|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 231 of these spotlighting more than 13,014 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 78 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.]|
The Daily Bucket: on the road—by OceanDiver: "A recent rainy summer day on the island, driving down the road. Do you find strange companions on your drive to work too? This is not an uncommon sight here. I like it. P.S. That's a llama. Sheep farmers like to keep a llama with their flock to deter predators, especially nocturnal packs of dogs. The sheep dog is doing the work here, we can't see him, behind the flock. The farmer is in the truck, keeping out of the rain.
The Senate Will Soon Have a Total of Three Carbon Tax Proposals. Why Not Band Behind One?—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "On Thursday, The Hill reported that Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) plans to introduce a new carbon tax proposal that would entail a $10-per-ton fee on carbon emissions "just for the utility industry." The timing of such legislation geared at regulating power plants seems to have had the President's upcoming speech on a national climate plan in mind. However, when reading the article, I could not help wondering why DiFi is introducing another carbon tax bill when there are already two standing proposals: that designed by Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and that designed by Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Brian Schatz (D-HI). Granted, her bill sets the fee much lower, but that won't foster any more political will."
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Obama on Climate: Back in the Game—by Michael Brune: "This afternoon, I had a short meeting with President Obama that left me more convinced than ever that he's serious about tackling the climate crisis. Sure enough, later under a sweltering sun at Georgetown University, I watched him calmly and forcefully restate the case for taking action on the climate crisis in one of the most important speeches of his presidency. He also outlined a Climate Action Plan that will help curb carbon pollution, develop clean energy sources, promote energy efficiency, and assert American global leadership on climate issues. Taken together, the new policies directly address what the president rightly calls "the global threat of our time." [...] But the two most significant commitments the president made were bona fide game-changers: First, he said that he will use the full authority of the Clean Air Act to limit air pollution from both new and existing power plants. Second, he declared that he will not approve the Keystone XL pipeline if it harms the climate, because to do so would not be in the national interest."
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Can we haz a Zero Waste at NN14?—citisven: "Okay, so I admit it. I'm a glutton for non-gluttitude. Sensitive to waste. Trash talker. Reluctant consumer. A reuse geek. A composting fanatic. German. No matter how much I tried to focus on the heaps and heaps of super awesomeness of people, panels, power-shifting, and parties at NN13, I just couldn't help but being deflated by the heaps and heaps of plastic cups, plastic water bottles, single-use everything, overflowing trash cans, and general lack of attention to leaving the place the way we found it. [...] Despite some heavy detective work I couldn't find out who exactly to blame for my inner the conference's garbage crisis, so let's just say it was 's fault and get on with it. Because as we all know, being progressive is about making things better, so my hope is that by bringing attention to this issue, things could be improved a little at NN14. Maybe a lot. Is a zero waste conference possible? Maybe not 100%, but if you don't try, you won't find out."
Below the fold are six dozen more links and excerpts from rescued green diaries.
Eco-Activism, Eco-Justice & Sustainability
Chip Ward, Rewilding the West—by TomDispatch: "Enter John Davis and Trek West. At this very moment, Davis is walking, biking, paddling, and horseback riding 6,000 miles through a chain of mountain ranges that stretches like a spine across North America from the Sierra Madres of Mexico through the Rockies of the American West up into Canada. He started this winter in the Sonoran desert we share with our southern neighbor and has been heading northward for months. He will cross many of our most treasured national parks like Yellowstone and Grand Canyon, the ones that tourists love, but his trek is no sightseeing adventure. Davis and his Trek West partners along the route are advocating for what they call “landscape connectivity” on a continental scale. Two years ago, Davis trekked from Key West to Quebec, 8,000 human-powered miles. Same theme: conserve and connect."
system used through much of New Mexico, and managed democratically by the community.
Tennessee Water Resources Official: Complaining about Water Quality could be an Act of Terrorism—by DownstateDemocrat: "Yes, Sherwin Smith, the deputy director of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Division Of Water Resources, actually said that complaining about dirty drinking water can be considered an act of terrorism. Here's what Smith said: You need to make sure that when you make water quality complaints you have basis. Because federally, if there's no water quality issues, that can be considered, under Homeland Security, an act of terrorism."
Avalanche Of Lawsuits Challenges Delta Plan—Dan Bacher: "Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, recently forecasted an "avalanche" of lawsuits against the Delta Plan approved by the Delta Stewardship Council on May 16. That avalanche hit the Council from June 13 to June 17. Opponents of the Delta Plan from a wide variety of political perspectives, ranging from fishing groups, environmentalists and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe to the State Water Contractors Association, have to date filed a total of 7 lawsuits contesting the plan. Delta advocates say the plan doesn’t do enough to reduce reliance on Delta water and to protect fish, while agribusiness interests say it goes “beyond its scope “ in reducing reliance on Delta water."
