But, first, something from somebody else:
Katherine Bagley at Inside Climate News discusses the drought situation:
Drought conditions in more than half of the United States have slipped into a pattern that climatologists say is uncomfortably similar to the most severe droughts in recent U.S. history, including the 1930s Dust Bowl and the widespread 1950s drought.
The 2013 drought season is already off to a worse start than in 2012 or 2011—a trend that scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) say is a good indicator, based on historical records, that the entire year will be drier than last year, even if spring and summer rainfall and temperatures remain the same. If rainfall decreases and temperatures rise, as climatologists are predicting will happen this year, the drought could be even more severe. [...]
In February, 54.2 percent of the contiguous United States experienced drought conditions, compared to 39 percent at the same time last year. Large swaths of South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska and Montana—which entered last year's major agricultural growing season with very moist conditions—are now battling severe and extreme drought as farmers get ready to plant their spring crops.
The outlooks for rainfall and temperature are similarly bleak.
New Research Confirms Global Warming/Ocean Acidification Accelerating Faster Than Previously Thought—by beach babe in fl: "The Earth is warming fast and furious and much of the warming is going into the oceans. You may have heard that global warming had slowed due to slowed warming of global surfaces, but in new research published in Geophysical Research Letters, the authors found that much of the current warming is settling into the deepest depths of the ocean. Completely contrary to the popular contrarian myth, global warming has accelerated, with more overall global warming in the past 15 years than the prior 15 years. This is because about 90% of overall global warming goes into heating the oceans, and the oceans have been warming dramatically."
"Red State" Energy Hogs—by oldpotsmuggler: "A new analysis from CO2 Scorecard shows a partisan divide there too, with so-called red states ranking far below blue states in terms of energy efficiency policies. As a consequence, Republican-leaning states use 55 percent more energy per capita than Democratic ones and emit nearly twice as much carbon."
Video of Bernie Sanders Climate Change Conference in Montpelier—by radical simplicity.
Please continue below the fold for links and excerpts to additional rescued green diaries for the past week.
Climate change, energy consumption and production—by Deward Hastings: "Another excellent article at The Oil Drum regarding future energy production pretty much tells us where the “big money” is going ... and the only thing missing is the slightest hint that there is any consideration being taken of what it means for the planet."
Tech giants embrace clean energy—by DWG: "There are two drivers for clean energy. One is climate change. The other is the cost of constantly refueling fossil energy. Thanks to tons of money spent on deceptive propaganda and lobbyists by fossil energy companies, many Americans do not understand either issue. Google is cutting through the crap on the relative costs of clean versus fossil energy. The costs of generating power from renewables are falling thanks to economies of scale in production. The cost of fossil energy is going to touch the sky because the cheap, low-hanging fruits are long gone and the hydrocarbons that remain are more expensive to produce. At some point, human beings will also wake up to the reality of climate change and make fossil fuels even more expensive to burn by pricing or capping emissions. It is a smart business decision for Google. Even Forbes could not dismiss that."
Oregon & Washington Governors want Federal Gov. to look at big climate picture on coal exports—by Lefty Coaster: "Pacific Northwest Governors Jay Inslee and John Kitzhaber have joined together to asking the federal agencies reviewing proposals for 5 new coal export terminals in their states to include the consequences resulting from climate change the terminals would be exacerbating. [...] So far federal agencies like the Army Corps of Engineers have been trying to avoid looking at the larger climate issues involved. A united front by forward thinking Pacific Northwest Governors will make federal reluctance to look at the larger climate picture less tenable."
Obama Administration Moves Forward With New Rules Requiring Cleaner Gasoline—by joedemocrat: "The Obama Administration is proposing new regulations to reduce the sulfur in gasoline by 60 percent plus reduce nitrogen oxides by 80 percent. The new rules would result in $7 of health benefits for every dollar spent and add only one cent a gallon to the cost of gasoline. The EPA says the potential health benefits could be $23 billion a year by 2030. The Washington Post reports the proposed new rules would be the enviornmental equivalent of taking 33 million automobiles off the road."
