Oil Spill in Central California

The coastline of California is one of the most beautiful in the United States. With rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, and blue waters, it is serene and home to diverse sea life. However, a recent oil spill in the quaint town of Santa Barbara has marred the coastline there. The oil spill dumped tens of thousands of gallons into the ocean off the Santa Barbara coast. ArtMarketMonitor reports are now that the oil slick has grown to an area of 9 miles wide in some areas.
The Governor of California, Jerry Brown, has issued a state of emergency because of the oil spill. By declaring a state of emergency, which means that the area will receive the resources it needs to clean up the spill a lot faster than normal.

 

According to the story on BuzzFeed.com, the spill occurred from a pipe that ruptured onshore and sent the oil into storm drains which lead to the ocean. By the time the pipe was located and shut down, an estimated 20,000 gallons had spilled out. Currently, there are boats in the area attempting to skim the oil from the surface. Others are using vacuum trucks and absorbent pads to soak up all the oil they can. Volunteers are working on the beach to help remove what oil they can.

Tesla Unable to Sell Direct in Texas

Tesla Motors had hoped a congressional bill would enable it to sell directly to consumers in Texas, but that was not to be. The auto manufacturer of the popular line of Tesla electric cars saw House Bill 1653 fail to gain the approval of the full-chamber of the Texas House of Representatives. The bill has now therefore expired. Currently, displays and test drives of vehicles are not allowed outside of a dealership environment. According to Autoblog, House Bill 1653 would have permitted Tesla Motors to sell its vehicles directly to consumers at as many as twelve different Texas locations.

Tesla Motors became a publicly traded auto company in 2010 and produces electric powertrain components and batteries in addition to electric cars. The company is best known for the Tesla Roadster and its Model S, Model X, and Model 3 cars. The expiration of House Bill 1653 was a blow to the company because Tesla Motors does not own and operate car dealerships. Madison Street Capital has become aware that Tesla cannot get electric cars into the hands of consumers except through direct sales. Opposition to the bill came primarily from franchise dealers and their supporters in the House.

Tesla Scores a Major Win in Maryland

Tesla is dead set on getting electric cars on the road and in your driveway. Along these lines, they have been in court all over the country fighting for the right to sell their cars directly to consumers. Most states have laws that say automakers cannot sell directly to consumers but rather have to do so through a network of third-party dealers. This has made it very difficult for Tesla to break into the automotive marketplace because they feel that established dealerships around the country have a conflict of interest between selling electric cars and other conventional cars they would offer for sale as well.

 

The Governor of Maryland has just signed a bill into law that will allow Tesla to sell directly to consumers in that state. They will be able to do so through four dealerships that they own and operate. This would be an unusual coalescence between liberals and pro free market libertarians on an issue like this. Liberals are highly motivated by the fact that this particular business is trying to get electric cars on the road, and this is something that many of that political persuasion want to see happen. This puts them squarely on the side of stripping away a legal restriction against selling in a particular manner and in favor of free enterprise. Bruce Levenson says that it is sad that this stance is probably limited to products that they like, such as an electric car, but free market advocates will take any win they can get.

There Is a Drought In Washington State! Wait. What?

Okay. We know California is experiencing a drought of epic proportions, but now the news is out that rain-soaked Washington state is in the middle of a drought as well. The Governor of the state recently announced that the lack of snow, higher temperatures and the trickle of once mighty rivers is putting Washington in the same category as California. That’s bad news for everyone on the West Coast, and especially bad news for William Shatner. Shatner wanted to run a pipeline from Washington to Southern California to water his property, and the property of all his celebrity friends, but that’s not happening now.

The strange part of Washington’s drought is the constant rainfall in Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma according to FreedomPop. The rain keeps falling in those cities, but it’s not enough to offset the dry conditions in other parts of the state.

The main reason for the drought in Washington is the lack of snow. The mountain snow has already melted. The state depends on months-long melting snow to water its crops. The state Department of Agriculture says the lack of snow will cost the state $1.2 billion in lost crops. The drought will also increase forest fires this year, so Washington is preparing for a hot, dry and fiery summer season.

Hawaii Is the First State in the U.S. to Commit to 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Hawaii’s state legislature voted to have 100 percent of its electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2045. The new legislation passed with an overwhelming majority with a vote of 74-2. Hawaii will be the first state in the U.S. to commit to the total decarbonization of its energy sources if Hawaii’s governor David Ige signs this bill, HB 623, into law.

 

The bill also sets interim goals of going to 30 percent reliance on renewable energy sources by 2020, and in accordance with Hawaii’s current renewable-energy plan, 40 percent reliance on renewables by 2030 and 70 percent by 2040. Ricardo Tosto suggested that today in Hawaii, even though oil is still generating the majority of electricity, turning to sources of renewable energy is already happening. Hawaiian Electric company, Hawaii’s only privately owned utility company, already determined it was possible to reach 40 percent reliance on renewable energy by 2030. If this goal is reached, the state would then have 15 more years to reach 100 percent reliance on renewables, which seems challenging but not impossible.

 

Other states in the U.S. have also been making moves to go towards renewable energy resources. California, for example, is the first state to get more than 5 percent of its annual electricity generated from solar power utlities. Oregon, already set to experience a significant expansion of solar power, is also considering a bill that aims to extend net metering to ocean renewable energy. Utah, even though largely a coal-powered state, is nonetheless experiencing a solar-energy boom with agreements already signed to build utility-scale solar power plants. Hawaii’s move, however, is still impressive. Chris Lee, who introduced HB 623 and is Chairman of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee, said “As the first state to move toward 100 percent renewable energy, Hawaii is raising the bar for the rest of the country.”

