Bump in corn grown for ethanol has polluted water and wiped out 5 million acres of conserved land, AP finds
Five million acres of land — more than in Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite national parks combined — have been pulled from conservation on Obama’s watch, according to Agriculture Department figures.
What’s more, from 2005 to 2010, corn farmers increased their use of nitrogen fertilizer by more than 1 billion pounds. More recent data isn’t available from the Agriculture Department, but because of the huge increase in corn planting, even conservative projections by the AP suggest another billion-pound fertilizer increase on corn farms since then.
Some of that fertilizer has seeped into drinking water, contaminating rivers and boosting the growth of enormous algae fields in the Gulf of Mexico; the algae eventually decompose, sucking oxygen from the water and leaving behind a huge dead zone, currently covering 5,800 square miles of sea floor where marine life can’t survive.
That dead zone is just one example of a peculiar ethanol side effect: As one government program encourages farmers to plant more corn, other programs pay millions to clean up the mess.
NPR asks: If coastal communities are so economically vibrant, why can’t they pay to rebuild after storms? Should the Federal Government continue to pay and subsidize rebuilding America’s coastal cities?
Curious about what the Department of Interior does? Check out this 2 minute week’s update on projects from Latino Youth program in Utah and science based careers; land buy-back program to help tribal nations with self-governance; new study from USGS shows invasive Asian Carp may be more problematic in the Great Lakes than previously thought.
In the meantime, be wary of the anti-fracking propaganda. The real action is with the new head of the DOI, Sally Jewell. Jewell (who was celebrated by enviros) is aggressively seeking to expand fracking and oil drilling on public, park, and conservation lands. She is an Obama pick, and former CEO of REI. She used to frack wells and is, in my view, one of the most dangerous leaders in the current administration.
Under Executive Order 13514, Federal agencies are required to develop, implement, and annually update a Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan that describes how they will achieve the environmental, economic, and energy goals mandated in the Executive Order. Agencies must prioritize actions based on a positive return on investment for the American taxpayer. The plans are updated each year, reviewed by the Council on Environmental Quality and approved by the Office of Management and Budget to ensure that actions are carefully aligned with resources, Administration priorities, and the Federal budget process.
Click on the links below to view the Department of the Interior’s Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans:
The federal government has proposed a new set of national fracking rules that would weaken disclosure requirements. The proposal allows ‘trade secrets’ to remain unknown from the public, which has distressed environmental groups.
I called it. Last month, environmental groups were doing handstands and backflips over Sally Jewell, who is Obama’s pick to lead the BLM (US Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management).
She used to frack wells for Mobil oil company long before she was CEO of REI.
…the bigger story is about the left’s environmental heroine, Sally Jewell, who used to frack wells. As new head of the Dept. of Interior, she will (with Obama’s encouragement) - will - allow aggressive fracking on more public lands, possibly much more in our National Parks.
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The United States has double the amount of oil and three times the amount of natural gas than previously thought stored deep under the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana, according to new data the Obama administration released Tuesday.
In announcing the new data in a conference call, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell also said the administration will release within weeks draft rules to regulate hydraulic fracturing, technology that has come under scrutiny for its environmental impact but that is essential to developing all of this energy.
“These world-class formations contain even more energy-resource potential than previously understood, which is important information as we continue to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of oil,” Jewell said in a statement.
This article is circulating among the anti-peak oil crowds. To me, the bigger story is about the left’s environmental heroine, Sally Jewell, who used to frack wells. As new head of the Dept. of Interior, she will (with Obama’s encouragement) - will - allow aggressive fracking on more public lands, possibly much more in our National Parks. To forgiving environmentalists, she’s Obama’s replacement for the DOI and former CEO of REI.
It will be approved. Nearly half of the line is already built, the land from Canada to Texas is already secured, Sec. State John Kerry signaled his support, and redstate politicians are salivating for a knockout punch to the environmental movement.
On April 12, 2013, Sally Jewell was sworn in as the 51st Secretary of the Interior.
In nominating Jewell, President Obama said, “She is an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future. She is committed to building our nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country. She knows the link between conservation and good jobs. She knows that there’s no contradiction between being good stewards of the land and our economic progress; that in fact, those two things need to go hand in hand.”
As Secretary of the Interior, Jewell leads an agency with more than 70,000 employees. Interior serves as steward for approximately 20 percent of the nation’s lands, including national parks, national wildlife refuges, and other public lands; oversees the responsible development of conventional and renewable energy supplies on public lands and waters; is the largest supplier and manager of water in the 17 Western states; and upholds trust responsibilities to the 566 federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Natives.
Prior to her confirmation, Jewell served in the private sector, most recently as President and Chief Executive Officer of Recreation Equipment, Inc. (REI).
Royal Dutch Shell barred from returning to drill for oil in Arctic without overhaul
Caveat: This is a short-term environmental win. Shell owns billions of dollars in oil drilling permits in the Arctic. All they need is to invest in safer rigs, ships, and other infrastructure to show that their operations will be safe. The Dept. of Interior, which governs (in part) oil drilling on US lands and waters, is not known for its consistent decision making.
In fact, considering Obama’s aggressive oil and gas drilling policies, I’d be surprised if Shell wasn’t back by 2016…
Still, a sweet sweet win for environmental groups that pressured the administration to rethink Arctic drilling.
(Above) Shell have been criticised after their Arctic oil drilling rig Kulluk ran aground off a small Alaskan island on New Year’s Eve. Photograph: Sara Francis/AP
Shell “screwed up” drilling for oil in Arctic waters and will not be allowed back without a comprehensive overhaul of its plans, the Obama administration said on Thursday.
A government review found the oil company was not prepared for the extreme conditions in the Arctic, which resulted in a series of blunders and accidents culminating in the New Year’s Eve grounding of its drill rig.
Shell announced a “pause” in Arctic drilling last month. But Ken Salazar, the interior secretary, told a reporters’ conference call that the company will not be allowed to return without producing a much more detailed plan, one tailored specifically to the harsh Arctic conditions.
"Shell will not be able to move forward into the Arctic to do any kind of exploration unless they have this integrated management plan put in place," said Salazar, in one of his last acts before standing down as interior secretary. "It’s that plain and simple."
The findings of the review could mean further costs and delays for Shell, which has spent years and $4.5bn securing permits to drill in Arctic waters.
But it did not satisfy some environmental groups which said the review demonstrated the government should never have allowed drilling in the first place.
Salazar and other officials said Shell had not been prepared to drill last year, when a season of blunders and accidents was capped with the New Year’s Eve grounding of one of its drilling rigs.
“Shell screwed up in 2012 and we are not going to let them screw up after their pause is removed," Salazar said.