ECHO Action Editor
Feb 28, 2018

Pipeline Information Sessions

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Edited: Feb 28, 2018

Experienced community advocates are ready to schedule your town or organization for a pipeline information session!

 

Learn about Granite Bridge Pipeline (and view our interactive map!)

Events •  Take ActionCalendar

 

EPPING

Monday, March 12th, 7:00 PM

Epping Board of Selectmen meeting

Epping Town Hall

 

MANCHESTER

 

AUBURN

 

CANDIA

 

RAYMOND

 

BRENTWOOD

 

EXETER

 

STRATHAM

 

Contact us to schedule a presentation for your town or organization! Email

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New Posts
  • ECHO Action Admin
    Aug 17, 2018

    It's your classic movie eureka moment. Young researcher Sarah-Jeanne Royer set out to measure methane gas coming from biological activity in sea water. Instead, in a "happy accident" she found that the plastic bottles holding the samples were a bigger source of this powerful warming molecule than the bugs in the water. Now she's published further details in a study into the potential warming impact of gases seeping from plastic waste. "It was a totally unexpected discovery," Dr Royer told BBC News. "Some members of the lab were experimenting with high density polyethylene bottles looking at methane biological production, but the concentrations were much higher than expected." "So we realised that the emissions were not just coming from the biology but from the bottle that we were using for the experiment." After graduating from university in Barcelona, Dr Royer found herself in Hawaii, leading teams of volunteers who were helping to remove plastic from beaches at weekends, while working on the chemistry of the substance during the week. Dr Royer found that the most widely-used plastic, the stuff used to make shopping bags, is the one that produces the greatest amount of these warming gases. At the end of the study, after 212 days in the sun, this plastic emitted 176 times more methane than at the start of the experiment. Ironically, when plastics were exposed to air the amount of methane emitted was double the level from sea water. What's causing these emissions? In short it's the Sun. Solar radiation acts on the surface of plastic waste. As it breaks down, becomes cracked and pitted, these defects increase the surface area of plastic available to sunlight which accelerates gas production. Even in the dark, the gas continues to seep out. "I'm in the field every week," said Dr Royer. "When I touch a piece of plastic, if there's a little impact on that plastic it's degrading into hundred of pieces pretty much as we look at it." Is this a big deal? Up to now, the link between plastics and climate change was mainly focussed on the use of fossil fuels like oil and gas in the manufacture of plastic items. It's also known that when plastics degrade in the environment, they release CO2. Experts have welcomed this report as it is the first time that anyone has tried to quantify other warming gases emerging from plastic waste. "Low density polyethylene (LDPE) does emit ethylene, methane and propane, even at low temperatures that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions," Prof Ashwani Gupta from the University of Maryland, who was not involved in the study, told BBC News. "It is nice to see some quantified emissions on greenhouse gases for the selected polyethylene. The results clearly show variation in gas emission levels among the different polyethylene sources." While the amounts of methane and ethylene being produced right now from plastics are very small, Dr Royer is concerned about the future and the fact that as plastic breaks down, more surface area is exposed, increasing the amount of the gases that drifts into the atmosphere. "If we look at all the plastic produced since 1950, it's pretty much all still on the planet, and it's just degrading into smaller and smaller pieces, so we know the industry is booming and in the next 30 years and more and more greenhouse gases will be produced - that's a big thing." What have the plastics industry said? Nothing much at this point. According to Dr Royer, when she approached companies in the field, they weren't keen on talking about it. "I told them I was a scientist and I was trying to understand the chemistry of the plastic," she said. "I was trying to order some plastics of different densities and I was asking questions about the process and they all said we don't want to have contact with you anymore. "I think the plastic industry absolutely knows, and they don't want this to be shared with the world." How have other scientists reacted? "Research on plastic waste is revealing it to be a disturbing pandora's box," said Dr Montserrat Filella, a chemist at the University of Geneva. "As research expands our knowledge, we are realising that plastics can be insidious in many other ways. For instance, as vectors of 'hidden pollutants', such as heavy metals present in them or, now, as a source of greenhouse gases. And, in all cases, throughout the entire lifetime of the plastic." Others agreed that further research was urgently needed. "No one knows how much methane and ethylene are being released from these sources. We don't know if it is adding significant amounts of greenhouse gases to our atmosphere," said Dr Jennifer Lynch, a marine environment expert from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (Nist). "It's another consequence of the use of plastics and it needs further examination." https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45043989
  • ECHO Action Editor
    Aug 2, 2018