Bicameral Task Force Tackles Climate Change—by Marcia G Yerman: "At the forefront of bringing awareness to all things green is Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), who serves as a ranking Democratic member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. In 2011, I wrote about the online database he developed, which tracked the extent of anti-environmentalist votes passed by the 112th Congress. In January 2013, Waxman released a statement on the National Climate Assessment draft report. He noted, 'The findings in the report are a three-alarm fire.'"
Who Will Support Climate Repairs?—by wcalvin: "Mere reduction in the yearly fossil fuel emissions does not promise any reduction in heat waves or shoreline inundation or ocean acidification, only that they will grow a little more slowly. The extreme weather of the last decade will only continue getting worse. But climate repair, on top of the current preventative measures such as emissions reduction, promises much more than slightly slowing civilization’s disorganization and collapse. Cleaning up the excess carbon dioxide in the air promises some real reversals in things that matter to many business and homeowner interests."
Fighting the Planet Killers—by xaxnar: "Over at The Scientist, there's an opinion piece by Michael E. Mann, Director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center detailing how his climate research has made him a target for the Climate Change Denial Industry, AKA the fossil fuels industry and their wholly - owned politicians. Here's the lead paragraph; read the whole thing.
As a climate scientist, I have seen my integrity perniciously attacked. Politicians have demanded I be fired from my job because of my work demonstrating the reality and threat of human-caused climate change. I’ve been subjected to congressional investigations by congressman in the pay of the fossil fuel industry and was the target of what The Washington Post referred to as a “witch hunt” by Virginia’s reactionary Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. I have even received a number of anonymous death threats. My plight is dramatic, but unfortunately, it is not unique; climate scientists are regularly the subject of such attacks. This cynicism is part of a destructive public-relations campaign being waged by fossil fuel companies, front groups, and individuals aligned with them in an effort to discredit the science linking the burning of fossil fuels with potentially dangerous climate change."
Climate Defenders: Come Out!—by Alison Carey: "When was the last time you engaged a friend on climate change? A co-worker? Your boss? Your neighbor? Your barista? Did you have clear and brief information on hand for the doubters or the confused? Were you ready with information on what actions folks might take to help solve the crisis? I think about climate change a lot, and I've never done this in an organized way. I start tonight."
Eco-Philosophy, Eco-Activism and Sustainability
Rebels With a Cause, a success story—by side pocket: "In the 1950s, the vision for the Marin County coast was all too familiar: the rural area would become an extension of San Francisco, resembling Menlo Park or Malibu; hundreds of thousands of people would reside in suburban housing developments between Bolinas and Tomales Bay; an eight lane freeway would connect the Richmond Bridge with Point Reyes Station; rural Highway One would become a multi-lane freeway; and harbors, marinas, and hotels would cover Bolinas Lagoon, Limantaur Estero and Tomales Bay. At the time most people assumed agriculture in the region was dead and the county’s dairymen and ranchers would become rich selling their land to real estate developers and move their operations elsewhere. Urbanization seemed unavoidable, especially for a rural area so close to a burgeoning city like San Francisco. Rebels With A Cause portrays the ordinary citizens as well as the responsible and often reluctant politicians who did extraordinary things to save what are now the Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area from development, creating an 80 mile-long park that supports open space, recreation, agriculture and wildlife. This compelling and epic story weaves together themes of conservation, ecology, development, finance, politics and sustainability."
Food & Agriculture & Gardening
The True Cost of Industrialized Food—by Bev Bell: "The objective of much of our industrial food system is to provide a profit to shareholders and CEOs. Coca-Cola’s advertising budget was over $2.9 billion dollars in 2010, money well spent from a stockholder’s point of view: profits that year were $11.8 billion. The current system, however, was not built only to amass wealth. Many policymakers and supporters, historically as today, have been driven by the conviction that industrial agriculture is the best way to produce massive amounts of affordable food. And in some ways it has accomplished this."
Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 9.6—by Frankenoid: "Also need to empty the compost tumbler and spread the contents around, and then re-fill it with the winter’s collection of kitchen scraps. I’ve a pretty good collection of dry stuff to mix in, so the new batch should get to cooking pretty fast. I also have some short wire border fencing to place along the stepping stones through the front flower beds — I’m trying to find something that will keep the damned mail carriers from stomping on little growing things. The stuff I used last year wasn’t sturdy enough — the mail carriers just bent it over when they stepped on it."
