|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 eight years, there have been 233 of these spotlighting more than 13,144 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 89 more that appeared in the past seven days. [Disclaimer: Inclusion of a diary in the rescue does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.]|
Oops! Northwoods Mercenaries Not Properly Licensed to Operate in WI—by noise of rain: "You might have read my diary a few days back when I described the breaking news of paramilitary style "soldiers," masked, wearing camo, wielding semi-automatic weapons and stationed near the controversial drilling site of the Gogebic Taconite mine in Northern Wisconsin. This iron mine will rip a 20 mile by 4 mile gash in one of the most pristine and important waterways in all of North America. There is no good that will be brought to local communities, other than some very impermanent jobs. [...] It brought needed, but unwanted, attention to this hostile act of intimidation perpetrated by GTac. Well, guess what? It seems that Bulletproof Securities, the out of state company hired by GTac to patrol their drilling site, is not properly licensed in Wisconsin!" [See noise of rain's original diary on this subject under the Mining & Hazardous Wastes category.]
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GOP House members from districts most affected by climate change cast 96% anti-climate votes—by Laurence Lewis: "The executive summary of a new report (pdf) prepared for Rep. Henry Waxman, by the Minority Staff of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, summarizes the politics of climate change: The nation’s premier scientific organizations have agreed that climate change is occurring, that it is caused by human activity, and that it poses significant threats to the nation’s health and welfare. One of the impacts of climate change is warmer temperatures, such as those experienced in the United States in 2012. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the contiguous United States had its warmest year on record last year. Nationwide, the United States recorded over 30,000 record high temperatures in 2012. This report compares the climate change voting records of members of Congress in the 112th Congress with the temperatures experienced in 2012 in the districts they currently represent. It finds a widespread “climate disconnect” in the voting records of the Republican members representing the districts most affected by the soaring temperatures in 2012."
Putting money where the mouth is ... a(nother) solar edition ...—by A Siegel: " Mosaic is crowd-sourcing solar projects -- giving people a chance to invest their money in putting up solar panels $25 at a time. Billy's email announced their latest project: putting up 12.27 megawatts of solar panels at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Burlington County, New Jersey (McGuire Air Force Base, Fort Dix and Naval Air Station Lakehurst). Part of the larger move to make U.S. military bases more resilient by having on-base power production and cleaner through energy efficiency and renewable energy (there are a lot of solar panels, wind turbines, etc going up on and around military bases across the nation ... and in overseas bases), the solar panels will be installed on 537 homes and supply an estimated 30 percent of home energy requirements. (Note that it is unclear whether the Mosaic-funded project is part of or in addition to the January 2013 announced plans to put solar on 1500 of 2200 United Communities homes at Joint Base McGuire.) Thanks to Mosaic and the ability to invest $25 at a time (thus, my $100 counts as four times???), when it comes to renewable energy and the U.S. military, I've now put my money where my mouth has been for over a decade."
BBC Witnesses Ecocide, Buries the Lede—by Nulwee: "Six men had intruded into a national park to collect incense wood and 'accidentally' killed a tiger cub. Did a tree fall on the cub? Either way, the men were illegally stealing resources from the heart of an imperiled ecosystem. As it happens, that national park is the home of most of the remaining Sumatran tigers in the wild. When these resource harvesters killed that cub at least 4 adult tigers attacked in response. A 28-year old man named David died. The five others climbed up a tree, and the adult tigers have been waiting below ever since. [...] Those tigers are either going to be tranquilized or, likely, killed. There are less than 350 [Sumatran tigers] in the wild. There were once many more, but Indonesia has 238 million people and 50 million of those are on Sumatra. And that is the reason why the Sumatran tiger is going extinct."
They don't shoot horses - or should they?—by Environmental Action: "Over the holiday weekend, we sent an email out about the Bureau of Land Management's policy on wild horses. Thousands of you have responded in shock and outrage to the news that BLM claims that each wild horse needs as much land as an 800 acre strip mine or cattle ranch. It's wildly untrue, but BLM uses this flimsy excuse to claim it doesn't have room for all of America's horses. So it sells them to shady vendors who make them disappear often with grisly results. But a number of members also wrote back to us with a really good point: horses (at least what we think of as horses) are not a native species to the American west. They were brought here by settlers and their impact on the ecosystems of our rangeland are to some degree un-natural. So I'm posting below the fold some more of my own thoughts to keep the conversation going and see what others think."
The Daily Bucket: Radical Feminist Lesbian Lizard Clones—by matching mole:
Dawn Chorus: Cut and Paste Edition—by lineatus: "I was there for my annual trip to the Yosemite Hawks and Owls class. This year, eight of my friends also signed up for the class, many of them fellow GGRO raptor banders. We dipped on the Great Grey Owls (it happens) but had a great time nonetheless. [Below:] Gorgeous male MacGillivray's warbler. He came in wearing an older band — I wonder how old he is?"
State admits traditional management more effective than marine reserves—by Dan Bacher: "The changes were proposed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and then adopted by the Commission. 'The new management measures we’ve adopted today will help ensure that the red abalone remains abundant on the North Coast and the popular recreational fishery there continues to thrive,” said Commission President Michael Sutton. “Our job is to keep wildlife populations in California healthy and not wait for a crisis to take action.'"
Climate disconnect: Republicans let their districts fry—by RLMiller: "To the surprise of absolutely no one following climate change politics, Republicans are voting against their districts' health and safety. A new report from House Energy and Commerce Democrats reveals a climate disconnect. The report finds that Republican members representing the districts most affected by record high temperatures cast anti-climate votes 96% of the time in the 112th Congress. No similar "climate disconnect" was found in the voting records of House Democrats; Democratic members representing districts most affected by high temperatures voted 86% of the time to uphold the Administration’s authority to address climate change or to act to address climate change."
