Listen to EPISODE 1 of the "Everything is Connected" Podcast
1. Launch of mini-research assignment, "Get Your Motor Running"
Get your motor runnin': Energy Production Impact and Solutions mini-research assignment overview
2. 11 am: Guest speaker, Sara Vorhees with Doyle Trading Consultants, to give you an overview of various energy sources to choose from for your research topic. Here is the pdf of her presentation from today!
3. Choose your topic and begin researching! Write your topic on the whiteboard by the end of class
General Information from Sara Vorhees (these are her words-- read through this before choosing your topic and beginning research)
The Energy Information Administration (EIA): They report on all aspects of US Energy including future projections. From the home page you can search or link to hundreds of reports. www.eia.gov
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA): Tracks all kinds of data on mining in the US (largely coal) from production figures to number of employees, accidents and deaths, along with all the regulations in place to insure the safety of US miners. Good resource for Black Lung issues if someone were interested in drawbacks of coal mining. www.MSHA.gov (I use this website often in my position and would be happy to share more info as needed with students who need it)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Good resource for looking at what regulations are in place to protect the US from all manner of energy extraction and creation.
www.epa.gov The EPA’s Clean Power Plan is a hot button issue currently and would be a great thing for a student to study what went into creating it and the trouble the new administration will have in trying to just repeal it. Along with the implications that will result from scaling back regulations on power plants and their emissions.
In favor of Energy Industry:
You can direct the students to search for publicly traded companies in any energy sector (coal, natural gas, oil, solar, wind, hydro) along with publicly traded utility companies. Their websites all have a wealth of information on what they do and how they “protect” the environment.
Alex Epstein and the Center for Industrial Progress- www.industrialprogress.com. I met Alex a handful of years ago when he was just starting out. He is the uber cheerleader for the fossil fuel industry. He has a book “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuel” that lays out why it is a necessity in the modern world. His website is full of articles, interviews and debate tactics for winning over those who demonize fossil fuels. He loves connecting with the youth of America and would probably respond favorably to any student who contacted him detailing what their project was about seeking information.
Blog: The Coal Tattoo: West Virginia is considered ground zero for many coal mining issues. I have been following Ken Ward Jr and his blog on coal for many years (part of the Charleston Gazette- Mail newspaper). He is oddly neutral on most things concerning the coal industry and openly calls out his local officials when they are simply pandering to the locals. Many of the smaller mining communities in WV that have lost mining and have little other source of industry have fallen victim to rampant drug abuse. There is a lot of information available on this topic and would make a very interesting subject for someone to cover on what happens when mining leaves an area that is totally dependent on it.
Sierra Club, EarthGuardians, Earth First are just a few of the major groups that spend every minute of every day litigating anything and everything having to do with the energy sector and the environment. Oddly they even oppose moves to solar and wind energy!!! For those who feel strongly that we should move back to the pre-industrial revolution, these are your peeps. They rarely have great solutions, but will fight to the death against a new power plant being built.
The fight over the Dakota Pipeline and the XL Pipeline. A student could certainly dig into what the fight is really about and why the native people are so desperate to keep it off their land.
I have been following a brewing debate for years over coal companies in WY and MT wanting to build export terminals in Oregon and Washington State to move coal to Asia. Washington and Oregon both lean green on this debate and have tossed up roadblocks at every turn despite the fact it would bring commerce and many jobs to the towns. No one wants the dirty trains rumbling through town, or the messy stockpiles of coal sitting at the port waiting to be loaded (even though one said they would make it totally indoor). This would be a good both sides of the story project for someone to vet out.
There is also much debate in the US over building LNG (liquefied natural gas) terminals in the Gulf and some southern ports to sell off some of our extra natural gas to the export markets. We produce (or did a few years ago) way more natural gas thanks to fracing than we use. I have information on how much we have in storage as well as how the surplus is hurting the overall natural gas industry currently.
Humanities 11 Teacher at Animas High School