FERC accused of failing to address pipelines’ impacts

South Texas faces the prospect of 3 of these offshore LNG terminals off its pristine, environmentally sensitive coast if FERC holds true to its history

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) – is (supposedly) an independent tasked with regulating the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. According to its own website, it reviews proposals to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines as well as licensing hydropower projects.

Among FERC’s responsibilities, it:

  • Ensures the safe operation and reliability of proposed and operating LNG terminals and
  • Oversees environmental matters related to natural gas and hydroelectricity projects and other matters

However, according to a news report, “the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has rejected only two pipelines over the last 30 years out of the hundreds proposed, according to an investigation that paints the regulatory body as particularly cozy with the industry it oversees.”

For anyone involved in managing statistics, the truth will out – numbers don’t lie.

“Between mid-2010 and 2016, large energy companies scheduled at least 93 meetings with FERC officials, compared with the 17 meetings scheduled with environmental and public-interest groups, according to emails and official calendars.”

Here in South Texas, we’re facing the possibility – more likely probability – of 3 offshore LNG terminals off the coast of Brownsville. FERC will be reviewing these applications & considering the public comments they’ve received before determining whether or not to approve these applications.

Approving them would spell disaster for pristine, environmentally sensitive ecosystems in the area and potentially put large numbers of people at risk, should there ever be a leak or explosion, which the industry is well-known for having.

But with such a dark, almost rubber stamping history to go by, it doesn’t seem like there’s much light at the end of this tunnel for the citizens of South Texas, or for the endangered species that call this area home.

Time will tell but we shouldn’t hold our breath, hoping that this self-proclaimed quasi judiciary agency will do the “right” thing. Do you suppose it would help to wish on a lucky star instead?

Why Australia’s loss of 7,000 hectares of mangroves will have serious consequences

Dead mangrove forest off Australia's east coast, photo by James Cook University

Dead mangrove forest off Australia’s east coast, photo by James Cook University

Climate change has wrecked havoc not only on our weather patterns but on the world’s forest and ecological systems. And the impact is devastating.

In the U.S., severe drought and major insect infestations have been responsible for almost unimaginable die-offs of old growth forests. In Australia El Nino conditions have caused the die-off of a 7000 kilometer (approximately 4,349 miles) stretch of mangrove shoreline in the southern reaches of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Continue reading

Sale of primeval forests puts Central American Cloud Forest in jeapordy

Cloud forest 3Out-of-control pests and unsustainable logging practices.are killing our world’s forests. The latest victim-in-progress are Guatemala’s Cloud Forests of Cerro El Amay. Home to thousands of acres of untouched primeval trees and thriving diverse ecosystems, the local Maya have begun selling off the ancient forests which they had held in commons.

Continue reading

Protect our environment from improperly disposed meds on this World Environment Day

Today is World Environment Day. This isn’t a take-off-from-work holiday and probably a lot of folks may not even be aware of it at all. But as more awareness grows about climate change, the growing worldwide drought and ensuing water scarcity, it’s important to note that what we do has an impact on our surroundings – on our environment and particularly on the availability and drinkability of clean water.

Continue reading

Obama and 2 states to appeal ruling on federal protection for wolves – but who do the wolves appeal to?

Great Lalkes Gray WolfGreat Lake wolves have shown a recovery in numbers. Scientists, who consider the Great Lakes wolves’ territory to include nine states, have established populations of about 3,700 animals total in just three — Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Even so, a  federal judge’s recent order restored legal protection to gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region.

Continue reading

The “Race for Water Odyssey” to assess global ocean plastic pollution

Race for Water Odyssey graphic

It’s estimated that over 260 billion tons of plastic are currently polluting our oceans, accumulating within whirling pools of water or gyres. Of these five gyres, only one – the Great North Pacific Gyre (also known as the North Pacific Garbage Patch) – is being actively studied.

Scheduled to launch from Bordeaux, France, the Race for Water Odyssey (R4WO) aspires to reach the 5 gyres to study the accumulating waste in these remote areas. While studies on certain vortexes have already been conducted, this expedition will, for the first time  collect and analyze systematic and comparable data on all 5 of the planet’s gyres.. Continue reading

Green your online search this holiday season

Ecosia logoIt’s Black Friday, in case you’ve somehow forgotten or missed the massive pr. With the intense focus on shopping, I thought I’d pass along a way to help do something you can do that’s good for the environment while you are doing your holiday shopping this year.

Continue reading