Sierra Club Outings
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Sierra Club, Gulf Restoration Network Challenge Phony BP Oil Disaster Cleanup Plan
| Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill - FSU Sampling Cruise - June 23, 2010
Photo from SkyTruth
BP said it could clean up 20 million gallons of spilled oil a day!
New Orleans, LA -- Earthjustice filed suit recently in federal court on behalf of Sierra Club and Gulf Restoration Network against the U.S. Minerals Management Service, challenging the agency’s arbitrary approval of BP’s oil spill clean-up plan.
The clean up plan was approved in July 2009 prior to the approval of the exploratory drilling plan. If successful, this legal challenge will result in a court ruling that Minerals Management Service’s approval of BP’s spill cleanup plan was illegal and a new plan needs to be crafted and approved before BP can do any more exploratory oil drilling.
In its spill plan, BP claimed it could contain any possible spill by vacuuming up over 20 million gallons of oil per day. BP’s actual recovery rate since the Deepwater Horizon explosion has turned out to be about two percent of that.
"Other BP rigs in the Gulf are relying on the same deceptive response plan," said Earthjustice attorney David Guest. "BP’s clean-up story was as phony as a three dollar bill."
|Photo from SkyTruth. SkyTruth uses pictures taken from satellites and airplanes to investigate and illustrate environmental issues such as drilling for natural gas and oil, mining, and logging.|
Oil Spill Facts
- The Minerals Management Service estimates that in the Gulf of Mexico there will be one spill of at least 1000 barrels every year for the next 40 years and one spill of at least 10,000 barrels every three to four years during that same time.
-The outer continental shelf of the continental United States is estimated to have around 59 billion barrels of oil.1 Considering that the U.S. consumed around 7 billion barrels2 in 2008, the total amount of oil would only be enough for 8 years.
-There is an estimated 930 million barrels of oil in the entire eastern Gulf of Mexico, the area with the most industry interest. Against current rates of consumers, that breaks down to approximately 47 days worth of oil.
-The vast majority – 80 percent – of the nation’s undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas is located in areas that were already open to drilling when the Congressional moratorium was in place, according to the Department of the Interior’s 2006 Report to Congress: Comprehensive Inventory of U.S. OCS Oil and Natural Gas Resources.
-Since 1964, offshore operators have had 40 spills greater than 1000 barrels (42,000 gallons). During Hurricanes Katrina and Rita 741,000 gallons were spilled into the waters of the Gulf from off shore rigs. That total balloons to more than nine million gallons spilled when you include spills from onshore oil and gas infrastructure.
American Trails Symposium in Chattanooga
Every other year American Trails brings together trail enthusiasts for a weekend of workshops and outings. This year the conference will be in Chattanooga, November 14-17, and it will be a while before it is in our area again. There will be many opportunities for networking with trail enthusiasts from all over the country.
The American Trails National Symposium is your best opportunity to network with the nationwide trails community and learn state of the art trail planning, development, and management techniques. The Symposium addresses both non-motorized and motorized issues and our vision for trails and greenways nationwide. Dozens of speakers and keynote presenters will join us from the trails community across America.
The theme for this year’s symposium is Trails, The Green Way for America. This symposium's theme evokes the benefit of trails to America’s economy and environment. As we evolve toward a green economy, trails are the way for outdoor recreation and alternative transportation. Trails provide access and connections to many of this nation’s most incredible green spaces: parks, forests, and wildlands. Trails are a critical component of green infrastructure within communities, tying homes to businesses, schools, and workplaces, and empowering clean human-powered mobility. Trails support the new American dream which is built upon environmental and economic efficiency. Trails are, very simply, the green way for America.
For more information and to register, go to http://www.americantrails.org/2010 or call 530-547-2060.
Notes from Around Alabama's Sierra Club Groups
The Coosa Valley Group: Our May meeting featured a Farmer’s Forum with Mike Bailey of the Bailey Family Farm, Dove and Russell Stackhouse of Sand Mountain Organics, Simon Bevis of Noah Valley Farm, and Joan Robertson. We saw some great pictures of Mike’s operation and learned a lot about growing local foods.
In May we enjoyed a delicious potluck dinner at the home of Steve and Cindy Garrison. There are some really good cooks in the Coosa Valley Group! We also watched the movie Food Inc. If you haven’t seen it, you are missing a lot of good information. You may be able to catch it on PBS later this year.
Hello, plug-ins; goodbye, gas—car drivers finally have an affordable way to get off gas
The new generation of mass-produced plug-in electric vehicles arrives this year. Those of us who drive cars have a chance to accelerate the auto industry’s transition to these more-sustainable vehicles that run on cleaner, cheaper, domestic electricity instead of gasoline.
For the past year, over 1,000 people have been driving Tesla Roadster electric sports cars, but most folks can’t afford the over-$100,000 price tag for these thrill-to-drive rides. Now major car companies that can take advantage of economies of scale to reduce vehicle costs are taking orders for more-affordable plug-cars. First out of the gate are Nissan and General Motors.
By mid-May Nissan received deposits from 13,000 U.S. customers and another 6,000 in Japan for its all-electric Leaf, with deliveries scheduled to start in December. The Leaf will list for $32,780, but with a $5,000 rebate from California (editor's note: sure would be nice if Alabama did something like this!) and a $7,500 federal tax credit, the final cost will be about $20,280 plus sales tax. The Leaf is a five-seat hatchback with a range of 100 miles and a top speed of 90 mph. Nissan plans to sell 50,000 in the first year, ramping up to 500,000/year in 2012, when a dedicated manufacturing plant begins operating in Smyrna TN.
GM soon is expected to announce the price of its Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid (which GM calls an “extended-range electric vehicle”), and the pressure is on to make it competitive with the Leaf. The Volt can travel 40 miles on electricity alone, and has a back-up gasoline generator that comes on after 40 miles and feeds electricity to the batteries, enabling a 300-mile driving range before the driver needs to either plug in or buy gas. Sales and deliveries of the four-seat hatchback will start in late 2010, starting with 10,000 cars initially.
Other companies that are expected to add to the competition starting this year include Coda Automotive (with a five-seat electric family sedan), Th!nk (with a two-seat electric hatchback), and Fisker Automotive (with a four-seat luxury plug-in hybrid). For a detailed review of the 2010 offerings and resources, see “Charged Up & Ready To Roll: The Definitive Guide To Plug-in Electric Vehicles”, produced by the non-profit organization Plug In America: www.pluginamerica.org
(reprinted from the Sierra Club Yodeler)
Living Lightly On the Earth 2010 Alabama Sierra Club Retreat
Hosted by Coosa Valley Group
Desoto State Park Nov. 5 – 7
Exciting programs and activities! Some meals will feature local foods.
Retreat registration and lodging will be Separate – watch mail & website Alabamasierraclub.org for form.
Limited Space – make lodging reservations by calling 1-800-568-8840 Double rooms $76/night Chalets and cabins (sleep 4) $128/night Camping also available.