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Thursday, November 27, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 6/22/2008

Talk of offshore drilling raises questions about Great Lakes

I can't imagine I'm the only one who did a double-take upon reading this headline on the front page of Thursday's Blade: President pushes for lifting ban on offshore drilling.

What does that mean for the Great Lakes region?

Nothing, yet. But stayed tuned.

Yes, I know. Mr. Bush is talking about drilling in the oceans and the Gulf of Mexico. He said in 2001 he had no plans to expand the limited amount of drilling that Michigan and Ontario have been doing beneath the lakes for years.

But, as we've seen, things change when gasoline prices hit the $4-a-gallon mark.

Keep in mind Vice President Dick Cheney fueled the controversy seven years ago at a GOP event in suburban Detroit, saying he did not consider the Great Lakes off limits to more drilling himself.

And that John Engler, the former Michigan governor who raised the specter of more drilling from that state's shoreline, is now president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Manufacturers. That's the Washington-based lobbyist group that represents the nation's industrial sector - one of, if not the largest, users of fuel.

Also don't forget about Mr. Bush's obsession with drilling in another ecologically sensitive region - Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

More on this in future columns.

Findlay Goes Green: The United Steelworkers are working with environmentalists to get the word out about how 20,000 or more manufacturing jobs can be created in Ohio through the development of renewable energy, clean technology, and "green" manufacturing.

A town hall meeting - one of 13 of its kind nationally this month - is set for 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the USW Local 207L Union Hall, 1130 Summit St.., Findlay. Others are in Cincinnati tomorrow, Canton on Wednesday, and Cleveland on Thursday.

For more information, go to wecansolveit.org/page/s/steelworkers or www.bluegreenalliance.org/.

Nuke News: Something out of kilter must have happened with FirstEnergy Corp.'s recent "force-on-force" security exercise at Davis-Besse. Hence, a public document in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's headquarters, a letter from the utility with a subject line that reads: "Issue Associated With Recent Force-on-Force Exercise." In it, FirstEnergy requests a meeting with NRC officials to discuss the issue, claiming it "is generic in nature and could have a significant impact on the industry."

The NRC has kept a tight lid on security issues since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Eliot Brenner, the NRC's public affairs chief, declined to shed one iota of light on what this is all about.

More Nuke News: The NRC has received the U.S. Department of Energy's long-expected application to develop Nevada's Yucca Mountain into the nation's first repository for spent fuel pulled from nuclear reactors. That's the only thing in civilian hands classified as high-level radioactive waste. Within three years, the agency is to tell Congress whether the multibillion dollar project in the desert should be authorized.

How hot was it?: Globally, this spring was the seventh warmest on record* for combined land and ocean surface temperatures, according to the National Climatic Data Center in North Carolina, part of the federal government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

I put an asterisk* there because those records "only" go back to 1880.

It's not like anyone was around to collect global data at the dawn of time, mind you.

The analysis focused on March through May figures.



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