The world of green politics is constantly moving, and we’ve rounded up some of the best stories from the past week, including the U.S. military’s cancelled airship, growing business concerns over California’s high-speed rail, and the U.K.’s growing energy crisis.
Pentagon Deflates $297 Million Dollar Airship
With the war in Afghanistan slowing down, the U.S. has stopped the development of a very costly spy blimp. The U.S. Army’s Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle was designed to float above an active battlefield for weeks and collect intelligence – now the project has been grounded for good.
In September the Pentagon sold back (!!) the $297-million dollar taxpayer-funded airship the British company that built it for only $301,000 – meaning $296,699,000 in taxpayer dollars went out the window over this failed project
The failed blimp has sparked outrage from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and other representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Source: L.A. Times
California Business Express Concern Over High-Speed Rail
California State Senator Andy Vidak received an earful of concerns in Fresno over the pending construction of the California High Speed Rail system. Ground breaking in Fresno has been pushed back to the start of 2014.
Major construction can take a toll on a small business, and add to that some business that have offered up land to the high-speed rail project, and you get a scenario where people want to know what is going on. The problem is people and business owners in Fresno do not know anything because the The California High Speed Rail Authority has been tight-lipped. This silence has made the people uneasy and for good reason given the delays and lawsuits surrounding the high speed rail line.
Source: ABC News
Some States Grow Support For EVs…
While sales have slowed in electric vehicles (EVs), six states around the nation have wisely not given up on infrastructure modifications to encourage their population to buy EVs.
The six states, including New York and California, represent more than a quarter of the national car market, have set a goal to have sales of at least 3.3 million EV or other type of emission free vehicles by 2025. While these states cannot force you to buy an EV, they can make it more desirable by adding more public charging stations, in state tax credits for EV purchase, and innovative building plans to make owning an EV as easy as owning a gas powered vehicle.
Source: The New York Times
…While Other States Do Little To Encourage EV Ownership
Maine, my home state, is among seven states who basically said they will not go out of their way to promote electric vehicles (EVs) and other zero emission vehicles. Of the seven states who have turned their backs on EVs and EV owners, six have republican governors.
In response to questioning Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Jessamine Logan said, “Maine is a rural state—we are geographically large and our population is spread out. Plug-in infrastructure may make sense down the road for Maine when market conditions develop.” Maine is currently home to only 14 public charging stations, yes that is the number statewide, with the majority of the charging stations located in Maine’s largest city, Portland.
Source: Plug-In Cars
Britain’s Energy Crisis
Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a desire to roll back on “green levies” in an effort to lower rising energy costs in the UK. UK energy bills in 2013 are estimated to be about £1,267 ($2,016.30 U.S. dollars) based on average levels of energy consumption. Green energy measures (levies) make up 9% of that cost, or £112. Costs have risen by more than 8% this year, and many low-income homes are having trouble making ends meet.
About half of the green levies fund a program called the Energy Companies Obligation which insulates homes of people receiving benefits and a bill-discount structure for retirees. The other half of the levies go to support renewable power projects.
Prime Minister Cameron’s proposal to cut services that insulate the houses of the poor and support retirees has received much negative backlash, not only due to its social impact but because it is estimated that cutting the green levies would cost the UK jobs and even more in energy costs. Since the announcement, an estimated 7,000 jobs have been lost due to a crash in demand as reported by Andrew Warren from the Association for the Conservation of Energy.
Source: The BBC