Spill at Tennessee Coal Plant Creates Environmental Disaster | Democracy Now!…….

Coal, not so clean after all.

Parts of Tennessee remain buried under toxic sludge today after a major disaster at a coal plant. A forty-acre pond containing toxic coal ash has collapsed, spilling out millions of gallons of coal ash. Environmentalists say the spill is more than thirty times larger than the Exxon Valdez, but the story has received little national attention.

And what exactly makes coal ash so toxic:

RICK HIND: Well, you’re talking about heavy metals like arsenic, mercury, lead, cadmium, chromium, and all of these metals are actually bioaccumulate in the environment. You saw pictures—in fact, if you go to The Tennessean website or the TVA website, you’ll see just these amazing aerial and on-site photographs of the damage. It reminds me of a volcanic eruption, if you remember the mudslides from Mount St. Helens. It’s just uprooting and moving houses off their foundations. As you said, sludge piling up six feet high, 400 acres covered, as well as fish kills. And now, much of that slug of toxicity, the heavy metals, mercury, for example, can bioaccumulate in fish 60,000 times. So you could see long-term damage from this particular disaster, as well as any leakage that’s been going on.

That’s why we’re calling for a criminal investigation, because really under the Clean Water Act, there’s supposed to be a contingency plan that anticipates this and prevents this kind of disaster. What happened here could happen again right on site at several other of the ponds still holding this toxic sludge. And every other coal plant in the country has a similar problem.

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Vote Stephen L. Johnson Top Eco-Villain of 2008…….

Mr. Johnson has had quite a year.

He killed the plans of 17 states to implement clean car standards by refusing to grant California’s waiver request, decided it was better to let polar bears dies than regulate carbon dioxide, and prefers more coal-fired power plants heating up the earth’s atmosphere.

This is your chance to vote Bush’s most loyal environmental destroyer, Stephen L. Johnson, top eco-villain of 2008 with a simple mouse click.

Let’s send global warming’s BFF packing with this award at the top of his sorry resume.

E.P.A. Ruling Could Speed Up Approval of Coal Plants | The New York Times…….

No one is a bigger Bush Administration tool for corporate polluters than Stephen L. Johnson. This last minute decision proves it.

Therefore, in order to commemorate the tenure of our soon to be replaced administrator of the EPA, I would like to nominate Mr. Johnson for the special honor of dick-head of the year.

Officials weighing federal applications by utilities to build new coal-fired power plants cannot consider their greenhouse gas output, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency ruled late Thursday. Some environmentalists fear the decision will clear the way for the approval of several such plants in the last days of the Bush administration.

The ruling, by Stephen L. Johnson, the administrator, responds to a decision made last month by the Environmental Appeals Board, a panel within the E.P.A., that had blocked the construction of a small new plant on the site of an existing power plant, Bonanza, on Ute tribal land in eastern Utah.

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Climate Change: It’s Evolving…….

Gee.  I didn’t think Bush or any of his toadies believed in evolution.  My bad.

From Think Progress:

Dobriansky also praised Bush for his “evolving” position on climate change action, claiming Bush has moved toward multilateralism at the end of his term:

She added: “President Bush said very early on in his administration, ‘we will act, we will learn and we will act again.’ And our approach has been an evolutionary one. I think you have seen an evolution from the beginning of the administration to the present time.

There has been virtually no evolution towards climate change multilateralism under Bush. In March 2001, Bush unilaterally repudiated Kyoto and has repeatedly rejected international climate agreements. Today is no different. The U.S. is continuing to stall progress at Poznan, still opposing a global cap-and-trade system because it is allegedly “too costly.”

The Capitulation Hat Trick…….

I’m sure glad the Democrats control Congress.

Otherwise, I might be worried Congress was busy giving the Big Three a 15 billion dollar handout with no strings attached.

Likewise, I also don’t have to concern myself with the possible scenario where the Democrats fund this give-away with money designed to help auto-makers build more fuel efficient vehicles, or the ultimate nightmare plan, where the Big Three take their free bailout cash and turn around use this money to sue the states which want to to enforce clean vehicle standards.

Whew!  Thank goodness, none of this is happening.

Bob Lutz, GM’s Corporate Klutz, Needs to Go!…….

Congress must think the American people are a bunch of chumps.

Why?

Well, once again, lawmakers are going to give billions of dollars of bailout money to the very same industry leaders who so successfully destroyed their businesses in the first place.

That makes perfect sense.

Does Congress really expect us to believe the current crop of auto executives are willing–or able–to radically change their thinking in a way that meets the challenges of a 21st century transportation industry.

I have serious doubts.

Don’t believe me.  Take a peek at the awesome leadership currently occupying General Motors Vice Chairman of Global Product Development slot.  Meet Bob Lutz.  Here are some of his greatest hits, courtesy of Think Progress.

1. Global warming is a “total crock of shit.”

Reuters reports that GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz defended his previous remarks dismissing global warming as a “total crock of shit.” Lutz said his views had no bearing on GM’s commitment to build environmentally-friendly vehicles. He added that those “spewing virtual vitriol” at him for disparaging climate change were “missing the big picture.” “My thoughts on what has or hasn’t been the cause of climate change have nothing to do with the decisions I make,” Lutz alleged.

2. Sure, the planet may be warming, but it is due to sun spots and certainly not CO2 emissions.

Lutz: I accept that the planet is heated, but I, like many noted scientists, I don’t believe in the CO2 theory.

Colbert: Exactly! I just think that people are leaving their toaster ovens open. [Or] it’s just sun-spot activity.

Lutz: In the opinion of about 32,000 of the world’s leading scientists, yes.

3. Lutz still believes Americans want sports ultility vehicles and large pick-up trucks and thinks GM’s only electric car, the Chevy Volt, is weak and unattractive.

LUTZ: Let me just get one thing straight here: There’s a lot of talk about well, General Motors doesn’t make the right kind of cars or General Motors built trucks too long. At $1.50 per gallon, the American public wants sport utilities and large pickup trucks.

America and the environment can no longer afford to support welfare dinosaurs like Bob Lutz.

White House, Democrats Reach Deal on $15 Billion Auto Aid | Reuters…….

I like how the Democrats continue to support the Bush Administration’s going out of business sale by giving out billions of dollars of corporate welfare with no strings attached.

The package, which Democratic leaders hope to win passage of next week and send to President George W. Bush, totals between $15 billion and $17 billion, the aide said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Once again, after the taxpayer, the biggest loser in this deal is the environment.  I don’t see any stipulation demanding the auto makers immediately switch production to plug-in hybrids and/or electric cars.

In fact, Congress plans to “pay for” this round of bailouts by allowing the Big Three to tap into a reserve set aside to prod Detroit into producing more fuel efficient cars.  Nice.

They say the breakthrough came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bowed to a demand by President Bush that any aid come from a fund that had been intended to help Detroit produce more fuel-efficient cars.

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