On April 10th in Bloomington Indiana Alternative Radio’s David Barsamian he spoke about his lifetime of work as an independent media producer, and the convergence of media, capitalism, and the environment. Mr. Barsamian and Dr. Martha Crouch were the primary speakers and the event was recorded on location at the Bloomington Monroe County Convention Center by WFHB’s Alycin Bektesh for Standing Room Only, on WFHB.
Tag Archives: environment
Federal regulators are hearing from Monroe County officials about the environmental perils of Interstate 69; The president of the Monroe County Public Library’s Board of Trustees expressed concern March 12th about changes to the bus routes in Bloomington; Bloomington Fire House Station Number 2 will host a groundbreaking and ribbon cutting ceremony for the new organic sustainable garden on Wednesday, April 2nd; Scottish Tartan Day is once again coming to Bloomington next month, hosted by the Scottish Society of Greater Bloomington; This weekend in local sports.
Petition: Land Swap Could Save B-Line Woods
Obamacare has been under much scrutiny lately, especially as the registration deadline approaches, and there aren’t as many young, healthy people signing up as was projected. Correspondent Casey Kuhn explored why this might be the case, and how to make signing up for individual healthcare as painless as possible, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.
Local organizations scout the listening area for service help on Volunteer Connection, linking YOU to current volunteer opportunities in our community.
Anchors: Helen Harrell, Nick Tumino
Today’s headlines were written by Jalisa Ransom and Ruben Solis,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Casey Kuhn.
Volunteer Connection is produced by Wanda Krieger, in partnership with the city of Bloomington Volunteer Network.
Our engineer today is Drew Daudelin,
Editor is Drew Daudelin, Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.
On Wednesday, February 19th the League of Women Voters hosted an informational session on Genetically Modified Organisms with three distinguished speakers. George Hageman, Professor Emeritus in Microbiology at Indiana University opened the program with an overview and some background on the history and uses of genetically modified organisms for agriculture. Then Kyle Cline, National Policy advisor for the Indiana Farm Bureau, and Marti Crouch, a plant scientist at Indiana University and advisor on issues of agriculture and technology, presented their views on the multifaceted sides of this complex issue followed by questions from the audience. This event was recorded on location at the Monroe County Public Library for Standing room only, on WFHB
Duke Energy’s controversial coal-gasification plant in Edwardsport, Indiana is again being challenged before state regulators.
Four environmental groups, the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, Save the Valley, the Sierra Club and Valley Watch, have filed a motion before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission calling for an investigation into the plant’s operating problems, schedule delays and cost overruns.
Kerwin Olson is the executive director of the Citizens Action Coalition.
“Our complaints relate back to 2007,” Olson says, “Our complaints were that this is a first-of-a-kind technology. This is a science project. We predicted that there would be significant cost escalations, construction delays, and problems during testing and startup, and all of these have happened. So much so that it’s only running at 4 percent of its rated capacity.”
In 2007, when it approved the plant, the Regulatory Commission put a $1.985 billion cap on building costs that Duke could be pass on to its customers. the Commission subsequently raised that cap to $2.6 billion. Today, the cost of the still-not-quite-operational plant is around $3.5 billion and rising.
Duke is now seeking Commission approval to add another $180 million to the expense line for a plant that is years behind its projected completion date.
“This plant was supposed to be purring like a kitten at 85 percent capacity on day one, according to Duke Energy,” Olson says, “In the six month period for the petition we filed it averaged 37 percent capacity, and the latest information we have from January was at 4 percent. We believe that this is a power plant that first of all never should have been approved in the first place and secondly, we have ratepayers paying a tremendous amount of money that is not useful and not serving the public interest.”
Since the time of its initial conception, various opponents have filed 12 motions to the Commission on the proposal. Seven of these are still before the courts.
In the past, the Commission has been reprimanded by the courts for have a too cozy relationship with the interests it is charged with regulating.
Yet the commission continues to add Duke’s costs to ratepayers bills, including the most recent request by Duke to recover repair and maintenance costs for a plant that is not producing much gas.
The Commission has not yet responded to the complainants petition, nor it is required to actually hold a hearing on it. The complainants are preparing for the eventuality of appealing the Commission’s response to Duke’s most recent cost recovery request.
A bill that will increase recycling efforts in Indiana was passed on Tuesday. Indiana State Senator Mike Stoops, who has supported House Bill 1183, talks about what spurred its creation.
“The idea is to identify recycling that is being thrown away with trash,” Stoops says, “We had a study committee that identified a significant amount of recycling in Indiana being thrown into a landfill. There was a lot of discussion about the fact that Indiana was lagging behind other states to turn that material into useful resources.”
The bill will require Indiana businesses and recycling centers to report all recycling activity to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
Recyclers of municipal waste can choose to report annually or quarterly, and non-municipal waste recyclers can be report voluntarily. This will be required starting in 2015. It establishes a goal for Indiana to reduce 50 percent of municipal waste by 2019.
“Indiana had a goal like this in the past,” Stoops says, “We didn’t take any steps to get to that goal then. A couple years ago they completely eliminated the recycling goal under Mitch Daniels.”
Senator Stoops says the specific types of products Indiana will be recycling aluminum cans, and that these are beneficial to aluminum companies as well, because they don’t need a lot of processing to recycle the aluminum, don’t need to spend money on mining aluminum ore, and that aluminum doesn’t degrade, so it is always recyclable.
Both Senator Stoops and Press Secretary of the Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus Sean Mobley believe this bill will create thousands of jobs in Indiana.
