High-Voltage Debate

Posted on: September 28th, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation


Virginia power linesThe Northeast's longest free-flowing river, the Upper Delaware River, meanders from Hancock, N.Y., to Matamoras, Pa. Bald eagles make this a popular bird-watching spot. Abundant fish lure fly fishermen, and Class II and III rapids attract kayakers. Congress, recognizing the natural beauty of this area, set aside the Upper Delaware Wild and Scenic River for protection under the National Parks System in 1978. The area, 90 minutes from New York City, "is pristine and gorgeous," says Michael Schmidt, a kayaker and regular park visitor. "It is one of the most tranquil parts of the country I have ever been to."

But the area is just one of the many historic and scenic places that may soon have a new neighbor: a 500-kilovolt transmission line some 160 feet overhead. New York Regional Interconnect, Inc. has proposed a 190-mile line from central New York to the lower Hudson Valley to alleviate energy congestion in the Northeast. The preferred route in some sections follows a gas pipeline—a right of way that predates the park—and passes through four miles of ridge top along the river and a mile-long section of the canal.

Not surprisingly, local and national organizations have been actively opposing the line. "If someone was fly fishing on the river or recreating on the park site, they will look up and shadows will be cast down on the river and in the valley by these 160-foot towers," says Bryan Faehner, legislative representative at the National Parks Conservation Association.

Similar battles are taking place in eight eastern states. ... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Beyond Green Building: Morning Round-Up

Posted on: September 28th, 2007 by Patrice Frey


Unnatural Disaster: Global Warming and our National Parks -- From National Parks Conservation Association Press Release. Global warming has escalated the risk of wildfire to national parks including Sequoia and Kings Canyon and Yosemite.

Our Moral Footprint – NYT.  Former Czech President  Vaclav Havel on climate change:  “We can’t endlessly fool ourselves that nothing is wrong and that we can go on cheerfully pursuing our wasteful lifestyles, ignoring the climate threats and postponing a solution. Maybe there will be no major catastrophe in the coming years or decades. Who knows? But that doesn’t relieve us of responsibility toward future generations”

Billions Committed for Environment at  Clinton Global Initiative – ENS.  Today in New York, the opening day of the third annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, CGI, brought together some 1,000 leaders of business, government and nongovernmental organizations from over 70 countries, including 52 current and former heads of state, who made commitments focusing on the Initiative's four focus areas: education, energy and climate change, global health and poverty alleviation.   

Economic Models Overestimate the Costs of Energy and Climate Polices – Sustainable Business. Testifying today at the U.S. House Science Subcommittee on Research and Science Education today, ACEEE Senior Economist for Technology Policy John A. "Skip" Laitner said that "most current economic policy models substantially overestimate the costs of energy and climate policies, because they consistently overlook the economic benefits of energy savings from accelerated adoption of energy-efficient technologies, changing social preferences, and more energy-aware behaviors." 

Britain to start phasing out high energy lightbulbs - Reuters.  Britain will begin phasing out energy-guzzling incandescent lightbulbs early next year in favor of low energy varieties as part of its battle against climate change, the environment ministry said on Thursday 

PG&E And Start-up To Create Giant Solar Projects - Reuters - Two of the nation's biggest power companies are teaming up with a solar start-up to create one of the world's largest solar power projects, which they say could make electricity at a competitive price.

Prius A No, No - Peugeot, Citroen And Ford Are All Greener, Says New Study – Environmental Graffiti. It looks like bad news for the Toyota Prius. A joint study between Cardiff University and Clifford Thames an automotive consultancy revealed tht far from being the greenest of the bunch, the Prius lagged behind the likes of Peugeot, Citroën, Ford, Smart, and other cars in a new environmental rating system. 

Climate Change Bill Calls for 50-cent Fuel Tax – ENN. U.S. drivers would pay a 50-cent tax on each gallon of gasoline they pump to encourage less fuel use and cut greenhouse gas emissions, under draft legislation to fight global warming released on Thursday.  

Arctic Thaw May be at "Tipping Point" – ENN. A  record melt of Arctic summer sea ice this month may be a sign that global warming is reaching a critical trigger point that could accelerate the northern thaw, some scientists say. 

Bush Under Pressure at Climate Change Conference – ENN.  President George W. Bush kicks off the second day of a conference on global warming on Friday under pressure from the world's major economies to accept binding limits on emissions of greenhouse gases. 

China Starts Countdown To Save Biodiversity By 2010 – ENN. As the rate of biodiversity loss accelerates worldwide, civil society organizations and governments are joining forces to fight the global extinction crisis.  On September 7 in
Beijing, twenty Chinese and international organizations signed the Countdown 2010 declaration, committing themselves to additional efforts to reduce biodiversity loss by the year 2010.  http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/23421

EU Struggles To Walk Its Talk On Climate Change – ENN. The European Union pressed world leaders this week to follow its lead in fighting climate change, but a battle looms at home over how to share the burden of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. 