Forests & Public Lands
Don't anticipate hearing anything about Keystone XL in President Obama's climate speech Tuesday—Meteor Blades: "Environmental advocates are eagerly awaiting—with both hope and trepidation—President Barack Obama's speech on climate change scheduled for Tuesday at George Washington University. Expectations based on hints from the administration, including the president himself, are that he will make announcements regarding limits on carbon emissions from electricity-generating plants, expanded renewable energy operations on federal land, higher energy-efficiency standards for appliances and buildings and possibly some plans for adapting to, and protecting from, climate changes we know are on the way or already happening."
Video: President Obama Previews Big Climate Change Speech Tuesday—by lowkell: "At least I hope President Obama's speech on Tuesday is 'big,' in the sense that it seriously addresses this crisis—arguably the greatest threat mankind has ever faced, with the possible exception of the nuclear arms race of the 20th century. On the flip side, of course, climate change offers humanity the opportunity to rise to the occasion, to show that we're better than the rape-the-planet-for-profit fossil fuel companies (and their paid and 'useful idiot' lackeys in the general public. Those 'useful idiots,' first and foremost, include all the climate science deniers and 'skeptics' out there."
Why Obama is about to DEEP SIX Keystone XL—by AlexThorne: "I am among those who worry that the President will announce a lot of steps on climate change and prepare to slip in approval of Keystone XL. But I do not think that will happen, and here is why. That he puts out information about a major upcoming speech in the NY Times is pretty standard. That he also hypes it up using a YouTube video is less standard and raises some expectations. But what happened in between those two events? An editorial by Tim Kaine opposing the Keystone XL pipeline."
We Need to Declare this War—by cyclinger: "Obama is planning to present the nation with his long-awaited plans on how to address Climate Change on Tuesday. For environmentalists like myself, this announcement is coming five years late! Hell, we've already exceed 400 ppm, locked in several centuries of temperature rise, doomed thousands of species and likely caused enough climate perturbations to make life difficult for ourselves and many generations to come, such that a broad swath of us are truly despairing for our future. However, the silver lining is that Obama has had ample time and a bird's eye view to see just how bad things are with the climate—and how little appetite we have for paying to rebuild failed nation-states."
President Obama's climate change speech may hint at possible Keystone XL pipeline rejection—Meteor Blades: "President Obama's plans for controlling greenhouse gas emissions and expanding renewable energy being announced today go farther than any policy moves thus far. That alone ought to be reason for modest cheering after more than two decades of industry-favored federal stone-walling on the issue. Which goes to show just how eager eco-activists are to see any forward motion on policies in which climate change is explicitly mentioned. Much of the discussion in the plan is about projects and policies already under way, such as the expansion of renewable energy projects on public land since 2009."
So Much for "No Drama Obama" Climate Speech—by lowkell: "As I said, I sure didn't see this one coming (assuming the report is correct), in what had been generally expected to be a "no drama" speech on climate policy this afternoon, but to put it mildly I'm very pleased to read this! Recall that the State Department's environmental impact statement on Keystone glaringly omitted increased greenhouse gas emissions from its analysis. Now, President Obama seems to be both aware of that huge oversight, and quite possibly poised to rectify it. Let's hope that's the case, because building the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and more to the point digging up all those filthy tar sands, could very well be 'game over' for the planet. And obviously, we don't have another planet if we trash this one."
LiveBlogging: President Obama at Georgetown Univ—by A Siegel: "Here I sit, in the press gaggle, watching the crowd awaiting the President to start speaking ... in a few minutes. (first posted with 40 minutes or so to go ...) Honestly, this is probably the best seat that I have had for an Obama speech (other than sitting at home with a beer in hand) since he was Senator Obama. And, the benefit of sitting in the media gaggle -- WH press office wifi and sitting in the shade. [...] essentially all the 'invitees' are hanging out in the shade, avoiding the seating area which is in the sun.) For once, it seems, we have a major speech on Climate Change that is not hit by snow or a cold snap. Instead, Washington DC is in a real June day (upper 80s) and we have parts of the nation (Alaska, anyone, in the 90s ...) with notable climate change influenced extremes."
Strong speech from President on Climate:US will lead UPDATE:Obama to request XL pipeline be rejected—by beach babe in fl: "Lots of good stuff in there and also lots of nuts and bolts projects. Want a stronger climate plan? Let's take back the House for a better chance of protecting our planet!"
President Obama Vows To Cut Pollution—Marcia G Yerman: "Talking heads are already pointing to a backlash in coal-producing states. Others who have been at the mercy of superstorms are relieved to see the President finally make a stand for the environment. His position on the Keystone Pipeline allowed different interpretations, as individual entities scrambled to define his statement within a context that best served their agenda. [...] I was live tweeting the speech, which had a distinct 'call to arms' tone, as Obama underscored the need for each citizen to do his/her part. He said, 'I’m going to need all of you to educate others. Speak up for the facts, Broaden the circle. Make yourself heard.'"
Obama's cynical XL statement—by seesdifferent: "For those dreamers who think that Obama's statement today means he will not approve the XL pipeline: prepare to be bitterly disappointed. He's going to approve it. He as much as said so. The pre-speech press release indicated he was not going to touch on the subject of XL. Rather bizarre, right? His big climate speech, in which he wants to show that he is taking action on climate, and he isn't going to even touch on XL. What does that tell you?"
