EPA standards fuel rethinking

Sunday, September 30, 2007

From an article by Rick Barrett in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Tougher environmental regulations are continuing to drive changes in the small-engine industry, similar to what's happened with car and truck manufacturers.

For the small-engine makers, represented in Wisconsin by Briggs & Stratton Corp., Kohler Co., Generac Power Systems, Mercury Marine Inc. and BRP International, the total estimated costs will rise to $620 million by 2037, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

What's more, the makers of outdoor lawn-and-garden equipment, such as Ariens Co. and John Deere, are affected by what happens with the engine manufacturers.

"Things are in a huge state of flux," said Gregory Weekes, a John Deere product marketing manager. . . .

Kohler Co. is spending $11 million on research to develop cleaner engines. The company wants to meet EPA requirements without the use of catalytic converters or other bolt-on devices, said Richard Koehl, director of marketing and quality.

Paul Hawken, Environmentalist, Entrepreneur, Journalist, Author -- Lawrence University, Nov. 6

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Paul Hawken
Environmentalist, Entrepreneur, Journalist, Author
Tuesday, November 6, 2007, 11:10 a.m.
Lwrence University Chapel

Since the age of 20, Paul Hawken has dedicated his life to sustainability and changing the relationship between business and the environment. He has written extensively about the impact of commerce on living systems, served as a consultant to governments and corporations on economic development, industrial ecology, and environmental policy, and has founded and run several ecological businesses.

Hawken has written seven books, which collectively have been published in more than 50 countries in 27 languages and have sold more than 2 million copies. Among them are *Growing a Business,* which became the basis of a 17-part PBS series that Hawken hosted and produced, and *The Ecology of Commerce, *which was voted the no. 1 college text on business and the environment in 1998 by professors in more than 60 business schools. His 1999 book, *Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution,*was hailed by President Bill Clinton as one of the five most important books in the world today. Hawken's latest book, *Blessed Unrest,* released in the spring of 2007, examines the history of the environmental and social justice movement in which he estimates as many as two million organizations worldwide have participated.

In addition to his writing, Hawken has founded and run numerous ecological businesses, including Smith & Hawken, the popular garden and catalog retailer, as well as several of the country's first natural food companies that relied solely on sustainable agricultural methods.

Hawken has served on the board of many environmental organizations, among them Friends of the Earth and the National Audubon Society, and been honored with numerous awards, including the Green Cross Millennium Award for Individual Environmental Leadership presented by Mikhail Gorbachev in 2003.

*Utne Reader* magazine named Hawken one of its "One Hundred Visionaries who could Change our Lives" in 1995.

ASPO conference confirms a peak in global oil production by 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2007

From an analysis by Douglas Low on EnergyBulletin.net:

A conference held in Cork, Ireland by the Association for the Study of Peak oil and Gas (ASPO) last week heard representatives from industry forecast that the best data available data pointed to reserves of 250 billion barrels of yet-to-find global conventional oil, and as a result oil production would plateau at less than 100 million barrels per day before 2020.

This was followed up by a range of speakers who stated that current trends in bringing new projects onstream indicate that global oil production would peak on or before 2012, a forecast that coincides with the latest announcement from International Energy Agency that an oil crunch will occur by 2012

Petroleum pipeline violations alleged

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

From a story by Barry Adams in the Wisconsin State Journal about construction of a pipeline to carry oil from Canadian tar sands to refineries in the Chicago area:

A Texas company installing two pipelines from Superior to Delavan was asked this month to stop construction on the 321-mile project following alleged multiple violations of its state-issued permit.

The state Department of Natural Resources has issued a "notice of violation " to Enbridge Energy for failure to follow the guidelines of a dredging, grading and bridge permit. The DNR is also reviewing a letter of response from Enbridge to determine if its plans will correct the problems and if further enforcement action is required.

