|Every week Daily Kos diarists write dozens of environmentally related posts. Many don't get the readership they deserve. Helping improve the odds is the motivation behind the Green Diary Rescue. In the past seven years, there have been 260 of these spotlighting more than 15,903 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 91 more that appeared in the past seven days. That makes for lots of good reading during the spare moments of your weekend. [Disclaimer: Inclusion of a diary in the rescue does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.]|
|You can find more rescued green diaries below the sustainable squiggle, including the numerous Keystone XL pipeline posts generated by Friday's release of the State Department's environmental impact statement.
Spot the oil industry talking points in the SOTU—by JesseC: "Test your BS meter with this one question quiz: Which part of Obama's State of the Union was written by the oil industry? a) 'America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades'; b) 'natural gas—if extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change'; c) fracking for oil and gas can be "sustainable"; d) all of the above. The answer is literally, 'all of the above.'"
Daiichi: Monitoring the Plumes. Or Not—by Joieau: "As part of the PR effort, academics have been enlisted to add their cachet of authority, even if they're not 'experts' on the subject of nuclear technology or radiation. Including those whose fields are psychology and even just risk assessment. Then there are the oceanographers such as Ken Buesseler of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (among others), who did some sediment, water and life form testing off Fukushima and across the Pacific in 2011 and 2012, documenting the levels of Fukushima isotopes and degree of bioaccumulation in food chains. Their most maddening tendency—to me, as someone who does know a bit about radiation and its gnarly effects on biological tissues—is to equate the concentrations of Fukushima radionuclides to 'natural' background levels of exposure for the purpose of minimizing possible public concern for the increased presence of man-made radioisotopes in our environment and food supplies."
First Results from Crowd-funded Fukushima Radiation Monitoring Program—by MarineChemist: "The purpose of this diary is to report initial results coming from Dr. Ken Buesseler's crowd-sourced and funded monitoring program Our Radioactive Ocean. Samples collected this year by citizen scientists along the California coast indicate that 134-Cs is below detection in seawater at this point and 137-Cs levels are ~2 Bq/m^3 and consistent with activities expected from 20th century weapons test fallout. Given its short half-life of approximately 2 years this means that ocean transport of Fukushima radioactivity has yet to impact the coast of California. Model predictions suggest that waters affected by Fukushima will arrive along the California coast this spring."
Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation
Will the SEC investigate the State Dept's Keystone Climate Bombshell?—by A Siegel: "A typical Washington ploy—release late on Friday afternoon material that you hope disappears into the dustbin of weekend inattention to serious matters. The State Department's release, earlier today, of a flawed look at the Keystone XL pipeline's climate impact derived from a highly questionable (highly questioned with Inspector General investigations ongoing) process is a classic example. The world, however, is changed. The movement of information has changed. And, this is not something watched solely by people locked to their M-F, 9-5 jobs. [...] In Washington DC, information is currency. On Wall Street, information translates into massive currency. For the past few days, key oil interests and players with, evidently, insider knowledge—such as the American Petroleum Institute's Jack Gerard—created a buzz, telling reporters and who knows who else, that the State Department review of Keystone XL would come out Friday and that it would be favorable to the project. Hmmmm ... their creation of buzz seems to have, clearly, been based on some real information. Who in the Department of State (or elsewhere) provided this information to Gerard?"
Super Bowl Friday Trash Dump: State Dept Releases KXL Final Environmental Review—by Steve Horn: "The Final SEIS also precedes a heavily anticipated State Department Inspector General’s report addressing these potential conflicts-of-interest between TransCanada, ERM and the State Department, as has been covered here on DeSmogBlog. It also occurs on a Friday afternoon before the Super Bowl, with attention of much of the American public diverted. Environmental groups and opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline were surprised by the timing and suddenness of the report’s release. The surprise was not shared by supporters of the pipeline. For days, industry reps have been claiming that the SEIS would be released this week. The loudest voice was that of Jack Gerard, chief executive of the American Petroleum Institute (API), who speaking to Reuters last week said, 'It’s our expectation it will be released next week,' citing sources within the administration."
KXL Foxes Write the Henhouse News. MICATS Are Convicted of Criminal Caring—by noise of rain: "Yes, America, we understand. We understand that we are fully owned and operated by the Global Lubrication Cartel, and that no matter whom we elect, the Cartel gets its blood tribute. We understand the deepest duplicity of the oleocracy and how every transaction is predicated upon slippery slides of money from fist to palm, from power to the powerful while the world watches the last migration of monarchs, the last song of the warbler, the last tumored frog. We get how men wash their hands of the dirt of tomorrow with the deep satisfaction of a job well done, the swampland dug, the birdsong gone. We understand, America, the global reach of global arms, crude lubrication across benzine seas, from pipeline to shoreline to market shares. We understand that vast landscape tracts are only images from Landsats passed, the boreal, the vernal, the prairie grass, the soil hugging roots in rich stew blown away washed away in gully blast. Yes, America! We know what we are when we bangpipe the deep wells down into the crushing rock, blasting a toxic cola for the cleanest gas. We are America! We are strong, and we are free!"
The survival of the human race depends on fate of KeystoneXL and fracking—by thereisnospoon: "One of the frustrations of being a climate activist is that far too many people simply do not understand the stakes. Climate issues are often forced through an "environmentalist" lens, wherein issues that should rightly be discussed as a matter of planetary survival are instead talked about as a matter of public health. So the Keystone pipeline becomes about potential spills and wildlife impacts. Fracking becomes about earthquakes and groundwater pollution. That's a frustrating tragedy. Let's be very clear: if the human race continues to burn fossil fuels for the next 30 years at the rate we've been burning them up to now, our species (as well as most other species on the planet) may not survive. Most people either cannot emotionally grasp that statement, or refuse to believe it's true. But it's true."
Keystone XL - State Department says no major environmental impact (!)—by jeremybloom: "Oh, the chutzpah. An environmental impact statement (written by a consulting firm under investigation for lying about their extensive oil-industry ties) has concluded that the Keystone XL pipeline will have zero effect on the environment and climate change. The ludicrous reasoning behind that assessment? 'Approval or denial of any single project is unlikely to significantly affect the rate of extraction of the oil in the oil sands, or the refining of heavy crude on the U.S. gulf coast.' Which is a very Zen way of doing business. 'Hey, pollution happens one way or another. What difference does it make which particular company does it? Whatev. Don't get all bent out of shape, dude.'"
