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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 264 of these spotlighting more than 16,268 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 74 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.]
Exiles on Main Street: When Ordinary People Resist the Oil-pocalypse—by Reverend Billy: "Three Michigan women—Lisa Leggio, Barbara Carter, and Vicci Hamlin—chained themselves to an excavator in the little town of Mason. They were polite in that midwestern way throughout their protest of Enbridge, the Canadian firm that leaked 800,000 gallons of oil in their community, and can't seem to clean it up. After the conviction was read, Judge William Collette, a Republican and former bomber pilot, marched the ladies—one of them a great-grandmother—straight to jail from their defense table, despite their intentions to appeal. Here we have a signature tactic of fossil fuel justice. Call it "overcharging," accusing nonviolent defendants of felonious crimes that will later be dropped, but meanwhile holding them in prison because the bail is too high. In this way, the personal turmoil in the families of the accused is maximized. Also, this is how the government and its partner corporations cast a pall of guilt on the innocent, making them look dark and dangerous on the local evening news. Over-charging can quickly slide into creative charges that re-write the law. [...] Two activists in the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance are facing charges on perpetrating a "Bioterrorism Hoax" at the headquarters of extraction giant Devon Energy. This is a strange charge—that we cannot take an action that might excite the morbid imaginations of police. When some cheap glitter shook from one of the banners, the police reasoned that this might be chemical warfare. Stefan Warner and Moriah Stephenson face ten years in prison."
green dots
Backyard Science: A Garden Epiphany—by Attack Gardener: "Many moons ago, when Darling Spouse and I first bought our house, I did what any gardener would do when confronted with an acre of untouched land. I grabbed my shovel and started digging. Over the years, I surrounded the house and patio with perennial gardens, full of high maintenance roses and low maintenance daylilies and everything in between. We even had a small garden pond installed, guaranteed to be less maintenance than the same expanse of lawn (a blatant lie). [...] In the best of times, gardening puts a strain on one’s body. Generally, this is a good thing if one takes care not to overdo. Gardening is considered to be good exercise, both mental and physical. Then, of course, you get the fanatics. You know the ones, out with the dawn, in with the owls unless someone provides them a floodlight to work at night. Nut cases. Gardening wackos. People like me. While it could be described as a mild psychosis, it can lead to some really nice gardens (she said modestly). Unfortunately, it also leads to physical breakdowns. In my case, after several years, my poor, abused back finally shouted “Enough!” Loudly. Lots of doctors, cortisone shots and back surgery ensued and as of today I’m restricted from doing certain activities. No more digging for hours, no heavy lifting. One doctor even told me to give up gardening. I said fine, I’ll just give up breathing while I’m at it. A compromise was reached."
Garden
green dots
Actinides Escape from NM's WIPP—by Joieau: "The Department of Energy's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, a.k.a. WIPP, is a facility in southeastern New Mexico for storing high level transuranic waste that has been piling up since the 1940s, primarily from nuclear weapons production. In cavern 'rooms' excavated in an ancient Permian salt bed more than 2,000 feet below the ground, the 16 square mile facility stores the long-lived defense actinide waste in stacked metal drums and lead-shielded casks. This waste includes Plutonium, Americium, and  other nasty high-energy alpha and beta particle emitters. On Valentine's Day—February 14—a radiation alarm sounded in the vicinity of panel 7, where waste was being stored. Workers were quickly sequestered in one of the buildings and tested for contamination. Officials at WIPP informed nearby residents and the city of Carlsbad, 26 miles west, that it was probably just naturally occurring radon. DoE shut down the facility when plutonium and americium were detected offsite by New Mexico's CEMRC [Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring & Research Center]. The facility will remain closed for three more weeks at least, according to the Department of Energy, though they are hoping to get into the underground to investigate the cause of the release soon thereafter. Officials are now considering a ceiling collapse in one of the storage rooms to be a likely culprit. Such a collapse could have crushed one or more drums containing the high level waste."

You can find more rescued green diaries below the sustainable squiggle.

Climate Chaos

Ragingly dishonest climate change denial rant by Ed Rogers in Washington Post—by Laurence Lewis: "The Washington Post has decided to pollute itself with a ragingly unhinged rant against climate action by Republican political hack Ed Rogers. It's a case study of right-wing climate change denialism, and maybe much more: “The Prudent Rationals” would be comprised of those whose attitudes comport with something like the following: They are generally respectful of the scientific community and are eager to listen to mainstream scientists and researchers. They want to hear from legitimate experts who acknowledge the variables, the uncertainties and, importantly, the mistakes and errors of climate science so far. This group could support a prudent plan to produce measurable benefits, but only if the plan were truly global in scope and the cost seemed to be proportional to the outcome. [...] First of all, when someone takes the time to self-identify as a "Prudent Rational," you can be pretty sure that they're trying to create an artificial bias in their favor, a self-created appeal to authority that has nothing to do with the strength of their arguments. The final sentence is the real tell. Rogers pretends to suggest a course of action while actually attempting to poison the well against taking any action."

Most of world's worst polluting nations now have laws to combat climate change—by HoundDog: "Countries that together account for most global greenhouse gas emissions have passed nearly 500 laws since the Kyoto Protocol climate treaty was signed in 1992, with emerging economies leading many of the recent efforts, according to a report released by the Global Legislators Organisation (GLOBE) and the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics. ... Senator Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who had co-authored a comprehensive climate-change bill when he was a U.S. representative, said the study should encourage the U.S. Congress to enact its own climate legislation. The bill co-authored by Markey had passed the House of Representatives in 2009 but died in the Senate a year later. 'We need an international movement to pass climate legislation, and nowhere is that movement needed more than here in the United States,' Markey said."

Divided Supreme Court hears oral arguments in third EPA case on regulating greenhouse gases—by Meteor Blades: "The U.S. Supreme Court heard extended oral arguments Monday morning on its third major Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas regulatory case in seven years. You can see the preliminary transcript here. Predictions of Court rulings based on questioning in oral arguments from the justices is always risky. But after winning the previous cases, the government could lose this one. That would give the anti-EPA forces some ammunition with which to attack the agency, hurting its Prevention of Significant Deterioration program. Justice Kennedy, as so often the case, is the wild card."

International Progress on Climate Change Laws {addon for the Younger Vets}—by jimstaro: "Government bodies hired to work for their citizens actually doing work for their citizens and more. Once upon a time, not a fairytale, we used to lead in same and help others follow that lead, we took pride in that leadership, which outweighed the many failed policies we followed mostly unknown to us. Study shows 64 out of 66 countries had put in place or were establishing significant climate or energy legislation in 2013. [...] Almost 500 laws to tackle climate change have been passed in countries which account for nine-tenths of global emissions, a study has found. [...] From the United States section: The United States’ GHG emission reduction targets are relatively modest when compared with other advanced economies, amounting to less than a 5% reduction by 2020 below 1990 levels."

