Drumbeat: February 15, 2013

Shale LPG Poised to Make U.S. Net Exporter for First Year

The U.S. is poised to become a net exporter of liquefied petroleum gases for the first year ever as shale-based energy production jumps, prompting new orders for specialized ships to haul propane and butane.

Daily LPG shipments equated to a record 194,000 barrels in last year’s first 11 months, outpacing imports at 169,700 barrels, U.S. Energy Information Administration figures show. That’s the first time the country was a net exporter in records going back to 1973, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

WTI Crude Trims Weekly Gain; Open Interest at Record High

West Texas Intermediate oil fell, trimming its ninth weekly gain in 10 weeks. Open interest for the U.S. benchmark grade rose to a record while a report signaled OPEC will cut crude shipments this month.

WTI fell as much 0.7 percent in New York, paring its advance this week to 1.2 percent. Prices gained 0.3 percent yesterday as the number of contracts outstanding rose to the highest level since the futures began trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange in March 1983. OPEC will cut exports by 0.9 percent this month, according to a tanker tracker. Data on U.S. industrial production later today is forecast to show a third- straight month of expansion.

South Korea LNG Imports Rise in January From Year Earlier

Imports of liquefied natural gas into South Korea, the world’s second-largest buyer of the fuel, rose 38 percent in January as demand for the fuel from power generators increased.

LNG shipments climbed to 3.98 million metric tons from 2.89 million a year earlier, data on the Korea Customs Service’s website showed today. The monthly volume slid from 4.25 million tons in December.

East Coast looks to lure oil money as Alberta discounts bite

CALGARY — The deteriorating price environment for Alberta’s oil sands stands to spur development on Canada’s East Coast, where new seismic work has uncovered three “very large” but highly prospective oil fields in the Labrador Sea.

The subsea structures, revealed after a two-year seismic program mapped an area equivalent in size to the Gulf of Mexico, are being shopped around to international oil companies as a promising new deepwater exploration frontier by Nalcor Energy, Newfoundland and Labrador’s provincially owned energy company.

European 2014 Power Declines as Coal, Emissions Contracts Fall

European power for 2014 delivery in Germany and France, the bloc’s biggest power markets, dropped as the cost of carbon emissions and coal fell.

Baseload German 2014 electricity, for supplies delivered around the clock, declined for a second day losing 0.7 percent, while the French equivalent fell 0.8 percent, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg.

Repsol LNG Sale Seen Delayed as Shale Goring Canaport

Repsol SA’s effort to sell a liquefied natural gas business for about $2.7 billion has bogged down over its unsuccessful 25-year commitments to ship gas into Canada, two people familiar with the matter said.

Spain’s biggest oil explorer has found that Canaport, its underutilized LNG import hub, was a hurdle to closing a deal, the people said, asking not to be identified because the sale talks are private. Royal Dutch Shell Plc has negotiated for the assets, which are mostly in southeastern Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Peru and Spain, one of the people said.

Enbridge, Energy Transfer to jointly move crude to Eastern Gulf Coast

(Reuters) - Enbridge Inc and Energy Transfer will work together to provide crude oil pipeline access to the eastern Gulf Coast refinery market from Patoka, Illinois, a crude storage and blending hub.

Eni Rises as Dividend Boost Offsets Quarterly Profit Decline

Eni SpA, Italy’s biggest oil company, rose the most in more than a month in Milan trading after boosting its dividend by 3.7 percent even after fourth- quarter profit declined on higher taxes.

Shares of the Rome-based company rose as much as 3.2 percent, the most since Jan. 2, and were 3 percent higher at 17.8 euros as of 9:56 a.m.

Turkey to Iran gold trade wiped out by new U.S. sanction

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Tighter U.S. sanctions are killing off Turkey's gold-for-gas trade with Iran and have stopped state-owned lender Halkbank from processing other nations' energy payments to the OPEC oil producer, bankers said on Friday.

U.S. officials have sought to prevent Turkish gold exports, which indirectly pay Iran for its natural gas, from providing a financial lifeline to Tehran, largely frozen out of the global banking system by Western sanctions over its nuclear program.

Officials: Iranian commander killed by rebels in Syria

An Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander has been killed inside Syria by rebels battling Iran's close ally President Bashar Assad, Iranian officials and a rebel leader said on Thursday.

Syrian rebels have repeatedly accused Tehran of sending fighters to help Assad crush the 22-month-old uprising, a charge Iran has denied.

Judge Accepts Transocean Settlement in Gulf Oil Spill

A federal judge on Thursday accepted a guilty plea by rig contractor Transocean Ltd. for violating the U.S. Clean Water Act along with a $400 million criminal fine for its role in the 2010 disaster at BP Plc’s Macondo well.

Fracking undermines California's future

A campaign by the oil and gas industry aims to persuade Californians that fracking - blasting water, toxic chemicals and sand into deep underground rock to extract oil and gas - will solve our state's fiscal and energy challenges. However you don't need to dig very deep to find that fracking will not secure our energy needs or grow our economy, but it will pollute our resources, worsen climate change and undermine efforts to build a clean energy economy.

Company chief pleads not guilty in brine dump

The owner of a Youngstown company that injects “fracking” wastes into disposal wells pleaded not guilty yesterday to deliberately dumping thousands of gallons of the toxic mixture into the Mahoning River.

A Chinese Hacker's Identity Unmasked

He monitored the activity for about three months, slowly identifying victim computers. By January 2012, Stewart had mapped as many as 200 compromised machines across the globe. Many were within government ministries in Vietnam, Brunei, and Myanmar, as well as oil companies, a newspaper, a nuclear safety agency, and an embassy in mainland China. Stewart says he’d never seen such extensive targeting focused on these countries in Southeast Asia. He broadened his search of IP addresses registered either by Tawnya Grilth or “her” e-mail address, jeno_1980@hotmail.com, and found several more. One listed a contact with the handle xxgchappy. The new addresses led to even more links, including discussion board posts on malware techniques and the website rootkit.com, a malware repository where researchers study hacking techniques from all over the world.

Spying on Mexico’s Carpoolers

“Construction workers were buying houses an hour or more away from where they worked and there is no public transportation for them, so I started documenting how people used their cars,” explained Cartagena about the project, “how they drive to work or drive home, how they personalize their cars based on the neighborhoods in which they lived, and I started looking down from buildings and bridges to see how cars looked. It’s not uncommon to see the carpoolers, but I had never seen them from that perspective.”

How Obama Wants the U.S. to Be More Like Saudi Arabia

You’ve heard that the U.S. could, in the coming decade, produce more oil than Saudi Arabia. In his State of the Union speech, Barack Obama asked the country to act more like big oil producers such as the Saudis and Norwegians by skimming off some of that oil money and investing it in programs to bolster prosperity when the oil is gone.

Obama Clean-Energy Fund Would Gain If Oil Drilling Expanded

President Barack Obama’s proposal to fund clean-energy research with fees paid by oil and gas producers is renewing a debate over whether the promise of innovation tomorrow is worth expanding drilling today.

Obama’s “Energy Security Trust” -- which he announced this week in the State of the Union address -- would redirect about $200 million in royalties for drilling on federal lands to pay for the development of biofuels, electric batteries and cars and trucks powered by natural gas, the White House said yesterday. The trust would operate for 10 years and spend a total of $2 billion.

Belgium plans to store energy in giant North Sea doughnut

Belgium has proposed building a doughnut-shaped island in the North Sea to store its excess wind energy generated when demand for it is low.

Turbines will be built into the sand island built two miles offshore. Unused wind power would pump water out of the ring to empty the reservoir. When demand increases water will be allowed to re-enter through the turbines, generating electricity in the process.

Sicilian anti-mafia police make arrests over wind farm corruption

ITALY: Italian police in Sicily have made five arrests, including a town mayor, following an investigation into work commissioned for two Iberdrola-owned wind farms near Messina.

According to reports, the arrests were made at the request of the Anti-Mafia Directorate regarding the development of the 64.6MW Nebrodi and 47MW Alcantara-Peloritani wind farms. The projects came online last year.

The charges include allegations that permits were held up to force the developer to use preferred suppliers and a failure to implement the criteria set out by the developer. Additionally, it is believed the materials were of a poor quality.

Nuclear Revival Dying in Europe as Power Prices Slump

A Czech atomic-plant expansion planned near the German border had been one of the few prizes left for Europe’s nuclear-power industry after the Fukushima disaster stopped projects from Switzerland to Romania.

Russian and U.S. contractors have prepared to bid for the $10 billion contract to build two new reactors, Europe’s largest competitive tender for a nuclear project. Now a combination of cheaper European power prices and carbon credits, falling demand for electricity and concern government support may falter leaves CEZ AS’s project in doubt, analysts and investors said.

“The future of nuclear energy in Europe looks very dim indeed,” said Mycle Schneider, an independent consultant on energy and nuclear power based in Paris. “Nuclear is too capital intensive, too time-consuming and simply too risky.”

Florida city hopes manatees fill economic void left by retired nuclear plant

CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. - The decision earlier this month to retire a nuclear plant near this small Florida city - potentially costing hundreds of jobs and lost revenue - has residents banking on the lure of the endangered manatee.

"We'll always have tourism, we'll always have manatees. That's a huge draw," said Michele Bunts, manager of Cracker's Bar, Grill & Tiki, as employees wiped down tables in preparation for the lunch crowd on the deck overlooking the sparkling blue waters of Kings Bay, the headwaters of Crystal River.

