|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 270 of these spotlighting more than 16,670 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 71 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.]|
Beyond the Spackling: Some Notes From the New Economy—by lehman scott: "So, what follows is just a brief update from my previous diary about what is happening here in Lansing. [...] One of the things that struck me from the very beginning of getting involved last summer is the diversity of our membership. Our demographics span the gamut: students and retirees, busboys and barristers, and poor and well-off. What brings us together is our common goal of building a local economy whose unit of currency is the time of our labor. In building this new local economy we are creating resilient socioeconomic networks that will function no matter what happens to the main dollar-currency based economy we all still live in. And although we have a long way to go until we reach the size of a network such as the Dane County, Wisconsin Time Bank, with thousands of members and three paid full-time staffers, we know that we'll get there eventually. We know that we have to. Next up, our Solar Energy Cooperative. This was plodding along rather slowly since my mention here last July, but then the Christmas ice storm hit. Many areas in and around Lansing were without power for over a week, myself included. Our local utility company (which operates its own coal-fired power station) came under a fair amount of fire, and as a result regular meetings have begun with area residents now wanting to take action to improve the resiliency of our energy infrastructure, most especially distributed solar."
You can find more rescued green diaries below the sustainable squiggle.
Charles Koch Money and Polluted Science in Florida State University Economics—by cgibosn: "Beyond the well-documented concerns highlighted by FSU students and professors alike, FSU's Koch-funded economics department appears to host professors who are misrepresenting climate science, a field well outside of their credentialed expertise. Ph.D economist Yoram Bauman has twice reviewed and ranked economics textbooks for how accurately they portray climate change science. Citing top climate science institutions like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Bauman has repeatedly given a failing grade to a widely-used textbook authored by professors from several of the top Koch-funded schools across the country, including FSU. Three of these four authors have direct ties to FSU: one primary author is a current economics professor, one formerly taught in the FSU econ department, and one obtained his economics Ph.D at FSU. These same four professors, who aren't climate scientists yet authored the worst economics textbooks in regard to climate science misinformation, are affiliated with numerous Koch-funded climate denial organizations. Such affiliations include the Tallahassee-based James Madison Institute, The Heartland Institute, the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) and the Association for Private Enterprise Education (APEE). These professors are closely affiliated with groups created and directly overseen by the Koch brothers, like the Cato Institute in Washington, DC and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University."
Welcome To The CO2 Pleistocene, We Just Cracked 400 PPM In Record Time—by pollwatcher: "According to a scripps oceanography chart, the observatory at Mauna Loa just registered 400 PPM (parts per million) of CO2 in record time, and broke 402 PPM for the first time. According to an article by Andrew Freedman. While studies show conflicting dates for when Earth's atmosphere last had carbon dioxide levels this high, estimates range from 800,000 years ago to 15 million years ago."
Watch: Years of Living Dangerously—by New Minas : "Showtime has put up on youtube their premier episode of the 9-episode series that will air on April 13th. This important work will provide a science-based look at how global warming is affecting the United States and the world today. This is a groundbreaking work. [...] The more that we look at what is happening, the more we will understand that we only have a decade, at most, to make radical changes to what is our children's current fate."
Nate Silver's Science Guy, Sure Isn't Bill Nye. Denialist Pielke At It Again.—by pollwatcher: "Most legitimate news organizations put restrictions on things their reporters should be doing outside of their regular jobs. Nate Silver decided he would hire a Global Warming denialist for his "science" team, so he might want to take notice of what his reporters are saying and doing outside the job. When your 'science' reporter starts promoting political economics that are the exact opposite of what the science says you should be doing, you might want to ask what's going on? A couple of weeks ago I wrote a diary about "A new wave of Global Warming denialism." Pielke is a perfect example of this new wave, and it's going to be a lot harder to convince the public that they are simply Global Warming denialists. The new breed of denialists don't deny Global Warming is happening, they don't deny it's man made, they don't even deny the effects of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. This is truly an Orwellian world where you agree with what the other person is saying, then you propose the exact opposite in order to fix the problem. They try to disarm their critics by agreeing with them, then they bog down any action by disagreeing about what to do."