Expected today, government's Keystone XL review said likely to disappoint environmental advocates—by Meteor Blades: "The long-awaited supplemental environmental impact statement on the much-disputed Keystone XL pipeline will be released Friday afternoon, according to two unnamed senior administration officials, CNN reports. Multiple sources in the past 24 hours, starting with Bloomberg News, have said that the SEIS, which amounts to a third draft of the EIS first issued in 2011, will not make happy environmental advocates who have intensely opposed the pipeline for five years:
'The (study) is in the final stages of preparation and we anticipate a release of the document soon,' a State Department spokesperson told CNN. 'As a reminder when it is released, (the study) is not a decision, but another step in the process prescribed by the Executive Order' from the President. [...] Once the results of the study are out, eight U.S. agencies will then comb through it and offer their feedback. Secretary of State John Kerry will make a final recommendation to the White House. The State Department is handling the report because the 36-inch pipeline—designed to carry tar sands petroleum in the form of diluted bitumen 1,179 miles from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska and then through existing pipelines to the Texas Gulf Coast—crosses international boundaries, and the law requires a special presidential permit in such instances."
Eco-advocates deeply unhappy with Keystone XL pipeline review. Rep. Grijalva calls it a 'sham'—by Meteor Blades: "As expected, the State Department released its long-awaited Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the Keystone XL pipeline Friday afternoon. Most media reports have been stating that the 11-volume document gives the project a green light and the response to that from many environmental advocates has been fierce.
But Josh Mogerman, deputy director of national media at the Natural Resources Defense Council wrote Friday afternoon: Lots of reporters seem to have been working off of the State Department's briefing that took place this morning, rather than reading the actual Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that came out late afternoon today. There's an array of issues that the first wave of stories seem to be getting wrong—and we will deconstruct some of that stuff later. But the issue of Keystone XL being the lynchpin that determines whether unsustainable plans to triple production of the dirtiest oil on the planet continues to get short shrift. Simply put, if the President says no to this project, the tar sands industry will be forced to take their foot off the pedal, which in turn means easing off one of the fastest growing sources of carbon pollution in North America."
NYT: State Dpt. Eases Way to Keystone Pipeline Approval - Oil Lobbyists Happy!—by Ray Pensador: "I and many other people have been arguing for quite some time now that the Keystone Pipeline will be approved. The reason for that is simple: follow the money. Oil industry companies and lobbyists have spent an extraordinary amount of money on influencing this process. There have also been reports of conflicts of interests of some key government people [...] This latest report does nothing to address an ongoing pattern of a process that appears to be rigged in favor of oil interests, as reported by truthout:Review of the northern section of the pipeline, the fate of which remains up in the air, has been mired in controversy. For starters, TransCanada’s director of government relations, Paul Elliot, was also the national deputy director for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 run for president. And Clinton was heading the State Department when the agency began reviewing the pipeline’s environmental impact.The handwriting is on the wall. Follow the money, and the conflicts of interests, as we descend into becoming a banana republic..."
Commissioners pipeline meeting: Eminent domain and big companies' need for flexibility—by danps: "Last week I linked to this article detailing how the relative lack of pipelines in Ohio is preventing fracking from taking off as the extraction industry would like. This means pipelines have moved front and center in some communities. Since the fastest way to assemble the land for one is to pressure citizens to sell under threat of seizure via eminent domain (ED), ED law is starting to get a much closer look. The short version is that ED can be used for oil but not liquefied natural gas, meaning yes for traditional drilling but no for fracking. Companies have taken note of the distinction: the eminent domain statute says only companies that ship 'natural or artificial gas, petroleum, coal or its derivatives, water, or electricity' through pipelines have a right force Ohioans to sell easements on their land. The eminent domain law doesn't mention natural gas liquids. To get around that, the company uses a different definition for the ATEX in court cases where it is citing eminent domain power, calling it a 'petroleum product derived from natural gas extraction process.'"
TransCanada Pipeline Explodes, Leaving 4,000 Heatless in Sub-Zero Temps—by ericlewis0: "If the name TransCanada is familiar to you, it may be because they are the corporation behind the as yet unapproved KeystoneXL Pipeline. But the technology is safer than ever, they keep telling us! Yaright. From ThinkProgress.org: A natural gas pipeline operated by TransCanada Corp. exploded and caught fire in the Canadian province of Manitoba on Saturday, shutting off gas supplies for as many as 4,000 residents in sub-zero temperatures. 'We could see these massive 200- to 300-meter high flames just shooting out of the ground and it literally sounded like a jet plane,' resident Paul Rawluk told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. [...] a Wall Street Journal analysis released this week found that people discover pipeline spills far more often than the leak-detection technology touted by companies. Based on PHMSA data for 251 pipeline incidents over four years, the WSJ found that nearby residents or company employees were nearly three times as likely to detect a pipeline leak. Leak-detection software, special alarms and 24/7 control room monitoring, on the other hand, discovered leaks just 19.5 percent of the time."
Renewables & Conservation
U.S. Solar Jobs Grew 20% Last Year—by TomP: "U.S. solar companies added 20 percent more jobs in the 12 months through November, the biggest climb since an industry-funded group began its survey four years ago. The survey of more than 15,000 employers found 23,682 jobs were added, with installation accounting for about half of the industry’s 142,698 workers, the nonprofit Solar Foundation concluded in a report posted on its website today. The rate is 10 times more than the national average for job growth, as a continued decline in installation costs spurs demand for solar power systems."
Bio Fuel and Greening the Desert: Possible breakthrough using halophytes for fuel—by CanisMaximus: "I didn't see this anywhere else, so I thought I'd try my hand at posting something with substance for a change. My big deal is potable water. My next big deal is environmental degradation. So when I ran across this article about halophytes, or salt-tolerant plants, I realized there was something beyond shrimp farming* you could do with these plants. The people at Boeing seem convinced this would solve many of the problems associated with using low-grade fuels from tar sands and shale in their jet engines. It would have the added effect of greening the desert and acting as an additional sink for CO2."
The Daily Bucket-Bittersweet About Solar Energy—by 6412093: "I've wished for rooftop solar energy generators for a long time. This year, when our roof got too decrepit to repair, I was anxious to explore how we could stick it to the man with our own little power plant. But once again, I was careless about what I wished for. Keep reading below the twisted orange yarn, and I'll spin a yarn about unpredicted consequences and unexpected emotions. [...] 'Of course, that tree is gonna have to come down,' [the estimater] gestured. Oh, that tree. That tree is a lovely sugar maple, with a stout truck, and a half dozen substantial branches spreading 50 feet high, in a pleasing umbrella shape. It's probably six decades old, like the other grand trees in this aging suburban neighborhood. That's the tree that shelters the little native frogs that appear from nowhere, every summer. That's the tree that accompanies the red and purple Rhododendrons in the corner of the yard. That's the tree whose arching canopy shades our living room and front porch on sultry summer afternoons. Hawks sit in that tree sometimes, waiting for careless squirrels to approach. The crows and blackbirds and jays also like the vantage points high up in that tree. Feelings I never suspected I had for that tree, built up inside me. But if I want solar panels on my roof, I must have that tree cut down."