What Obama's Climate Announcement Means for Coal and Clean Energy—by Mary Anne Hitt: "If you're reading this post, then you are part of the last generation of people who will have the chance to stop runaway climate disruption. Coal-fired power plants are the nation's single biggest source of the carbon pollution that threatens our kids’ future, and today President Obama made an announcement that puts us a big step closer to turning the corner on climate change—and has big implications for coal and clean energy. Today, as the centerpiece of his roadmap for tackling the climate crisis, President Obama announced that the Environmental Protection Agency will issue carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants, with a revised draft standard for new plants expected this September, and for existing plants in June of 2014, with a commitment to finalize the standards before the end of Obama's second term."
Open thread for night owls: Will President Obama's climate change plans include tar sands?—Meteor Blades: "There is no doubt, for example, that Keystone XL and the attendant expansion in oil production from tar sands would exacerbate carbon pollution, but how significantly? And does the fact that a pipeline is a more efficient way to transport oil compared to trains, tankers or trucks mean Keystone XL’s “net effects” are positive or negative? Even the federal government itself is divided on those issues. The State Department’s first crack at an analysis suggests that the pipeline would have a limited impact on CO2 pollutionbecause the tar sands would get developed one way or the other anyway. Not so, counters the Environmental Protection Agency. So get ready for a good old inter-agency fight potentially."
The Speech - Action Items—by enhydra lutris: "Speeches tend to have a high noise to signal ratio. This is my attempt to distill the action items from Obama's speech as they relate to containing emissions. It doesn't include disaster readiness and preparation for the effects of climate change."
Michael Mann: 'The most aggressive and promising climate plan' from 'executive branch in years'—by Laurence Lewis: "Michael Mann is director of Penn State University's Earth System Science Center, and a genuine hero, who has been attacked by the climate denial nexus, which has tried to destroy his career. And he is fighting back. His brief statement on President Obama's climate speech needs to be read in its entirety, but here are some key points: Ultimately, we need a comprehensive energy and climate policy that prices carbon pollution and levels the playing field for renewable sources of energy that are not degrading our climate and planet. But given that we have an intransigent congress (the current House Science committee leadership continues to deny even the existence of human-caused climate change), the president has been forced to turn to executive actions. His call for carbon emission limits on all coal-fired power plants, not just newly built plants, is a bold step forward. It will go some way to stemming our growing carbon emissions, and the impact they are having on our climate."
For Our Future, Today Can't Be Obama's Final #ActOnClimate—by Phil Radford II Greenpeace: "The current Congress has made it clear that it will be on the wrong side of history, so it is absolutely vital for the President to use his authority to reduce power plant pollution, move forward with renewable energy projects on public lands, and increase energy efficiency. What the President will propose today is just a part of what it's possible to do without Congress, and to solve the climate crisis, the solutions will have to be equal to or greater than the problem."
President Unveils "Obama Climate Pollution Test" for Future Energy Projects—by Phil Radford II Greenpeace: "It was a bold, monumental speech, the best by not only this president, but any president to date on the climate crisis. Greenpeace supporters have told Obama for years that the longer he waited to take sides, the worse climate change would get. Today's speech showed that the time has clearly gotten late enough for him to publicly side with the people, not the fossil fuel industry. We proudly stand with the President in the fight against carbon pollution, but we know that this fight won't be won with words alone."
The speech I want to hear—by tle: "Everyone knows that Obama will give a speech on Tuesday regarding climate change. Based on his history, the speech has the potential to be quite moving—for those who dote on his every word, while ignoring what he actually does. In the past, I have been greatly moved by his speeches, but now I am constantly struck by the chasm between his words and his actions. And I have avoided anything at all about what will be contained in this speech, because I expect nothing but disappointment. I thought, what do I want in a climate change speech? So I wrote my own speech. You are hereby forewarned."
President Obama, climate change denier? (Ok, that's an exaggeration, but...)—by CupaJoe: "The physicist Myles Allen has estimated that, in order to avoid a global average temperature increase of more than 2° C, we can “afford” to put about 1 trillion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Not one trillion tons per year. Only 1 trillion tons ever, in total, for all of humanity. The trillion-and-first ton sends us over the edge (approximately). [...] The bad news is that we have already generated more than half of our trillion tons as a result of all the industrial activity over the past two centuries."
The Jet Stream is Broken—by New Minas: "Scientists connect 2013's weird weather extremes to jet stream. They're trying to understand the cause of these unusual patterns. They blame it for everything from snowstorms in May to the path of Superstorm Sandy. And last week, it was responsible for downpours that led to historic floods in Alberta, Canada, as well as record-breaking heat in parts of Alaska, experts say. The town of McGrath, Alaska, hit 94. Just a few weeks earlier, the same spot was 15 degrees."
Is It Global Warming Yet?—Heavy Mettle: "Now travellers will have to factor in heat waves to their travel plans along with blizzards, thunderstorms and fog. Kind of ironic considering the carbon footprint of air travel."
