Flyby News Home - Flyby News Archives - Casinni NoFlyby - Flyby Links

Flyby  News

"News Fit to Transmit in the Post Cassini Flyby Era"

Kucinich Is the One* Earth Day Stirling * Yucca * Sonar & New Alaska Oil Plans

23 April 2002

This is a Flyby News' Earth Day 2002 late edition. Top on the list of this issue and for US President in 2004 is Dennis Kucinich. He is building a solid reputation as a leader for the cause of freedom and democracy. Item 2 is an Earth Day Stirling Engine article. John Kerry spoke up after the ANWR defeat and said we can't drill our way out of the mess we created, but we need to "invent" our way out of it. It is easy to talk, but real support for inventors for sustainable technologies have been lacking . The next three items show the dangers of being lulled asleep by idle rhetoric, while fast track legislation threatens lasting harm. This week Congress is expected to decide on the fate of Yucca Mountain, also, the US House of Reps. is pushing for broad military exemptions from environmental laws, (which would enable the Navy's sound piercing sonar systems to be engaged), and also, the Bush administration is preparing to open 9.6 million acres of pristine coastal lands on the other side of Alaska's North Slope for oil and gas leasing in 2004. So, rejoicing on the ANWR win is short-lived. Now is the time to keep pushing for big changes, please support the current campaigns, and for Kucinich's H.R. 3616 Bill to ban space-based weapons and for a US Department for Peace. Stop the Bush/Sharon leadership for the war machine of unconsciousness, and the madness from fear and greed that's killing our environment and human life.

1) Kucinich Is the One
2) Earth Day Stirling Advantage Article
3) House Puts Nevada Nuclear Waste Site Bill On Fast Track
4) The White House wants to kill protections for marine mammals
5) Bush sets sights on new Alaska oil reserve


1) Kucinich Is the One

"Today, in his second term as a US Congressman from Ohio, he is chairman of the Progressive Caucus, and its spark plug. His website reads like a press release: "He combines a powerful political activism with a spiritual sense of the interconnectedness of all living things. His holistic worldview carries with it a passionate commitment to public service, peace, human rights, workers' rights and the environment. His advocacy of a Department of Peace seeks not only to make nonviolence an organizing principle in our society, but to make war archaic." This sounds naïve and loonily idealistic, except for one thing: He is a remarkably practical and astute politician."

-- Studs Terkel

Kucinich Is the One
by Studs Terkel
May 6, 2002

When I finished reading John Nichols's exhilarating communiqué from California ("Kucinich Rocks the Boat," March 25), the bells began to ring. In his speech to the Southern California Americans for Democratic Action, criticizing Bush's conduct of the war on terrorism, Dennis Kucinich set the crowd on its ear--one standing ovation after another. Sure, they were all liberals, but what counted was the response on the Internet. The Cleveland Congressman's e-mail box was stuffed to overflowing with 20,000-plus enthusiastic letters. Among them was the call Kucinich for President. That's when--bingo!--I remembered my first encounter with him. It was twenty-four years ago.

At the arrival gate of the Chicago-to-Cleveland flight, a skinny kid who appeared no more than 19 or 20 reached out for my torn duffel bag. I thought he was one of those Horatio Alger heroes, whose opening line is usually "Smash your baggage, mister?" This one said, "Did you have a good flight, Studs?" I'll be damned, he was the person I had come to visit, Dennis Kucinich, the Boy Mayor of Cleveland.

For the complete story, link to


2) Earth Day Stirling Advantage Article

New technology from venerable Stirling
By JUDSON BROWN, Staff Writer
Hampshire Gazette, Northampton, MA

Monday, April 22, 2002 -- ATHOL - The three-story brick and concrete factory building near the center of this once prospering milltown has gone downhill since the day in 1906 when Calvin Coolidge came out from Northampton to dedicate it as the new home of the Athol Vise Co.

The building was one of the first precast concrete structures and considered a minor architectural marvel of the time.

Today it appears abandoned. Ripped plastic sheeting flaps in broken upper-story windows. The parking lot is a weedy and littered desert.

But external appearances can be deceiving. Once through a plywood side door whose gray paint is peeling, it is clear that the building is in the process of being restored to productive life, from the back forward and from the inside out.

