Gasoline, Get Your Cheap Gasoline Here!

StoryNowadays, you would heard people say how expensive the gasoline if even though it’s already that cheap. If you don’t recall about a couple of months ago our gasoline prices had went down. Now the energy agency predicts that the gas prices will drop even lower than it is now. It will be the lowest in the last six years. Now, everybody will know where this is heading. Cheaper gas prices equal greater gas usage. Iran stored at least 30 million barrels of oil and “If current negotiations result in oil-related sanctions against Iran being lifted”, then that we will have more oil here available in the U.S. For some people this is a great new, but for others who are nature lovers, not so much.

New technology is being develop as you know it. There are things like hybrid car, recyclable materials in machinery, and other green technologies. With the gas prices going down, who cares about those expensive items? Soon enough the efforts that we have tried all this time to reduce the unhealthy chemicals that are releasing into the air will become nothing. Imagine years of effort will be for nothing because of the decrease in gas prices.

The more people know that there is a lot of oil saved up the more they will use it. It will continue doing so until that moment again when there is not much oil left in the stock. Until then I hope found new sources to supply our power.

-“Gas prices to drop to lowest in six years this summer, agency predicts

*Phiseth O.

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Growing Idea of “Compensatory Green Beliefs”

Many people think that a small bad can be canceled out if they perform a small good. For example, there are some people that believe they can leave their lights on if they drive a hybrid. The wasteful energy being used by the lights are being offset by the more environment-friendly hybrid. 

In a study performed in the U.K, a group of researchers investigated these ideas of “compensatory green beliefs”. Some statements that people agreed with were “It is okay to leave the lights on if you use low-energy light bulbs” and “Not driving a car compensates for flying on holiday”, which had the most percent of agreement, 16.2%. However, the researchers also believe these numbers to be smaller than reality because some people have a hesitation to mark their real mindset if it could be taken in a bad way publicly.

Though these numbers cannot totally translate over to the public opinion of the United States, it gives a good estimate about the mindset in the U.S. Many people believe that scales can be balanced if one does a good after a little bad. If that were to happen with green energy initiatives, their effectiveness would greatly decrease. Mainly, people have these beliefs because a bad environment is not staring them in the face. Regardless, it’s not a good mindset to have because U.S would never change its course towards an unhealthy environment unless it realizes the consequences. If many people did believe in global warming, public policy would follow with them, and a grander scale of environmental recovery could start.

-Huy D.

The Air Is Dirty Ha? How About A Lower Ozone Standard?

cartoon-epa-co2EPA is required, under the Clean Air Act, to update air quality standards every five years based on the current scientific research. Doing so will protect the public health and the environment. Not far from now EPA is expected to pass lower ozone standards. As some people might have guess it the states are not happy about this. Lower ozone standards mean the states and companies will spend more money. By “cutting ozone emissions to 70 parts per billion would cost industry about $3.9 billion in 2025, while a stricter limit of 65 would push the cost up to $15 billion.” Doing so would most likely hurt the states’ economies stated by Mike Pence with 10 other Republicans governors in a letter to the EPA.

The state would usually do the “management and not really protection”, Liz Kaaztz Chary stated. It’s true and I do agree with him. States top priority is the management and protection will come later who know when. They won’t move a finger until people become outrageous and protest about it. That is how it how it works, the state won’t do anything until they got pressured by the public. Though the EPA is kind of unreasonable because their studies were based on the current standard in 2008. A Lot changes happened during the last seven years.

-“Ozone compliance depends on toughness of new standard

*Phiseth O.

Food Waste Likely to Be More Severe

It us estimated that sixty million metric tons of food are wasted every year in the United States, costing about 162 billion dollars. Worldwide, the average food waste is a third of the food produced, costing about 400 billion dollars.

Just reducing food waste by 20%-50% could save about 120 billion to 300 billion dollars a year. The food discarded in most developed countries would be more than sufficient to feed the 870 million people of the world that lives in starvation. If this trend continues, the waste is estimated to cost 600 billion dollars a year in 2030. Despite the economic costs, food waste also carries an environmental cost. Food production uses a huge amount of water, fertilizer, and land. Not only that, fuel is burned to transport, refrigerate and process the food.