Extreme Weather

Rumors of a historic winter storm next week are a HOAX. Spread the word—by Weatherdude: "There's rampant speculation around social media right now that there's going to be a historic, blockbuster winter storm that affect over two-thirds of the United States east of the Rockies next week. It is a hoax. There will not be a 'historic' winter storm next week. They don't even hint at a sizable storm in the long range. The hoax is being perpetrated by an infamous conspiracy theory website called 'The Weather Space,' run by a man named Kevin Martin. K-Mart is a fake 'meteorologist' who thrives on creating hoax weather forecasts in order to drive page hits to his website for ad revenue, and it also serves to try to destroy the credibility of actual weather forecasters. He peddles in weather control conspiracy theories (HAARP and 'chemtrails' mostly) and tries to mimic the National Weather Service's official forecasts to try to confuse the public."

Food, Agriculture & Gardening

California beef slaughter house sold meat from cows that had cancer?—by lightarty: "I was reading a story from Huff-post just now about a slaughter house that was caught butchering and selling meat from cancerous cows. We shouldn't be so shocked and amazed. As a former meat cutter my self, I have seen many things that if the general public knew would make them swear off meat or it least be more careful in choosing their meat. What people understand is companies only care about profit but what they don't understand is just because the USDA is watching the meat-cutting process doesn't at all mean your meat is safe. The USDA agents are less like the police and more like that substitute teacher you had in 9th grade study hall ... seen but seldom heard."

poisoning the well—by Robocop: "On February 10, The New Yorker published an article by Rachel Aviv chronicling Syngenta’s thirteen year crusade to discredit Tyrone Hayes, a research scientist who has studied the effects of the herbicide atrazine on the sexual development of frogs. That the article appeared in a mainstream magazine impressed me, as I believe that how the world’s agribusinesses conduct their affairs is largely absent from public conversation. And while Ms. Aviv aptly exposed the bullying tactics used by Syngenta in an attempt to remove a detractor from public view, she shied away from any condemnation of the herbicide atrazine. If we have begun to recognize potential threats from GMO crops to human and environmental health, one of the biggest concerns should be centered, as it is in Hawaii, on the excessive use of Restricted Use Pesticides and Herbicides."

Maui vs Monsanto - A small island takes on the GMO-Chem industry—by Karen from Maui: "Residents fed up with being ground zero for Monsanto's GMO and Pesticide experimentation are attempting to qualify a ballot initiative calling for a Temporary Moritorium on GMO cultivation in the County. The effort is being led by farmer/realtor/activist Mark Sheehan and the newly formed Shaka Movement. The Initiative process in Maui County has never been successful since it requires signatures of 20% of the number of voters voting in the last election. That means 8,500 signatures in only a month.  The period for gathering signatures ends March 31st. However GMOs and pesticides are a hot button issue - not only on Maui but on all the Hawai'i islands. Thousands of people turned up for the anti-GMO marches on Maui and if any issue can galvanize voters, this is the one."

Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 10.2—by Frankenoid: "Denver's weather has continued to yoyo—Monday the high was 64°; Tuesday it was 27°, with an single-digit lows, Thursday was 61°, and yesterday 58°—and for the weekend we have another blast of cold, and a few more spits of snow. Not that I'm complaining—the regular spits of snow have kept everything wonderfully moist for a change, and at least we're escaping the worst of the polar vortex that is freezing you all back east. The only problem I have with our weekly itty-bitty storms is that I haven't had a chance to start the spring clean up: the emerging spring bulbs are having to fight their way through the garden debris we leave in place as natural mulch."

Energy

Fukushima Fallout Radionuclides in Air, Rain and Food from San Francisco Bay Area—by MarineChemist: "The activities of airborne fission products delivered to San Francisco after April 26, 1986 from Chernobyl are a factor of 10 greater than the same radionuclides transported through the atmosphere from Fukushima in 2011. [...] Levels in food, air and water will determine the impacts on ecosystem and human health. Atmospheric transport from Fukushima, at 10-fold less than Chernobyl fallout, should have equal or less impact on the Bay Area than Chernobyl did in 1986.  The cumulative effective dose from Fukushima radionuclides in foodstuffs purchased in October 2013 in the Bay Area was near to zero as no short-lived 134-Cs from Fukushima could be detected. Radwatch http://radwatch.berkeley.edu/ is a great site that reports information specific to the Bay Area and have been measuring for Fukushima radionuclides in salmon harvested from Alaska. If you live in the Bay Area you should follow that site."

The Bakken Boom - Kid's Views—by mimi: "With regards to the natural gas you see in the video flaring off, this is a view from space. Just to get an impression about the size and intensity of it."


"As most engineers would tell you, when people voice their criticism of the fracking methods and the problem of flaring off natural gas and the resulting air pollution and impact on the climate through the methane release, the solution of that engineering problem will be another engineering technology ... so you treat one engineering problem with another engineering solution that will most probably end up to cause another engineering problem. But here are companies who see great opportunities to offer 'an engineering solution' for capturing the natural gas that is so far mostly wasted and pollutes the environment."

Not Getting What We’ve Bargained For—by richturc125: "Over the past decade, the oil and gas industry’s upstream investments have registered an astronomical increase, but these ever higher levels of capital expenditure have yielded ever smaller increases in the global oil supply. Even these have only been made possible by record high oil prices. This should be a reality check for those now hyping a new age of global oil abundance. Reality sucks! Facts make it even worse…. The fossil fuel industry cheerleaders glide right past those sobering truths about the companies’ sizeable investments yielding … not so much. What’s the thought process for barreling ahead and ignoring these fairly crucial considerations about both investments and supply? Those of us who urge greater awareness about the challenges and realities of our fossil fuel-driven energy future would be thrilled if the facts we deal with were wrong and the cherry-picked or outright misleading Happy Talks offered up by the fossil fuel industry’s cheerleading squad were genuine indicators of that future. They’re not, and it is information such as that offered above which tells us that the reality all of us will be dealing with in the years to come is a different one from that which industry shills continue to offer. That’s the one we’ll actually have to contend with."

Renewables

Adam Green To Ed Schultz: It’s Time to Reject Keystone XL and Focus on a Clean Jobs Agenda—by BoldProgressives: "Rather than focus on the pipeline, Adam urged the Democratic Party to champion an aggressive clean-energy jobs agenda:“Imagine a situation where the president said, 'We are going to invest whatever it takes in clean energy. And I’m working with Democratic leaders in Congress, particularly Harry Reid, to schedule votes over and over on this. We’re going to get labor and the environmentalists on the same side and really invest in our communities. And the idea that, 'oh it can’t be done,' will be discarded because we’re going to make sure it gets done.' Wouldn’t you rather be fighting that fight and thinking about the next generation from that perspective, as opposed to, again, feeling checkmated into sacrificing by having this pollution underneath our communities that will, at some point, blow up?”"