Goodbye Miami—by beach babe in fl: "'Goodbye, Miami: By century’s end, rising sea levels will turn the nation’s urban fantasyland into an American Atlantis. But long before the city is completely underwater, chaos will begin.' Jeff Goodell writing in Rolling Stone has an stunning must read about Miami 'It's not a question of if, it's a question of when'"
The Great Outdoors
The Daily Bucket: Nature's Own Fireworks!—PHScott: "Rain, rain and more rain today on the east shore of Lake Ontario. Maybe it clears and I get another set of "best ever" sunsets in 12 hours. How about y'all? Where's your favorite place for sunsets?"
A Red Rock Ramble: Protecting the Canyonlands—by Dan Chu:"Last week, as I was pulling into Dead Horse State Park 2000 feet above the Colorado River - and just north of Canyonlands National Park - I remembered the last time I was in Canyonlands. Fifteen years ago, my wife and I took a four-day canoe trip, paddling 66 winding river miles from Moab to the confluence of the Green And Colorado rivers, past ancient petroglyphs, agile bighorn sheep, and sheer sandstone walls. This time at the park, I had driven down from Salt Lake City with Sierra Club Utahns. We were greeted at the group campsite by some Moab Sierra Club hosts and Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, his wife Mary, and their three children, Olivia, who is eight-years-old, Sebastian who is four-years-old, and Genevieve, who is eight-months-old."
Longs Peak Hike—by ban nock: "Only an hour and a half out of Denver the hike can be as easy or as strenuous as you want. It offers great exercise, awe inspiring views, and a very well made trail. Best of all it's free, no entrance fee. This trail sees probably way over a hundred people per day, no doubt as the season begins in earnest mid July I'd expect numbers to double. The trail in most places is wide enough for two people to pass and it's reinforced with spaced steps. Wilderness hardly, a well maintained National Park trail it is. The trail was built long enough ago, and has been maintained well enough, that lichen and ground cover grows unmolested along the sides."
Food & Agriculture & Gardening
Monsanto tries floating blame the activist tactic in Oregon wheat contamination—by Horace Boothroyd III: "A crop contaminated by altered wheat seed had to be destroyed recently. This prohibited seed was not approved for dissemination yet it was found in the heart of NW wheat country. Never mind the flawed logic involved in testing unknown wheat crops near other wheat crops. Or even testing this wheat outside of a sealed laboratory. Now Monsanto is trying to shift the blame to unknown activists that somehow accessed this seed that was supposedly restricted from public access by Monsanto. To what end contaminating the food supply would bring is unknown. Blaming activists for this is ludicrous considering the errors already inflicted on our food supply by Monsanto, there is ample evidence of their disregard in the killing off of bees alone to condemn this chemical company."
Macca's Meatless Monday...Flew in from Miami Beach re/dux—by beach babe in fl: "Southeast Florida is one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the US and you can expect to find the best of most cuisines. That holds true for vegetarian/vegan cuisine. Southeast Florida vegetarian/vegan cuisine compares favorably to other major world metropolitan areas. Tonight I'm going to highlight my favorite Florida restaurant; Sublime which is in Fort Lauderdale north of Miami. Sublime is an internationally recognized vegan restaurant frequented by the likes of Paul McCartney, Pamela Anderson, Alec Baldwin, Alicia Silverstone and many others."
* NEW DAY * — How to grow anything, no really, I do mean anything—paradise50: "All you really need to do is start with outrageously awesome soil.That's it. This tutorial is meant for those who desire everything they grow to be the ultimate it can be...whether you are growing flowering plants, vegetables or anything else. All you'll have to do is water your plants once you start with superior soil. The simplest way to acquire it is to buy it (I told you I was going to make this easy peasy). There are brands of potting soil out there that are far, far superior to the normal and usual stuff you can get at Home Depot, Lowes, KMart, Walgreens or anyplace like that. Frankly, if you are growing anything other than flowers, I'd not buy potting or planting soil from one of these places. This typical stuff will work, but it isn't that good in truth, and you'll still need to fertilize as the planting season rolls along or you'll end up with disappointing results."
Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 9.19—Frankenoid: "But… I now, officially, have to stop bitching. Because as of Wednesday, Denver Water has moved us from Stage 2 to Stage 1 drought — much less stringent watering restrictions. We can water up to 3 days a week, on any day we choose, rather than limited to twice a week, assigned-day watering. And that's because of the miserable, wet, cold, snowy April and May we endured. And my rhubarb survived! You must understand — this is my fourth or fifth attempt at rhubarb. Having never seen rhubarb bloom before, I allowed it to flower, and now I know why nobody grows rhubarb for the blossoms."
Massive Paradigm Upheaval in Power Production is Happening Right Now—by Muskegon Critic: "All of a sudden, the technology is there to turn some of the biggest purchasers of electricity in the county into net PRODUCERS of electricity with wind and solar. Over a short period of time. What the hell business does a large retail store like IKEA have getting into the electricity generation biz? NONE, really. None at all! But here we are. In the actual world. RIGHT NOW we are seeing RETAIL and COMPUTER companies saying 'Hey....we can produce a surplus of electricity....' while other huge companies worldwide are committing themselves to enormous jumps in wind and solar capacity to....get this.....MANAGE COSTS...."
