There was a piece in yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle that said that people are abandoning their cars in favor of buses and trains in unprecedented numbers and that the experts say the shift may be permanent.
The reason is high gas prices, of course, and that corroborates what some of us have been saying for years—that gas prices should be high, for this very reason. This is painful for some people, no doubt about that, and someone should figure out ways to help them, but overall this is definitely the proverbial silver lining.
At the very end of the current term of the Supreme Court, the justices announced that they will review a Ninth Circuit decision that forbids Coeur Alaska, a mining company, from dumping mine tailings into Lower Slate Lake north of Juneau, Alaska.
This is not the best news of the week.
The company admits that the tailings will essentially kill all life in the lake but that restoration can be undertaken later. The Army Corps of Engineers, which issued permits for the mine, agreed with Coeur.
Hundreds of people at an Earthjustice energy forum gave a standing ovation to Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius last week in Denver after hearing her tale of fighting off Big Coal so that Kansas could have a clean energy future.
Both Gov. Sebelius and Earthjustice presented their visions of what a national clean energy agenda might look like.
Bill is a long-haul truck driver, plying his trade on the highways of middle America. In my last post about him, I told how he called Earthjustice from his truck, attacking environmentalists for bringing him, and America, to the point of economic ruin.
He ranted in my ear for 5 minutes about me being stupid and un-American for not letting oil companies drill us back to the days of cheap gas. Our national backyard, from Alaska to the coastlines of lower-48, is full of oil, he said – utterly exasperated at my inability to comprehend such common sense.
One of the first things I ever had published in a book was a chapter in The Environmental Handbook, a Friends of the Earth/Ballantine Books number, published for the first Earth Day, in 1970. It was called, "Ecopornography, or How to Spot an Ecological Phony."
It's time to dust it off and send it around again.
Ecoporn, as defined by us, is image advertising run by large enterprises, often engaged in enriching themselves and their shareholders via the exploitation of public resources. Oil companies, in other words, and mining companies, and so forth.
The voice mail caller accused me of being a Communist, anti-American, out-of-touch, and stupid. Worst of all, he spat out, I was an environmentalist.
Bill was furious, like hundreds of callers to Earthjustice in the last two months. Driven to call us by rabid, right-wing radio hosts and bloggers, most folks just wanted to rant about how we were driving up gas prices by opposing the obvious solution: drilling the coasts, drilling the Arctic, drilling wherever in America we can to free us from high gas prices and foreign potentates.
This has been quite a week for proponents of offshore oil drilling. It's as if last week's Jim Cramer Today Show appearance lit a fuse. Or more likely, as if Jim Cramer is privy to major pols' backroom strategizing sessions.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the rising cost of shipping everything from industrial parts to living-room sofas is forcing some manufacturers to bring production back to North America and freeze plans to send even more work overseas.
This could stem the loss of domestic manufacturing jobs, if not result in a job increase at home.