The DNR does not have the authority to halt the project but could refer the case to the state Department of Justice, which could go to court. Fines could reach up to $5,000 a day.
In addition to the environmental issues raised by other groups, RENEW previously questioned the value of the pipeline in a letter to the DNR:
1) How much petroleum can be extracted from the tar sands;
2) how much natural gas will be available for the extraction process;
3) how much the refined petroleum will help U.S. gasoline supplies compared to ethanol production; and
4) how much of the refined product will even reach Wisconsin.

Neenah brands go carbon neutral

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

From a story on Environmental Leader:

Neenah Paper says that six of its brands, Classic Crest, Classic Linen, Classic Laid, Classic Columns, Classic Cotton, and Starwhite brands, are now manufactured carbon neutral.

Neenah says it has reduced its net reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by buying Green-e certified renewable energy and other renewable energy sources, and by making energy saving upgrades - the company says it has reengineered its process water treatment system at its Neenah, Wis., mill to operate at significantly reduced noise levels and increased treatment efficiency while at the same time consuming less energy.

Neenah first purchased over 10 million kWh of Green-e certified renewable energy from Wisconsin’s We Energies in August 2006, and has more than quadrupled its commitment to 48.7 million kWh. Neenah joined the Chicago Climate Exchange in May.

Interview with Richard Heinberg

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Financial Sense Newshour broadcasts several interviews on peak oil, including a recent interview with Richard Heinberg.

The Financial Sense Newshour's site has a little on Heinberg, as an introduction to the interview:

Richard Heinberg is one of the world's foremost Peak Oil (oil depletion) educators and is a Research Fellow of Post Carbon Institute. He is the award-winning author of seven books including Powerdown, The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies; Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World; and The Oil Depletion Protocol: A Plan to Avert Oil Wars, Terrorism, and Economic Collapse.

Mr. Heinberg is a journalist, educator, lecturer, and a Core Faculty member of New College of California, where he teaches a program on "Culture, Ecology and Sustainable Community." His monthly MuseLetter has been published since 1992 and his essays and articles have appeared widely and in many languages. He was featured prominently in the documentary film The End of Suburbia, he has been quoted in Time magazine, and his work has been discussed in articles syndicated by Reuters and the Associated Press. Since 2002, he has given over two hundred lectures on oil depletion to a wide variety of audiences – from insurance executives to peace activists, from local and national elected officials to Jesuit volunteers. He and his wife Janet Barocco live in Santa Rosa, California, in an energy-efficient home. He is also an avid amateur violinist.
Heinberg's newsest book is titled Peak Everything.

Waupun Utilities goes green

Sunday, September 23, 2007

From a story in the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen:

WAUPUN — Two new photovoltaic solar panels are up and operational at the Waupun Utilities headquarters, providing 9,000 kilowatt hours of emission-free electricity each year, or enough to power three energy-conscious homes.

"The new solar panels demonstrates our commitment to the use of clean, renewable energy," said Zachary Bloom, general manager. "It is our objective to be a model for cost-effective conservation initiatives and the efficient use of energy."

The solar panels, which recently became operational, are equipped with sunlight-tracking technology so they can move and tilt with the sun's path across the sky, increasing the system's efficiency by as much as 30 percent.

"They will be in operation in the winter also," said Bloom.

Finding the green, green home

Friday, September 21, 2007

From a story by Linda Falkenstein on the Daily Page of Isthmus:
While new construction often has a green-built component and Energy Star labels on appliances, someone looking to buy an older home in an established neighborhood, especially one that's had environmentally conscious upgrades — added insulation, better windows, energy-efficient appliances or maybe even solar panels — will find it difficult to find that information with a quick search of the Multiple Listing Service. While you can search for price, neighborhoods, numbers of bedrooms and bathrooms, or lakefront property, you can't search for an energy-efficient property. And where there's a need, there's soon a service to fill it.

There are a number of real estate agents in the Madison area who are interested in helping clients find homes that fit their criteria for environmental soundness — and they're also committed to raising the consciousness of homeowners overall about the efficiency of their homes.

