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Home Authors Posts by Eileen Levandoski

Eileen Levandoski

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Tell the Feds: No Atlantic Offshore Drilling

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NoAtlanticDrillingStickerThe federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has proposed a draft plan for Atlantic offshore drilling that includes drilling off the Virginia coast.  Next week they are holding two Open House meetings in/near Virginia to which the public is encouraged to attend, learn more and ask questions.

DC Meeting:
Mon., Feb. 9, 2:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Embassy Suites Washington DC - Convention Center, 900 10th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

Norfolk VA Meeting:
Wed., Feb. 11, 3:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Sheraton Norfolk Waterside, 777 Waterside Drive, Norfolk, VA 23505

Click here to RSVP to either meeting.

BOEM has also opened up a public comment period (deadline March 30) on its oil and gas development plan.  Click here to send them a message saying "No" to Atlantic drilling.

QUESTION:

What has changed since the 2010 Gulf oil disaster that would now allow the Atlantic to be opened up for offshore drilling? Answer on the flip...

Reduce your carbon footprint AND benefit the Virginia Sierra Club at the same time!

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As demonstrated in this video, it turns out to be really easy to make one's electric hot water heater do double duty as storage for the electric grid as well as providing hot water for one's family!

It's the ingenious Mosaic controller that does all the work. The environment and the Sierra Club can stand back and collect all the benefits. How great is that?!

The benefits are big:

1.    A $ finders fee awarded to the Virginia Chapter for every Mosaic controller installed.
2.    A $ rebate awarded back to the Virginia Chapter should you elect that option on the 1 year anniversary on its installation.
3.    Last but not least... carbon emissions are reduced by as much as 1.5 tons per year for EACH water heater installed!

As Greg Vaudreuil, Chief Technology Officer with Mosaic Power explains, the controller makes the electric grid power your hot water heater more efficiently by powering it on and off as the larger electric grid has excesses or deficiencies of power. This powering on and off will not change your electric bills, but instead it saves tremendously on the "electric bill" of the larger electric grid.  By demand-shifting, the grid operator doesn't have to fire up less efficient, more high-emissions peaker plants as often - thus saving carbon emissions.

This is a pilot program only available for the time being to NORTHERN VIRGINIA RESIDENTS ONLY!

We need 100 enrolled in the Mosaic program before installations can begin.  We are currently 1/2 of the way there. Click here to sign up TODAY and let's start saving some serious carbon emissions and bringing some serious cash to the Virginia Chapter Sierra Club.

Film “HOT WATER” Reveals Burning Truth About Uranium Mining

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This week, Sierra Club is hosting screenings of HOT WATER, a film portraying the harrowing stories of citizens across the country whose families have been decimated by cancer in the aftermath of uranium mining. The producers traversed the Southwest, interviewing heartbroken survivors while collecting astounding measurements of radioactivity at abandoned mining sites marked only by tiny warning plaques. Filmmaker Lizabeth Rogers was so inspired to hear of those fighting to protect their communities in Virginia that she brought her film crew here to capture a segment for a special extended edition of the documentary.

Check out the list of HOT WATER screenings below to find one near you! Come out early to any of the screenings to see the producer and Virginia "stars" of the film walk the red carpet and host a press conference to discuss the dangerous implications of uranium mining in Virginia.

HOT WATER Richmond - November 12, Byrd Theatre
HOT WATER Norfolk - November 13, Naro Cinema
HOT WATER Fairfax - November 14, Cinema Arts Theatre

Click here also to take our very first action directed at our new Governor. Thank Terry McAuliffe for his opposition to Uranium Mining. Let's put this horrible issue to rest ASAP and move on to positive things like advancing renewable energy in Virginia!

Sierra Club Applauds Federal Auction of Virginia’s Offshore Wind Energy Area

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Today the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced it will hold a competitive lease sale on Sept. 4, 2013 in which it will auction off approximately 112,799 acres offshore Virginia for commercial wind energy development.

In response Glen Besa, Director of the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, issued the following statement:

"After years of intensive problem-solving attention by all stakeholders involved, to include military, shipping, government and environmental interests, we are finally arriving close to the point in the Federal process where we pass the baton of our work to Virginia's actual developers of its offshore wind resources".  

"While we applaud the diligence of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to fast-track the lease sale process, we also urge their continued dedication to moving offshore wind development along.  The eventual winning bidder, likely Dominion Virginia Power, should be required to move forward with offshore wind development without delay and be prohibited from dragging its feet in fully developing Virginia's entire lease area".

