The Dernogalizer

December 1, 2010

Oil drilling ban to be maintained in key areas

Filed under: environment,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 12:18 pm

According to the Washington Post, the offshore drilling ban will be maintained in “key areas”

“Obama administration officials will announce Wednesday afternoon they will not allow offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as part of the next five-year drilling plan, according to sources briefed on the plan, reversing two key policy changes President Obama announced in late March.”

This would be a significant departure from the announcements in March in a very good way.

November 17, 2010

PLASTIC STATE OF MIND – Parody with Purpose

Filed under: environment — Matt Dernoga @ 3:32 pm

I have to say, definitely an A for creativity.  Check out this video on banning single use plastic bags.

October 25, 2010

Markey: BP Chief Officially Refuses to Testify Before Congress

Filed under: environment,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 6:36 pm
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From the desk of Congressman Ed Markey

As Bob Dudley Blames Media, Everyone Else for Reaction to Spill, New BP CEO Avoids Talking to Congress, American People


Contact: Chairman Ed Markey, 202-225-4012

WASHINGTON (October 25, 2010) – In a speech today in London, BP’s new Chief Executive Officer, Bob Dudley, blamed the media, industry rivals and “a fair number of observers” for the reaction to his company’s more than 4 million barrel oil spill – the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. Meanwhile, Dudley officially refused to testify before Congress in Washington, sending a letter late Friday to Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) to decline an appearance at a congressional hearing to discuss the spill. Dudley also claimed in the speech that the company’s relationship with American officials had improved.

“The American people were told that as CEO, Bob Dudley would change BP’s attitudes and practices,” said Rep. Markey, who had requested that Mr. Dudley appear before his Energy and Environment Subcommittee in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Yet BP is continuing to point the finger at everyone but themselves. Since this disaster began, BP has stood for ‘Blame Passed.’

Since the last appearance by BP leadership before Congress on June 17th, BP has released findings from their own internal investigation into the Deepwater Horizon disaster, announced an overhaul of their safety practices, and installed a new CEO.

“The American people deserve answers from BP, but when it comes to appearing before Congress, one thing BP certainly does not stand for is ‘Being Present,'” said Rep. Markey. “If BP is truly committed to repairing their image and standing with the American people and government officials, Mr. Dudley can start by appearing before Congress.”

Dudley’s letter of refusal can be found HERE

Rep. Markey’s letters to Dudley can be found HERE


October 24, 2010

Hundreds Rally on Kayford Mountain; Dozens to March Onto “reclaimed” Site to Plant Trees

Filed under: environment,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 4:29 pm
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A very creative MTR rally by activists.  Read more by Morgan Goodwin about the action.

Hundreds Rally on Kayford Mountain; Dozens to March Onto “reclaimed” Site to Plant Trees

Nick Martin 304.854.7306
Debbie Jarrell 304.854.7306

Editors Note: Information, Directions, Photographs, & Video will be updated throughout the day.

Kayford, W.Va. – Hundreds of West Virginians and their allies will rally on Kayford Mountain and march from the Stanley Heirs Park onto the neighboring mountaintop removal site to plant trees on the surface mine. The rally begins at noon.

Lifelong Coal River Valley resident Junior Walk said, “Coal companies sure as hell aren’t going to take it upon themselves to do something about it – some one’s got to do it.”

Dozens of individuals intend to walk onto the mine site to plant trees on a “reclaimed” area of the site in an act of non-violent civil disobedience. They call for the abolition of mountaintop removal and thorough reclamation of the over 1 million acres flattened by surface mining in Appalachia. Standard reclamation involves regrading high walls into steep slopes and seeding the rocky soil with grass. The biodiverse mixed mesophytic forests of central Appalachia cannot regrow on reclaimed surface mines.

John Johnson, forester and environmentalist said, “The coal industry does not attempt to return the landscape to its previous biodiversity – leaving it up to the citizens to reclaim it themselves. Fixing the ruined landscape will provide long term jobs for those put out of work by the abolition of mountaintop removal.”

