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Aug 11
2009

Oil Vulnerability

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , transportation , policy , nonprofit orgs , legislation , government , economy , climate change , carbon , California , budget , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

Compared to other states, Californians are only moderately vulnerable to changes in the cost of oil, but we’re leading the list in taking steps to reduce our use of gasoline.

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You can read the full 21-page report here, or  a two-page summary here.

Percent of Income Spent on Gasoline by the Average Driver, 2008

Map of U.S. Oil Vulnerability by State

 important way to reduce oil vulnerability is by adopting public policies to reduce across the board consumption of fossil fuels. Deron Lovass, the Natural Resource Defense Council’s Transportation Policy Director, says those policies tend to fall in one of three general areas.

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Oil Vulnerability Rankings by State 2008

Amount Spent on Gasoline by the Average Driver
Rank State Percent
of Income
Dollar
Amount
1 Mississippi 9.14% $2702.00
2 Montana 8.07% $2762.94
3 South Carolina 7.59% $2419.61
4 Oklahoma 7.50% $2766.65
5 Louisiana 7.00% $2540.66
6 Kentucky 6.84% $2178.30
7 Texas 6.80% $2622.05
8 New Mexico 6.79% $2177.51
9 Georgia 6.71% $2278.92
10 Arkansas 6.68% $2089.00
11 Utah 6.61% $2002.07
12 Indiana 6.44% $2195.73
13 Maine 6.36% $2250.80
14 Tennessee 6.25% $2146.47
15 Idaho 6.20% $1991.41
16 Missouri 5.94% $2091.62
17 South Dakota 5.93% $2216.13
18 North Carolina 5.93% $2041.98
19 Kansas 5.86% $2226.64
20 Alabama 5.68% $1911.72
21 Arizona 5.65% $1863.13
22 North Dakota 5.64% $2217.39
23 West Virginia 5.62% $1733.11
24 Michigan 5.58% $1971.02
25 Minnesota 5.50% $2353.87
26 Ohio 5.50% $1951.67
27 Rhode Island 5.40% $2214.95
28 Delaware 5.37% $2195.27
29 Wyoming 5.36% $2662.83
30 Iowa 5.25% $1924.73
31 Hawaii 5.19% $2101.98
32 Wisconsin 5.18% $1931.33
33 California 5.16% $2202.09
34 Virginia 5.14% $2205.13
35 Oregon 4.91% $1764.68
36 Illinois 4.78% $2027.43
37 Nebraska 4.69% $1769.97
38 Nevada 4.66% $1880.38
39 Vermont 4.66% $1810.06
40 Florida 4.65% $1817.84
41 Pennsylvania 4.56% $1836.94
42 New Jersey 4.49% $2286.44
43 Washington 4.43% $1875.42
44 Alaska 4.33% $1874.92
45 Colorado 4.29% $1817.47
46 New Hampshire 4.21% $1802.59
47 Maryland 4.19% $2015.49
48 Massachusetts 3.66% $1856.18
49 New York 3.44% $1654.17
50 Connecticut 3.24% $1824.58
Jul 06
2009

Landfill Leak

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , transportation , toxic , Sonoma , resources , politics , government , garbage , finances , environment , conservation , chemicals , budget

Bruce Robinson

Although the Sonoma County dump, west of Cotati,  has been closed for more than three and a half years, the former manager of the facility says the issues behind its closure are political, not environmental.

 

Ken Wells (right), the former manager of the Sonoma County landfill says the  "leak" discovered beneath the dump back in 2004, has taken on an exaggerated significance due to subsequent regulatory conflict between the county and the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. The actual contamination was quite minor, he contends, and was easily contained and repaired, so that no pollutants escaped into the local groundwater.

  County officials won't say, but indutry observers say Waste ManagementInc. is the only potential buyer for the Meacham Road dumsite that meets the criteria set forth in the county's Request for Proposals.

Ken Wells is also among those who would prefer that the county retain ownership of the landfill, perhaps contracting with a private firm to operate it. As the county's waste diversion rate-currently at 64%-goes up even more, the volume of trash going into the dump will contuine to shrink, he predicts. That's part of his overall vision of a long-term future for the facility.

 

Although the Sonoma County dump (seen from the air, above) is no longer accecpting trash, all other services there are continuing. There's a list of them, and related operation, such as local transfer stations, available here.

Jun 10
2009

Marin Recycling

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , technology , resources , Marin , environment , economy , design , conservation , business

Bruce Robinson

With 30-plus years of experience, Marin County is a leader in recycling. Which means they have done the easy things already and are now tackling some of the most challenging aspects of reducing the overall waste stream.

 

At the huge indoor Marin Recycling and Resource Recovery center, near the bay shoreline in San Rafael, a house-sized, Rube Goldberg-like system of interlocking machines ingests mixed recycleables (above). They are sorted and segregated mechanically as much as possible, before the final step (below), where work crews reach in to make the final decisions

 

 Recycling organic household waste is one of the next big challenges facing companies like Marin Sanitary, but spokeswoman Devi Peri says there are compelling reasons to work toward diverting those materials from landfills.

 

 Recycling has a long and progressive history in Marin County, which Devi Peri summarizes.

 

 

May 03
2009

Somalia Pirates

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , toxic , resources , public safety , poverty , policy , ocean , law enforcement , justice , jobs , international , government , fish , environment , employment , economy , business , Africa

Bruce Robinson

There's more to the story of pirates along the Somali coast than just bad guys in boats. In today's report, John Reid, President of the Conservation Strategy Fund in Sebastopol, looks past recent headlines to the root causes of this outbreak of nautical lawlessness.

 

Because natural resources are essential to the survival of millions of residents of undeveloped nations, CFS President John Reid (right) predicts that, in order to help preserve them, climate change will soon become a major factor in shaping US foreign policy.

 

 Michael Winship, senior writer for the weekly PBS public affairs program "Bill Moyers Journal," has additional background on this issue here.

 

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