Will Czar Walter Spur European Energy Diversification?—by LaFeminista: "Europe is connected by the hip to Russia and there is a great deal of economic interdependence, Russia has basically all their economic eggs in one basket, fossil fuels. It is long past time for a technological revolution in Europe fossil fuel energy supply is notoriously fickle and funds some of the nastiest regimes on the planet. The only way around this situation other than the sticky and blood filled dreams of the neoconservatives is by the use of technology and skill. The technology is there; it has always been the will to use it that has come up against of whining voices sponsored by special interests. Perhaps now is the time to brush those voices aside and do what is sensible for the long term economic stability of Europe."

Fracking

Nobody Would Dump Fracking Wastewater in the Ocean, Right?—by The Baculum King: "One of the many problems with fracking is safely getting rid of the contaminated water it generates. So, obviously, offshore fracking operations would have to make provisions for handling the large quantities of toxic water they generate. Like dumping it in the Santa Barbara Channel."

Media For March 15 Don't Frack California Rally—by boatsie: "Working on social media and public relations for 350Marin and thought I'd share here my draft press release for others to look at, and possibly work from, to publicize the upcoming rally in Sacramento: 350Marin is bussing up to Sacramento March 15 to join thousands of Californians from across the state to pressure Governor Brown to stop fracking in the 'Golden State.' The rally, which begins on the Capitol Lawn at 1pm, will feature celebrities and speakers from across the state who will share personal stories about how fracking is impacting their communities. 'It’s time Governor Brown stops doing the bidding of Big Oil and starts listening to the people of California who have nothing to gain from fracking and far too much to lose,' said Richard Gray of the 350Marin Stop Fracking Committee. Hydraulic fracturing or fracking involves extreme pressure pumping of water and toxic chemicals into mile-deep shale rock formations to fracture the rock and release shale oil. Millions of gallons of precious fresh water for are used for each frack job, and potent greenhouse gasses like methane and benzene are released as by-products, adding to the climate impact of the oil which will be refined and burned into our atmosphere, threatening the health of wildlife, local communities and the safety of our water resources.  The oil recovered is the dirtiest on the planet. [...]"

California family farmers band together to fight fracking—by Dan Bacher: "California family farmers, now struggling with a record drought that has been exacerbated by poor management of the state's reservoirs and rivers by the state and federal governments, are calling on Governor Jerry Brown to place a moratorium on the water-intensive oil and gas extraction process known as fracking or hydraulic fracturing.[...] On the afternoon of February 26, Shafter almond farmer Tom Frantz, California State Grange President Bob McFarland and Monterey County vintner Paula Getzelman of Tre Gatti Vineyards delivered a petition to Governor Brown’s office signed by 145 California farmers calling for a moratorium on fracking, according to a news release from Food and Water Watch and the Center for Biological Diversity, members of Californians Against Fracking."

Kitchen Table Kibitzing: Jewish Reform Movement Resolution for Safer Fracking—by remembrance: "Organizing along the spiritual route by inculcating ecology of religions into Climate Change can help move us forward on this long and wavering path toward a fossil free world. The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) issued their Resolution on Hydraulic Fracturing with an eye toward sustainability and protecting future generations. The URJ continues to focus on how to use energy wisely and sustainably, is committed to energy efficiency and conservation, while keeping with Jewish values. This is why they recognize that expanding growth in natural gas displaces research and investment in renewable energy and slows our transition to a clean energy economy. The URJ Resolution provides guidelines for Hydraulic Fracturing that will no longer preclude the public from weighing in on the negative environmental and health impacts, or deters the current trend of exemptions written into federal law that exclude many elements of the fracturing process."

Not one drop of water for fracking in California!—by Dan Bacher: "Apparently responding to recent articles written by Adam Scow of Food and Water Watch and others about the insanity of using water for fracking during an unprecedented drought, the oil industry has fired back with its standard response claiming that the oil industry uses insignificant amounts of water for fracking and is going out of its way to conserve and recycle the water it uses. Who penned the article? Of course, it was none other than Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), that august body of environmental stewardship that is pushing for expanded fracking operations in Monterey Shale deports in Kern County and coastal areas, as well as promoting the construction of the Keystone XL Pipe."

Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation

The Keystone Pipeline is About Honest Government—by Raúl Grijalva: "I know a lot of you agree with me that Keystone is about more than just one pipeline—it’s about how our government handles scientific decisions. Every day we remind people of what’s really at stake is another day we help defeat this big, bad deal. That’s why I’m writing this. When President Obama replaced President Bush, a lot of us hoped the days of big oil writing environmental policy were over. Well, the jury’s still out, and Republicans are fighting tooth and nail to get this thing approved no matter how many conflicts of interest they have to overlook or how many EPA concerns they have to sweep under the rug. I’ve made this fight my own because I don’t believe we can go back to the bad old Bush days ever again. We have to stop them here. That's what my op-ed is about."

Inspector General's report on Keystone XL contractor gives thumbs-up to business as usual—by Meteor Blades: "While it's not a killer blow to pipeline opponents, the report gives more ammunition to the forces eager to see Keystone XL thick with tar-sands petroleum flowing from Alberta to the Gulf Coast: Calgary-based TransCanada, the oil industry in general, Republicans, a significant fraction of congressional Democrats, and many unions, with AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka now firmly in the camp of the supporters. Whether driven by profit, by campaign contributions, by climate-change denial or by desire to create more jobs in an economy plagued by a tepid recovery for all but the top tier of Americans, those supporters like to pretend that the fight against Keystone XL is, at best, a not-in-my-backyard battle rather than merely one front in the broad struggle to keep as much fossil fuel in the ground as possible. Even if Secretary of State John Kerry does back bends away from his tough climate change speech in Jakarta and recommends that President Obama approve Keystone XL and the president agrees, that won't be the end of opposition to the pipeline or to extracting dirty petroleum from the tar sands. In that light, the OIG's report makes little difference."

Senators Boxer & Whitehouse Ask Sec. Kerry For Comprehensive Health Impacts Study On XL Pipeline—by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse: "Senators Boxer and Whitehouse held a press conference today to 'share dramatic new information that will shine a spotlight on the health impacts of tar sands oil—health impacts that are already being felt in communities exposed to one of the filthiest kinds of oil on our planet.' The senators are rightfully concerned that the "health impacts of tar sands oil are being ignored.' They want to connect the dots between tar sands and health risks 'from the extraction to the transport to the refining to the waste disposal.' In a letter to Secretary Kerry, Sen. Boxer and Sen. Whitehouse ask for an 'immediate and comprehensive study on the human health impacts of tar sands and the proposed pipeline.' The senators state how the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement is 'woefully inadequate regarding human health impacts,' and 'peer reviewed research on these issues [should be] fully considered before any decision is made on the Keystone XL pipeline.'"

