Archive for February, 2009

Kulongoski outlines sustainable transportation initiatives

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Portland Business Journal

In a speech at the Meeting of the Minds transportation conference Wednesday, Gov. Ted Kulongoski announced several sustainable transportation initiatives to the 2009 Legislature, including “shifting to electric cars.”

“The rising cost of energy, our dependence on foreign energy sources, and the threat of greenhouse gases to our planet’s survival — all pose serious economic, environmental and social challenges,” Kulongoski said. “If we held this conference even two years ago — the critical question would have been: How we might need to live differently in the future. Today the question is: How must we live differently.”

In April, the governor challenged his transportation vision committee to develop a series of recommendations for how Oregon can make improvements to the transportation infrastructure that will also help the state reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Kulongoski said the committee thus far has recommended the state take action to:

  • Adopt a “least cost” planning tool;
  • Accelerate vehicle technology improvements, including shifting to electric cars; and
  • Set a state goal to reduce vehicle miles traveled.

He also announced that the state of Oregon is converting 10 hybrid vehicles to plug-in hybrid vehicles as part of a pilot project to further diversify the state fleet. These vehicles will be equipped with an advanced battery technology that allows the vehicle to run on electricity for much longer periods of time than a traditional hybrid.

The transportation vision committee is expected to deliver a comprehensive list of recommendations for the governor’s consideration in October, which will include additional initiatives around sustainable transportation.

Gorge Analytical inspecting Portland, Ore., biodiesel

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

By Ryan C. Christiansen

Web exclusive posted Feb. 25, 2009, at 11:42 a.m. CST

The Bureau of Development Services for the city of Portland, Ore., has awarded Gorge Analytical LLC, a biodiesel testing laboratory in Hood River, Ore., the contract to sample and test B100 produced within the state or imported for blending with petroleum diesel to ensure the fuel meets applicable ASTM standards.

According to the Bureau of Development Services, the fuel inspections are being conducted in accordance with Portland’s renewable fuels standard, which requires all transportation fuel sold within city limits to contain a blend of renewable fuel. Petroleum diesel is required to contain a B5 blend or greater and petroleum gasoline is required to contain an E10 blend or greater. The requirement for petroleum diesel will increase to B10 in 2010. The renewable fuel standard was enacted July 12, 2006, and went into effect July 1, 2007.

Gorge Analytical’s $40,000 fuel inspection contract began Jan. 6 and will expire June 30, 2011. The company will test and inspect Oregon-based facilities producing or bringing B100 into the state for use as blendstock. Gorge Analytical is a registered service provider through the Northwest Biofuels Association and the National Biodiesel Board and is a member of the American Society for Testing and Materials International.

The Bureau of Development Services has been charged with enforcing the renewable fuels standard. Violators could face fines of up to $5,000 for the first violation and up to $10,000 for subsequent violations. To date, no fines have been assessed, the bureau said.

Stimulus will green-light road projects

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Salem-Keizer officials work to pare list to most practical transportation issues

By Thelma Guerrero-Huston • Statesman Journal
February 23, 2009

Even before the Obama administration rolled out its much-awaited $787 billion stimulus document, local officials were ready with a lengthy wish list of road and transit projects.

But like letters to Santa Claus, some of those wishes are likely to go unfulfilled.

“It’s all very fluid right now,” said Mike Jaffe, the program manager of the Salem-Keizer Area Transportation Study, or SKATS. The group is part of the federal Metropolitan Planning Organization for the Salem-Keizer-Turner urban area.

Changes made to requirements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has officials returning to the drawing board to determine which projects will be a go.

Months before the bill’s passage, area jurisdictions submitted nearly 30 street projects totaling more than $20 million to SKATS for consideration. After making revisions, the list was pared down to 25 projects.

They consist of pavement restorations, sidewalks, signal updates, bike paths, school flashers, lead abatement for the Union Street Bridge over the Willamette River, and road upgrades for turn pockets or center turn lanes.

But with the Salem area set to get $6.1 million in stimulus funds — about $14 million less than what all the projects add up to — there won’t be enough money to go around.

