New poll shows 82 percent of Americans support E15
By Chris Hanson | September 19, 2013
After surveying more than 1,000 U.S. citizens, Fuels America released its polling results, which discovered 82 percent of U.S. citizens support the availability of E15 ethanol blends at their local gas stations.
“The overwhelming majority of Americans understand that having options when you fill up at the gas station is a good thing. They have spoken loud and clear that they want access to clean, homegrown renewable fuel,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “What we clearly see from this poll is that consumers like higher blends of ethanol in their gas because it saves them money. Ethanol is currently trading 80 cents lower than regular unleaded gasoline and the bottom line is that ethanol provides consumers a choice and savings at the pump.”
Roughly 70 percent of respondents desired higher blends at the pumps, Buis explained. He added nearly four out of five believed the oil industry’s effort to block E15 was bad for consumers. “People want oil to quit running these negative campaigns and denying them at the pump,” Buis said.
Other speakers during a teleconference following the poll release aimed to dispel messages promoted by the oil industry, such as high costs to implement E15 and lack of demand from customers and retailers.
Last week, the Petroleum Equipment Institute released a report that showed, in some cases, a retailer may only need to invest $1,200 to update an entire station, said Robert White, director of market development from the Renewable Fuels Association. “It’s nowhere near the $200,000 to $300,000 that’s been quoted almost religiously by E15’s opponents for the past couple years,” added White.
Scott Zaremba, owner of Zarco USA gas stations, explained how an oil company implemented rules that prohibited him from selling E15. In July 2012 he became the first retailer in the U.S. to offer E15 under Phillips 66 name. However, Phillips implemented rules th
EPA releases draft rules to cut emissions from power plants
Julian Hattem - 09/20/13 09:25 AM ET
The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday released draft rules that represent the first limits for carbon emissions from new power plants.
The new rules are a central component of President Obama's push to protect the environment through regulation and executive action, and will fuel a political fight with the coal lobby and its supporters on Capitol Hill.
In offering the rules on Friday, the EPA quickly pushed back at arguments the rules represent an attack on coal, and that they will hurt the economy.
"We have proven time after time that setting fair Clean Air Act standards to protect public health does not cause the sky to fall," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said during a speech at the National Press Club unveiling the draft rules. "The economy does not crumble."
Opponents of the new rules have worried that they would require an expensive technology that would lead to an effective ban on coal power plants. But McCarthy said that the effort is aimed at just the opposite.
"I believe that this proposal, rather than killing future coal, actually sets out a certain pathway forward for coal to continue to be part of a diverse mix in this country," she said.
Together with regulations on power plants already up and running, which are set to be proposed next year, the rules form the centerpiece of what Obama described in a speech at Georgetown University as “bold action to reduce carbon pollution.”
In a statement, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science Committee, countered that the administration “is offering a costly, heavy-handed proposal that risks jobs and economic growth, all for negligible changes to our carbon dioxide emissions and no discernible impact on the global temperature.”
Power plants are the source of about one-third of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.
On Friday, McCarthy said that reducing the amo
Gina McCarthy @GinaEPA Read my op-ed on why we must #ActOnClimate now for the health and well-being of our children: huffingtonpost
With these facts in mind, and given our legal obligation to the American people, EPA is releasing a proposal to limit carbon pollution from future power plants.
Today's proposal applies only to future power plants, and sets separate national limits for natural gas-fired power plants and coal-fired power plants.
New large natural gas-fired turbines would need to emit less than 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, while new small natural gas-fired turbines would need to emit less than 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour.
New coal-fired units would need to emit less than 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour or, to provide plants the flexibility and time to optimize technologies, between 1,000 and 1,050 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour on average over 84 months of operation.
These levels are achievable by using partial carbon capture and sequestration, a proven technology that is being used right now to support the development of both new conventional and new unconventional coal plants.
These proposed standards would minimize carbon pollution by taking advantage of modern, cleaner energy technologies that power companies are already using to build the next generation of power plants. This is exactly what the Clean Air Act requires.
Without these steps we will continue to pay an ever-increasing price for climate impacts. In 2012 alone, the cost of weather disasters exceeded $110 billion in the United States, the second costliest year on record.
