Visitors tour zero-energy home

Monday, April 30, 2007

Standing between an evaculated tube solar water heater (rear) and photvoltaic panels (front) on the roof of his Madison home, Jeff Riggert (center) explains how the systems work to people who came to the open house sponsored by the Madison Peak Oil Group and the Association of Energy Service Professionals (AESP). Jeff serves as president of the local chapter of the AESP and actively participates in the peak oil group.

Jeff prepared a detailed description and economic analysis of the home's systems complete with additional photos.

See an earlier post with more about the house.

Kind introduces bill to promote biogas

From a story on Wisconsin Ag Connection:

Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind has introduced legislation that would take billions of gallons of fossil fuels out of use by developing renewable energy from animal waste. The bill would provide tax incentives and guaranteed loans for small businesses to promote biogas, which is a substitute for natural gas created by the anaerobic digestion of animal waste and other organic bi-products.

"By providing modest federal support for this technology, we can jump-start the development of renewable energy from what is now regarded as waste," Kind said. "I recognize that biogas is just one part of our larger course to energy independence, but its one that will invest in rural communities, protect our environment from harmful greenhouse gases, and grow our economy."

Update on progress toward Green Capital City

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sherrie Gruder, chair of the Sustainable Design and Energy Committee provided an update on "what great progress the city of Madison has made toward becoming a Green Capital City since the Green Blueprint was approved unanimously by the city council February 1, 2005 and the Sustainble Design and Energy Committee first convened September 2005. The colorful, beautiful web version will be posted on the city website soon. And this doesn't capture everything. Together we have been making Earth Day every day for the City of Madison!"

Read Building A Green Capital City: A Blueprint for Madison's Sustainable Design and Energy Future.

A definitely different point of view

Friday, April 27, 2007

Watch Energy supply is more important than climate change on YouTube.


Investing in biomass fuels will pay off for Wisconsin

Thursday, April 26, 2007

From an editorial in the Appleton Post-Crescent:

Ask the average person what comes to mind when he or she hears the phrase, "alternative fuel sources," and you'll probably hear about solar power, and wind power, and maybe even hydroelectricity.

"Manure" probably won't pop up in the conversation.

But that needs to change, according to Wisconsin firm Better Environmental Solutions, which produced a report that highlights the abundance of biomass available for energy use in the state. . . .

Even if the results only alleviate our reliance on petroleum or coal and biomass ethanol doesn't become a booming export, it could still generate perhaps billions in in-state economic activity and free up resources to continue the state's reinvention.

Turn off the leaf blower

The following letter to the editor appears in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

In Barbara Miner's April 22 Crossroads article, she cited the World Resources Institute and wrote that "the average person in the United States currently is responsible for about 20 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year."

On that same Sunday morning, a friend and I were hitting tennis balls at some public courts in Whitefish Bay when a resident across the street started a gas powered leaf/grass blower. Not only was it a 15-minute assault on the senses, but it was obvious a broom or rake would have done the trick. This is one case where shrinking his "carbon footprint" would have also saved his neighbors from his noise pollution.

If we are going to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions 80% to 90% by 2050, we need to take a more serious look at our individual energy use. All of us can make small changes by carpooling at times, taking mass transportation and turning the thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer. Our lives might be better in the process.

Dave Dickinson

Contact Congress to support small wind tax credit

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

There are now two Small Wind Investment Tax Credit bills in Congress –one in the House (H.R. 1772), and one in the Senate (S. 673) – that would provide consumers a tax credit when purchasing small wind turbines for their homes, farms, or small businesses.

To become law, these bills must show a broad range of support from Members of Congress. Having your members of Congress add their names to these bills as co-sponsors is one of the best ways to build this support.

Ways you can help get co-sponsors:

1. Call or e-mail your Senators’ offices and urge them to co-sponsor Senate bill S. 673, the “Rural Wind Energy Development Act,” introduced by Senators Ken Salazar (D-CO) and Gordon Smith (R-OR).