In addition, Marion County will receive about $1.4 million and Polk County will get nearly $500,000.

On Tuesday, the SKATS policy committee will go back to the drawing board during a public meeting to discuss which road projects will be given priority.

The number is likely to be seven to nine projects, Jaffe said. A final decision won’t be made until about the second week of March, he added.

Still, Rob Kissler, the city of Keizer’s director of public works, is hopeful there will be enough money to accomplish at least one of his city’s priority projects.

“We’re confident the SKATS policy committee will affirm the Dearborn (Avenue NE) update, but we’ll have to wait and see,” Kissler said. “It’s a project that’s ready to go.”

If selected, the more than $750,000 Dearborn project would include upgrades to curbs, sidewalks, drainage, landscaping and bicycle paths.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, signed into law last week by President Obama, includes deadlines by which funding for infrastructure must be met.

Failure to meet those deadlines could result in the money being taken away and given to another jurisdiction or state that can meet the timeframe.

Local officials say they’re confident projects selected will meet the tight deadlines.

“Every project being considered is a straightforward, simple project,” said Mark Becktel, the parks and transportation services manager for Salem.

That means “none of the street projects being considered require environmental issues, which would delay a project for about a year,” he said. “They also don’t involve the purchase of property for right of way, which would also delay it.”

Road projects must be out for bid within a year.

Transit projects have 180 days to be out the door.

The Salem-Keizer Transit District is scheduled to receive an estimated $5.9 million in stimulus money, something that has helped soothe Steve Dickie’s nerves.

“It’s definitely going to help us, because the thing about this money is that there’s no local match required,” said Dickie, the district’s director of transportation development. “It helps because when you buy a $350,000 bus, 20 percent of that is still a fair amount of money that has to come out of local revenues.”

Another plus is that the district has an existing contract that allows for the purchase of additional buses, eliminating the need for a bidding process, Dickie said.

The district plans to buy at least six new buses, possibly upgrade some of its fare-collection equipment on existing buses, and possibly build a new transit center, he said.

Transit stimulus funds can go only toward capital purchases, such as replacement of buses, bus shelters, or construction of a new transit center. The funds cannot be used for transit operations, such as reinstating Saturday bus service.

The focus of the federal law is on quickly creating jobs.

Patrick Cooney, a spokesman with the Oregon Department of Transportation, said 14 jobs will be created per $1 million spent on projects.

tguerrero-huston@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6815

Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network lays out green vision for region

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

By Matt Nauman

Mercury News
Posted: 02/20/2009 04:39:40 PM PST

Calling it “a compelling manifesto,” Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network on Friday released a green vision for the region that says a private-public partnership focused on alternative energy and energy efficiency will lead to economic recovery and growth.

“The climate crisis is an opportunity to innovate, to invent new technologies, to commercialize them, to grab market share, to create whole new clusters of green jobs and grow the economy,” said Russell Hancock, Joint Venture’s chief executive.

The “greenprint,” a word play on the blueprints used to detail the construction of new projects, was released during the organization’s annual State of the Valley conference, attended by about 1,200 people at Parkside Hall in downtown San Jose.

Besides laying out a strategy for how the valley can profit by going green, the group announced the formation of the Silicon Valley Climate Prosperity Council, one of seven national pilot projects backed by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the nonprofit Global Urban Development. It will be funded by a two-year, $300,000 grant from Applied Materials as well as an additional $75,000 from two foundations.

Some of that money will be used to hire a director for the project, a person who, Hancock said, will “make this greenprint a reality.”

Chairing the council will be the two chairs of Joint Venture, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who represents the public sector, and Chris DiGiorgio, who represents the

private sector as California managing director of the consulting firm Accenture.Reed noted that Al Gore, the climate-change guru and former U.S. vice president, spoke at the same event two years ago and challenged Silicon Valley to lead the green charge.

“Silicon Valley has accepted the challenge,” Reed said.