Why Beef Is Becoming More Like Chicken

Last year, the already battered cattle business faced a crisis. Drought caused grain and feed prices to hit record highs, and feeding cattle became too pricey to be profitable in many parts of the country. Many ranchers sold off their cows for slaughter prematurely rather than spend more money to fatten them up. The drought created a perfect opening for Zilmax. Now, drug salesmen are roving Middle America, pitching Zilmax as an antidote to hard times in cattle country. With Zilmax, a feedlot owner can get more meat from a cow without feeding it any additional grain or letting it drink any additional water. According to one Zilmax salesman, using the drug could help a feedlot owner make about $30 in additional profit per cow by adding about 33 pounds of extra meat to each carcass.

Environmentalists and the Military Should Play Nice

Nicholas Makris was on a mission. His goal was simple enough: The acoustical engineer at MIT wanted to find some old Navy equipment to study the cod fisheries in the North Atlantic. The cod population seemed to be in trouble, and Makris wanted to take an accurate census and to see just how bad the situation was.

Makris thought he could do the job with a special type of sonar and other equipment used by the Navy during the Cold War to monitor the depths for Soviet submarines. It was 2002, however, and much of the equipment hadn’t been touched for nearly two decades. Most of it was inoperable, and even the working paraphernalia was sitting in a warehouse and gathering dust. Ultimately, Makris and his team got the equipment back in working order, but it took a lot of time and money. “There’s a problem when a technology is used for only one purpose and that purpose goes away,” Makris said. “We need to take the sword and forge plows out of it or else the sword is going to rust.”

Russian Navy Warplanes Start Arctic Patrols

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) - Russian Northern Fleet aircraft have started patrolling the Arctic Ocean on a regular basis, Defense Ministry spokesman Capt. First Rank Vadim Serga said on Thursday.

“So far this week, Northern Fleet aircrews have made three flights to the Arctic region,” he said.

NASA Climate Scientist Arrested in Pipeline Protest

Climate scientist James Hansen was arrested today outside the White House while protesting the proposed construction of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.

Obama’s Carbon ‘Cavalry’ May Help Revive EU Market, CEPS Says

President Barack Obama’s drive to protect the climate in his second term may help boost Europe’s flagging carbon market, according to the Centre for European Policy Studies.

“Those that sell the emissions trading market short should think twice,” said Andrei Marcu, a Brussels-based adviser at CEPS. “The cavalry may be on its way.”

Rising sea levels more than just South Florida’s costly problem, officials say

South Florida lawmakers got a stark look Wednesday at how rising sea levels could dramatically change Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade counties and the Keys in coming years, leading to calls for more state aid to stem the tide.

County planners and water managers from officials presented an 84-page action plan to regional legislators that was compiled last fall. While climate change has caused sea level to climb nine inches over the past century, that rate is accelerating and could advance an at least an additional nine inches over the next 50 years, analysts have concluded.

How New York City could cut emissions by 90 percent by 2050

In a report that will be released on Thursday, the nonprofit Urban Green Council makes the case that the country’s largest population centers needn’t rely on a federal breakthrough. Specifically, the 51-page report, titled “90 by 50,” finds that New York City could slash its emissions by a whopping 90 percent by 2050 without any radical new technologies, without cutting back on creature comforts, and maybe even without breaking its budget.

That’s a far more aggressive target than even the city’s own relatively ambitious goal of reducing emissions by 30 percent by 2030. How is it possible? The strategy has plenty of familiar components—electrifying the transit system, converting to renewable power sources. But it all hinges on one seemingly mundane yet surprisingly potent move: retrofitting almost every building in the city to keep the heat in during the winter and out during the summer. In a nod to Rudy Giuliani, Bill Bratton, and James Q. Wilson, I’ll call it the “triple-pane windows theory” of greenhouse-gas reduction.

Seeking Alpha was hawking Bakken stock yesterday. Best Bakken Bet Bold mine.

The Bakken Shale in North Dakota has been one of the best-producing oil fields over the last decade, with no signs of slowing down… The Bakken also has the possibility of becoming one of only six oil fields that have reached the one million barrels per day mark. The Bakken as a whole is producing some 750,000 barrels of oil per day.

Those production numbers are slightly exaggerated. The last production data out of the Bakken, (December 2012), showed production of barrels per day for the Bakken at 704,360 and North Dakota at 768,883 bp/d. That puts North Dakota production, outside the Bakken, at about 64.5 kb/d.

The Bakken appears to be one of the best plays on oil and gas in the U.S., with output expected to double by 2015. There's speculation that when drilling companies do finish buying up all the land, it will still take some twenty years to develop the over 35,000 wells to fully exploit shale.

And in that last line lies the bone of contention between the Peak Oilers and the Cornucopians. We Peak Oilers believe that as they move away from the sweet spots, the barrels per day per well will drop and drilling will eventually cease well before 35,000 wells is reached. In November that average dropped from 143 barrels per well per day to 136 bp/w p/d. The main reason for that drop was the number of new wells dropped from 161 in October to 115 in November. Actually that is the total increase in the number of wells. There could have been some wells shut down during those months and that would change the number of new wells drilled. We only get the total wells producing, not the number of new wells or the number of old wells shut in.

But the number to watch is listed in the last column, "Daily Oil Per Well". That declines slightly every month for all the wells in the Bakken. It is kept up only by adding enough new wells to hold the numbers up. The average "barrels per day", for the first month, is 400 bp/d according to David Hughes. But that number will start to drop as drillers are forced to move further and further from the sweet spots.

Edit: I was mistaken about the release time. The December data has just been posted.

ND Monthly Bakken* Oil Production Statistics (Bakken Only)
ND Monthly Oil Production Statistics (All North Dakota)

Ron P.

The Big Four that is supposed to lead world oil production to ever higher and higher levels are Brazil, Canada, Iraq and the US. So far only the US and Canada are showing any promise. Iraq is only about 300 kb/d above their 2011 average and Brazil is still in decline.

Petrobras Concerns Despite Q4 Surge (The Q4 surge was in income, not barrels per day.)

Flagging crude oil production also hit profits, an issue likely to continue this year conceded Foster in a note to shareholders that accompanied the financial figures.

“In 2013, it’s possible that we will only reach the same level of crude oil production as in 2012,” Foster said. “I’m convinced of the excellent prospects for the company in the mid and long term,” she added.

Petrobras produced an average 1.98 million barrels of crude oil per day in 2012, down two percent from 2011.

Brazil C+C production in Kb/d per EIA data. The last data point is October 2012.
 photo Brazil-1_zpsaf1e6b71.jpg

Ron P.

From the link below comes this statement re: David Hughes, which if true, is really incredible :

“Oil production technology is giving us ever more expensive oil with ever diminishing returns for the ever increasing effort that needs to be invested. According to the statistics presented by J. David Hughes at the [American Geophysical Union] session, we are now drilling 25,000 wells per year just to bring production back to the levels of the year 2000, when we were drilling only 5,000 wells per year.”


This sounds like my post: Our Investment Sinkhole Problem.

Gail, did you notice that after the 4Q GDP numbers came out slightly negative the people the MSM interviewed, including a few politicians, blamed it on "reductions in military spending."

Reduction in military spending...I got a good chuckle out of that. Now that's an "investment" sinkhole right there. IF one were to take the assumption at face value that it was reduction in military spending that caused 4Q to be negative...would it not make sense then to cut military spending, which returns pennies on the dollar, and put the money instead into infrastructure and social programs which return more than is put in?

Of course their intention is to scare people into spending more on the military with the implied threat that the economy will fall to shambles if they don't, rather than the message that I get - if we spent that money more wisely we could actually rebuild the economy (and hopefully our infrastructure to be more renewable friendly).

Elmo - "Oil production technology is giving us ever more expensive oil..." Same sentiment but I would reverse the statement: more expensive oil has allowed us to utilize more expensive technology. And actually a more correct statement IMHO: higher oil prices have allowed us to utilize more expensive technology to recover smaller amounts of reserves. Though the reserves are smaller their value is higher thus justifies the technology costs. Proof: how many think we would be drilling all those Eagle Ford/Bakken wells if oil were $50? With less drilling the tech would be even less expensive. IMHO all the shale plays would be dead if oil dropped that low. Just like the rig count plummeted in the dry NG plays when NG prices collapsed

ROCKMAN and all others,
As it is Friday, it may be of general interest to know at what oil price the Turbo Encabulator will become widely applied?

That will be the primary component of the DE-STAR.

Rune - Very funny. Sadly I've known a few investor types that would intently listen to the entire pitch. Greed is a wondeful thing...especially if you're selling.

I've been wonder where an approximate cut-off value would be for tight-oil drilling from shale. Do you think $50/barrel would be an approximate cut-off number . . . the oil priced dropped below that the would stop drilling the Bakken?

I presume that sets a pretty hard floor on oil prices. If the dropped that low, they would stop drilling the Bakken. Of course if they stopped drilling the Bakken, the oil price would (pretty much) immediately rise.

Of course all these numbers are approximate and there is some hysteresis in the system as well due to supply stocks.

spec - I hate trying to put hard numbers down. First, they vary from trend to trend and, to some degree, on what companies you're talking about. Pubcos will take a lower ROR because they focus on reserves and stock value. But I do think a sustained $50/bbl would kill the majority of currently anticipated drilling. A more meaningful (and more difficult to answer) question: what if oil dropped to a more possible price of 80% of where it has been and held there for a while? Would it result in a minor slow down or would it be a tipping point that crashed the finances of a lot of the companies? A lot of capex being spent is borrowed money. Money loaned on expectations. And I doubt many of those expectations assume an even small but prolonged drop in oil prices.