Break Out Your Sun Tan Lotion; Monster El Niño Forming In The Pacific—by pollwatcher: "It's still early yet, but a monster El Niño might be forming in the pacific, and it just might shake up the worlds weather for awhile. Over on the robertscribbler blog is an excellent write up describing the details of a monster Kelvin wave, which sometimes signals the start of an El Niño. Here's what he has to say about the Kelvin wave: The pool of 4-6+ degree Celsius above average temperatures continues to widen and lengthen, now covering 85 degrees of longitude from 170 East to 105 West. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that the zone of extreme 6+ C temperature anomalies has both widened and extended, covering about 50 degrees of longitude and swelling to a relative depth of about 30-40 meters. This is an extraordinarily intense temperature extreme that well exceeds those observed during the ramp-up to the record 1997-98 El Niño event."
Food, Agriculture & Gardening
Koch Foods & Chickens on the Road—by mHainds: "On April 1st, 2014 I was driving Route 55 north and east from Andalusia. I passed one of the ubiquitous chicken farms scattered across Alabama. A sign on the highway identified this farm as producing chickens for 'Koch Foods.' A few miles up the road, just south and east of Georgiana, I stopped at a gas station to purchase some drinks for the field. There was a semi-trailer parked at the store, freshly loaded with chickens headed for the slaughterhouse. I snapped a couple pictures of the truck and its cargo. The sign on the door of the tractor also identified its affiliation with 'Koch Foods.' The truck left theconvenience store about two minutes before me. About five minutes after I left the convenience store, I was unsurprised to see a chicken on the highway. When the semis lose chickens on nearby I-65, the chicken is generally reduced to a flat white and red blob within minutes or seconds. There is significantly less traffic on 55, and surprisingly, this chicken was still alive. [...] These chickens were freaks. They were Cornish crosses that grow more in a week than my heritage birds grow in a month. Factory-farmed chickens grow enormous breasts, and if they are not butchered in the first few months of their brief lives, they soon lose their ability to walk and die."
Food Terrorism—by Robocop: "The FDA recently proposed new rules that would apply to food processors and manufacturers to prevent food terrorism. According to the FDA, 'intentional adulteration of the food supply can result in catastrophic public health consequences, widespread public fear, loss of public confidence in the safety of food and the ability of government to ensure food safety.' I realize these rules will focus on bulk storage facilities and food processing manufacturers, where poor security practices have been reported and certainly should be addressed. It is, however, the irony of the phrase 'intentional adulteration of the food supply' that rankles, not to mention “the ability of government to ensure food safety.' The U.S. government, largely controlled by industrial demands, has proved a very weak link indeed between profit and food safety."
Better Eating Through Better Shopping IAN 4-10-2014—by weck: "Six months ago, I wrote about my frustration with finding seafood that didn't contain tripolyphosphate, a chemical that when added to meat and especially seafood, allows it to soak up and retain water. I was annoyed because the fish would shrink and never sear, and I was paying full price for 20% water instead of meat. [...] So, I am eating a little better, and avoiding the TPP. You can see that I have many choices for purchasing good food, but I have to travel to different stores and be a careful reader of labels. It is hard to avoid chemical additives in food, primarily because the best food is also the costliest. I still need to grow my own as much as possible and also, go fishing more often so I can freeze some for the off season!"
Agroecology: Ray Archuleta from NRCS: "The Soil is Naked, Hungry, Thirsty, and Running a Fever!"—by FinchJ: "Ray Archuleta, a conservation agronomist with the National Resource Conservation Service, spoke at the National Conference on Soil and Cover Crops in Omaha this year. Ray delivered an authoritative and inspirational address to the conference about agroecology and the importance of holistic design in landscape management. How do we learn from the more than 3 billion years of evolutionary knowledge embedded in nature when we observe a forest or prairie? Folks, this is agroecology going mainstream. This is everything we need going mainstream."