The 44-page document, “Climate Prosperity: A Greenprint for Silicon Valley,” points to four areas where Silicon Valley’s technological expertise and innovative business style can lead to cleaner skies, green jobs and an expanded market for green services and products. And it offers suggestions on how those areas can be improved.

  • Renewable energy. Solar manufacturers and installers already dot valley office parks, but streamlined permitting, better financing options and coordinated public procurement will help them grow, the group says.
  • Building efficiency. More consistent building codes and standards, greater use of green materials, and energy audits when a building is sold would be useful improvements, it says.
  • Clean transportation. Electric carmaker Tesla Motors and Better Place, which envisions a global network of charging stations, already call Silicon Valley home. The valley should support additional clean-transportation companies as well as improve the mass-transit systems, the report says.
  • Green infrastructure. Silicon Valley should be the showcase for pilot projects using the technologies invented here, such as new solar panels and energy monitoring systems, with the help of utilities such as Pacific Gas & Electric and Silicon Valley Power.

    During a panel discussion on how Silicon Valley can lead America’s new-energy future, a leading venture capitalist called for more government research dollars to help drive down the cost of alternative forms of energy.

    “Green (energy) is more expensive than brown,” said John Denniston, a partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in Menlo Park. “We need to radically increase the amount of dedicated research dollars.” Advances in biotechnology and technologies such as the Internet came after such government research efforts, he said.

  • Report: Consumers Still Shopping Green

    Friday, February 20th, 2009

    By: Kelly Faircloth

    Despite the recession and their occasionally higher cost, most consumers are still buying green products, according to a report.

    A survey by Portland, Oregon-based non-profit product certifiers Green Seal and advertising firm EnviroMedia found that of 1,000 people surveyed, half are buying as many green products as before the downturn, while 19 percent are buying more. Only 14 percent are buying fewer.

    “This increased consumer demand sends a signal to manufacturers to produce products that are truly green,” Arthur Weissman, CEO of Green Seal, said in a statement.

    Lars Hundley, CEO of Clean Air Gardening, which sells eco-friendly gardening products, reports despite a shaky few months before Christmas, they’re still growing and sales are up from last January.

    “We’re still planning for growth, and I’m just going to keep moving forward until it looks like there’s been a change and we’ve stopped,” he said.

    Because his is a seasonal business, his biggest worry is they’ll ramp up for spring, and then the economy will drop again.

    “I’m frankly a little worried, because I’m hearing so much bad news,” he said.

    Clean Air Gardening has responded to the downturn by shifting their marketing. Before the downturn, they promoted their offerings’ eco-friendliness. Now, Hundley reports, they are looking to position their products as solutions. Anticipating a boom in home-gardening as a means to save money, they are developing a kit for first-time gardeners.

    “A lot of time, eco-friendly stuff saves money, for example on energy bills,” he said. “They’re not just feel-good—they serve a purpose.”

    Manufacturer hopes to lead high-tech, green charge

    Friday, February 20th, 2009

    By: Carla Thomaz

    20th February 2009Automotive manufacturer 
 Ford Motor Company has 
 launched an aggressive plan to bring pure battery-electric vehicles, next-generation 
hybrids and a plug-in hybrid to the market quickly and more affordably within the next four years. This is part of Ford’s pursuit for greater fuel economy, lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and sustainability while tackling climate change and 
energy security.

    Ford executive chairperson Bill Ford says: “I think that is where society would like to see the entire industry go, and Ford is going to lead that charge.” The company has over 100 patent 
applications in progress, two full hybrid vehicles, which are on the market, and three more on the way. The company has been conducting fuel cell research for more than ten years.

    Since 1996, Ford has sold more than 1,6-million vehicles that run on ethanol, a renewable fuel made from corn or other starch feedstock. Ford has designed 
flexible fuel vehicles that can run on E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% petrol, regular petrol or a combination of the two.

    The company has developed the first sports hybrid sports utility vehicle with full hybrid technology. The vehicle can operate on the electric motor, the petrol engine or on both. Unlike other hybrid vehicles, full hybrids can run exclusively on electric mode during slower speeds and do not need to engage the internal combustion engine as long as there is enough power stored in the battery. The full hybrid technology emits 81% less emissions than regular vehicles.