The principals at a fledgling company called Stirling Advantage Inc. got the 28,000-square-foot structure and 3.4-acre site dirt cheap, at $64,000, three years ago, and have since been making structural improvements and installing machine tool equipment in anticipation of manufacturing a new kind of electric power generation system they have developed. The system is based on modifications they have made to the ancient and storied Stirling engine.

They are one of a growing number of entrepreneurial energy companies that have cropped up since widespread deregulation of electric power markets in the late 1990s.

Deregulation, which dissolved utilities' monopoly of power generation, provided "a terrific opportunity for companies like ours to bring new products to the marketplace," says Richard Meloy, formerly with the power project finance group at GE Capital, and now the owner of a consulting company in Connecticut and the chief financial officer of Stirling Advantage.

Sterling Stirling

The Stirling engine, first developed in Scotland in 1816 by Robert Stirling, a minister in the Church of Scotland, is referred to as an external combustion engine to distinguish it from the more familiar internal combustion engine. It applies external heat to gases sealed in heat-exchanger tubes that expand and (cooling) contract, activating reciprocal pistons.

The heat can come from anywhere, including from landfill gas, "biomass" (or composted plants) and industrial process waste heat, of which there is a huge amount being lost into the biosphere every day.

This versatility of the Stirling is one feature that should give their product an edge in a deregulated marketplace increasingly hungry for both "green" and "on site" solutions to electricity generation, according to company officials. CEO and president Ricardo Conde, 41, of New Salem designed the company's engine and also the manufacturing process. Vice president for marketing is Jim Sweeney of Plymouth, and vice president is Jonathan Haber of Warwick.

That the Stirling engine involves no combustion and therefore no exhaust and that it is more efficient than most engine systems by virtue of its ability to "regenerate" some heat within itself are also strong selling points, these company officials say.

The modification he has made, and for which he is seeking a patent, adds further efficiency, Conde notes. His Stirling has a hydraulic motor drive, which means there are no piston cranks that create friction, need maintenance, and wear down.

'Distributed power"

There is a fast-growing market for so-called "distributed" or on-site electric generation systems chiefly because they are increasingly cost-effective and reliable in a way that power coming off the centralized electric grid can never be, according to Lawrence L. Ambs, a professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

As director of the Center of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the university, Ambs has consulted with Conde and company about certain technical aspects of their Stirling power system when they were referred to the center by the state environmental office.

"The Stirling cycle is always interesting," Ambs said.

Combined heat and power production is of major interest to the UMass center which, along with a New York State agency, is currently seeking federal Department of Energy funds to develop a northeast regional center to explore the issue, Ambs said.

The Stirling system holds promise in this arena for its waste heat applications, Ambs said, although he's not ready to endorse the local company, which still has to get over the large and expensive hump of producing a working prototype before they are ready to ramp up to production.

Ambs also pointed out that there are many different technologies, from combined gas and turbine systems to "micro turbines" to fuel cells, competing with one another in the alternative energy field.

The funding hurdle

Stirling Advantage, which four years ago was spun out of a seven-year-old Athol-based company called MicroPhotonics, has succeeded in raising about $1 million to date, mostly from various "angel" investors, said Haber. CFO Meloy added that a Massachusetts water purification company also is an equity partner as they are looking for a high efficiency engine to drive their water filtration systems.

Since the fall of 2000, when the technology-loaded NASDAQ stock exchange took a plunge, it has become harder and harder to raise money as "investors' appetites for risk have been reduced," Meloy said. "That's why now they say they need to see a prototype."

The money raised to date has helped pay for such things as engineering and legal services (covering patent applications, among other things), purchase of the old Athol plant, the start of the conversion of the plant, and equipment.

Half the old floor has been covered with a new concrete slab. Bags of concrete are stacked to the ceiling. The space is light and bright thanks to new steel-framed insulated windows. Among the large pieces of equipment installed in the space are a computerized machine tooling center; a metal tube-bending machine that includes a very long conveyor; and, in a sequestered area behind a new concrete block partition, a large and lumpy horizontal device called a dynamometer. It's wired up to a computer on the other side of the wall.

Various test parts of the engine, including crazily looping tubes (prototype heat exchangers that will contain the sealed hydrogen gas) and shining machine-turned cylindrical piston containers, are collected in various places in the shop.