If Hillary Is the Only Candidate, Where Does She Stand on Keystone XL?—by Robert Naiman: "The precedent has been established: Hillary Clinton, the de facto sole candidate for the Democratic nomination for President according to the fatwa of the Guardian Council, can speak out on the issues of the day under progressive pressure, moving debate in a progressive direction. Now 15,000 Democrats want to know: where's Hillary on the Keystone XL pipeline? If Hillary comes out against the pipeline now, that's a decisive blow against the pipeline, and a bunch of people in Nebraska are going to be very happy."

The Keystone (kops) XL pipeline—by agnostic: "Hardesty, Alberta - ground zero of four notable things—A. The most poisonous, polluted land in all of Canada. B. The center of a proposed huge rail center to handle shale oil exports to China, US, and elsewhere. C. The starting place of a 2400-mile long pipeline, intended to cross some of the most pristine, beautiful and ecologically healthy parts of North America. D. Shale oil central, where there is absolutely no governmental oversight of strip mining, air and water pollution, and the most numerous and serious industrial accidents in Canada. [...] Chicago, IL. Another half way point between hardesty and Houston, with huge refineries in Chicago, Joliet, Gary, Indiana, and the terminus of an existing rail line between hardesty and Chicago. There are refineries along the Great Lakes, both on the US and the Canadian shores. All of them have pipeline capacity to Hardesty, and access to deep water ports to the Atlantic. There are two massive refinery centers in the Puget Sound, one in Vancouver, one in the US (Anacortes). Please tell me. WHY are we building an additional pipeline to the furthest possible refinery away from Canada? And its filthy shale oil? And if we must get it, why not simply ship it to much closer existing refineries, using existing pipelines?"

Handy new site: "Pipelies Exposed"—by Eyesbright: "It keeps the issues simple and refutes the top five talking points being pushed by proponents. http://www.pipeliesexposed.org/...

My Keystone XL letter to Obama and related bill—by prettymeadow: "I see you want to help drought stricken CA. Instead of building a pipeline to carry oil, how about we build a water pipeline(s) to carry fresh water from areas of the country with an abundance of fresh water to areas that need it. If it was made a national project and not privatized the entire country could benefit from such a system. If you take excess water from flood prone areas like the SE and divert that water to CA and other farming areas in need it would greatly improve crop viability and water access everywhere."

Help us STOP the Bluegrass Pipeline, Kentucky's Keystone XL—by tonyahky: "While most people have heard of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and are aware of the issues surrounding it, fewer people across the country are aware of some of the other pipelines that are being proposed to be built, which could have almost as bad an impact on the climate as Keystone XL. The Bluegrass Pipeline is one of these--and like Keystone XL, building it could have very far reaching and damaging impacts on the environment. Bluegrass Pipeline, LLC. is a joint venture of Williams Company and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners. If built, the 24 inch, pressurized pipeline will be used to carry liquid by-products of the fracking operations from the Marcellus and Utica shale regions in the Northeast to storage and export facilities in Louisiana, where much of it will be likely sold to plastic manufacturers in foreign markets. It will use sections of existing gas pipeline which will be 're-purposed'  to carry chemicals such as propane, butane, and ethylene along with the newly built sections that will run through Kentucky and Ohio, into Pennsylvania and West Virginia."

No keystone xl pipeline, No tar sands either And Say No, to spectra gas pipeline in NJ/NYC!—by rebel ga: "The keystone pipeline; traversing six states, is NOT in the national interest of the United States, nor in the best interests of Canada either.
The US State Department is currently engaged in a process to determine whether the pipeline crossing the Canadian border and traversing six states is in the national interest.
 The State Department is accepting public comments until March 7th. More than 7,350 comments have already been received. Notice of 30 Day Public Comment Period Regarding the National Interest Determination for TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P.’s Presidential Permit Application. Another pipeline; definitely not in the best interest of New Jersey, New York City, Pennsylvania. Jersey City Awaiting Judges Decision. My theory, of why Jersey City and Environmental Groups have, lawful ground for action, (just legal cause). So they have to win, this Federal Appellate case. Just Say No, to spectra energy's New Jersey/New York City natural gas transportation pipeline!"

Eco-Related DC & State Politics

NYT takes hard look at how NC's environmental watchdog had wings clipped—by Christian Dem in NC: "Pat McCrory may not want to read this morning's New York Times. It contains a devastating story (below the fold) on how things have changed at the state's main environmental regulator, the Department of Environment and National Resources, since the GOP took full control of state government and 2012--and the changes haven't been for the better. I mentioned this last night, but I'm reposting to get more eyes on the latest example of what North Carolina's hard-right turn has wrought. Several current and former employees claim that with the ALEC-flavored rollback of some 'job-killing' environmental regulations has also come pressure to soft-pedal others. Those changes have really come into sharp focus in the aftermath of the Dan River coal ash spill."

Environmental groups launch major ad campaign hammering Republican House candidate on climate change—by David Nir: "As an elections analyst, I've watched countless campaign ads, and they tend to cluster around similar themes. But here's a new spot from the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club that definitely stands apart, particularly since they're spending a hefty $350,000 to air it in the hotly contested Florida special election to replace the late Rep. Bill Young":

Democratic Congressional Candidates Callis, Gollin, Green Talk Climate Change, Fracking (IL-13)—by Willinois: "The three Democrats running in Illinois' 13th Congressional district primary recently answered my questions about climate change and energy issues. It's one of the hottest Congressional races in the nation since freshman incumbent Republican Rodney Davis narrowly won with merely 46.5% of the vote in 2012. The central Illinois district is a complicated place to talk energy. Coal mining is no longer a major employer, but the industry still wields social and political influence beyond its economic impact. It contains the resting places of the two most significant coal mine union organizers in American history, Mother Jones and John L. Lewis. It's also a farming district with agribusiness giant ADM based (for now) in Decatur. The metro-east St. Louis region is a center for refineries. The 13th district also includes over a dozen colleges with young and educated voters increasingly concerned about climate change as the urgent crisis of our time. Environmentalists are organizing to become a bigger political player, particularly in response to the threat of increased coal mining and fracking. All three Democratic candidates agree on the need to address climate change, promote clean energy, and protect the public from the negative impacts on fracking. Their responses reveal where they differ on details."

The Latest on What Bill Schuette (R), MI Attorney General, is Doing to Wreck the Environment—by LakeSuperior. From the Alliance for the Great Lakes: "The Chesapeake Bay is worlds away from the freshwater Great Lakes, yet that hasn't stopped the attorneys general of Michigan and Indiana from inserting themselves into a legal battle there and siding with opponents of a plan to clean up the Chesapeake. By filing an amicus brief in support of an industry lawsuit opposing the cleanup plan, the attorneys general send the wrong signal at a time when our country needs to focus on supporting restoration of clean water around the nation from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River to the Everglades."