Citing DeSmogBlog Series, “FrackNation” Screening Cancelled by MN Film Festival—by Steve Horn: "FrackNation, the documentary film about hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') with close conservative movement ties, recently had its showing cancelled at Winona, Minnesota’s annual Frozen River Film Festival (FRFF). Citing DeSmogBlog‘s two-part investigative series published in May 2013 on FrackNation, FRFF Director Mike Kennedy told the Winona Post his rationale for cancelling the film is that it was, 'pretty apparent they were paid to make these movies to counter Gasland [Part II].' 'DeSmogBlog.com appears to be the main source of allegations that ‘FrackNation’ was industry-funded,' wrote the Post. 'DeSmogBlog claims connections between [film Co-Director Phelim] McAleer and conservative groups, industry groups help[ing] promote the film after its was made, and the fact that McAleer directed an industry-funded documentary in the past, as proof that FrackNation is cut from the same cloth.'"
PA's Worse: Dem Gives Pitiful Excuse for Fracking Deregulation Vote (VIDEO)—by ProgressivePatriotPA: "This is a video from my show Counterpoint PA, the only grassroots progressive newscast exclusively about Pennsylvania politics. In this edition of Counterpoint PA's homage to Keith Olbermann, the Worst Pennsylvanians of the Week, the bronze goes to Democratic state Senator Vincent Hughes for voting to pass a bill out of committee that would give the fracking industry the same liability immunities for using abandoned mine drainage (pretty nasty stuff) to frack that volunteers get for trying to clean it up and giving an embarrassingly bad reason for doing so. In my commentary, I address my issues with his excuse both on the merits and in terms of his capacity to get campaign donations from the fracking industry."
PA Fraktivist Barred from Setting Foot on Nearly 40% of her own Home County—by dweb8231: "A fascinating and horrifying story in this morning's UK Guardian newspaper about anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins. Scroggins has spent the past five years in opposition to fracking in Susquehana County in northeastern Pennsylvania—the heart of the state's Marcellus Shale drilling industry. She has visited frack sites—posting up to 500 videos on YouTube. She has called in health and environmental regulators at perceived violations, and she has organised bus tours of frack sites for anyone who is interested—from Yoko Ono and Susan Sarandon to visiting Canadian elected officials. In October, however, the major drilling company in the region, Cabot Energy, hauled Ms. Scroggins into court on just 72 hours notice (too little time for her to find a lawyer), produced 9 company employees and members of their private security firm and in short order had a court order from local judge Kenneth Seaman barring her from setting foot on any property owned or leased by Cabot in the county. What has ensued is a living nightmare for Ms. Scroggins. Nearly 40 percent of the county's lands are in Cabot control, but Ms. Scroggins has no map to guide her on where she can and can't go."
Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash
Out Of Control Gulf Gas Rig Spewing Methane Into Air—by Pakalolo: "More environmental horror from the Gulf of Mexico. An “out-of-control” well that began blowing gas into the air on Thursday is still not under control as of Friday morning, according to a report from the Associated Press. 42-non essential workers from Rowan Companies PLC’s offshore rig in the Gulf of Mexico, named 'Louisiana,' were evacuated, while 37 stayed on the rig to try and stop the flow of gas. Rig operator EnVen Energy Ventures said that while workers attempt to kill the well, gas was being 'vented' off of the rig. Although gas, water and sand are still flowing from the well, EnVen said no pollution has occurred in the Gulf."
BP Deepwater Supervisors Must Face Manslaughter Rap—by Pakalolo: "The U.S. Department of Justice claims Robert Kaluza's and Donald Vidrine's negligence caused the 11 rig worker deaths in the Deepwater Horizon explosion, which sent nearly 5 million barrels of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. The 23 count indictment accuses them of mishandling a crucial safety test and failing to report abnormally high pressure readings that attorneys say were signs of an impending disaster. The blast at BP's Manconda well killed 11 workers, injured 16 others and resulted in the largest accidental marine spill in the Petroleum industries history. 'Provided that the government is able to prove that the defendants’ actions caused the blowout that caused the eleven deaths on the Deepwater Horizon, the facts as alleged are sufficient to conclude that an ordinary person would reasonably understand that the improper administration of the negative testing and actions surrounding such administration of the test in light of the inherent danger in deepwater drilling would subject one to criminal sanctions,' Judge Duval wrote."
At Last! EPA Required to Finish Coal Ash Safeguards—by Mary Anne Hitt: "Late Wednesday we saw a victory for clean water and public health: The Sierra Club is pleased to be a part of a legal agreement with 11 organizations compelling the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finalize safeguards against coal ash pollution by the end of this year. EPA first proposed these standards in 2010, and they have been mired in red tape ever since. If the final protections are strong, getting them over the finish line will be a major victory for public health, safe communities, and clean water. Coal ash is the toxic by-product left over when coal is burned for electricity. It's a dangerous mix of lead, mercury, arsenic, chromium and many other harmful metals and pollutants. When coal ash comes in contact with water, a soup of hazardous pollutants can leach out of the waste and poison our water. Every year, the nation's coal plants produce 140 million tons of coal ash pollution—and those tons of toxic material are stored in unlined ponds and uncovered piles nationwide."
Sierra Club Missing from Action on Defense of Clean Air Act from Oil/Gas Industry Attack—by LakeSuperior: "The Summit Petroleum facility is one that should be well known to some Michigan Sierra Club members. It had a past history of causing odor problems. It is a sour gas sweetening plant and a network of sour gas wells and condensate tanks located directly adjacent to the US-127 freeway at Rosebush, MI. Neither the Michigan Chapter nor the SC national were aware of, tracked or were involved in the Summit Petroleum case. Not being aware of the most major case affecting oil and gas industry air emissions and permitting is not acceptable diligence and attention on the part of SC. At the very least, the national SC office should be tracking all litigation appeals under CAA, CWA and other environmental statutes that appear in any Federal court of appeals."
West Virginia Chemical Spill
WV Gov: "This was not a coal company incident. This was a chemical company incident."—by 1BQ: "From the Department of Creative Cognitive Dissonance: the governor of W. Virginia, Earl Ray Tomblin, is trying to convince people that the spill of a coal cleaning chemical doesn't have anything at all to do with King Coal. From 'Freedom to spill: Coal must take bad with good' at the Coal Tattoo blog of the WV Gazette: Also at the Saturday briefing Tomblin pushed back at a reporter who connected the ongoing water crisis to the coal industry. 'This was not a coal company incident,' the governor shot back. 'This was a chemical company incident.' "
Anatomy of a Crisis: Joe Manchin and The West Virginia Chemical Spill—by Virally Suppressed: "If there is one silver lining to the chemical spill that occurred in West Virginia earlier this month and which continues to leave hundreds of thousands of people without access to clean drinking water, it is that it has unearthed a vast network of ordinary folks who are willing to sacrifice their time, their energy and their checking accounts to help those who are suffering, even when pretty much no one else can be bothered to give a damn. The collective yawn of Washington was evident from the get go, with Senate party leaders failing to take any time in the regular press briefings to so much as acknowledge the fact that thousands of gallons of a largely unknown chemical had polluted the water supply of over 300,000 American citizens. The national news media largely gave West Virginia the cold shoulder, with neitherNBC, ABC or CBS devoting a single second of airtime to the crisis developing in Charleston. Even the state's own governor, Earl Ray Tomblin, seems to have lost interest in the welfare of his constituents telling them that it's their decision as to whether or not they use the contaminated tap water. However, in spite of all of this neglect and disdain, thousands of West Virginians (and many more from outside of the state) have taken action, using organizations like the West Virginia Clean Water Hub to provide people with the clean water and sanitary supplies they need and that any government worth a damn would be providing."
