Cape Wind project approved by Dept. of Interior

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has approved the nation’s first offshore wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, a $1 billion project that has survived nine years of regulatory review and a well-financed campaign to kill the plan. The Cape Wind project will include construction of 130 wind turbines over a 24-square-mile area in the shallow waters of Nantucket Sound, an area within view of the tourist regions of Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard. Salazar called the project a first step in the nation's "clean energy revolution," and vowed, "This will be the first of many projects up and down the Atlantic coast."

EPA Confirms Climate IS Changing

In another display of the sea change that has occurred at the US Environmental Protection Agency under the current administration, a new report was issued yesterday regarding indicators of climate change. The report, entitled "Climate Change Indicators in the United States," measures 24 separate indicators showing how climate change affects the health and environment of US citizens.

Gulf of Mexico oilspill spreads

An oil spill from a leaking underwater well grew to cover 1,900 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico on Monday as the U.S. Coast Guard scrambled to keep the slick from reaching the fragile Gulf Coast shoreline. The well, 5,000 feet under the ocean surface off Louisiana's coast, is leaking about 1,000 barrels of oil a day. The spill, which the U.S. Coast Guard has called "very serious," has put the coasts of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Florida on alert for potential oil contamination.

Well beneath sunken rig has serious oil leak

An oil well on the ocean floor beneath a drilling rig that exploded and sank into the Gulf of Mexico began spewing oil on Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard said. The well, 5,000 feet beneath the ocean surface, was leaking about 1,000 barrels per day of oil, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said, in what the agency called a "very serious spill." Remote underwater vehicles detected oil leaking from the riser and drill pipe, the spokeswoman said. "We are classifying this as a very serious spill and we are using all our resources to help contain it," Coast Guard Petty Officer Connie Terrell said.

Colorado Law Will Retire or Retrofit Coal-Fired Power Plants

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter on Monday signed into law the Colorado Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act--legislation that requires Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) to cut nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 80% from several Front Range coal plants by the end of 2017, most likely sooner. Xcel will work with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to submit a plan to the Public Utilities Commission by Aug. 15, detailing how it will retire or retrofit 900 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired capacity. Xcel will give primary consideration to replacing or repowering those plants with natural gas, renewables, greater efficiencies and other cleaner energy sources. "This law is a template for tomorrow that allows us to transform our energy portfolio, our economy and our environment by working strategically and collaboratively," Gov. Ritter said. "By shifting our oldest and least efficient coal plants to cleaner, Colorado-produced natural gas, we send a strong message to the rest of the country that we absolutely can cut air pollution and protect public health while also creating jobs and protecting ratepayers." Governor Ritter was joined at the Capitol signing ceremony by members of a broad coalition that supported House Bill 1365, including Xcel Energy Chairman and CEO Dick Kelly, lawmakers, power producers and conservationists.

Four New Jersey Cities to Clean Up Contaminated Sites

The New Jersey cities of Trenton, Jersey City, Newark, and Camden are set to receive a total of $2.3 million dollars from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help them assess and clean up contaminated and abandoned sites. The funding will be channeled through the EPA's Brownfields Program. The clean up projects will help revitalize commercial and industrial properties by removing the toxic pollution that has hindered their redevelopment.

Invasive Lionfish Attacks Reefs and Fish as Scientists Scramble

Indo-Pacific lionfish, an invasive carnivore equipped with venomous spines, are spreading—and eating their way—through the fishes of the Caribbean Sea. In an effort to stop, or at least slow down, these fearless invaders, the National Science Foundation has awarded a 3-year, $700,000 grant to scientists at Oregon State University (OSU), Corvallis. The lionfish are normally found in Pacific Ocean waters. But since the 1990s, they've been spotted from Florida to Rhode Island, and as far south as Colombia, and are now wreaking havoc among the fishes of Caribbean coral reefs—adding yet another woe to those already facing the reefs.

MerleFest 2010 is Coming April 29 – May 2, 2010

The annual MerleFest, presented by Lowe’s takes place next week in Wilkesboro, NC. MerleFest has been an annual event since 1988. It attracts attendees from a wide area, and generates significant economic benefit to the region. This year MerleFest is making increased environmental efforts to reduce the potential environmental impacts of such a large-scale event. It all began with a gardener who wanted to raise funds for gardens on the campus of a rural North Carolina Community College and a community of musicians who wanted to honor the memory of a fallen friend and his musician father. It grew to an internationally renowned music festival and fundraiser that contributes more than $17 million to the region. It's MerleFest.

Michigan. The Saudi Arabia of WIND energy

The first regional Wind Energy Conference, sponsored by the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (www.glrea.org) took place at the Cobo Center in Detroit April 20 & 21st. Bringing together for the first time under one roof, the major players from government, utilities, universities, and private enterprise everyone had a chance to focus on what the experts had to say about the state of the art in wind energy production and the role it will play in the transformation of Michigan's economy. A highlight of the intensive two day Michigan Wind Energy summit, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, in her keynote speech, stated that the goal of her efforts was to make Michigan the "Saudi Arabia of wind energy". In her enthusiastic 'let's get serious' attitude about making change, Gov. Granholm reiterated that no one is hungrier for change and the jobs that 'going green' will create than Michigan.

Military leads fight against climate change

The U.S. military, the government's largest fuel buyer, is leading the fight against climate change by investing in the "Great Green Fleet" and other ways of cutting dependence on oil and coal, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts report released on Tuesday. "They're not having long and protracted debates about whether or not we can afford it ... they are marching" into investments in everything from electric vehicles to forming strike groups that run on alternative fuels, said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew Environment Group's Global Warming Campaign. The report, "Re-energizing America's Defense," says the military has found that climate change may lead to domestic and international instability by threatening water and food supplies. In addition, stronger storms caused by emissions could increase the need for humanitarian missions by the military both at home and abroad, which could stretch resources.