The Big Oil Governor announces run for fourth term—by Dan Bacher: "When a photo of Governor Jerry Brown signing a document appeared on his facebook page on February 27, anti-fracking activists were hoping he was signing an executive order to ban the environmentally destructive, water-intensive oil extraction practice known as hydraulic fracturing in California. Delta advocates were hoping he was signing an executive order to abolish the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels and to adopt instead the Environmental Water Caucus Responsible Exports Plan. And environmental justice and ocean protection advocates were hoping Brown was signing an executive order calling for a strict ban on oil drilling, fracking, pollution, corporate aquaculture, wind and wave energy projects and other human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering in the so-called "marine protected areas" created under the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. Unfortunately, Governor Brown was instead taking out the papers to run for an unprecedented fourth term."

The Great Outdoors

The Daily Bucket - greenstone—by OceanDiver: "San Juan Islands, Pacific Northwest. Jurassic era to present day. I like rocks. Some are very beautiful, and each tells a story much older than our short, ephemeral human lives. These rocks will still be here long after our species is extinct. The rocks on the beaches where I live are particularly various in color and texture and pattern...there are many stories here, hundreds of millions of years long. One of my favorite kinds of rocks are the local greenstones. Here's a bit of their story. The San Juan Islands are composed of a series of overlapping layers of rock types, called terranes, brought along on an oceanic plate that is colliding with North America. Each terrane crashed onto the continent, piling over the last, kind of like the cop cars piling up in the Blues Brothers movie. Imagine mountain-sized, and in very sloowww motion. ..."

Rock

The Daily Bucket: Just Another Day—by PHScott: "Another day of spring in North Florida. Here's what I found walking around the 4 acres this morning. The sun was out but still chilly for us at 40º.  At the top of the hill I found this Flatwoods Plum (Prunus umbellata) in bloom. While I was putting this bucket together I looked back to my 2013 photo folder and saw that these trees bloomed Jan 30-31, a few weeks earlier."

wild plum bloom
Plum Bloom

The Daily Bucket: Torreya, a Florida State ParkThe Daily Bucket: Torreya, a Florida State Park—by PHScott: "Torreya State Park is for the Florida Torreya tree, which grows almost exclusively within its borders. This conifer tree, known scientifically as Torreya taxifolia, is an endangered species named for 19th century American botanist John Torrey. So I guess how to pronounce Torreya depends on how the long-dead John Torrey pronounced his name. I always assumed his name is said as "Tory" and a longtime park ranger who grew up in the area always said it that way. He'd sorta chuckle as the tourists gave it that fancy spin on the name. I don't have a recent photo of the Torreya tree but there are a few in the area that have been cloned and planted. Deer love to rub on the 'stinking cedar' so the trees are caged. On other hikes in the area, north up along the river, remnants of the original trees can be found amid the slopes."

Critters

Cold Duck(Photo Diary)—by Ojibwa:

U.S. to Allow Seismic Airgun Testing for Offshore Drilling Exploration, Will kill Cetaceans—by Pakalolo: "Seismic airguns (link that has graphics on how the airgun operates) are used to find oil and gas deep underneath the ocean floor. Airguns are so loud that they disturb, injure or kill marine life, harm commercial fisheries, and disrupt coastal economies. These dynamite-like blasts—which are repeated every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for days and weeks at a time—are 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine. Seismic airgun testing currently being proposed in the Atlantic will injure 138,500 whales and dolphins and disturb millions more, according to government estimates. Yesterday, the U.S. government released a final proposal to allow the use of controversial seismic airguns to look for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean floor in an area twice the size of California, stretching from Delaware to Florida. According to the Department of the Interior (DOI), these dynamite-like blasts are expected to injure and possibly kill large numbers of dolphins and whales along the East Coast and disturb the necessary activities of millions more."

The Daily Bucket - Lake Solano—by enhydra lutris: "Solano Lake, CA. Tuesday, February 25th, on the suggestion of a neighbor, we wandered up to Solano Lake, or perhaps Lake Solano, in nearby Solano County, CA. It is man made. They damned Putah Creek (No! With an H, and is not at all related to that other word, but is of Native American origin, but heavily modified). It is a small lake a bit west of Winters, which is about an hour North of my place in the East Bay. Before we even got parked we saw & heard an Osprey, and while parking saw a grey squirrel and a plethora of black butterflies. While we were there, we discerned that many of the latter were mating. The grey squirrel was nice to see because they are scarce here due to introduced Eastern Fox Squirrels driving them out. The park has a day use area, which is where we spent most of our time and saw most of the birds. We were almost immediately accosted by this:

Dawn Chorus: Orange is the New Blackbird—by lineatus: "Icterids. Personally, I love 'em.  But what the hell kind of name is that? I started writing about blackbirds, and then I veered into writing about a few of their cousins and pretty soon it was all the icterids, and then I got interested in the origin of the name... and here we are. Per Wikipedia (which is never wrong as far as I know). The name, meaning 'jaundiced ones' (from the prominent yellow feathers of many species) comes from the Ancient Greek ikteros, through the Latin ictericus. This group includes the New World blackbirds, New World orioles, the Bobolink, meadowlarks, grackles, cowbirds, oropendolas and caciques. Okay, they say yellow but I know orange when I see it. The name makes perfect sense, but I wouldn't have been the least bit surprised if it meant something like birds who live in marshes, or grasslands, because so many of them do. Or maybe it could have translated as birds with really pointy beaks, because that sure describes most of them, too."

The Daily Bucket - Bufflehead love—by OceanDiver: "Salish Sea, Pacific Northwest. February 27, 2014. Buffleheads (Bucephala albeola) are my favorite ducks. I see these small sprightly diving ducks only in winter, where they gather in small flocks on my local quiet bays, fishing these shallow waters for crustaceans and mollusks. Quick short dives, popping up like corks, and in between often chasing each other and posturing. Other times they paddle calmly across the bay, although below the water their large webbed feet paddle vigorously. In the evening, all the ducks in a bay gather together and raft quietly near the shore. Did I say small? Tiny! Little more than a foot long, and weighing about a pound, they are light enough to be able to fly almost directly up off the surface, unlike most diving ducks, who have to run across water water a ways getting up enough speed to lift off. Though smaller than most ducks, including their close relatives and major competitor, the Goldeneyes, their size is an advantage during nesting. In summer, they migrate north and inland to forested ponds, incubating their eggs in tree cavities, especially old Northern Flicker holes, which are too small for Goldeneyes to enter."

