Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 6:16 pm
Activists who have been working for months on a climate change plan for Springfield, Massachusetts say they must factor in an unwanted development — the possible construction of a wood-burning power plant in the city.
Neighborhood representatives, community organizers, and people from health-focused organizations have been brainstorming ways to improve the environment and reduce greenhouse gases with a goal to present a plan to the Springfield City Council by the end of the year.
Dozens of opponents of the biomass plant proposed by Palmer Renewable Energy in Springfield, MA urged the city council during a special meeting Wednesday night to appeal a court ruling reinstating the project's building permit.
Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 9:41 am
The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts has green-lighted an appeal to try to block construction of a wood-burning power plant.
The council authorized the filing of a notice of appeal of last month’s Massachusetts Land Court ruling that reinstated the building permit for the biomass project. Dozens of project opponents urged the council to act prior to a September 15th deadline. City Councilor Tim Allen said a lawyer advised the council the appeal has a 25 percent chance of success.
Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 11:18 am
In the power business, it's all about managing the peaks.
During the hottest days of summer, electric utilities run at full capacity to keep giant cities comfortably cool. But most of the rest of the year, half that capacity goes unused — and that's highly inefficient.
Originally published on Sun September 7, 2014 12:26 pm
The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts will hold a special meeting on whether to continue the fight over a wood-burning power plant.
Facing a Sept. 15th deadline to file an appeal to the court ruling that restored the building permit for the controversial plant, city council meeting notices have been posted for both Sept. 10 and 11. City Councilor Tim Allen opposes the biomass plant, but is uncertain if he’ll vote to appeal last month’s decision by the Massachusetts Land Court.
Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 1:31 pm
The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts is considering whether to appeal a court ruling that reinstated the building permit for a wood-burning power plant.
Springfield City Council President Mike Fenton said he will poll the council members to determine if they want to hold a special meeting to vote on whether to appeal last months’ ruling by the Massachusetts Land Court. Fenton said councilors met privately with an attorney this week to discuss the pros and cons of a possible appeal.
Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 2:25 pm
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has put out for public comment a draft environmental impact statement concerning a proposed pipeline expansion project in the Northeast. The expansion includes property belonging to the Indian Point Nuclear power plant.
Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 4:52 pm
Some good news heading into the long weekend: Labor Day gas prices are at their lowest level in four years.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the nationwide average for retail regular was $3.45 per gallon on Aug. 25 — that's the lowest average price for a Monday ahead of Labor Day since 2010, and it's about $0.25 per gallon less than at the end of June this year. The current price is down from the record average of $3.83 for the 2012 holiday.
Consumer advocates say that new laws passed this year will help electric consumers dealing with higher-than-expected rates from so-called "third-party" electric providers. Many of these companies offer lower initial rates than the major utilities -- Connecticut Light and Power and United Illuminating -- but the rates can later spike, often without warning.
A new “bill of rights” has gone into effect for Connecticut’s electricity consumers. The bill is aimed at creating greater transparency in the marketing practices of third-party electric suppliers -- after many consumers complained that their electricity bills were increasing without warning.
Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 7:14 am
The coal industry made its presence known in Pittsburgh this week for public hearings on President Obama's controversial plan to address climate change. A key element is rules the Environmental Protection Agency proposed in June. They would cut greenhouse gas emissions — chiefly carbon dioxide — from existing power plants. The national goal is 30 percent by 2030, based on 2005 levels.
Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 12:06 pm
South Portland, Maine, is known as the place where Liberty ships were built by tens of thousands of workers during World War II. Now, the city's waterfront is home to an oil terminal and the beginning of a 236-mile-long pipeline.
For more than 70 years, the Portland Montreal Pipeline Corp. has pumped crude oil up through the pipeline, across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, to be refined in Montreal.
A group of opponents of the Vermont Gas Systems pipeline say the cost of Vermont Gas Systems’ pipeline from Colchester to Addison County is no longer justifiable in light of a recently announced cost increase.
New Hampshire is hosting the latest summit between the governors of the New England states and the Premiers of Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. The conference takes place Monday at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, and follows a similar meeting held in Quebec last September.
In an attempt to stop the juggernaut advance of the Sunni extremist group ISIS, Iraq's central government says the fight for the country's largest oil refinery is far from over. A military official says 40 militants have been killed.
"Iraqi government officials say an elite special operations force is holding off ISIS militants at the Beiji refinery 160 miles north of the capital," NPR's Deborah Amos reports from Erbil. "But local police report ISIS is tightening a grip on the facility."
Senator Richard Blumenthal is calling on Washington to improve veterans’ access to medical care. Blumenthal sponsored a bill that passed the U.S. Senate last week and now heads to the house. This comes in response to growing controversy over delays in medical care at V-A facilities around the country. Blumenthal says the measure enables our heroes to seek healthcare outside of the VA.
Governor Dannel Malloy has signed a bill imposing a moratorium on bringing fracking waste into Connecticut. The moratorium will extend to at least to July 2017. In the meantime, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will draft regulations about what, if any, fracking waste can come to Connecticut.
New federal regulations announced Monday aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030.
The draft proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency has sparked opposition from industry groups who say the changes would be prohibitively expensive. But the proposal's backers say the rules are needed to cut carbon pollution that scientists say contributes to climate change.
Is college worth it? The news about higher education is mostly bad. Student loan debt is now $1 trillion and climbing. Underpaid, demoralized, and harassed adjunct faculty are taking on more and more of the teaching load. By many measures, college isn't doing its most important job: providing a ladder that young people with fewer advantages can climb.
College right now seems to be reinforcing class structure rather than loosening it up.
Into all of the above steps an optimist: Wesleyan president Michael Roth, who doesn't deny the problems, but insists that a liberal education is essential, and worth it. Despite the shift towards specialized courses of study, a liberal arts education is more important than ever.