The dynamometer, which Conde described as a series of interconnected brakes, will be used to test some prototype single-cylinder 25 kilowatt Stirling engines, assuming that some much-needed new funding comes in. The company is waiting to hear on its application for $500,000 in response to a request for proposals from the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency for "innovative distributed generation technologies."

Beyond prototype

After the prototype is tested, the plan is to complete engineering of a larger, 4-cylinder 250 kilowatt model, and then to crank out 20 of them for field testing, a two-year process that will cost an estimated $8 to $10 million.

In its business plan, the company has identified "waste industrial process heat" as its first "target market." Conde, whose diverse work background includes having been manager of a glass manufacturing plant, said glass and ceramic manufacturers are particularly large consumers of process heat and would be likely customers.

U.S. manufacturers, according to information in the plan, spend $11 billion annually on process heat. Forty percent of this heat currently is being wasted, said Conde. This is a huge potential market.

Stirling Advantage has been in conversation with several large manufacturing companies that, once they see a prototype, might be willing to invest generously in bringing the company's modified Stirling into full production, Meloy said.

Related sites:

Stirling Advantage, Inc.

Center of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Stirling Engine Society USA

This article is also posted, with links and photo, at:


3) House Puts Nevada Nuclear Waste Site Bill On Fast Track

The vote in the Senate will be close. Please call both your Senators at 202-224-3121 to tell them to sustain the Nevada veto. No Yucca Mt., no Mobile Chernobyl. Fax & other contact data should be available at Please disseminate this to other lists & interested parties.

Don't you just love the line "neutral experts" at NRC? If you want to give DOE & Abraham a piece of your mind they can be reached at

-Bill Smirnow

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

House Puts Nevada Nuclear Waste Site Bill On Fast Track
Thu Apr 18, 323 PM ET

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- A hearing Thursday put on a fast-track schedule a House vote on whether to override the state of Nevada 's opposition to a proposed nuclear-waste repository at Yucca Mountain, 90 miles from Las Vegas. The House Energy and Commerce Committee's panel on energy and air quality heard testimony from Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham in support of the Bush administration's highly controversial proposal to store high-level nuclear waste in the Nevada desert.

The subcommittee is scheduled to vote next week on legislation to override Nevada 's statutory veto of the repository site, and the full committee is slated to vote on the measure the following week, said Ken Johnson, an aide to Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., the committee's chairman. And the House Transportation Committee has set a hearing next week on the issue, all of which sets the stage for a vote on the House floor early in May, said Joe Colvin, president and chief executive of the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry group.

For the complete story and links, see:


4) The White House wants to kill protections for marine mammals

Dear LFA Activists

..The Republicans in the House of Representatives are, according to this story and other information, to take the broad military exemption from environmental laws, attach it as an amendment to the Defense budget authorization bill next week, and try to jam it through Congress. Making the bill an "anti-environmental rider" makes their job easier, as the full bill MUST be passed by Congress in order to authorize the Pentagon to spend money again next year. (Several people have e-mailed me asking me what the bill number is for this proposal. There is no bill number yet, as the draft legislation has not yet been officially "introduced." yet. When the Republicans finish work in Committee on the Defense authorization bill in the next week or two, then we will have a bill number to focus on.)

I understand some Democrats are willing to try to pull the military exemption rider out of the bill, but face an uncertain future in the House, which has a majority of Republicans. By separate e-mail, I am sending around my alert of a few weeks ago. Now, more than ever, it is time to contact members of Congress to get this ugly and non-germaine rider out of the Pentagon's budget bill!!

As one example, the amendment to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which changes the definition of "harassment" from one which applies to individual animals (e.g. now, the MMPA prohibits harassment of any marine mammal, unless you have a permit to do so) to one which the harassment has to be proven to have "biologically significant effects." That standard is virtually impossible to prove, so the Navy would be essentially exempt from any harm shown to individual marine mammals from their activities. This is a license to kill whales, dolphins, birds, endangered species, and the Earth, folks!
-- Mark J. Palmer

Mark J. Palmer
Assistant Director
International Marine Mammal Project
Wildlife Alive
Earth Island Institute
300 Broadway, Suite 28
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 788-3666 x139
(415) 788-7324 (fax)

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Pentagon Asks Easing of Rules Environment
The White House wants to restrict protections for marine mammals.
Changes are being sought to six laws.

