Blog Archive

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Radically Simple Enviro Show

Greetings Earthlings. After four back-to-back depressing shows on the BP Gulf disaster we thought we'd shift gears a bit and look for some simple solutions to living with Big Oil and the corporados. With that in mind, Jim Merkel calls-in with some info on Radical Simplicity. We visit the Enviro Show Echo Chamber just in case you really CAN'T get enough of that miserable news from the Gulf and we'll make a pit stop in our E-Valley-uation segment to catch-up on the Biomess. Also, more words of wisdom in our Enviro Show Quote of the Week and a flashback surprise, but first it's time for....Revenge of the Critters! Italian bird poacher attacked by his own victim.

In The Enviro Show Echo Chamber, in case you had any doubts, the scientific proof is in: Researchers confirm subsea Gulf oil plumes are from the BP well, surprise! And....more oil where no one wants it! In The Gulf, in Michigan, in China, in Nigeria, another BP one in Alaska, and around the world! Meanwhile, actions in response to BP's sins are taking place in San Francisco, DC, and elsewhere during the 100 Days of Outrage! Where's western Mass?? Asleep at the....umm...pump? BTW, it might not shock you that the National Wildlife Federation and NOAA are not on the same page regarding the damage done; and neither are the scientists regarding the toxic dispersant entering the foodchain in the worst oil release in the history of the world!

"No Body Knows Nothin'", by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band & friends takes us to our E-Valley-uation segment where it's time for more on the Biomess! Checkout the comments on the Manomet study hearing in Springfield last Wednesday here. And, the struggle goes national!

On the Enviro Show Quote of the Week George Carlin returns from the grave to remind us: "I look at it this way... For centuries now, man has done everything he can to destroy, defile, and interfere with nature: clear-cutting forests, strip-mining mountains, poisoning the atmosphere, over-fishing the oceans, polluting the rivers and lakes, destroying wetlands and aquifers... so when nature strikes back, and smacks him on the head and kicks him in the nuts, I enjoy that. I have absolutely no sympathy for human beings whatsoever. None. And no matter what kind of problem humans are facing, whether it's natural or man-made, I always hope it gets worse."

And this: He's baaaaaack! Yes, Darth Cheney lives on with the help of medical science and who knows, Satan maybe??

After our interview it's on to the Bus Stop Billboard again:

Thursday, August 5,4pm. Protest the Biomess! (that rhymes) At the Biomess industry conference. Meet in front of the Westin Copley Place hotel at the corner of Dartmouth and St. James in Boston (near Copley Plaza) at 4pm. Contact:

Friday, August 6, 8 - 8:30am. Anniversary vigils on Hiroshima bombing. Northampton Courthouse & Amherst Town Common. Call AFSC at 584-8975

Saturday, August 7, 11am. - Noon. Greenfield Peace Vigil Shattuck Park, Federal St., Greenfield, Sponsored by the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice

Saturday, August 7, 12:30 - 2:30pm. Go Solar! Street theater & Rally. City Hall, Northampton. Come help with our street theater solar panel installations and giant “Sunny Green” “Sol Verde” puppet along Main Street at 12:30 — and stay for the rally and citizens’ speak-out at Northampton City Hall at 1pm! Great music by the Raging Grannies, Derrick Jordan, and Jay Manita! Call AFSC at 584-8975

Monday, August 9, 11am. Nagasaki atomic bombing anniversary gathering. Leverett Peace Pagoda. Details about event and earlier Walk for 7 Generations itinerary can be obtained by calling (413) 485-8465

Tuesday, August 10th, 12 Noon. Rally at Rep. Neal's office, 300 State St., Springfield. Get corporate dollars out of Washington! Sign the Pledge! Sponsored by

Saturday, August 14 The Vermont Citizens Action Network will host a potluck dinner at the Organ Barn at Tree Frog Farm in Guilford, Vermont. Call 413-625-6177 for reservations.