"Virginian's are already suffering the impacts of climate disruption from increased flooding on our coasts to heat waves and super storms. We're ready to build a cleaner, safer and more reliable renewable energy economy here. We must move as quickly as possible to catch up to other states who are ready to start installing full-scale offshore wind farms along the Northeast coast in the next few years."

Click here for release from BOEM.

Virginia Offshore Wind Development: Hurry Up and Wait

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2012 was a big year for Atlantic offshore wind, and 2013 promises to be an even bigger year for its development off the coast of Virginia. But as to what year we actually see any of its electrons powering our homes in Virginia, that's anybody's guess.

In 2012, our Virginia WEA (wind energy area) - a 112,799 acre area 23 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach - was identified and cleared for development by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) after consultation with all interest groups, including the military, shipping and fishing industries. It's an area capable of providing 2400 megawatts of power-enough to power over 500,000 homes and create thousands of jobs in manufacturing and supply chain businesses.

Very exciting stuff! And kudos to the Obama administration for fast-tracking Atlantic offshore wind development. In addition to the lease sales announced for Virginia and Rhode Island, BOEM has put out a call for interest from developers for areas off North Carolina's coast, is considering lease proposals in Maine and New York, and is conducting preliminary environmental assessments for areas off South Carolina and Massachusetts.

Three proposals off New Jersey's coast have progressed to a point where BOEM is now looking at a proposal to link up the three areas to each other via an offshore transmission backbone.  Maryland's excitement for developing its wind energy area has led to legislation that would support purchase agreements for the renewable energy. Finally, in Delaware, BOEM issued a lease to Bluewater Wind, which is off and running with all its preliminary site assessments.

Virginia is well placed in the Atlantic offshore wind race. In February 2012, BOEM issued a Call for Interest for Virginia, and eight developers responded. Later in 2012, BOEM asked for public comment about the potential auction format, then acquiesced when the Commonwealth (apparently acting under the influence of Dominion Power) urged that our entire WEA be leased to one bidder who would be allowed a prolonged phase-in period. The opening bid for the anticipated Spring 2013 auction starts at $5 per acre, for a total of $563,995, plus $ millions in surety bonds. The winner will have to spend millions more dollars to conduct the necessary studies before submitting a construction and operations plan. Deep pockets required!

Call-In Day TODAY Jan. 10: Tell your State Legislators to KEEP the BAN on...

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Earlier this week the Commission on Coal and Energy voted to lift the ban on uranium. Now the General Assembly takes up legislation to repeal a ban that has been in place for 30 years.  On Thursday, today, the environmental community is urging everyone who supports the ban on uranium mining to call their Senator and Delegate.  

Click here to follow a link to a page that will provide you with the names and contact information of your legislators, and plan to make these two short calls on Thursday.

It's a quick and easy ask; here's a sample script:

Hello, my name is _______ . I live in (City/Town/County) and I'm a constituent.

I'd like to leave a message for Senator/Delegate ____________ about upcoming legislation attempting to lift the 30-year old ban on uranium mining in Virginia.

There is no way to guarantee safety in the mining process or in the storage of the radioactive byproducts. Our groundwater, surface water, agriculture and tourism industry could all be placed in jeopardy. It's simply not worth the risk. If disaster were to occur, Virginia's economy would be crippled. Uranium mining could threaten the health, safety, and economic viability of our citizens.

Please vote against lifting the ban.

Thank you.

Sierra Club Response to Romney RNC Speech

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In response to Mitt Romney's speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:

"Mitt Romney's speech Thursday night marked an all-new low for the candidate. His comments added insult to injury for the millions of American families and businesses affected by devastating events like this summer's drought and Hurricane Isaac.  Make no mistake - we are witnessing the effects of the climate crisis today. Americans need bold action and solutions to mitigate the threats of climate disruption - not glib mockery and denial of the problem.

"Romney spoke of the need to keep energy jobs in America, but he failed to mention that he opposes vehicle fuel efficiency standards that have resurrected the American auto industry and put thousands of American workers back on the job. Despite paying lip service to renewables, Romney opposes the wind production tax credit and seems unconcerned about losing the 75,000 American jobs supported by the wind energy sector.

"If there were any doubts about Mitt Romney's allegiance to fossil fuel interests, they've now been erased."

