Megaloads video: Giant rig opponents say its your land, water and air versus Exxon

Exxon Mobil is the world’s most profitable corporation-
A new video about their megaloads through Idaho and Montana to their vast toxic pits in Alberta-

Oil companies have colluded with the Idaho’s and Montana’s governors so they can make even more profits than if they built the machinery for the toxic Alberta tar sands mining in Canada.

20 most profitable companies. CNN Money.

Renewable Energy Industry CEO looks to the future

Suggests government policy/subsidies – not free market – give wildlife conflicting, utility-scale projects an edge over distributed generation

Desert Tortoise © Dr. Michael Connor, WWP

NRG Energy CEO David Crane, lead investor in the controversial Ivanpah Solar Thermal Energy Project, discusses why giant utility-scale renewable energy projects are economically viable and what the future might look like for renewables with a reduction of government subsidies:

NRG Energy’s CEO Discusses Q4 2010 Results – Earnings Call TranscriptSeeking Alpha

[We] fully recognize that the current generation of utility-sized solar and wind projects in the United States is largely enabled by favorable government policies and financial assistance.  It seems likely that much of that special assistance is going to be phased out over the next few years, leaving renewable technologies to fend for themselves in the open market.  We do not believe that this will be the end of the flourishing market for solar generation.  We do believe it will lead to a stronger and more accelerated transition from an industry that is currently biased towards utility-sized solar plants to one that’s focused more on distributed and even residential solar solutions on rooftops and in parking lots.

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A chance to finally get rid of tumbleweed?

Russian thistle is not a native of the West and importing fungus blights from its homeland can kill it-

While there are several plants called “tumbleweed,” the one most commonly called that is prickly Russian Thistle.  It has been around for almost 150 years and Hollywood probably convinced people it is an essential element of the “Old West.”

A couple of fungal blights from Asia Minor now show great promise in reducing its prevalence. Introduction of plant diseases, however, can be very dangerous and controversial. So far these look to be very host specific. I hope these work out if they are approved. To me the prickly tumbleweed of the West has no redeeming value.

High Noon for Tumbleweed? By Emiline Ostlind. WyoFile

Russian Thistle in detail. Copyright Salle Engelhardt

Pygmy Rabbits Face Possible Last Stand In Washington

Photo Courtesy USFWS

Previous efforts to recovery pygmy rabbits to habitat in central Washington state have been conducted without success.  Now, biologists hope that releasing more captive rabbits into the wild will mean greater success:

Pygmy Rabbits Face Possible Last Stand In Washington OPB News

In north central Washington, scientists are trying once again to reintroduce a tiny endangered rabbit species into a big, predator-ridden landscape.

You may remember a previous post in which we reported Dr. Steve Herman’s experience of efforts to restore pygmy rabbits in Washington.

Idaho megaload foes win Dalton Open Government Award

Credit to two local citizens who have taken on the world’s most profitable corporation, oil octopus Exxon-Mobil and others-

Ah, some credit to two average folks fighting the international oil companies to try to save the economy, scenery, fish and wildlife of the area around U.S. Highway 12.

Idaho megaload foes win Dalton Open Government Award. By Dan Popkey. Idaho Statesman

“The Max Dalton Open Government Award has been given each year since 1999 to a citizen or group judged to be an outspoken advocate of openness in either public records or public meetings on the state or local level.”

Among many other activities trying to kill the megaload shipments across the scenic, narrow, north central Idaho highway, the Daltons exposed Butch Otter’s secret deal with the oil companies to turn Highway 12 into an industrial corridor on the way to the Alberta tar sand pits.

The Daltons

The biggest gas drilling plan yet for Green River Basin

Encana could add 3,500 gas wells SW of Pinedale, WY-

Already reeling from the massive Jonah gas field, now a new field covering 4 times as much area is planned.  The “Normally Pressured Lance” natural gas field” (Son of Jonah, as some call it) comes at a time when the formerly pristine air of the Green River Basin has wintertime air so dirty it violates the standards.

Encana project could add 3,500 gas wells in Wyo. Mead Gruver, Associated Press

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management needs to asked how new drilling of this huge magnitude can be done until the agency can be sure the residents are being protected from the activities that are already underway.

The Wyoming Outdoor Council has a story on the project too (and a map). Agency needs to protect the residents of the Upper Green River Valley. By Bruce Pendery

Win-Win for Wind and Wildlife ?

Study: There exists enough already-disturbed land in the U.S. suitable for wind to produce 3,500 gigawatts of power – more power than is consumed by the entire U.S.

A new study is confirming what many have been suggesting all along; We don’t need to sacrifice wild-lands and pristine wildlife habitat to facilitate renewable energy, it’s all about proper siting.

Win-Win for Wind and Wildlife: A Vision to Facilitate Sustainable DevelopmentKiesecker JM, Evans JS, Fargione J, Doherty K, Foresman KR, et al. 2011PLoS ONE

[From Abstract]

We estimate there are ~7,700 GW of potential wind energy available across the U.S., with ~3,500 GW on disturbed lands. In addition, a disturbance-focused development strategy would avert the development of ~2.3 million hectares of undisturbed lands while generating the same amount of energy as development based solely on maximizing wind potential.