Oh, by the way, says Freedom Industries, we spilled a third more chemicals than we told you before—by Meteor Blades: "West Virginia's Department of Environmental Protection said late Monday that Freedom Industries spilled about 10,000 gallons of a coal-cleaning chemical mixture into the state's drinking water Jan. 9. Previously, that figure had been estimated at 7,500 gallons. The company initially notified the state that the spill was of Crude MCHM. But it subsequently said a second chemical, PPH, had also been released:
'We are not making any judgment about [the estimate's] accuracy,' WVDEP Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman said in a prepared statement. 'We felt it was important to provide to the public what the company has provided the WVDEP in writing. We are still reviewing the calculation and this is something that will be researched further during the course of this investigation.'"
Scientist: Carcinogenic formaldehyde found in WV drinking water source—by Meteor Blades: "David Gutman at the Charleston Gazette, which has been doing an excellent job covering the chemical spill into West Virginia's Elk River, reports another disturbing development: A Marshall University environmental scientist and member of the state Environmental Quality Board said today that he has found formaldehyde in local water samples and that the continued lack of data on the chemical that leaked into the Elk River is very concerning."
Health officials say formaldehyde found in WV water unlikely to be from Freedom Industries' spill—by Meteor Blades: "An environmental scientist in West Virginia said in a Wednesday legislative hearing that water samples he had taken from a downtown Charleston site contained formaldehyde—and that this had convinced him not to drink the water. The scientist, Scott Simonton, attributed the findings to a byproduct of the Jan. 9 Freedom Industries' spill of MCHM, a coal-cleaning chemical.But that's contrary to the views of officials at the state Department of Health and Human Sources and other experts who took strong issue with Simonton's report on the matter. Simonton is an environmental engineer at Marshall University, a member of the state's Environmental Quality Board and a consultant for a law firm that has filed a suit over the spill."
Hey America! There's Formaldehyde in West Virginia's Water. Can You Give a Shit Now?—by Virally Suppressed: "I have been told on occasion, that Daily Kos is supposed to be a community blog for liberals and for progressives and lowdown, dirty, Pete Seeger lovin', bra burnin, first amendment havin, tree huggin, inequality hatin sons of bitches. Well, how bout we fucking show it?! If this happened in the Potomac or the Hudson or the Colorado River, do you think we would have had this 20 day instructional course in civic apathy from the other 49 states in the Union? Do folks not care about them because they're from West Virginia? Because they think that they're hicks? Rednecks? Inbred trailer trash that wouldn't know a ballot box from a hole in the ground? Can everyone not be made to give a shit because they know that the people who are suffering still cling on to coal, which all good and upstanding Americans know is evil and killing the earth, because they don't have another goddamn thing to cling to?"
Freedom Industries Maintains Freedom to Compulsively Lie About Chemical Spill in West Virginia—by Virally Suppressed: "Oh yeah, and Freedom also neglected to tell the world until last week that there was another random ass chemical that was leaked out with the 4-methylcyclohexane methanol called PPH, which was an assortment of polyglycol ethers that we also know next to nothing about. So, to sum up, we still don't know exactly what it is that the chemicals that were dumped into West Virginia's water supply do to the human body or the ecosystem at large, we don't know how much of the chemicals was actually dumped into river (if they changed their number twice, why wouldn't they change it again) and the West Virginian and Federal governments have responded with a collective 'meh' to the entire crisis, leaving 300,000 residents still unsure as to whether or not their water supply is still toxic or not."
Freedom leaked some more, just not into the river, this time—by Horace Boothroyd III: "Apparently in an attempt to close the barn door after the horses got out, the oft leaking Freedom chemical facility was preparing a diversion trench in order to capture the leaks before they reach the waterway. But in true freedom manner as rugged individualists they failed to map all the pipes leading to and from the tanks of chemicals. So the entrenching tool stuck this unmapped pipe causing a minimal amount of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol to be released into the diversion trench."
National Parks, Forests & Other Public Lands
Action! Farm Bill could turn Nat.Forests into logging jobs—by emmasnacker: "The short and the bitter of it is: On January 29, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a version of the Farm Bill that includes language that would be disastrous for all National Forests : Section 8204. This section of the Farm Bill would repeal the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to allow logging projects up to 3,000 acres in size to be implemented on National Forests without any environmental analysis of harmful effects to water quality, wildlife or rare, threatened or endangered species."
Bonnie Prince Charlie on Climate Change—by redbaron: "It is a sad state of affairs when the British royals are out front of the Republican Party on an issue but in this AP piece, Charlie nails it. Prince Charles has called people who deny human-made climate change a 'headless chicken brigade' who are ignoring overwhelming scientific evidence. The heir to the British throne, a dedicated environmentalist, accused 'powerful groups of deniers' of mounting 'a barrage of sheer intimidation' against opponents. [...] Charles said it was 'baffling ... that in our modern world we have such blind trust in science and technology that we all accept what science tells us about everything—until, that is, it comes to climate science.'"
State of our climate: Obama can't have it both ways—by dturnbull: "Just moments before uttering a rousing call to action on climate change, the President trumpeted his "All of the Above" energy policy. He went on in detail to promote the continued expansion of drilling for oil and gas using dangerous extraction procedures such as hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking)...all while ignoring the science that says we must leave more than two-thirds of existing fossil fuel reserves in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. Headlines from reports directly after the speech painted the picture: Obama, in Speech, Defends 'All Of The Above' Energy Plan, Environmentalists cringe as Obama touts oil and gas, Obama Praises 'All-Of-The-Above' Energy Strategy In 2014 State Of The Union ...and the list goes on. Instead of the rousing call to action on the greatest challenge of our generation that it could have been, what this speech will be remembered for is the President's defense of disastrous energy policy that is doomed to fail."
Climate will sit next to #FLOTUS at #SOTU—by A Siegel: "The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Climate Corps program to put people impassioned about clean energy within major corporations and institutions to help drive energy efficiency and clean energy projects that will save money while reducing pollution is about to get a lot better known. This evening, sitting alongside the First Lady of the United States, will be: Tyrone Davis (Winston-Salem, NC). Fellow with the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps. [He] has been legally blind since the age of nine. Despite his vision loss, he ran cross-country and track in high school, and received a political science degree and Masters of Public Administration from North Carolina State University. He developed an interest in environmental issues during his time as an undergraduate, which led to a fellowship with the Environmental Defense Fund in 2010, placing him at Elizabeth City State University, a historically black university. His recommendations showed the school how to achieve savings of more than $31,000 a year, resulting in nearly 200 million tons of carbon emissions reductions annually."