Blame Canada: High Oat Prices Edition—by marc brazeau: "At the grocery today I went to get some oats from the bulk bins to make muesli and I was hit with some unwelcome sticker shock. 89¢ a pound! That's up from 69¢ a pound for as long as I've been paying attention (a little over a year). For those counting on their fingers and toes, that's a 28% increase. An increase in the cost of my staples is a real punch in the gut right about now for an aspiring food wonk who needs a job (hint, hint Corby Kummer). When I got home I needed to know what my supermarket was trying to do to me. Extreme cold and heavy snowfall this winter has caused railroads to run shorter trains and slowed movement of bulk commodities, crude oil as well as grains, out of Canada. The harsh weather, coupled with record-large Canadian wheat and canola harvests, has overwhelmed the Canadian National Railway Co and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd, resulting in a shortage of some 40,000 grain hopper cars needed to move crops to port or U.S. customers."
Preserving antibiotics for humans requires cutting back on their use in animal feed on farms—by HoundDog: "The LA Times Editorial Board has taken a strong stand on the excess use of antibiotics in animal feed and on farms, after the original reporting they did last week I covered in Pharmaceutical companies agree to 'reduce' use of antibiotics for animals 'on labels' - sort of. [...] Last week, the FDA proposed new guidelines to reduce the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed used for livestock on American farms which will cut into the profits of pharmaceutical companies."
We can't slow global warming unless we start eating a lot less meat—by VL Baker: "We can have our steak or we can have our planet, but we can't have both. New research from Swedish scientists in the scientific journal Climatic Change confirms that a major reduction of global meat consumption is necessary if we are to reach safe levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reports Salon. [...] The study authors are advocating for policy changes and a tax on meat. How much time do we waste waiting for policy changes? I say let's get ahead of the situation and become part of the solution by reducing/eliminating our own meat consumption."
Maui Turns in 9,500 Notarized GMO Moratorium Initiative Signatures—by Karen from Maui: "On Monday supporters turned in 9,500 notarized signatures in their campaign to get a GMO Moratorium on Maui County's ballot. Still more signatures have been collected organizers are waiting for them to be notarized and turned in. Signature collecting will continue during the 45 days that the County has to review and certify the signatures as belonging to registered Maui County voters, in case invalid signatures bring the total below the required 8,500. Meanwhile, emboldened by Maui's success, Kaua'i folks are looking at mounting their own GMO Moratorium initiative."
Navy lab makes gasoline from seawater, as low as $3 per gallon—by Keith Pickering: "The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) announced today that they have manufactured long-chain hydrocarbons—that is essentially gasoline—entirely from seawater, and used the fuel to power a flying model aircraft. Using a patented electrochemical process, they have simultaneously extracted dissolved CO2 ions and created hydrogen gas from seawater. The resulting mixture of gases is then reformed into long-chain hydrocarbons in a chemical reaction. Last year I diaried about a 2010 study done by the NRL that suggested a very similar process was feasible for manufacturing jet fuel at sea, using excess electricity from a dedicated nuclear-powered factory ship. The key to the process is the realization that a liter of seawater contains 140 times as much CO2 as a liter of air. In seawater, nearly all of the CO2 is actually in the form of bicarbonate ions, which should make extraction from water fairly straightforward because of the electrical charge they carry. [...] One big caveat: obviously, there is no free lunch, and this process requires energy as input. But since it is entirely feasible to use non-fossil energy sources to power the process, the fuel created could be essentially fossil-free (carbon neutral) gasoline. The oceans and atmosphere exchange CO2 readily in massive quantities, so taking it from one place is functionally the same as taking it from the other."
Navy makes fuel from seawater—by devtob: "The feasibility was demonstrated recently by flying a radio-controlled airplane powered by this fuel, a baby step compared to powering a car or a ship, but breakthroughs always start small. The Navy wants to do this at sea, but it would surely be more efficient at large refineries on land, which could also provide substantial fuel for nonmilitary purposes. It's early yet for fuel from seawater, but if it can work at a large scale, not just for ships at sea, it will be a major energy game-changer."
Killing Coal - Dispatches from the Front Lines—by Wisper: "The War on Coal has so many subtle fronts and off-the-radar developments I almost feel like I could write one of these every other day. So let’s start where we always do: the price. Thermal Coal is currently trading at $59.53 per short ton, down from its $139/short ton peak in 2008. This a slight uptick recently which can be ascribed mainly to transport issues where rail congestion is causing utilities to run down their on-hand supply and scramble in the spot market to get quick shipments from nearby while their contracted supply shipments struggle to make their way to the sites. And remember, LOW PRICES are good. We’ve had comments in previous diaries about people wanting to see price spikes or something that will make coal expensive relative to other fuels. No. We want LOW prices; bottoming-out, cratering, floor-dropout prices. We are trying to eradicate this market."
Yes, critics, Koch brothers do have more leased tar sands acreage than any other U.S. oil company—by Meteor Blades: "At The Washington Post nearly three weeks ago, Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin wrote their own version of the story. The Koch Industries subsidiary holds leases on 1.1 million acres—an area nearly the size of Delaware—in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, according to an activist group that studied Alberta provincial records. The Post confirmed the group’s findings with Alberta Energy, the provincial government’s ministry of energy. Separately, industry sources familiar with oil sands leases said Koch’s lease holdings could be closer to two million acres. The companies with the next biggest net acreage positions in oil sands leases are Conoco Phillips and Shell, both close behind. The story generated considerable pushback, including several bits written by John Hinderaker at the torture-approving, climate change-denying blog Powerline. Among other things, he attached the all-purpose 'far left' label to IFG, questioned Eilperin's objectivity and posed—in that slimy just-asking-a-simple-question technique—whether the Post had intentionally timed the article to coincide with 'attacks' on the Koch brothers by Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman and Sheldon Whitehouse. Other critics called for a retraction and an apology from the Post. They mouthed the Kochs' repeated claims that they have no interest in the disputed Keystone XL pipeline that would transport tar sands bitumen from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast."
It’s The Problem, Not The Solution—by richturc125 : "Contrary to popular belief, peak oil alarmists and Greenpeace propaganda, the world is still and will continue to be for at least a century, largely powered by oil. And not just for transport. An endless number of consumer goods depend on a steady supply of petroleum products for their manufacture. As Marin Katusa, chief energy investment strategist for Casey Research points out, ‘A country without oil simply cannot continue to expand or even be competitive on the world stage.’ Legitimate proponents of peak oil never dispute the suggestions/possibilities that economies and cultures will be powered by oil for decades to come, or of a nation’s dismal prospects without an adequate supply. Peter C. Glover, the author of that by now fairly-typical quote, is one of many fossil fuel industry cheerleaders who—while always quick with a snarky jab but just as often light on facts or reality—seem to think that that point alone is sufficient to put an end to the peak oil vs fossil fuels forever debate."
Oil Production Rates Matter—by richturc125: "Another excellent observation worth noting and pondering, from Chris Nelder: I really didn’t think I’d have to say this again, but peak oil is about data, and specifically data about the production rate of oil. If you want to claim that peak oil is dead (or alive), you have to talk about data on production rates. There is no other way to discuss it. It’s just not that difficult a concept, but you wouldn’t know it from the endless parade of Happy Talk from those who know but won’t say and/or those who don’t have a clue but say it anyway. Typical of too many similar efforts in discussions about climate change or almost any policy proposal of note, the “debate” about peak oil is one featuring a collection of facts on one side and carefully-massaged tidbits within shouting distance of the truth on the other. Frame it nicely, spin it fast enough, tweak it just so, and presto, we have a dispute. That it may be “effective” in keeping alive the conflicting assessments is not the same as saying both parties to these various disagreements are acting with the same motivations or desires to promote the public good and our future well-being. They are not."
