Friday, March 31, 2017

Let's Build a Clean Coal Power Plant Next to Every Trump Resort!

Wow - Clean Coal - let us build one of those "Clean Coal" plants next to Trump's Mar a Lago resort. I am sure he would like that...
It's massive expenses and failures in the U.S.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Trump: You make America Small!

Call climate change what it is: violence | Rebecca Solnit | Opinion |The Guardian

Announcement of the 3rd Session of the Environmental Documentary Series on Thursday 3/30/2017

Announcement of the 3rd Session of the Environmental Documentary Series on Thursday 3/30/2017

1. The Breakthrough in Renewable Energy (47)
2. Won't Pipe Down (23)
Total time: 70 minutes Topic: Energy
  • The Breakthrough in Renewable Energy: Clean energy is becoming less exotic and more practical than ever before thanks to the efforts of a few key countries. Collectively, they're greasing the wheels for a worldwide revolution. The Breakthrough in Renewable Energy, a new documentary produced by the acclaimed VPRO Backlight series, takes us inside the corporate offices and production lines where this groundbreaking work is being done, and examines what it could mean for the future of energy consumption on Earth.
  • “Won’t Pipe Down” is a short documentary presenting the definitive David versus Goliath battle between the residents of Nelson County, Virginia and the Dominion Power company. This inside look at the community and their fight against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline raises questions about environmental justice, property rights, and individual rights.
All events will take place on Thursday evenings between 7-9 pm in St. Joseph Hall / SJH 109 Lecture Hall and are open and free to anybody. This faculty-led program and any related discussion is for educational benefit only.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bill McKibben: #NoKXL

From: "Bill McKibben -" <>
Date: March 24, 2017 at 13:37:51 EDT
To: "Tom Wassmer"
Subject: #NoKXL

Join live strategy session to hear from movement leaders who've defeated Keystone once, and are ready to do it again.

Dear Friends,
Today, nearly six years after the fight over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline moved into high gear, Donald Trump approved the federal permit for the pipeline -- but this fight is far from over.
It's not a surprise, but it still feels like a punch in the gut. A punch that should get us good and angry, not knock the wind out of our sails. Seizing this moment will require more of the things that carried us through to this point: passionate organizing, committed actions, and courage on all of our parts.
Here's how I've been thinking about things today, as we prepare to mobilize again:
1) The approval doesn't mean it's a done deal. There's no permitted route through Nebraska; native tribes are hard at work in South Dakota; and a team of lawyers are gearing up to play their role as I write.
2) We've already won an awful lot. Six years times 800,000 barrels of oil a day equals a lot of carbon emissions saved. Not to mention that six years of delay has cost Transcanada a small fortune.
3) Every new pipeline, frack well and coal port is being fought and fought hard. You've heard of some of these fights, like the Dakota Access pipeline, but there are now hundreds of them across the world. Keystone jumpstarted a whole new phase of the movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground.
There are many, many people who've been working to stop Keystone since the beginning, and they're gearing up for this next round of the fight.
Join a live strategy session on Monday, March 27th at 8:00 PM EST to hear from movement leaders who've defeated Keystone once, and are ready to do it again.
I'll be one of the presenters on the webinar together with brilliant organizers, Jane Kleeb with Bold Alliance, Wayne Frederick, Rosebud Sioux Tribe Council, Michael Brune from Sierra Club, Lindsey Allen from the Rainforest Action Network and Eriel Deranger from Indigenous Climate Action. We'll talk about how we can fight this pipeline with every available tool in our toolbox.
I wish there was a silver bullet — there's just more of the hard work we've been doing for years. We organize, we build big movements, we fight.
We've got each other, and together we do good things. The next step we'll take together is in DC on April 29 for the Peoples Climate March. You'll see some familiar pipeline fighters there, along with tens of thousands of others, standing together against this industry's endless greed.
Sign up now to join the live strategy session and we'll send you a link to watch the live stream. During the webinar, you'll be able to share your thoughts and submit questions.
See you there and in many places after that,
Bill is building a global climate movement. Become a sustaining donor to keep this movement strong and growing.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Second Film of the 3rd Environmental Documentaries Series Tonight