Proponents of Lifting Ban: “Perfectly Safe to Mine and Mill Uranium in this Area”:

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"We don't need to worry about highly improbable extreme weather events washing any radioactive materials into millions of people's water supply" say proponents of lifting the ban on uranium mining in green, wet Virginia. Are they nuts???

The universe keeps telling us that uranium mining in Virginia is a bad idea. This Sky5 video of Roanoke Rapids on Saturday morning after an 11-inch, 4-hour rain should make it perfectly clear what could very easily happen on the nearby Cole's Hill property where uranium mining and milling is proposed. Not only does news video footage - both past and present - confirm the likeliness of extreme weather in this area, but studies commissioned by the City of Virginia Beach also indicate that the area proposed for uranium mining is vulnerable to extreme rainfall events which could cause failure of uranium waste containment structures and result in the contamination of the downstream drinking water, i.e. Lake Gaston, the primary drinking water source for about 1 million people - in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and neighboring communities in Virginia and North Carolina. The City's latest report finds that in the event of significant contamination, "the City of Virginia Beach may have to cease pumping water from Lake Gaston for up to 1.5 years."

What can you do?

Virginia environmentalists voice opposition to offshore seismic air guns

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[Norfolk, VA - April 24, 2012] - Virginia environmentalists responded with their opposition to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) call for public comment on a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for offshore seismic studies in the Atlantic.  They spoke in favor of an alternative that only allows study to support renewable energy development and stood in opposition to alternatives supporting exploration for oil and gas.

"This seismic study is completely unnecessary when it comes to supporting Virginia's offshore wind development," said Eileen Levandoski with the Sierra Club. "Such geological and geophysical studies are already covered by the programmatic Environmental Assessment that BOEM has already approved for the mid-Atlantic wind energy areas which includes Virginia."

Secretary of Interior Salazar and others contend that seismic testing will not only reveal how much oil and gas may be on the outer continental shelf, but will also benefit research for the offshore wind industry. However, it's "dynamite vs. a hammer" when comparing the level of seismic study necessary for oil and gas vs. that for offshore wind.  

"The oil and gas industry wants to know what is hundreds and thousands of feet below the sea floor; to get information from that far below the ground, they use extremely loud air guns," continued Levandoski.  "But the renewables industry only wants to know what's on the seafloor and just below it, so they use echo-sounders and sub-bottom profilers that are generally many orders of magnitude quieter than air guns."  

10,000 Virginians Urge Dominion Virginia Power to Support Offshore Wind

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Student and environmental leaders will gather in front of Dominion Virginia Power headquarters in Richmond on March 14 to deliver petitions signed by over 10,000 Virginians in support of the electric utility's hastened development of Virginia's offshore wind power.

Following the Interior Department's recent announcement calling for development interest, the leaders will urge Dominion to ensure the start of a full build-out of Virginia wind energy areas within the next five years.  The 112,799 acres off Virginia's coast identified for lease sale by year's end have the potential of generating over 2,400 megawatts of power, enough to power 500,000 homes and potentially attract a major manufacturing vendor to Virginia.  

"These 10,000 petition signatures match the 10,000 potential jobs brought online with build-out of Virginia's offshore wind industry," said Beth Kemler with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.  "These jobs and this renewable energy only happen when and if Dominion starts charting an aggressive course towards Virginia's clean energy future. Dominion either needs to commit to purchasing offshore wind power from turbines off our coast or be prepared to partner with an offshore wind developer if we are to capitalize on this renewable wind resource"

"Virginia must develop that potential 2,400 megawatts as soon as possible.  We otherwise risk losing that major vendor and those thousands of jobs to states with more aggressive build-out plans if Dominion continues to lack a vision and a plan for supporting that full wind potential within the next five years," said Eileen Levandoski with the Sierra Club.

"The Interior Department has outlined a course by which Virginia could see construction of wind farms occurring within the next five years," said Glen Besa with the Virginia Chapter Sierra Club.  "Yet Dominion while it talks a good game has no plans for offshore wind in its 15-year planning horizon.  That needs to change now."

Join Us!
WHEN:  Wed., March 14, 11:00 a.m.
WHERE:  Public Sidewalk in front of Dominion HQ, 701 E. Cary St., Richmond, VA

Copies of the petitions delivered to Dominion will also be delivered to the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in response to its public comment call due March 19. Click here to tell BOEM "Virginians Want Offshore Wind ASAP!".

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