Must see video: How can it be so cold if there's global warming?—by Laurence Lewis: "Peter Sinclair and the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media have put together an amazing video that succinctly explains how the eastern half of the United States can be so cold in the midst of global warming and climate change. Among those he interviews are Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground and Jennifer Francis, who is research professor at Rutgers University's Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences. It also includes graphics and excerpts from news reports. It's brief and brilliant. [...] The science is the science, no matter how much the deniers try to fight the truth."
Bitter Waters (Warning: May contain words.)—by thefarleftside:
Clapper "Increasingly the environment is becoming an adversary" NSA Declares War on Physics—by FishOutofWater: "America's best and brightest at the NSA have inadvertently declared war on the law of physics. They spied on every negotiating position of every nation at the Copenhagen climate talks to protect the biggest greenhouse gas polluters in America. They won the battle in Copenhagen. The climate talks failed to produce an agreement that would enforce strong limits to greenhouse gas emissions to prevent catastrophic global warming in excess of 2 degrees Celsius. In winning that battle, the NSA and the Obama administration are losing the war to save California, Texas and the western and plains states from catastrophic warming and drought that will devastate America's food supplies. There's no winning a war against the laws of physics. There's no breaking even. If you fight a war against the environment you will lose. But that's just what the NSA is doing."
Epic Treachery - Sabotage of Most Important Climate Talks in 50 Years—by Don midwest: "The Environment is THE most important issue facing humans and now we find out that the USA is using the tools to fight terrorism to fight the environment. We learned about this from documents released by Edward Snowden. 'Insane, Disgusting' and 'Epic Treachery': NSA Spied on Climate Talks. 'Obama admin. clearly never wanted Copenhagen talks to work,' says Bill McKibben following latest NSA revelations concerning climate talks."
What Polar Vortex? Alaska Hits Record 62°F; Snow Storm Starting in North Carolina—by FishOutofWater: "The polar vortex has a dagger of warm air through its cold Arctic heart. Its shape resembles a gigantic walnut now. The northern hemisphere's tropospheric polar vortex generally has two low centers, one in Siberia and one in northern Canada, but today's ridge of warm air in the middle levels of the atmosphere, covering the Arctic ocean from the Pacific to the Atlantic, is extraordinary. The warmth above 80°N is exceptional. Professor Jennifer Francis predicted that a warming Arctic would lead to a wavy, weakened polar vortex that would spill cold air over the central U.S. and central Asia. This January's weather is precisely the kind of weather she was predicting would become more common. [...] The warm weather has destabilized the deep snow pack, triggering huge avalanches. A deep snow pack built up in early winter as storms tracked north into Alaska instead of west into California, Oregon and Washington. A pair of avalanches has created a snow dam across the road to Valdez, the terminus of the Alaska pipeline. The video below the orange avalanche, shows an air view the deep lake and huge snow dam that has cut off land routes to Valdez."
Fox News vs. Global Warming—by communitygis: "It is a cold weekend. Days with low temperature are the only time Fox talking heads will even mention Global Warming. So, I was contemplating the correlation between the number of media talking heads and the increase in global temperature over time."
The Climate Change-Conflict Nexus—by UN Dispatcher: "Does climate change cause conflict? The question is more than theoretical, and may have profound consequences at the United Nations and for the effort to reach an internationally binding climate change agreement. The Pentagon wrote in 2010: 'Climate change will have significant geopolitical impacts around the world, contributing to greater competition for more limited and critical life-sustaining resources like food and water.' The fact that the Department of Defense is addressing climate change, even issuing a Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, is one solid piece of evidence of a connection. There’s some fascinating academic research to back this up, too."
Strategies to Confront the Climate Change Catastrophe—by yunohu: "Our primary solutions need to work with nature, not against it. All these centuries we’ve tried to master nature, and now nature is getting back at us with a vengeance. At some point, we may have to consider taking huge measures to protect ourselves that will require major technological & mechanical feats, but such measures are fraught with peril & could come with dangerous repercussions, and it is much less expensive and provides a much healthier lifestyle to work with nature to find solutions to global warming, especially preventative ones."
A new climate change haunting-mountain tsunamis—by Pakalolo: "Catastrophic Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) have occurred in many mountain ranges throughout the world at different times in world history. In some instances, these mountain tsunamis have caused extensive damage and loss of life further downstream. What is new now is that we have never experienced so many potentially dangerous melt water glacial lakes in such a short period of time nor have we seen how quickly these lakes now grow. Climate change contributes to the formation of these lakes by unseasonal rains, particularly in the Himalayas, where the Monsoon season starts earlier then in years past, the frequency of and volume of the rains or cloudbursts is increasing with rainfall exceeding at times 300% of normal precipitation. Warmer temperatures caused by climate change mean that snowfall that once began in October now arrives in January. and that leaves too little time for it to harden into more heat-resistant ice. So when summer returns, the volume of meltwater is much larger. Most insidiously by a climate-induced glacial instability that, in future years, threatens to wreak havoc across the Himalayas, and to a smaller extent the Alps, Andes and Rockies."
Climate 2013: 100 Stories (Illustrated)—by RandW: "If you look back on 2013, and consider the news stories relevant to the climate, what do you feel? Here are 100 juicy stories and their pictures to ponder, served in a somewhat random order, with a thin layer of snark. You might feel, Like David Roberts, that 'Climate change is not 'a story,' but a background condition for all future stories.'"
Climate Suit threatens to bankrupt the profitless National Review—by BikingForKarma: "There's too much good stuff to try to paste in quotes here. Climate scientist Michael Mann sued the National Review for defamation, causing the smug jerkoffs (Rich Lowry, Mark Steyn) over at National Review [to] engage in some internet-style trollery, such as writing troll posts about how shitty the judge was, and 'teaching [Mann] a thing or two about the law and about how free debate works in a free country.' Tough guys! But apparently not too tough to call out his readers' promises to provide financial help if needed....because it apparently is needed (maybe because the National Review has lost tens of millions of dollars in the free market it champions)."
It used to be this cold all the time—by Turbonerd: "This comic from XKCD (by way of Treehugger) puts the recent mediagasm about the polar vortex into its proper context.National Climate Data Center's searchable database. A few screens later, I had a 'shopping cart' with an 'order' for daily summary information for Cleveland from 1970-present. Specifically, daily minimum air temperatures."
Food, Agriculture & Gardening
Latest Farm Bill hides payouts to wealthy congress & guarantees profit to insurance companies—by Eric Nelson: "The last Farm Bill failed and that was a good thing. Though this latest bill has some good provisions, other provisions are very bad policy; The disclosure requirement of crop insurance premium subsidies to members of congress has been deleted from the bill. Chris Hayes sums it up: 'Hundreds of law makers just voted to keep the public from learning how much law makers themselves may be getting through crop insurance subsidies that they themselves voted into law.'"