Second Film of the 3rd Environmental Documentaries Series Tonight
1. The Goose with the Golden Eggs: Tourism on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast (34)
2. How bad for the environment are cruise ships? (2)
3. Thule – Tuvalu (55)
Total time: 91
Topics: Tourism and Climate Change
1. The Goose with the Golden Eggs: This educational documentary examines the impacts of large-scale resort and vacation home developments along Costa Rica's Pacific Coast, as well as cruise ship arrivals in the port city of Puntarenas.
2. How bad for the environment are cruise ships? - Title says it all
3. Thule - Tuvalu: When the ice melts in Thule, Tuvalu drowns in the ocean. A touching portrait of people whose joint fates are intimately linked though they live at two completely distant corners of the world.
When and where? 7-9 pm in St. Joseph Hall / SJH 109 Lecture Hall, Siena Heights University
St. Joseph Hall (Circled) - Parking across the street to the right of the Nursing Building

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Tip of Ignorance that Threatens Millions of Lives

The Trump administration should be charged with Crimes Against Humanity. These policies will cost the lives of more people than any genocide previously tried at Den Haag (The Hague).

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

First Film of the 3rd Environmental Documentaries Series Tomorrow

1.       The Messenger (90)
Conservation, Species extinction

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

UN experts denounce 'myth' pesticides are necessary to feed the world | Environment | The Guardian

Report warns of catastrophic consequences and blames manufacturers for ‘systematic denial of harms’ and ‘unethical marketing tactics’

Read the full story at the below URL:

Reasons why the Nexus pipeline is not needed

From: Frank Zaski

Here are three Nexus comments submitted to FERC, March 2, 3 and 6. Please use anything here you would like.

March 2:

FERC approved Rover because it met many CON requirements. Nexus misses on most of them.

1. Rover had precedent agreements for 95% of its capacity
2. Producers asked FERC to approve Rover
3. No pipeline company protested Rover

This is not the case for Nexus.

The EIS states that only 885,000 Dth/d (59%) of Nexus' 1.5 million Dth/d of capacity has been signed in precedent agreements. While Nexus touts tee-taps, FERC says "we did not consider the 13 tee-tap sites to be essential." Pages 45, 46.

DTE Electric had to increase their take of Nexus capacity to try to justify it.
Per DTE, "Based on recent discussions with NEXUS, we believe that an increased commitment is necessary in order to ensure that the project has sufficient customer commitments to justify proceeding with construction. For these reasons, we recommend increasing our Transition Period commitment from 8,500 Dth/d to 30,000 Dth/d."
Pages 136, 149

Per DTE, "DTE Electric does not expect to fully utilize the capacity contracted on the NEXUS Pipeline during the first few years of the contract (through 2023 plus). Capacity utilization will increase to approximately 40% after the first new combined cycle plant is brought into service. Until the second combined cycle facility is brought on-line [possibly 2023, if then], DTE Electric will NOT be using all of the available Nexus pipeline capacity to meet DTE Electric natural gas load requirements. Instead, DTE Electric plans to release available capacity to the market in order to recover the value of the unutilized pipeline capacity." Page 28

It is speculative to believe DTE will be granted approval for a new natural gas plant. A gas plant will have to go thru a detailed Michigan CON process competing against lower cost efficiency and renewable energy, both of which are increasing due to new legislation.

Nexus precedent agreements are largely signed by AFFILIATES; DTE, Union and Enbridge. These affiliates of Nexus's sponsors are participating largely due to the affiliation with project sponsors and seek to lock their ratepayers into long term contracts and pass substantial Nexus costs on to these ratepayers. This will reduce the likelihood of their ratepayers experiencing the advantages of quickly evolving energy efficiencies, alternative energies and suppliers. These affiliate relationships require special review by FERC.

Note, the Michigan PSC DENIED DTE Electric and DTE Gas cost recovery of Nexus expenses for not being transparent with their AFFILIATE ARRANGEMENTS and for lack of evidence that Nexus costs are reasonable and prudent. To quote the MPSC DTE Gas Order:

"The ALJ [administrative law judge] found that the evidence presented on this issue created the strong impression that THIS AFFILIATE TRANSACTION IS A PART OF A LARGELY UNEXPLAINED CONTRACTUAL SCHEME designed to foster the success of the Nexus pipeline project, involving DTE Gas, DTE Energy, DTE Pipeline, DTE Electric, and NEXUS. PFD, p. 40.