    The Focus FCV is one of the industry’s first hybridised fuel cell vehicles that combine the range and performance of hybrid technology with the overall environmental benefits of a fuel cell. The Ford Edge with the HySeries Drive is also the world’s first drivable fuel cell hybrid electric plug-in that combines an on-board hydrogen fuel cell generator with lithium-ion batteries that deliver zero emissions.

    The plug-in hybrid is powered by a 336-V lithium-ion battery pack at all times. An on-board charger allows for the battery pack to be refreshed when a standard home outlet is avail-
able, making the concept a true plug-in hybrid. These new vehicles pave the way for additional applications in the future, using Ford’s high-volume global small car and midsize car platforms.

    Ford’s plan calls for strategic partnering with key suppliers who will develop technologies, standards and cost efficiencies to commercialise electrified 
vehicles, according to the Ford vision. Ford is collaborating with a number of high-tech partners to accelerate the commercialisation of alternative-fuel-powered vehicles quickly and affordably.

    Ford is working with global supplier of automotive systems Magna International to bring a new lithium-ion battery-powered small vehicle to the North American market in 2011. The company is also road-testing a fleet of Ford Escape hybrid plug-ins with electric utility Southern California Edison and the 
research and development institute, the Electric Power Research Institute.

    Ford has also entered into a four-way ecopartnership in China, expanding its global expertise in electric-powered vehicles. Ford and Chinese auto-
maker Changan Auto Group and the cities of Chongqing, in China, and Denver, are exploring ways to develop projects to help 
further energy security and promote economic and environmental sustainability through the development of electrified vehicle technologies, green city planning, efficient urban transportation and grid integration.

    In the UK, Ford is collaborating with manufacturer of battery-powered vehicles Tanfield to offer battery-electric versions of the Ford Transit and Transit Connect commercial vehicles for fleet customers in the UK and European markets.

    Edited by: Laura Tyrer

    Kulongoski wisely goes green to position Oregon for federal stimulus cash

    Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

    by The Oregonian editorial board

    Monday February 16, 2009, 4:41 PM

    Today, when President Barack Obama signs the nation’s huge economic stimulus bill, Oregon will be ready, or at least almost ready, thanks to a promising strategy being marketed as “The Oregon Way.”

    It’s the brainchild of Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who vows to compete aggressively with other states for federal dollars available through part of the $789 billion package. At stake is $37 billion for construction projects, and states will go head-to-head for this money and the million-plus jobs it will create.

    Kulongoski’s strategy is vividly green.

    He figures Oregon can acquire a competitive edge for the federal stimulus grants by developing proposals bristling with innovative ideas that promote renewable energy, conservation, carbon reduction and sustainable development.

    You know, the stuff Obama likes. That may sound flip, but it’s true: The president has made it clear his administration will promote economic recovery in part by emphasizing investment in a so-called “green” economy.

    For Oregon, according to Kulongoski, that could mean building something like “the largest solar highway in the world.” He floated that idea last week as an extension of a 2008 Oregon innovation, the nation’s first solar-powered freeway lighting at the Interstate 5-205 interchange south of Portland.

    Other possibilities on the governor’s list: building a new prison at Junction City and a new school for flood-ravaged Vernonia using the latest in sustainable techniques.

    Those are the right kind of ideas, but the list needs sharpening and perhaps an inspiring centerpiece. Kulongoski has directed that this work be done by a panel he calls The Oregon Way Advisory Group, yet to be appointed as a mix of private business leaders and public officials.

    Naming such a task force will turn out to be a good idea, if it doesn’t get mired in competing visions or petty bureaucratic process. The governor will need to see that this doesn’t happen.

    Oregon’s well-established commitment to renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions probably gives it an advantage over many other states in securing the federal grants. But Oregonians should keep in mind that a lot of other states, particularly in the West, have made similar commitments, leveling the playing field somewhat.