Live Lightly Tour comes to Milwaukee, Sept. 24

Thursday, September 20, 2007

From the Web site of the Live Lightly Tour:

We love living small…we love living sustainably…and we love teaching others how to do it for themselves. So…we’re hitting the road to spread the love! On September 17, we will launch[ed] our tour and travel the U.S. in an RV powered by straight vegetable oil.
The RV will pull into Outpost Natural Foods (Capitol location, 100 E. Capitol Dr.) at 3:00 p.m. on September 24, 2007.

The RV's specs:

+Fleetwood Flair
+32′ long, 8′ wide
+Diesel “Pusher” (engine is located in the rear, under the bed)
+GMC 6.5 liter V8 Engine
+Veggie Oil Conversion: Golden Fuel Systems Custom Installation
+90 gallon veggie oil tank/18 gallon diesel tank
+Onboard gathering and filtration system
+Grease passes through a pre-filter, and three 8 micron filters before hitting the injectors
+Rated to -20 degrees F
+Roof-top solar panels provide partial solar power
+Flexsteel couch/seating
+King bed in rear/Dinette and Couch both convert to beds
+3 burner gas stove with oven (and it fits my stoneware muffin pan! hooray!)
+6 cubic sq. ft fridge/freezer (new)
+TV in front and rear for watching DVD’s…equipped with DirectTV (not activated)
+Cabin air conditioner/Roof-top air in front and rear
+Large enclosed roof-top luggage carrier

The right to dry: A green movement roiling America

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

From an article by Anne Marie Chaker in the Wall Street Journal:

BEND, Ore. -- It was a sunny, 70-degree day here in Awbrey Butte, an exclusive neighborhood of big, modern houses surrounded by native pines.

To Susan Taylor, it was a perfect time to hang her laundry out to dry. The 55-year-old mother and part-time nurse strung a clothesline to a tree in her backyard, pinned up some freshly washed flannel sheets -- and, with that, became a renegade.

The regulations of the subdivision in which Ms. Taylor lives effectively prohibit outdoor clotheslines. In a move that has torn apart this otherwise tranquil community, the development's managers have threatened legal action. To the developer and many residents, clotheslines evoke the urban blight they sought to avoid by settling in the Oregon mountains.

"This bombards the senses," interior designer Joan Grundeman says of her neighbor's clothesline. "It can't possibly increase property values and make people think this is a nice neighborhood." . . .

Nationwide, about 60 million people now live in about 300,000 "association governed" communities, most of which restrict outdoor laundry hanging, says Frank Rathbun, spokesman for the Community Associations Institute, an Alexandria, Va., group that lobbies on behalf of homeowners associations.

But the rules are costly to the environment -- and to consumers -- clothesline advocates argue. Clothes dryers account for 6% of total electricity consumed by U.S. households, third behind refrigerators and lighting . . .

RENEW's Michael Vickerman chronicled the relationship with his clothesline in Meet My Solar Dryer.

Be aware of mercury in light bulbs

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

From a story by Alex Nussbaum in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

If a light bulb can be hip, compact fluorescents are "it" these days. The corkscrew-shaped bulbs last six times as long as conventional incandescent lights, use 75% less electricity and are a simple way to reduce global-warming pollution.

But each bulb also contains a tiny bead of mercury, a toxic metal blamed for poisoning waters and fish. Here's a primer based on details the Environmental Protection Agency:

Q. How much mercury is in a bulb?

A. The average compact fluorescent bulb contains 5 milligrams of mercury. When the bulb's on, electricity zaps the liquid, starting a chain reaction that eventually lights your home.

Used properly, the bulbs are safe, the EPA says. But with sales climbing, experts worry about the accumulated effect of tossing tens of thousands of bulbs in the trash every year. Mercury can impair neurological development, especially among children, and can also damage the kidneys and liver. Most people are exposed by eating seafood from contaminated waters.

Q. So how do I dispose of a bulb safely?

A. Many municipal recycling programs don't take the bulbs. Compact fluorescents are considered hazardous waste, making them costly for towns to handle. Home Depot collects used bulbs in Canada, but so far the option isn't available in the United States. It's expensive for retailers to handle the bulbs, too. The EPA says it's working with manufacturers and retailers to expand disposal options.