Pigs fly: Fox News reports on the consequences of climate change—by VL Baker: "Shauna Theel at Media Matters reports that Fox News is equating severe weather with climate change as "power disruptions that were caused by Superstorm Sandy" will become more frequent across the country as a result of climate change, according to a new report from the Department of Energy. Sure the Fox News reporter felt the need to tack on the inane disclaimer that 'there are those that are skeptical of climate change and feel that a lot of the data out there has been sort of bloated a little bit.' But this segment is a big step forward for a network that once directed its reporters to cast doubt on the basic fact that the planet has warmed and has misled its audience in 93 percent of its coverage according to an analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists."
Climate Change will alter the soil that feeds us—by VL Baker: "In as early as fifty years one of the most devastating effects of global warming could be apparent with the erosion of farming soil due to the extinction of the very microbes that hold soil together. The microbes are likely to be affected by warming which could affect soil fertility. The tiny microbes; one of the most important communities on the planet make life possible for the rest of creation, according to new research by scientists in the US and Spain. [...] Ferrari Garcia-Pichel and colleagues report in the journal Science that they examined cyanobacteria in desert soils through the whole of North America. They found that two species dominated. One, called Microceleus steenstrupii, lives in the hot deserts while the other, M. vaginatus, prefers cold dry places. But, of course, the planet is becoming warmer with each decade. 'By using our data with current climate models, we can predict that in 50 years, the cyanobacterium that fares better in warm temperatures will push the cold-loving one off our map,' said Professor Garcia-Pichel."
M.I.T. Study: Climate Change will produce more frequent Hurricanes & more big Hurricanes—by Lefty Coaster: "If rising seas wasn't enough, if increasing firestorms in Western Forests wasn't enough, if deeper drought and/or bigger floods wasn't enough maybe more Hurricanes and more big Hurricanes will be the unsettling developments that finally breaks through the climate deniers' rigid refusal to acknowledge the new realities of life on Earth."
NOT BREAKING!!! Think Tanks Climate Change Denial and the Media/Policy Landscape—by NearlySomebody: "In 2006,according to James Hoggard’s Climate Cover-Up, the American Enterprise Institute was offering cash to scientists who would 'agree to write a critique of the anticipated Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC.' It is interesting to note that the American Enterprise Institute receives the majority of its funding from Exxon-Mobil. It is also interesting to note that ExxonMobil spent close to $80 mil lobbying Washington during the Bush and Obama presidencies. It is also interesting to note that one of the American Enterprise Institute's complaints about climate scientists is that they are only doing it for the grant money. Just sayin."
Global Warming => Distorted shell growth and herpes—by Aximill: "Summer in Maryland is the time for seafood from The Chesapeake Bay, the two main harvests being oysters and crabs. My (newly wed) husband loves getting oysters on Friday at a local bar. I prefer wings myself. As for crabs, The Chesapeake Bay provides the succulent blue crab, which any Marlyander would want to take a hammer to (or make a cake out of). Global warming though is likely to shake things up in America's largest estuary, and in other fisheries by making harvests inedible. [...] [T]hanks to global warming, the herpes virus is becoming more active and infecting a greater portion of European oysters. While not infectious to humans, herpes makes the bivalves unsafe to eat."
Sunday Train: Sidestepping the Koch Brothers' Climate Suicide Pact—by BruceMcF: "Grist this last week covered an often overlooked element of climate suicide policy of those famed climate kamikaze's the Koch Brothers: Since 2008, the Koch-backed group Americans for Prosperity has been urging candidates and politicians to sign its "No Climate Tax Pledge." In 2010, we noted that many Republican House and Senate candidates had signed it, and in 2011, that at least one GOP presidential candidate had. But it turns out the pledge has been far more widespread and influential than most people realized. From the Investigative Reporting Workshop: A quarter of senators and more than one-third of representatives have signed a little-known pledge—backed by the Kochs— not to spend any money to fight climate change without an equivalent amount of tax cuts...."
U.S., China continue cooperation to reduce climate change—by VL Baker: "It's an indication of how urgent the issue of climate change has become that the two largest global greenhouse gas emitters, whose total emissions exceed 40 percent of the global total, are cautiously coming together in cooperation to advance some climate change mitigation action. On Wednesday, the U.S. and China agreed to extend cooperation to curb climate change to five new initiatives, including reducing emissions from heavy trucks, which are a significant cause of greenhouse gas emissions in both countries."
Food & Agriculture & Gardening
WATCH: 'Ag Gag' Laws Silence Factory Farm Whistleblowers—by Bill Moyers: "In 2011, McDonald's fired a producer of eggs for its breakfast sandwiches after an activist group, Mercy for Animals, provided graphic, disturbing images of the company's farm to ABC News. That same year, Mercy for Animals took pictures at a Butterball turkey farm in North Carolina—birds being kicked and beaten with a metal bar. An investigation ensued. The abusers were fired. But suppose I told you that taking pictures like these could get you charged with a crime. Yes, you—not the company endangering our food supply, or the person inflicting cruelty on the helpless creatures, but you, the photographer, for taking the picture without permission of the facility's owner."
City Agriculture Links List—by gmoke: "In June, I attended a meeting at Cambridge City Hall about urban agriculture with some of the City Councillors. Boston has been publicly debating zoning and regulation for urban farming, commercial food production in the city, throughout the last year. Somerville, MA has already developed its own rules and regs:
Somerville MA ABCs (Agriculture Bees Chickens) of Urban Agriculturehttp://www.somervillema.gov/; [Somerville Urban Ag Blog Commercial rooftop, backyard, and basement farming is happening in cities all over the world." gmoke then offers a lengthy list of links to urban ag sites.