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Preservation Battle Ends in Demolition of Texas School

Posted on: September 27th, 2007 by Margaret Foster


Denison High SchoolWhen a North Texas high school began to fall in June, the town rallied around it, trying everything to save the 94-year-old structure. In just two months, a grassroots group raised $2 million to preserve Old Denison High School.

"I have never seen a preservation battle like this," says Denise Alexander, program officer at the National Trust's Southwest Office, which gave Castle's group a grant for a conditions-assessment report. "To raise $700,000 in a month with commitments of up to $2 million … the outpouring of support has really been amazing."

But on Monday, after months of legal battles and a resident's last-minute offer to buy the building, a crane began demolishing the last section of the Spanish Mission style-building.

"I'm very angry with the short-sightedness of it all," says Michelle Castle, who led the effort to save the 1913 section of the school. "They shouldn't have rushed to the demolition."... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beyond Green Building: Morning Round-Up

Posted on: September 27th, 2007 by Patrice Frey


Like a Virgin: -- National Review. This past February, Richard Branson announced the “Virgin Earth Challenge,” a $25 million prize for the development of “a commercially viable design which results in the removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases so as to contribute materially to the stability of Earth’s climate.” His aim was to unleash the creative energies of innovators and inventors around the globe with the promise of a substantial economic reward.  If federal policymakers are serious about encouraging climate-related technological innovation, they would match or replicate Branson’s efforts. 

Pay-As-You-Go Solar – ENN.  You want solar but can't afford it? Purchase the power, not the panels.  That's what the solar energy company Sun Run Generation is doing. The company  announced a partnership with REC Solar,a company providing residential and commercial solar electric systems, to offer homeowners in California a discounted way to buy solar power. Homeowners have the option of purchasing solar energy the same way businesses have for years, by purchasing power instead of panels. 
US Businesses Conflicted About Adopting Climate Change Practices – ENN. While U.S. businesses are concerned about compliance costs related to climate change legislation, those same companies still believe that the federal government should be doing more to combat global warming, according to a new survey. 

Hidden Hazards of Air Fresheners – ENN. Washington - Could the floral scent of your air freshener contain toxic chemicals known to cause birth defects? NRDC recently tested 14 different air fresheners and found that 12 contained chemicals called phthalates (pronounced thal-ates), chemicals that can cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and reproductive problems. Even air fresheners marketed as "all-natural" or "unscented" contained the hazardous chemicals.  

New Analysis Shows Energy Bills Would Let Global Warming Emissions Rise for Decades – Environmental Defense. New analysis shows that energy legislation passed by the House and Senate would let greenhouse emissions continue to increase for the next three decades, even if the best fuel-saving and renewable energy provisions in both bills were combined in conference committee.  

Lead, Follow, or Move Aside – NYT.  Tom Friedman – it’s good to not have to pay for your columns again (NYT ditches “Times Select.”)   Leadership is about “follow me” not “after you.” Getting our national climate regulations in order is necessary, but it will not be sufficient to move China [to do the same.]. We have to show them what Wal-Mart is showing its competitors — that green is not just right for the world, it is better, more profitable, more healthy, more innovative, more efficient, more successful. If Wal-Mart can lead, and California can lead, why can’t America?

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Notes from the Field: New Orleans

Posted on: September 26th, 2007 by Walter Gallas


The Lafitte public housing development, New OrleansThe Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) announced this week that it would repair and reopen 18 buildings (representing 94 housing units) in the Lafitte public housing development, and would also open additional apartments in two other housing developments. This means that at least a portion of the Lafitte housing development which has been sealed since Katrina will be open for occupancy.

During discussions with HUD and HANO about the fate of these buildings, we had argued for the re-use of a substantial number of them as part of an overall redevelopment plan—but were told that this was not economically feasible. These are solidly-built brick structures from the early 1940’s with decorative ironwork on the porches, wooden sash windows, and red tile roofs. Lafitte is one of four housing developments HANO plans to completely demolish. At least for now, in a city with a chronic shortage of affordable and low-income housing, we will have a bit more.

Walter Gallas is director of the New Orleans Field Office.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Boston's 19th-Century Jail Reopens as Hotel

Posted on: September 26th, 2007 by Preservation magazine


Liberty Hotel, BostonAfter housing inmates since the 19th century, Boston's former Charles Street Jail now hosts hotel guests.

Completed in 1851, the Boston Granite Style building had been empty since 1990.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.