In some jurisdictions, bulbs are collected and recycled. Call your municipality. . . .

Q. So what's so green about the bulbs?

A. They prevent more mercury pollution than they might cause, the EPA says. Most mercury in the air comes from burning coal to produce energy, and fluorescent bulbs use a lot less energy than traditional lighting. A power plant emits 10 milligrams of mercury to operate an incandescent bulb compared with 2.4 milligrams to run a compact fluorescent for the same time, the agency says.

Lightening Earth's load

Monday, September 17, 2007

From an article by Lee Bergquist and Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Fort Atkinson - Scores of residents are pledging to cut their appetite for fossil fuels to fight global warming.

It's called the "Atkinson Diet," and it represents a shift in the way consumers and businesses are thinking about the environment across Wisconsin.

Some examples:

• Homeowners are taking steps to reduce energy costs and their environmental impact by installing energy-saving light bulbs in record numbers. About 1.2 million of the compact fluorescent bulbs were sold at a discount last fall, up 9% from 2005. This fall, state retailers expect to sell 275,000 energy-efficient holiday lights, said Sara Van de Grift of the state Focus on Energy program. That's 15 times as many as last year.

• The number of solar-powered homes participating in an annual showcase across the state has doubled since last year, and interest in solar power has spread from environmental education centers to businesses such as Kohl's Department Stores and GE Healthcare, the largest producer of sun-powered electricity in Wisconsin.

• Golf courses are using organic fertilizer rather than petroleum-based fertilizers, while hotels and bed and breakfasts are taking steps to save energy, conserve water and promote recycling. Travel Green Wisconsin has seen a tripling this year in these and other tourism-related businesses that have reduced their environmental impact.

Public opinion surveys document the growing concerns about global warming. Though many once doubted the problem, the public is more attuned to the link between the use of fossil fuels and climate change. As a response, they are looking for ways to use less gasoline and other fuels.

"It's clear the tenor of the debate has changed in the past year," said Michael Kraft, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Soybean crush plant pushing ahead

Friday, September 14, 2007

From an article by Gine Duwe the Janesville Gazzette:

EVANSVILLE-A plan to build the state's first soybean crush facility in Evansville moved forward today with Landmark Services Cooperative announcing a $4 million commitment to match a possible state grant.

The project is not a 100 percent go, but the pieces are falling together, Landmark President Larry Swalheim said.

"We're pretty confident that if everything works out the way we think it will, that it will be a go," he said.

Wisconsin is the only state among the top 13 soybean producing states that does not have a crush facility, where beans are crushed to extract the oil, which is used to produce biodiesel fuel.

Landmark is working with legislators to ensure that a $4 million grant for the development of a crush plant remains in the proposed state budget, Swalheim said.

Google.org issues RFP for innovative transportation solutions

Thursday, September 13, 2007

From Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google:

Google.org is committed to finding innovative transportation solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. Earlier this summer, Google.org launched its RechargeIT Initiative to accelerate the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid technology through technical demonstrations, grant-making, advocacy and investments. As part of this initiative, we are issuing a $10 million request for investment proposals (RFP). We plan to invest amounts ranging from $500,000 to $2,000,000 in selected for-profit companies whose innovative approach, team and technologies will enable widespread commercialization of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, electric vehicles and/or vehicle-to-grid solutions. This RFP is global in scope, and we encourage responses from companies anywhere in the world.
Access the full RFP announcement here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

From WKOW-TV, Madison:

The ride on a handful of Madison Metro buses is about to get quieter and cleaner. The agency unveiled of five hybrid buses on Tuesday at the UW Arboretum.

Metro is promising these buses could cut fuel consumption by as much as half compared to traditional diesel buses. The technology is similar in concept to hybrid cars. Electric batteries will power the bus when it's idling or going at slow speeds. They're located under that hump in the back of the bus, a design change over traditional buses.