2. Call or e-mail your Representative’s office and request that they co-sponsor House bill H.R. 1772 (identical to the Senate bill), introduced by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Tom Cole (R-OK).
You can do this easily online at:

More information here.

Legislative Alert: Extend the Production Tax Credit

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Urge your Representative to cosponsor H.R.197 to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC).

Take action here!

Please contact your Representative and ask him or her to cosponsor H.R. 197, a bill sponsored by Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) that would extend the PTC for an additional 5 years at its current full value.

The more cosponsors on a bill, the more momentum a bill has in passing through Congress. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has provided a sample letter for you to use when you contact your Representative.

The PTC is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2008. The bill, H.R. 197, would extend the PTC until December 31, 2013. AWEA continues to pursue a long-term extension of the PTC. A long-term extension is necessary for the industry to build a supply chain, ramp up production, and create more manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

Author of nation's toughest global warming law to speak April 25

The author of the nation's strongest global warming law tells us how California is responding to climate change and how she gained the political support to get it done ...

"Leading the Way on Climate Change"
a free public lecture by Fran Pavley

3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25
Memorial Union (see "Today in the Union" for room)
800 Langdon Street
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Fran Pavley has served three terms in the California State Assembly, where she is known as one of the most effective legislators in Sacramento. The former Mayor of Agoura Hills and long-time public school teacher is the author of landmark legislation (the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006) on global warming that has become a model for other states and countries. She is also author of the first regulations on vehicle carbon dioxide emissions. Eleven other states and Canada have modeled their laws after Pavley's Clean Car Regulations. She has been selected as one of Scientific American's Top Technology Leaders in Transportation and received the 2006 California League of Conservation Voters' Global Warming Leadership Award along with former Vice President Al Gore.

This event is co-sponsored by the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UW-Madison. For more information, please contact Steve Pomplun at the Nelson Institute or call Steve at 263-3063.

Beyond corn: State's power future in prairie grass, cow manure

Monday, April 23, 2007

From a story by Mike Ivey in The Capital Times:

Making motor fuel from corn comes with a variety of problems, from the amount of energy it takes to produce ethanol to the impact on food prices.

But a report prepared today for a biofuels conference at Monona Terrace says other burnable material such as prairie grass, crop residue, papermaking waste or cow manure holds far greater promise for turning Wisconsin into an energy powerhouse.

Wisconsin has almost 15 million tons of potential excess "biomass" that could produce 1.3 billion gallons of ethanol per year, enough to displace half of the 2.6 billion gallons of gasoline consumed in the state last year, according to the report from Better Environmental Solutions.

If burned to produce electricity, this same amount of biomaterial could also replace about 15 million tons of coal, roughly 55 percent of the state's entire coal use, the report said.

Wisconsin joins Midwest group to boost bio-based fuels

Friday, April 20, 2007

According to a story by Lee Berquist in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Wisconsin and 11 other Farm Belt states have formed a consortium aimed at promoting greater use of bio-based fuels and products.

The leader of the North Central Bioeconomy Consortium for the first two years will be Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary Rod Nilsestuen.

The announcement will be made formally today in Madison at a biofuels conference, where officials will also say that the new group has received $100,000 from the Energy Foundation of San Francisco to underwrite the venture.

The intent of the group is to collaborate and share research in the emerging market.

Read the group's press release here.

Gasify biomass for energy

Thursday, April 19, 2007

From a column in The Capital Times by Margaret Krome, a member of the state Board of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

. . . there's an important technology that is sometimes overlooked in these discussions. Biomass gasification is an existing technology for capturing energy efficiencies that has immediate and profitable application. It has been used for years by industry to convert coal into natural gas, and it can be used to convert biomass crops just as well.

The state should encourage industries' use of biomass gasification from biomass crops to take advantage of this existing and environmentally sound technology now to help stabilize and build an agricultural market that can serve the state in the future.

Ultimately, our nation needs to learn how to conserve energy better. For many years to come, investments in energy conservation will far outstrip the payback from energy production. However, as we proceed down the path of agricultural energy production, it makes sense to create market incentives for farmers to produce biomass crops that are both environmentally optimal and profitable.