Russian Navy Warplanes Start Arctic Patrols

A close friend of mine works for a civilian contractor flying support and maint. supply for Dew Line installations. It is not uncommon for them to have scheduled flights cancelled due to Russian flight activity probing defenses.


FOR ALL - Proof again Rockman no speak with forked tongue. LOL.

"The owner of a Youngstown company that injects “fracking” wastes into disposal wells pleaded not guilty yesterday to deliberately dumping thousands of gallons of the toxic mixture into the Mahoning River."

From the start of the concerns over frac fluid contamination I repeated warned my Yankee cousins to stop focusing only on those big red frac trucks at the well site but watch those harmless looking tank trucks hauling those nasty fluids away and pay very close attention to the disposal companies.

News from Youngstown, Ohio, this morning: a disposal company has been dumping frac fluids into the storm system that empties the nasties directly into the river system. But even the NPR report misleads the public by referring to the polluter as a “driller”. That company has never drilled/frac’d a well. BTW with so few disposal wells in PA/NY much of the frac fluid produced in the Marcellus play is hauled to Ohio.

In fact, the Ohio O&G Association not only criticized the disposal company but also the state regulators. And so would I. I’ve paid $millions in the last 38 years to properly dispose of my nasties. If I have 10,000 bbls of fluid to dispose of in La it will cost me around $8/bbl to haul/dispose. I get an invoice from the disposal company for $80,000 and send them a check. A frac’d well might produce 30k to 80k bbls of disposal fluids. The problem is temptation. The idiot in Ohio might have to spend $50k of my $80k check to properly dispose of those nasties. Or he can dump it down the sewer and make an extra $50k profit. And when the news breaks all of the oil patch is painted with the same brush. Which is why most operators are careful about who they use for a variety of services. But then comes that temptation factor again: small operator gets a cut-rate deal from a disposal company and decides not to look too closely at that operation to confirm they are not breaking the law. Like the guy who offers to sell you a $5k Rolex for $500. My company usually stays with the big brand name service companies but when we have to use a small shop we make sure they are following the rules. And not just because we aim to be good shepherds but if a subcontractor screws up the liability would almost always roll downhill back to us.

The offending company had over 100 violations written up against it over a number of years but not a single criminal charge. The owner now faces a potential big fine and a 3 year sentence if convicted. The idiot initially admitted dumping nasties 6 times but said he thought it was legal. Regulators commented that there is zero ambiguity in the law. Now the idiot is claiming he never dumped anything. BTW it was tip from an anonymous insider that led to the discovery. We righteous operators despise the crooks more than the public. We pay the full freight and then take the heat when rules are broken. As I’ve mentioned before on more than one occasion I’ve helped the state AG and the Texas Rangers bust rule breakers. I know a number of my cohorts who have done likewise. It is a very satisfying feeling. Remember my 13 yo daughter drinks well water every day.

Thanks, Rock.

I sure do hope this site is getting read by as many connected folks as I suspect it is.. comments like this are what keep me coming around.


Thanks for that.

As they say, you may kick a dog where folks don't know dogs, but you can't kick a dog in Dogtown.

Folks where fracking is picking up had better get on with appropriate legislative action and revenue measures so they can ride shotgun over these subs and keep some change when run off.

Thanks for standing up for justice.
Besides "water" and "proprietary", can you give us a clue of what is in that frac fluid (aka "toxic" "fracking" waste)? e.g. an approximate elemental composition presumably with some Cx Hy Oz?

David - Not so much standing up for justice...I just don't like folks who break the rules...never have. I tell with my wife if I were a cop I would never make it home: I would spend my entire life writting speeding tickets on the side of the road. Especially in Houston. LOL.

Here's the basic data: http://geology.com/energy/hydraulic-fracturing-fluids/ Frac fluids aren't all that nasty compared to other stuff we utilize. Which isn't to say it isn't nasty but its way over hyped (but there have been workers who lost fingers/hands by coming into contact with undiluted frac chemicals.) Just as there have been construction workers who lost body parts to Skill saws. Plain old salt water is still a bigger concern to many regulators because there is just so much of it in the system. And don’t let that “proprietary” tag mean much to you. Every regulator in the country can get a sample of every frac fluid pumped down a hole by any company…that’s the law. And they can send it to a lab for complete analysis and publish those results for the world to see. The companies like to call it “proprietary” because it makes it sound like they discovered the “silver bullet” of frac fluid. Just marketing hype for the most part.

No company has ever allowed another company to pump anything down their well when they didn’t know exactly what’s in it. And if a few oil patch hands know what’s going down a well then they all do. Just no one wants to go on the record. And that makes you wonder why the politicians don’t either: the PA/NY govts can get a sample of every frac fluid pumped in those states and for pocket change have them analyzed. And then publish the results in the newspapers. Likewise the feds can do the same. So why don’t they?


Why do you think the government over the Marcellus doesn't publish the contents of the frac fluids? I'd love to know what you think.

Matt Tadd

Matt - I wish I had a good answer. A variety of ways for anyone to get samples. For instance the New York Times. They've certainly spent a good deal of money reporting frac'ng. Chump change for them to have analysis done. I wouldn't subscribe to a plot to avoid showing the public that frac fluids really aren't toxic: no one, including the companies, don't deny it not toxic. The fluids have always been toxic and always will be. Maybe that's the simple explanation: why spend any effort to prove frac fluids are toxic when no one is arguing they aren't.

The debate has always been how they were getting into the aquifers and surface waters. As I've explained the most common souce would be illegal dumping. Did you ever see the story about 18 months ago about a major source of illegal dumping? Turns out local municiple water treatment facilites were accepting (for a fee) frac fluids from disposal companies and dumping them untreated back into the environment. Both PA and NY had to pass laws to make it illegal for them to do it. Given the fears towns expressed that doesn't make sense, does it? Except for that greed factor again.

Consider the constant MSM obsession with water wells testing methane contamination but nearly always ignoring very well documented cases of natural contamination. Perhaps goes to greed again: fear typically sells better than calm.

But where is "greed" when it's called for? Folks in PA complain about oil field activities costing the govt money...like road repairs. Yet PA doesn't now nor ever has collected one penny of production taxes. OTOH Texes and La have collected hundreds of $billions in production taxes. Yes...$billions. LA takes 12.5% of every dolar of oil produced in the state. And that's in addition to business income taxes.IMHO PA not collecting any severence tax makes less sense than anything else I've mentioned.

Mr. Rockman - This is why so many of us are opposed to fracking NY. We can't trust our government to oversee the process. As in PA, it seems the gas industry has captured the regulators and no amount of railing about this will do any good because on the evening news and in the newspapers the industry has seemingly untold resources to use to exploit public opinion (Jobs, jobs, jobs). It's not a fair fight.

Given that PA (just a few miles from here), has failed to do what you have advocated for (production taxes) over and over demonstrates to my satisfaction that NY will likely not institute them either.

Our Lilliputian efforts to counter the financial interests advocating for unfettered exploitation of the gas locked in our shale rock (Marcellus and ultimately the Utica) mean that we have to use every tactic to try to stop. Is exploiting methane in wells (natural or not) always completely accurate? Maybe, maybe not, but the industry has no qualms about coming in and buying leases for a pittance (and using deceptions like NOT explaining the compressor stations, pipelines, truck traffic, and out of towners taking many of the promised jobs, social problems, exploding rents, etc., etc.) and selling the same leases for multiples of the original lease price and subtracting the production costs BEFORE calculating royalties. Sure, it's just "business" but the inadequate regulatory oversight and exploiting the ignorance and unsophistication of my neighbors hardly makes for a fair transaction.

And, in the larger scheme, we simply have to stop burning fossil fuels. Seems impossible right now, I know, and won't happen.

I do appreciate your insight on this forum but your dream of effective regulation in the face of the gas industry is just as utopian as my dream of stopping the now built-in feedback processes threatening our continued presence ON this rock.

So, here we are. A broken political system and industries above the law. Glad to be old.

Rev. Karl

Howdy Rev…long time no chat. “I do appreciate your insight on this forum but your dream of effective regulation in the face of the gas industry is just as utopian as my dream”. I have no dream…just the harsh reality of how the TRRC monitors/controls the oil patch down here. I’m sure you understand how big, powerful and hugely rich with political contributions the industry is in Texas. Yet neither the state legislature nor the TRRC gives us a free pass. Granted this hasn’t always been the same on the environmental front but we have evolved in that area. But the state getting their cut: that has always been the situation. IMHO no way the industry has greater influence over PA politicians than ours. Heck, a lot of our legislators are practicing oil patch hands.

So let me ask a simple question: why do the good citizens of PA elect folks who let the oil patch walk all over them? Might be more useful running your current pols out of office than protesting frac'ng if your pols aren't paying attention to the situation in the first place. Like they say: when you find you're digging yourself into a hole: stop digging. So stop electing politicians who aren't taking care of businsss.

Anoher question: who was the last politician running for office who made a big deal of no oil/NG production taxes in PA?

Thanks for your comments. You do always make me think.

To all your questions, I have to answer, "I don't know." The only thing I can think of is, and IIRC it has been cited here as an explanation of many, many things, "Idiocracy." The movie.

