Liquid Coal is just too dirty

Liquid coal is a dead end for powering our cars. But coal companies have considerable influence in Washington, so we may see more energy policy written by lobbyists.

Link: The Liquid Coal Battle Rages | EcoGeek | Coal, Technology, Written, November, Liquid.

Advantages:

It doesn’t fund hostile and unstable governments/states.

Disadvantages:

It produces two times more CO2 than gasoline.

It consumes three times more water than gasoline.

It gives mining companies more incentive to tear down more of our mountain ranges (aka mountaintop removal mining, for more insight see this video — I Love Mountains).

It’s not currently economically viable, so coal companies are trying to get Congress to subsidize billion-dollar coal to liquid plants.

Has Florida Mis-managed its water resources?

Unfettered real estate development has a price beyond the initial investment. Florida residents may be hit with very expensive water — soon.

Link: The Associated Press: Much of U.S. Could See a Water Shortage

Florida represents perhaps the nation’s greatest water irony. A hundred years ago, the state’s biggest problem was it had too much water. But decades of dikes, dams and water diversions have turned swamps into cities.

Little land is left to store water during wet seasons, and so much of the landscape has been paved over that water can no longer penetrate the ground in some places to recharge aquifers. As a result, the state is forced to flush millions of gallons of excess into the ocean to prevent flooding.

Also, the state dumps hundreds of billions of gallons a year of treated wastewater into the Atlantic through pipes — water that could otherwise be used for irrigation.

Florida’s environmental chief, Michael Sole, is seeking legislative action to get municipalities to reuse the wastewater.

"As these communities grow, instead of developing new water with new treatment systems, why not better manage the commodity they already have and produce an environmental benefit at the same time?" Sole said.

Florida leads the nation in water reuse by reclaiming some 240 billion gallons annually, but it is not nearly enough, Sole said.

"We just passed a crossroads. The chief water sources are basically gone," said John Mulliken, director of water supply for the South Florida Water Management District. "We really are at a critical moment in Florida history."

Can We Adapt to New Realities?

One of the suburban standards that may be obsolete when energy and water get much more costly is the large, well-watered lawn that required mowing many times every month.

In our area, forests are being leveled to build more houses. Wild critters, large (deer) and small (lizards), are having to migrate to new areas. There are ways to create an attractive landscape that provides a place for wildlife and is much more energy and water efficient.

Below are some excerpts from a newspaper article about Gail Stephens, naturalist and horticulturist, who runs a landscaping business, Nature Plus Designs, in Richmond, VA.

Link: inRich – Chesterfield County – The beauty’s in the land.

Stephens relies more on berms than fencing for privacy. She uses clover in her small grass yard to feed her rabbits.

Wild

She shuns chemical fertilizers, preferring organic solutions, and chooses fruit- and seed-bearing plants that are beneficial to wildlife. Huge lawns are ecological and environmental disasters, she said. "They don’t provide food or cover for wildlife, and we drench them with chemicals. . . . We’re wiping out reptiles and amphibians."

She bristles at the practice of builders who bulldoze the natural vegetation, flatten the earth, plant a couple of boxwoods and throw down grass seeds. Builders should allocate more money for landscaping and drainage, she said.

wild yard

Stephens is moving to a smaller house in Chesterfield County in a neighborhood without strict covenants. "It looks like you’re in the mountains," she said. She will add solar power, radiant heat and a tankless water heater. She will use water from a stream for irrigation.

The property has a swampy area. "I love it. So many native plants love those conditions."