Journalists to Officials: Quit Stonewalling on W.VA. Water Crisis

The Society of Environmental Journalists called on EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and other federal and state officials yesterday to stop stonewalling about the facts of the recent chemical spill in West Virginia.

Tanks owned by Freedom Industries, where a chemical spill contaminated the drinking water in Charleston, West Virgina.

Chemical tanks owned by Freedom Industries, where a spill contaminated the drinking water in Charleston, West Virgina. (Google Earth)

“During crises like these,” the news organization wrote, “it is the job of the news media to seek reliable answers for the public and hold government agencies accountable. It is a time when the government agencies responsible for health and safety need to be active, open, transparent, and available to answer public and  news media questions. From the beginning of the West Virginia emergency, government agencies seemed to be evading the news media, and by extension the public.”

[Disclosure: I'm a long-time member of SEJ.]

My New Year’s Thoughts on Being “A Real Man”

What’s “a real man?”

No H8 tattoo

No Hate Tattoo

Surely, being an openly gay man has to be near the top of the list. After all, it takes courage to embrace who you are and publicly own it — especially when so many believe that if you’re not a heterosexual, you’re living a “life style” that is sick, vile, or evil.

Hetero men should ask themselves if they would have the cojones to be stand up in a hostile society and claim an identity that is still widely despised. If they’re honest, my guess is that they would, if nothing else, come away with a profound sense of respect for those “real men” who have come out.

Best wishes to all for a New Year full of love, not hate.

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Poll: Germans Continue to Embrace Renewable Energy, but with an eye on the price tag



According to a new poll, 82 percent of Germans support the country’s transition to renewable energy, known as the Energiewende. The poll by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband) found some discontent with some aspects of the project, however, particularly with the cost.

Some 52 percent of respondents called rising energy prices a disadvantage of the Energiewende. At $0.35 U.S per kilowatt hour kWh, the price German consumers pay for electricity is among the highest in Europe. Danes pay the most $0.40/kWh and Bulgarians the least $0.11/kWh.

Overall, the poll found that Germans are willing to pay more for electricity they consider safe, i.e., non-nuclear and non-polluting. Part of the increased cost comes from a surcharge for renewable energy that is paid to individuals or groups that produce “clean power” and sell it to the grid. The program, called a Feed-in Tariff FiT, has helped create a solar photovoltaic PV boom across Germany.

The installed capacity of PV the theoretical maximum amount of electricity that could be produced if all solar panels were running at 100 percent capacity in 2003 was less than half a gigawatt GW. A decade later, that figure stands at 34 GW – and growing.

Actual solar power production across Germany can be seen in real time on a site run by German solar technology manufacturer, SMA.

via Solar Power Remains Popular in Germany, Despite Cost | Earthzine.