Beyond the costs of property destruction and disaster relief, there are significant public health risks and costs from climate change. Warmer temperatures spurred by carbon pollution worsen smog and pollen levels. This can lead to more asthma attacks and other respiratory problems. The nation's
Time to Act on Climate Change
Posted: 09/20/2013 6:00 am
Administrator, U.S.Environmental Protection Agency
didn't plan for a life built around protecting the environment. In fact, I started my career as a health agent in the town of Canton, Mass., and later worked for the Stoughton Board of Health. But at some point I realized that at its core, the issue of a clean environment is a matter of public health. The two are inextricably linked.
That's why, when President Obama unveiled his Climate Action Plan earlier this year, he talked about the health of our children when laying out his strategy to take responsible steps to cut carbon pollution.
As part of that plan, the president directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to "complete new pollution standards for both new and existing power plants." That directive rests on legal authority our agency was granted by Congress through passing the Clean Air Act back in 1970. In 2007, the Supreme Court underscored that authority when it definitively determined that carbon pollution is covered by the Clean Air Act.
Among scientists, there is near universal agreement that climate change is happening, it's human caused, and it's a threat to our health and welfare.
The 12 hottest years on record have come in the last 15. Last year was the warmest year ever in the contiguous United States; sea ice in the Arctic shrank to its smallest size on record and about one-third of all Americans experienced 10 days or more of 100-degree heat.
We know that carbon pollution is the most prevalent heat-trapping greenhouse gas, warming our planet and fueling climate change. In 2011, power plants and major industrial facilities in the United States emitted over 3 billion metric tons of carbon pollution, which is equal to annual pollution from over 640 million cars. Annually in the U.S., carbon pollution from power plants accounts for one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions, or 40 percent of total
union IndustriALL and the Bangladeshi government. Topshop, Gap and Walmart, however, have not yet done so.
War on Want is urging the public to apply pressure on retailers over the accord and compensation.
Tesco and other leading brands, including Primark, Gap, Monsoon, Accessorize, Marks & Spencer, and Asda, belong to the Ethical Trading Initiative and have signed up to a code of conduct that includes support of a living wage. But the wage aspect, Amin will stress, has failed to materialise, and, he says, more pressure is needed.
"The Rana Plaza disaster not only exposed unsafe conditions for workers turning out British stores' clothes, but the pittance on which they struggle to survive. It is high time UK retail chains, and other companies sourcing from Bangladesh, matched ethical claims with action to lift their suppliers' workers out of poverty."
In advance of his arrival, the NGWF's partner, the charity War on Want, is publishing a report entitled The Living Wage: Winning the fight for social justice, which cites evidence that a living wage benefits workers, employers and also wider economies.
The report points to the success of the Alta Gracia factory in the Dominican Republic, reportedly the world's only supplier producing clothes for a mainstream brand that is also paying its workers a living wage.
The report comes amid news that Conservative policy advocates want David Cameron to promise a higher minimum wage during his speech at the party's conference in the coming weeks.
Labour's shadow Treasury team is considering whether to say that living wage zones would be established if they won power at the next election.
Meanwhile, War on Want is demanding full compensation in relation to the Bangladesh disaster, for victims' bereaved families and injured workers, before a two-day meeting in Geneva this week hosted by the International Labour Organisation.
More than 40 brands were linked to the Dhaka factory that collapsed, including the retailers Benetton, Matalan and Bonmarché as well as Primark.
Now, more than 50 brands have signed up to a legally binding building safety agreement backed by the international trade union IndustriALL and the Banglad
Bangladeshi union chief brings living wage campaign to London fashion week
Clothing retailers urged to back anti-poverty drive five months after 1,129 people died in factory collapse near Dhaka
Rebecca Smithers, consumer affairs correspondent
The Guardian, Friday 6 September 2013
A worker cuts the thread on shirt on the production line of the Fashion Enterprise garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A union leader representing millions of poverty stricken Bangladeshi garment workers is to use London fashion week to confront Britain's top fashion retailers and clothing brands and urge them to support fresh demands for all employees to be paid a living wage.
Nearly five months after 1,129 people died in the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory near Dhaka, Bangladesh, Amirul Haque Amin, president of the National Garment Workers' Federation, will join forces with British union campaigners to highlight the plight of workers in the global fashion industry.
Amin, who arrives in Britain on Friday, will address delegates at the TUC's annual conference on Monday, alongside Heather Wakefield, who heads the local government service group of Britain's largest public service union, Unison. He plans to take the same message to London's high-profile annual fashion week which starts on 13 September.
