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
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
Gina McCarthy @GinaEPA Read my op-ed on why we must #ActOnClimate now for the health and well-being of our children: huffingtonpost
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
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
Zarco 66 Stations to Sport Newly Created Brand
CSNews Online - Sep 19, 2013
LAWRENCE, Kans. -- Zarco 66, the first convenience store retailer in the United States to sell E15 at the pump, now sports a new name.
According to a blog posting written by Oil Express, the news outlet of Oil Price Information Service, Scott Zaremba, owner of eight Kansas City-area gas stations and convenience stores, has changed the name of the locations from Zarco 66 to Zarco USA.
In addition, on Monday, Zaremba began to take down Phillips 66 signs at his stores. All signage is expected to be replaced by his newly created "American Fuels" brand by tomorrow.
Phillips 66 forced Zaremba to rebrand, reported the news outlet. The Big Oil company allegedly only allowed him to sell E15 -- a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline -- under the canopy from the yellow-hosed flex-fuel dispenser, which would restrict sales to flex-fuel vehicles.
"I had to rebrand to bring the consumer E15," Zaremba told the news source.
Phillips 66 also required Zaremba to sell premium gasoline and promptly increased the price per gallon of such fuel by 20 to 40 cents above the expected market price, Oil Express reported.
Zarco USA will promote E15 by selling the fuel to the public for $1.99 per gallon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at one location tomorrow.
Forty gas stations in nine states currently sell E15 at the pump, according to Fuels America. The alternative fuel currently sells for an average of 10 to 20 cents per gallon less than regular gasoline. It is only recommended for use in vehicles model year 2001 or newer.
E15 has been the subject of considerable controversy. Multiple auto manufacturers have stated they would not honor warranty claims if E15 fuel is used.
Also, the American Petroleum Institute and AAA have expressed concerns about E15 due to possible engine problems it can cause, as well as the fact that a study conducted by the latter showed that more than 9
Poet venture primed for cellulosic ethanol
Sep. 19, 2013 11:08 PM
South Dakota-based Poet and its partner in producing ethanol from leaves, cobs and cornstalks plan to open their first cellulosic plant early next year.
By summer, Poet-DSM Advanced Biofuels should have any glitches worked out at the new plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa, and be fully operational with a capacity of 20 million gallons or more annually, said Steve Hartig, general manager of the joint venture. He spoke to about 120 people Thursday at the South Dakota Biotech Summit in Sioux Falls.
“We’ll certainly have a few surprises when we start up,” he said.
This is the first time either company has started a cellulosic ethanol plant. DSM, a global science company based in the Netherlands, brings expertise in the use of enzymes and yeasts; Poet brings experience in building and operating ethanol plants to the joint venture. The company also understands corn, the agriculture industry and farmers.
DSM invested $150 million in the $250 million plant called “Project Liberty,” for the partnership that was created in March last year. About 250 construction workers are building the plant next to Poet’s ethanol plant in Emmetsburg. The cellulosic part of the operation will have about 40 employees.
“We really saw the fit and the need that this is something that needs to get going,” Hartig said.
Besides a working partnership, the companies share a vision.
“It’s time to get our world moving toward a bio-based economy,” said Matt Merrit, director of public relations under the joint venture.
The top executives of Poet and DSM share a common goal of making the world less reliant on fossil fuels. For thousands of years, humans lived off of the land. They’ve only depended on fossil fuels for about 100 years, but the resource will run out, Hartig said.
“Really, looking forward, we need to get back to that sustainable lifestyle,” Merritt said.
With a diverse portfolio, DSM is a $13 billion company and world leade
Obama: Republicans ‘trying to mess with me’
By Juliet Eilperin, Published: September 20 at 2:37 pm
Speaking at a Ford Motor Co. plant in Missouri Friday, President Obama accused congressional Republicans of "trying to mess with me" by derailing basic government operations.
The sharply-personal remarks--made during a speech in which the president outlined his economic vision--came just hours after the House passed a continuing resolution on a largely party-line vote that would keep the government running while simultaneously defunding the Affordable Care Act. Because the Senate is expected to strip out the defunding plan when it considers the measure, the House action raises the prospect of a possible government shutdown at the end of the month.