Sunday afternoon, August 15. An outdoor concert and CD Release Party—also at Tree Frog Farm. Call 413-625-6177

Had enough? Us too! Next time it's the Rights of Nature. Until then remember: listen to your Mother, OK?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Biomess Demo in Boston August 5th!

Greetings Earthlings. We have some interesting news for you on the Biomess front here in the Northeast. From August 4 through 6 Biomass Magazine is hosting its Northeast Biomass Conference & Expo at the Westin Copley Place at the corner of Dartmouth and St. James in Boston near Copley Plaza in Boston. We here on The Enviro Show, having broken the story in Western Mass. on the Biomess long ago, and taking every opportunity to expose biomass incineration schemes to some needed sunlight, thought it important to demonstrate to the industry and the public at large, our continued opposition to the Biomess. With that in mind, we and our activist friends from Stop Spewing Carbon and elsewhere are proposing a "Protest the Biomess" action in front of the Westin Copley Place hotel on Thursday, August 5 at 4pm.

On the conference website, Biomess boosters state "The Northeast U.S. has vast forestry, agricultural and municipal biomass resources" which in Biomess-speak means they would like to burn-up our forests and incinerate our toxic demolition and construction debris for fun & profit while we are left to suffer the consequences. To this we say: we don't think so! But, we'd LOVE to say it with YOU on the street in front of the industry's dog & pony show on August 5th.

We've already had several victories in the struggle against biomass incineration here in Massachusetts. We think we should continue to shed sunlight on the industry's hype so that our neighbors become fully aware of what a scam biomass incineration really is and how it will impact their lives and those of future generations. So, won't you join us in Boston on August 5 at 4pm? All you have to do is show up!

Spread the word!! Save the trees! Protect the biosphere!

Contact: 203-536-2050 cell ph

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Big Oily Enviro Show, Part II

Greetings Earthlings. Had enough of THE worst environmental disaster in U.S. history? Think it's over? Imagine if you were an oyster with no where to go! Jennifer Seavey was going to return to these microphones with tales from the depths of despair. She's doing post doc at the University of Florida, examining oysters in the Gulf of Mexico. Sadly, her fellow scientist asked her not to come on the show because "there is a lot of nervousness about talking to the press right now". Of course, this is all about BP trying to control the science around their f'ing crimes! We'll look into some more of BP's nefarious deeds and such like in The Enviro Show Echo Chamber, checkout the Quote of The Week, and perhaps venture into our E-Valley-uation segment, but first it's time for.....Revenge of the Critters! Are you ready for this? Amelia Earhart attacked by crabs!. Now we know.

This time The Enviro Show Quote of the Week comes from in-house. It's D.O.'s mean commentary on the BP disaster: Where's Big Green?

In the Enviro Show Echo Chamber we find our friends at Ocean River Institute calling on Obama to federalize the Gulf clean-up. And this from the Huffington Post: BP trying to buy scientists! Also from Huff: George Lakoff on Conservatism's Death Gusher (actually George, they're not conservatives in the real sense 'cuz they don't CONSERVE!). And this Enviro Show Blog Bonus: Stop Big Oil Bailouts!

"Wash up over me" by Ethan Miller & Kate Boverman takes us to our E-Valley-uaton segment it's excellent news on the Biomess front: Another victory in Massachusetts!. Sorry Madera Energy, looks like your shrinking and your flying monkeys have morphed. What a world! What a world! O, by the way, Biomess warriors took their case to DC. Read all about it here.

After all that we'll stroll over to the old Bus Stop Billboard:

Wednesday, July 21, 10:30 am: New England Climate Summer bicyclists are in town! They'll be visiting Garden the Community folks at 10:30 and we're planning other events with them. More to come (see Thursday)!

Wednesday, July 21, Noon to 1pm. Brown bag lunch vigil at Rep. Neal's office, 300 State Street, Springfield. Part of a week of actions that support people and the planet over corporate polluters like BP. Sponsored by Progressive Democrats of America. Email:

Thursday, July 22, 6 pm: New England Climate Change bicyclers will speak at the Forest Park Library, 380 Belmont Ave., Springfield to: Explain some of the scientific, social, and political aspects of climate change, Hear from local environmental groups, Hold an open discussion about the energy future of Springfield and the State.