Times Staff Writer
April 20 2002

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is seeking to restrict protections for marine mammals as part of a sweeping proposal to exempt the military from key provisions of environmental legislation. The Pentagon's proposed changes to six landmark environmental laws were presented to Congress in briefings Thursday. Draft legislation was delivered Friday evening to Capitol Hill. Members of Congress begin drafting the defense authorization bill next week.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act forbids--with certain exceptions--harassing, hunting, capturing or killing whales, dolphins or any other marine mammals. Environmentalists charge that the Pentagon's proposal would dilute the definition of "harassment" so much that the National Marine Fisheries Service would find it difficult to regulate military activities that affect marine mammals. The changes also would make it harder for citizens and environmental groups to sue the military for endangering marine mammals.

The Pentagon's proposal, a draft of which was obtained by The Times, lso would give the military exemptions under the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and hazardous waste laws. According to the military, environmental laws have
inhibited training at bases across the country and on the waters offshore.

The complete article is posted:

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Related article by Marc Kaufman, Washington Post, 4/17/2002

"Sonar dispute grows louder between Navy and its critics"

WASHINGTON - For more than a decade, the Navy has been developing a revolutionary sonar system designed to detect new ''quiet'' submarines of the future by sending out extremely loud, low-frequency pings around the globe. At the same time, environmentalists and oceanographers have grown increasingly worried that the intense sound waves emitted by the new sonar would confuse, injure, and eventually kill noise-sensitive marine mammals, and large whales in particular. Now, with the National Marine Fisheries Service on the verge of making a final decision on whether to allow deployment of the new low-frequency sonar - and, if so, with what restrictions - the Navy and its critics have intensified their competing campaigns to have it quickly approved or permanently sidetracked.

Disputes between the military and environmentalists are nothing new. But the Navy sonar controversy is approaching a climax in what both proponents and opponents say is a new atmosphere created by the Sept. 11 attacks.

For the complete story that ran on page A4 of the Boston Globe on 4/17/2002, see:

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Related article, April 09, 2002
Whale activists want sonar silenced
By Laura Linden

In the space of just two days, 16 whales mysteriously beached themselves in the Bahamas. Six of the creatures died, their ears and brains bleeding and crushed from a mysterious source of pressure.

That was in March 2000.

Four months ago, the U.S. Navy admitted that the pressure came from huge blasts of underwater sound it had deployed during surveillance exercises. Now, the Navy wants to launch a five-year program using similar but less powerful equipment -- so-called Low Frequency Active Sonar -- possibly off the coast of California. The Navy sonar ships would operate throughout 80 percent of the world's oceans, according to the proposal.

The unprecedented admission of the Navy's role in the death of the whales has lent validity to environmentalists' long-standing concerns about sonar's threat to marine mammals. "The entire Bahamas incident raises a red flag about the operation of active sonar and other intense sound sources," said Michael Jasny, senior policy analyst with the National Resources Defense Council.

For complete article, see:,1002,10973%257E515745%257E88%257E,00.html


Stop LFAS Worldwide! Insist that people be told the truth about LFAS and other high intensity sonars. For additional updates go to this URL , also you can visit the link to


5) Bush sets sights on new Alaska oil reserve

Bush sets sights on new Alaska oil reserve
Debate muted over North Slope drilling
By Los Angeles Times

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The U.S. Senate last week rejected oil drilling on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but the Bush administration quietly is preparing to open 9.6 million acres of pristine coastal lands on the other side of Alaska's North Slope for oil and gas leasing in 2004.

Unlike ANWR, the lands within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, west of the Prudhoe Bay oil field, do not require further Congressional approval for oil drilling.

U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton has ordered federal land managers to move quickly to expand leasing within the reserve, where the oil industry found potentially significant deposits during an initial lease sale on 4.6 million acres opened for exploration in 1999.

For complete story, see:,1413,88%257E10973%257E564262,00.html

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

See how your Senators voted for protecting or drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

Flyby News is a free electronic news service regarding peace in space, human rights, indigenous, and environmental issues.

Email address: