A new proposal by the Obama administration to expand drilling to half of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A) has attracted criticism from the oil industry, as the plan still leaves a broad area off limits to new oil development. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said new development will be permitted in an 11.8 million-acre geographical area, which purportedly holds about 549 million barrels of oil, while coastal regions such as Kasegaluk Lagoon and Peard Bay — where there is a higher concentration of seals and polar bears — will receive “special protection.”
Reports coming out this August show that our nation has plenty of oil and gas and that we ought to be a major exporter of coal to foreign markets. The economic benefits of an aggressive hydrocarbon energy production policy are vast.
In an effort to curb “high priority” environmental problems along the U.S.-Mexico border, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) worked with Mexican officials last week to launch the "Border 2020 U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program." But while the program seeks to abridge pollution in many areas, it neglects to mention the 1,000 tons of trash abandoned by illegal immigrants crossing the border into the United States.
In his testimony August 1 before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, climate scientist John Christy revealed the results of his latest work showing “clear evidence … that extreme high temperatures are not increasing in frequency, but actually appear to be decreasing.” Christy does his research at the University of Alabama, monitoring global temperature changes through remote satellite sensing which he developed along with a partner, Roy Spencer. For his efforts, Christy has been awarded NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and the American Meteorological Society’s “Special Award.”
As congressional Republicans continue their assault on President Obama’s seemingly failed “green” agenda, the White House announced August 7 it will expedite seven federal wind and solar projects across four western states. The programs, which will be grounded in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Wyoming, will generate enough power to run 1.5 million homes, the White House said in a press release.
As the international effort to deploy so-called “smart meters” to monitor electricity usage marches on, resistance to the controversial devices is increasing around the world as well. Proponents claim the schemes could save money and reduce energy use. Opponents from across the political spectrum, however, worry that the smart meters might not be just a stupid idea and a waste of money — they could actually be dangerous in more ways than one.
As the technology facilitating the expansion of the surveillance state becomes more advanced, the need for proximity to the target of the surveillance diminishes. For example, the ability to keep drones perpetually airborne is being engineered thanks to multi-million dollar research and development grants offered by the Pentagon to companies on the edge of technological advancement.
One such grant was recently awarded by DARPA (the secretive research and development agency inside the Pentagon) to a company working on shrinking the size and increasing the power of laser-based optics used by snipers.
The U.S. Air Force is training more drone “pilots” than those who will be at the controls of traditional aircraft, according to the Air Force chief of staff.
To date, there are reportedly around 1,300 people controlling the Air Force’s arsenal of Reaper, Predator, and Global Hawk drones, and the Pentagon plans to add about 2,500 pilots and support crew by 2014, according to an article in published August 3 by The Times (of London).
The Times reports that 350 new drone pilots were trained in 2011 “compared to 250 conventional fighter and bomber pilots.”