Friday, July 23, 7pm. Benefit concert for the Greenfield No Biomass vote. Old Tavern Farm, 817 Colrain Road, Greenfield. Green River String Band, Glen Ayers on banjo! & Jarad Weeks on bagpipes.

Wednesday, July 28, 6:00-8:00pm. Massachusetts Biomass Policy Development Public Meeting. Holyoke Community College. Leslie Philips Auditorium (Building C)303 Homestead Avenue,Holyoke. Call 617-626-7327

August 10th, 12 Noon. Rally at Rep. Neal's office, 300 State St., Springfield. Get corporate dollars out of Washington! Sign the Pledge! Sponsored by

Saturday, August 14 The Vermont Citizens Action Network will host a potluck dinner at the Organ Barn at Tree Frog Farm in Guilford, Vermont. Call 413-625-6177 for reservations.

Sunday afternoon, August 15. An outdoor concert and CD Release Party—also at Tree Frog Farm. Call 413-625-6177

That's about it. Next time it's our Birthday party and YOU'RE invited. Bring ice cream, ok? And remember to listen to your Mother (unlike BP & friends).

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Worst Environmental Disaster in U.S. History: Where's the outrage??

Imagine if you and your family and friends suddenly found that everything around you was turning dark and suffocating. Imagine being unable to escape this horror no matter which way you turned. Imagine your children dying before your eyes and you, dying also, unable to help. Welcome to the Gulf of Mexico and the worst man-made environmental disaster in U.S. history. This is the reality for countless lifeforms.

Obviously, BP oil is to blame for this horrific crisis of epic proportions, but there is plenty of blame to go around for what is happening. Corporate and government response to the oil well disaster has been at best, erratic. Cover-ups, obfuscation and media suppression have added insult to injury. But there is another aspect to The Summer They Destroyed the Gulf that is, at the very least, troubling: where are the activists?

Soon after the BP Deepwater Horizon was destroyed and eleven workers perished, the enormity of the blow-out became apparent. The massive environmental destruction and its effect on fishing and tourism started to manifest fear and outrage in Louisiana, which soon spread elsewhere. Of course there were local reactions and eventually there were some nationally coordinated regional events marking the catastrophe such as "Hands across the sands" and a few small protests in Washington; all of which seemed to have little or no effect. As we speak, the story begins to slip from the headline news after the flow of oil is finally stopped, at least for the time being. Congress and the White House turn to other issues. Who will keep the pressure on, if not grassroots activists? Who will keep the pressure on, if not grassroots activists?

It pains this observer that well-funded, heavily resourced national environmental groups like Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network or, to name a few, have not poured all their efforts into confronting the worst environmental disaster in our history. Groups like Greenpeace have personnel, boats, vehicles, even blimps they could throw into the fray. Where are the mass marches and rallies? Where's the direct action? While relatively small efforts on Facebook or among Rising Tide activists are hopeful, no one seems to have the resources and clout that Big Green carries. Beyond that: where's Earth First!? That kick-ass movement doesn't have the toys Big Green enjoys, but they do have the moxie and the spirit. Why haven't they locked down in BP headquarters? Pied Tony Hayward in the face? What became of "No compromise in defense of Mother Earth"?

I'm willing to bet there are tens of thousands of activists like myself out there waiting for the right action to surface or trying to create the momentum for such actions. Our voices are not that loud in the info-glut of 2010. It's time for Big Green to wake up and throw the switch. It's time for direct action activists to make their moves. Did I mention it's the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history? If not now, when?

- d.o.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Biomess Victory in Massachusetts!

The Stop Spewing Carbon Ballot Campaign announced today a major victory in the fight against biomass incinerators promoted as “clean energy” and as a result will not put its question on the statewide ballot for November 2010.