The rally and action comes on the heels of the EPA’s recommendation to veto the Spruce No. 1 mine’s permit and Appalachia Rising, the largest national gathering of people in opposition to mountaintop removal coal mining to date. Appalachia Rising culminated with a march to the White House of over 2,000 people and 118 arrests for non-violent civil disobedience at the White House, PNC Bank, Department of Interior, and Army Corps of Engineers.

“It’s up to us to fix our community,” said Chuck Nelson, a retired deep miner from the Coal River Valley, “the coal industry’s not gonna fix it.”

October 20, 2010

Environment Maryland endorses Gov. O’Malley

Filed under: environment,MD Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 1:20 am
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An excellent articulation by Brad Heavner of Environment Maryland on why it’s important that voters choose Martin O’Malley over Bob Ehrlich if they want to see progress on environmental issues such as the Chesapeake Bay.

October 4, 2010

MD Governor’s Race Op-Ed

Filed under: environment,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 10:56 am
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I have a column out today in the University of Maryland student newspaper about how if you’re a voter in Maryland and you care about the environment, the choice for governor is obvious.

Voting green: The choice is obvious

by Matt Dernoga

Monday, October 4, 2010

This state has a competitive gubernatorial election between current Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Gov. Bob Ehrlich. At this university, the media and politicians like to talk about tuition. However, I’ve been engaging students on environmental issues for the last four years, and the majority either have an inclination to support environmental policies or actively promote them. The most concrete example of this is the 2007 SGA election referendum in which 91 percent of student voters approved a self-imposed green fee to offset carbon emissions.

If you care about the health of the Chesapeake Bay, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, creation of clean energy jobs and construction of the Purple Line, the best choice for governor is clearly O’Malley.

O’Malley has made some decisions that I don’t like, such as building the Intercounty Connector and supporting a weakening of stormwater regulations. But he has also supported and signed some of the most aggressive environmental legislation in the country, such as the Clean Cars Act of 2007, which reduces emissions from automobiles and increases fuel economy. Additionally, he entered the state into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative with other northeastern states, an action that has forced coal companies to reduce their emissions and pay fines if they pollute.

O’Malley signed a Renewable Electricity Standard – which pledged that 20 percent of the state’s energy would come from renewable energy sources by 2022. He has accelerated a solar energy standard, improved the solar grant program and mandated that utility companies achieve a 15 percent reduction in per capita energy use by 2015. Furthermore, the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act that was signed by O’Malley in 2009 mandates a 25 percent reduction of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 – one of the strongest global warming laws in the nation. The governor has even just proposed $48 million for the Purple Line in his newest transportation budget proposal.

What about Bob Ehrlich? He says he’d “pull the plug” on O’Malley’s plan to build the Purple Line light rail. The halting of the Purple Line would have serious consequences, from affecting the improvement of College Park to reducing smart development and accessible transportation options for students. Ehrlich opposed the Clean Cars Act in 2005, and he raided funding for Program Open Space – a land conservation program in the state which O’Malley fully funded. Ehrlich killed efforts in 2003 to regulate the poultry industry’s harmful impact on the Chesapeake Bay. Finally, Ehrlich fired experienced staff at the state’s environmental agencies and appointed inexperienced industry insiders in their place – an auto-industry lawyer was head of the state Department of the Environment!

The ultimate difference between the two candidates is the distinction between offense and defense. Four more years of O’Malley will allow advocates in the state the opportunity to pass environmental laws and build on the victories from his first term. Electing Ehrlich will mean no opportunity for progress and a major fight to prevent the rollback of clean air, clean water and clean energy laws. Even the Purple Line would be dead.