How Would the New Farm Bill Affect SNAP?—by marc brazeau: "Negotiators found a way to cut about $8 billion in funding for the program over the next decade.
Most of the savings will come by tweaking federal "heat and eat" benefits that House and Senate aides say have been exploited in recent years by several states and the District of Columbia to boost how much money some people receive from SNAP. The changes will require the states and D.C. to pay more in 'heat and eat' money, a move that will reduce, but not eliminate, SNAP payments by about $90 monthly for about 850,000 households."
One Stop Shopping to Understand What's Happening With The Farm Bill—by marc brazeau:
+Cost of the Agricultural Act of 2014: $956.4 billion.
+According to the CBO, it's expected to reduce federal spending by $16.6 billion over the next decade.
+Payment limitations across programs: $125,000 per farmer, doubled for married couples. Pushed by Thad Cochran, R-Miss. 'Stabenow said she endorsed that approach because it will allow farmers to make the most use of the programs that work best for them, rather than worry about payment limits on specific programs.'
+The bill increases funding for commodity distribution programs that go to food banks.
+Merges 23 conservation programs into 13 for a projected savings of $6 billion.
+Cuts $8 billion from SNAP
+Allows for studying industrial hemp in states the permit it.
+Defines 'farm raised fish': '...any aquatic species that is propagated and reared in a controlled environment.'
+Makes provision to increase purchase of kosher and halal foods by the USDA's emergency food assistance program that serves food banks and shelters."
That Farm Bill—by unclejohn: "So, now we are stuck with 89 Democrats voting to gut the food stamp program so that corporate agriculture can get its welfare checks on time. Well, maybe the President can do something about that."
"Our Food Is Dishonestly Priced"—by amybdean: "Take a stroll through most grocery stores, and many of the products claim to be organically grown or locally sourced. The foodie movement has swept America in the last decade, thanks in no small part to the work of journalists and intellectuals who have championed the cause online, in print and on the airwaves. Michael Pollan is inarguably one of the most influential of these figures. Pollan is most famous for his books, especially In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto (2008) and The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006). He also contributes regularly to publications such as The New York Times Magazine, where his work has received numerous awards, and is a professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. [...] I recently connected with Pollan to discuss equitable food pricing, farm worker rights, and industrial agriculture's role in casting the food movement as elitist. (What follows is a condensed and edited version of our conversation.)"
A Modest Proposal—by Robocop : "A few days ago DuPont Co., Syngenta Ag and Dow Chemical filed a lawsuit against Kauai’s implementation of Bill 2491, or the Pesticide Disclosure Ordinance 960. It’s a reasonable bill and a milestone, and one that could lead other areas infested with GMOs to fight back. It passed 6-1 in October, and was vetoed by Mayor Bernard Carvalho. The Kauai County Council then voted to override the veto 5-2. The Governor of Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie, also opposed the bill. The bill would simply force farmers to disclose pesticide use and regulate farmers who grow GMOs."
[Americans in Cars, Eating Badly: Scale and Scope]—by marc brazeau: "Just on the heels of a post on the potential for better convenience and grab and go foods to improve health outcomes for Americans, comes news via Marion Nestle that Subway is prioritizing moving more vegetables out the door. They are specifically targeting the campaign at kids. [...] This is especially heartening because: A. Low vegetable consumption is the number one problem in the American diet. (or tied for number one with high sugar consumption) B. In terms of marginal improvement to convenience foods, increasing whole grains and decreasing sugar are fairly easy. Increasing vegetables is much harder."
Eco-Related DC & State Politics
Keystone XL pipeline builder TransCanada upped its lobbying of Congress by 24% in 2013—by Meteor Blades: "TransCanada Corp. (TRP), the Calgary-based company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, spent $1.05 million to lobby Congress and the administration last year, about 24 percent more than it spent in 2012, records filed with the U.S. Senate show. [...] Its chief Washington lobbyist, Paul Elliott, is a former top campaign aide Hillary Clinton, who served as secretary of State in President Barack Obama’s first term. 'While TransCanada has been operating in the U.S. for decades, the Keystone XL project is the first time where our activities have become the focus of activist campaigns,' Shawn Howard, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail. 'We have hired lawyers and outside experts to help us provide informed opinions about legislation that may impact any part of our operations.'"
Corporate Chemical Spills—by jcullen: "On Jan. 9, the US House of Representatives passed HR 2279, which would gut the nation’s hazardous waste regulations. This bill, called the Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act, would amend both the Solid Waste Disposal Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (commonly known as Superfund). It would remove requirements that the Environmental Protection Agency periodically update and review solid waste disposal regulations, and would make it harder for the government to require companies that deal with hazardous substances to carry enough insurance to cover cleanup. The bill would also require more consultation with states before the government imposes cleanup requirements for Superfund sites—places where hazardous waste is located and could be affecting local people or ecosystems, Kate Sheppard reported at HuffingtonPost.com. The bill passed by a vote of 225 to 188, largely along party lines. Four Republicans voted against it, and five Dems voted for it. It was one of many bills the House passed in nearly party-line votes that seek to reduce environmental regulation and it stands virtually no chance of getting through the Democrat-majority Senate."
DeFazio, Grijalva, and 107 Other House Dems Call on Interior to Protect More Public Lands—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Another example of an article belying its headline is the article "Social Responsibility Weighs Heavy on Economic Chieftains at Davos" in Andrew Ross Sorkin's Wall Street-coddling Dealbook section of The New York Times. There are more words in that article showing Davos attendees shunning social responsibility than showing them expressing it. I counted. (254 words vs. 247 words) This article on 'social responsibility' is full of rich people complaining."
Energy Committee Republicans firm up their climate science denial with another know-nothing vote—by Meteor Blades: "Not acting now to address climate change, [Rep. Jan Schakowsky] said, means acting in the future will be more costly and more difficult. This, of course, makes no never mind to the likes of Republican Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois, who suggested a reading list for Schakowsky. It was made up mostly of notorious climate-change deniers. Shimkus was unable to keep from inserting a sneer in his criticism, asserting that the scientists who want Congress to take the stance contained in Schakowsky's amendment are doing so for "taxpayers' dollars." Given the campaign contributions and grants from Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil and other corporadoes to deniers in and out of Congress, that assessment is a hoot. If the issue weren't so serious, it would be tempting to phone up Shimkus and deliver a couple of minutes of non-stop laughter. But the rejection of Schakowsky's amendment, like Waxman's three years ago, is anything but funny. On the contrary, as the congresswoman said, it is reckless and irresponsible."
5 Ways NJ Used to Be a Clean Energy and Climate Leader and Could Be Again—by Kayak: "New Jersey used to be a clean energy and climate leader. We’re not anymore. But we can be again. [...] 1. We used to have an office of Climate and Energy. [...] We used to be part of RGGI. [...] 3. We could have been part of the NE “Clean Air” coalition. [...] 4. We used to be #2 in solar installations. Now we’re #6. [...] 5. Our Governor used to believe that taking action against human-caused climate change was a state priority for his office."