“Today Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles issued a letter* saying his agency will change our state laws to bring them in line with current science and public policy requiring biomass incinerators to meet strict standards for forest protection, greenhouse gas emissions, and efficiency,” said Meg Sheehan, Chair of the Stop Spewing Carbon Ballot Campaign. “This is a groundbreaking development that means an end to commercial biomass electric power plants in Massachusetts. Science confirms that the greenhouse gas emissions of burning forests are worse than
coal and there’s no reason to subsidize this form of energy,” Sheehan said.

Secretary Bowles’ letter says that to meet greenhouse targets the state should change “the incentives we provide biomass energy under the Renewable Portfolio Standard.” The Stop Spewing Campaign collected over 120,000 signatures from Massachusetts’ voters to end biomass subsidies. Sheehan said, “this sent a clear message to Governor Patrick. Ending renewable energy credits for dirty incinerators was the central goal of our ballot question and we have won.” The state also announced that construction and
demolition debris incinerators will not get renewable energy credits, another victory for the Campaign.

“Our coalition of social justice, public health, environmental, forestry advocates and fiscal watchdogs have won a victory for the citizens of Massachusetts, the nation, and indeed the planet,” Sheehan said. “Citizens have let government officials know they don’t want their taxpayer and ratepayer money spent on these toxic incinerators disguised as “clean energy.”

“We will continue to work to prevent air pollution impacts from potential smaller biomass projects and for a state wide ban on construction and demolition debris burning. We also intend to pressure the administration to tighten the biomass regulations even further than what was put forth today to prevent all destructive bio-energy schemes and false solutions to climate change. We will *want to make sure that so called “clean energy” projects don’t pollute the air, the water, and destroy our forests,” said Sheehan.

Contact: Meg Sheehan,Chair,Stop Spewing Carbon Campaign tel. 508-259-9154

meg(at)ecolaw(dot) biz Go to:


* Here is Bowles' letter:

Philip Giudice
Department of Energy Resources
100 Cambridge St., 10th floor
Boston, MA 02114

Dear Commissioner Giudice,
July 7,2010
Tel: (617) 626-1000
Fax: (617) 626-1181

Thank you for your work on the Biomass Sustain ability and Carbon Policy Study by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences. As we move forward to implement the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 (GWSA), which mandates 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2050 and 10 to 25% reduction in emissions by 2020, it is essential that state funding and incentives reflect this charge in the incentives we provide biomass energy under the Renewable Portfolio Standard.

In light of the Manomet study, we have a deeper understanding that the greenhouse gas impacts of biomass energy are far more complicated than the conventional view that electricity from power plants using biomass harvested from New England natural forests is carbon neutral. The findings of the Manomet study have changed the policy landscape for biomass energy production derived from wood fuels. Our policy should reflect this current science by moving to support the development and operation of facilities that
have the greenhouse gas profile needed to fulfill our emission-reduction mandates. While all questions have not been answered, and we expect new science to continue to guide our policy, I am confident that we now have enough information for the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to take the next step in changing the way in which the Commonwealth provides incentives for biomass energy.

Specifically, the Manomet study suggests that biomass combined heat and power (CHP) technologies using woody biomass from New England forests may contribute to overall greenhouse gas reductions due to higher levels of efficiency. The study does not provide in-depth analysis of carbon accounting for residual forest products, by-products, energy crops, or clean wood waste (e.g.,from mills), though the study suggests that use of such biomass fuels would reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the relevant timescale of the GWSA when used with high efficiency conversion in thermal or combined heat and power applications.

