Science & Technology
Why Wait Till Gas Hits $10 a Gallon? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 25 June 2012 09:08

There’s a lot of moaning and hand-wringing whenever gasoline prices approach $4 a gallon. But all it would take for them to hit $10 a gallon overnight would be hurricanes wiping out a couple of refineries or saboteurs disabling a couple of pipelines, says Dr. R. Paul Williamson, founder and CEO of the non-profit Sustainable Systems of Colorado.

“The United States is still almost completely reliant on finite fossil fuels, which are rapidly being depleted,” says Williamson, author of Winning the Energy Wars: A Sustainable Energy Plan for America’s Future ( “We should be following a plan now that transitions us to sustainable energy sources but, believe or not, there is no plan.”

The country faces oil shortages, international security turmoil and expanding environmental impacts, he says.

“Our entire future hinges on a sustainable energy plan,” he says. “A crisis will impact our whole quality of life. It’s not just gasoline; petroleum products are used in pharmaceuticals, plastics, things we rely on every day. The time to put together a plan is now – not when we’re in crisis.”

After studying the details of the nation’s looming energy crisis, the former executive director of Hydrogen and Alternative Research and Development for the University of Montana says he’s drafted a detailed plan that is systematic, non-threatening and sustainable. Three key features are:

• Abolish the U.S. Department of Energy. Though the 1973 oil crisis led to its creation, the Department of Energy has done nothing to create a sustainable energy plan in its 35 years of existence. Such a strategic plan isn’t even a goal. Why? Politics. The big, all-powerful oil companies would not benefit. “To ensure America’s security and prosperity’’ is the department’s stated mission.

• Create a Governors National Sustainable Energy Council. Direct the work of implementing the energy plan to leaders who are already doing that. Thirty of our 50 states have adopted goals for sustainable energy, and some have already achieved them. The council would have a rotating two-year board consisting of two governors from each of five regions, and three at-large governors. Funding from the decommissioned Department of Energy (currently, $25 to $35 billion a year) would be diverted to the council, which would be located in America's Heartland away from Washington, DC.

• Enact legislation to establish funding. Williamson proposes a National Alternative Energy Bond Fund to provide low-interest loans to new and redirected companies; entrepreneurs and other businesses focused on domestic energy development. This could be funded through sales of Alternative Energy Series “AE” bonds, trading stocks or bonds in the market as part of the Invest in America program, and establishing a surcharge of the use of products that use finite energy resources.

“We have enough domestic finite, transitional and sustainable resources to become energy independent and we can do so if we get focused, establish a new leadership paradigm and implement what I call the ‘USA Sustainable Energy Plan,’ ” Williamson says.

What can Americans do – besides their individual efforts to reduce reliance on gas and oil? Williamson suggests taking these steps:

• Call or email our elected officials. Contact your governor, your U.S. representative, your U.S. senators and the president.

• Tell them you support adopting the USA Sustainable Energy Plan. Ask for their support on the three action steps: decommissioning the Department of Energy, creating the governors’ council, and creating and funding the alternative energy fund.

• Follow up each week. Reiterate the action items and ask what progress is being made.

For more information on the energy plan, visit

About R. Paul Williamson

R. Paul Williamson is founder and CEO of the non-profit Sustainable Systems of Colorado. He holds bachelor’s degrees in secondary education and communications; master’s in curriculum and instruction and media technology, and a doctorate in technology education. He has served as a dean at four colleges including the University of Montana, where he created the Montana Hydrogen Futures Project, a plan incorporating the state's human, natural and renewable resources to create a statewide, hydrogen-based economy. Presently, he is working to create a sustainable future for the US; deployment of a self-sustaining, hydrogen-powered, magnetic levitation personal rapid transit monorail system; a sustainable smart home development; and an H2 Futures Business Park.

3 New Firefox Features PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Mozilla Firefox   
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 12:28
New Ways to
Boost Your Browsing

We're always working to make the Web easier, faster and more enjoyable for you to access and use. That's why we created thumbnail previews and a redesigned home page. You'll find them both in the latest version of Firefox for desktop.