“One estimate is that if we do a better job of getting the recycling out of the waste stream, we could be looking at 10,000 jobs,” Stoops says.
This bill will go into effect along with Senate Bill 324, which bans the disposal of mostly recyclable products.
Any product that is entirely, or almost entirely, made of paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum, or plastic is not to be disposed of in a final disposal facility. Both bills will go into effect on July 1.
The Indiana State Senate voted 37 to 1 to pass Senate Bill 340 earlier this month, a bill that would ultimately change Indiana’s statewide energy saving program. Jodi Perras, Indiana Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, further explains what effect the bill will have.
“As it’s written now, big business can withdraw from the energy efficiency programs,” Perras says, “That means the rest of us will pay for the programs and the large facilities opting out is like us taking our two best players off the basketball floor.”
These utility programs seek to create less demand for energy, and Perras says they ultimately save everyone money. She says that passing Senate Bill 340 would benefit big industries, but hurt citizens along the way.
“We see big utilities that don’t like energy efficiency, and they have a lot of voice in the statehouse,” Perras says, “We need voters across the state to voice their opinion.”
According to Perras, utilities were forced to participate in these programs beginning in 2009, leading to energy efficiency. She says that efficiency is now under attack at the statehouse.
“People need to wake up and know that big utilities are trying to fight energy efficiency,” Perras says, “These are programs that keep our electricity rates down for schools, universities and we need to make sure these programs keep going.”
Perras says The Sierra Club stresses the importance of the public’s voice in dealing with Indiana’s environmental issues.
John D. Graham, dean of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University and former senior official in President George W. Bush’s Office of Management and Budget, testified on Tuesday in support of a bill that prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, from using what backers of the legislation call ‘secret science.’
The bill, introduced by U.S. House Republicans, would prohibit the EPA from proposing new regulations based on science that is not transparent or reproducible.
“Most of the EPA-related studies that may not satisfy the reproducibility standard are in the air quality area,” Graham said, “The environmental epidemiology field does not yet have a strong position in favor of public access to data, which is necessary for reproducibility. The transparency standard is more widely accepted.”
The measure is sponsored by Subcommittee Chairman David Schweikert, a Republican from Arizona. In discussing the bill’s future, Graham said, “There is a mid-March meeting at the National Academy of Sciences where the reproducibility issue will be discussed in more detail by multiple stakeholders. Once that meeting occurs, it will become apparent whether the scientific community will support or oppose the bill.”
Last week a committee in the Indiana House of Representatives approved a bill that would limit the power of state legislators. The law, proposed by Republican representative David Wolkins, would make it illegal for the state to pass environmental regulations that are more strict than federal laws. For years similar measures were shot down in the statehouse, with the help of conservative Senator Beverly Gard, who became the face of the measure’s opposition. Gard retired in 2012, and this year marks the first time the bill has moved out of committee without Gard to block it. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford spoke with Gard this afternoon for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management, or IDEM, has issued a press release detailing ways to deal with winter weather while staying safe and environmentally friendly.
If you use chemical salts to melt ice off your sidewalk, be sure not to over apply or allow the salts to fall on your lawn or garden, since excess salts can be damaging to flora.
If you spread sand for traction, don’t overuse it either, as that excessive material can cause problems in storm water systems.
You can winterize your vehicle by checking your air filter and fluid levels, checking tires for tread wear and proper inflation, and checking the condition of your windshield wipers.
Ensuring your vehicle is ready for weather changes will reduce damage, which prevents waste from broken parts, and will keep you safe on the road.
Make sure your heating system is operating efficiently. It is a good idea to have a contractor perform a routine check-up and any necessary maintenance on the equipment before freezing weather drives up your energy bill.
Real Christmas trees are making a comeback this year, according to a specialist at Purdue University. Daniel Cassens, professor at the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, says more than one billion dollars will be spent in the United States this year bringing real Christmas trees into the house. He says the environmental impact of real trees versus that of fake trees has become something of a debate in recent years. A Christmas tree farmer himself, Cassens says there are benefits to avoiding the more convenient, artificial trees.
“It’s a difficult thing to measure because there are so many variables involved,” Cassens says, “If you look at a real tree, you see it takes in carbon dioxide and keeps it in the ground. Depending on how the tree is disposed of, the rest of the carbon is released in the atmosphere and can be
Cassens says artificial Christmas trees are petroleum-based products, which release carbon stored in the ground, becoming directly harmful to the environment. Shipping artificial trees to the United States creates another source of impact.
“About all the artificial trees are manufactured overseas,” Cassens says, “Real trees grown here create local jobs and contribute to the local economy. Fake trees, as they’re shipped, also takes energy and pollutes the environment.”
Proponents of the artificial Christmas tree industry point out that its product can be reused, saving real trees from being cut down, and that artificial trees of course do not need fertilizers or pesticides. If you’ve decided you want a real tree in your house this year, Cassens says there are a few things to keep in mind.
“If you’re a first time real-tree-buyer, you want to be careful not to get too big a tree, “Cassen says, “Stay within the five to six feet category, at the most nine feet. They are more manageable and the bigger the tree, the more difficult to handle. Also, make sure to have a high-quality
When the holidays are over, Cassens says, there are also options to consider when getting rid of a real tree.
“One option, that is the most simple, is to take the tree and put it in your backyard until spring,” Cassen says, “Most towns also have recycling centers that turn real Christmas trees into mulch.”
For more information on real Christmas trees, or how to find a choose-and-cut tree farm in your area, you can visit the National Christmas Tree Growers Association online at RealChristmastrees.org.