The ALJ concluded from the record that DTE GAS NEVER SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED ANY OTHER OPTIONS for the acquisition of the 75,000 Dth/day transportation capacity.

The ALJ found that, while DTE Gas was looking into and securing transportation capacity on NEXUS, other avenues for the transport of Appalachian basin gas were and still are available and that those OTHER OPTIONS MAY BE EVEN LESS EXPENSIVE THAN NEXUS.

According to the ALJ, it is DTE Gas's responsibility to show that the contractual arrangement is in its customers' best interest.
Page 11.

ANR is protesting Nexus in both the MPSC DTE Electric and DTE Gas cost recovery cases.
ANR strongly stated that DTE failed to adequately consider Rover and existing alternatives that were and remain much less costly than Nexus. ANR further contends that DTE Gas's existing capacity could be upgraded "with minor facility enhancements" to provide the capacity DTE Gas is seeking from the Appalachian Basin to its city gates.
DTE bid only three years for ANR capacity as a bridge to Nexus capacity and not 15 years that it agreed to pay Nexus.

The last comment strongly suggests that DTE plans to severely cut ANR gas supplies. This will hurt ANR and their existing shippers.

Nexus misses on FERC's basic CON requirements, plus, it simply is not needed. Other pipelines can supply far more gas to DTE, Michigan and Canada than what the forecasts suggest.
The recently approved Rover and Northern Access pipelines, and potentially TransCanada's newly reduced terms for shipping 1.5 PJ/day to Michigan and Dawn, make Nexus irrelevant. More to come.

March 3:

The quickly growing pipeline CAPACITY SURPLUS to Michigan and Ontario actually would make the addition of Nexus harmful. Adding Nexus would add to the capacity surplus and adversely affect existing pipelines and their captive customers, landowners and the environment.

FERC must consider the increasing pipeline capacity to the Midwest and Canada provided by: Rover, the trend towards Canada sourcing more gas thru New York and the addition of NY gas capacity provided by Northern Access, TransCanada drastically reducing tolls, plus with Rex now flowing westward, additional Oklahoma capacity to the Midwest is available on NGPL, PEPL, ANR and Northern Natural pipelines. This is in the face of rather tepid gas demand forecasts for the area.

FERC, please note DTE's map of their pipeline system in Michigan and to Canada.

ROVER AND EXISTING PIPELINES CAN FILL ALL NEXUS GAS CONTRACTS WITH DTE, UNION AND ENBRIDGE. The one, small Nexus customer in Ohio can be served by other pipelines.
Rover connects with ANR and Panhandle at Defiance and Vector at Milford. These pipelines feed into DTE's pipeline systems at Willow, Milford and Belle River. Vector also feeds Dawn and Chicago. TransCanada's GLGT pipeline feeds ANR and Belle River in Michigan and the Dawn hub.
Nexus could attain agreements for only 885,000 Dth/d of their 1.5 million Dth/d capacity. However, Rover has signed a joint precedent agreement with Vector to provide up to 950,000 Dth/d of firm transportation service on existing facilities for delivery in Michigan and to the Union Gas Dawn Hub in Ontario. Page 2

Rover can supply even more gas to Michigan if needed; their Market Segment pipeline has the capacity to transport up to 1.3 Bcf/day of natural gas to the Vector system.
Vector connects to DTE pipes, Canada and Dawn hub and can easily put gas into DTE, Union and Enbridge gas supply systems and meet all their needs.

Plus, other pipelines that service DTE and Michigan connect to Rover at Defiance Oh. This includes ANR and Panhandle.

This has occurred in just the last 5 years. Considerable Marcellus gas is already flowing thru New York to Ontario and the Dawn Hub. This flow has increased 745% from 2011 to 2016.
In July and October 2016, the flow of gas to Ontario through New York was greater than that through Michigan.