NYS Senate: Marchione Deregulatory Bill Decried By Advocacy Groups; "Don't Turn NY into W. Virginia"—by Upstate Blue: "Several prominent well-respected national and statewide consumer advocacy groups, including the Consumer Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, NYPIRG, Environmental Advocates of New York and the Fiscal Policy Institute have decried recent proposed legislation in the New York State Senate which would roll back over 2,000 regulations, many of which are aimed at protecting public health and safety, most notably a progressive statewide diesel emissions law which was enacted only seven years ago. The advocacy groups recently issued a press release, 'Don't Turn New York Into West Virginia,' referencing the recent chemical spill that has garnered national attention, which most experts attribute to lax statewide environmental regulations. The recent legislation under fire has been spearheaded by recently elected State Senator Kathy Marchione (R-Saratoga County), who was named chairwoman of the State Senate's Administrative Review Commission (ARRC) last year. "
HI-Sen: CBS News President To Meet With Brian Schatz (D) & Colleagues On Climate Change Coverage—by poopdogcomedy: "Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on Tuesday the first action by a new Senate task force on climate change will be to push Sunday news programs on global warming coverage. 'Sen. [Brian] Schatz (D-Hawaii) and I are working on a letter' to send to networks, Sanders said during Tuesday's press conference announcing the new Senate Climate Action Task Force. 'Sunday news shows devoted all of eight minutes in 2012 to coverage of climate change issues, which is a decrease from nine minutes the year before.' 'This is the greatest crisis facing our planet, and the major networks on their important Sunday news shows have devoted all of eight minutes to discuss that issue. That has got to change,' Sanders added."
HI-Sen: Brian Schatz (D) & Al Gore Team Up To Give Free Environmental Lecture On 4/15/14 In Hawaii—by poopdogcomedy: "Former Vice President Al Gore is set to present a free public lecture at UHM on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. The lecture was announced by UHM Sea Grant College Program and U.S Senator Brian Schatz. Gore’s lecture will be the capstone of the day-long summit, Ascent. UHM and Senator Schatz organized the event, which will include notable dignitaries."
The Great Outdoors
The Daily Bucket: Mole Motion—by matching mole: "I was going to post a diary entitled SNOW IN TALLAHASSEE!!!! with as many exclamation points as I could fit in the title field. However, there is no snow. It is currently sleeting and there is a small amount of ice on my deck steps. Nothing that would make for good photographs. I ventured out briefly to refill the feeders. Heard a chickadee. Spring peepers were calling last night when the air temperature was about 36-37 degrees. Instead I will direct your attention to this article in the NYTimes about mole digging."
Animal Planet is abusing animals for ratings and profit—by AshleyAllison: "When the three baby raccoons were left with Kentucky wildlife specialist Karen Bailey, she took one look and knew they were fighting for their lives. It would be a 'race against time' to save the babies—and in the end, only two survived. This tragedy wasn't the result of life in the wild—instead the cubs were victims of Animal Planet's hit reality show, 'Call of the Wildman.' A blistering new expose by Mother Jones revealed how the program, in its quest for ratings and profit, recklessly mistreated the animals it claims to save. Federal and state authorities are investigating, and Animal Planet executives have even admitted to the wrong-doing—but shockingly, they still refuse to significantly change network rules and take better care of their animals."
Dawn Chorus: Not this again...—by lineatus: "It’s a mixed bag out there. You’ve got your yard set up to attract birds—feeders, baths, maybe some native plants and brushpiles. But as with any open house buffet, you’re likely to get a few guests who don’t behave as well as you’d like. At best, the others don’t want to hang out with them. Sometimes they get violent, and occasionally kill and eat the other guests ... really does dampen the mood, ya know?"
The Daily Bucket - Nesting Wren pair—by enhydra lutris: "Today, 1/26/2014, a pair of Bewick's Wrens started building a nest in a planter affixed to one of the support posts for our patio cover. It is a high traffic location, so they might abandon it and move. As far as we have ever noticed, this is a first for our yard, though many other species nest here."
California Cuts off State Water to 25 Million People—by FishOutofWater: "California state water officials announced that they are no state water will be delivered to local agencies serving 25 million people and 750,000 acres of farmland unless the drought breaks. That's very unlikely. The Sierra snow pack was 12% of normal, after the first storm in 2 months, at the end of January. NOAA models predict continued low precipitation for the next 3 months. Two thirds of California's rainy season has passed. Then come the dry summer months. The federal government also supplies water to municipalities and farmers but federal reservoirs are also depleted. Large cuts in federal water deliveries are anticipated. January was catastrophically dry across California and the southwest. San Francisco airport received one hundredth of an inch of rain, not enough to wet the ground, in January, normally its wettest month. A vast area from California to Texas had under a tenth of an inch of precipitation in January. Snow is more effective at increasing water supplies than warm season rain because it evaporates less, so the lack of January precipitation will have devastating effects on water supplies."
of an inch of rain in January, normally the wettest month.
Restore the Delta slams Brown for singing from 'Mega-Growers Hymnal'—by Dan Bacher: "Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels, today blasted Governor Jerry Brown for urging President Obama to pressure federal scientists to suspend their expert judgment and approve his tunnels. In a short clip from Sacto TV KCRA Channel 3 on January 30, Jerry Brown described his conversation with Obama talking about the 'Delta project' and says (starting at about 18 seconds) 'lower level [Federal] officials' aren't being helpful …. in fact quite the opposite.' 'It is outrageous that Governor Brown is using the drought to push the president to override federal biologists who think the water tunnels are too risky,' said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of RTD. 'The federal scientists are the only ones willing to stand up to special interests that want to violate the Public Trust, and transfer wealth from this region to mega irrigators with toxic soils on the west side that are last in the water bucket line.'"
CDFW closes fishing on some rivers due to low flows—by Dan Bacher: "Restore the Delta issued the statement on the same day that the Department of Resources said State Water Project customers would get zero water deliveries this year if the drought conditions continue. 'Except for a small amount of carryover water from 2013, customers of the State Water Project (SWP) will get no deliveries in 2014 if current dry conditions persist and deliveries to agricultural districts with long-standing water rights in the Sacramento Valley may be cut 50 percent—the maximum permitted by contract—depending upon future snow survey results,' according to DWR. 'It is important to note that almost all areas served by the SWP have other sources of water, such as groundwater, local reservoirs, and other supplies.' Barrigan-Parrilla urged the state and water agencies to invest in projects that yield new water and jobs, rather than spending billions on the fish-killing twin tunnels."
Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice
Taking on Big Oil One Small City at a Time—by jpmassar: "Pittsburg, CA is a small city across the Bay and up the Sacramento River from the San Francisco. (Truth to tell, despite living in the area, until recently I couldn't have even located Pittsburg on a map.) But of a sudden, like its on-the-bay neighbor Richmond, CA, it finds itself in a struggle against some of the biggest powers on Earth—oil companies and insatiable thirst for profit. Richmond, CA, has duked it out with mega-corporation Chevron over its refinery many times, and is now attempting to take on Wall Street over foreclosures. Pittsburg has found itself having to take on Big Oil over the rail transport of dangerous cargo from North Dakota through the city and into a depot for shipment by pipeline to local refineries. A company called WesPac Energy wants to start bringing the substance, known as Bakken shale oil, to the Delta town by rail and to store it there before shipping it to the Bay Area's five refineries via pipeline... 'These trains are like bombs on railroad tracks. When they derail, they explode,' said protester Lyana Monterrey outside a city council hearing on the issue Tuesday night."
An Unprecedented Citizen Protest Demonstration in Utah—by LakeSuperior: "Last Saturday, over 4000 citizen demonstrators gathered with some Utah Democratic party legislators and the Mayor of Salt Lake City in front of the Utah state capitol building to do something that has never before been done with this magnitude of citizen action. I've been tracking citizen clean air activity across the country for nearly 40 years. Last Saturday's demonstration is the first time in the United States that a such a large mass citizen protest clean air/anti-air-pollution demonstration was ever held at a state capitol building. The target of the protest was the feckless, ineffective and incompetent Utah state air pollution control program under republican Governor Gary Herbert."
Eco-Philosophy & Essays
Saving civilization: a review of Smith's Climate Change and Cultural Heritage—by Cassiodorus: "The book I'm reviewing today has a lot of science in it, but largely it's a polemic about climate change, and a rather creative polemic at that. Peter F. Smith, listed here as an emeritus professor of architecture in England, thinks great things of our civilization (and indeed of past civilizations), but is still trying to wrap his head around the matter of why civilization hasn't yet done what is necessary to deal with the problem of impending runaway climate change. So his book, Climate Change and Cultural Heritage, is part encomium of praise for human civilization, and part discussion of climate change, as a problem necessitating a solution."
Bioluminescent Adventure—by corwinabell: "When it grew dark, I was astounded by an extraordinary light show. There were millions of fireflies gathered in the mangrove trees lining the canal. Unlike the 'lightning bugs' with which I was familiar from the southern U.S., these bugs were able to synchronize their flashing such that the canal looked as if it were decorated with yellow, blinking Christmas lights. The fireflies in one tree would begin flashing randomly, then, as if a switch had been thrown, the flashing would become synchronized pulses. This was happening in all of the trees along both sides of the canal as far as one could see. The trees were not necessarily synchronized with each other, but for brief periods two or three near each other would do so. The villagers had deliberately planted the trees to attract the fireflies, creating the amazing display to which I was a witness. I could not believe my eyes. I had never read or heard of anything like that, much less seen it. The Vietnamese, on the other hand, took it in stride, for they all knew about it. They had grown up with it. It was as normal to them as ordinary fireflies are to us. It was not just the fireflies that exhibited bioluminescence. The water in the canal was bioluminescent, too."
Finite Resources Still Finite!—by richturc125: "Those finite resources we depend upon refuse to behave as if they are not finite, so their rates of production continue to slow (assuming they can first be technologically—and then profitably—extracted). The conventional crude oil fields which mankind has relied upon to power its modern lifestyles and industries for well over a century continue to deplete—at least 3-4 million barrels per day depending on which source is referenced. Despite all the hype about increased production from shale formations here in the United States (a fact not in dispute by those of us concerned about peak oil production), the part of that story omitted in all the Happy Talk hype is that a prime characteristic of deep-water fields (with all of their inherent extraction challenges, being in deep water and all) and those tight oil wells is that they have very rapid decline rates. You get a lot at the start, and then … not so much after that."
Denying Reality—by Desert Scientist: "This supposed lack of human causality [for climate change] is an interesting concept and one I wish were true, as the other side of the coin is terrifyingly bleak. From my understanding of the papers, admittedly not complete, it seems the author(s) are arguing that the models for global climate change may be complicated by tectonics and other factors and likely are incomplete, not that there is no effect from carbon dioxide increases."
Oh My, Conservative Ideology * Green * Job Creation—by jimstaro: "Politics are played but across the planet, especially in so called third world countries, the push is finally on. They've already greatly improved on the technologies and innovations we had started some forty years back, especially in solar, that were blocked from advancing. And many now have the trades they once envied that we had here, trades and experienced innovators it created that expanded our economy."
Products & Miscellany
The Inoculation Project 1/26/2014: Insects & Solar Cars—by nomandates: "Project: The Great Solar Race - Continues! I am a science teacher in a rural high school in North Carolina. In the previous ranking system, our high performing school was ranked in the top ten high schools of NC for nine consecutive years. However, there are many areas in which we still to improve. One of the earth science curriculum standards concerns an environmental component: the effective use of solar energy resources. I have expanded the solar energy unit to be more individualistic in the hands on approach. My Project: The instructional supplies for my project include a request for 35 solar race cars. I know that my students will enjoy and be intrigued using the race cars and varying the amount of solar energy they receive. When we get ready to have our own version of the "sun rayce" (there is a national collegiate competition with solar energy cars) my students will not want to be placed in groups. I would love for each pair of students to have access to a car. In my honors class, each student will be able to have his own car. I anticipate getting both qualitative and quantitative measurements."
Cold Reality—by Duck Soup 2008: "Just in case you hadn't heard, there is actually a very serious shortage of propane directly due to the fact that farmers—who use the liquid fuel to dry wet crops—used more than FIVE TIMES the forecast amount due to a VERY wet harvest season. Fast forward a few months to the arrival of the polar vortex—inarguably due to a destabilization of the Arctic air currents due to global temperature changes—and suddenly the price of the remaining propane is two and three times the regular price.Which makes life down on the propane-based farm kinda rough. As I am currently employed in retail selling things like electric heaters, wood stoves and pellet stoves, I am witnessing a palpable panic when customers come storming in to find an alternative—ANY alternative—to their dwindling and incredibly expensive propane."
Exploring Contributions of Citizen Scientists—by The Book Bear: "The University of Idaho Library kicks off its 2014 Research Colloquium Series with a look at the role of citizen scientists and interactive data uploading/mapping through the University of Idaho Extension."
Governor Jerry Brown Captures Cold, Dead Fish Award for 2013—by Dan Bacher: "To honor those who did the best to exterminate fish populations, violate the public trust and crush fishing rights in 2013, we are proudly giving out the 'Cold, Dead Fish' awards for deserving individuals, elected officials, organizations and agencies. We’ll start off with the 'Foot in the Mouth' prize that goes to former Deputy Resources Secretary Jerry Meral, who became the focus of a huge controversy when he acknowledged on April 15, 2013 that 'BDCP is not about, and has never been about saving the Delta. The Delta cannot be saved.'"