Download Firefox

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New Tab icon
Thumbnail Previews

Now when you open a new tab, you'll see thumbnail previews of the sites you visit most. You can even pin, rearrange or delete them to fully customize your new tab experience. Or, if you prefer, you can click the grid in the top right to turn the feature off.

Learn more about making this page look and work exactly how you like.

New Tab screenshot
Sync screenshot New Tab icon
That's Not All (Oh No)

If you use the Firefox homepage (about:home), you'll find a new look with quick and easy access to your downloads, bookmarks, plugins, Sync and more. You can learn more about the redesigned page or change your homepage to something else.

You'll also enjoy faster startup times when loading tabs from your last browsing session.

"All in" for Wind PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Elisha Smith   
Monday, 18 June 2012 15:30

By Paul Mansoor, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Center for Rural Affairs

People want wind energy, but don’t want to pay a lot more for it. According to a new study, they may be able to have their cake--and eat it too.

Wind energy is attractive for economic reasons. A robust wind industry could bring hundreds of thousands of jobs and tens of billions of dollars per year into the economy, much of it in rural America.  But fear of higher prices has kept wind development grounded.

Although wind produces some of the cleanest energy, nobody wants higher electric rates. Wind towers are expensive. And in remote areas, developing new wind farms can require transmission improvements, which are necessary to send the electricity from producers to consumers. Power companies usually pass these costs onto ratepayers. This creates a bottleneck, stalling wind projects and keeping clean energy from getting off the ground.

However, introducing greater levels of wind together with smart system planning can decrease the annual market price relative to today. This means consumers would pay less for wind energy!

The key is to go “all in.” The savings accrue when healthy wind development is combined with transmission upgrades. Installing just a few turbines at a time will cost more, on average, than multiple developments.

The case for wind energy keeps getting stronger. Job creation, clean energy and lower electric bills?

Change is coming... you can feel it in the breeze.

Statement from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Today's Environmental Protection Agency Action allowing E15 to be Used by Model Year 2001 and Newer Passenger Vehicles PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by USDA Communications   
Friday, 15 June 2012 14:03

"Today, the last significant federal hurdle has been cleared to allow consumers to buy fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol (E15). This gets us one step closer to giving the American consumer a real choice at the pump. The public has a right to choose between imported oil and home-grown energy and today's action by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advances that goal. Today's action demonstrates that the Obama Administration is making good on its commitment to work to reduce foreign oil imports and increase domestic energy production, including production of renewable biofuels. In addition, the EPA has fulfilled its responsibility to the American public to ensure that E15 is a safe and reliable fuel. Home grown biofuels are providing sustainable rural jobs that cannot be exported. Today's action proves yet again that renewable biofuels are not a dream of the future, but are a reality, and are making a difference today."

To read more about the EPA's announcement see:


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

Loebsack Applauds Move to Make Broadband Construction Faster and Cheaper PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Joe Hand   
Friday, 15 June 2012 08:02

Calls on FCC to Support Rural Broadband

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement regarding the announcement that President Obama will make broadband construction along Federal roadways cheaper and more efficient.

“The future of rural development in Iowa and across the country depends, in large part, on the access to internet and specifically broadband.  I have met with many small businesses, farmers, and rural telecommunication companies who have told me the importance of expanding high speed internet access to rural areas.  This is critical to rural economic development, job growth, businesses, farmers, and families.

“While I applaud today’s announcement, I also call on the Federal Communications Commission to commit to expanding broadband for all Iowans by supporting broadband growth in rural communities so that this critical economic development tool is available for all Iowans, regardless of where they live.”

Specifically, the announcement will ensure that agencies charged with managing Federal properties and roads take specific steps to adopt a uniform approach for allowing broadband carriers to build networks on and through those assets and speed the delivery of connectivity to communities, businesses, and schools.


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