Macca's Meatless Monday...popcorn and a movie night: Gasland II—by VL Baker: "Future generations living in a climate-ruined world will be stunned that we drilled hundreds of thousands of fracking and reinjection wells: Even though we knew that fossil fuels destroy the climate and accelerate drought and water shortages; Even though we knew that leaks of heat-trapping methane from fracking may well be vitiating much of the climate benefits of replacing coal with gas; and even though each fracked well consumes staggering amounts of water, much of which is rendered permanently unfit for human use and reinjected into the ground where it can taint even more ground water in the coming decades."
Three years later is food from Texas safe?—by The Law Project: "In 2009, Peanut Corp of America's Texas plant was closed as the largest recall in history due to unsanitary conditions. As a whistleblower against Peanut Corp I have followed this story from the recall that killed at least 9 and made about 700 ill. Although the plant was registered with the Texas Dept. of Agriculture, they were never registered with the Texas Dept. of Health and thus never given a proper inspection. Although the executives have been indicted on 56 charges there is a glaring issue of did anything change or were any lessons learned."
37 million bees died in Ontario. Do you want to guess how?—by Willynel: "This might be the largest die off of bees yet due to neonicotinoids."
Build a Chicken Coop Movement: my backyard garden so far—by bigjacbigjacbigjac.
Arizona Utility Wants To Kill Solar—by Ian S: "Arizona Public Service has proposed new rules for its residential customers who install solar. The extra charges proposed for those ratepayers would effectively kill off rooftop solar in this sun-drenched state. According to an Arizona Republic article today: Arizona Public Service Co. is proposing charging customers who install rooftop solar panels $50 to $100 or more a month to cover the cost of maintaining the power grid. [...] Well, we shouldn't really be too surprised but it turns out that malevolent duo, the Koch brothers may be helping with APS' PR attack on its own customers."
With Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn at the helm, subcommittee hearing praises coal, blasts regulations—by Meteor Blades: "In a prepared statement, Lamborn complained: [W]ith the onslaught of new regulations [a]ffecting the operation of coal-fired power plants, some of which require technology that has not yet been invented or that may never be commercially available, the abundant coal resources from the Powder River Basin and elsewhere around the country may grind to a halt. Grinding to a halt is precisely what needs to happen as quickly as possible. Some 28 percent of U.S. carbon emissions come from coal, ninth-tenths of that used to generate electricity. A 2011 Harvard study, Full Cost Accounting for the Full Lifecycle of Coal, put the hidden costs of coal—many of them health related—at $345 billion annually. That's more than the coal itself costs."
GETTING TO ZERO: Is renewable energy economically viable?—by Keith Pickering: "Denmark currently is one of the most wind-energy-intensive countries in the world, which works because they buffer their wind energy against hydroelectric power from Norway and Sweden. When the wind is blowing in Denmark, they export electricity to Sweden, which then can turn down its hydro plants (thus keeping more water stored in the reservoirs behind the dam). When the wind dies, Sweden turns up the taps on the hydroelectric production, and exports that stored energy back to Denmark. It's a great zero-fossil system, but it's only possible because of the unique geography that places a flat windy country right next to a couple of wet mountainous countries."
The GOP Energy Bill cuts $2.1B from the DOE. Which Dems Voted for it?—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "As reported by The Hill, nonsecurity funding was cut by $2.5 billion. The GOP bill cuts $100 million from civil works programs in the Army Corps of Engineers, another $100 million from the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation, and $2.1 billion from the Department of Energy. About half of those cuts to the DOE come from renewable energy programs."
For Coal, the End Is Near—by Michael Brune: "You can still find people who say they believe coal has a future. By and large, though, they're the same people who believe their future is in coal. Perhaps that's just human nature. The more you think you stand to lose, the harder it is to accept—much less embrace—progress. That's why Western Union walked away from the telephone, Microsoft fumbled the Internet, and Sony ceded the LCD display industry to upstart Korean rivals. Soon, everyone will find it hard to believe that we ever thought generating power by burning coal was a good idea."
The heat is on: Latinos in California want to use it to power up—by BlueMarce : "Two-thirds of California home solar installations now occur in low and median income neighborhoods, according to a July 2012 California Solar Initiative report issued by the California Public Utilities Commission. So why wouldn’t we deploy rooftop systems more widely? Wouldn’t it be in our best interest to have a closer and more reliable energy source? As it turns out, Latinos in California agree. In a recent poll commissioned by the William C. Velazquez Institute (WCVI) and supported by Californians Against Utilities Stopping Solar Energy (CAUSE), Latinos overwhelmingly prefer solar (to the tune of 89% of all polled) when given an option of energy sources."
Fukishima Contaminated Waters heading out-to-sea. NCarolina Nuke Problem, too—by War on Error: "It is interesting where a story will take us. After reviewing the latest Fukishima news, I thought I'd check in on the NRC "incidence" reports for our aging nuke plants, most of which now exceed their "Don't Use Expiration Dates" and which NRC is giving 20-30 year extensions to (not 2 or 3 years)."
All that crude burning is killing us—by Horace Boothroyd III: "There are ways of doing our day to day activities that do not involve burning something that will result in particulate and gasses polluting our atmosphere. We can use wind and solar power generation for all of our needs. And on the plus side we will no longer be getting billed by a corporation that meteres out the power our tax dollars paid to develop the infrastructure of. And as a plus plus wind and solar power generation does not require millions of miles of wires to get to your home. You can create your own power and not have the risk of much more highly energized power lines going everywhere and maintained by those that look no further forward than the next quarterly earnings report."