USA Closed for Overseas Coal Business—by Jguay: "Phillip Bump at The Atlantic Wire summed up yesterday's climate speech by the president nicely: 'Less Coal, Finally.' From throwing his weight behind carbon pollutions standards for new and existing coal plants to a ban on overseas coal plant investments, it's clear the president sees no place for dirty fuels in a 21st century clean energy economy. But of all the policies outlined in the President's plan, the international proposals surprised people the most. Here's why they are so important. In his big climate speech on Tuesday, the President said 'Today, I'm calling for an end of public financing for new coal plants overseas.' The institution most impacted by the overseas coal ban is the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank. As I wrote Monday, President Obama needed to tell the Ex-Im Bank to move beyond coal because it is careening wildly out of control when it comes to fossil fuel finance, particularly compared with its sister organization, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) who hasn't financed a coal plant in a decade."
Solar Panels to be installed on Whitehouse Roof!—by beach babe in fl.
solar PV at half the cost of Grid power—by patbahn: "The city of Palo Alto is signing long term Solar PV contract prices for power at 7 cents/KWH. Now the national average price for electricity is usually 12 cents/KWH and in california it's averaging 15 cents/KWH."
Tim DeChristopher on David Lettermen talks about being Bidder # 70—by Lefty Coaster.
Big shift in US and World Bank policies may signal Twilight of the Coal Era—Lefty Coaster: "The World Bank says it cares about climate change, so why is it providing loans to help developing countries build coal power plants? Same goes for America’s support for coal plants abroad. In recognition of this glaring climate policy disconnect, both the World Bank and the Obama administration appear to be finally backing away from financial support of such dirty energy enterprises. The World Bank plans to restrict its financing of coal-fired power plants to 'rare circumstances,' according to a draft strategy that reflects the lender’s increased focus on mitigating the effects of climate change."
I've Been Buying Tar Sands Gasoline!—joedemocrat: "I was reading this article on Dr. James Hansen and climate change when this sentence popped out at me:
Another refinery near Minneapolis processes tar sands oil into gasoline for Wisconsin. If you fill up at Kwik Trip, you’re burning tar sands oil. Well, Kwik Trip is one place I buy gas. Did they really use tar sands oil in their gas? This article speaks positively about Kwik Trip's effort to get an early start on providing recharge stations for electric cars, but a commenter notes: Kwik Trip fuels are full of tar sands gasoline, which has a carbon footprint several times larger than conventional gasoline. In light of this, installing a few electric-car charging stations at their stores, which as your article states has questionable utility, seems like little more than greenwashing."
Obama Climate Plan a Full-Throttle Fracking Endorsement—by Steve Horn: "President Barack Obama [Tuesday] announced his administration's 'Climate Action Plan' for cutting carbon pollution in his second term in the Oval Office at Georgetown University and unfortunately, it's a full-throttle endorsement of every aspect of fracking and the global shale gas market. Hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') is the toxic horizontal drilling process via which gas is obtained from shale rock basins around the world, and touting its expanded use flies in the face of any legitimate plan to tackle climate change or create a healthy future for children."
Duke Study Links Fracking to Water Contamination As EPA Drops Study on Fracking Water Contamination—by Steve Horn: "Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) kicked the can down the road on a key study designated to examine the connection betweenhydraulic fracturing ('fracking') and groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming. A study originally scheduled for release in 2014 and featured in Josh Fox’s 'Gasland 2,' it will not be complete until 2016 in a move that appears to be purely politically calculated by the Obama Administration, akin to the EPA’s dropped and censored groundwater contamination study in Weatherford, TX. Now, just days later, a damning study conducted by Duke University researchers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences again links shale gas fracking to groundwater contamination. The Duke researchers did so by testing samples of 141 drinking water samples of Pennsylvania’s portion of the Marcellus Shale basin."
Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation
Coal trains coming to California—RLMiller: "Coal trains are coming to California. And they'll be shipping coal through the port of Stockton, then through the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta to the open Pacific. It's a disaster in the making. Frustrated by the shrinking demand for coal in the United States, the coal barons have been scheming to send the coal of the Western United States to Asian countries thirsty for power. A major chokepoint has been West Coast ports - only one deepwater, sorely overburdened port in Vancouver exists. The coal companies drew up plans for six deepwater ports in Oregon and Washington, only to be met with fierce resistance from residents who don't want mile-long coal trains sidling through their towns, tying up traffic, and shedding coal dust like so many industrial pythons. So far the activists have blocked construction of three terminals in Oregon and Washington, with three more still on the drawing boards."
Keystone Construction Shut Down by Protesters—by AoT: "Protesters in Oklahoma have shut down a pump station as part of a blockade of the Keystone XL pipeline."