Manufacturer General Motors sais they'll use less fuel, which is good in times of high energy costs, and they'll emit less pollution.
Metro general manager Chuck Kamp said the agency will wait and see if the five new vehicles fulfill those promises before the city orders more. "To allow us to collect data on fuel economy, to collect data on maintenance costs, both labor costs and parts costs, and do a full analysis to see if this is the direction we should be going in the future," said Kamp.

The UW helped purchase two of the buses, which will run on campus-specific routes. The seat configuration in those buses are also different. A wider aisle should help accommodate large backpacks. The other three buses will rotate on other routes in Metro's service area.

GM said so far there are 730 of those buses in use in the U.S. and Canada. Kamp said these five in Madison are believed to be the first in use in Wisconsin. He also said it will be a week or two before those buses hit the road, as some drivers still need to be trained on them.

Watch the video.

Bus rapid transit, Sept. 17

Presentation & Discussion
Monday, Sept. 17th, 6:00 p.m.
Madison Central Library

Madison Area Bus Advocates is holding its general annual meeting on September 17, 2007, 6:00-8:00 p.m. in Room 202 of the Madison Central Public Library.

The focus of the meeting will be bus rapid transit and/or express bus service. There will be a short video and oral presentation, with ample time for discussion afterward. The meeting is open to everyone.

Madison Area Bus Advocates feels that bus rapid transit on arterial streets in Madison has the potential for rapid or semi-rapid urban transit that could be developed in a matter of a few years and could be cost effective. Fast, limited-stop service has the potential to stimulate economic development along transit corridors while reducing traffic congestion and facilitating non-auto travel.

Six pipelines blown up in Mexico

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

From an article by Reed Johnson in the Los Angeles Times:

MEXICO CITY -- -- In an apparent case of politically motivated sabotage, six explosions blew apart oil and natural gas pipelines operated by Mexico's Pemex state oil and gas monopoly early Monday in Veracruz and Tlaxcala states, causing fires and forcing the evacuation of 15,000 people from surrounding towns.

The blasts forced Pemex to shut down at least four affected pipelines and prompted federal authorities to close two major roads. No injuries were reported.

Mexico is the world's sixth-largest oil producer and a major supplier of petroleum to the U.S. The outages drove the price of oil above $78 a barrel in futures trading Monday. . . .

The attacks have hit Pemex, one of Mexico's largest revenue-generating sources, in a year when the company already is suffering from a drop in exports. Only an estimated decade's worth of reserves remain at the company's Cantarell field in the Gulf of Mexico, where production has been declining. The country depends heavily on oil production to help fill the government's coffers, and further cuts could affect government budgeting and even trigger a deeper financial emergency.

Second Thoughts on Peak Oil, discussion, Sept. 11

Dr. Robert D. Langenkamp, somewhat of a contrarian on an early end to cheap oil, will discuss his Second Thoughts on Peak Oil during a brown bag lunch at noon on Sept. 11 at 222 S. Hamilton Street.

Anyone may attend and participate in the discussion.

Professor Langenkamp is director of the National Energy-Environment Law and Policy Institute at the University of Tulsa. After 15 years as a trial lawyer, he left private practice to serve in the U.S. Department of Energy as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil, Natural Gas & Shale Resources (1977-1981) and as Deputy Assistant Secretary, Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves and Divestment (1997-1998). He lectures and writes in the areas of oil and gas, privatization and energy policy.

He is the recipient of numerous awards including among many others, the Patriotism in Energy Award from the International Society of Energy Advocates, the Silver Medal for Outstanding Service to the U.S. Department of Energy and the Fenell Award for Public Policy. His career has taken him to Ghana for the African Financial Summit in 1999, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Turkey as a consultant for USAID, Romania, where he headed a U.S. Energy delegation to Bucharest, and Venezuela to negotiate nationalization of petroleum assets owned by certain U.S. interests. He was a consultant for Hagler-Bailly (USAID) in Kazakhstan, Georgia, prior to returning to the TU College of Law faculty. Professor Langenkamp received his undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Stanford University and the JD from Harvard Law School.

