Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Orleans City Council energy smart program

Contact: John Atkeison, Alliance for Affordable Energy at 504-428-6996
Casey Roberts, GRN at 504-525-1528 ext. 212
Leslie March, Delta Chapter at 985-871-6695, 985-249-1160
Marylee Orr, LEAN at 225-205-1438

On Wednesday, June 25th, The Utility Committee of the New Orleans City Council is poised to set a new tone for recovery with the Energy Smart program. “Recommending the Energy Smart program to the full council sends a strong message to the city and beyond that New Orleans is committed to rebuilding sustainably.” says Karen Wimpelberg, Board President and Director of Regulatory Affairs of the Alliance for Affordable Energy. “The Energy Smart Program makes it possible for residents and small business owners to be more energy efficient by just picking up the phone and calling the Energy Smart Program.” “As residents of New Orleans, we are all concerned about our rising utility bills,” says Casey DeMoss Roberts, a new homeowner, who works on Global Warming issues for the Gulf Restoration Network. “With help from this program, you can update your home to be more energy efficient and the upgrades are paid for by your utility savings. The cheapest kilowatt hour is the one not used.”

What will the Energy Smart program do?
* Provides education and informational resources that are needed to make your home more energy efficient and lower your bills.
* Provides a list of certified contractors with the training to do reliable work and quality assurance to ensure the job is done right.
* Serves 2,800 homes and businesses per year.
* Includes a special program for low and fixed income residents which saves these citizens even more.

Who pays for Energy Smart?
* A small 1 mil charge on your electric bill (1 tenth of a cent per kilowatt hour) establishes the informational resources, personal energy efficiency consultations, and quality assurance for the program.
* For the average residential costumer (using 1,000 kilowatt hours per month) the cost will be about $1 per month – which can be saved by changing just one frequently used light bulb to an efficient compact fluorescent bulb.
* Additional private capital financing for the energy efficiency improvements is leveraged through the energy savings.
“We need this Energy Smart program now, particularly as people are still rebuilding,” says Leslie March, Conservation Chair for the Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club. “This program saves the average person money and it creates good jobs. Please pick up the phone now and call your city council person and let them know that we need this program.”

The Say Yes to Clean Energy Coalition’s mission is to promote clean energy sources for Louisiana by advocating for energy efficient solutions and clean alternative energy resources like wind and solar. The Coalition wants our public officials to protect our families and communities by saying No to generating power with dirty coal and nuclear.

Our member organizations are:
Alliance for Affordable Energy- Creating fair, affordable, environmentally responsible and community based energy policies for Louisiana and the nation since 1985.
Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club- Over 3,000 of your neighbors supporting the work of the Sierra Club in Louisiana. We advance the cause of protecting Louisiana’s environment in a variety of ways, in addition, we encourage our members to get outside and enjoy our beautiful planet.
Gulf Restoration Network (GRN)- is a network of environmental, social justice, and citizens’ groups and individuals committed to restoring the Gulf of Mexico region to an ecologically and biologically sustainable condition.

Louisiana Environmental Action Network- LEAN is a statewide umbrella organization which networks with over one hundred member organizations and several thousand individual members. It works to improve the environment by providing support and resources required to accomplish environmental goals.

McCain switches position

Hi all, Rene has been harassing me to post stuff on this blog for two years now. I am fed up enough to sound off to you. Let me know if you agree or even if anyone actually reads any posts to our Blog.

How is it that all of the Sunday pundits were preoccupied by Obama deciding not to take public financing instead of a bigger flip flop on the part of McCain. A few years ago I went to Alaska Wilderness week in DC and the group gave McCain an award for preventing offshore drilling. Another thing in this article is that he thinks that there were no offshore oil spills after Katrina??
What happened to McCain the independent maverick?

Leslie March

By Steve Holland Tue Jun 24, 10:20 AM ET
SANTA BARBARA, California (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain is defending his decision to switch position in favor of U.S. offshore oil drilling as he seeks votes in environmentally conscious California.

In appearances in coastal Santa Barbara and inland Fresno, McCain said on Monday he believed he had made the right decision at a time of record-high gasoline prices but that it would be up to individual states to choose whether offshore drilling is right for them. McCain was challenged on his position reversal at an unlikely event -- a fundraiser in his honor in Santa Barbara. A participant, Dan Secord, questioned whether he could compete in California against Democratic opponent Barack Obama by advocating drilling for oil off its shores. "We're really kind of goosey here about oil spills, and we're goosey here about federal drilling and oil lands, which are abundant offshore," he told McCain.