USDA Sued by Valley Meat Co. to Inspect Horsemeat, Employee Sends Message to Opponents—by FishOutofWater: "Write or e-mail the President, your Senators, your rep in Congress and the USDA demanding that the ban on slaughtering horses in the U.S. be reinstated. If congress does not reinstate the ban on slaughtering horses, the U.S. government will be forced by law, at taxpayer expense, to inspect horsemeat for export. This is not acceptable."
Undercover activist seeks to derail laws that ban undercover video of farms—by Christian Dem in NC: "Did you know that in some states, it's illegal to make undercover video of animal cruelty on farms? As surreal as it is, it's true. But one animal-rights activist is vowing to press on. The activist, who has requested ABC News refer to him as "Pete," worked as an employee at Bettencourt Dairies in Idaho for three weeks last year on behalf of the animal rights group Mercy for Animals. As detailed in an ABC News report last week, Pete recorded employees beating, kicking and dragging dairy cows around the farm – animal abuse violations that resulted in criminal charges against three workers.
But investigations like the one at Bettencourt Dairies may not be possible in other states across the country should farm management and agriculture lobbyists get their way. Nine different state legislatures are considering so-called "ag-gag" bills that would place restrictions on the filming or use of undercover video on farms. Five states have already passed similar laws. Just in case you don't think these laws have an impact, animal-rights activists have been forced to stop active investigations in Iowa and Utah, where "ag-gag" laws took effect at the start of this year."
Solar as a Cottage Industry—by gmoke: "Richard Komp has taught people how to make solar as a cottage industry in at least 16 different countries over the last few years. Here's the trailer for a recent documentary on his work in Mali."
The new economics of the power sector—by Jerome a Paris: "A lot of strange things have been happening in the European power sector lately, from negative prices, to utilities closing down brand new power plants and, naturally, action in various places to cut support for renewable energy (done in Spain and even mooted in Germany). I've long described renewable energy producers as price takers (i.e., they don't influence market prices in the short term and have to "take" market prices as set by other factors), but we are getting to the point, in a number of places, where the penetration of renewable energy is such that it has a real macroeconomic impact on the prices of electricity, and thus on the way power markets run. There's also been a big political battle brewing, as renewables "subsidies" are targeted by governments at a time of austerity in Europe, egged on by hardly disinterested utilities."
Colorado River Under Attack by Oil/Gas Industry—by War on Error : "Salazar just ok'd another 700,000 acres for oil shale production near rivers that flow into the Colorado River in addition to 130,000 acres of oil sands production in the same areas. The Green River is the chief tributary of the Colorado River. What could possibly go wrong? Just about everything. Fracking wells already line the Green River in Wyoming and Utah. Now 830,000 acres will be tar and oil shale mined. All three oil/gas production methods require huge amounts of water to produce. All three threaten to pollute the rivers. All three leave behind toxic waste. All three require fossil fuel energy to produce, lessening net gains from these environmentally devastating production methods."
"The Best Thing About the Earth Is If You Poke Holes in It Oil and Gas Come Out": GOP Science Lesson—by Richard Riis: "Rep. Steve Stockman, a Republican from Texas who believes John Boehner is not conservative enough and whose signature legislation is the proposed oxymoronic “Safe Schools Act” that would repeal federal laws mandating “gun-free zones” around schools, has now taken on “science-hating” liberals who support renewable energy. On Thursday Stockman demonstrated his sophisticated grasp of earth science and energy production by tweeting."
Large 2011 Oklahoma quake quite possibly tied to wastewater injection—by terrypinder: "A new study currently in press at Geology strongly suggests a link between the November 5, 2011 earthquake near Oklahoma City and a process well known and used all over the world by the oil and gas industry (and others) involving wastewater injection. [...] The study, by Katie M. Keranen, Heather M. Savage, Geoffrey A. Abers, and Elizabeth S. Cochran is actually quite simple. Beginning in 2009, seismicity began to increase in Oklahoma. As a result a new seismograph network was deployed. This network captured the November 5th quake's foreshock and large mainshock. The quake was perhaps one of the biggest in 1,000 plus years for Oklahoma."