Oil refinery expansion raises lots of questions

Monday, September 10, 2007

From a column by James Rowen in The Capital Times:

You can expect to be reading and hearing a lot in the weeks and months ahead about Murphy Oil, and don't confuse it with the furniture cleanser that Colgate-Palmolive sells as Murphy Oil Soap.

We're talking Murphy Oil Co., the Arkansas-based energy company that sells gasoline under the Spur brand, and separately under Murphy signs at about 1,000 Wal-Marts around the country.

And runs the only oil refinery in Wisconsin.

The refinery is tucked somewhat out of sight and mind in Superior, on the Great Lake by the same name, where Murphy Oil cranks out 35,000 gallons of gasoline a day.

If it can find an investment partner with deep pockets, Murphy wants to spend $6 billion on a substantial expansion to 235,000 gallons a day.

That's a big increase.

And one that will become a matter of debate and concern, for several political and environmental reasons, given the nature of the oil refining business and Murphy Oil's headline-grabbing history. . . .

James Rowen is a Milwaukee writer and consultant who blogs at http://thepoliticalenvironment.blogspot.com.

Ethanol producer: E85 sold at high profit margin

A story by in the Marshfield News-Herald:

Considering the high price of gasoline, E85 fuel should be a lot cheaper, said Ray Rhodes of Marshfield.

Rhodes' flexible fuel vehicle can use either straight gasoline or E85, a mix of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

Most central Wisconsin communities have only one gas station selling E85.

The Store, 1505 W. McMillan St., Marshfield, sells E85 for around $2.70 a gallon, while regular gas hovers around $3.13 a gallon. The Store is a franchise of the Schierl Co. based in Stevens Point.

"It's a monopoly," said Bob Sather, the chairman of the board of directors of Ace Ethanol of Stanley. The company makes ethanol for E85 fuel.

The pure ethanol Ace produces sells for less than $2 a gallon and is bought by the companies that blend the gasoline and ethanol to create E85, Sather said.

"They could sell E85 for less than $2.50 a gallon and still make a profit. But E85 is in competition with their gasoline, so they set the margin way higher," said Sather.

Another contributing factor is that most E85 fuel is blended by the major petroleum companies. They also require that branded franchises purchase E85 from the flagship brand.

"If it's a Shell station, the owner must buy the E85 from Shell. It works like that for all big oil," he said.

The cost of E85 will come down when there isn't a monopoly on blending the fuel, Sather said.

"If you control the supply, you dictate the price," said Sather.

To find locations selling E85 fuels, log on to the Web site e85refueling.com.

Keep energy efficiency in mind in flood repairs

Friday, September 07, 2007

A letter to the editor of The Capital Times from PSC Chair Dan Ebert:

Dear Editor: On behalf of the Public Service Commission, I would like to extend our well wishes to those affected by the recent flooding in the state. Home and business owners are now facing what must seem to be an insurmountable hurdle as they look to rebuild their lives.

One state program that may be valuable at this difficult moment is Focus on Energy.

The state's energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative works with Wisconsinites in areas such as home or business energy audits, home evaluations, and design and construction consultation.

Additionally, incentive and rebate programs are available to aid with energy savings and the purchase of energy-efficient equipment, including furnaces, water heaters and clothes washers, which are items often ruined during basement flooding.

Though saving energy is certainly not top-of-mind as communities begin to rebuild from the floods, it is something to consider as cleanup ends and replacement of equipment and reconstruction of homes and businesses begins. By inquiring about residential, renewable and business offerings, people who have had the misfortune of flood damage may find savings on their future energy costs.

Help is available by contacting Focus on Energy at 800-762-7077, and more information about its programs is available on its Web site, www.focusonenergy.com.

Dan Ebert, chairperson, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin

Dairyland Power gets grant to study biomass cogeneration

Thursday, September 06, 2007

An article from the La Crosse Tribune:

La Crosse-based Dairyland Power Cooperative has been awarded a $50,000 federal grant for a study for a biomass cogeneration project at Western Wisconsin Energy’s ethanol plant near Boyceville, Wis.