    Home to about 1 percent of the U.S. population, Oregon would stand to get about $370million of the federal construction money if ends up being doled proportionately. If not, Kulongoski’s approach may at the very least keep Oregon from getting short shrift.

    Governors in other states have appointed “stimulus czars” to coordinate requests for the grants. Even if Kulongoski’s task force proves a more effective option, he will still need someone to pitch Oregon’s proposals to the federal government.

    Given his evangelical passion for everything green, the governor himself may be the best salesman for that job.

    — Bob Caldwell, editorial page editor; bobcaldwell@news.oregonian.com

    Chinook Salmon Interceptions Bring out Economic Hogwash

    Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

    Pollock John’s proposition for more ‘market-based’ nonsense

    By Stephen Taufen

    There’s a great clash occurring in the North Pacific over Chinook salmon intercepts by trawl vessels. It pits the subsistence needs of native peoples in the river systems of Arctic and Western Alaska – the Yukon , Norton Sound, Kuskokwim and Bristol Bay regions, as well as Canada – against the commercial, industrial fisheries. At the next regional federal fishery council meeting in Anchorage , starting March 30, there will be four days set aside to deal with the conflict and issues.

    Alaska SalmonSome would say it’s really about a more basic issue – the survival of the Chinook. They ask, “At this point, can the Yukon River Chinook salmon run ever be recovered?” Well, there’s likely still time – but only if strong action takes place. Already in 2009, bycatch numbers are climbing, according to reports from crew members out West, for salmon and halibut.

    Movie makers might want to consider a sequel to “NEMO” and the telling on-screen scramble of gulls – simile for humanity – screeching “Mine, mine, … Mine!” They could have comical but sad pelicans wearing RCMP hats at the Canadian border looking over the Yukon in search of the last fish.

    In December of 2008, the Council released an 839-page report, Bering Sea Chinook Salmon Bycatch Management: Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis. It is available on the NPFMC website, at: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/bycatch/salmon/deis1208.pdf . It outlined the Alternatives that would implement new management measures to minimize Chinook salmon bycatch, as the Bering Sea pollock fishery annually intercepts up to 95% of the Chinook salmon taken incidentally in the groundfish trawl fisheries of the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (BSAI).

    As I said to the Council at the February meeting, this is not normally a topic for Groundswell to partake in. But, when the corporatocracy pulls out its sixteen inch guns, the fun is just beginning. And when corporate socialists want government to eliminate all competition and protect them, and use alleged ‘market-based solutions’, just like they’re posturing about for crab crewmen, there’s a responsibility to speak out and protect Alaska and its bountiful resources.

    New Acronyms:

    The pollock catchers and processors operating in Alaska have to be commended on their ability to distract the North Pacific Fishery Management Council with self-serving dribble. In response to the massive intercepts of Chinook salmon in the Bering Sea trawl fisheries, they were able to take over two hours of Council time to present and discuss their proposal for an Inter-Cooperative Agreement — memorize this new acronymn, ICA — which outlined a plan using a plot not unlike that of carbon credits in the pollution realm.

    Somewhere along the Council line, when it is far too early to talk of “preferred alternatives”, someone came up with another new acronym, PPA — a “preliminary preferred alternative.” As I told one lead staff member, that’s ridiculous. Who gets to name that one alternative as even the preliminary preferred one? Preferred by whom?!

    I pointed out, that’s like me hopping on I-5 south at the Seattle on ramp and reading a green sign that simply says ” Oregon ” and then hours later seeing another sign saying ” Portland , 13 miles” — I am heading to Oregon ! And the Council is heading into another processor chosen alternative before sufficient public comment is heard. And that’s the kind of thing that really gets our attention.

    I sat through a long presentation by Joe Plesha of Trident about what the PPA/ICA trickery is about, based on a paper pollock players presented to the Council titled, “Reducing Chinook Salmon Bycatch with Market-Based Incentives: Individual Tradable Encounter Credits.” Another darned acronym, ITEC. As I listened to that dribble, I dashed back to sign up for public comment, and kept notes while thinking how convenient it is to have inter-cooperative agreements (i.e. among or between pollock cooperatives only) and tradable credits (only for pollock trawlers) when once again we’re dealing with public resources. Let alone the dire issue of subsistence.