Of course one difference between here and Texas is that we don't really value our freshwater since there has always been so much of it. I suspect that if it was as scarce as it is in at least certain parts of Texas, that we might have a different perspective.

Rev – It does seem like we are running into more situations that appear to have a common sense solution that both sides of the political spectrum would support (or at least not condemn) and yet we look like deer frozen in the headlights. Perhaps just the natural result of the extremes on both ends of debates garnering al the public attention.

As far as land use goes maybe you mention one difference between us and you: landowners in Texas are a very powerful group and water (in some parts of the state) can be a huge issue. Are your landowners not as protective? Wouldn’t think so.

But that wouldn’t explain the no production tax issue. That’s a winning issue for everyone…except the oil patch…just like it is in Texas. Would we stop drilling in PA? Silly question given the amount of drilling that has happened (and continues) in Texas and La. Just goes beyond any explanation I can dream of.

If you and some cohorts want to start a “tax the bastards” campaign I would be glad to provide some data support. Wouldn’t take me a ½ hour to put the numbers together to show how y’all are losing out big time. In fact just go to the TRRC and La. DNR websites and there a great amount of historic revenue history.

Much appreciated Rockman. Looks like a mix and match of what is in the kitchen cabinets and under the sink, with some bathroom shampoos, and pool chemicals, with a bit of sand thrown in.
The biggest problem I see at the moment is that the best quality low iron sand needed for solar collector glass is being pumped downhole.

Great work, Kudos. However the way I see it if there is $50k to be made dumping those nasties, I'd say that eventually they will find a way into someone's well, we don't have ROCKMANs patrolling everywhere. Money talks.

Senators Propose First US Carbon Tax

... The plan (Climate Protection Act of 2013 (S. 332)) by staunch environmentalists Barbara Boxer and Bernie Sanders would charge $20 per ton of carbon from major polluters such as coal mines and oil refineries, rising 5.6 percent annually over 10 years.

"When scientists tell us that the temperature of this Earth may go up at least eight degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 Celsius) by the end of this century, that means cataclysmic changes to the planet. We have go to act," he told reporters.

In hopes of shielding consumers from higher costs, 60 percent of the generated revenue would be sent back in a monthly rebate to every US resident. Much of the rest would go to improve energy efficiency at homes and promote renewable energy such as wind and solar in a bid to create jobs.

The senators, citing the Congressional Budget Office, said that the carbon fee would generate $1.2 trillion over 10 years. They said that around $300 billion would be devoted to bringing down the ballooning US debt.

Boxer, Sanders Introduce Bill to Require Carbon Tax Payment by Fossil Fuel Producers

Seraph, does the proposed carbon tax have any chance of passage in this Congress?

Best hopes for measures to reduce carbon emissions.

None whatsoever. It would need 60 in the Senate, which it won't get. R's control the House, so no hope there.
Glad to see it at least proposed, though.

K - Just my WAG but I would give it a good shot. If I'm correct it seem revue neutral to a fair degree to the industry. They may squeal a bit but I’ll take that as meaningless theatrics. The govt makes more revenue so what DC politician (R and D) won't like that. And it would give the citizens a nice warm feeling to see such bipartisan effort. They only folks taking a hit on the deal appears to be the consumer but I suspect they’ll remain ignorant on that matter as both the R’s and D’s continue to make the public think they are battling against/for the energy industry.

I would give it a good shot

You suggest it has a good shot after Hagel was filibustered? I think you underestimate the 'feelings' the R's have for anything Obama. Additionally, I don't think whether or not the industry cares or not will change R's propensity to reject any kind of carbon taxing. They will consider that a slippery slope that could lead to even more carbon tax proposals.

If by some unforseen incredible miracle this bill passed (which I highly doubt), their proposal of only 60% going to promotion of renewables seems like it would be much better spent if that percentage was instead 90%.

Actually the big losers are oil an coal interests. This reduces the perceived value of their resource in the ground on day one. Their stock market prices would reflect the coming (probably minor) reduction in the competitive position against other low or no carbon alternatives. Of course solar/wind stocks would jump. So while nominally, it is consumers that take the initial hit, changes to perceived future consuming behavior would have an immediate impact on market perceptions.

K- As PE noted, Congress does not act in a rational way. Maybe an 130°F summer in Kansas or Oklahoma might elicit some introspection but I'm not betting on it.

That’s all well and good but I read both links and there’s no specific projection of any decrease in GHG as a result. Its revenue neutral to the industry since it’s across the board and the additional cost will be passed through to the consumers. That might indirectly reduce consumption to some degree but the plan also calls for rebating some of the revenue back to the public which lowers the incentive to cut back. At the same time the POTUS is calling for more FF development to help grow the economy which would seem counter-productive to the carbon tax. Despite the supposed purpose of the tax I didn’t see anything offered to just how much of a reduction in GHG, if any, is projected. Which makes sense since the tax won’t direct reduce any GHG generation as long as consumption isn’t decreased.

Bottom line IMHO: No incentive for the industry to reduce the production of GHG, some small incremental increase in the cost of consumption by the public that may or may not decrease consumption and some revenue for the govt. Basically it seems like another attempt to maintain BAU with a new chunk of revenue going to the govt.

The incentive would be the result of Mr. Market's magical Invisible Hand.

Prices for all products using fossil carbon would rise and thus there would be less consumption (in theory). Also note that the tax per ton of carbon equivalent is supposed to increase each year, thus the effects on the market would increase each year. And, the tax is applied to imported goods, using some calculated equivalent carbon as contained in an equivalent US produced product.

The proposed rebate of 3/5 the tax take directly to the consumers would seem to negate the effectiveness of the tax on Mr. Market's hand waving. But, on the other hand, what do I know about economics?

E. Swanson

he proposed rebate of 3/5 the tax take directly to the consumers would seem to negate the effectiveness of the tax on Mr. Market's hand waving. But, on the other hand, what do I know about economics?

Presumably the rebate is evenly distributed, not distributed proportional to the consumers carbon footprint? If so we is exposed to the full marginal cost per unit of carbon. Those who consume less than average get the same rebate as the carbon hogs. The incentive remains to reduce the usage.

Now, to some extent, the taxes drag on the economy is reduced by the rebate (or even by spending the rest of the proceeds). So the tax won't reduce emissions via hobbling the economy, but by altering incentives. And beyond the natural market response to the price signals, some of the tax revenue being spent of renewable/conservation mean the net effect should be even greater than the change in incentives would create.

Of course -all academic, if the tax isn't passed. I'd give high odds it won't.

I agree that the chance for passage of the bill is similar to that of a snowball's chance in a coal fired boiler. The most obvious attack from the R's would be that the rebate program redistributes money from the rich (who consume lots of fossil carbon) to the poor (who can't afford to buy/consume much fossil carbon). The carbon tax would also increase the Federal deficit, since the rebated tax would offer little net revenue to offset the increased cost of carbon used by the military and other government agencies, including the spending by state governments.

My personal preference remains a direct rationing system...

E. Swanson

This is my take on the situation: Climate Change: The Standard Fixes Don't Work.

A carbon tax sends manufacturing to China, where it generates more pollution and leaves us with fewer jobs. If we don't put a tax on imported goods made with coal at the same time, or if every country doesn't follow the same ground rules, all a carbon tax does is make the people passing the legislation feel good. The carbon tax is likely to make the world carbon emissions worse. This is what history says.

We need to look closely at history rather than continue making the same mistakes.

Is Congress Finally Moving on Climate Change?

... The Sanders/Boxer bills also end fossil fuel subsidies, tax fossil fuel imports and close the "Halliburton loophole," which exempts natural gas companies engaged in fracking from Safe Drinking Water Act regulations. Frackers would be required to disclose the chemicals they inject during their operations.

A carbon tax sends manufacturing to China, where it generates more pollution and leaves us with fewer jobs.

A hypothetical that is hard to argue with.
It does strike me as excessively defeatist, though.
What about the salutary effects from an honest accounting of externalized costs?
And why not assume instead that China would welcome evidence that the US is serious about climate change and might then respond in kind?
They certainly have incentive to clean up their energy sector, and understand as well as any the advantages of 'soft power'.
It occurs to me that a carbon tax is the most honest and direct way to have any effect on CO2 emissions. Why not press for what is not only the most practical but the most ethical solution?
Why assume that idealists can have no practical effect on policy? Look at where this country has come in our lifetimes in changing social policy.
I think your arguments against a carbon tax have not weighed the benefits from changes in awareness and behavior on the part of consumers once a meaningful tax kicked in. Lots of low-hanging fruit there, as they say.
And if China chooses to opt out and poison itself while becoming a pariah state then we gradually introduce mercantilist solutions. We need to show some leadership here.

Reading the test of the proposed law, one finds that imports are included...

E. Swanson

I can't understand why anyone would be against charging importers the cost of environmental controls that are required in this country. The same should apply to OSHA rules. When congress implemented OSHA and pollution rules they simply never imagined that so much mfg work would go overseas. Now any attempt to impose GHG regs should learn from those mistakes and, as said above, show exporters that we are serious about these issues.

A carbon tax, I think, is the way to go. Maybe the right way to use it is to determine the total GHG content of consumer items and tax those.

A carbon tax is the way to go only if it is high enough to cause a significant reduction in greenhouse gases. It is not likely to be high enough unless specific goals are set for each 5 year period going forward. The goals must be monitored and there must be a built in way to increase the carbon taxes if we are not on a path to those goals. Just throwing a tax out there is a crap shoot even if one comes up with an initial estimate of its impact.