API Spent $22 Million Lobbying for Keystone XL; State Dept Contractor ERM an API Member—by Steve Horn: "One of the lobbyists helping in the API Keystone XL lobbying effort was Marty Durbin, the nephew of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). Sen. Durbin was President Obama's former U.S. Senate colleague from Illinois before Obama won the presidency in 2008. Initially hired by API to fend off proposed congressional climate change legislation in 2009, Marty Durbin was named President and CEO of America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) in March 2013, the industry lobbying powerhouse on hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') matters."
This is life in Exxon's tar sands disaster zone—by JesseC: "On March 29, ExxonMobil spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil in the small town of Mayflower, Arkansas. Exxon, the most profitable corporation in history, has yet to account for more than 126,000 gallons of the spilled oil. Now, months after the spill, dangerous contaminants are being detected in the air, water and soil, and residents are getting sick - while Exxon claims the air and water are safe. Listen to these stories of Mayflower residents affected by the oil industry"
Holy Moles! The Militarization of Our Fossil Fuels—by Karen Hedwig Backman: "Someone needs to explain to me why wanting clean drinking water makes you an activist, and why proposing to destroy water with chemical warfare doesn’t make a corporation a terrorist.
I’m in South Dakota today, sort of a ground zero for the XL Keystone Pipeline, that pipeline, owned by a Canadian Corporation which will export tar sands oil to the rest of the world. This is the heart of the North American continent here. Bwaan Akiing is what we call this land-Land of the Lakota. There are no pipelines across it, and beneath it is the Oglalla Aquifer wherein lies the vast majority of the water for this region. The Lakota understand that water is life, and that there is no new water. It turns out, tar sands carrying pipelines (otherwise called 'dilbit') are sixteen times more likely to break than a conventional pipeline, and it seems that some ranchers and Native people, in a new Cowboy and Indian Alliance, are intent upon protecting that water."
Taking science and Obama at his word, Keystone pipeline ought to die—rlegro: "President Obama said this week his administration will not approve the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline from Canada into the US unless it can be determined that the project will not significantly increase carbon pollutants that are involved in climate change. That sounds promising, although some observers said Obama left himself wiggle room on the subject. But if existing circumstances are any indicator, the pipeline's rejection on the basis of Obama's new standard ought to be a slam dunk."
Obama State Dept. Leaving Citizens in the Dark About Exact Keystone XL Pipeline Route—Steve Horn: "Believe it or not, the precise route of TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline remains shrouded in mystery. Of course, both TransCanada and the U.S. State Department have revealed basic Keystone XL route maps. And those who follow the issue closely know the pipeline would carry Alberta's tar sands diluted bitumen or "dilbit" southward to Port Arthur, TX refineries and then be exported to the global market. But the real path is still a secret: the actual route of KXL is still cloaked in secrecy. Case in point: the travails of Thomas Bachand, Founder and Director of the Keystone Mapping Project."
Fish & Wildlife
Wolf Delisting by USFWS, a fact based perspective—by ban nock: "The most common misconception I seem to hear is that this delisting is occurring in the Northern Rockies and Western Great Lakes regions and will bring about massive killings of wolves. This proposal will have absolutely no affect on those two regions or on the well over 6,000 wolves in those regions. The delisting is not for Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, or the Eastern portions of Oregon and Washington. Those states or portions of states are already delisted. This proposal is not about them.
Above- Confirmed wolf packs 2/2/12 This entire area has already been delisted, this change will have no affect on these wolf packs"
Dawn Chorus: Bird Conventions—by matching mole: "Seabirds aggregate because suitable nesting sites are rare and highly clustered. Being a seabird is great - you have this vast habitat full of fish and you can roam around until you find food. It's great until you have to reproduce. Then you remember you're a bird and you need a dry spot to lay your eggs. And it has to be close enough to the coast that you can get out to the ocean and feed. And it has to be safe from predators. A few seabirds nest in remote hidden locations away from the ocean. Most famously, the Marbled Murrelet nests in coniferous forest."
Eco-Related DC & State Politics
Which 16 Democrats Voted to Give Big Oil a Great Big Hug Today?—Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Yesterday, I reported on some of the votes the House was taking on the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act. Of course, the word "jobs" is in the title to make the bill look good and to show that the House Republicans care about something other than legislating women's reproductive processes. The bill requires the President to develop a new five-year plan allowing offshore oil-and-gas leases off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. To get a better perspective on the potential dangers of this bill, take a look at the testimony given by Michael Conathan, the Director of Ocean Policy at the Center for American Progress. The fact is, accelerating offshore oil and gas production in an attempt to create more jobs might be a fine idea if nothing else took place in our exclusive economic zone. But the ocean is a busy place, and prioritizing one industry will surely come at the expense of others."
Democrat Bill Enyart doesn't want help from environmentalists or Obama supporters—by Willinois: "I received another fundraising email today from freshman Democratic Congressman Bill Enyart. As it turns out, he doesn't want my money after all. He made that very clear in his public statement promising to fight Obama's climate change agenda.'As co-chairman of the Congressional Coal Caucus, I will work tirelessly against any proposed new federal mandates that will increase our energy costs, and decimate our Southern Illinois coal industry in the process.' Do you know what actually caused a large electric rate increase in his district? The new Prairie State coal plant. New coal costs more than wind power. What's hurting the economy in his district lately? Record drought, extreme flooding, and not being able to move barge traffic along the Mississippi."