    As Plesha talked, he sounded like the pollock catchers and processors were begging the Council to “please make us behave”, “give us the incentives to stop us from perpetrating greater harms” (in the listener’s words). The mention of incentives priced at about $1,000 per ‘encounter’ (each additional fish taken by misbehavior) came out like gut-retching humor – but not funny at all. The notion that tradable credits are ludicrous was embarrassingly lost.

    The PPA/ICA solution would be to allow over 47,000 Chinook to be shanghaied and up to 68,000 or so if the ICA was in place with “incentives” not to catch those additional Chinook. It’s the kind of “industry proposal” one expects at the NPFMC, which has spent the last fifteen or more years giving away the public commons to “industry” and patting itself on the back all the while for a job well done. State corporatism. Industrial or corporate socialism. Government-backed Kleptocracy! Call it what you like, it’s a leech sucking the financial blood out of citizen-taxpayers.

    Unable to type-up a comment, I went off my notes and gave something approximating the following, as a public comment. You can contact Council staff and find out how to listen to all the meeting recordings on a special site where the audio files are uploaded in the weeks following each meeting.

    Public Comment by Groundswell:

    Introduction: Chairman Olson, and Council members – I’m Stephen Taufen of the Groundswell Fisheries Movement, and you might be wondering why I am testifying on this issue but I have a personal interest. About 95 years ago, my grandfather out-migrated, down the Yukon River , and so our genetic stock had left the region. That was, until on the other side of the family my grandmother’s cousin arrived and spent 30 to 40 years ministering to the villages, often by dogsled – the very same villages that earlier testifiers had mentioned, from Nome to the dozens of outlying communities.

    And as testified before, I fished my last king (Chinook) salmon on the Snake River in 1970, on the Fourth of July, as the big one was let go and we kept the smaller one. The Yukon people want the big ones upstream, as well. There’s a parallel here, as even back then we knew that the increase of dams and other factors were stressing out the runs and it was no longer the right thing to do to take those salmon in a sports fishery downriver. It verged on immoral. All causes of depletion had to adjust.

    In addition, as I spoke on the record at the last meeting, I also have concerns about the Ayakulik and Karluk River systems and the interception of Chinook salmon there, near my home on Kodiak Island . It seems to me that a lot of our sport fishery businesses will want to testify at the next meeting on this topic, too – especially since those river systems are not in the December salmon EIS/RIR.

    Former Alaska governor and Secretary of Interior, Wally Hickel once said, “If you steal $10 from a man’s wallet, you’re likely to get into a fight, but if you steal billions from the commons, co-owned by him and his descendants, he may not even notice.” Well, I think the Council has already learned that there’s a big fight coming here.

    Economic Theory: I heard mention this morning that the processors would like to introduce you to a “well-respected economist” — one of their choice — to tell you more of their side of the story and argument. Well I do some economics myself, and I don’t know anyone who joined the field of economics specifically to get respect. It seems to me that these folks are just reaching into the grab bag of economic theory for anything to save themselves.

    All of this talk about market-based solutions is pure hogwash, as it misapplies alleged tools to mitigate pollution in an industrial or manufacturing realm with a situation involving indeterminable and unpredictable life cycles and the biology of living creatures. Furthermore, such market-based credits are not tools that are working out for pollution either.

    Where does this kind of erroneous thinking come from? Well, back around 1960 at the Chicago School of Economics, privatization theory was drummed up as free market environmentalism to fill the need for corporations to get government off their backs. It was the heyday of many Chicago school theories, the likes of which the USA is still trying to shed the damaging effects.

    An economist named Roland Coase “challenged the then-prevailing orthodoxy that government is the only way to protect nature” and “he argued, nature can be protected through property rights, provided they’re clearly defined and the cost of enforcing them is low.” Let me read further from a book I have here that discusses this foolish notion.