Anyway, the chance of any tax passing, carbon or otherwise is zero with the current congress. You have to try anyway and I appreciate Boxer but it ain't gonna happen.

At any size, such a tax would have a lessor effect. In general you would expect that the effect would be proportional to the size of the tax. So even if it isn't big enough to make consumption prohibitive, it still should effect decision making on the margins.

From Senators propose first US carbon tax, Feb. 14, 2013:

The senators, citing the Congressional Budget Office, said that the carbon fee would generate $1.2 trillion over 10 years.

If 60% is returned to 300 million U.S. citizens, then the average rebate is $240 / year / person. Presumably the rebate for children would go their parents.

The rebate, about $20 per month, should not be paid monthly. Would the treasury pay it by check or force everyone to get a Chase debit card? It will cost too much to pay all those little amounts. It should be paid annually as an income tax credit.

System Would Destroy Asteroids That Threaten Earth

UC Santa Barbara physicist and professor Philip M. Lubin, and Gary B. Hughes, a researcher and professor from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, conceived DE-STAR, or Directed Energy Solar Targeting of Asteroids an exploRation, as a realistic means of mitigating potential threats posed to the Earth by asteroids and comets. ... "We need to be proactive rather than reactive in dealing with threats. Duck and cover is not an option.

Described as a "directed energy orbital defense system," DE-STAR is designed to harness some of the power of the sun and convert it into a massive phased array of laser beams that can destroy, or evaporate, asteroids posing a potential threat to Earth. It is equally capable of changing an asteroid's orbit –– deflecting it away from Earth, or into the Sun –– and may also prove to be a valuable tool for assessing an asteroid's composition, enabling lucrative, rare-element mining. And it's entirely based on current essential technology.

... DE-STAR 4—at 10 kilometers in diameter, about 100 times the size of the ISS –– could deliver 1.4 megatons of energy per day to its target

umm, DE-STAR ... DEath-STAR ... 1.4 megatons on target. What happens if they point it at Earth?

I wonder how long before they develop proposals for using giant orbiting lenses to direct solar energy towards the asteroids.

Lensmen assemble!

A lens can't reduce the dispersion of sunlight. The sun is a half degree orb, not a point of light, so your focus could be no finer than a half degree at the target distance. At the distance of the moon, the focused beam would be the size of the moon, and looking back it would be only a bright star. At more realistic distances, forget it. Thats why they want to convert the solar energy to electricity and then use lasers, to keep the (now much weaker) beam small enough to have a chance of actually doing something.

Pretty pie in the sky, if you ask me.

Careful, I'm not sure that with an appropriately engineered metamaterial (eg negative refractive index et al) that necessarily hold true anymore. However my modern optics knowledge stops years before they really got going on this area, so I can't be sure.


Being able to overfocus like that would allow one to violate thermodynamics. I.e. you would be able to concentrate sunlight so much that you could create a temperature higher than the surface of the sun, with heat flowing from cooler to hotter. So they want to convert the energy and use lasers.....

I agree that some strange and wondrous things are being done with optics -like being able to focus light to a point much smaller than the wavelength of the light. But, I don't think that violates thermo.

The spreading of light is a simple geometric thing. Remember pictures of arrows and lenses. A lense bends the light slightly, with the angle of bend proportional to the distance from the lense center. But those beams from the arrow top/bottom are coming from different angles, and those differences in angles are retained after the beams leave the lense.

You have to be careful, simply saying "well obviously it breaks the 2nd law of thermodynamics" can come adrift. For instance, remember this news story on Maxwell's Demon?


Entropy is information, which isn't the same as energy when you get quantum trixy.

The Sun shouldn't shine, the temperature isn't high enough to overcome the strong nuclear force, except ..... tunnelling ...

And, of course, everyone knows you can't send information faster than the speed of light ........... except there's entangled states ...

What you know, might not be so 'always true'; worth a stop and ponder before dismissing some weirdo ideas.

What exactly is a "megaton of energy"?

Apparently, it goes to 11.

Darth Hansen: Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.

two point two megatons = one crapton.

Derivation of 'crapton' best explained by Penn & Teller explaining Numbers

Turnbull FL.

Megatons (Mt) equals millions of tons of TNT.

A megaton of TNT is a unit of energy equal to 4.184 petajoules (4.184×10^15 J).

1.2 Mt (5.0 PJ) equivalent to the B83 strategic nuclear bomb

1 kWh is equivalent to 3.6×10^6 J (3600 kJ or 3.6 MJ)

Here's What Would Happen if a Huge Asteroid Hit Your City

Hint: It would not be good.

We'll begin with Houston, simply because friends tell me it's a rather dull place to live. This is the estimated discus of damage from a "small" asteroid the size of a school bus.

Hot as hell and miserable anyway, so a good place to start. Move on to Dallas and then move a little North to Oklahoma City, my birthplace which I will never return to.

Central Banks Bought the Most Gold Since 1964

"Countries actively adding to their official gold holdings remains heavily concentrated in developing markets, which partly reflects the scale of growth in the reserves of these markets over recent years," WGC wrote its latest quarterly report on gold demand trends.

"As the official reserves of these countries swell, with their heavy emphasis on U.S. dollar and euro-denominated assets, the need for diversification also increases."

(Read More: Gold Can Still Break Through $2,000: Analysts)

Central banks have been the net purchasers of bullion since the second quarter of 2009, amassing nearly 1,100 metric tons to their gold reserves since, almost reversing the 1,143 metric tons of net sales in the preceding three years, according to data from the organization.

Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets expects this trend to continue, noting that there is a, "broad tendency for the U.S. dollar to decline in value with the Federal Reserve's QE (quantitative easing) policies. Assets like gold are a hedge against debasement against foreign exchange reserves."

Is that it? What is really going on here? There's the reason "they say" it's happening and then, sometimes there's the real reason.

Alan from the islands

Arctic Death Spiral Bombshell: CryoSat-2 Confirms Sea Ice Volume Has Collapsed


Nice "death spirally" graph. Of course, we won't hear too much about this over the noise of guys with springs for legs murdering their girlfriends.....

Thanks Martin. Good heads up.

Well, in the spirit of the global economic downturn, WW1 Flying Ace Joe Cool has accepted an offer from the local Orange-Aproned Hardware Megastore for a few P/T hours.. which means I'll need to start, ahem!, commuting some 4 or 5 miles out and back across some of Portland's least bike-friendly roads.. so I'm looking into various Scooter and Ebike options which might get me there in one piece, and on time.. since our lovely little Subaru bought the dust in October, and I might have convinced the frau that we should try to keep to one Car from now on.. while with Two jobs and a kid in school, it's often tricky to manage..

So, here's a fun, well-made video for one possible contender in the great rat-race.


and here's an article on the build and some particulars..

I'd love to have me a Velomobile, but for now, I'm not sure it's Legal on our roads.. will be researching that piece as well with a friendly local Recumbent Builder I know.

I could just grab a gas scooter off Craig's list.. but I'm leery of having to manage the Small-Engine needs of such a critter. Not one of my particular skills..

A woman pulled up at the grocery the other day riding this electric moped she ordered from the catalog for peple with more money than sense. It actually looks very well built. Top speed is only 20 MPH, but who's in a hurry. $1800, could likely be had for less through some other vendor. This catalog actually has several electric bikes, and a personal submarine for a cool $2 million.

Well hell, if I'm going to be underwater anyway, I'll just go for the sub!

Meantime, I just spent the morning building the classic DIY electromagnet/buzzer, as a demo for a local Arts/Crafts teacher who wants me to help teach a basic Electricity/Shop class. FUN! I could just push that Tin-Snipped button all day!

"Any sufficiently arcane and antiquated technology should be indistinguishable from the magic of childhood.."

"Top speed is only 20 MPH, but who's in a hurry. "

Not sure about where you live, but In Washington State 20 MPH is the legal maximum for an electric bike, at least while under power. It's allowed to go faster down hill, but the power has to be cut off.

If you want to legally go faster than that in an electric vehicle you need a motorcycle, trike, or drivers license, depending on the number of wheels, not the propulsion system. And there is one loophole for a 50 cc or smaller scooter where you are allowed to go 25 MPH with only a regular drivers license.

I've always read that as "Yokul" like Eyjafjallajökull...go figure.

A proper pedal velomobile, equipped with up to a 750 watt electric motor limited to 20mph under power qualifies as being "just a bicycle" under federal law. So if you can legally ride a bicycle there, you can legally ride a velomobile there as well.

PDF: http://www.eco-wheelz.com/fed-regulation.pdf

That three wheeled thing looks terrible but I want to know where those wheels came from. If you want a proper light electric motorcycle you could try Stealth Electric Bikes. They're a little pricey though. I want to get a hold of that bottom bracket transmission they use but it doesn't seem to be available to the general public at the moment.

As far as ICE scooters there are two kinds - two and four stroke. The two strokes are fairly maintenance friendly...you ride them until they die (which doesn't take long), then get another. One could get a rebuild kit for the top end and eventually the bottom end, but by then all of the other parts have fallen off as well. The four strokers have a much longer life span so you'll actually have to clearance valves and whatnot - the Honda Metropolitan and Ruckus are the most prominent there. If you want a motorized cycle I'd recommend just getting a proper small motorcycle, even an "entry level" 250 (Rebel, Ninja, GZ, SuperSherpa) will be cheap on the second-hand market and be of superior manufacture and longevity. You'll be missing having a roof when it rains...and missing having clean pants when it decides to snow (from the terror of riding on snow-slickened roads).