The newly approved Northern Access pipeline will give New York pipes the ability to surpass Michigan as the principal Marcellus gas supplier to Dawn and Canada. It will enable 350,000 Dth per day of NEW firm transportation service to Ontario through Niagara Falls. Page 4
Northern Access to more than double their capacity into Canada and the Dawn hub from 208,000 Dth/d to 558,000 Dth/d. Slide 39

TransCanada Corp. just renewed its push to ship 1.5PJ/day of Western Canadian natural gas to the Dawn Hub and Toronto region. "TransCanada continues to offer a 10-year term and a targeted total subscription of 1.5 PJ / day at a simplified single rate toll of $0.77/GJ," [$0.77 Canadian is a very low $0.58 US]
Analysts have concluded that TransCanada, Rover and Nexus gas flowing to Dawn would collapse prices and hurt all shippers involved.
REX pipeline flows west from Ohio have been displacing gas from the Midcontinent to the Midwest and East, including flows from Oklahoma. This is leaving an aggregated 2.0 Bcf/d of capacity (or more during low-demand months) open on average across four major pipelines: NGPL, PEPL, ANR and Northern Natural.

RNB also reports that with the final REX capacity addition, Marcellus/Utica production DID NOT increase in spite of winter premiums. The gas supply is being redirected from other takeaway capacity out of Ohio. They add, "As more of new pipeline projects to the south and west are completed, expect to see a lot more of this kind of competition – mostly NEW PROJECTS "STEALING" GAS FROM LEGACY PIPES."

As previously stated, Nexus falls short on some of FERC's basic CON requirements; (1.) it has agreements for only 59% of its capacity, (2.) no gas producer has asked for Nexus approval, and (3) another pipeline company has strongly protested Nexus at the Michigan PSC.

Another FERC requirement is the avoidance of OVERBUILDING. Adding Nexus to the Midwest pipeline system would add to the growing capacity surplus and adversely affect existing pipelines and their captive customers. As RBN puts it, new projects "stealing" gas from legacy pipes."

FERC must consider natural gas prices in this area are relatively low and there has been a significant reduction in basis differentials.

The above suggests significant capacity, reliability and resiliency has already been achieved.

March 6:

FERC has stated, "The Certificate Policy Statement established a new policy under which the Commission would allow an applicant to rely on a variety of relevant factors to demonstrate need,… These factors might include, but are not limited to, [1] precedent agreements, [2] demand projections, [3] potential cost savings to consumers, or a [4] comparison of projected demand with the amount of capacity currently serving the market." P16

Nexus falls short on all four of these factors:

Note details in

Nexus affiliates account for 27% (460,000 Dth/d) of its 1.5 million Dth/d capacity. They are seeking to pass considerable Nexus costs on to their captive ratepayers for 15 years plus.
Market support for the project (by nonaffiliated entities) is only 32%, 475,000 Dth/d.

FERC, with only 59% filled, how can Nexus rates be fair to all customers and how can the rate of return be positive? It is assumed FERC does not approve newly created companies with negative rates of return.

It appears unlikely that Nexus will obtain more customers given that Rover has beaten Nexus to Michigan and Dawn with their considerable capacity. Plus, there is growing gas oversupply to these markets and Chicago provided by Rex (and their interconnection), TransCanada, Northern Access and others. Overbuild and lower costs will hurt Nexus particularly at renewal time.

EIA's AEO2017 projects that demand for natural gas will increase ONLY 5% from 2016 to 2025 in the East North Central region (including OHIO, MICHIGAN, WI, IL, and IN.). They forecast a small DECREASE in gas used to generate electricity during this period.

Demand for natural gas in Michigan has been trending downward for residential, commercial and industrial use. Gas usage for electric generation has increased but accounted for only 28% of all gas consumed in Michigan in 2016.

DTE Electric stated they expect a 0.2% average annual DECREASE in electric sales through 2026. Industrial sales are expected to decrease the most.

DTE Gas forecasts a DECLINE in natural gas sales for all rate classes due to energy efficiency. Discussion on Pages 547-552
Data on page 3

NO newly approved or built gas plant in the region will rely on Nexus. In Michigan: Holland, Lansing, Indek and Wolverine and NW Ohio; Oregon Clean Energy.

ONTARIO gas and electric demand is expected to remain flat as economic growth is balanced by additional conservation.