Renewables in Extreme Climates—by gmoke: "I've been collecting links to renewable developments in extreme climates for awhile now and thought it might be time to share some of them. If we can build renewably powered buildings in Antarctica, in the polar circle, and in the Alps, we should be able to do the same in more temperate zones. If we want to."
Fracking in California must not be regulated—by RL Miller: "The California state Assembly will shortly take up a bill authored by California's biggest climate hawk, Fran Pavley, to regulate fracking. Her SB4 bill promises to impose a comprehensive regulatory scheme instead of the current utter lack of regulations and instead of the weak regulations proposed by the state's Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Regulations. It will cover not only fracking, the process of fracturing and pulverizing rock to get at its precious fossil fuels, but acidization, the process of dissolving rock in hydrochloric acid or worse to get at the same fossil fuels. The bill will study induced seismicity and require groundwater monitoring. It's backed by an impressive array of green groups including California League of Conservation Voters and Natural Resources Defense Council. SB4 has already passed the state Senate and an Assembly committee, so it's close to becoming law. [...] SB4 is California's equivalent of a Nebraska bill changing the route of the Keystone XL pipeline, but not stopping or even slowing down our headlong rush to burn all the oil."
Fracking does cause earthquakes—by Horace Boothroyd III: "The study says that there is a direct correlation between putting fluid into the ground and increased seismicity. It uses the occurrence of larger quakes elsewhere to show that faults that normally are quite stable and less likely to be affected by plate motion are moving because of the presence of pressurized fracking waste water. These fluids change the dynamics of the fault by providing space for excess slippage that would not normally occur."
My Interview with Sue Lyons, Author of the Anti-Fracking Resolution Adopted by PA Dem Party—by ProgressivePatriotPA: "This is a video from my new show, Counterpoint PA, the only grassroots progressive newscast exclusively about Pennsylvania politics. In this video, I present the first half of my interview with Sue Lyons, author of the resolution calling for a moratorium on fracking that was recently formally adopted as the official position of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. In this first half of the interview, Sue talks about how she got interested in fracking, the process of getting the resolution adopted, her experience as a member of the Pennsylvania Democratic Committee, the progressive caucus of the Pennsylvania Democratic Committee, and how the natural gas industry misleads the public about fracking."
Fugitive Methane Emissions from Fracking must be Counted—by jamess: "As with CO2, "invisible" doesn't have a damn thing to do with how much Heat these Greenhouse Gases end up trapping in the Atmosphere. Look the "invisible" windows on your car, or an "invisible" pane of glass in an actual Greenhouse -- being invisible does NOT stop them from heating things up in the summer sun. The infrared heat they're trapping is "invisible" too -- but that doesn't prevent it from scorching your day, as you pull out the car from of the parking lot."
BIgger, Flamier, More People-Powered: Gasland II—by Environmental Action: "He's back! Everybody's favorite fracktivist documentarian Josh Fox has done a sequel to his breakout documentary Gasland, which basically invented the genre of fracktivist documentary. It's a tough act to follow, in that I believe Gasland is the biggest cause of people joining the fracking movement, second only to having a your own water tap catch fire, and I was dying to see it. Though HBO discouraged public screenings, I was able to cadge an invite to a nearby roof deck to watch it with the splendid backdrop of Center City Philadelphia. [...] In his post premiere conference call, Josh Fox freely admitted to not being an organizer. It is up to us who live and work on the front lines of this fight to figure out how we can enlist the help of affected neighbors, help the movement grow nationally, and make sure that Gasland II and other inspiring stories of the fight against fracking reach a wider and wider audience."
Gasland II re-lights the Discussion—by jamess: "[Natural gas] is thought to be a "transition step" to a low-carbon future. Those calculations do not take into account, the constant leaking of Methane Gas, at all stages of the NG extraction process. When the global warming effects of this Methane leaking is actually counted as the very potent Greenhouse Gas that it is -- Fracking turns out to be a 'giant step' closer to the Global Climate Crisis, not a small step away from it."
Fact Checking Josh Fox/Gasland #2; Oil/Gas Industry NOT Exempt from Clean Air/Clean Water Acts—by LakeSuperior: "My colleagues in the environmental movement are fond of showing the Gasland video products to citizens and claiming to use the movies as an "educational" tools. The problem with Gasland is that it is entertainment that actually is "science denial" and thus not fitting as an educational documentary or journalism. Gasland does on the left on hydraulic fracturing what ExxonMobil does on the right with climate science denial. Gasland is out to deny that hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells can ever be carried out safely and to promote that position as widely as possible to the general public."
Fracking Contaminates Groundwater—by jamess: "And in other non-related News: The Pope is still Catholic; and Bears still sleep in the woods. A Duke University study finds methane in drinking water wells, along with two additional gases associated only with shale gas extraction."
A Group of Studies Suggest Human Activites Can Cause Earthquakes, even Damaging Ones—by terrypinder: "A group of new studies adds to an increasingly growing body of research that a variety of human activities can and do create earthquakes. The continued bad news? Injecting waste-water into the ground can cause earthquakes. The silver lining? Sometimes we get a tool to see them coming or stop the larger quakes from happening by ceasing activity, provided you have a large and distant earthquake to provide remote triggering. Now it’s not that this is news to anyone paying attention. This has been known for the better part of 60 years. However with gas and oil extraction increasing across the United States in addition to an expansion of green geothermal energy production we're seeing this happen more and more, and it's a problem."
‘Putting People over Profits’: The Fight Against Fracking—by brasch: "A joint University of Michigan/Muhlenberg College study reveals that only 49 percent of Pennsylvanians support shale gas extraction and 58 percent of all Pennsylvanians want the state to order “time out” until the health and environmental effects of fracking can be fully analyzed. That same study revealed that 60 percent of Pennsylvanians believe fracking poses a major risk to ground water resources, only 28 percent disagree; 12 percent have no opinion. Petitions with more than 100,000 signatures requesting a moratorium were delivered to Gov. Tom Corbett in April. As is typical for the man who willingly accepted more than $1.8 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, it didn’t matter."
Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation
Investigation: State Dept Contractor ERM Lied About TransCanada Ties—by Steve Horn: "The contractor the Obama U.S. State Department hired for the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) of the northern half of TransCanada's Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands export pipeline overtly lied on its conflict-of-interest disclosure form that it signed and handed to State in June 2012. A major research dossier unfurled today by Friends of the Earth-U.S. (FOE-U.S.) and The Checks & Balances Project (CBP) shows that Environmental Resources Management, Inc. (ERM Group) played "Pinocchio" in explaining its ties - or as they say, lack thereof — to Big Oil, tar sands and TransCanada in particular on its conflict-of-interest form."
The State Department's analysis of the oil market and KXL is outdated—by dturnbull: "A new report out today from Oil Change International exposes an important truth in the Keystone XL: the State Department's analysis relies on an out-of-date understanding of a rapidly shifting North American oil and refining market. While we've long known Keystone XL would be a pipeline fueling oil exports, it's now clear that this pipeline will be a CRUDE export pipeline and provide Canadian tar sands producers a key outlet to the global market in order to drive further expansion of tar sands production. This new analysis provides yet another way in which it is clear that the Keystone XL pipeline fails President Obama's own test regarding substantially increasing greenhouse gas emissions."
State Department Admits It Doesn't Know Keystone XL's Exact Route—by Steve Horn: "The State Department's decision to hand over control to the oil industry to evaluate its own environmental performance on the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline has led to a colossal oversight. Neither Secretary of State John Kerry nor President Barack Obama could tell you the exact route that the pipeline would travel through countless neighborhoods, farms, waterways and scenic areas between Alberta's tar sands and oil refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast."
Infographic: Piling up Keystone XL's petcoke—by dturnbull: "There are many reasons that the Keystone XL pipeline will clearly exacerbate the problem of climate pollution…but one that is often overlooked (at our peril) is the problem of petroleum coke (aka 'petcoke'). Petcoke is a refining byproduct of tar sands oil, and when burned is substantially dirtier than coal and contributes significantly to greenhouse gas pollution. See our new infographic after the break to see just how significant Keystone XL’s petcoke problem would be…with enough petcoke to add emissions equivalent to 3.5 million additional cars each year, the question of whether Keystone XL’s climate impact is 'significant' becomes an easy one to answer."
State Department's point man on XL to disappear—by ban nock: "Dan Klune who was the US State Department's go to guy on all things XL is being reassigned to be the new amasador to Laos. Tea leaf readers could figure this indicates some sort of culmination of the whole XL thing, which way is still anyone's guess."
This explains Quebec Train Disaster--Bureaucratic Buck Passing—by akmk: "So how could a train with over 70 full tankers of petroleum disengage from its locomotives while parked on a hill above a populated community? Here's how. The air brakes on the runaway oil train that devastated a Quebec town early Saturday had been disabled by firefighters who were called to extinguish a blaze aboard one of the locomotives 90 minutes before the disaster, the head of the railway said Monday."
Lac-Megatic Train Disaster Update—by mystery2me: "So someone other than the engineer shut something down, huh? I'd really hate to be that someone right now. The siding at Nantes being on higher ground than Lac-Megantic, the cars rolled down and never made the turn in the town itself. Many people along the train line saw train without lights rolling at high speed toward the town before the explosion. Company spokesperson on teevee specified that the train itself had rolled through Megantic safely and that the cars detached and rolled back into town afterwards."
Shameful: Right Wing Think Tank Using Deadly Quebec Oil Train Tragedy To Promote Keystone XL—by KGrandia: "This is by all accounts, a major tragedy, lives have been lost, loved ones remain missing and a small town has been nearly wiped off the map. There are still a lot of unknowns about this disaster, but that has not stopped supporters of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from using the horrific events in Lac-Megantic to promote the pipeline. In a commentary piece published in the Globe and Mail on Sunday, Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a "senior fellow" at the Exxon- and Koch-funded Manhattan Institute writes 'After Saturday’s tragedy in Lac-Mégantic, Que., it is time to speed up the approval of new pipeline construction in North America. Pipelines are the safest way of transporting oil and natural gas, and we need more of them, without delay.' No kidding, Furchgott-Roth wants no more delay in the Keystone XL pipeline, since she has been advocating on behalf of the oil industry in one form or another for more than 25 years, with stints as an economist at the American Petroleum Institute and the oil industry-backed American Enterprise Institute. "
Some People Shouldn't Be Allowed to Run a Railroad... Or a Pipeline!—by GearheadGrrrl: "So a couple days back a train on Ed Burkhardt’s MM&A Railroad in Quebec has one of it’s five locomotives catch fire… Yup, still running locomotives so unreliable that they send out twice as many as needed to move the train. The local fire service dealt with that, and the sole crew member considered his train parked and headed to a hotel for the night. Now parking a train is no minor endeavor- even if they’re just parking a piece of lightweight maintainence equipment on the siding in my little town, the BNSF crews will set both the air brakes and handbrakes, set a block called a “derail” on the track to keep anything from moving just in case, and padlock the switch so it can’t be miss thrown. With a train near a mile long and all by himself, the MM&A engineer would have had to walk nearly a mile with a heavy derail while setting handbrakes, then walk back near another mile to catch a cab to his hotel. I suspect a few of those steps may have been missed. Real railroads don’t leave trainloads of HazMat in the middle of nowhere, they hate to even park ‘em in their railyards where they can keep an eye on them."