FRESHER Act & BREATHE Act Aim to End Nat. Gas Frackers' Exemptions from Water & Air Regulations—by ProgressivePatriotPA: "The laws that ensure the safety of our water and air no longer protect us all as they once did. They don't apply to frackers, so for people who have had what they drink, bathe in, and breathe contaminated by fracking, they might as well not exist at all. Now, legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives would end these fracking exemptions and restore the full protections of our water and air for everyone."
Oxymoron of the day: Sustainable Shale Fracking—by DWG: "In lieu of tight federal and state regulations of the shale drilling industry, the industry is promoting "certification." Case in point is the new "Center for Sustainable Shale Development" (CSSD) certification scheme. Drillers who promise to meet certain standards will be given a gold star, which will then be used in advertising and other promotional materials. This CSSD certification system is supposed to elevate standards for drillers using hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus shale formation and presumably will serve as a model in other areas. [...]Not surprisingly, this idea has earned fawning praise in the media (e.g., Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Business Times, Los Angeles Times, and Times of Trenton). Critical thinking is a lost art in America."
Keystone & Other Fossil Fuel Transportation
State Department’s Keystone XL Contractor ERM Green-Lighted BP’s Explosive Caspian Pipeline—by Steve Horn: "Almost 11 years ago in June 2002, Environmental Resources Management (ERM) Group declared the controversial 1,300 mile-long Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline environmentally and socio-economically sound, a tube which brings oil and gas produced in the Caspian Sea to the export market. On March 1, it said the same of the proposed 1,179 mile-long TransCanada Keystone XL (KXL) Pipeline on behalf of an Obama State Department that has the final say on whether the northern segment of the KXL pipeline becomes a reality. KXL would carry diluted bitumen or “dilbit” from the Alberta tar sands down to Port Arthur, Texas, after which it will be exported to the global market."
Fareed Zakaria VS Adam Greenburg, XL Pipeline, Environmentalists Dilemma—by pollwatcher: "I've been fighting environmental battles for more than 40 years, we win some and we lose some. The problem with Global Warming is, our losses are permanent, and our victories are temporary. If the president stops KXL, the Oligarchs will sink a ton of money into Republican senatorial campaigns and use high gas prices and high unemployment, even though neither is related to KXL, as a club against Dem senate candidates and we will lose the senate in 2014, and we'll be having this same fight all over again in a few years. The only way to stop Global Warming now, is to make Alternative energy cheaper than fossil fuels. Wind and Solar are already more economical than coal for producing electricity. And tar sand oils are especially expensive."
Oil on the Minnesota Snow—by 6412093: "Welcome to the new generation of train-borne crude oil transport. This time, about 15,000 gallons of crude were spilled. News accounts claim this is the first instance of a train oil spill since the oil booms began in the North Dakota Bakken field, and the Canadian tar sands. Both fields blossomed a few years ago, and direct vast amounts of crude oil into railroad tanker cars, in addition to shipments through traditional pipelines. Published accounts have not yet revealed the type of crude oil spilled, although this train did originate in Alberta. Both the North Dakota and Canadian oil fields lack the massive pipeline networks that move virtually all oil from older fields, for instance in California and along the Gulf Coast. Generally, train transport has more, but smaller spills compared to pipelines, which have much fewer, but some larger spills."
Exxon-Mobil tar sands pipeline ruptures. Neighborhood evacuated.—by Zwoof: "[In] 2009, Exxon modified the capacity of the Pegasus pipeline, increasing the capacity to transport Canadian tar sands oil by 50 percent, or about 30,000 barrels per day. In a 2012 report, Bloomberg News reported the pipeline daily capacity to be 96,000 barrels of oil per day."
The Great Outdoors
The Daily Bucket: San Juan Islands National Monument—by OceanDiver: "Today President Obama is signing an Executive Order establishing the San Juan Islands National Monument. This act will permanently protect about 1000 acres of beautiful and dramatic land along the coast of the these islands, located in the Salish Sea of northwestern Washington state. This has been a long time in the works, and we islanders are celebrating, as are other folks who love and value nature!"