    Front row w/ Sue in my #LiveFossilFreeOrDie tee at the Marchand/Kelly Forum in at the Exeter Inn in Exeter NH last night. Lots of questions about energy! Are you ready for some serious climate action? Break free from the establishment! #FossilFree603 #NHpolitics • Steve Marchand: 50% RPS by 2030 & No Granite Bridge Pipeline • Molly Kelly: Supports solar, wean off fossil fuels, no clear details, does not oppose Granite Bridge Pipeline
  • ECHO Action Editor
    Jul 31, 2018

    Governing.com, July 31, 2018 Rhode Island is using new tactics to hold fossil fuel companies responsible for disaster-related infrastructure damage. As hurricanes, wildfires and floods have picked up in number and intensity, courtrooms have become an increasingly popular battleground for governments hoping to hold fossil fuel companies accountable. The number of U.S. cases involving climate change increased from one filed in 2001 to nearly 100 in 2016, according to a database compiled by Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP. So far, climate change lawsuits brought by cities have had limited success. Some environmental legal experts say that Rhode Island's new lawsuit could turn the tide. Rhode Island is the first state to sue fossil fuel companies for infrastructure costs due to damage from global warming. Its unique claims "open the door to some interesting possibilities," says Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center. “There are some novel, new theories [in Rhode Island's lawsuit]. And there’s a lot more information about what these companies knew and what they did ... since some of the earlier cases." The lawsuit names 21 defendants, including some of the world's largest fossil fuel companies -- ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Shell. The 142-page document cites existing damage and future threats to Rhode Island residents and infrastructure, including roads and bridges.  According to the complaint , the state “seeks to ensure that the parties who have profited from externalizing the responsibility for sea-level rise, drought, extreme precipitation events [and other consequences of global warming] bear the costs of those impacts on Rhode Island.” In eight counts, the lawsuit accuses the companies of violating state law surrounding public nuisance and failure to warn the public about potential threats, among other things. One of the more interesting counts is the claim for "impairing public trust resources," says Richard Ahrens, an environmental lawyer with the midwest regional law firm Lewis Rice. A state is particularly well-situated to make that claim, he says, because it can invoke the "public trust doctrine," which holds the government responsible for managing natural resources, such as air, land and water, for the benefit of the people. The success of these claims could be determined by which court hears the case. Shortly after Rhode Island filed its lawsuit, Shell requested the case be moved from state to federal court. If it's kept in federal court, Rhode Island could run into some challenges. Judges have ruled in past cases that federal laws and regulations supersede state law claims, says Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center. One example is the 2011 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in American Electric Power Company v. Connecticut, which stated that the Environmental Protection Agency, not federal courts, is responsible for regulating greenhouse gas emissions. About 11 cities and counties have filed lawsuits similar to Rhode Island's. San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., for example, sued fossil fuel companies for environmental damages last year. Those cases were removed to a federal court where they were dismissed by a judge in June. The global nature of climate change is one reason these cases often get bumped up to the federal system, says Maxine Lipeles, director of the Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic at the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis.  But regardless of the reasons, a federal court could determine that the EPA is better suited to address Rhode Island's concerns. "The people who make [climate change] decisions are politically accountable. Congress is accountable. The White House is accountable,” says Lipeles. "The courts are insulated from that so they tend to shy away from what they think of as policy decisions that should really be made by politically accountable people." Article

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