Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Seattle Post-Intelligencer - The state Supreme Court upheld a $4.8 million verdict in favor of 11 pipefitters who claimed they were fired for raising safety concerns at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The workers filed suit nine years ago against Fluor Federal Services of Richland, a contractor at the south-central Washington nuclear site. They claimed they were laid off after refusing orders to install a valve they believed was too weak for the job. A Benton County Superior Court jury awarded them damages in 2005. . . Supporters of the workers were thrilled. "This is a decision that is going to resonate throughout Hanford for decades," said Tom Carpenter, executive director of Hanford Challenge, a watchdog group. . . The Hanford site was created as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project to build an atomic bomb. Today, it is the nation's most contaminated nuclear site, with billions of dollars of taxpayer-funded cleanup work expected to last decades.

Metaefficient -
The world's largest biomass power plant running exclusively on chicken manure has opened in the Netherlands. The power plant will deliver renewable electricity to 90,000 households. It has a capacity of 36.5 megawatts, and will generate more than 270 million kwh of electricity per year. . . If the chicken manure were to be spread out over farm land, it would release not only CO2, but also methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. By using the manure for power generation, the release of methane is avoided.
The biomass power plant will utilize approximately 440,000 tons of chicken manure, roughly one third of the total amount produced each year in the Netherlands.

Tree Hugger
- What is a city to do for its 1500 vehicle strong diesel-powered transportation fleet after already converting them all to run on biodiesel? Reduce the distance that biodiesel travels from point of manufacture to the filling station. . . Though San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has only just announced the project and it still needs to go through additional approval steps, the city of San Francisco and Darling International have indicated that they hope to build a biodiesel processing facility near Pier 92 on the city's waterfront. The 7.5-10 million gallon per year facility would used locally-sourced recycled fats, waste grease and tallow to produce biodiesel, albeit in relatively small quantities for a commercial plant. . . This facility will serve as a model for cities throughout the world.

Washington Post -
California is poised to pass the first law in the nation linking greenhouse gas emissions to urban planning. . . The measure, known as SB375, aims to give existing and new high-density centers where people live, work and shop top priority in receiving local, state and federal transportation funds. The idea is that such developments check sprawl and ease commutes, in turn cutting the car pollution wafting through the Golden State

Worldwide sea levels may rise by about 2.6 to 6.6 feet by 2100 thanks to global warming, but dire predictions of larger increases seem unrealistic, U.S. scientists said. They examined scenarios for loss of ice from Greenland, Antarctica and the world's smaller glaciers and ice caps into the world's oceans, as well as ocean expansion simply due to rising water temperatures. Their calculations yielded estimates for global sea level increases by the end of the century that are lower than many existing projections, but alarming nonetheless.

Groovy Green - Like Colorado, Utah has laws on the books that make it illegal to collect rainwater that falls on one's property. A Utah car dealer installed a cistern and rainwater collection system to feed a on-site car wash that has water recycling technology. This was in an attempt to "go green". He was thwarted by the state government, and eventually had to work out a deal. Local residents who collect rainwater will not be bothered at this point because "there are bigger fish to fry. . . Colorado state law mandates that any water falling from the air is not yours. . . Here's the exact wording: "Colorado Water Law requires that precipitation fall to the ground, run off and into the river of the watershed where it fell. Because rights to water are legally allocated in this state, an individual may not capture and use water to which he/she does not have a right. We must remember also that rain barrels don't help much in a drought because a drought by its very nature supplies little in the way of snow or rain.". . . Additionally, any and all water that comes from tap may only be used once. "Denver water customers are not permitted to take their bath or laundry water (commonly referred to as gray water) and dump it on their outdoor plants or garden. . . The Colorado Springs Gazette said the following: "The rain barrel is the bong of the Colorado garden. It's legal to sell one. It's legal to own one. It's just not legal to use it for its intended purpose."