    “For fans of privatism, Coase’s theorem was an intellectual breakthrough. It gave theoretical credence to the idea that the marketplace, not government, is the place to tackle pollution. Instead of burdening business with page after page of regulations, all government has to do is assign property rights and let markets handle the rest.”

    I was in Central America for awhile in 1997, and President Clinton was there on that topic and for trade discussions. Some of the country’s leaders I knew described the proposals and free trade agreements, as regards their harms to the smaller countries of Latin America , as “the worms, with which they bait the hook, with which they catch you.”

    And if you have followed the U.S. Congress, regarding such issues, like I have for many years on Energy and Environment Daily’s reports, you’d know that many of these alleged market-based tools are not working out. Deforestation in Brazil left a huge gap in the carbon sink, one that will take hundreds of years to repair, as soy plants are no replacement for natural jungles – so forest offsets are another failed example.

    And just because carbon credits get made available and even if they get purchased by a large corporation’s accounting department to meet compliance and other goals, there is no guarantee that the technological and operational divisions of those corporations will implement any abatement technology or fixes to actually reduce carbon outputs in the long run. The solution is not to guarantee a certain amount of harms simply continue.

    You’re being sold here a similar non-solution. Do you really plan to sell this to Congress, when it already knows the issue of market-based solutions is not exactly working out well elsewhere? After all, we’re not talking about mere pollution harms here; this is a much more dynamic situation involving food subsistence and critical species survival.

    Acronyms – PPA/ICA: I have to admit that it is easy to get lost in the new acronyms, but I finally figured out what PPA stands for: preliminary Prostitution Alternative. It’s like proposing that it is better to put 68,000 hookers on the streets and in the hotels, and have the “cost per catch” or incentive level run about $1,000 per encounter, than to have it set at 47,000 – and maybe limit it to the hotels. It pays to have the market setting consequences of more, as if you got the number too low, the incentive cost of an encounter might go up to a few thousand a catch. And if set well low, it might run that value so high that it would even tempt the moral fortitude of an Elliott Spitzer.

    You see, this PPA is really just “A John’s Proposal” – one that is based on the stupid premise that if you just set 68,000 prostitutes loose on the market with the incentive that they all go get blood tests that things won’t be “dirty” any more, and the encounter price would be right.

    What’s not accounted for here is that Capitalism has its diseases too. It has been said that, “Capitalism can distort democracy.” And, “It can absolutely devastate what’s right.”

    All this talk about “zero-sum games” just reinforces the idea that there are indeed a lot of games being played. And hearing pollock players asking you to “make us behave” is just begging you to impose corporate ethics that should already be voluntarily in place.

    Groundswell favors the idea of a hard cap, under the alternatives that have an option for around 30,000 or so Chinook intercepts, or less.

    Young Leaders Emerge …:

    I was most impressed at the last meeting with the promising presence of so many young native Alaskan leaders who were present to speak out impressively on the Arctic Ocean issues. The Council voted to keep those waters closed to federal fisheries for the time being. It was a big show for the cameras, as the Council recognized its chance to once again back-pat itself.

    ADF&G Commission Denby Lloyd was brief and to the point, and gave appropriate comments on behalf of the State of Alaska . Chairman Eric Olson was equally professional. But council member Bill Tweit of Washington State went on for twenty minutes: like a leaking air hose — with an attached generator running hard to try and keep up. Someone made the argument that it was necessary for the details to be read into the Council record, but that merely sounded like an excuse.

    In fairness, we’ll admit to being particularly intolerant because Washington State has been deliberate in its failure to handle crab crewmember issues equitably. These long-festering intercept concerns have now pushed Crab Crewmember concerns into the waiting basket; so we’ll be writing more about that, soon.

    Anyway, the cameras went away before the Chinook salmon issues came up next, as did many of the young AYK Delta native leaders. Groundswell hopes that they are both back at the March-April meeting in Anchorage, and capture the big story. After hearing former councilman Robin Samuelson, CEO of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation speak with encyclopedic strength in February, and lay it on the line for 120,000 natives, it’s guaranteed to be an interesting four days.