The Daily Bucket - What's in a Name?—by Milly Watt: "It is probably true in other regions, but especially in the Pacific Northwest we seem to be surrounded by reminders of naturalists and explorers who gathered and described our plants and animals for the scientific establishment of the 18th and 19th centuries. Thus, we have names honoring Georg Wilhelm Steller (1709-1746), Archibald Menzies (1754-1842), David Douglas (1799-1834), John Scouler (1804–1871), Thomas Nuttal (1786-1859), John Kirk Townsend (1809-1851), and of course Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) and William Clark (1770-1838) who reached the PNW in 1805. William Jackson Hooker (1785-1865) never made it to the PNW, but his name shows up in several local plant names (e.g. Hooker's willow)."
The Daily Bucket: My Brush with a Yankee Winter—by PHScott: "My brush shortcoming really started the morning before in southwest Virginia, in a valley near the mountains. There was snow sticking overnight but it started out warm so the first inch melted and then froze. This left my truck with a sheet of ice and then 2" of snow layered atop. And me without a brush or scraper, and darn cold. The powdery snow was easy to sweep off with my gloves. For the ice I figured I could start the truck and run the heater defrost and maybe melt it off. Sorta worked, softened it anyway. The truck was loaded meanwhile and I was ready to go so I found a stick and pushed the slurry around till I had a view hole thru the windshield. A long-handled brush with the scraper on the other end would have been better. Not something this Florida boy carries around."
The Daily Bucket - cottonwood and parrots—by bwren: "I had to pick clots of sticky cottonwood leaf bracts out from between Bill-the-Dog's toes when we returned from the Forest this afternoon. He was patient. Now his feet smell of musty dog pads and cottonwood resin. This is the first year in my memory when the fragrance of cottonwood is unaccompanied by the first raucous chatter of parrots. Red-fronted Conures has been our best guess, a colony of escaped house birds that somehow met and bred and thrived over a period of 15 or maybe 20 years in this urban landscape. Local lore has it that they migrate every year, summering in the Forest and heading 10 odd miles up to the wealthy neighborhoods north of the Ship Canal for the winter. Better pickings up there in the hard times, we joked."
The Daily Bucket - My Weird White-Crown—by enhydra lutris: "Every year I try to remember to note the last day that I see white crowns here. They come, a small flock, which I duly note, and then depart. At some point I go through the "gee, it's been a while since I last saw a white crown, I wonder when they left?" routine. Shortly after I did so this year, I noticed one still here, one. One straggler all alone, feeding in the thistle feeder tray."
Massive landslide on Whidbey Island as long section of bluff slides into Admiralty Inlet—by Lefty Coaster: "I can see the huge scar where the landslide occurred from where I'm sitting at my computer. This was very close to home. Huge landslides damage, threaten homes on Whidbey Island. Neighbors reportedly heard a noise that sounded like thunder or a sonic boom. Nobody was hurt. The damage was hundreds of feet wide. More landslides were reported throughout the day."
Fish & Wildlife
Dawn Chorus: Incredible Evolving Birds—by matching mole: "I hope you don't mind a little bit of science on your Sunday morning. I was going to write about the winter invasion of Razorbills into Florida. However the last week has been absolutely crazy at work and I don't have the time or energy to do the research to do the topic justice. I'll do it next time - maybe in May? This may seem like more work but it is a topic I know well and is fairly easy for me to explain (I hope). In previous diaries, when I've written about bird evolution I've discussed how birds have changed over evolutionary history. But it is important to realize that evolution isn't just something that has happened in the past, it is happening all around us."
Confessions of a Beetle Hunter—by Desert Scientist: "Beetle collecting was fun and I throughly enjoyed sifting through wet moss, leaf-litter, bark and rocks to discover obscure species. Black lighting at night and chasing tiger beetles during some awfully hot days was exciting. Karl and I went on several trips to Willcox Playa to set up our car battery-driven fluorescent UV lights near pools. After setting up we would often scour the nearby cow droppings for dung beetles, especially the beautiful green and copper Phaneus vindex. After dark we would find several tiger beetles attracted to the light including Cicindela pimeriana, C. nigrocoerulea, C. ocellata, C. lemniscata, and C. maruthra. Latter, when I ventured out alone to blacklight at the playa I always seemed to draw the attention of a local sheriff deputy, who asked me what I was doing and shook his head when I told him!"