“Unfortunately right now the debate is going on in Congress is not meeting the test of helping middle class families," Obama said. "They’re not focused on you. They’re focused on politics. They’re focused on trying to mess with me. They’re not focused on you."
The crowd responded with loud applause.
Obama, a former constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, also poked fun at lawmakers for failing to fulfill their fundamental job requirement.
“The most basic constitutional duty Congress has is to pass a budget," he said. "That’s Congress 101.”
Fight The Future: NYC Taxi of Tomorrow
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nissan-nv200-taxiThe Taxi of Tomorrow is most likely coming to New York City. As it stands, on October 28th all new non-hybrid taxis in the city will be a Nissan NV200, though there are still those opposing the program. New York, get ready for a Nissan invasion.
The Nissan NV200 is more of a van than a traditional sedan that is routinely used as cabs, and was the winner of the Taxi of Tomorrow contest. The Nissan NV200 was designed from the inside out using input from New York taxi drivers, medallion holders, and passengers. The NV200s offer interesting features such as more space for passengers, increased cargo room, and even a transparent roof so passengers can look up at the city. An electric version is even in the works specifically for taxi and delivery use.
So how is the NV200 on gas mileage? Well, about 24 miles per gallon in the city, which isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. The NV200 will only be replacing non hybrid cabs in the city however, and some NYC taxi driver operators aren’t happy with being told what to buy.
Lawsuits to prevent implementation of the Taxi of Tomorrow have been filed, claiming the vehicle is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act because it is not wheelchair accessible, although the Nissan NV200 can be retrofitted. Additionally, a few NYC taxi fleets have planned to retire their current no- hybrid cabs early and purchase new cabs that are not Nissan NV200s, likely using the old Crown Vics for as long as possible. With these new cabs in operation before the deadline, implementation of the 3 to 5 year plan could take much longer.
So why all the fuss over the NV200s? Well historically it seems that any change that impacts the The Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade is met with opposition – these are the guys who fought mandatory air conditioning in cabs. Concerning the NV2
Obama: GOP will send US into recession to prevent ObamaCare VIDEO
Kevin Bogardus - 09/21/13 06:08 AM ET
Video, Obama, 2nd Video Boehner
President Obama said conservative Republicans are willing to send America into a recession to stop ObamaCare as Washington is locked in another budget crisis.
With federal funds set to run out on Oct. 1, House Republicans passed legislation Friday to keep the government up and running, but defunded the Affordable Care Act. They have also threatened to tie a repeal of the law to legislation lifting the debt ceiling, which will need to be raised by mid-October.
Any move to defund ObamaCare, however, is a non-starter with Democrats. In his weekly address, Obama said “far right” Republicans are behind the threats in an attempt to stop the healthcare reform law.
“A faction on the far right of the Republican party who’ve convinced their leadership to threaten a government shutdown if they can’t shut off the Affordable Care Act. Some are actually willing to plunge America into default if they can’t defund the Affordable Care Act,” Obama said.
“Think about that. They’d actually plunge this country back into recession — all to deny the basic security of health care to millions of Americans.”
Obama said he will not negotiate with Republican lawmakers over raising the debt ceiling.
“We are a compassionate nation. We are the world’s bedrock investment. And doing anything to threaten that is the height of irresponsibility. That’s why I will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States,” Obama said.
On Friday, the president called Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to reiterate that claim.
Obama said Congress’s “most basic constitutional duty” is to pass a budget. But with the Senate expected to reject the House-passed spending bill, government funds could run out in little over a week and put key government services at risk.
“Military personnel, including those deployed overseas, won’t get their payc
Democrats push Reid to get more aggressive in shutdown battle
Alexander Bolton - 09/21/13 06:00 AM ET
Senate Democrats are urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to be aggressive in the standoff over a government shutdown with House Republicans.
They say Reid should counter the House Republican government funding bill by not only stripping language defunding ObamaCare, but by increasing funding for the rest of the government.
Democrats say Reid can afford to go on offense against Republicans given their division, and polls that show most voters would blame them if the government shuts down.
“We’re going to try to get as high a CR level as we can get,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking member of the Democratic caucus, referring to the stop-gap spending measure. “We are not going to be held hostage.
“We think it should be higher than the $988 [billion] level, absolutely. But we’re not going to have a negotiation that deals with extraneous issues,” he added. “We’re going to negotiate to get as a high a level as possible.”
