Gas Pipelines — Misinformation and High Costs

Mar 26, 2015 at 5:27pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

The high cost and pollution from new gas pipelines are no secret. They deliver a clear reminder that investing in new fossil fuels is a bad bet for our energy future – bad for the environment and bad for our pocketbooks. When costs ballooned for Vermont Gas Systems’ proposed new pipeline, the company failed to tell regulators, or the public, until months later. Vermont Gas is now facing penalties for the failure. Unfortunately for the public, only the Public Service Department and the Company were allowed to present information during the hearing to evaluate the penalty. Since the two of them already agreed to a penalty, the proceeding took on an air of the sound of one hand clapping. A few concerned citizens resorted to waiving posters in the back read more…

The Final Word on Winter in New England’s Energy Markets, Part II: Why This Winter Was Different

Mar 25, 2015 at 1:01pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

As late as last fall, many observers and traders watching the New England energy markets were predicting a repeat of last year’s very expensive winter, or worse. By January, CLF was able to post an update showing that those predictions weren’t materializing. In fact, the expected energy crisis was fizzling, with much lower wholesale power and natural gas prices than last year and no signs that gas-fired power plants were struggling to get fuel. We laid out a series of market shifts and changes that were making a difference. As I mentioned in the first part of this series on this winter in New England’s energy markets, February was a major test for New England’s energy system. It was the coldest February in modern times, with bitter cold, record-breaking snowfall, read more…

The Final Word on Winter in New England’s Energy Markets, Part I: The Difference a Year Makes

Mar 24, 2015 at 10:45am by  | Bio |  2 Comments »

With the sap finally running, the snow slowly melting, and the vernal equinox past, it’s time to look back on winter in the New England energy markets. Despite dire predictions and some of the worst winter weather on record, there wasn’t a crisis. Modest market shifts made a huge difference, driving down prices, assuring the lights stayed on, and calling into question the wisdom of the region making big new bets on gas pipelines and transmission infrastructure. In this multi-part series, I will run down the market data on what happened this winter, offer a few explanations, and explore the lessons we should take from the experience as the region looks to its energy future. Last year, after a very expensive winter in New England’s wholesale energy markets, many were read more…

This Week on TalkingFish.org – March 16-20

Mar 20, 2015 at 4:40pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

March 17 – Seafood Expo, a Free Sample Frenzy – Yesterday I got out of the office to spend the afternoon at the North America Seafood Expo (formerly the International Boston Seafood Show). Having never been to an expo of any kind I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I never expected anything so huge! More than 1,100 exhibitors gathered at the expo to show off their products ranging from fresh seafood and aquaculture to the latest seafood processing technologies to food safety services. Some vendors were even dressed up to promote their products; I saw at least one mermaid and one catfish suit. March 20 – Fish Talk in the News – Friday, March 20 – In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, the Obama Administration announced a plan read more…

In Exeter, Another Vote for Clean Water

Mar 20, 2015 at 9:09am by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

By a wide margin, the citizens of Exeter, New Hampshire, recently rejected a move to reduce the size of wetland buffers in their community. As I discussed in a recent blog, buffers are an important tool for protecting both the health of our wetlands and water quality. Considering the significant challenges facing our Great Bay estuary, reducing these types of protections would have been taking us in the wrong direction. Fortunately, a group of residents, Exeter Citizens for Responsible Growth, successfully campaigned over the last few weeks to convince voters that an ordinance change promoted by the planning board, selectmen, and the economic development office – all to accommodate new development on the Epping Road Corridor – lacked transparency and adequate public review. Kudos to the citizen’s group, and to read more…

National Ocean Policy Workshop a Success

Mar 18, 2015 at 1:18pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Conservation Law Foundation is dedicated to supporting full implementation of the National Ocean Policy. Last week under the umbrella of the Healthy Oceans Coalition, CLF partnered with the American Littoral Society to organize The National Ocean Policy: New England Healthy Ocean and Coasts Workshop. Recognizing the importance of our ocean and coastal ecosystems and building off  work of previous administrations, in 2010 President Obama issued an Executive Order for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes creating the National Ocean Policy (NOP). The policy includes nine national priority objectives for improving the protection and management of the oceans, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. Even for those working down in the weeds, the National Ocean Policy (NOP), its implementation, and it applications are a lot to read more…

Rainbow Smelt Declining in Great Bay

Mar 16, 2015 at 3:16pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Are we losing yet another piece of our Great Bay ecosystem? After two winter seasons of declines in rainbow smelt, most recreational fishermen would likely say “yes.” The smelt run seems to be going the way of the Great Bay oyster – downward. Every winter, ice fishermen haul their shacks onto the rivers feeding Great Bay to await the return of rainbow smelt, catching this local delicacy through the ice on hooks baited with sea worms. Their only concern is whether or not there will be enough ice. This year there has been plenty of ice, but for the second year in a row, there are few smelt. Fishermen wonder where the rainbow smelt have gone. Early reports for this season have been so dismal that most fishermen have not even bothered to pull their read more…

This Week on TalkingFish.org – March 9-13

Mar 13, 2015 at 4:00pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

March 12 – Pacific Council Leads on Protecting Prey-Now Atlantic Coast Managers Should Raise the Bar – Fisheries managers on the Pacific Coast made a big move this week to protect the little fish at the base of the ocean food web. New England, alas, lags behind. March 13 – Fish Talk in the News – Friday, March 13 – In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, the Boston Globe addresses ocean acidification in the Gulf of Maine; blue crabs are headed north; environmental groups file a suit to rebuild Gulf of Maine cod; Rep. Young filed the MSA reauthorization bill; 75 scientists send warning about seismic testing; the Atlantic scallop season opened; a Nantucket fisherman uses the internet to raise money; GMRI makes its first lobster prediction; some worry about read more…

Defending the Charles River from Stormwater Pollution

Mar 12, 2015 at 8:48am by  | Bio |  2 Comments »

In February, CLF and the Charles River Watershed Association filed a notice of intent to sue the EPA for failing to uphold the Clean Water Act and requiring large, privately owned stormwater polluters to obtain permits for their dirty discharge. EPA’s responsibility is clear: to ensure that our waterways are safe for drinking, swimming, and fishing. The agency’s failure to require polluters to control their runoff puts the Charles’ water quality at risk and places an unfair burden on cities, towns, and, ultimately, taxpayers, to foot the bill for managing stormwater pollution. In part due to improvements in water pollution, the Charles River today is an incredible recreational and ecological resource flowing through the heart of Boston and surrounding communities. On any given summer day, you’ll see scores of people sailing, boating, kayaking, read more…

CLF Bringing Suit to Address Stormwater in Rhode Island

Mar 12, 2015 at 8:34am by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

A few weeks ago, CLF initiated a lawsuit that seeks to require EPA to do its job under the Clean Water Act and clean up stormwater pollution in Rhode Island. This lawsuit has the potential to be a very big deal. What is stormwater pollution? When heavy rain falls and snow melts, water runs across paved surfaces, picks up nasty pollutants like oil, feces, and heavy metals, and eventually flows into Rhode Island’s ponds and rivers, the Narragansett Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean. Rhode Island is densely populated, has a lot of paved surfaces – about 12% of the state, in fact – and there’s not a spot in this tiny, coastal state that’s far from water. This means that there’s a lot of polluted runoff flowing into a lot of water bodies in read more…

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