Lubber Grasshopper
Daily Bucket: Wild Florida--Lubber Grasshopper—by Lenny Flank: "The Lubber Grasshopper is likely to be the biggest grasshopper you will ever see—and it certainly is the largest grasshopper in the United States. At a length of over three inches and with bright splashes of orange, yellow, red and green, Lubbers are certainly eye-catching. They are also extraordinarily bold, walking around in plain sight in open areas like lawns, parks, or sidewalks. They have every reason to be confident—the bright colors are a warning, for Lubber Grasshoppers contain toxins in their bodies that are strong enough to kill a small bird. When larger birds or small mammals eat a Lubber, they get violently sick, throw up, and learn to never touch another one. The toxin isn't harmful to humans, but if you pick up a Lubber, it is likely to produce a glob of brown liquid from its mouth (most people call it 'tobacco spit'). This liquid is harmless, though it can make a brown stain on your skin or clothes—it is a foul-tasting anti-predator mechanism. If you persist in annoying the hopper, it will next produce a frothy foam from small holes in its thorax, accompanied by a surprisingly loud hissing sound. Once again this is harmless—it is intended to startle and scare a potential predator. Despite their large size and impressive threat displays, Lubbers cannot bite and are completely harmless to humans."

Daily Bucket: I Wish They All Could Be California Squirrels—by Lenny Flank: "Well, it's not MY backyard, but ... As you may remember, I was in California for a week recently, and even though I spent most of my time in the touristy places of Hollywood and Los Angeles, I did still manage to see some wildlife. So here are some photos. I found this gorgeous golf-ball-sized snail on a sidewalk right in the middle of Los Angeles. He had about a dozen buddies with him. I briefly thought about scooping up a couple of them and taking them back with me, but alas the LAST thing Florida needs is another introduced species. So I left them to do their snail-y thing."


White crowned sparrow
The Daily Bucket: White-crowned Sparrows Subspecies—by AZ Sphinx Moth: "Feb. 19, 2014. Bisbee, Arizona. The White-crowned Sparrows migrate to my yard in the fall. They scratch the ground for seeds, peep and fly from shrub to shrub until the summer. With the desire to learn how to identify and understand the birds living in my area, I purchased a birding guidebook for SE Arizona. Welcome to the world of the subspecies. The book described 2 of the five subspecies of the White-crowned Sparrow; "Gamble's" (Gambeli) and the 'Mountain' (Orianthi). It's black and white and it's all about the details."

Florida Panthers: Cute & Cuddly & About To Be Fracked—by Cadillac64: "Of course they plan on fracking the refuge. I don't think they quite understand what "refuge" means. From 2/12/14 Indian Country, 'Oil Companies Eye Fracking in Florida Panther Habitat Refuge.'"

Thursday Bird Images—by elfling: "Part 1 in an exciting one part series! [In the photo is a Western scrub jay about to take off.]"

Angry Bird! (Actually, just a Western Scrub Jay about to take off.)

California ocean salmon season looks promising—by Dan Bacher: "'The abundance forecast is large,' said Michael O’Farrell of the National Marine Fisheries Service. 'Our preliminary prediction is 328,567 spawners that would return to the Sacramento River and tributaries if the 2013 regulations were in place this year.' O’Farrell said that number is well over their target of at least 190,395 salmon returning to Central Valley rivers to spawn, so this target is 'unlikely to constrain 2014 fisheries.'"

What not to do if you see a moose. In one short vid—by ban nock: [TRIGGER WARNING: If you follow the link, there is a video in which a snowmobiler shoots a moose.] "All wildlife is potentially dangerous. If pushed they can attack you, attack is a natural defense mechanism, especially for moose. This snowmobiler made a mistake at about the 10-second mark when he decided he could 'bump' the moose just like you do elk or deer. Bump doesn't mean bump but rather to come close to so to drive it away a little. It's that time of the year. Snows are deep, deer, elk and moose are stressed from a long winter. If you know of a place where elk might be herded up or deer in yards ... go somewhere else. During the next 4 or 5 weeks many cows or does will self abort if they are going to. They save themselves by giving up their young. It's the hard part of the winter. Record snow packs some places in the Northern Rockies. What would have been better? To have stopped, gotten off the snow machine and ducked behind a tree until the moose figured out what it wanted to do."

Water & Drought

Coal keeps the water off
Friends of Water vs Friends of Coal—by murrayewv: "So what happens to a West Virginia community when incompetent industry contaminates the water supply of 300,000 people in 9 counties? [...] Something is happening here that I haven't seen in my 15 years in West Virginia. The community is coming together through social networking and traditional reporting (the local news media have actually been investigating and reporting). And the best sign I have seen has been the Facebook Community, 'The Friends of Water.' [...] They are using social media to create powerful images that get to the bottom of the issue. Why should we in WV accept radioactive waste from fracking sites, filled with who knows what chemicals, in our landfills and pollute our groundwater? They are using humor to emphasize that getting drinking tap water back 'on line' has been messed up here."

We are Depleting Fossil Water in the World’s Breadbaskets—by Pakalolo: "Scores of countries are over pumping aquifers as they struggle to satisfy their growing water needs, including each of the big three grain producers—China, India, and the United States. These three, along with a number of other countries where water tables are falling, are home to more than half the world’s people. [...] World Bank reports: 'Anecdotal evidence suggests that deep wells [drilled] around Beijing now have to reach 1,000 meters [more than half a mile] to tap fresh water, adding dramatically to the cost of supply.' In unusually strong language for a Bank report, it foresees 'catastrophic consequences for future generations' unless water use and supply can quickly be brought back into balance."

Cause and Climate—by wcalvin: "If everything has multiple causes, why do climate scientists go along with how reporters frame 'the cause' question? The appropriate answer is nearly always, 'Drought has a mix of causes. Climate change is not a new one. It just alters the mix.' There is, however, a reason that overheating will create more drought episodes, and in new places. It comes, not from the global average overheating (which obscures uneven overheating), but because there are hot-spots, called continents. We know that land has been warming twice as fast as the ocean surface. The Arctic warmed even faster. Unless warm air stops rising, we have to expect a rearrangement of our usual winds and moisture delivery. What would be surprising is if drought patterns did not change. That’s the appropriate starting point for discussing drought prospects. And as long as overheating keeps increasing, there will never be a settled new arrangement of winds and moisture delivery. The obvious conclusion is that climate instability is going to characterize the future."

Peripheral Tunnels Opponents to Release New Map—by Dan Bacher: "Restore the Delta (RTD) and Food and Water Watch, opponents of Governor Brown’s Bay Delta Conservation to build the Peripheral Tunnels, announced today they will hold a teleconference on Tuesday, March 4, to release a new map depicting the overlap between the largest agricultural users of Bay-Delta water exports, land impaired by selenium concentrations that make farming unsustainable, and oil and gas basins that could be fracked. 'This map will show a remarkable overlay of where our water is going, how the public subsidizes unsustainable crops on drainage-impaired lands, selenium concentrations that pose a threat to the public, and underlying oil deposits that could be fracked with water from the governor’s tunnels,' said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of RTD. 'Unsustainable farming has damaged these lands. And the taxpayers have been subsidizing it. Fracking is another water intensive industry in the San Joaquin Valley that will further contaminate groundwater supplies.'"

Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice

ME-Sen: Environmentalists For Shenna Bellows (D)—by poopdogcomedy: "Received this e-mail from Sheena Bellows (D. ME) U.S. Senate campaign yesterday: Big news: Today, environmentalists across Maine endorsed Shenna's campaign for US Senate.
In an open letter, they wrote, 'We believe climate change is one of the most serious threats we face as a state, a nation and a planet... We need leaders in Washington, like Shenna Bellows, who understand the magnitude of the threat we face and have the courage and vision to advance positive change.'
"

Sustainability

A Tropical Cave in Miðdalur: Building An Earth-Sheltered Home In Iceland—by Rei: "For most of the past year, I'd been looking for land to build on... and I must say, the search was frustrating and disappointing. Lots usually fell into one or more of several categories: 1) Too small /too in town; 2) Too large and unwilling to go through a rezoning to break up the lot; 3) Pre-financial-crash prices; 4) Simply too far from Reykjavík (I work in town); 5) Too high up (roads become more dangerous / difficult to get through in the winter with increasing altitude); 6) Uninteresting - just plain flat land. At one point, there was a piece of land I was quite interested in, and the owner was willing to do rezone. But Reykjavík took 5 months just to be able to tell me whether it'd be possible to rezone, and by then the owner had changed his mind on selling. Frustrating. But then I found Stapagljúfur. [...] if I was satisfied by traditional houses, I wouldn't have wanted to build in the first place, I'd just have bought. My dream is an earth-sheltered home in the countryside."

Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash

"Mind boggling" levels of cesium found in reservoirs far from Fukushima—by ypochris: "The Asahi Shimbun reported Tuesday that the mud in 468 reservoirs outside of the Fukushima evacuation zone contain levels of cesium high enough to be designated waste that must be removed. The mud in the Myotoishi reservoir, 55 kilometers west of the stricken Fukushima plant, had a cesium level of 370,000 becquerels per kilogram, a level the newspaper described as "mind boggling". The central government has classified levels over 8,000 becquerels as material that must be removed; however the Environment Ministry says it has no plans to remove the contaminated mud. This report highlights serious omissions in another report, released the same day, which concluded that radiation exposures outside the exclusion zone were "comparable with variations in the background dose'."

Stunning New Report on USS Reagan Radiation—by JusticeSeeker68: "A stunning new report indicates the U.S. Navy knew that sailors from the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan took major radiation hits from the Fukushima atomic power plant after its meltdowns and explosions nearly three years ago. Many of the sailors are already suffering devastating health impacts, but are being stonewalled by Tepco and the Navy. The $4.3 billion carrier is now docked in San Diego. Critics question whether it belongs there at all. Attempts to decontaminate U.S. ships irradiated during the Pacific nuclear bombs tests from 1946-1963 proved fruitless."

DOE: 13 Workers Internally Contaminated at WIPP—by Joieau: "Today the Department of Energy [DOE] reported that 13 workers were internally contaminated while working above ground at the facility when the leak occurred. DOE admits it has no clue how high the releases were or how much of an internal dose these 13 workers received, but they do suspect it's mostly from americium-241, with a healthy serving of plutonium on the side. Just as we are informed it will be weeks before anyone can go down to find out what happened and how bad the situation is in the underground salt chambers, it will also be weeks before these workers will know anything other than the fact that their bodies are contaminated with transuranic nuclear waste they breathed in. Moreover, DOE now suspects more WIPP employees may have suffered similar internal contamination. They're going through records of staff assignments now to see if anybody else needs to be tested, but they're willing to go ahead and test any employee who requests a bioassay."

New Poll, Rally Show WV, NC and Beyond are Fed Up With Coal Industry's Pollution—by Mary Anne Hitt: "West Virginians hold the coal industry responsible for air and water contamination in the state, and they are tired of the stranglehold they believe the industry's lobbyists have on state politics. That's just one of many powerful findings of a new poll out today about the aftermath of the January coal chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia. The Sierra Club and Hart Research Associates polled West Virginia voters, and look at the results: 1) West Virginians do not view the January coal chemical spill as an isolated incident—69 percent think the spill was a result of companies acting irresponsibly (only 21 percent saw the spill as an accident) and believe future spills will happen again unless something changes. 2) West Virginians strongly support increased regulations and enforcement to protect air and water. And they don't just want "better enforcement" in the abstract—they solidly endorse specific changes in policy and more EPA involvement in the state. 3) Two out of every three West Virginians support political candidates who are independent of the coal industry."

Supreme Court Oral Argument Monday on EPA Greenhouse Gas Permitting & Emission Control Rules—by LakeSuperior: "Since the passage of the first substantial amendments to the Federal Clean Air Act in 1970, there has been a constant war waged by industrial and other interests on the Federal Clean Air Act, which was Senator Edmund Muskie's creation. Tomorrow we all get to view the latest skirmish in this 40+ year long war with an oral argument before the United States Supreme Court in the case of EPA's rules for federal and state permitting of greenhouse gas emission sources, also known as the greenhouse gas tailoring rules. These greenhouse gas tailoring rules for new source review permitting of greenhouse gas emission sources are presently in effect and being enforced in the United States. The rules are a product of President Obama's past good decisions on the Clean Air Act and greenhouse gas emission control matters."

'Why was the EPA air-quality monitor for the GWB offline during lane closures,' asks NJSpotlight—by HoundDog: "Tom Johnson, of NJSpotlight, has broken many stories during the last several months of the Christie-gate allegations. Now, he asks why the EPA's air pollution monitor the George Washington Bridge went offline the night before the sandal and remained offline for the next two and a half days, in Bridgegate Gets Dirtier: Air-Quality Monitor Was Offline During Traffic Jam. Readings for other nearby detectors indicate unhealthy levels of particulates form stalled vehicles. But this investigation has nothing to do with who ordered the shutdown. It focuses instead on why an air-quality monitor closest to the bridge was inoperative for a few days during the lane closures, when drivers were stuck in a massive traffic jam for hours on the busiest motor vehicle bridge in the world, spewing pollution into the air. ... At the request of the New Jersey branch of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of the Inspector General has opened an initial review of the issue. [...]"

Transportation & Infrastructure

Obama proposes $302 billion transportation bill—by Hunter: "Despite the frequent warnings as to the dire state of national transportation infrastructure, Congress has been as lackadaisical about transportation funding as with most other budget requirements. The CBO estimates that maintaining current infrastructure alone will cost $279 billion over the next four years, far above the levels currently allocated; the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates a more thorough modernization would take at least $3.6 trillion. The administration proposal would reinfuse the near-empty Highway Trust Fund and includes $150 billion in one-time expenditures taken from not yet specified "pro-growth business tax reform" measures, sure to be a bone of Republican contention. Also highlighted in the speech: $600 million in 'Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery' (TIGER) grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation. These are competitive grants, intended to be disbursed to state and local projects. The TIGER program has previously disbursed $3.5 billion in infrastructure grants; this additional funding was allocated by the January budget deal."

Tesla Plans US Factory to Build 500,000 Electric Car Batteries Annually—by Eternal Hope: "Tesla will build a $5 billion factory that will build 500,000 electric car batteries a year by 2020. They will employ 6,500 workers and they will locate in either Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, or Arizona. The plant will be powered by mostly solar and wind power. [...]
Politicians in Ohio and Texas are fighting tooth and nail to keep Tesla out of their state. And Texas is on the outside looking in unless they ease their law saying that Tesla can't sell people cars through dealers in that state. But from a business perspective, all of the final four states that they have selected are major economic growth areas in the next few years given that they have a lot of sun and a lot of wind."

Obama reversed Tom Delay's ban on Houston Light Rail—by LeftistSkeptic: "In 2003, voters in the Harris County Metropolitan Transit Authority's (HCMTA) service area approved a referendum on the expansion of light rail. Tom Delay intervened, and overrode the voters' choice. Light rail expansion in Houston was blocked by the George W Bush administration for five years.  Suddenly, in 2009, the ban was lifted by the President's new FTA. Every year, the FTA has sent the HCMTA at least $150 million for light rail expansion. On December 20, 2013, the first new line, Northline-Houston Community College, went into service. This year, two more light rail lines will open."

Sunday Train: Carolina High Speed Rail & The Piedmont Service—by BruceMcF: "In 2009, as part of the Stimulus II package, $8b was included to fund a range of intercity passenger rail investment. However, while there had previously been substantial bipartisan support for High Speed Rail and Rapid Rail and, indeed, the Clinton-era HSR legislation was a heavily watered down version of the far more ambitious proposal from George HW Bush, HSR funding was heavily politicized by the radical reactionary fringe that dominated many state Republican primary base electorates in the 2010 midterms, and in 2011, Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio, three of the states that had won competitive grants for HSR funding, turned their grants down. These funds did not, however, go away. Instead, in combination with an additional round of funding passed in 2010, they went into an additional round of grant funding, which shifted the focus of "bullet train" HSR funding from Florida to California, essentially emptied the State of Washington's shelf of shovel ready Cascade Corridor projects, and shifted what was originally Ohio's Buckeye State Triple C corridor money to accelerating the service speed of the Chicago to Detroit Wolverine. And then in 2011, under a Republican House majority, new funding explicitly set aside to bullet train and Rapid Rail investment came to a halt. However, that did not mean that already funded projects ground to a halt. Instead, the projects that were already granted and accepted are proceeding, with many of them coming into operation in 2015 through 2017. And that includes North Carolina."

Eco-Philosophy, Eco-Essays & Eco-Poetry

Going Big in NYC- One Plan Can Build Housing, Create Jobs & Stop Climate Change—by NathanNewman: "The Crisis: The overwhelming election of Bill de Blasio reflects the frustration of New Yorkers with the rising inequality and unmet needs in the City. As a City, we need to take advantage of that opportunity to permanently create the base for long-term gains for working families and for addressing the climate change crisis. However, beyond many of the admirable policies promoted in his campaign, New York City needs even more ambitious and far-ranging changes in direction to reverse the yawning gap between the elite and struggling working families in the rest of the City. [...] The Solution:  Build an Alliance of Environmentalists, Labor, Affordable Housing Advocates and Other Community Groups to Add Millions of Housing Units to the City."

Miscellany

Oregon Government Read My Kos Diary and Entered it into Evidence Against My Buddy—by 6412093: "A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a diary about how the Oregon Engineering Board had proposed a $1000 fine against a fellow who helped me analyze the potential  noise impacts from a power plant near a residential neighborhood. We then submitted that analysis to a City Council during a public hearing. The Oregon Engineering Board opened an investigation into my buddy for 'engineering without a license' and they want to fine him $1000. A few days ago, in response to our discovery request, the Board produced their records in this prosecution. The Board's records included a printout of my Kos Diary and all of the comments made on it. My Diary is now part of the official record in the Board's attack on our First Amendment rights."

Electric Choice Rip Off - Power to the Powerful, Risk to the Powerless—by CA148 NEWS: "With Electric Choice the old power companies become "Electric Distribution Companies" (EDC). Then there are Electric Generation Suppliers (EGS). EGS's are: A person or corporation, including municipal corporations which choose to provide service outside their municipal limits ... brokers and marketers, aggregators or any other entities, that sell to end-use customers electricity or related services utilizing the jurisdictional transmission and distribution facilities of an EDC, or that purchase, broker, arrange or market electricity or related services for sale to end-use customers utilizing the jurisdictional transmission and distribution facilities of an EDC. If you say you are an Electric Supplier you are. If you actually get anyone to buy it you can figure out how to get electricity later. The great thing is you don't have to reveal the price being charged. Just get yourself a login as a generation and the EDS will send you data and information on default customers. Then get a phone and start harassing Pennsylvania residents. Make sure you tell them how lazy and ignorant they are for staying with the default rate. A Texas drawl is preferred but not required. There are many ways to make money off of this new market."

Best Example of turning Chicken Droppings into Chicken Dumplings Ever—by Zentrails: "China's thick smog is the best defense against US laser weaponry, a PLA researcher said in a state television interview, after the American navy recently announced it was preparing to deploy its first laser weapon aboard a transport ship. Navy Rear Admiral Zhang Zhaozhong, a military expert at the National Defence University, said on CCTV's Haixia Liangan (Cross-Straits) current affairs programme last week that the lasers were 'most afraid of smog.'How long before the GOP starts to tout this as a reason to eliminate the EPA?"

Divestment From Fossil Fuel Industry—by rebel ga: "An Excellent idea! Global Movement To Divest From Fossil Fuels Fossil Free. Institutions; immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies, and divest from direct ownership and any co-mingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years. Educational and religious institutions, city and state governments, and other institutions that serve the public good should divest from fossil fuels. 200 publicly-traded companies hold the vast majority of listed coal, oil and gas reserves. Those are the companies, to divest from."

"Net zero is not a practical goal in New England"—by gmoke: "Peter Wilson in a Cambridgewickedlocal with news from the Chronicle and Tab LtE wrote that "Net zero is not a practical goal in New England" and that may or may not be true.  There are a number of net zero energy single and two family buildings in NE, including in colder climates than Cambridge like Vermont, although the experience with larger and high rise net zero energy buildings is just beginning.  However, there are a few examples that approach net zero, including one in Vienna, Austria, the Raffeisens Bank, a 21 story building built to PassivHaus standards (http://www.viennareview.net/....). Whether or not net zero is a practical goal, it is an essential thought experiment we need to run. By viewing net zero energy as an approachable goal, the way statistical quality control views zero defects on a production line under Total Quality Management, we will assuredly come across many different ways we can reduce our energy needs, perhaps significantly. I say we are not going far enough."

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 01:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Kitchen Table Kibitzing.

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