Is it traffic or terrain which prompts you to declare the road bike-unfriendly? With the first you're pretty much SOL, but the second has remedies.

Thanks for the thoughts.

Yeah, it's the Snoopy 'Joe Cool' that engendered it, Long Long Ago when coming up with a Pilot Name for a Video Game. (X-wing, I believe, back when it was sold on Floppies)

It's the traffic, unfortunately. The Velo would be my choice, but for the price at this point, and assuming Maine rules don't interfere.. I've got some loose sketches of one built with the materials of a lightweight Aleutian Kayak for the Shell, which helps take care of the weather issues, and being a trike, much of the Snow/Slush concerns as well. None of it does much to help the 'Every other damn fool' issue, just remaining a good defensive driver and letting the hotheads pass and win their big race to the next light.

The E-bike route is probably the most likely in the near term.. we'll see.

You crazy Mainers and your sneaky non-Oregon Portland.

Oddly the other Portland currently has the only US made velomobile that I'm aware of, which they call the "Tripod"


It appears to have experienced some price creep...about double from when they first announced it. Which is unfortunate.

I started to design a fiberglass monocoque velomobile but I had a bit of mission creep after getting some things together, certain parts I highly desired are almost unobtainium, and am currently stalled both in where I want to go with it and determining the legality of the unconventional drive-train I want to use. Bummer. I had grand visions of building a most awesomesauce velomobile and potentially doing a small production run for sale once the trickery of building the molds was done - but I've got nothin'.

One really difficult thing for me to get around is that a person could go out, spend $4,000 for a used car which can last for 10 years (my last car was $1,900 and I drove it for 15 years), it can take you all over the country - while keeping you dry, warm, or cool...have a radio, carry passengers...all sorts of good stuff - or you can spend more than double at $10,000 and get this: http://bluevelo.com/bluevelo_-_Cab-Bike.html A tough sell.

Understanding the Risks of High-Carbon Assets

The University of Oxford will today launch a new research programme to help businesses and policy-makers future proof against investments in assets that might become devalued or written off, otherwise known as 'stranded'.

Asset stranding is currently little understood, but the implications are potentially very significant for polluting investments. The programme researchers, based at Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, aim to find out which assets and sectors are most at risk and evaluate how investors, businesses and policy makers can best respond to the challenges.

'Climate change, scarcer resources, and new disruptive technologies will reduce value and strand assets. ... The four-year research programme aims to identify high-carbon sectors and assets that could be dramatically devalued or written off. The first project will focus on the international supply chain for the agricultural sector, examining methods of transportation and production. Other studies, to be commissioned as the programme develops, are likely to include transport, power generation, real estate and a range of commodities.

University of Oxford to Identify 'Stranded' High Carbon Assets

Wireless Power Transfer Technology for High Capacity Transit

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and the Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) have developed a wireless power transfer technology that can be applied to high capacity transportation systems such as railways, harbor freight, and airport transportation and logistics. The technology supplies 60 kHz and 180 kW of power remotely to transport vehicles at a stable, constant rate.

Originally, this technology was developed as part of an electric vehicle system introduced by KAIST in 2011 known as the On-line Electric Vehicle (OLEV).

OLEV does not need to be parked at a charging station to have a fully powered battery. It gets charged while running, idling, and parking, enabling a reduction in size of the reserve battery down to one-fifth of the battery on board a regular electric car. The initial models of OLEV, a bus and a tram, receive 20 kHz and 100 kW power at an 85% transmission efficiency rate while maintaining a 20cm air gap between the underbody of vehicle and the road surface. OLEV complies with the national and international standards of 62.5 mG, a safety net for electromagnetic fields. In July 2013, for the first time since its development, OLEV will run on a regular road, an inner city route in the city of Gumi, requiring 40 minutes of driving each way.

McAllen, Texas to Introduce OLEV-Powered Electric Buses ... the older OLEV version

Three diesel buses from the McAllen City Bus fleet will be retrofitted to run on electric power and charged wirelessly along their routes.

Cash Crunch Kills McAllen’s Electric Bus Project

McAllen’s plan to retrofit three buses with cutting-edge electric technology collapsed Oct. 4 after the city’s partner couldn’t meet several financial hurdles.

The drawn-out federal grant and contractual arrangements with McAllen depleted OLEV’s operating cash, according to the letter, and the start-up didn’t have enough money to put aside more than $555,000 to meet McAllen’s requirements.

S - That’s pretty cool especially the non-contact charging capabilities. OTOH not very different from the electric buses I grew up with in Nawlins. Those had to have overhead power lines will a rolling connector making contact. Fairly cheap to hang those lines. Not especially pretty but they were run along streets that already had lines running down them so they didn't really standout. The buses charging when they stopped for passengers was interesting but seems like it would have to recharge at a very high rate to work. I wonder if the real deal killer was that installing a continuous wireless system was just too expensive.

Diverting 30% of the grant money to the banks instead of the project might have had something to do with it.

"Those had to have overhead power lines will a rolling connector making contact."

Those are called a "trolleybus" and are still quite common in Europe, especially in the former communist countries:


Strummer - And they still have the elecric steet cars in Nawlins. Still like to ride in the back with the window open to smell that odor of the electric discharge. In Houston we spent a small fortune putting in an electric light rail that covers a very short distance. For the same money we could have built dozens of trolleybus lines across the city. One nice thing about the trolley buses: one breaks down they would just push it out of the way and they rest would keep rolling. Can't do that with a light rail train car.

Also they are really good for cities with steep roads, due to the acceleration. I have seen trolleybuses climb roads that a bus would struggle to. And in a case of a breakdown, you don't even need to push it away, you just lower the trolleys on the broken one. The next one can simply drive around, as the trolleys are on a flexible mechanism hat has quite a large leeway.

The big advantage of wireless transmission is that it could greatly reduce electrification costs for rail.
Both here and in the US there are a lot of diesel tracks still in operation.
With this:

'If trains receive power wirelessly, the costs of railway wear and tear will be dramatically reduced. There will be no power rails, including electrical poles, required for the establishment of a railway system, and accordingly, lesser space will be needed. Tunnels will be built on a smaller scale, lowering construction costs. In addition, it will be helpful to overcome major obstacles that discourage the construction of high speed railway systems such as noise levels and problems in connecting pantograph and power rails. KAIST and KRRI plan to apply the wireless power transfer technology to trams in May and high speed trains in September.'

Of course, there is also the possibility of reducing costs for city tramway systems.

I am a bit doubtful about those though as fuel cell buses are on the cusp of becoming competitive, which will happen earlier than for cars:

There are already substantial numbers of battery electric buses for shorter runs in operation in China, and production by BYD is starting in the US:

Save for the routes with the highest traffic and the densest populations, the relatively low capital cost of buses as against trams has substantial advantages.

CNN Replicates John Broder's Drive In the Tesla Model S

But I didn't have to take it that easy, which is good because the Model S provides a pretty amazing mix of smooth and silent performance along with brain-squishing acceleration. So even if you're not driving from Washington to Boston, it's an impressive car, all on its own.

RE: Why beef is becoming more like chicken.


Here in England we don't even have beef anymore... Just horse!

And the thing is, all those people tucking into their highly processed 'beef' dinners have actually being eating some knackered old pony for maybe up to a decade. And no one noticed the difference, and no one got ill. Just the consequence of continually pushing margins and prices lower with the public wanting to eat beef every day.

Top tip to my fellow Britons: if yer don't like eating the losing old nag from the Cheltenham 3.50 then spend more on your meat and eat it less often. Meat can not ever be produced honestly and humanely at these dirt low prices.

Who's The BoS?

The US has a lot to learn from Germany when it comes to Solar cost.The average cost for installed Solar is $1.52 vs Germany's $0.33.How do they do it? Georgia Tech Research intends to find out.


Yes but,

If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding!
How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat!

Horse passed off as beef is probably just the tip of the iceberg. All kinds of stuff can be fed into the supply chain and even more difficult to detect. Meat unfit for human consumption can be legally fed into the chain after suitable processing, doing so illegally is probably even more profitable. Switching expensive local produce with cheap imports from substandard sources is another. I wonder if they're testing for faeces in the processed meats?

The truth is that people have been taking what has been offered on trust. And hopefully a few will become cognisant to the fact that our systems can no longer be trusted, as they're not there for the benefit of those that depend upon them.

I've been pretty aware of the food issues for a while. The truth is that there is probably not a single item that doesn't have some issue, ethical or process-wise. Cows are fed grain, which they don't digest well, and pumped up on various drugs. Chocolate is still often grown using child/slave labor. I think everyone knows how bad chickens get it on the factory farms.

I recently bought some cheap eggs because they didn't have the organic ones I usually get. The shells are noticeably thinner. I think that pretty clearly points toward nutrition differences.

On the other hand, food is cheap and plentiful, and it's "good enough". We can't trust the process, we can almost be sure there are ethical issues, but it's actually fairly safe. The horsemeat scandal is actually a fair example; horse meat is perfectly edible and probably just as good/bad for you as beef. It won't kill you. A lot of things are like that - there are lots of pesticides and other chemicals used on produce, and the various drugs on meats, and it may be causing health problems... but it's hard to prove and at the very least we have escaped the major health issues of the past (mostly through enriched foods - vitamin deficiency is rare in the developed world). The US and EU don't have the problems of, say, China. Intentional mislabelling happens (horse for beef, pretty much all fish) but not stuff like the melamine scandal.

