Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Don't let the contractors take all your brushpiles; the birds won't forgive you

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of mockingbird on brushpile at World Peace Wetland Prairie on February 25, 2009,

The more buds you spot on the ends of small limbs the more likely these limbs are the ones to keep on your property if you want plenty of song birds to be in your neighborhood when spring comes. You might also try to convince your neighbors to preserve some similar brushpiles on their property. And urging neighbors to preserve ice-damaged trees on their property also will help.
Many won't understand. But every property owner who keeps a brush pile or resists pressure to cut down a damaged tree can make a difference in the reproductive success of song birds in the coming spring.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Operating cost of coal-fired power plants just took a jump!

Study: New Regulations Could Cost Turk Coal Plant $2.8 Billion 
By The Associated Press - 2/19/2009 5:08:01 PM
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A proposed coal-fired power plant being built in southwestern Arkansas could end up paying $2.8 billion over 40 years because of new federal carbon penalties, a study by opponents released Thursday claims.
New figures from the Southwestern Electric Power Co. put the cost of building the plant at about $2 billion, counting the costs of upgrading power lines and substations and obtaining an air permit. But opponents say a tougher stance by the Environmental Protection Agency on greenhouse gases will drive costs even higher for the project - which will be funded by ratepayers.
"The main thing that the utility was not willing to admit ... was that the future costs of containing or controlling the (carbon dioxide) from this plant will be vastly greater than they ever anticipated or were willing to admit at the time," said Jim Metzger, the study's author, told reporters Thursday.Metzger estimated the John W. Turk Jr. plant being built in Hempstead County would likely have to spend more than $163 million annually - or $2.8 billion over 40 years - just to contain or abate carbon dioxide emissions.The 60-page study, done on behalf of the Sierra Club and Audubon Arkansas, comes after the EPA announced it was reviewing a Bush policy on new coal-fired power plants. The old policy prohibits using the federal permit process to require new coal-fired power plants to install equipment to reduce carbon dioxide.Because of moves like that, at least 59 proposed coal-fired projects nationwide have been canceled or delayed, according to anti-coal groups.SWEPCO officials dismissed the study as speculative."It's another delay tactic," SWEPCO spokesman Scott McCloud said. "All their purpose is, is to derail the Turk project."Opponents are challenging an air permit for the plant granted by the state environmental regulators. Meanwhile, the utility asked the state for a $53.9 million rate increase Thursday, in part to cover financing costs for the power plant.\SWEPCO, based in Shreveport, La., is a subsidiary of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power, among the largest electric utilities in the country.(Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)