEAA order had come a day after three protesters were killed in police firing on people protesting against the project at Sompeta.

Krishna Murthy, president of Paryavarana Parirakshana Sangham (PPS), which is spearheading the movement against the project, hailed the high court verdict and described it as ‘a victory of the people’.

©Indo-Asian News Service

News source here