As the White House nears a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, communities in Arkansas and Michigan are still dealing with major oil spills. Diane and her guests discuss the safety of shipping oil through pipelines.
The Canadian train tragedy is becoming Exhibit A in the political case for building pipelines, such as the proposed Keystone XL, as well as for opposing them. Meanwhile, energy companies have boosted rail shipments of oil in response to a surge in production.
A lab in Chicago can produce particles called muons, but it needs an electromagnetic ring on Long Island to produce them. Since the 50-foot ring can't be taken apart or flown over houses, movers drove it to the shoreline and will sail it down the East Coast on a sea barge and up rivers to the Windy City.
The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, backs energy technologies that are too risky for investors, but offer a potentially huge payoff — if they work. The agency has gambled on flywheels, compressed air energy storage, lithium-air batteries, even wind-energy kites.
Synthetic biologist Jay Keasling has already taught yeast to make the leading anti-malarial drug. His next project takes the technology a step further, using yeast to turn plant waste into diesel — and maybe gasoline and jet fuel, too.
The sweeping plan calls for the Environmental Protection Agency to tighten carbon dioxide emissions on power plants and is designed to foster cleaner forms of electricity. The initiative also aims to help the nation cope with droughts and other weather related changes that are already happening.
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