More Mystery Surrounds Canadian Ghost Train: Where are the locomotives?—by Zwoof: "The media is focusing on the devastation in the town of Lac Megantic and how the train started moving, but little attention is being paid to how the locomotives stopped. Somehow, the five engines continued through the town and came to rest 'about a kilometer away'. The Star, established in 1892, is questioning how the engines traveled so far after the derailment 'on a shabby stretch of track'."
Lac-Mégantic train disaster: Criminal probe started of a fire on same train earlier in evening—by Lefty Coaster: "A criminal investigation related to the Lac-Mégantic oil train disaster is underway. The investigation seems to zeroing in on a fire that broke out on the same train involved in the accident that may have led to a sequence of events that could have contributed to the disaster."
Canada Ghost Train: Crude oil may not be the cause of the explosion—by Zwoof: "Crude oil is not shipped under pressure and does not explode, according to [Chalmers Hardenbergh, editor of Atlantic Northeast Rails & Ports]. However, propane is shipped in pressurized cars and will explode violently. The Ghost train carried no propane, however there are reports that the train collided with four gas tankers that were parked on a spur line in Lac-Megantic."
Eco-Related DC & State Politics
Which Democrats Voted Against Restoring Renewable Energy Spending?—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Yesterday, the House voted on amendments to the Energy and Water appropriations bill. The House legislation cuts renewable energy spending to $1 billion, a reduction of $911 million compared to 2013. Republicans view the bill as more of a 'save our nukes' bill than a 'fight climate change' bill, as should come as a surprise to no one. I've included information below on the roll call votes on some of the key amendments offered by Democratic representatives to restore the cuts to renewable energy research and development. In each case, several dozen Democrats (normally the same ones) joined with the Republican caucus to kill the amendments."
Bipartisan Majorities in the House Kill Amendments to Reduce Spending on Nukes & Oil—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Yesterday, I reported on Democratic attempts to restore the renewable energy spending in the Energy and Water appropriations bill, which the GOP had slashed by half. Earlier today, I wrote a diary on the final passage of the bill--and the Democratic votes it received. I noted that I would highlight several other amendments which didn't appear on the House clerk site until after I had written my first roll call piece. As I have noted in the past, I think it's important to track such votes so that you can name and shame the legislators who vote against progressive bills. It's easy to see the final vote counts, but it's more important to know how each person voted."
CO-Sen: Mark Udall (D), "Give EPA Nominee Gina McCarthy an up-or-down vote"—by poopdogcomedy: "U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana), the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, announced Tuesday that he would oppose a filibuster of President Obama’s well-qualified nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy. But other obstructionists are waiting in the ranks to block her confirmation. That's why we need to crank up the pressure on Senate Republicans to end the pointless delays. Will you sign my [Mark Udall's] petition to Senate Republicans urging them to stop the paralysis and allow an up or down vote for Gina McCarthy, as well as President Obama's other executive branch nominees?"
The Great Outdoors
The Daily Bucket-Mountains of Jade—by 6412093: "'Dad spotted a tan rock jutting out of the hillside,' he said, 'but couldn’t break off a chunk for sampling. So he went and got Olaf, who was about six foot five and three hundred pounds of logger muscle. Olaf pounded that rock with a sledge hammer. But the sledge just bounced right off and Olaf threw out his shoulder. So they came back with dynamite, blasted some loose, and what they had was jade.' That’s the story of how a rural California resident discovered a massive deposit of jade, in the Sierra foothills, about an hour northeast of Fresno, fifty years ago. To most folks, jade means a lovely green, highly worked and polished gemstone, produced in the mysterious Far East. However, there are several jade deposits in the United States, including finds in California, Washington, Wyoming, North Carolina, and Alaska. Our neighbors in British Columbia, Mexico, and Guatemala also have jade."
A Magical Disappearing River—by 6412093: "In every river, water allies with gravity, and struggles to unite with the sea. Yet in vast reaches of the western states, climate and geology conspired to trap several rivers. Those rivers disappear, not because of a Penn & Teller magic trick, but because they have not yet overcome their challengers. [...] Meet the largest of those rivers in the Basin and Range region of the western United States, the Humboldt River of Northern Nevada. Beginning in muddy mountain meadows near the eastern Nevada/Idaho State line, the Humboldt meanders for about 600 miles, while advancing just over 300 miles to the west."
A $40 billion bad idea in Nicaragua—by roberb7: "Why do I say that this is a bad idea? Although there are several possible routes across Nicaragua, all of them go through Lake Nicaragua, which is a large body of fresh water, and environmentally sensitive. Connecting Lake Nicaragua to two different oceans will not only introduce salt water to the lake; it will introduce exotic species. The canal would also introduce large container ships, which will inevitably spill oil, sewage, and other chemicals. [...] Lake Nicaragua includes the island of Ometepe, a UNESCO Biosphere Preserve and an area relatively unspoiled by human habitation. So, there's an obvious determination here to spoil it."
Speaking Out for Clean Water Protections—by Mary Anne Hitt: "With more than half of all toxic water pollution in the country coming from coal-fired power plants, these safeguards will clean up our waterways and save lives. It’s time for coal plants to clean up their act once and for all. We came to today's hearing in Washington, D.C., to call on EPA to issue a strong standard to protect Americans from toxic water pollution from power plants. Whether it's for fishing, swimming or drinking, clean, safe water is a right all Americans deserve. Our lakes and rivers should not be the coal industry's sewers and toxic trash dumps."