ANR stated "By contracting for transportation from ANR's interconnections with pipelines already connected to the Appalachian Basin, DTE Gas could save $13.5 million per year or over $200 million over the 15 year term it seeks."

ANR also stated that transportation service on any of these existing alternatives [to Nexus] would
provide additional benefits in terms of economic FLEXIBILITY and RELIABILITY of service. By
obtaining firm transportation on ANR's system, DTE Gas would have the right to access other
points on ANR's system on a firm secondary basis. This right would enable DTE Gas to
purchase gas from suppliers at any other points on ANR's system, and deliver the gas on a
secondary basis, thus increasing its choices and its negotiating leverage with gas sellers. Pages 25, 26

"Alternatives for supplying DTE Electric's gas-fired generation would likely be more FLEXIBLE and less expensive than holding 20 years of 365-day firm capacity all the way back to the Marcellus/Utica region on NEXUS."

By locking DTE and their ratepayers into long-term Nexus contracts will decrease the diversity of supply and flexibility to take advantage of changing prices, rates, demand, etc.

The Ontario Energy Board staff had similar conclusions:
"It is OEB staff's position that there are alternatives to the proposed NEXUS contracts that can achieve the same benefits at an overall LOWER RISK TO RATEPAYERS. OEB staff submits that purchasing delivered supplies at market hubs (Dawn and/or Chicago) will be a lower risk option for ratepayers than the NEXUS contracts due to the supply FLEXIBILITY offered by the ability to purchase natural gas supplies over shorter contract terms.

The price differentials between Henry, Dominion, Chicago, MichCon, Dawn and Niagara hubs have already converged. This suggests that these markets already have adequate pipeline capacity.

This hub price convergence has already happened now before new, substantial capacity is availability from Rex, Rover, Nexus, Northern Access, Oklahoma and lower TransCanada pricing and terms. As noted above, natural gas demand in Michigan and Ontario is expected to increase only gradually over the next 10 years. It is speculative to approve another gas pipeline based on rosy industry forecasts (and utilities affiliate pricing power) beyond a decade into the future.

It appears Nexus does not meet FERC CON requirements.

Climate, Poverty and Policy: NDC Explorer

NDC Explorer

What is the NDC Explorer?
The NDC Explorer is an online tool to analyse and compare both countries' INDCs and NDCs. It is based solely on information in these documents. Watch an introduction video here.

What are the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)?
In 2013, the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) decided that every member state would submit an 'Intended Nationally Determined Contribution' (INDC). Countries based their INDCs on their specific national priorities, circumstances, and capabilities. The INDCs proved to be a cornerstone to reach the Paris Agreement. Every party that ratifies the Paris Agreement is invited to turn its INDC into a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) (see decision 1/CP.21, §22).
First and foremost, (I)NDCs intend to increase the ambition to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, by outlining countries ‘contributions’. However, most countries also use the opportunity to write about other priorities and ambitions, such as adaptation and finance needs. Countries also used their (I)NDC to highlight other important issues, such as fossil fuel subsidy reform or linkages to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Aim of the NDC Explorer
The NDC Explorer has two aims. First, it provides a neutral, sophisticated and user-friendly lens to analyse and compare both qualitative and quantitative (I)NDC content. The NDC Explorer is a crucial first step for the objective of the NDC Partnership. This partnership aims to achieve:
 • Enhanced visibility and access to existing NDC support programs
 • Better designed, more responsive NDC support programs
 • Greater alignment between climate and development agendas
 • Increased political momentum for implementation of the Paris Agreement
 • Transformational climate policies

Second, the NDC Explorer stimulates the debate on content, scope as well as formulation and implementation processes of the national climate action plans. In doing so, it supports policy makers in formulating improved and more ambitious (I)NDCs in 2020 and thereafter (see 1/CP.21, §23).

Monday, March 6, 2017

Senator De León's New Bill: 100% clean energy - The Solutions Project

What does air pollution do to our bodies? - BBC News

Air pollution is one of the largest health threads worldwide - and the mayor cause is combustion - mainly of fossil fuels. Let us finally tackle climate change and air pollution together and seriously move to 100% CLEAN renewables: wind, solar and water... What does air pollution do to our bodies? - is a great short video by BBC News