Polar Bears to stage “Die-In” at MG&E for Earth Day

For Immediate Release
April 19, 2007

Polar Bears to stage “Die-In” at Madison Gas & Electric for Earth Day

For more information, contact:
John Peck (608) 262-9036

Kate Moran (608) 287-1488

Polar Bears, threatened with extinction by global warming, will stage a “Die-In” at Madison Gas and Electric’s Blount Street generating facility on Saturday, April 21.

The Polar Bear Die-In will be the finale of this year’s Earth Day Action that begins with a rally at Noon on the State Street steps of the Capitol. The brief rally will be followed by a march to MG&E where Madtown Liberty Players will stage the Die In to dramatize the plight of polar bears, indigenous peoples and the entire planet.

The rally will promote specific, concrete proposals in support of the following general demands: “No More Dirty Coal”, “Cap Wisconsin CO2 Emissions” and “Renewable Energy Now”. At Capitol rally, organizers will call on rally participants to actively support the Miller-Black Bill capping statewide CO2 levels at 1990 levels. At MG&E, we will announce the formation of a Citizen’s Commission on Dirty Coal to develop further work on stopping the use of dirty coal in our community.

The evidence of human caused global warming is overwhelming and there is no longer any real debate about the underlying science. Burning coal and other fossil fuels releases CO2 that is warming the atmosphere. A warmer atmosphere has resulted in less sea ice in the Artic. Polar bears use the ice as a way to hunt for seals that are a cornerstone of their diet. Without adequate ice cover, polar bears starve or drown trying to swim out to find ice on which to hunt.

Madtown Liberty Players is Madison’s own provocative, cutting-edge street theater performance troupe and a perennial favorite at similar events. Popular theater can play a powerful role in educating and entertaining our community and this performance will be no exception. Madtown Liberty Players’ March 17, 2007 performance entitled “Flushed Away!” can be viewed on line at

This Earth Day Action was organized by concerned citizens from fine community organizations including the Industrial Workers of the World, Four Lakes Green Party, Peak Oil/Climate Crisis Action Network, Peregrine Forum, Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, Madison Infoshop and others.

Old-fashioned Bulbs No Good, Even For Heat

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A letter from the Madison Peak Oil Group's own Ross DePaola appeared in The Capital Times on April 9:

Dear Editor: One of your readers argued that it wouldn't be a good idea to replace all our incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs because we live in a cold climate and would use the heat that is given off to heat our homes.

If your goal was to heat your home with electric heating, that wouldn't be a bad idea; however, we all know that electric heating is expensive, inefficient and creates more greenhouse gases. Burning coal to generate electricity for heating a home is equivalent to having about a 33 percent efficient furnace (67 percent goes to waste), while gas furnaces operate at 70 percent to 95 percent efficiency.

If that isn't enough, let's not forget that the bulbs will pay for themselves over a short period of time, the color the lamps give off is excellent compared to old fluorescents, and you'll replace bulbs much less often.

Ingenious and better than the original, compact fluorescent bulbs are an American idea and invention that we should be proud of.

Humbugs Along the Potomac

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Petroleum and Natural Gas Watch
by Michael Vickerman, RENEW Wisconsin
April 17, 2007, Vol. 6, Number 6

“Oh, no, my dear … I am a very good man. I’m just a very bad wizard.”
--The Wizard of Oz

In its latest staged display of bureaucratic omniscience, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said last week that retail gasoline prices across the nation, which have jumped 25% since January, will peak at $2.87 a gallon next month and then recede before the vacation driving season begins in June. The average price motorists will see this summer will be $2.81, a bit less than what they paid in the previous two summers. EIA’s current forecast comes one month after its previous prediction that gasoline prices would level off this spring at $2.67 a gallon. (Gasoline prices at $2.83 a gallon are Sky High Again in La Crosse.)