ALEC Strikes again, by Resolving to 'Free' Electricity—by jamess: "ALEC has recently re-introduced this Let's Study the Climate Problem template: Template Source: alec.org/legislation-tags/climate-change. Just fill-in the blanks, Climate-confused Legislators. ALEC's got you covered, conservative Republicans! No messy Science stuff either. You see, ALEC's Big Oil sponsors are getting sort of worried, about the pace and urgency of the Change, that's actually needed."
Celebrating Solar Power in North Carolina—by Mary Anne Hitt:
Who Cares About Climate Change?—by Alan Grayson: " Ed Markey does. Ed Markey served as the one and only Chair of the U.S. House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, during its four years of existence. Let me explain to you what an utterly thankless job that is. If you are the Chair of a committee on global warming, you've got Big Oil against you. You've got the electrical utilities against you. You've got the auto manufacturers against you. You've got the pipeline and tanker and drilling companies against you. What kind of person would want all of those headaches, just for a shot at saving Planet Earth? Ed Markey. That kind of person."
No Mr. Boehner continuing to ignore Climate Change is what's "absolutely crazy"—by Lefty Coaster: "Most children learn at a very young age that ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away, they soon see ignoring a problem will probably make it worse, and then solving the problem becomes much harder. Apparently Speaker Boehner never learned that basic life lesson. Boehner: More energy regs ‘absolutely crazy’: House Speaker John Boehner blasted President Barack Obama’s coming proposal to address climate change through new regulations implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency."
HI-Sen: Brian Schatz (D) Advocates Ridiculing Climate Change Deniers—by poopdogcomedy: "The freshman senator, appointed upon the death of Hawaii's statesman Dan Inouye, was talking about skeptics of climate change. The issue earned a Saturday morning panel at Netroots Nation, anchored by Rep. Henry Waxman, who had moved the 2009 cap and trade bill through the Democratic House only to 1) watch it whimper and die in the Senate and 2) watch many Democrats who'd backed it get attacked as 'energy taxers' and lose. Waxman and Schatz agreed that climate change legislation was a dead letter in the current Congress, because Republicans didn't fear it. How to change that? Ridicule."
Four Years Ago Today, the House Passed a Landmark Climate Bill. Then It Died in the Senate—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "On June 26, 2009, four years ago to the day, the House passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act (Waxman-Markey) in a close vote of 219 to 212. I was somewhat surprised that Obama didn't mention this anniversary in his climate speech yesterday at my alma mater, Georgetown University. The ensuing mess in the Senate and the Republican takeover in 2010 ensured that we'd see no climate bill pass through either house of Congress since. Unfortunately, we won't likely see one again in the future, leaving pressure for strong executive action and divestment the best near-term options."
Bob Inglis: Conservatives Have A Climate Solution—by Marcia G Yerman: "[Bob Inglis, former representative of South Carolina’s 4th District]'s strategy is based on “three pillars” to a conservative and free-market solution to energy and climate policy should entail: Eliminate all subsidies for all fuels, from fossil fuels to renewables; Attach all costs to all fuels—in order to get a true cost comparison; Ensure revenue neutrality, to prevent the growth of government On the importance of all forms of energy being held 'fully accountable' for how they impact the environment, Inglis suggested, 'Let the government be the cop on the beat.' (Ironically, he does not support EPA regulation of carbon, defining it as 'costly, cumbersome, and litigious.') In the long run, he deems price signals as being more effective than government regulations."
Saving Pigs and Cows is Terrorism—by RadicalParrot: "As is becoming increasingly common these days, the people behind all this industry-bought legislation have no shame in outing themselves as the nut jobs that they are. One industry activist, Rick Berman, wrote an op-ed in New Hampshire's Union Leader that PETA and the HSUS 'have developed a cottage industry in filming alleged cruelty for weeks or months and then releasing it with a big media splash later. They get their faces on TV and their names in the paper when they think timing is right for a good PR campaign. And the animals? A few of them might suffer longer bouts of abuse while the activists film and wait.'"
Grayson Amendment Fails ON A TIE. House Proceeds to Give Big Oil a Great Big Hug—Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "While you were watching the Senate take the steps toward final passage of its immigration bill, the House was voting on some legislation of its own, in particular H R 1613. This bill would implement a U.S.-Mexico agreement on offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico signed in February of last year by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa. The deal would allow oil and gas drilling on more than 1.5 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico. [...] Before I go into the details of the final vote on HR 1613, I want to highlight the fate of the amendment put forth by Alan Grayson that would have ensured that states had the right to prevent offshore drilling in their own coastal waters. Grayson’s amendment was rejected ON A TIE (213 to 213), a rare occurrence in the House. If the vote is tied in the House, the bill dies."