Fukushima Effects: New Research—by Joieau: "2 relatively new scientific papers released in January and February this year (2014) have been released describing research conducted on the biological effects and ongoing Pacific Ocean contamination as a result of the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi just over 3 years ago. [...] The results seem unsurprising when you consider that in the spring of 2011 there were hundreds of millions of curies of relatively short-lived radionuclides thickly contaminating the area. Those have dissipated (noble gases) or decayed away (iodine, etc.) now, revealing the steady levels of longer-lived isotopes like cesium and strontium. And then there are the dust-sized particles of actual reactor fuel blown out by the explosions that are being found as far away Tokyo and beyond. These will be contributing to radiation levels in Japan for millennia. How it translates to dangers of mutation in human beings is not something this research is designed to address. Answers there will be forthcoming over time too, per any considerable genetic damage is now latent but will show up down the line. At least Akimoto isn't trying to obfuscate the obvious correlations by hemming and hawing about 'natural background' radiation levels not at issue in the questions being asked. That's kind of refreshing, given the US contingent of oceanographic researchers' odd timidity on the subject of Daiichi's specific effects on the ocean's food chains and how those are affecting sea life now and into the future. We aren't gall-forming bugs, after all. We're food chain overlords."
Are the oil sands the biggest oil spill in history?—by DavidBurpee: "Incidentally I don't work for the Koch brothers nor the oil sands lobby. But I'd be interested in knowing others' comments on this. Are the oil sands just a massive, natural oil spill? If so, should humans bother trying to clean it up? If so, how should we do it?"
The nuclear industry thinks its under siege; but it brought it on itself—by nirsnet: "We couldn’t have written a better headline ourselves: Nuclear power industry under siege, FirstEnergy exec warns. Never mind the misspelling of 'siege,' newspapers are having a hard enough time these days…The article leads off: 'The nuclear power industry finds itself buffeted by financial concerns, political pressure and increased scrutiny because of the Japanese disaster that could lead to the closures of more plants in the United States, a Western Pennsylvania utility executive said Tuesday.'"
Fracking goes on trial today—by TXsharon: "Aruba Petroleum--remember them--is going to trial today. They are saying this is the first fracking trial in the U.S. and I was there, up close and personal, the whole time. Bob and Lisa Parr were neighbors to Tim and Christine Ruggiero in Wise County. I was there, in the Ruggiero kitchen, the day Lisa discovered that her timeline of doctor's visits matched—exactly—Christine's timeline of releases from the Aruba gas wells on her property. Tim and Christine Ruggiero explain how their dream home turned into a nightmare when drillers arrived and began digging up their land. It turns out the Ruggieros owned the land, but not the rights to the minerals beneath it. With no prior notice a drilling company cut the Ruggieros' fence and began bulldozing their property to build a pad site for two wells."
New fracking studies conclude we're not paying enough attention to health and environmental impacts—by Meteor Blades: "One of the key problems with hydraulic fracturing—'fracking'—aimed at freeing natural gas and oil from tight shale formations is how little we know for certain about the environmental and health effects. Industry and its sycophants would have us believe that the risks are few if any. But the evidence is growing that this is far from the case. A new study from the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project (SPEHP) published in Reviews on Environmental Health and an analysis by the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) at University of Texas published in the Virginia Environmental Law Journal point out that not only do we not know enough about this process that is being touted as a welcome American renaissance in fossil fuel energy production, but we don't have the proper tools to measure or regulate it."
Support a fracking moratorium in Los Angeles—by jarbelaez: "Please consider signing on to support an end to fracking, extreme extraction, and toxic waste disposal in Los Angeles. As the second largest city in the country, a de-facto moratorium in Los Angeles would have huge impacts not only in California, but throughout the country. This is a support letter for any organization, civic group, business, faith institution, health institution, professional association, labor union, political club, environmental justice, environmental or outdoor organization, social justice group, farm, restaurant, brewery, or other food producer that supports a stop to fracking in Los Angeles. Join us and help protect our city, state, and country from fracking. Sign On Here."
