In a move met by applause from at least one congressman, the Energy Department announced a pilot program for research into domestic mining of rare earth elements.
Rare earths are minerals critical to computing technologies and to various military and civilian sensor technologies. China currently dominates the production and market for these elements, with about 85% of the world’s production from its domestic mines.
Another major source for rare earths, not yet exploited, is the South China Sea floor. Part of the purpose of the PRC’s seizure of the South China Sea and of its island-building and militarization of those constructs is to control access to those rare earths and to reserve them for itself.
Here’s Joe Pizarchik, ex- Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Director in the Interior Department, for all of the Obama years:
My biggest disappointment is a majority in Congress ignored the will of the people. They ignored the interests of the people in coal country, they ignored the law and they put corporate money ahead of all that.
Wow. Just wow. Because the people, exercising their will in electing the majority of Congress—all the members of Congress, come to that, every single one of them—had their will ignored when the majority that they elected executed on their will by rejecting a bad regulation.
No less a pair of lights than George Shultz and James Baker III have one regarding atmospheric carbon emissions. They’re prefacing their case on their then-boss, President Ronald Reagan’s successful negotiation of the Montreal Protocol to rein in the failures of atmospheric CFCs that were destroying the ozone layer. Not that the two have anything to do with each other, but it makes for good obfuscation.
Shultz and Baker have four “pillars” to their proposal:
Now that the Obama administration’s end is near, and a new guy is being put forward to run Obama’s EPA, that agency is changing its mind about the impact of fracking.
Fracking can affect drinking water supplies in certain circumstances….
The report, written by Environmental Protection Agency scientists, includes findings that are more open-ended than those in a draft version last year, when the agency said fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, isn’t having “widespread, systematic impacts on drinking water.”
Repair crews worked through the night trying to restore electricity to Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million people early Thursday after a fire at a power plant blacked out the entire U.S. territory.
Officials said they hoped to restore service by morning….
It turns out that they didn’t make by the morning, and the outage extended into a second day—lengthened not just by the severity of the problem, not unique in itself to Puerto Rico, but also by Puerto Rico’s lack of money with which to fund repairs or even parts and equipment to replace the damaged/failed parts and equipment.
Mr [Congressman Dave, R, WA] Reichert is co-sponsoring legislation to extend the PTC [Production Tax Credit] because the subsidies “reduce electricity costs and create jobs.”
But what jobs? Lower costs for whom? Who do you think pays that subsidy? Three years later, there still aren’t any in significant number. Electricity costs aren’t lower for the producers, and Reichert still hasn’t explained who’s paying for those subsidies (answer: we taxpayers are).
Mr [Congressman Steve, R, IA] King, who likes to advertise himself as a principled conservative, his line is that “Iowa is a wind energy success story” that only needs the federal government to “provide stable, low tax rates.”
The Saudis and their OPEC colleagues, at the start of the shale and fracking revolution last year, made an overt decision to keep their own production up, which would allow prices to drop (much of OPEC—especially Saudi Arabia—had lots of cash reserves with which to handle the drop), which would kill American deep drilling and put those competitors out of business, restoring price control to OPEC.
The US shale industry is by necessity becoming more efficient than ever. Low oil prices have become an opportunity. The Saudis have lit a fire under producers to trim the fat, deploy new productivity-boosting technologies and zero in on the most productive geology.
Electricity producers in several states are asking for hundreds of millions of dollars in financial support to keep costly nuclear power plants in business[.]
New York and federal regulators are weighing whether to make customers subsidize the Ginna nuclear station in Ontario, NY, 20 miles northeast of Rochester.
Illinois is considering financial assistance for three Exelon nuclear plants that the company says are suffering from low power prices. State officials are considering several forms of aid, including legislation that would require utilities to support carbon-free generators like nuclear and renewable energy.