Air Pollution Control Equipment Services, Emissions

Generating Buzz

Issue 3 and Volume 111.

Here comes the carbon-Offset bride

A magazine called Portovert, which bills itself as the “exclusive magazine for the environmentally and socially responsible bride and groom,” is launching a wedding carbon calculator, along with NativeEnergy.

Visitors to the site (www.nativeenergy.com/Portovert) can figure the carbon emissions produced by such wedding-related carbon sources as guest travel, lodging and venue power and heat.

“Even the most eco-savvy couple will create carbon emissions on their wedding day,” says Meghan Meyers, the magazine’s editorial director.

So for as little as $12 a ton of carbon offsets, carbon-conscious couples can make a “quick, easy investment” in renewable energy by opting to help build wind power projects, family farm methane energy projects or a combination. Meyers advises brides and grooms to take on global warming in manageable chunks. She says couples shouldn’t focus on offsetting their entire wedding, but make a “manageable” percentage of the wedding carbon-neutral.

Then it’s off, presumably, for that dream honeymoon (driven, of course, in the back of a stretch Prius limousine).

Are martians pro-nuke?

Folks near Charlotte, N.C., called 911 in January to report a weird hovering light in the sky. No plane crashes had been reported and law enforcement officers said they didn’t see any extra-terrestrials.

But George Lund-described in news reports as the “state director for the mutual UFO network”-told reporters that the area around the nearby McGuire Nuclear Plant is a hot spot for UFO sightings. Lund’s theory on the sightings: An alien spaceship feeding on energy produced by the 2,200 MW nuclear plant.

The Web site www.aliensonearth.com reports that as far back as 1965, UFOs were being spotted near the McGuire station. Trouble is, McGuire didn’t enter commercial service until 1981. The nuke is owned by Duke Energy, an Earth-based corporation.

On the Road Again

Country music icon Willie Nelson used to sing about “Whiskey River.” He may want to change the lyric to “Ethanol River.”

Driving through the South you just might run into a filling station selling “BioWillie” brand biodiesel, promoted by Nelson. His interest in biodiesel stems from his work with FarmAid. More recently he’s developed a different sort of “green” interest in the stuff: the financial kind. A company called Earth Biofuels Inc. last year gave Nelson 537,500 shares of stock (valued at almost $2.5 million) in exchange for the exclusive use of the “BioWillie” name.

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Earth Biofuels plans to make “BioWillie” the leading biodiesel brand, starting in the South and expanding nationwide. Over the next 10 years, Nelson stands to earn a penny for each gallon of fuel sold under the trademark. Minimum payment according to SEC documents is $150,000 a year. Nelson also has a seat on Earth Biofuels’ board of directors.

The company makes biodiesel in a Durant, Okla. plant, which will produce some 20 million gallons a year. In January the company agreed to invest in a Washington State production facility, which could add another 36 million gallons a year by the end of 2007.

Only You…

Forest fires eject more mercury into the atmosphere than was previously thought, according to a University of Michigan study. Seems that forests act as traps where mercury in the atmosphere can collect on foliage. When the foliage dies and falls to the ground the mercury enters the soil and binds with organic molecules. By comparing the mercury content of burned soil with that of unburned soil, the Michigan researchers estimated how much mercury was released when forests burn.

Researchers found that both the type of tree and the fire’s severity affected the amount of mercury released. Evergreen trees absorb more mercury on their needles than broad-leafed trees do. The researches calculated that wildfires and prescribed burns make up around 25 percent of human-generated mercury emissions in the U.S.

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The findings have implications for forest fire management. When fires burn in an area where they have been suppressed for a long time (as in the 1988 Yellowstone fire) they end up burning an area that has a large mercury accumulation, meaning a lot of mercury is potentially released. But when fires occur in more natural 50- to 100-year cycles, less severe fires result, releasing less of the mercury in the soil.