ANR Pipeline: Introducing TransCanada’s Keystone XL for Fracking—by Steve Horn: "When most environmentalists and folks who follow pipeline markets think of TransCanada, they think of the proposed northern half of its Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Flying beneath the public radar, though, is another TransCanada-proposed pipeline with a similar function as Keystone XL. But rather than for carrying tar sands bitumen to the Gulf Coast, this pipeline would bring to market shale gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing ('fracking'). Meet TransCanada’s ANR Pipeline System. Although not actually a new pipeline system, TransCanada wants ANR retooled to serve domestic and export markets for gas fracked from the Marcellus Shale basin and the Utica Shale basin via its Southeast Main Line."
Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation
MI-GOV: Democrat Mark Schauer Leads by Demanding State of Art Pipeline Stewardship from Enbridge—by Lake Superior: "Former Democratic Michigan Congressman and outstanding Michigan governor candidate, Mark Schauer, has an op ed in today's Detroit News. Thanks to Sierra Club member Frank Zaski in Michigan on the Enviro-Mich list who spotted this and promoted the OpEd widely. In the OpEd, Congressman Schauer assumes the mantle of environmental leadership and explains how a Michigan Schauer Administration would deal with the Enbridge Pipeline Company, including their specific Line 5 and Line 6B installations in Michigan. Schauer's OpEd shows evidence of his past experience in the Blue-Green Alliance and as a Michigan officer of an AFL-CIO building and construction trades union, the Laborers International Union."
11 Democratic senators want a deadline on Keystone XL decision. And they want a yes, of course—by Meteor Blades: "Nudged along by freshman Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, 11 senators have written a letter to President Obama requesting a May 31 deadline on his decision regarding the Keystone XL pipeline. If approved, that pipeline would transport 830,000 barrels a day of bitumen, an especially polluting form of petroleum, to Texas Gulf Coast refineries. The southern leg of the pipeline is already operating. Under review is the 1,167-mile northern segment—from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska—which requires a presidential permit because it crosses an international boundary."
Public letter from 100+ scientists and economists urges rejection of Keystone XL pipeline—by Laurence Lewis: "President Obama, you said in your speech in Georgetown last year that 'allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest. And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.' We agree that climate impact is important and evidence shows that Keystone XL will significantly contribute to climate change. Fuels produced from tar sands result in more greenhouse gas emissions over their lifecycle than fuels produced from conventional oil, including heavy crudes processed in some Gulf Coast refineries."
Eco-Related DC & State Politics
Protecting our wilderness and wildlife—by Dirk Adams: "My name is Dirk Adams, and I'm a Montana rancher and Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Montana. Today I'm writing about an important environmental issue that not many are talking about. The North Fork Watershed Protection Act, a bill that would prevent mining, oil and gas exploration along the North Fork of the Flathead River just stalled in the Senate. This is nothing new. Though Congressman Pat Williams and Senators Baucus, Melcher, Burns, and Tester have all tried to pass legislation designating new wilderness areas in Montana, it's been over 30 years since Congress has done so. I wrote last month about why I support the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, and it's more important now than ever."
Republican Oil V. Anti-Corruption—by Silky Humble: "The"Fossil fuel industry lobbying expenditure and contributions to the U.S. Congress amounted to over $536 million in the 112th Congress (2011-12).' Oil Change International, explained, 'North American oil and natural gas companies reported a combined $271 billion in profits last year. It said a 'huge share' of the overall profits can't be accounted for, however, because private companies,' Such as Koch Industries who Spent Twice as Much on the 2012 Election as the Top Ten Unions Combined, 'aren't required to disclose their financial information.' In other words, an industry that doesn't even disclose their financial information, has been pushing for unlimited control of our political process that it plans to fund through an unlimited amount of dirty oil that it plans to transport through our waterways, with protection of politicians for the benefit of a elite few, and their stockholders, while putting our most fragile resource, drinking water, at risk. This is why we cannot have renewable energy. Because Oil and Gas companies ensure that through manipulation of the government, that they can maintain their monopolies, manipulate the cost of energy, buy politicians and destroy Unions."