The agency’s sunny blandishments may cause a few eyebrows to be raised among the millions of West Coast motorists already paying more than $3.00 a gallon at the pump. Then again, maybe not. With a track record for erroneous forecasting that verges on the spectacular, why should anyone bother to listen to EIA when more reliable predictions can be found on the daily astrology page?

Continue reading here.

Biofuels no panacea for state

From a column by Mike Ivey in The Capital Times:

. . . any claims about the Badger State becoming a "worldwide leader in the developing bio industry" must be taken with a grain of salt.

Overall, producers in the U.S. made nearly 5 billion gallons of ethanol last year, a 25 percent increase from the previous year. Nearly all of it was made from edible corn kernels.

Corn is a fundamental U.S. food ingredient, used in everything from soft drinks to pancake syrup. It's also a staple throughout Latin America, where soaring prices for tortillas has already sparked protests in Mexico.

Moreover, with farmers planting corn this spring at unprecedented rates to take advantage of rising commodity prices -- in some cases taking land out of conservation -- food costs will see more upward pressure.

In fact, national ethanol critic Lester Brown maintains the world is headed for a showdown over corn.

"The stage is now set for direct competition for grain between the 800 million people who own automobiles, and the world's 2 billion poorest people," he warns. "The risk is that millions of those on the lower rungs of the global economic ladder will start falling off as higher food prices drop their consumption below the survival level."

Because of those concerns, more observers are saying corn-based ethanol is already becoming an outdated technology. Scientists and a growing number of biotechnology companies are attempting to remove corn from the ethanol equation.

"There is enormous growth potential" for alternative fuels, says McKinsey & Co. analyst Jens Riese. "But we need to be smarter than just building the next corn ethanol plant."

For more information, check out Friday's conference "Sustaining the Wisconsin Landscape: Biofuels Challenges and Opportunities" at Monona Terrace. Details online or call 263-3063.

Why Switch to Switchgrass?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Wednesday, April 18th
12 noon – 1 pm
Wisconsin State Capitol
President’s Conference Room -Off the hall to the right of the Senate Chambers, 2nd Floor

From the State of the Union speech to ethanol production, many people are talking about using switchgrass, a native prairie grass, to make ethanol or replace coal. A recent US DOE study showed that switchgrass and other prairie grasses from Conservation Reserve Lands in Wisconsin could produce 3.447 million tons of biomass per year. This could produce 207 million gallons of fuel if converted to ethanol, about 1/12th of our gasoline consumption. It could replace 2.3 million tons of coal if burned, about 1/12th of our coal consumption.

This brown bag lunch will explore what switchgrass is and how we can use it to meet Wisconsin’s future energy needs, reduce air pollution, and create wildlife habitat.


Senator Kathleen Vinehout, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and
Gary Radloff, Policy Director, DATCP, How switchgrass can help Wisconsin’s farmers.

Kim Zuhlke, Alliant Energy Vice President for New Generation, on Alliant’s Iowa switchgrass test burn and plans for Wisconsin.

Brett Hulsey, Better Environmental Solutions, How switchgrass can light our homes, run our cars, clean our air, restore critical habitat, and protect our streams.

For more information, call Ed Blume at 608-819-0748, or Brett Hulsey, 608-238-6070, Brett@BetterEnvironmentalSolutions.Com.

Sponsored by RENEW Wisconsin and Better Environmental Solutions.

ConocoPhillips supports mandatory limits on green house gas

Friday, April 13, 2007

According to USA Today, "As recently as January, the head of ConocoPhillips opposed mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions." Apparently, ConocoPhillips has seen the carbon. From a press release on ConocoPhillips' Web site:

HOUSTON, April 11, 2007 --- ConocoPhillips [NYSE:COP] today announced its support for a mandatory national framework to address greenhouse gas emissions and has joined the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a business-environmental leadership group dedicated to the quick enactment of strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

“We recognize that human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels, is contributing to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that can lead to adverse changes in global climate,” said Jim Mulva, chairman and chief executive officer. “While we believe no one entity can alone address the environmental, economic and technological issues inherent in any solution, ConocoPhillips will show leadership in finding pragmatic and sustainable solutions.