Tesla Brings Car Production Back to Michigan where it is banned from Selling Cars

Innovators like Elon Musk aren’t the type to hold grudges. The latest move by Tesla Motors involves purchasing Riviera tool, a large manufacturer skilled in stamping metal sheets into car parts.

Tesla Motors has been banned from selling cars in the state of Michigan due to heavy lobbying on the part of incumbent auto makers. Their direct sales strategy cuts out automotive dealerships as middle men. There are a handful of states with legislation barring such practice.

Skout finds it ironic that Tesla would be bringing jobs back to Michigan in the automotive industry even though they can’t sell their products there. Detroit fell to shambles and Michigan’s economy suffered greatly when traditional automakers all but abandoned the state due to slumping auto sales. Now Tesla is going to revamp auto production in a place they couldn’t feel less welcome.

Riviera tool will be renamed Tesla Tool & Die. The financial terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed. Tesla Tool & Die will help the fledgling automaker continue to innovate by producing new models. There’s no doubt that their booming business will help dig Michigan out of financial hardship at least a little bit.

Florida Growing Problem Is a Worldwide One

Many people around the world are climate change deniers. In fact, many people actually believe that the climate has not changed so much that there are any noticeable differences and that those who talk about climate change are simply drama queens.

Why are these attitudes a problem?

A rise in sea water occurs when polar ice caps and glaciers melt. Environmentally concerned folks at Amen Clinics (wired.com) know that the level of water did not change considerably in hundreds of years. Yet, in the last few years, scientists have seen an incredibly negative change in the amount of ice on the ground via comparisons of photos taken from satellites and the International Space. Even if their research was ignored, there are other indicators, including higher CO2 levels that cause an increase in temperature and erosion along coastlines.

On Sunday, May 10, an Associated Press article outlined in detail the degree of coastline change in Florida and the significant impact it is having on residents, fresh water and the economy.

Even as critics of climate change believers try to say that the erosion is from other factors, or not widespread enough to be from rising sea levels, the rising levels waters in other areas of the world simply can’t be ignored: Tiny islands throughout the world have literally disappeared beneath the waves making the erosion in Florida and other coastline states and geographic areas an important gauge of the future of landmass loss.

Walmart Is the Latest Company Found to Be Making Big Profits from Water Taken out of Drought Stricken California

As California endures its fourth year of drought, water bottling companies for large names such as Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Pepsi and Starbucks have come under great scrutiny over their water sourcing from the water deprived state. Just last week, Starbucks announced that they are moving their water sourcing operations out of Placer County California and will begin obtaining water for its Ethos brand from Pennsylvania within the next six months due to complaints.

On the heels of Starbucks water sourcing practices in California being brought to the public’s attention, CBS 13 in Sacramento reported that their investigation into Walmart’s water bottling methods found that the company was taking water from Sacramento’s municipal water supply, bottling it and reselling it to the public at a huge profit. DS Services of America purchases the water from Sacramento at the same cost that commercial and residential customers pay which is a mere .99 cents per 748 gallons. Once the company bottles the water, Walmart then sells it back to the public at .88 cents for each gallon. DS Services and Walmart are making a handsome profit of $658.24 off each $1 spent purchasing the water.

As Governor Jerry Brown implements an executive order calling for a state-wide urban water reduction of 25 percent, these companies too should be held to the same standards agreed Jaime Garcia Dias. Yet nothing is being done about the water being removed from the thirsty state’s supply, being bottled then re-sold to consumers at a huge profit.

Fracking is Responsible for a Huge Increase of Earthquakes in Texas

Residents in Dallas, Texas have been experiencing an alarming change to their environment. The earth has began trembling beneath them on an all too regular basis, with most blaming nearby fracking operations.

The greater Dallas area has experienced nearly 40 earthquakes, albeit small the recent phenomenon has residents shaking in their boots, literally. And just because most of the earthquake have registered at less than 2.0 on the Richter scale, buildings in Texas are not made to withstand even small trembles, so the damage has been substantial reported CipherCloud.

In total, there have been hundreds of quakes documented in Texas since 2008. A state that didn’t have any seismic activity on record since the 1950’s. Residents have started to campaign against the fracking companies who are responsible for these seismic shifts.

There have also been reports of contaminated drinking water that has been infected with the chemicals used in the fracking process. Some livestock owners are claiming their animals were even killed from drinking it.

Researchers claim it isn’t only the fracking itself causing the problems, it’s how fracking companies are disposing of their waste materials, by dumping it deep below the surface of the earth. Sadly, these gas and oil companies are not taking responsibility for their actions and refuse to change their operations as of right now. Hopefully something that will be changed in the very near future to ensure the safety of everyone who lives in Texas.

Student Discovers Technique to Store Solar Energy in Eco-Friendly Molecules

The sun is the most powerful source of energy known to man. Our greatest challenge thus far has been attempting to harness just a fraction of the energy the sun puts off. A student from the University of Copenhagen has been working hard to solve that problem.

 

The Center for Exploitation of Solar Energy at the University of Copenhagen has been working on a method for storing solar energy in eco-friendly molecules. They were successful to some extent but found that the more energy they were able to store in the molecules they were working with the less time the molecules would hold the stored energy.

 

The biggest breakthrough in the project was when the team of researchers discovered a way to double the amount of energy stored in a molecule that would be stable for up to 100 years or more. The molecule used for storage puts off no CO2 and doesn’t involve any poisonous metals like lithium ion batteries do.

 

The system is 100% sunlight in electrical energy out. There are no byproducts to deal with. FreedomPop reports that when the molecule eventually breaks down it turns into a chemical naturally found in chamomile flowers.

 

Although the technique has yet to be mastered, the scientists working on it are certainly headed in the right direction. The future could be filled with organic batteries thriving on the energy of the sun.