The Rural Business Opportunity Grant, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will help finance a study of the feasibility of generating electricity and steam from ethanol plant co-products and/or other biomass byproducts at the ethanol plant. Distiller’s dried grains with solubles is one ethanol co-product that might be used for energy production.

Dairyland and WWE will study the possibility of locating a cogeneration facility next to the ethanol plant. Dairyland or its agent could produce electricity to help satisfy renewable energy requirements. And waste steam and heat from the facility could be used by WWE to reduce costs and improve the net energy value of ethanol production.

Gasoline stations sue ethanol operation

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A story by Bob Meyer on the Web site of Brownfield Network:
A group of 42 gasoline stations in northeastern Wisconsin have filed suit against ethanol producer, Utica Energy LLC and its retailer, Renew 85. The suit claims Utica violated the Wisconsin Unfair Sales Act by selling 10, 20 and 85% ethanol fuel for less than the required minimum price from mid-August until the end of December last year. The $12 million suit not only seeks damages but also asks for a permanent injunction to prevent Renew from selling fuel for vehicles. An attorney for Utica Energy describes the suit as big oil ganging up on Renew and Utica.

This is not the first time that renewable fuels producers have been charged with violating the state’s minimum mark-up law however Governor Jim Doyle has told officials not to pursue such cases.

Utica Energy LLC has a 52 million gallon ethanol plant in the Town of Utica near Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The plant began production in April, 2003 and expanded to its current capacity in November, 2004.

U.S. leads world in petrol consumption

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Hans Noeldner caught this item:

Petrol consumption per capita for transport (litres per person) 2003

US - 1635.2
Europe - 275.6
Australia - 907.7
Japan - 452.1
Canada - 1203.7
China - 44.6
India - 9.6

Source = Sidney Morning Herald

We've confused Transportation with Access, and Earth is bleeding.

Energy: The 1st Challenge of the 21st Century

Monday, September 03, 2007

From the Association for the Study of Peak Oil - USA (ASPO-USA):
ASPO Week in Houston (Oct. 17-20) will consist of four days of high-level energy discussions, day and evening presentations, and mix & greet receptions with speakers and sponsors. In addition, we've planned field trips to an oil well drilling site and Refinery Row on the Houston Ship Channel, our nation's largest refining and petrochemical center. The $15 billion complex stretches 50 miles from the Port of Houston, past the NASA Space Flight Center, ending at Galveston and the Gulf of Mexico. We adapt our Conference theme from the historic words transmitted by U.S. astronauts from space to Mission Control in Houston.

Confirmed speakers include T. Boone Pickens (pioneer oilman & acquisition expert), Houston Mayor Bill White (former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy), Bob Hirsch (co-author of the groundbreaking Hirsch-Bezdek Report to DOE), Peter Tertzakian (author of "A Thousand Barrels a Second"), Matthew Simmons, (author of "Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock"), Henry Groppe of Groppe, Long & Littell, Art Smith of John S. Herold, Inc., U.S. Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-Del.), Chairman Elizabeth Ames Jones of the Texas Railroad Commission, Chris Skrebowski of the London Energy Institute, Charles Maxwell of Weeden & Co., David Hughes of the Canadian Geological Survey, Jeremy Gilbert of Barrelmore Ltd. (and recently retired Chief Petroleum Engineer for BP), Professor Peter Bishop of the University of Houston, and many others.

Ice, cold, ecological risks may hamper arctic oil rush

Sunday, September 02, 2007

From the NationalGeographic.com:

The prospect of vast oil and gas reserves beneath the Arctic Ocean has prompted countries to begin evaluating exploration options to assess what's really at stake.

By one estimate, 400 billion barrels of oil might lie beneath the Arctic seabed.

"The Arctic Commons area is many times larger than Iraq and could contain significant hydrocarbon reserves, with none of the attendant … political risks" of the Middle East, the industry group United Oil and Gas Consortium Management Corporation asserts on its Web site.

But even as observers debate about who really owns the Arctic and will have rights to the potential cornucopia, other experts are warning that dangerous ice, extreme cold, and the risk of environmental catastrophe will pose serious barriers.