Pale Blue Dot

Thursday, April 12, 2007

From Ross DePaola :

Carl Sagan puts it all in perspective:

Miller calls for legislative action on climate change

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

From an article by Craig Sauer in the Portage Daily Register:

MADISON -- State Sen. Mark Miller continued his call for the state Legislature to act locally on global climate change Tuesday, a day in which the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources held an informational hearing on the issue.

The committee, on which Miller sits, heard a presentation by University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Jonathan Foley, who said the need to alter global climate change was immediate. Foley, the Gaylord Nelson Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies at the Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies, compared efforts to curtail climate change to turning an ocean liner -- meaning action must be taken well in advance to avoid catastrophe.

"Our efforts to reduce the human impact on our climate will take time, but failure to act appropriately and soon -- to turn the ocean liner around — could be disastrous," said Miller, D-Monona. His district includes southern Columbia County. "As a new grandparent, I do not want to have to tell my grandchildren years from now that we failed to act. When they ask, 'Grandpa, weren't you in the state Senate and in the position to make changes to protect our environment?' "

Last month Miller introduced Senate Bill 81, the Wisconsin Safe Climate Act, that would require Wisconsin to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels. Reducing greenhouse gases, Miller said, is a critical step in the fight against global climate change.

Small steps push cleaner, greener Green Bay

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

From a story by Paul Srubas in the Green Bay Press-Gazette:

None of the steps are huge or major, but the city of Green Bay is planning, through a series of little steps, to tiptoe its way to a more sustainable future.

Mayor Jim Schmitt on Monday called a news conference to announce that the city was embarking upon a 12-step program aimed at a cleaner environment and reduced energy consumption. . . .

But taken collectively, they can make a difference, especially if they inspire the city's residents and neighbors to join the efforts, Schmitt said. . . .

Jeff DeLaune of Wisconsin Public Service . . . led a subcommittee that looked into energy efficiency issues.

"This provides us a wonderful opportunity to develop a program that has positive impact on the environment and on the economy of Green Bay," DeLaune said.

His subcommittee developed a plan to promote the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs, a plan to power part of City Hall through alternative energy sources and to encourage better energy conservation by issuing annual awards for energy efficient design or improvements.

Compact Fluorescents Definitely Better

Monday, April 09, 2007

A letter to the editor of The Capital Times from John Reindl, recycling manager for Dane County:

In the past several weeks, there has been a controversy about the environmental impacts of using fluorescent bulbs, which contain mercury, vs. incandescents, which contain lead.

All fluorescents contain mercury, with compact fluorescents having about 5 milligrams. These bulbs are more energy-efficient than incandescents, and the reduction in energy consumption reduces the emission of mercury and other harmful substances from power plants.

According to fact sheets of the Federal Energy Star program and the Wisconsin Focus on Energy program, a typical compact fluorescent will reduce the emissions of mercury from power plants by 8 to 10 milligrams in comparison to the use of equivalent incandescents, which is more than the mercury contained in compact fluorescents.

All compact fluorescents should be recycled, but even if they weren't, they still reduce the amount of mercury emitted to the environment.

And, of course, using compact fluorescents also results in reductions in other emissions, including carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

Dane County is fortunate to have nearly three dozen locations that accept these bulbs for recycling. While some recyclers have a nominal charge, it is minor compared to the estimated $30 or more that a consumer will save in electricity costs with a compact fluorescent.

These recycling locations can be found on the Dane County recycling Web page.

While most of the attention on the light bulb issue has focused on the toxicity of mercury in fluorescents, it should also be noted that incandescents contain significant quantities of lead - also a toxic material - in the solder on the base of the bulbs. These bulbs should also be recycled to protect the environment.

Small steps to living 'green'

Friday, April 06, 2007

From a story by Keith Ulhig in the Wausau Daily Herald:

Buy locally grown food. Ease away from a stop sign in a car, instead of jamming on the accelerator. Weather strip a home.

They're not exactly radical actions, but an environmentalist scheduled to speak next week at the University of Wisconsin Marathon County says that little things like these go a long way toward living a green life.