FL Legislature Gives Utilities $1.5 Billion ...For NO Reason—by SemDem: "Duke Energy, one of the worst, was allowed to jack up rates exponentially to pay for a $1.5 billion dollar nuclear power plant. This included a built-in $150 million dollar profit. Then they decided not to build it. Did Tally make them give back the money? Of course not. In fact, lawmakers refused to allow customers to know about the extra fees on their utility bills to pay for the ghost nuclear plant. To add insult to injury, a utility spokesman said they are pushing to hide this massive fee from customers because they just don't want to know."
Big Oil contributions to California political campaigns have increased 400 percent since 1999—by Dan Bacher: "A report released this month by Common Cause and the ACCE Institute reveals that Big Oil contributions to political campaigns and candidates in California have increased 400 percent to $143.3 million in the past 15 years. The ground-breaking report, “Big Oil Floods the Capitol: How California’ s Oil Companies Funnel Funds Into the Legislature,” says the oil and gas lobby has spent nearly $15 million to influence Sacramento lawmakers halfway through the 2014-15 legislative session. The record is $25.5 million, set in 2011-12."
Trade & Foreign Relations
Shock Doctrine: Massive global expansion of fracking hidden in Ukraine aid package—by VL Baker: "If didn't take the oil and gas companies long to find a way to profit by the Ukraine crisis. It was also easy for them to find a willing water carrier in their pocket full of paid for US republicans. Two bills have been introduced: HR-6 in the house and S-2083 in the senate both by republicans. The so called purpose of the bills is to send US natural gas overseas to make Europe independent of Russian oil and gas. Naomi Klein writing at The Guardian equates this move to the Shock Doctrine or disaster capitalism on steroids: For this ploy to work, it's important not to look too closely at details. Like the fact that much of the gas probably won't make it to Europe—because what the bills allow is for gas to be sold on the world market to any country belonging to the World Trade Organization"
The Great Outdoors
Saturday Morning Garden Blogging: A Season in the Desert Vol. 10.8—by Ed in Montana: "Good morning everyone and welcome to SMGB, the Mojave Desert Edition. It's Ed in Montana guest blogging for our esteemed hostess Ms. Frankenoid and our team of master gardeners. This past Winter has been an exhilarating journey into retirement as a campground host, with lots of natural beauty (and wildflowers) along the way. It all started several years ago when Ms. Ed was thinking ahead toward retirement. 'I want to volunteer to work in a national park,' she said. 'I need to do something completely different.' Both of us had worked on similar projects, mostly on cleaning up Superfund toxic waste sites. Sites contaminated with toxic pollution are all the same. 'Who would have thought that dumping tons of crap on the ground and into the rivers would be so bad?' Anyone with half a brain, that’s who. Didn’t your mother ever teach you as a child to clean up after yourself? Obviously not."
The Daily Bucket - awakening wetland—by OceanDiver: "Pacific Northwest. April 7, 2014—Sunny spring day's quest to a freshwater wetland on the island...what's awakened this early in the season? At the south end of the island, and part of Watmough Bay Preserve, this wetland is remarkable for many reasons, not the least of which is that it has very few non-native species, plant or animal. Its setting is also quite dramatic, at the base of a 500 foot cliff, and separated from the ocean by a narrow sandy berm. Looking through the trees across the wetland to the cliff we see a sea of Cattails."
The Daily Bucket--Exploring Roche Crique Where the Mountains Meet the Sky—by 6412093: "The cruelly handsome driver downshifted and wrestled the sleek sports car into the hairpin curve that hugged the volcanic ridge. Pocketa-Pocketa ticked the overhead cam engine. I'll find the headwaters of Roche Crique or know the reason why, the driver thought. Continue reading past the orange La Mans track for the action-packed conclusion. DISCLAIMERS: I am not cruelly handsome. The sports car is 37 years old, but it does have a stick shift and overhead cam engine. Pocketa-pocketa is homage to James Thurber's great short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, because I am far closer to Walter Mitty than James Bond, and more respectful of women. Yesterday I actually drove up the side of an ancient volcano, but it's only 700 feet high. And 'Roche Crique' is actually Rock Creek, I frenched it up to sound more exotic. I am looking in the Tualatin Mountains for the headwaters of Rock Creek, which flows about a mile from my home in Northwest Oregon."