Given the general findings of the Manomet study, our obligations under the GWSA, and the authority of DOER to regulate state incentives for renewable biomass sources of energy, including responsibility for setting criteria qualifying low emissions and advanced power conversion technology, I direct you and your staff at DOER to move expeditiously to align our regulations with our better understanding of the greenhouse gas implications of biomass energy. You are to propose draft regulations pursuant to Section 11 F of Chapter 25A of the General Laws amending the current Renewable Portfolio Standard Class I regulations with the components outlined below, on or before September 1, 2010. Given the uncertainty created by the Manomet study in the renewable energy markets as well as the exigency associated with achieving steep greenhouse gas emissions reductions, you should plan to have proposed final regulations available by October 31, 2010, and have final regulations in place by no later than December 31, 2010. As is the case with all regulatory changes, I look forward to a fully transparent and robust public process as the new regulations are developed and finalized.

Changes in policy to be reflected in regulation should include but not be limited to the following:

1) In order to qualify for renewable energy certificates as a low emission biomass renewable energy facility using advanced power conversion technology, generating sources must be must be designed, constructed and operated to achieve maximum practicable efficiency as determined by DOER. This efficiency standard shall provide significant near term greenhouse gas dividends in a combined heat and power facility or
comparable technology that will achieve specified minimum efficiency and emissions performance standards. The results of the Manomet study highlight the need to make the most efficient use of biomass fuel, maximizing the energy produced while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.

DOER will seek to ensure that the maximum practicable efficiency standard reflects the goals of the Green Communities Act, which among other efficiency goals seeks to promote the use of combined heat and power having a minimum efficiency of 60% with a goal of increasing to 80% by 2020 with the understanding that the efficiency of this technology is constantly improving.

I understand that biomass eligibility for the RPS is just one of the issues raised by the public and medical community, including significant health concerns. These important issues are beyond the scope of the Manomet study and this rulemaking. However, qualifying renewable energy generating sources using biomass must also comply with the federal Clean Air Act emission standards for particulate matter and other pollutants.

2) As a mechanism to reach the GWSA mandate of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, such renewable energy generating sources must, over a twenty (20) year life cycle, yield at least a fifty percent (50%) reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per unit of useful energy relative to the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from 1) the operation of a new combined cycle natural gas electric generating facility using the most efficient commercially available technology as of the date of application for the portion of electricity delivered by the biomass system and, if applicable; 2) the operation of the fossil fuel fired thermal energy unit being displaced, or in the case of a new thermal load, a gas-fired thermal energy unit using the most efficient commercially available technology as of the date of application, for the portion of thermal energy delivered by the biomass
system. DOER shall establish a method for calculating and comparing such lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions based on the best available science and data. The lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions methodology set forth in the draft regulations should credit carbon stored in biomass fuel only to the extent that the stored carbon is "additional" and that the biomass would not otherwise be used (e.g., for food, animal feed or durable wood products) and its carbon content would not otherwise remain sequestered in trees, plants or soils. In addition, in the case of dedicated bioenergy crops, carbon stored in the biomass should be credited only to the extent of the net increase in carbon stored in the bioenergy crop as compared to what would be absorbed
and stored by plants on the same land if it were not in use for bioenergy crop production. The draft regulations also should include definitions of "residues" and "waste wood" to include residues from logging, land-clearing for commercial or residential development, mill residues and landscaping.

3) The fuel source used by the RPS-eligible biomass facilities (e.g. wood, wood by-products, and energy crops, including energy crops used for the production of biofuels and biodiesel used in a qualifying renewable energy generating source) must be grown, harvested, or otherwise produced sustainably and in a manner consistent with the Commonwealth's forestry and environmental goals including conservation of biodiversity, conservation of soil and water resources and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Forest wood used as fuel should be harvested consistent with Chapter 132 of
the General Laws and associated regulations, and in compliance with a forest management plan prepared by a licensed forester. DOER should consult with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (OCR) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in the development of regulations that address fuel source sustainability.

4) The regulations shall address the use of forest residues, and aim to establish a limit on the quantity of residues (including tree tops and branches) used as biomass fuel. Such limits may allow 50% of tops and branches and 15% by weight of total saw timber removed per acre as eligible to be treated as forest residues used for biomass fuel.

5) Construction and demolition debris or fuel derived from construction and demolition debris will not be eligible for Renewable Energy Certificates.

