By Marissa McNatt
From the hype around the Keystone Pipeline’s potential for job creation, to the whopping tax breaks given to oil companies, these are some of the numbers and statements that caught our attention this year.
Our index offers food for thought on environmental issues as 2011 comes to a close.
1) Record-breaking amount the U.S. spent on damages from 12 separate weather/climate disasters in 2011: approximately $52 billion
2) Amount in profits the five biggest oil companies in America made during the first three-quarters of 2011 due to high oil prices: $100 billion
3) Amount oil companies have fought to retain in tax breaks: $4 billion annually
4) Amount the federal government spends on the oil and gas industry annually compared to investments in renewable energy: 13 times more
5) Portion of Democrats who say that that the average temperature on Earth is rising mostly because of human activity: 51 percent
6) Portion of Republicans who say that that the average temperature on Earth is rising mostly because of human activity: 19 percent
7) Quote from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.): “And I guarantee you the EPA will have doors locked and lights turned off and they will only be about conservation.”
8) Birthplace of Michele Bachmann: Waterloo, Iowa
9) Pounds of ammonia — declared a hazardous substance under the Clean Water Act — released by companies in Waterloo, Iowa, in 2009, as reported by the U.S. EPA: 56,082
10) Another quote from Rep. Michele Bachmann: “Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas” – April 2009.
11) Number of studies/documents the U.S. EPA recently made available to the public on chemicals that previously have been treated as confidential business information (CBI): 1,014
12) Percent of Latinos that live in the Unites States’ top 25 most ozone-polluted cities: nearly 50 percent
13) Number of homes that wind energy powers in Iowa and number of wind energy companies providing jobs: 900,000 and 200 respectively
14) Date the production tax credit for wind energy is set to expire: December 2012
15) Quote from Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) concerning the Keystone Pipeline: “Why don’t we do it? And put 20,000 Americans to work, another 100,000 Americans that will be affected indirectly by the construction of this pipeline. So, if it’s all about jobs, then it ought to be about jobs.”
16) Number of jobs the Cornell Labor Institute calculated the Keystone Pipeline would create: 2,500-4,650 temporary direct construction jobs for two years.