The link between cheap fashion in Britain's shops and shockingly poor worker conditions was again highlighted following the collapse of the eight-storey Rana Plaza garment manufacturing building.
Amin will use his visit to persuade UK retailers to pay a wage far in excess of the £25 (3,000 taka) a month earned by the Rana Plaza workers.
He will contrast the hardship endured by millions of Bangladeshi garment workers with the multi-million pound profits accumulated by retailers such as Topshop and Tesco, which (the latter through its F & F clothing range) sponsor London fashion week.
Tesco and other leading brands, includin
Sometimes, getting out the house and going to Starbucks with your laptop is the only way to get work and emails done. @StarbucksCanada
Just the threat of $4 a gallon fuel (gasoline, e10, e15 or diesel/biodiesel, ediesel) sends consumers fleeing towards electric vehicles!
September 16, 2013 by Joanna Schroeder
Today marks the official return date of E15, a 15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline fuel blend. The ethanol blend is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and can be used in cars 2001 or newer.
“We’re excited to see E15 back in Iowa. E15 provides many Iowans another low cost option compared to gasoline,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Based on conversations with retailers, consumers choosing E15 this morning have saved at least 20 cents per gallon compared to regular unleaded with no ethanol.”
E15nowavailablesign-JPG_000Iowa’s E15 retailers reported earlier this year that consumers had absolutely zero issues with registered E15 fueling, labeling, and engine performance when it was previously available from September 15, 2012 through May 31, 2013. Iowa’s E15 retailers also reported that E15 was sold at an average of nearly a 22-cent discount to regular (no ethanol) gasoline, and at nearly an 11-cent discount to E10, the most commonly used fuel in the nation.
“I know Marion-area motorists are happy to once again have low-cost E15 as an option,” said Linn Coop Oil Company Service Manager Jim Becthold. “When stations like Linn Coop are able to provide true fuel choice by not only offering E10, but also E15 and E85, the consumer wins.”
The IRFA also recently launched a new promotion campaign to promote E15 statewide and to highlight the availability of E15 at specific fueling locations in Iowa. The campaign features statewide radio ads and postcard mailings encouraging Iowa motorists to try the low-cost, environmentally-friendly fuel.
While several stations are in the process of registering, today E15 is available for all 2001 and newer vehicles at these eight Iowa locations:
◾Linn Coop Oil: 325 35th St. in Marion, Iowa
◾Fredericksburg Coop: 300 W. Main St. in Fredericksburg, Iowa
◾Kountry Korner: 312 E. Buchanan St. in Baxter, Iowa
◾Fast Stop: 22268 Highway 9 West in Cresco, Io
Refiners' don't seem to realize that they're being crushed between a rock and a hard place. It's the electric vehicle and it's quickly evolving technology that's crushing refiners against tumbling electrical energy prices from inexpensive natural gas, wind, solar and even sequestered coal that will very likely be cheaper than natural gas by the end of 2014. And inexpensive renewable energy storage! Failure to embrace inexpensive clean ethanol blends to their fullest extent only accelerates refiners loss of market share and final demise. E15, e20, e85 that isn't misrepresented by e50 and ediesel/ebiodiesel up to a maximum blend of 15% ethanol.
Study: Battery Energy Storage Benefits Solar, Not Wind
Everyone knows energy storage is the key to unlocking renewable energy’s full potential, right? Well, not always, says new research from Stanford University.
Utility-scale batteries make sense for storing electricity from large solar power systems, but not wind farms, according to analysis published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.
If true, this research could undercut one of the most promising opportunities to solve intermittency concerns from renewable power sources and better integrate wind and solar onto the grid.
Low battery image via Shutterstock
Can Energy Storage Solve Intermittency Issues?
Energy intermittency from renewables (meaning the relative unpredictability of the wind blowing or the sun shining) is one of the biggest challenges facing our transition to a clean energy economy.
Grid operators are most concerned with reliability, and they often overlook the climate and pollution issues that come from running coal and natural gas plants around the clock as baseload power resources.
While incredible technological advances in the ability to forecast weather and renewable output are happening today, there are still times when solar or wind output don’t match demand – which freaks out grid operators.
That’s where energy storage comes into the picture. Technologies like pumped-hydro storage or large battery systems can be paired with solar and wind to capture whatever power they generate whenever it’s available, providing grid operators with confidence it’ll be available when they need it to meet demand.
What’s EROI And Why Does It Matter?
As more and more renewables come online, large batteries have become more and more attractive as an energy storage option. But as with most developing technologies, they’re often expensive, and thus Stanford’s research focus.
EROI of battery storage for wind and solar
EROI of energy storage for wind and solar graph via Energy &
US Army Goes All Chevy Volt With New Hybrid EV
The US Army is working on a more fuel efficient, lightweight and protective multi-purpose vehicle to replace its notoriously outdated Humvee, and we’re shocked — shocked! — to learn that the new prototype features an all-electric drive. The new vehicle, called ULV (Ultra-Light Vehicle) primarily uses diesel fuel to power its electric motors but it can also go a few miles exclusively on its battery pack. Wow, Rush Limbaugh is going to have a field day with this one given his long record of slamming of electric vehicles, particularly GM’s Chevy Volt gas-electric hybrid.
Like the ULV, The Volt can run exclusively off its battery pack as well as its gasoline tank. So, let’s see what Rush has to say about the Army’s newfound friendship with electric drive vehicles.
Although Rush is still ranking on electric vehicles at every opportunity, as far as we know he has had nothing to say about the ULV (yet), so let’s fill a little space for him.
Army's new ULV is a hybrid EV.
Army looks to replace Humvee with hybrid EV (courtesy of US Army).
In a broadcast last year, transcribed on his website under the headline “Electric Vehicles and the Wussification of America,” Rush had this to say about EVs:
It turns out the internal combustion engine means more to freedom, liberty, economic advancement than any electric car ever will! The electric car is the product of cowards.
Wow, way to support our troops, Rush. The Department of Defense is up to its elbows in cutting edge EV projects, and the ULV is just one example. EV-to-grid systems are another, including a new $20 million EV-to-grid demonstration project involving 500 fleet vehicles.
Another example is Los Angeles Air Force Base, which has set a goal of transitioning 100 percent of its non-tactical fleet to EVs (LA AFB is also an early solar power adopter, btw). The Navy has also established a pilot project for EV readiness at its facilities that includes s
If the EPA doesn't significantly increase higher ethanol blends in the very near future then refiners of expensive $4.00 a gallon gasoline, diesel, biodiesel will see their market share significantly eroded by electric vehicles. Much higher blends of inexpensive ethanol are required and ediesel must be mandated (5%, 10% or a maximum of 15% ethanol blends within ediesel) to reduce the excessive retail pricing of diesel/biodiesel and gasoline.
Expensive dirty gasoline and diesel are pricing themselves out of the market! Replaced by inexpensive natural gas, sequestered coal, wind and solar powered electric vehicles! Goodbye!
The USDA must request large crops of corn and soybeans to contain inflated values of both corn and soybeans in 2014 and 2015 to lessen the exposure to potential drought. There may be a slight delay for inexpensive cellulosic ethanol. If refiners refuse to import inexpensive advanced sugarcane ethanol form Brazil then e100 produced from sugarcane and advanced cellulosic ethanol should be mandated for use in America.
Apple says iOS 7 will be available to download on Sept. 18
PHOTO Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, speaks on stage during the introduction of the new iPhone 5c in Cupertino, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. (AP / Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Michael Liedtke and Barbara Ortutay, The Associated Press
Published Friday, September 13, 2013 6:47PM EDT
CUPERTINO, Calif. -- Apple says its next mobile operating system, iOS 7, will be available as a free download on Sept 18.
Craig Federighi, head of software at Apple Inc., said at an event at the company's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters that "downloading iOS 7 is like getting an all new device."
The new system can be downloaded on the iPhone 4 and later models, as well as on the tablets beginning with the iPad 2.
Tepid Chinese response to new iPhone highlights Apple's challenge ahead
The iPhone's fingerprint scanner: what you need to know
Apple also says it expects to ship its 700 millionth iOS device next month. Apple CEO Tim Cook predicts that iOS 7 will become the most popular mobile operating system in the world.
The company is expected to unveil new phones later Tuesday.
3 Toxic Cosmetics You Should Replace Now
Posted: 09/12/2013 12:17 pm
by guest blogger Ava Anderson, natural beauty expert and safe cosmetics advocate
I always say that it is all about the ingredients, and I recommend using products without harmful ingredients in order to reduce your daily, weekly, yearly, and lifetime body burden of chemicals with known and suspected disease implications. Since up to 60 percent of what you put on your skin reaches your bloodstream (this increases to almost 100 percent with scalp, underarm, and groin exposure), it makes sense to use cosmetics that DO NOT add to your body burden of toxic chemicals.
Over time, you should replace all harmful personal care products, but here are three cosmetics we recommend tackling first:
1. Foundation. Foundation is a good place to start, as many women cover their whole face and neck with it daily. Liquid foundations contain many harmful chemicals, including the following, found in a major drugstore brand: propylene glycol, methylparaben, and propylparaben, all of which are considered endocrine disruptors. These are important to avoid because the endocrine system regulates ALL biological processes in the body, including development of the brain and nervous system, growth and function of the reproductive system, and metabolism and blood sugar regulation, as well as the functions of the ovaries, testes, pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN recently released a report calling endocrine disruptors a "global threat" to fertility and the environment. In 2011, another shocking study showed that methylparaben along with an endocrine disruptor widely found in food, BPA, turned healthy cells into cancer cells and rendered the breast cancer drug tamoxafin ineffective.
The same brand also contains ingredients that have the potential to be contaminated with cancer causers: PEG/PPG 10 dimethicone, PEG/PPG 18, retinyl acetate, tocopheryl acetate, laureth 7
Walmart To Ban Toxic Chemicals From Some Products
By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO 09/12/13 04:30 PM ET EDT
NEW YORK -- Wal-Mart announced Thursday that it will require its suppliers to phase out about 10 hazardous chemicals from personal care products, cosmetics and cleaning products sold in its stores.
It will also require the suppliers to disclose chemicals in those products.
The moves follow an announcement made by Procter & Gamble Co.., the world's largest consumer product maker, earlier this month that it will eliminate phthalates and triclosan from its beauty products by 2014. In 2012, Johnson & Johnson pledged to eliminate phthalates, triclosan, formaldehydes and parabens from all its personal care products globally.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says that beginning in January, the company will monitor progress on reducing and eliminating the chemicals in favor of more environmentally friendly alternatives and will begin to publicly report on it in January 2016.
In a conference call with the media, Andrea Thomas, Wal-Mart's senior vice president of sustainability, declined to immediately identify all chemicals being phased out, noting that the company wants to work collaboratively with suppliers before making that public. She said the retailer came up with the chemicals based on their environmental impact and whether there were greener alternatives. Experts believe that the germ-killing additive triclosan is on the list.
The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the safety of triclosan, commonly used in antibacterial soaps and other items. Some studies in animals have suggested that it could increase the risk of infertility, early puberty and other hormone-related problems, though results from animal studies don't always apply to humans.
"The objective of this policy is to help ensure that household cleaning, personal care, beauty and cosmetic products sold by Wal-Mart will minimize hazards to people or the environment," Wal-Mart said in a statement.
Japan Solar PV Industry Reaches 10 GW Milestone
New research conducted by NPD Solarbuzz and featured on their blog this past week shows that Japanese solar photovoltaic “PV” installations have now passed 10 GW for cumulative PV capacity, only the fifth country to reach the mark. Of the previous four — Germany, Italy, China, and the US — the latter two only reached the milestone within the past few months, highlighting Japan’s achievement.
Japan Hits 10 GW Milestone
ota-city-solar-power-japanWriting on the Solarbuzz website, NPD Group Vice President Finlay Colville pointed to three landmark high-points along Japan’s solar PV leadership, highlighting not only their recent 10 GW milestone, but also that Japan was the first country to reach the 1 GW of cumulative solar PV back in 2004. This was helped along by;
•The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) launched a subsidy program for residential PV systems as far back as 1994. Initially, the subsidy covered 50% of the cost of PV systems. The budget for FY 1994 was 2 billion Yen.
•Until 2005, Japan had the largest installed PV capacity of any country in the world. This early leadership position was achieved through a well-managed set of programs, coupled with attractive market incentives.
•The early growth of the Japanese PV market was a strong factor in establishing Japanese manufacturing as the first dominant force in the solar PV industry. Manufacturers that benefited from the first phase of government initiatives include several of the companies that are now leaders in the domestic PV industry revival: Sharp, Sanyo and Kyocera.
In the Face of Fukushima
Sadly, another factor that has to be considered in Japan’s recent increase in solar PV installation must be the fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear ‘disaster’ which followed the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami on March 11, 2011. Corollary evidence might suggest that the launch of the feed-in tariff program in July 2012 which was focused t