PA-Gov: Call Tom Corbett (R) & Tell Him Not To Appoint A Pro-Fracking DEP Secretary—by poopdogcomedy: "From CREDO: With blessings from state regulators--including former DEP Secretary Michael Krancer, who resigned in April--fracking has dramatically expanded in Pennsylvania, harming countless Pennsylvanians. Will you make a call and tell Governor Corbett to appoint a DEP secretary who will turn around the department's pro-fracking policy and hold the fracking industry accountable?Call Governor Corbett and tell him: Appoint an environmental expert without fracking industry ties as Department of Environmental Protection secretary."
MI-Sen: Gary Peters (D) Can Help Make The Senate Greener—by poopdogcomedy: "Last week, Greg Sargent pointed out that the new generation of Senate Democrats are more environmentally friendly. [...] Michigan U.S. Rep. Gary Peters said Thursday that the state Department of Environmental Quality has learned dust from the mounds 'appear to be an issue during the loading of material onto freighters.' Peters has introduced legislation calling for an investigation into any health and environmental risks from the petroleum coke piles in southwest Detroit."
"A very different America" So, let's eat putrid meat with formaldehyde—by zwoof: "Well, I haven't read [the decision] yet. Obviously, it is an important bill that passed back in the sixties, at a time when we had a very different America than we have today.
[...] I think I'm just going to have to read it first, but I would say that I do think America is very different from what it was in the 1960s. America is also 'very different' from what it was in 1906, so why not shit-can Teddy Roosevelt's Pure Food and Drug Act?"
Transportation & Infrastructure
Sunday Train: Steel Interstates and Using the Defense Budget to Improve National Security—by BruceMcF: "This is the year that the funding authorization for the Federal Rail Authority expires, and the Obama administration is answering with a bold new plan to invest in this critical piece of any long term sustainable transport system, as described earlier this month at the Transport Politic: Total funding for rail activity, both for operating funds and capital projects, would increase from about $1.8 billion in 2013 to more than $6.5 billion in fiscal year 2014. Over the course of five years, about $40 billion would be devoted to rail improvement across the country, a massive expansion paid for with funds 'saved' from ending military operations overseas. This would be headlined by a $5 billion "'jump-start' stimulus for rail, part of a $50 billion infrastructure package the Administration is hoping Congress will pay attention to."
If we had any sense at all ... (a climate change rant)—by Tim DeLaney: "Electrical power must be the backbone of the solution. The bulk of our long distance transportation needs should be filled by high speed rail lines, rather than by airliners. Consider a trip from Chicago to Los Angeles. At 250 MPH by train (about the fastest currently available) it would take a few hours longer, but some of that time would be recovered by shorter delays at both ends of the trip. And it could be made a lot more comfortable."
Even an Aggressive Increase in Electric Vehicle Use Will Barely Dent Electricity Demand. No, Really—Muskegon Critic: "Electric car use won't put much of a strain at all on our Nation's power grid. If we have an "aggressive" transition to electric vehicles, the increased use of electricity will barely make a dent in the Nation's demand for electricity. Barely a dent. I know, right? It seems pretty counter-intuitive. But there it is. And it's not because we're seeing astronomical rises in electricity demand either. In fact, the rise in the electricity market has been under 1% for years. And it's projected to stay there if we do NOTHING. Even if we do NOTHING AND we start driving electric cars, we'll STILL see an annual growth rate in the electric market of UNDER 1%. How is that even POSSIBLE?"
PA-Gov: Allyson Schwartz (D) Co-Authors $1 Billion Transportation Bill—poopdogcomedy: "As state lawmakers haggle over how to fund the commonwealth's infrastructure needs, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz may have stolen a march Friday toward helping repair Pennsylvania's crumbling roads and bridges, according to a new release. Schwartz, D-Montgomery County, co-authored a bipartisan bill introduced Friday that would provide $1 billion in matching bonds and tax credits toward state transportation projects for each state across the nation. The Transportation and Regional Infrastructure Project [TRIP] bonds legislation would allow individual states to issue bonds for transportation infrastructure projects over a six-year period."
Miscellany & Products
Earth as Art—jamess: "Landsat is an ongoing series of satellites that conduct Earth observations. The satellites have been used to track urban sprawl, monitor the effects of climate change, and see how deforestation affects the surrounding landscape. The program has run continuously since 1972, so scientists have four decades of information in hand to track changes in land use over time."
LED Lightbulbs Finally Ready for Prime Time!—by Brainwrap: "These have been available for years, but until recently, like the Tesla, the price was simply far too high to be practical for most people. A typical, standard bulb (the equivalent of an incandescent 60-100 watt bulb with a regular socket, etc) was running at around $40-$50 apiece just a couple of years ago. At that price, all the "total cost of ownership" arguments in the world simply weren't enough to get over that initial sticker shock, especially with traditional incandescents only costing around $1-$2 apiece (and equivalent CFLs only costing $2-$4). However, this situation has quietly changed under the radar. I walked into CostCo the other day and noticed a big display of Feit Electric 75-Watt Replacement, Dimmable LED track/recessed-style lightbulbs for a mere $20 apiece."