But the first step for Democrats, Schumer said, is to remove the ObamaCare issue from the government funding resolution.
If Congress does not act by Oct. 1, large portions of the federal government will shut down due to lack of funding. Democrats believe Republicans will get most of the blame if that scenario comes to pass.
A recent CNN poll showed that 51 percent of the public would fault congressional Republicans for a shutdown, while only 33 percent would blame President Obama.
The House on Friday passed legislation funding government through mid-December. It extended government funding at the current level, which has been reported alternately as $988 billion and $986.3 billion.
Democrats want the Senate to adopt a higher number because it would serve as a precedent for boosting government funding levels for the rest of fiscal year 2014.
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told r
CBOT corn, soybeans tumble as U.S. harvest begins
Wheat down on profit-taking, good planting weather
Sep 20, 2013 6:08 PM
By: Julie Ingwersen
Chicago | Reuters
Chicago Board of Trade corn and soybean futures closed at their lowest in roughly a month Friday, pushed down by seasonal pressure from the start of the U.S. harvest, traders said.
Wheat followed the weaker trend on profit-taking after Thursday's rally and news of favourable planting weather in the U.S. Plains.
At the CBOT, December corn settled down 8-1/2 cents at $4.51 per bushel, its lowest close since Aug. 13, but held above psychological support at $4.50 (all figures US$).
November soybeans ended down 24-1/4 cents at $13.15-1/4 a bushel, the lowest since Aug. 22, and December wheat fell 10-3/4 cents to $6.46-1/4 a bushel.
For the week, the benchmark November soybean contract fell 66-1/2 cents a bushel, or 4.8 per cent, its first drop in seven weeks and biggest since May 2012.
"It's harvest time and we've got seasonal pressure. Also, we did get the finishing rains for some of the late crop. The market really stopped its rally on soybeans when the temperatures cooled and the rains came," said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.
Additional pressure came from funds liquidating net long positions in CBOT soybeans.
During the session, Informa Economics, a closely watched research firm, raised its estimate of U.S. 2013 soybean production to 3.224 billion bushels, above USDA's current forecast for 3.149 billion.
Informa also projected that U.S. soybean plantings for 2014 would reach 83.6 million acres, topping the 2009 record of 77.5 million acres by 8 percent.
Bumper corn harvest
December corn posted its third straight weekly decline, falling 1.7 per cent as the market reacted to the prospect of a huge U.S. crop. The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week forecast corn output at a record 13.8 billion bushels, and a weekly crop report showed the harvest was four per c
Is Brazilian sugarcane the answer to U.S. biofuel needs?
Ethanol made from sugarcane may be able to supplement corn-based ethanol produced in the United States, which would help meet U.S. government targets for increased biofuel consumption.
By Stephen Edelstein, Guest blogger / September 21, 2013
Is Brazilian sugarcane the perfect biofuel for American drivers?
Brazil believes ethanol made from sugarcane can supplement corn-based ethanol produced in the United States, which would help meet U.S. government targets for increased biofuel consumption.
Under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the U.S. is required to gradually increase the consumption of biofuels. The goal is to increase production from 4.7 billion gallons per year in 2007 to 36 billion gallons per year in 2022.
As of August 31, Brazil has shipped 330 million gallons of sugarcane ethanol to the U.S., compared to 267 million gallons during the same period in 2012.
Brazil exported a total of 403 million gallons to the U.S. last year.
Those exports can now compete head-to-head with U.S. ethanol produced from corn. In December 2011, Congress ended most ethanol subsidies, including a protective tariff of 54 cents per gallon on imported ethanol.
Two groups are working to promote sugarcane for use as a biofuel: UNICA, the trade group that represents the Brazilian sugarcane industry, and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (also known as Apex-Brasil), a government agency focused on economic development.
One advantage sugarcane ethanol has over corn-based ethanol is in productivity. One acre of crops produces roughly 300 gallons of corn ethanol, but the rate for sugarcane ethanol is closer to 600 gallons per acre.
Importing ethanol could also help sidestep criticism over domestic ethanol production's impact on food production, land use, water consumption, and carbon emissions.
Still, it's difficult to tell whether Americans will want any of that ex
EPA Announces August Biodiesel Production Figures
USAgNet - 09/19/2013
The EPA reported 148 million gallons of biodiesel production for the month of August, putting year-to-date volume at a record pace of nearly 916 million gallons.
