Sunday, August 21, 2011

Southern California Grocery Workers Ready To Go On Strike Over Health Care

Link here.
Ralphs currently pays more than 90 percent of employee health coverage costs, Doyel said. Workers hired before 2004 pay nothing for health insurance while those hired later pay either $7 a week for single coverage or $15 a week for family coverage.

The companies' proposal would raise that to $9 a week for singles and $23 a week for families. That is much lower than the average cost of health care insurance in California, she said.

But Shimpock said that the union is concerned about the long-term sustainability of the health care fund.

"With the amount they're offering now, the fund would go bankrupt by next September," he said. "We're worried about increased costs, of course. But it doesn't matter if premiums are $2 or $200 if the benefits are eventually eliminated."

Nabors Man-Camp Will Be Increased by 150 to 450 -- WIlliston, North Dakota -- Bakken

Link here.
Nabors Corporate Services was requesting approval for an additional 150 beds to a 300-bed facility approved in June.

The Nabors camp would be located off of U.S. Highway 2 in Missouri Ridge Township, with access off of 58th Street.

The camp is located north of the Target Logistics camp north of Williston.

"Are these (300) beds filled yet?" Commissioner Dan Kalil asked.

A Nabors representative replied that the camp itself hasn't been built on-site yet.

However, the representative added that the company had underestimated the number of beds they needed.

No Reason Given Why Protesters Arrested

Police arrest White House environmentalists protesting Keystone XL.

Link here.

No reason given why.

Another Great New York Times Article: Japan Switching to Costly Fossil Fuel

Link here.

This is a great article, the kind of article we were required to read in 10th grade (sophomore) social studies. I loved The New York Times then and I love it now. I did not realize that the front page was part of the op-ed section then but now that I realize that, I find I enjoy it even more enjoyable.

Back to this story:
The generators are helping to replace the 400 million kilowatt-hours of daily electricity production lost this summer because of the shutdown of all but 15 of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. Across the country, dozens of other fossil-fuel plants have been fired up, and Japan is importing billions of dollars worth of liquefied natural gas, coal and oil to keep them running.

Japan, the world’s third-largest user of electricity behind China and the United States, had counted on an expansion of nuclear power to contain energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, its nuclear program is in retreat, as the public and government officials urge a sharp reduction in the nation’s reliance on nuclear power and perhaps an end to it altogether.

As its nuclear program implodes, Japan is grappling with a jump in fuel costs, making an economic recovery from the March earthquake and tsunami all the more difficult. Annual fuel expenses could rise by more than 3 trillion yen, or about $39 billion, the government says. 
Now couple this with the story of EPA closing dozens of US electric plants -- shutting down one-fifth of the nation's coal capacity.

This is going to be huge for the natural gas industry.

Tesla, by the way, recently retired its $109,000 Roadster. They are now concentrating on a sedan which will be available in 2012. So, if I understand it correctly, Tesla is selling no vehicles right now and won't be until sometime in 2012.

Tesla, by the way, retired its $109,000 electric Roadster earlier this year, and will start concentrating on a sedan which will be available in 2012. So, right now, Tesla is not selling any electric vehicles at all, to the best of my knowledge. 

Buried deep in the story:
Elon Musk, the American entrepreneur and founder of the electric car company, Tesla Motors, was in tsunami-stricken Soma late last month to donate $250,000 to build a solar farm there. He said that he saw potential for renewable energy in Japan, but that cumbersome regulations and government foot-dragging were holding the industry back.

“The cost of solar power has dropped in recent years, but government policy hasn’t caught up to that,” Mr. Musk said in a telephone interview.

One roadblock for renewable power in Japan has been the inability of producers to get an adequate price for their electricity on the market, where they must compete with cheaper power from coal, natural gas and nuclear power. 
So, Japan is going to be severely hurt financially switching to "costly" fossil fuel, and someone things Japan could do better with even more expensive solar power. I can't make this stuff up.

Didn't we just see a story suggesting the demise of solar power in the US? I guess "they're" taking it on the road to Japan. Something tells me Japan has more serious problems to address before going down the solar energy road. But whatever floats their boat. 

More Good News for Onhsore Drillers: Government Will Make It More Expensive to Lease Offshore

Link here.

Rate goes from $40/acre to $100/acre (numbers rounded) for offshore drilling. This makes onshore look all that more attractive and overall effect, all things being equal, is to increase the price of oil. Any additional oil produced using this rationale will simply be bought by China.

Meanwhile, what good is a lease without a permit?