And, said environmentalist Steve Sandstrom, these steps can help people keep cash in their wallets, too.

"Green is also the color of money," said Sandstrom, an environmental education outreach coordinator for the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute of Northland College in Ashland.

Sandstrom, 56, and his wife own the Pinehurst Inn, a bed and breakfast just south of Bayfield, and they've operated it for years making environmentally sensitive choices. There are solar panels. There's locally grown food served on the tables. There is the use of nontoxic, biodegradable cleaners. There is the efficient furnace.

Urinetown begins in Madison April 20

Thursday, April 05, 2007

April 20 premiere thru May 4

UW Madison University Theatre Presents “Urinetown: The Musical” This impossible Broadway musical hit premieres in Madison. “Urinetown” is set in a dystrophic, drought-plagued future where city officials have come up with a unique way to conserve water: only public restrooms may be used, and people must pay for the privilege or be carted off to the ominous Urinetown.

Off-beat, yes; but it’s a Tony-winning satirical musical comedy with great songs, and it’s unique because it’s satire rooted in environmental ethics.

Mitchell Theatre, Vilas Hall, 7:30 p.m. Cost: $20 general; $14 UW-Madison students. Information: 262-1500, Go to Isthmus to find more info.

Ethanol research looks at soybean

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

From an article by Nathan Leaf in the Wisconsin State Journal:

Over the past few years, ethanol plants have sprung up all over Wisconsin and much of the Midwest as the biofuel has been touted as the solution to America's energy woes. And so far, corn has been the undisputed king.

C5-6 Technologies of Middleton is working to change the landscape of the biofuel industry. It plans to do this with newly developed enzymes - proteins that catalyze chemical reactions - that will not only make production of corn ethanol more efficient but also expand the raw materials, or feedstocks, that can be used to create the fuel. . . .

Not only will the enzymes break down the [soybean] meal into ethanol, but they will create a valuable soy protein concentrate that can be used as a petroleum substitute in products such as adhesives and plastics.

"We could have a process that is by far the most profitable ethanol process out there," Biondi said.

Ethanol pros and cons debated

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

From an AP story by Arthur Max that ran in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Wisconsin State Journal:

Scientists weigh downside of palm oil

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) -- Only a few years ago, oil from palm trees was viewed as an ideal biofuel: a cheap, renewable alternative to petroleum that would fight global warming. Energy companies began converting generators and production soared.

Now, it's increasingly seen as an example of how well-meaning efforts to limit climate-changing carbon emissions may backfire.

Marcel Silvius, a climate expert at Wetlands International in the Netherlands, led a team that compared the benefits of palm oil to the ecological harm from destroying virgin Asian rain forests to develop lucrative new plantations.

His conclusion: "As a biofuel, it's a failure."

Letter to the editor to the Journal Sentinel on ethanol's pros:

Fuel's use has had a positive effect
The Journal Sentinel was dead on in pointing out in an editorial that ethanol and other renewable fuels are not the panacea for America's energy problems ("The limits of ethanol," March 26). But by focusing on the limits of ethanol, it ignored what homegrown renewable fuel is already doing to turn the tide of foreign oil dependence. America's ethanol industry is helping stem the flood of foreign oil into this country.

Ethanol today is rapidly becoming a ubiquitous part of America's motor fuel market. It is blended in 50% of the nation's gasoline and last year helped reduce foreign oil imports by more than 200 million barrels, or nearly 9 billion gallons. As important, the increase in U.S. demand for gasoline between 2005 and 2006 was met almost entirely by ethanol.

Without question, new technologies, better efficiencies and improved conservation must be the heart of the effort to break our oil addiction. But we must not lose sight of what renewable fuels like ethanol are already doing and the potential they hold for the future.

Bob Sather
Chippewa Falls

And a letter to the La Crosse Tribune on the cons:
Ethanol is not the answer
By John Klouda, La Crosse, Wis.

I’m struggling with Paul Peterson’s claims for ethanol in his letter published March 5.