Restore the Delta, North Delta Agencies Tell Caltrans: Stop Trespassing!—by Dan Bacher: "The Brown administration's "Signgate" scandal continues with Restore the Delta and 16 water, reclamation and levee districts in the North Delta demanding that the Caltrans "cease and desist removal of signs in the Delta. The Brown administration apparently has no respect for the First Amendment, Freedom of the Speech and the U.S. Constitution, just as he has no respect for the people of the Delta, fishermen, Indian Tribes, family farmers, grassroots environmentalists and the vast majority of Californians."
Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice
Activist Profile: National Christian Denomination Stands Against Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining—by Heather Moyer (via Mary Anne Hitt): "More than 50 people sat watching a documentary showing the realities of mountaintop removal coal mining, and I could see the shock unfolding on their faces. 'I had no idea this was happening, I could hardly move or speak when the documentary was done,' one woman told me. I was at the United Church of Christ (UCC) General Synod, the national meeting of the Christian denomination, last week in Long Beach, California. During an educational intensive led by United Church of Christ Environmental Justice Minister Rev. Jim Deming and me, we told a roomful of people why our denomination should pass a resolution calling for the end of this devastating practice."
New study: Climate change effects are racist—by VL Baker: "A new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives digs deep under the sidewalks and streets that are soaking up all this new heat in our cities—and finds that not all neighborhoods and racial groups are faring equally. According to the research, blacks, Asians, and Latinos are all significantly more likely to live in high-risk heat-island conditions than white people. At first glance, this seems to make some sense: Due to a long history of racist policies and lending practices, people of color are more likely than whites to live in poor neighborhoods. Neighborhood infrastructure in poor areas is mostly made of concrete and asphalt (with some soil here and there, often tinged with heavy metals). Those “impervious surfaces” conduct heat like crazy, and turn these areas into "heat islands" surrounded by their richer, greener neighbors. But this study found something entirely new: The heat-island effect and lack of neighborhood trees is more closely correlated with race than it is with class. The results of this study are not surprising. Living in a neighborhood with space and cooling dense, green tree growth helps its residents stay more comfortable and healthy in extreme hot weather. But cities don't tend to invest in trees for poor neighborhoods, where residents without their own private green space aren’t in a position to invest for themselves."
Smog-eating pavement can reduce air pollution by up to 45%—by DownstateDemocrat: "Dutch scientists have released a study on photocatalytic pavement, otherwise known as "smog-eating pavement", that shows that pavement treated with titanium oxide can actually reduce pollution by up to 45%. [...] There is at least one example of smog-eating pavement that has already been installed in the United States...in Chicago."
Chevron Granted Access to Nine Years of Activists' Email Information in Environmental Lawsuit—by markthshark: "In response to an Ecuadorian court's finding that Chevron had wittingly dumped toxic waste into Amazon River waterways used by indigenous groups for drinking water -- causing massive harm to the greater Amazonian rainforest -- the giant oil corporation filed a countersuit in the U.S. alleging plaintiffs in the Ecuadorian case conspired to defraud the company. One of three subsequent rulings by a federal judge in New York just granted Chevron broad access to any documents Microsoft has possession of related to the identity of 30 anonymous individuals they allege are of interest in the litigation. The subpoena covers every individuals' IP address over the period of the past nine years. [...] Remember, some of these records belong to people indirectly involved in the case. How they were determined to be involved remains unclear."
Why Oil Companies can Declare a No Fly Zone Part II—by GreenMother: "Now how are the regulatory agencies supposed to do their job, if all a company has to do, is provide damning evidence of wrong doing to the Department of Homeland Security in order to receive legal immunity? I don't know about you, but this--this looks really bad. Some will say, "Well who else would we appoint as the leads?" And I would answer, a neutral third party appointment who has no power to regulate or deregulate the companies and industries in question.I would prefer that third party be forbidden to go to work for companies they regulated for at least 20 years, if not indefinitely, in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety. The granting of immunity on these matters is simply shocking."
BP oil still assaulting Gulf beaches, getting more toxic—by Stuart H Smith: "More than three years after the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, BP's spilled oil is continuing to assault Louisiana's beaches -- and now we have lab tests showing that these giant tar mats are more toxic than ever. There've been some reports out of the region regarding three separate episodes in which these tar mats have come on shore on Isle Grand Terre, an island barrier and critical wetland in the Gulf waters south of New Orleans. In the worst of the three events, officials discovered an oily tar mat that was 165 feet long and 65 feet wide that had come ashore in an island marsh. Think about that -- a blob of oil half the size of a high school football field!"
Mining & Hazardous Wastes
Mercenaries in Northwoods Wisconsin Protecting Destruction—by noise of rain: "I tell you, it is true. There are guys with guns standing guard where the drill testing is beginning, near the heart of the heart of the headwaters, the headwaters of the Bad River, the feeding waters for the legacy land of the Bad River Ojibwe. Thoughts like clouds take shape and evaporate. How do I do justice to the poetry of the water, to a kayak gliding silver smooth over a glass mirror with the sun sinking in gold spill, the lap-slap of paddle against living liquid, a heron overhead leaving for night roost, the splash of a fish that is not yet caught? How do I do justice to the Ojibwe and their land, to Band of Bad River Ojibwe Chairman Mike Wiggins and his own bio-poetry, his lament: 'I knew when I became Tribal Chairman that I would have serious issues confronting me. I thought they would be invasives, like zebra and quagga mussels, or Purple Loosestrife. I never thought the invasives would be an out-of-state corporation that will kill the very land that is our home!'"
Mining company's armed guards not licensed in Wisconsin—by geojumper.