I support a chance at progress. Young people cannot afford to sit on the sidelines for this election. Register to vote by Oct. 12, and either vote early from Oct. 22 to Oct. 28 at College Park Community Center (except Oct. 24), or Election Day on Nov. 2. Find out more at

Matt Dernoga is a graduate student in public policy. He can be reached at dernoga at umdbk dot com

September 22, 2010

Action Alert: Prince George’s County Clean Water Bill

In March 2010 Maryland witnessed cowardice in Annapolis as its General Assembly voted to roll back storm water regulations passed in 2007 at the request of developers.  Montgomery County passed legislation enacting the stronger standards which the state shelved.  Now Prince George’s County is attempting to follow suit.  See the Action Alert below for information about this legislation.

Attention Anacostia Advocates-

This Thursday at 10am the Prince George’s County Council’s Transportation, Housing, and Environment (THE) committee will take up CB-80, the clean water bill. Earlier this summer, advocates achieved a major victory for clean water in the Anacostia with the unanimous passage of Montgomery County’s new stormwater regulation. It is now Prince George’s County’s turn to step up to the plate and do its part. (more…)

September 21, 2010

Day of Action to End Mountaintop Removal

Filed under: environment,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 11:16 pm
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I’ve been getting a lot of e-mail, and even some calls from friends about a mass mobilization this upcoming weekend to stop the horrendous practice of mountaintop removal coal mining.  Below is a video from Appalachia Rising, as well as a description from their homepage detailing the activities that will be taking place this weekend.  Although I probably will be unable to attend the weekend activities, my intention is to join in next Monday for the big day of action.

Join us on September 25-27 in Washington, DC forAppalachia Rising!, a national response to the unmitigated destruction of Appalachia’s mountains, air and water through mountaintop removal coal mining. Appalachia Rising! will follow a long history of action for a just and prosperous Appalachia. Converging in our nation’s capital, Appalachians, grassroots groups, individuals, and national organizations will call for the abolition of mountaintop removal coal mining and demand that America’s water be protected from all forms of surface mining.

Appalachia Rising! will consist of two events. First, the weekend conference, September 25-26, Appalachia Rising! Voices from the Mountains will provide an opportunity to build and join the movement for justice in Appalachia through strategy discussions and share knowledge across regional and generational lines.

On Monday, September 27, the Appalachia Rising! Day of Action which will unify thousands in calling for an end to mountaintop removal though a vibrant march and rally. An act of dignified non-violent civil disobedience will be possible for those who wish to put their sentiments into action by risking arrest.

Join us, and stand in solidarity with the people of our Appalachian Mountain Communities, who won’t stand idly by as their land, water, and health are blasted and poisoned away.

September 16, 2010

Massive Fish Kill in Louisiana

Filed under: environment — Matt Dernoga @ 6:26 pm

Probably just a mere coincidence that there was an oil spill this past summer, and nowall these dead fish.  See that picture below?  That isn’t pavement, that’s fish!

Yahoo Photo

September 2, 2010

Another Offshore Rig Explosion

Filed under: environment — Matt Dernoga @ 10:06 pm
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I just re-tweeted this on Twitter:  SarahPalin tweeted “if we weren’t meant to drill for oil God would let us know. It was deleted as oil rig explodes:

Fortunately, all the workers on the rig were rescued and as of now there is no word about oil leaking.  The rig was currently inactive.  There is some irony to this though, as ThinkProgress reports…

Just yesterday, however, the Financial Times reported that employees from Apache and Mariner, along with thousands of oil industry workers, rallied in Houston to protest the Obama administration’s offshore drilling moratorium that was designed as a safety precaution after BP’s disastrous Gulf oil spill. A Mariner Energy employee chastised the Obama administration for its drilling moratorium, which would not have affected the rig that exploded today:

Companies ranging from Chevron to Apache bussed in up to 5,000 employees to the Houston convention centre to underline to Washington the industry’s contribution to the country. […]

I have been in the oil and gas industry for 40 years, and this administration is trying to break us,” said Barbara Dianne Hagood, senior landman for Mariner Energy, a small company. “The moratorium they imposed is going to be a financial disaster for the gulf coast, gulf coast employees and gulf coast residents.”

Care to reevaluate guys?

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