Paul claims that if all cars in America burned gasoline with 10 percent ethanol (E-10), we would eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. I disagree. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2005 U.S. net petroleum imports was 4.58 billion barrels. Domestic petroleum production was 1.89 billion barrels, and petroleum consumption for transportation was 5.24 billion barrels. If we assume that all petroleum for transportation is gasoline (ignoring diesel), the blending of 10 percent ethanol yields a savings of only 0.52 billion barrels of oil. This does not wipe out the need for importing 4.58 billion barrels of petroleum.

Claiming that blending ethanol results in a 50 percent to 60 percent reduction in fossil fuel energy use doesn’t add up. According to Chevron, a gallon of regular gasoline contains 115,000 Btu of energy. A gallon of E-10 gasoline contains only 111,000 Btu.

So, for the energy equivalent of a gallon of regular gasoline, 1.04 gallons of E-10 is required. That 1.04 gallons of E-10 contains 0.93 gallons of regular gasoline. So, from an energy content standpoint, the use of E-10 yields only a 7 percent reduction in fossil fuel use, not 50 percent to 60 percent.

Claiming that ethanol- blended fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions 35 percent to 46 percent doesn’t wash either. Assuming that the ethanol part of E-10 produces no greenhouse gas emissions, it seems that greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by only 10 percent, not 35 percent to 46 percent.

Paul, give me some numbers to back up your claims.

Governor's plan to benefit paper waste ethanol

Monday, April 02, 2007

From a story by Andrew Hellpap in the Stevens Point Journal:

Wisconsin's push to develop corn-alternative ethanol shouldn't leave farmers out in the cold, according to one state official.

Gov. Jim Doyle's goal for the state to generate 25 percent of its power and transportation fuels from renewable sources by 2025 includes a proposal to create the first cellulosic ethanol plant in the United States by making available $5 million in grant money to paper producers such as Stora Enso North America, based in Wisconsin Rapids, according to a release by the governor's office in January.

Potentially, cellulosic ethanol can be produced cheaper than corn from black liquor, a byproduct of the pulp process generated at paper mills.

More profitable sources of feedstock could take away a buyer for corn from central Wisconsin farmers, but the depth of resources needed to accomplish Doyle's goal should keep corn-based ethanol supplying farmers happy for a while, said Rod Nilsestuen, Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection secretary.

"We are going to need all the sources we can get to reach those," he said.

While corn is still the main source of ethanol, its time to be profitable was about three years, according to the developer of a potential cellulosic ethanol plant in Wisconsin Rapids.

ProAmbulate inhibits driving

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Submitted by Hans Noeldner:

1 April 2009
Evanston, Illinois

A research scientist who helped to develop the birth control pill in the late 1950’s has now invented, in the winter years of his life, a new wonder medication that may do even more than the oral contraceptive to save planet Earth from humanity’s thoughtless excesses – in this case, from the ravages of overconsumption.

Leonard Nysteuen, a humble, unimposing 85-year-old former employee of G.D. Searle & Company, today announced the commencement of clinical trials for ProAmbulate, the first known example of an entirely new class of drugs known as “contramotives”. The double-blind tests, co-sponsored by the deficit-imperiled US Department of Transportation, will include 5,280 driving-age residents from four of the lowest-density, most automobile-dependent “country estate” neighborhoods in the United States, and 4,735 demographically-matched residents from five of the nation’s most pedestrian-oriented urban areas.

Nysteuen explains: “Think of ProAmbulate as the opposite of Dramamine. A mere 25 micrograms per day will stimulate strong nausea the moment a user slips behind the wheel (or handlebars) of a motor vehicle, whilst simultaneously “programming” the human brain to release pleasurable levels of endorphins when the user engages in walking, bicycling, and use of public transportation. For only 58 cents per day we will produce the kind of behavioral changes necessary to slash highway spending, halt sprawl, avert climate change, and overcome our cancerous twin addictions to oil and the automobile.”

For more information and a prospectus, visit or consider the date when this was posted.