Mining Truth launches Minnesota-wide education campaign on sulfide mining—Mining Truth: "Last summer, a coalition of Minnesota conservation groups named Mining Truth started a public dialogue surrounding the proposed PolyMet and Twin Metals sulfide mines near Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This summer, the campaign enters its next phase, which is initiating a public debate over four very important questions that Governor Dayton, and mining companies should be able to answer before allowing the mines to proceed. This campaign asks people to sign a petition at MiningTruth.org asking Governor Dayton to use these questions when evaluating sulfide mine proposals. 1) Will Minnesota’s water stay safe and clean? 2) Are there safeguards in place for when things go wrong? 3) Will the company leave the site clean and maintenance-free? 4) Will Minnesota’s taxpayers be protected?"
Transportation & Infrastructure
Georgia Taxpayers to Fund New Toll Lanes in Atlanta Metro Area—by Lily O Lady: "While there was opposition to the HOT Lanes in 2012, organized opposition seems to have disappeared. The local TV stations' news reports show people who approve and disapprove, but the 'fair and balanced' approach seems weighted for the HOT Lanes and resistance appears to be futile even as public hearings are being held. I feel that this is just another sign of our two-tier society, where those with money live easier, more privileged lives, while the rest of us suffer in silence. When I Googled 'ALEC and HOT Lanes' I found this: ALEC Statement of Principles on Toll Roads - American Legislative ..."
Swiss Solar Boat (and French Polar Pod)—by gmoke:
The Arctic Future of Shipping—by LeftOfYou: "The distance from Europe to Tokyo by sea through an ice free Arctic Ocean is about 6,500 nautical miles. Through the Suez Canal, the distance is about 12,200 nautical miles. Through the Panama Canal, the distance is about 13,000 nautical miles. Around Africa, the distance is about 15,000 nautical miles. Those distances are approximate, worked out using the ruler tool on Google Earth. The proportional relationships of the numbers are more precise. Any route between Europe and Asia through the Arctic is much, much shorter than any other sea route. Hence, a terrific buzz is arising about a future for shipping through the Arctic. Thus a delicious irony presents itself. Transoceanic shipping is a huge contributor of greenhouse gasses yet, it is only Global Warming that will open the Arctic to shipping so that shortened sea routes will moderate the carbon footprint of transoceanic shipping."
Eco-Philosophy, Eco-Essays & Eco-Poetry
The toad is secretive and humble.
She gravitates to cool, mouldering places.
She hunts in the darkness for for fat worms.
Her pimply lovers ache and trill.
Her enemies retch.
What does she know? Is it shame and scandal?
Or does she pine for her liquid childhood?
In transition I rise to wraggle across the solid ground.
The loss of looking back tugs at my ankle.
I came up from the water, remnant of a hundred brothers and sisters.
In a quiet churchyard, hide me.
Conceal me under a stone,
Soothe my loss with soft cool rain.
The Green Man—ruleoflaw: A poem.
Do We Have a Duty to the Future? If so, why?—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "In the language both Obama and the environmental community use when speaking about climate change, one concept is always salient: intergenerational morality, or a duty to the future. I want to devote this diary to the corresponding question: Why do we have a duty to the future? My thoughts on intergenerational morality stem from a conversation I had last year about the ethical roots of the belief in a duty to future generations. The person with whom I was discussing this noted that she found the issue of international or universal morality—the equal worth of a person born in London and one born in Nairobi, for instance—easy to justify; however, the question of intergenerational morality did not come as immediately. It is a question about which we rarely think. When someone says that we have a duty to the future, we often nod our heads in agreement without really engaging with the question of why we do (and should) hold such a belief."
How did Canada become 'a rogue, reckless petrostate'?—by VL Baker: "Remember how, when times were really bad in the U.S., we could always at least imagine taking refuge in Canada? Easy—just pack a coat and cross over the border. Well, things are different now. Andrew Nikiforuk writes in Foreign Policy about how our friendly neighbor became a belligerent bully. The kowtowing to China, now the world's largest oil consumer, highlights Canada's big bitumen dilemma: how to get dirty, landlocked oil to global markets. The United States, Canada's biggest customer, doesn't seem to need it as much anymore; imports declined by more than 4 million barrels a day between 2005 and 2011, and with pipeline projects to the United States like Keystone XL stuck in the mud, Harper's vision of being an 'emerging energy superpower' appears in danger. Unsurprisingly, Harper has recently jettisoned criticism of China's human rights record. As a secret foreign-policy document leaked last fall to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) makes clear, Canada has new priorities: 'To succeed we will need to pursue political relationships in tandem with economic interests even where political interests or values may not align.'"
Consuming with eyes wide open—by liberated spaces: "An internal dance of joy leapt within me when I read the following line in "Green Washed: Why We Can’t Buy Our Way to a Green Planet" by Kendra Pierre-Louis: While we need to be more conscious about what and how much we choose to consume, that consciousness is a starting point, not an end point. This quote was the perfect finale for my presentation on a panel about environmentally conscious organizing at this year’s NAPO2013 conference. I was thrilled to be one of three ECO organizers speaking on a topic so near and dear but more so about spreading ideas that I hope will help create ripples of awareness and change in an industry of individuals who routinely find themselves on the front lines of communicating with people about stuff and the choices we make as consumers."
Solyndra is a huge scandal—by citizen k: "How can people like that ever understand a Solyndra or a Tesla Motors ("losers" according to Romney), Berskhire Hathaway, Costco, or any business started by someone who did not have rich friends and family? When you operate in a real market success is not guaranteed. When you operate in the Republican Grifter World - it just depends on who you know."
Miscellany & Products
EPA: "No Science Currently To Support Occurrence of Sharknado"—by Heavy Mettle: "The Environmental Protection Agency is feeding off the “Sharknado” Twitter frenzy. The agency on Friday warned that climate change may lead to more dangerous storms, but that scientists can’t link it to tornadoes that rain sharks. At least not yet."