6) These regulations shall not apply to energy derived from anaerobic digestion of waste from agricultural crops, animal wastes, food or sewage sludge.

I am thankful to the Manomet researchers as well as the many scientists, stakeholders and concerned citizens who have helped us to clarify the complex issues surrounding biomass power and greenhouse gas emissions.


Ian A. Bowles

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Big Oily Enviro Show

Greetings Earthlings. The saga continues: the catastrophic BP oil well blowout is transforming the Gulf of Mexico into some kind of futuristic end-of-times disaster film. Guess what? It's not a movie (though there's plenty enough footage on YouTube to make you sad/crazy/mad!) Take your pick: Toxic Oil Spill Rains on Crops?; It's raining oil?; Surf on Pensacola Beach boiling like acid? BP disaster unstoppable?; or, our favorite: the End of the World! While you are at it, checkout our Enviro Show Banish BP! page and kick BP out of the Valley. Diane Wilson, fisher, activist, hell-raiser calls in to mull over these and more (unless, of course, she's in jail for one of her many actions, in which case, Scott Eustis rejoins us from New Orleans). Also, Katie McGonagle of the local Climate Summer bike ride calls in with an update. As always, we wander into The Enviro Show Echo Chamber and maybe our Meet the New Boss segment, as well as checkout the Enviro Show Quote of the week, but first it's time for....

Revenge of the Critters! Direct action in West Palm Beach by a "crazy bird"! Given what's going on down there, maybe it's not so crazy!

In The Enviro Show Echo Chamber, speaking of direct action, if YOU want to go down to New Orleans and help out, call The Emergency Committee to Stop the Gulf Oil Disaster at (504)644-7214 or email them at Also, several protests are in the works. Most notably: Spill onto the Washington Mall, Labor Day weekend, September 4 to 6 and Rally @ BP Headquarters! 4101 Winfield Road, Warrenville, IL on Monday, July 19, 10am to 3pm. Our Enviro Show Blog Bonus concerns oil too (surprise!). Checkout The Video BP & Big Oil Don't Want You to See. In keeping with our theme here, should Big Oil pay their income tax? 61 Senators vote No. Finally, about erecting those giant windmills next to the Great Atlantic Flyway?

A short but sweet YouTube clip for you in our E-Valley-uation segment here.

The Enviro Show Quote of the Week comes from Albert Einstein: "A human being is part of the whole, called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole [of] nature in its beauty."

In our Meet the New Boss segment we rewind to the last show where time ran out boss? Seize BP responds to Obama's speech from the Oval Office on the BP's crime against the planet.

Following our interview with either Diane or Scott, we venture over to the Bus Stop billboard to see what's happening in the area:

Thursday, July 8, 7 p.m. Vermont Public Service Board Hearing RESCHEDULED. Brattleboro Union High School, Fairgrounds Rd, Brattleboro, VT. Call 413 339-5781

Friday, July 16, 7pm. “Dirt! The Movie” takes a humorous and substantial look at the history and current state of the living organic matter we come from and will later return to. Northampton Committee to Stop the War film series at the Media Education Foundation’s Frances Crowe Community Room, 60 Masonic Street, behind Woodstar Café, in downtown Northampton. Call 413-584-3158

Friday July 16 - 18. Solarfest. The Northeast's premier renewable energy and arts festival—a three-day, family-friendly festival that combines world-class entertainment with not-to-be-missed workshops in renewable energy, sustainability and community engagement.

Monday, July 19, 10:00am - 3:00pm. Rally at BP Headquarters! 4101 Winfield Road, Warrenville, IL. Contact:

Sunday July 25 - August 8. Earth Activist Training. To teach visionary and practical solutions and personal sustainability to social change activists, and to teach practical skills, organizing and activism to visionaries EarthActivistTraining(at)

Enough! We go out with "When we ruled the world", by Mel Plant. Maybe next time we'll have some good news to report? For now, remember to listen to your Mother (don't you wish everyone did?).