Most food waste is thrown in landfills, where they emit about 3.3 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases globally in a year, which amount to 7% of total emissions. Good to say, however, some cities and counties in the U.S have begun fighting food waste like Hennepin County, Minnesota who gives grants to businesses or non-profit organizations that recycle food waste or practice compost.

Food waste is a huge problem, not only because of economic and social reason, but also environmental reasons. Food waste creates an excess amount of pollution; therefore, I believe that there should be a federal mandate against food waste. However, compost bins, resources, and information will be supplied. It can also be made into a grant with conditions of aid; the top 10 states to reduce their food waste in a year over a set number of years will receive a grant.

– Huy D.

Industry accused of deceiving politicians and public on fracking

Fracking has become a highly debated topic in recent years. It’s a practice that carries with it environmental consequences. For this reason, Energy in Depth may have spun their information noted on their documents sent to a Allegheny City Council to lease mineral rights for gas drilling under Deer Lakes Park.

This was claimed by the non-partisan group Public Accountability Initiative after reviewing these documents to find that only one of the studies was actually peer-reviewed and explicitly addressed health concerns. However, it was completed by the industry. Energy in Depth countered, saying that anti-fracking supporters try to align research with their argument in order to deceive. (Wait whattt???)

Both sides of the issue sometimes manipulate information; however, the oil industry does a bit more a tampering. Studies performed by anti-fracking activists are grounded in research and those who were contributed to the study have their names listed. On the other side, the oil industry made a study in 2013 that claimed that children do not have a higher risk of getting cancer by being near fracking wells. Well, the time interval was so short that cancer could not have possibly formed.

I cannot say that the oil industry has a lot of support for their manipulated information. Most of their documents were not even reviewed and one study was from the 1990s before the shale boom even started. Not only that, most of their documents conflict with a large majority of studies that indicate negative impacts of fracking. So, they soon have to face the public and the council they deceived and well they should.

– Huy D.

New Fracking Rules From Federal Government

The federal government once again taking the American Indian lands and this time it is not for farmers, instead it is for fracking. Though, doing so would make some people go into their rage mode again, so they came up with this “new rules” that was announced to “support safe and responsible hydraulic fracturing on public and American Indian lands.” The U.S. Department of the Interior stated that it would help improve ways to protect ground water. By adding and updating the regulations from 30 plus years ago they believe that it will help protect the chemicals from getting into groundwater. Even though the federal government stated that they would have that new rules taking effect in June there is still no information about what those new rules are yet. Knowing this the Republicans is trying to do something about this “over-restrictive” regulation. As usual, they are trying to limit the federal government power to regulate the fracking.

“Four years of research and public involvement went into developing the rules”, Interior stated. This is a part of what my group proposed in our senior project on how to improve fracking. We proposed that a committee to be created to conduct research about fracking. They would research about the effects of fracking, ways to prevent, and more efficient ways to better the fracking method. I’m interested on what the effects that those “new rules” that the federal government will release later on in summer.

-“Interior Department Issues Rule to Ensure ‘Safe’ Fracking in Indian Country

*Phiseth O.

Is Fracking Risky or Not?

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Hydraulic fracturing, the current most advanced and efficient method of getting oil and natural gas out of the deep rock. The method is to use pressure to forcefully push tons of gallons of water, which is mixed with sand and other chemicals, through layers of deep rocks where the oil and natural gas are. Some people claim that it’s risky, while others think that it’s not, the truth is, no one is certain.

Recently congressional Democrats sent out their investigation to states that are natural gas or oil producers. They wanted to know if the states regulate the oil and gas waste well as many people are really concern about the potential risks of fracking. As it turned out, not many regulations are made to enforce fracking.

State like New York take caution and become the second in the U.S. to ban hydraulic fracturing. There are people who support the idea, and there are others that don’t. Many researches claim that there’s no evidence of fracturing led to contamination, while others claim that there’s always possibility.

“Some scientists say there hasn’t been enough research” and I do agree with them. Hydraulic fracturing is new and not a lot of regulations are made to protect the public yet. There maybe no sign of risks right now, but there is the possibility. Nothing is perfect or certain.

-“Congressional Democrats seek to step up fracking oversight

*Phiseth O.