With more than 1 billion gallons of production in each of the past two years, biodiesel is the first EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide. The industry has surpassed RFS targets since the program began and is on track to do so again this year.
The production volumes are reported under the Biomass-based Diesel category of the RFS. To view the figures, visit the EPA's website here. The monthly numbers show a total of more than 177 million gallons of Biomass-based Diesel in August. That total includes nearly 30 million gallons of renewable diesel, a similar diesel replacement made with the same resources but using a different technology.
For the year, biodiesel and renewable diesel together have already exceeded 1 billion gallons, with nearly 1.1 billion gallons total.
Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is produced in nearly every state in the country and supports some 50,000 jobs. The National Biodiesel Board is the U.S. biodiesel trade association.
EPA releases August biodiesel production figures
Together, biodiesel and renewable diesel have exceeded production of 1 billion gallons this year
Updated: 21 September 2013 | 12:00 pm
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported a record pace for year-to-date production of biodiesel.
For the month of August, the EPA reported 148 million gallons of biodiesel production, which puts volume at nearly 916 million gallons so far this year, according to a news release.
With the addition of 30 million gallons of renewable diesel, a similar alternative fuel made with a different technology, 177 million gallons of biodiesel were produced in August.
Together, biodiesel and renewable diesel have exceeded production of 1 billion gallons so far this year.
Iowa biodiesel producers made 184 million gallons of biodiesel in 2012, or 17 percent of the nation’s biodiesel, according to the Iowa Biodiesel Board on its website.
“Right now we’re producing great volumes, we’re on pace to set another record this year and all that is is proving the need to increase our renewable volume obligation within the RFS (Renewable Fuel Standard) each year,” said T.J. Page, communications director for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.
Iowa is the No. 1 biodiesel producing state in the nation, Page added. There are 13 biodiesel plants throughout the state, according to the biodiesel board.
“The production pace demonstrates that the Renewable Fuel Standard is working as intended to diversify our nation’s fuel supply and stimulate domestic energy production,” said Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board.
Tri-State Biodiesel's triple play in fashion, tribute and heating
By Ron Kotrba | September 17, 2013
Since 2009, Tri-State Biodiesel has supplied the generators that run the Twin Towers Tribute Lights with B50; this year, the lights ran on B99.9
Photo: Tri-State Biodiesel
Last week, New York City’s Lincoln Center, one of the most well-known arts and cultural institutions in the world, was fashion central as the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, New York City's single largest media event, kicked into high gear. Designers from across the globe rolled out their spring 2014 lines sported by supermodels strutting down runways whose lights were powered by B20.
Dehran Duckworth, a managing partner at Tri-State Biodiesel, said this was the first year Tri-State Biodiesel won the contract to supply the Aggreko plc generators and temperature control equipment for the virtual “tent city” with its 20 percent biodiesel fuel. “It was an uphill push getting them to agree to run on B20,” Duckworth told Biodiesel Magazine. Bidding against other suppliers, Duckworth said Tri-State Biodiesel was able to hit the right price point since New York State only taxes the petroleum portion of a B20 blend.
“They said, ‘Your fuel is so clean that it shut down our units, and we had to change the filters,” Duckworth said. Fortunately, Aggreko was savvy enough to understand that the cleansing properties of the biodiesel blend freed up residues left behind from years of petroleum use. He said in the future, Aggreko may dedicate some of its equipment for biodiesel blends to avoid similar issues.
Earlier this month in New York City, the Twin Towers Tribute Lights shined brightly, as they have each year since the terrorist attack violently took the World Trade Center Twin Towers down on Sept. 11, 2001. The lights, said to be the strongest shafts of light ever projected from Earth into the night sky, are a visual memorial to those who were lost on that fateful date, and are turned on at suns
In 2009, Tri-State Biodiesel began supplying the generators that run the tribute lights with a 50 percent blend of biodiesel. This year, however, the generator supplier, Cat Entertainment Services, agreed to run the lights on B99.9 supplied by Tri-State Biodiesel.
This year marks the fourth year for Tri-State Biodiesel’s Bioheat program that seeks to convert B20 Bioheat users in the New York City area to B99.
Coburn predicts ObamaCare defunding 'tactic' won't be successful VIDEO
Kevin Bogardus - 09/22/13 12:17 PM ET
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said Sunday that Republicans won’t be able to defund ObamaCare, despite many conservatives pushing to end the healthcare reform law.
Speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Coburn said House Republicans attaching a provision to defund ObamaCare to the short-term spending bill they passed on Friday has helped highlight the law’s problems. But the move in the end will not be successful, according to the Oklahoma Republican.
“I think it’s a great attempt to raise the issue of some of the weaknesses and problems with ObamaCare, but it’s not a tactic we can actually carry out and be successful,” Coburn said.
The government is set to run out of funds on Oct. 1 and the Senate, which is in Democratic hands, is expected to reject the GOP spending bill due to its anti-ObamaCare provision. The debate over whether to force a government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act has split Republicans, with many sniping at Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has forced the issue.
Coburn, a strident budget hawk, cited the Congressional Research Service (CRS) as well as Republicans not having the votes in the Senate to defund ObamaCare. He said if it was possible, he “would be in the fight.”
“We don’t have the ability, both according to CRS nor politically, do we have the ability to put a total stop and defund ObamaCare,” Coburn said. “It would be nice if we did. I would be in the fight.”
Obama tells families of Navy Yard victims: 'We can't accept this'
Kevin Bogardus - 09/22/13 06:32 PM ET
President Obama delivered a somber speech on Sunday at a memorial for the Navy Yard mass shooting’s 12 victims, saying "we can't accept this" and must address gun violence.
Speaking at the Marine Barracks in Washington, Obama said he too often has had to comfort grieving families from mass shootings. The president said he is worried that there is “a creeping resignation” among Americans that nothing can be done in response to tragedies like the shooting last Monday.
“Sometimes I fear there is a creeping resignation that these tragedies are just the way it is. That this is somehow the new normal,” Obama said, but insisting that “we cannot accept this” as a nation.
“We must insist here today that there is nothing normal about innocent men and women being gunned down where they work. There is nothing normal about our children being gunned down in their classrooms. There is nothing normal about children dying in our streets from stray bullets. No other advanced nation endures this kind of violence. None.”
Obama noted that other countries like Australia and the United Kingdom reformed their laws after they experienced mass shootings, making them a rarity. The president said the availability of guns here in the United States is the reason why.
“The main difference that sets our nation apart, what makes us so susceptible to so many mass shootings is that we don’t do enough, we don’t take the basic commonsense actions to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people. What’s different in America, it’s easy to get your hands on a gun and a lot of us know this,” Obama said.
Obama recounted stories of the victims from the shooting, including Arthur Daniels, whose 14-year-old son was also shot and killed in 2009. The president said the nation’s grieving for the families is not enough and that action must be taken.
“Our tears are not enough. O
Massachusetts Clean Economy Grows 11.8% To 80,000 Jobs
With the way Massachusetts’ clean energy economy is growing these days, state residents may need to start celebrating a different kind of green than Boston Celtics jerseys.
The Bay State’s clean energy industry kept booming this year, increasing green jobs by 11.8% from 2012 to 2013, according to the 2013 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report.
Green growth has been fast, strong, and diverse across the state, benefitting from smart government policy and a combination of access to finance and cutting-edge research. Add it all up, and you get an economic success story with a sustainable twist.
2013 Massachusetts green economy image via MassCEC
24% Green Job Growth In Two Years
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report is compiled by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), and 2013 is the third year it’s been published. The report tracks the size and growth of green jobs and businesses across the state through direct business surveys and interviews, and defines a clean energy firm or clean energy worker as one engaged in whole or part with clean energy technology.
And make no mistake – Massachusetts’ green economy is growing fast. Since the first report, the state’s clean energy economy has grown 24% and added 15,500 jobs. That’s more than eight times faster than an overall 3% economic growth rate for all industries statewide.
Massachusetts green job growth chart via MassCEC
Massachusetts now boasts 79,994 green jobs across 5,557 businesses – 1.9% of all jobs statewide, spread across every corner of the state and nearly every aspect of the clean energy economy. More than half of these firms are small businesses, meaning five or fewer full-time employees, but the majority of job creation came from new businesses and startups.
But even more promising, 27% of employers say they have current openings they expect to fill in the next three months. 83% of green jobs added si