McCain told Secord he believes in a state's right to make such decisions and pointed out that Texas and Louisiana had weathered hurricanes in 2005 that did not lead to oil spills at nearby offshore facilities. "I think the environmental situation is today -- that we could probably do that," McCain said. "But I don't want to override the state of California." The U.S. energy crisis has taken center stage in the presidential campaign as Americans, who are used to inexpensive fuel, struggle to pay for $4-a-gallon gasoline that has not only made the daily commute to work more expensive but also increased the price of goods and services on down the line. McCain believes he has a chance to win Democratic-leaning California in the November election and is courting independent voters to help him. But Democrats are trying to use his policy reversal on offshore drilling to portray him as a Republican who, if elected president, would simply continue the policies of unpopular President George W. Bush. The issue is following McCain as he emphasizes environmental issues in California. On Monday, he held a news conference in Fresno with a couple of sleek two-seater, electric-powered cars parked behind him. And on Tuesday, he is to take part in an environmental briefing at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. McCain says the United States should tap some 21 billion barrels of proven oil reserves that are left untouched because of a federal moratorium on offshore exploration and production.
(Editing by Patricia Zengerle)

(To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at http://blogs.reuters.com/trail08/ )

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More "Louisiana is doomed" blog posts from badastronomy.com

The links below take you to more posts on badastronomy.com written by Dr. Phil Plait who is an astronomer and a skeptic of all things that aren't scientifically provable. They refer to the creationism/intelligent design bill recently passed by our Legislature and eagerly approved by our creationist governor, Bobby Jindal.

Why is this an environmental issue? Why is it posted on an environmental blog? Because it is hard enough to convince certain people that environmental issues are real, even when faced with literal mountains of evidence, think global warming. Imagine how much more difficult it will be to educate and convince citizens of Louisiana that an environmental issue is real, when they can be taught in school nearly anything that anyone with any agenda can dream up. That is scary stuff. This issue is simply too important to ignore.



Thursday, June 12, 2008

Not exactly a scary environmental issue - but scary nonetheless

"Well, that’s that. Reality-based Louisianans, it’s time to move out of the state."
That's how a post on Dr. Phil Plait's excellent blog, badastronomy.com begins. He is referring to the fact that our State Senate has just passed a bill that will allow the teaching of creationism in our classrooms. This news comes as no surprise after seeing some of the anti-environmental bills that routinely come out of Baton Rouge.

He goes on to state that, "Louisiana is screwed." Yeah we've heard that one before but this time the repercussions will be felt far outside of our borders and far into the future if this bill goes back to the House and passes, which it is expected to do. Why, you ask? Because by passing as Dr. Plait describes it, "an unconstitutional law to allow teaching fundamentalist religion in the classroom", we are opening a Pandora's box of lawsuits as well as national and possible global ridicule that will only cement our reputation as an ignorant backwater.

Religious "theories" belong in religion classes and schools. The doctrine of separation of church and state guarantees this. As Dr. Plait says, "Creationists are trying — and succeeding — in kidnapping the minds of other peoples’ children. This type of legislation must be stopped." It has been stopped everywhere else it has been tried, except here.

If you think that this law is a bad idea, contact the Louisiana Coalition for Science who is working to have this ill-advised bill killed. Since the Senate has already approved it, the next chance lies with the House. If the House approves it, it is doubtful that our right leaning Governor Bobby Jindal will veto it. If this law does pass, it will very likely be challenged in court. Then a large amount of our tax dollars will be spent by the state to defend an unconstitutional, fundamentally flawed law. Hopefully it won't get that far, but if it does, it will be challenged, it will be ruled unconstitutional and it will then be overturned. Hopefully. Just like everywhere else.

And we thought bad environmental bills were troublesome. Sometimes it feels like we really are doomed.

Here is the badastronomy.com post:

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Louisiana Environmental Briefing Book is now available.

The Louisiana Environmental Briefing Book has just been released. It was produced to educate Louisiana legislators on environmental issues in our state that affect us all. Even if you are not in the Louisiana legislature, it is worth reading because it is chock full of timely information about environmental issues in our state that every concerned citizen needs to be aware of.

The Environmental Briefing Book was produced by:

  • Sierra Club, Delta Chapter

  • The Gulf Restoration Network (GRN)

  • Coalition to Restore Costal Louisiana

  • Alliance for Affordable Energy

  • The Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN)

  • Louisiana Bayoukeeper

  • The Atchafalaya Basinkeeper

  • The Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper

  • The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation

  • The Green Zone Task Force

  • The Louisiana Audubon Council (LAC)

  • MQVN Community Development Corporation (MQVNCDC)

  • The Land Trust for Southeast Louisiana

  • Say Yes to Clean Energy and No to Coal and Nuclear Coalition

  • Mercy Corps

Read the Louisiana Environmental Briefing Book at the Louisiana Environmental
Briefing Book Website: http://labriefingbook.org/ or download the large PDF file (2.89 Mb). It's a huge file but well worth the download time, only a couple of seconds on a broadband connection.