Banning Big-Top Brutality—by ZakkFlash: "The recent Carson & Barnes Circus in Norman should have never happened. Animals in circuses spend up to 11 months of the year traveling. For thousands of hours, over long distances, they may be chained, transported in vehicles that lack climate control, and forced to stand or lie in their own waste. Performing animals such as elephants, lions, and tigers endure years of physical and psychological suffering in traveling acts.
Banning Big-Top Brutality—by ZakkFlash: "Bears, elephants, tigers, and other animals do not voluntarily ride bicycles, stand on their heads, balance on balls, or jump through rings of fire. They don't perform these and other difficult tricks because they want to; they perform them because they're afraid of what will happen if they don't. Standard circus industry practice is to use bullhooks and other objects to poke, prod, strike, shock, and hit animals in order to 'train' them — all for a few moments of human amusement."
B.C. Indian Chiefs: Wild salmon is the first and foremost priority—by Dan Bacher: "Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, stated, 'In regards to aquaculture, Commissioner Cohen’s most significant recommendation was that DFO should solely focus on the management of wild fisheries, and that the mandate for open-net fish farming be immediately moved from DFO to another federal department, as promotion of aquaculture development is in direct conflict with the interests of wild salmon stocks.'"
The Great Georgia/Tennessee Water War of 2013
—by Steven D: "Those aggressive northerners are staying out of this water fight. It's strictly an all Dixie affair - for now: Georgia senators today passed a resolution calling for the correction of survey areas along the state’s northern border in a 48-2 vote, a news release states. “The Tennessee Valley Authority has identified the Tennessee River as a likely source of water for North Georgia,” said Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth, as he presented the resolution. “Yet the state of Tennessee has used mismarked boundary lines to block our access to this important waterway.” [...]"
More Bay Delta Conservation Plan Documents Released—by Dan Bacher: "The Brown administration Wednesday unveiled three additional chapters of the preliminary draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels, including chapters on ecological effects, implementation, and governance. The document release drew fire from Delta and fish advocates, who said the ecological 'effects analysis' was nothing more than a 'rationale for conveyance.'"
Water for fracking: 8 acre feet, 6,721 acre feet or much, much more? —by Dan Bacher: "Opponents of the peripheral tunnels fear that the water diverted from the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta would be used for hydraulic fracturing in Monterey Shale deposits on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and in coastal areas. 'With apologies to all the sci-fi fans out there, I have to say I deplore the term "fracking," said [Richard] Stapler [Deputy Secretary for Communications of the California Natural Resources Agency]. It's shorthand for an important process called hydraulic fracturing used in the oil extraction business. The process uses water and a small mix of chemicals to fracture and prop open rock formations thousands of feet under the earth's surface to allow for pumping of crude oil. 'So, it's helpful to know that only 8 acre feet of water is used every year in California for hydraulic fracturing. That's enough water for 32 average families for a year. For additional context, the average amount of water we move through the Delta in a typical year is 4.8 million acre feet (though it varies by year),' Stapler stated."
Forests & Public Lands
New National Monuments—by Ojibwa: "This week President Barack Obama designated five new national monuments. National monuments are protected areas similar to national parks. While national parks are created by Congress, national monuments can be created by Presidential proclamation. In general, national monuments receive less funding than national parks and they provide fewer protections to wildlife. While some national monuments are managed by the National Park Services, others are managed by the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Fish and Wildlife Service. The Antiquities Act of 1906 provides the President with the power to proclaim national monuments. The first national monument created by Presidential proclamation was Devils Tower in Wyoming which was created by President Theodore Roosevelt."