I would much like to see an ethical, transparent and healthy food system. But as far as I can tell, unless you grow it you just don't know what's going on. There are a few things like Fair Trade labels that may be better, but while some of them are an improvement, things like the MSC label on fish have lots of problems.

Very informative paper ...'Shamoon' Computer Virus Attack Marked New Height in International Cyber Conflict

Shamoon must put all providers of critical services on alert and requires concerted action by governments and private interests, according to a new working paper from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in Manama, Bahrain.

The paper, "Hack or Attack? Shamoon and the Evolution of Cyber Conflict," was co-authored by Christopher Bronk, a fellow in information technology policy at the Baker Institute, and Eneken Tikk-Ringas, a senior fellow for cybersecurity at the IISS. The paper documents the Shamoon case and considers its impact on broader policymaking regarding the Middle East, energy and cybersecurity issues.

While Aramco leadership has asserted that production was unaffected, the authors said there are important questions from the Shamoon case germane to other players in oil and gas and elsewhere in industry. "But the critical point for policy is how government, commercial actors, the international system and other players share and manage cyberincident risk," Bronk said. "Shamoon identifies just how broadly a major cyberattack can impact key national capabilities and concerns."

Iran has a 100:1 advantage of PhDs in computer science relative to the Saudis. All those PhDs in comparative Wahhabism aren't much use in cybersecurity. According to a World Bank report, more than 70 percent of the students in Saudi Arabia are in the fields of humanities and social sciences.

The study of Islam dominates the Saudi educational system. In particular, the memorization by rote of large parts of the Qu'ran, its interpretation and understanding (Tafsir) and the application of Islamic tradition to everyday life is at the core of the curriculum. Religion taught in this manner is also a compulsory subject for all university students.[22] As a consequence, Saudi youth "generally lacks [sic] the education and technical skills the private sector needs".[23] Indeed, such control has stifled critical thought [... sounds like Texas], and as a result, the education system does not necessarily foster innovation and creativity; both of which are essential to development. source

also Obama moves to defend infrastructure from cyberattacks

Warning that cyberattacks pose a danger to US security, President Barack Obama signed an executive order designed to better protect critical infrastructure from computer hackers.

The executive order calls for voluntary reporting of threats to US infrastructure such as power grids, pipelines and water systems.
The directive, which follows two failed attempts in Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation, allows the government to lead an information-sharing network but stops short of making mandatory the reporting of cyber threats.

and your government has got your back ...In Cyberwar, Software Flaws Are A Hot Commodity

Richard Bejtlich was a cyber specialist for the U.S. Air Force in the 1990s, a time when the U.S. military was going on the offense in the cyberwar. He remembers the day he realized how important a software vulnerability can be to a cyberweapons designer.

"Myself and a couple other guys, we found a zero day vulnerability in Cisco routing equipment," Bejtlich recalls. "And we looked at it, and we said, 'Did we really find this? Can we really get into these Cisco routers?' "

They could, and so Bejtlich and his colleagues reported it to Cisco. The company thanked him and said it would be fixed. Days later, he was talking to some friends who worked on the offensive side of the unit, and they had quite a different reaction to them reporting the bug to Cisco.

"They said, 'You did what? Why didn't you tell us? We could have used this to get into all these various hard targets,' " he says.

To Bejtlich, a software flaw was simply a mistake to be corrected. To a cyberweapons designer, however, it was a potential back door into the computer network he wanted to attack.

"We actually had a standing order after that," Bejtlich says, "that said, if you find something, you don't tell the vendor, you tell the offensive side, and they'll decide what to do about it."

A potential loser here, at least in the short run, is the consumer who may be stuck with a flawed piece of software because the government doesn't want anyone to know about the flaw, seeing it as something that could be exploited for the deployment of a cyberweapon.

and 'virtual' medals for 'virtual' soldiers ...

Pentagon creates new medal for cyber, drone warriors

The Pentagon unveiled a new medal on Wednesday to honor "extraordinary" troops who launch cyber attacks or drone strikes from their consoles, even if they do not risk their lives in combat.

... The new medal will be ranked higher than the Bronze Star, the fourth highest combat decoration, but lower than the Silver Star, officials said.

From a big picture point of view, these things basically raise the cost/complexity of such systems,and I would expect that increase to continue. At some point there has to be a diminishing returns, where the marginal cost of doing things with such systems becomes prohibitive. I think this is what Peak Internet looks like, and perhaps Peak Automation.

Security is inversely proportional to utility.

Super-smart response, Twilight, and a quotable summation about security.

I've been thinking about "Peak Internet" as I've been watching the Keystone-Facebook-Kops trying to balance income with privacy and security (and failing)... as well as increasing intrusions, invasions, and instability, and was reminding myself that millions -- even billions -- can simply stand up and say "no" quite quickly, in ways that would make profound reverberations in the new economy (which is new, of course, and thus unstable).

Peak Algorithm, like Peak Automation, may be the tipping point between what we'll accept (intrusive actions in return for access to life services) and what we expect (appreciation in return for access to our lives).

We are far from peak internet. But eventually it will happen. For a start I think all automation systems will turn into isolated systems (most of them already are)

Is President Obama gunning for the penny?

If the U.S. dumps the penny, it would be following its neighbor to the north. The Royal Canadian Mint earlier this month halted distribution of the pennies to banks and other financial institutions, with the goal of eventually phasing out the tiny coin from distribution. The reason? The penny costs Canada 1.6 pennies to make, turning it into a money-losing proposition.

The situation is similar for the U.S., where in 2011 it cost the country 2.4 cents to manufacture each coin. According to a group called the Citizens to Retire the U.S. Penny, the country spent almost $120 million in 2011 to produce $50 million worth of coins.

"One of the things you see chronically in government, it's very hard to get rid of things that don't work so then we can invest in the things that do," he said, according to Business Insider. "So the penny become a good metaphor for a lot of the problems that we've got."

Like our Canadian friends to the north, now would be a good time to eliminate the penny (1 cent).

Best hopes for eliminating the penny.

Yes, get rid of the penny, but maybe they should consider also getting rid of the nickel (which costs a dime to make) and the dime. Why not just round off every transaction to the closest quarter (without changing the sales tax amount)? The up and down losses and gains of rounding off would even out, so people would not lose any money. The time saved in making change alone would probably give the GDP a bump of 1/2 a percent. I'd much prefer to get quarters in change than a bunch of coins that simply get tossed into a container to be fed into a machine later for bills. But it seems like these types of changes always happen at the back end of the point where it has long since become obvious to do so. Thus rounding off to the closest quarter will probably not happen until the year 2163, and then people will say, "It's about time, why didn't we do this a century and a half ago?"

Perk Earl, thanks for your comments.
Unfortunately, the US likes to drag its feet... be it converting to the Metric system or now getting rid of the penny.

Reports of Peak Oil Have Always Been Exaggerated

None of this suggests that “peak oil” was (or is) a complete fallacy: Hydrocarbons are a finite resource; it is theoretically possible to run out. But history suggests this is highly unlikely to happen anytime soon: Every barrier to production has eventually been surmounted by new technology, enabling companies to extract oil or gas that was previously undiscovered, or considered unrecoverable.

This article basically claims that technology will save us while completely ignoring the scale of the problem of declining production from existing wells. I think he also conflates American crude production with total liquids production, as he suggests America is currently producing about 10 mbd. Another cornucopian article with little supporting evidence...

a - Same old straw man argument. He’s either doing it out of ignorance or willfully being dishonest. PO has nothing to do with "running out of oil". "...it is theoretically possible to run out." Actually even that isn't true. We will never run out of oil. There will always be some to produce. How much we can produce and what it would sell for is a different matter. Technology has seldom been a problem finding/producing oil. The primary hurdle has been getting high enough prices to justify utilizing tech that has existed for decades. We've had a nice gain in oil production from the shales. But that isn't a new discovery...they've been known for decades. As has the horizontal drilling and frac technology. What has changed are the higher prices. If oil were to drop to $50/bbl there is no technology that would allow us to maintain let alone increase our current production rate.

What has changed are the higher prices. If oil were to drop to $50/bbl there is no technology that would allow us to maintain let alone increase our current production rate.

Perhaps the cruellest (and most accurate) summation that I've read recently.

Those were the days, my friend. We think they'll never end.

btw, thanks, Rockman, for all I've learned from you.

Climate Change’s Links to Conflict Draws UN Attention

Imagine India in 2033. It has overtaken China as the most populous nation. Yet with 1.5 billion citizens to feed, it’s been three years since the last monsoon. Without rain, crops die and people starve.

The seeds of conflict take root.

... Either rich nations will find a way to supply needy nations suffering from damaging climate effects “or you will have all kinds of unrest and revolutions, with the export of angry and hungry people to the industrialized countries,” Schellnhuber said in an interview.

... U.S. intelligence agencies said in a December report that climate change coupled with water shortages will alter global patterns of arable land, while greater demand for energy may curb the amount of raw materials available to make fertilizers.

A New Harvard Report Probes Security Risks of Extreme Weather and Climate Change

The report finds that the early ramifications of climate extremes resulting from climate change are already upon us and will continue to be felt over the next decade, directly impacting U.S. national security interests. “Lessons from the past are no longer of great value as a guide to the future,” said co-lead author Michael McElroy, Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies at Harvard University. “Unexpected changes in regional weather are likely to define the new climate normal, and we are not prepared.”

These changes will affect water and food availability, energy decisions, the design of critical infrastructure, use of the global commons such as the oceans and the Arctic region, and critical ecosystem resources. They will affect both underdeveloped and industrialized countries with large costs in terms of economic and human security. The study identifies specific regional climate impacts—droughts and desertification in Mexico, Southwest Asia, and the Eastern Mediterranean, and increased flooding in South Asia—that are of particular strategic importance to the United States.


Imagine India in 2033. It has overtaken China as the most populous nation. Yet with 1.5 billion citizens to feed, it’s been three years since the last monsoon. Without rain, crops die and people starve.

The seeds of conflict take root.

I doubt it. After three years without a monsoon it's highly unlikely that there will be 1.5 billion Indians left who are still strong enough to engage in conflict. Many of them will probably be dieing of acute arsenic poisoning from their wells long before then... So if there is to be major conflict, it will probably have to happen much sooner than 2033. Even 2020 seems too far into the future.

To be honest, I just can't understand where this belief that there will ever be 9 to 10 billion humans on this planet comes from. To me that borders on crazy talk. Anyone who says that, doesn't understand what the consequences of ecological overshoot are and how population dynamics works. We are already in extreme overshoot right now.

Disclaimer: it's been pouring rain since yesterday afternoon and it's going to be 40 F tonight, I'm feeling a bit more depressed than usual today.

Best hopes that I am completely wrong! /doom and gloom off

FMagar: "Anyone who says that, doesn't understand what the consequences of ecological overshoot are and how population dynamics works."

From what I can see around me, the problem is not as much in not understanding population growth, but more in not understanding agriculture. People in todays western societies have zero understanding how food production works and how extremely different from the past it is, due to the input from fossil fules. Every time I try to explain it to someone, even people with university degrees, they just don't get it. The simple facts, like the fact that agriculture, which used to *generate energy* now consumes energy instead (10x as much as it generates, according to the "Eating Fossil Fuels" study) just goes completely over their heads.

Part of the problem is that academic types are idealistic. We could easily feed 9billion, even with reduced production, if only we distributed it well -and eliminated or seriously reduced the massively inefficient foods (like corn feed beef). So they postulate that we will value human lives, rather than those who can using food wastefully to give them luxury foods.

Personally, I don't think large fossil fuel inputs are all that necessary. We could use both less energy, and considerable renewable energy for agriculture if we set our minds to doing that. So its all really a political problem -getting the fool naked apes to share and not waste.

Wastage is part of the equation, it's called entropy, it has always existed and always will. When people think that we can just take food from the overweight and give it to people with malnutrition they don't realize that it would require some kind of a global super state to achieve that and the overall cost of that is well...a topic for a separate discussion.

The only way to reduce wastage is to raise prices selectively but you'd have to raise them artificially which would be politically unpalatable and with that we are back in super state territory

Why would I share, when sharing means more people live and breed? No prize for how many people you can fit on the planet. Sharing only makes the inevitable crash that much worse. I'm lucky, and live in a country that is a net food exporter. Why should everyone be reduced to a peasants lifestyle, just so we can keep breeding? Until nations address overpopulation for what it is, there is nothing that can be done to prevent starvation.

Maybe we could feed 9 billion. Except of course that even accounting for declining fertility population is going to keep increasing past 9 billion. And most politicans and businesspeople worldwide wouldn't have it any other way. To them a stable or declining population is complete disaster. Without young workers who will pay for the older people? Don't they get that if and when energy resources decline those young workers won't have jobs anyhow?

The simple facts, like the fact that agriculture, which used to *generate energy* now consumes energy instead (10x as much as it generates, according to the "Eating Fossil Fuels" study) just goes completely over their heads.

Correct! Most people don't understand energy flows within ecosystems and how the laws of thermodynamics actually work:

Especially when you compare the complex web of interactions in a healthy ecosystem to the mechanized agro industrial processes with all the inputs of fossil fuel, herbicides, pesticides etc, which are employed to maintain your typical GMO monoculture.

After three years without a monsoon it's highly unlikely that there will be 1.5 billion Indians left who are still strong enough to engage in conflict.

Doesn't take much energy to push a button.

We are already in extreme overshoot right now.

Oh, there are plenty of fossil fuels to pump up the population more. Is it a good idea? No. Is it possible? Easy. Hard to avoid actually given the natural drive toward sex and the lack of other constraints.

India is not remotely survivable, no matter what the energy inputs.

He's talking about no monsoon or a deficit monsoon ? No monsoon would be a disaster of epic proportions. We won't need three years, won't make it past year number two.

Back in December 2012, at the Doha World Climate Summit Hans Schellnhuber ended his speech with:

First law of humanity: Don’t kill your children.

Now he is advocating the charity meme to continue population growth to infinity. His first law should be:

Don't have so many children, so you don't have to kill some.

Certainly population is part of the issue, but he is hardly advocating "population growth to infinity."

We've known since the '70s that a big part of reducing population growth is, ironically, reducing mortality. This is at least as important as birth control. People need to know their children have a good chance of surviving; then they'll have fewer of them.

And I don't think charity is an accurate description of the situation. It's the wealthy nations that have caused most of the climate change. Paying damages for harm done is not really charity.

People need to know their children have a good chance of surviving; then they'll have fewer of them.

Although there is no single telling fact which explains the reduction in human fertility rates, your assertion I suspect is the most significant.
Using me as an example, my wife and I had two children in the seventies, fourteen months apart, both were difficult births one seven weeks prem and the other five, my wife nearly died both times.

We had options though, we decided two children was enough (no thought to deliberately reducing population) so my wife had her tubes tied. The children survived and all is well. We didn't want to push our luck simple as that.
Naively maybe but we both had unflinching expectation that our children would survive. Fifty years earlier one or both kids could have died and my wife too most likely.

Now eight to ten week prem babies routinely survive. They can be operated on in the womb and tests performed prior to birth for degenerative abnormalities. There is immunization for babies and education for young mothers and fathers, the world is a much, much safer place for children, they don't have to work in cotton mills and coal mines or as chimney sweeps. Most childhood diseases are thoroughly controlled or eliminated. Clean water and improved nutrition also play a part.

The fossil fuel age gave us the ability feed ourselves, reduce fertility rates and all but eliminate warfare.
What the fossil fuel age gave us can and most likely will be taken away. We can only hope to mitigate the enormity.

.. but he is hardly advocating "population growth to infinity."

His ideas will continue population growth until Nature stops it, even if not his intent.

We've known since the '70s that a big part of reducing population growth is, ironically, reducing mortality.

They can not get there from here because some of those overpopulated countries have more than 1,000 people/km2 and can not feed themselves even during a good crop year. They must reduce population first.

Without knowing the full context of the speech its hard to say, but I don't think he was talking about abortion there. Instead he probably meant how many deaths unconstrained resource depletion and pollution would cause among future generations.

I don't think Blue Twilight was talking about abortion. Just about the Malthusian forces that kill people, including children, when population is unchecked.

His context was global warming killing our descendants so we should stop global warming to save our descendants (children). His idea is to take from first world countries and give to third world countries to keep them going by adapting to climate change. The result would be further increases of population in third world countries and decreased standard of living in first world countries until everyone collapses. It is foolhardy to expend resources trying to counteract Malthusian forces that limit population while encouraging population to grow.

Statoil to develop heavy oil field offshore UK

... Statoil says it expects production to last 30 years starting in 2017, with an estimated initial daily output of 55,000 barrels.

Staoil expects to invest $7 billion in the Mariner field. It says it has developed a leading position in heavy oil extraction that requires special equipment because of its viscosity.

New from GAO ...

Interstate and Intrastate Natural Gas Permitting Processes Report

Recent growth in domestic natural gas production, particularly due to increased production from shale, is resulting in an increase in the pipelines needed to transport that gas. FERC is the lead federal agency in approving interstate pipelines, coordinating with federal, state, and local agencies, but FERC is not involved in the approval of intrastate pipelines.

In response to the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, GAO determined (1) the processes necessary to acquire permits to construct interstate and intrastate natural gas pipelines, (2) information available on the time frames associated with the natural gas pipeline permitting process, and (3) stakeholder-identified management practices that may improve the permitting process.

GAO analyzed public records and found that, for those projects that were approved from January 2010 to October 2012, the average time from pre-filing to certification was 558 days...

Why not transmission lines from Canada instead of pipelines. Seems nat gas power plants, wind and solar need a grid to connect to. Could this be a win win?

Demand destruction legislation in NC

Bill that lowers NC unemployment benefit going to McCrory's desk


Maximum weekly benefits would fall from $535 to $350 along with the time falling from 26 weeks to a "sliding scale" of 11 to 20 and will take effect July. Because of the timing the state will lose $780 million from the federal extended benefits fund.

In other news Gov. McCrory and his Republican legislature is s**t-canning the current regulatory boards at the time when Duke Energy is requesting a 10% rate increase...and oh, McCrory is a former Duke Energy employee - wonder if they'll get it...

As part of the law:

Maximum weekly benefits would fall from $535 to $350.

The other part would limit the number of weeks of payments to 20, instead of 26. That would also cut off access to extended Federal payments, which begin after 26 weeks of payments. The State unemployment rate for December was over 9% and one thinks those who run out of unemployment payments and then can't find jobs will eventually do some seriously bad things. I'm thinking I should have moved to Oregon 14 years ago, instead of North Carolina...

E. Swanson