    A public watchdog and advocate for fishermen and their coastal communities. Taufen is an “insider” who blew the whistle on the international profit laundering between global affiliates of North Pacific seafood companies, who use illicit accounting to deny the USA the proper taxes on seafood trade. The same practices are used to lower ex-vessel prices to the fleets, and to bleed monies from our regional economy. Contact Stephen Taufen


    © AlaskaReport.com All Rights Reserved.

    Governor pushes ‘green’ expertise to lure greenbacks

    Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

    By David Steves

    Posted to Web: Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 12:01AM
    Appeared in print: Thursday, Feb 12, 2009, page A7


     

    News: Local: Photo

    Story photo and/or graphic

    The Associated Press

    Gov. Ted Kulongoski


    News: Local: Story

     

    PORTLAND — Gov. Ted Kulongoski thinks Oregon’s push to build “green” highways and buildings will do more than downsize the state’s carbon footprint — he’s also hoping it will give it a leg up in competing for $37 billion in federal grants for public works.

    Kulongoski on Wednesday announced his strategy — which he dubbed “The Oregon Way” — to position Oregon in the national derby for stimulus dollars. The grant money is part of a $790 billion economic stimulus package agreed to Wednesday by congressional leaders.

    The governor announced the formation of an Oregon Way Advisory Group, to be made up of business and development leaders and government officials. The advisory group is charged with helping craft the state’s proposals for grant money to build schools, prisons, highways and other public works.

    Kulongoski said at his announcement that he was counting on the advisory group “to help use Oregon’s leadership and expertise in the green economy to capture as many of these competitive grants as we can so that we can create jobs immediately and for the long term.”

    Kulongoski said such projects could occur statewide. As Lane County examples, he cited the upgrade of the University of Oregon physical plant and the prison complex and mental hospital being built on 240 acres south of Junction City, where solar energy and reusable wastewater are being built into the proposed designs.

    Based on Oregon’s 1 percent share of the U.S. population, it would get about $370 million of the public works money to be awarded through competitive grants. The governor said his high hopes for a larger share are based on the high priority the Obama administration seems to be placing on projects that meet green standards in addition to creating jobs and contributing to long-term economic growth.

    Kulongoski has devoted the past two years to a sustainability agenda. It has included tax breaks and other incentives to attract manufacturers of renewable energy components such as solar panels and wind turbines, to set standards for utilities to produce more environmentally friendly renewable energy, and to lure electric vehicle producers to the state. He also has pushed for state agencies to incorporate green standards into the highways and institutions they construct and vehicle fleets they maintain.

    Given that track record, he said Oregon should do well in competing for public works dollars in the stimulus package.

    Mark Edlen, a Portland developer who specializes in sustainable design, said Oregon already has several projects in the pipeline that should match up well when vying for federal dollars — which could offset the need for Oregonians to put up tax dollars through the repayment of bonds.

    He cited the $80 million UO physical plant project, which will provide expanded heating, cooling and electricity capacity while reducing the campus’s carbon footprint, as an example that might fit the bill.

    He said the convergence of the economic crisis, a federal government awarding dollars for public works with a strong “green” component and a state well-positioned to compete represents a “trifecta” for Oregon.

    “Oregon is already a leader in the field of sustainable development, and now we have a president and administration that believes in creating green jobs,” said Edlen, managing principal of Gerding Edlen Development in Portland.

    Another Lane County project mentioned: the minimum- and medium-security prisons and state mental hospital planned for near Junction City.

    Oregon Corrections Director Max Williams said the projects are being designed with such elements as solar panels on rooftops and covered parking, systems to capture and reuse “gray water” and steam from a laundry facility, and the storage and use of storm and rain water, among other sustainable design features.

    So far, state planners have been trying to figure out how long it would be until the higher costs of such design features are offset by lower electricity and water costs, he said. But the availability of federal stimulus dollars would allow the state to go ahead and build in those elements and realize the cost savings immediately, he said.

    Third Thirsty Thursday

    Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

    Visiting three breweries and starting at Roots Brewery.  $25 gets you the transportation, beer and tips.  Best deal in town!

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