American Indian Place Names in Glacier National Park—by Ojibwa: "We are going to start our tour in Kalispell, the closest city to the park. Kalispell was named for the Kalispel Indians who currently have a reservation in eastern Washington. The designation 'Kalispel' refers to camas, an important food plant, and we might translate this as 'camas eater.' [...] The original name of the town at the west entrance to the park was Belton (notice that the sign on the railroad station still says Belton) and it was changed to West Glacier in 1949. The Kootenai call the Belton Hills 'Spotted Foot Mountains.'"
DKos Tour Series: Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah—by richholtzin: "This state park’s stunning pinkish dune field is surrounded by red sandstone cliffs, blue skies and accented with juniper-piñon pine trees. Established in 1963 with land acquired from the BLM, this unusual domain was meant to serve as access to the dunes for recreation and protect the dune resources. A scenic 8-mile (12.8 km) paved road leads to the feature display of this setting."
DKos Tour Series: Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona—by richholtzin: "Today's tour takes us to the most celebrated slot canyon in the entire American Southwest. Located on the Navajo Reservation, in Page, Arizona, it is entirely managed by the Navajo tribe. Although photos taken in this slot canyon appear to be doctored, that is, given the singularity of both the lighting and artistic profile of the narrow walls, I can assure it Nature has created everything here. Water is also responsible for creating the slow canyon profile, that is, flash floods over the eons. As for the lighting effect, it is sunlight at a select time of day that embellishes the view. Get ready for a breathtaking view of Antelope Canyon, both the Upper and Lower sectors."
DKos Tour Series: White Sands National Monument—by richholtzin: "White Sands NM with its glistening white setting was founded in 1936 and governed by the NPS, who later added to the monument's repertoire of scenic places. Today, White Sands comprises the southern sector of 275 square miles of dunes composed entirely of gypsum crystals. Located on the northernmost boundaries of White Sands Missile Range is the famous Trinity Site. During the mid-1940s, this sector of White Sands was used for detonation of the first atomic bomb (a/k/a/ "ground zero"). The site remains a popular tourist attraction when it's open and traffic jams are said to be nearly as awesome as the first atom bomb explosion, which was very small in relation to what followed."
DKos Series: Carlsbad Caverns National Park—by richholtzin: "Carlsbad Caverns, “The Show Cave Tour,” begins rather dramatically, there in the Underground Lunchroom some 750 feet below the entrance. Approximately two-thirds of the park has been set aside as a wilderness are to preserve the fragile habitat of these subterranean environs. The interior of the caverns is illuminated (to some degree) and highlight the formations. Carlsbad includes a large cave chamber––the Big Room. This natural limestone chamber is nearly 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide and 350 feet high at the highest point. Itʼs the third largest chamber in North America and the seventh largest in the world."
The EPA Must Protect Our Water From Coal Pollution—by Mary Anne Hitt: "Believe it or not, power plants dump more toxins into our rivers and streams than any other industry in the United States, including the chemical, plastic, and paint manufacturing industries. Your drinking water should be safe, because our cities and towns do a good job of filtering and cleaning it, but those in rural areas who rely on wells don't have as much protection. Plus, our waterways, wildlife and ecosystems aren't so lucky. Coal plants have caused nasty fish kills and their poison builds up in fishing lakes and reservoirs."
Obama Administration To Rollback Nuclear Cleanup Standards—by TonyZ: "It seems almost inconceivable that in this era of nuclear disillusionment (almost three years to the day after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima permanently wiped parts of that city off the map), the Obama Administration is pursuing an agenda of nuclear deregulation. In a new proposal, the Administration seeks to dramatically weaken nuclear cleanup standards in the event of a nuclear accident or act of nuclear terrorism within the United States."
Best frugal, green cat toy—by Obfuscation Rescue: "And the winner is ... a plain piece of string about five or six feet long. Sisal is perfect."
Green Tires—by joedemocrat: "I was a bit skeptical because I wasn't familiar with the concept of "Green tires" or more Eco-friendly tires. Still, I didn't think he was just trying to sell me a more expensive tire because I usually buy mid priced tires. I did some googling. I learned most of the tire manufacturers now sell a "Green" or more Eco-friendly tire and these tires use a technology that lowers rolling resistance, which actually does increase fuel economy thus saving people a little gas money and reducing their carbon footprint."