Spring Camping on Pawnee National Grasslands—by ban nock: "I lay awake in that "too cold to fall asleep" stage, listening. The wind and the constant beating of the tent weren't what held my interest, it was the droning high hum of some very large engine. The sound had been in the background ever since we'd gotten there but it took a cold back and sleepless night to finally put my finger on it. Gas turbine. I worked an offshore production platform once powered by a similar gizmo. Resembling a huge jet engine it can power some pretty big things, also makes a heck of a racket. [...] The Pawnee Grasslands is managed by the Forest Service not the BLM, for what reason I've no idea. A patchwork of public and private land, it's not that great for growing anything. There are still a couple of hold outs, ranches that cling to the old homestead, but I doubt anyone makes much of a living off beef. The land is a little higher than the surrounding prairie, a little drier, a little sandier. Grass grows sparsely."
Industrial agriculture is killing Monarch butterflies says Ellen Moyer—by HoundDog: "The nonprofit organization Make Way for Monarchs is calling for April 14, 2014, the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson's death, to be a day of action and contemplation for monarch butterflies and other imperiled pollinators. Environmentalist Ellen Moyer warns us that Monarch Butterflies: Industrial Agricultural Warfare Is Killing Them, Us. The nonprofit organization Make Way for Monarchs is calling for April 14, 2014, the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson's death, to be a day of action and contemplation for monarch butterflies and other imperiled pollinators. As genetically modified (GM), herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops such as corn, soy and cotton overspread our agricultural lands, farmers spray the land with herbicides. Those herbicides kill the milkweeds that monarchs depend on. Ellen Moyer informs us that three-quarters our worlds food supply depend on insect pollinators such as butterflies and bees, both of which are seeing dramatic declines in populations."
The Daily Bucket--Satan? Or Aliens?—by 6412093: "It all started when I unrolled my 30-year-old, folded-up Mexican rug. I'd stored it on top of a book case for months, ten feet away frrom the desk where I work. I gasped! Something had been eating it, mainly on the darker portions of the border designs."
Daily Bucket: Florida's Invaders--Burmese Python—by Lenny Flank: "Florida is the land of invasive species. Because of our status as a center for the importing of exotic pets and houseplants from overseas, and our neo-tropical climate, we have been invaded by everything from kudzu plants to green iguanas. And the grand-daddy of them all, the most famous and best-known of all Florida's invasives, is the Burmese Python. The Burmese Python (Python bivittatus) is a large constrictor snake found in the rainforests of southeast Asia, usually near water. Some authorities consider it a geographical subspecies of the very similar Indian Python (Python molurus). At measured lengths near 20 feet, it is the third-largest snake in the world—only the Reticulated Python and the Green Anaconda are larger. The largest known Burmese Python was a resident of the Serpent Safari reptile park in Illinois—'Baby' measured 18 feet 10 inches long and was, sadly, grossly obese, weighing 403 pounds. A typical Burmese Python adult will measure around 14 feet and weigh around 90 pounds (the females are larger than the males). Males can be recognized by the pair of clawlike breeding spurs located on either side of their vent--all that remains of their hind legs."
The Daily Bucket--Goldfish Flunk IQ Test—by 6412093: "I've harbored pet store goldfish in backyard ponds for about 25 years now. Every suburban animal predator, from raccoon to snake to frog to heron to pootie to skunk, have preyed on my goldfish. Sometimes, I imagine, some of the fish are wilier and quicker than the others. They evade predation for year after year, and grow 6-7 inches long, from their modest 1/2 inch beginnings. Some of the fish are better at hiding, I thought, and recognize approaching enemies just a little faster than the others. And just about the time I've seen them enough to recognize and grow fond of them, they disappear. Several studies claim that goldfish are visually acute and can identify the human that feeds them. They will swarm the water when the "feeder" approaches, and ignore an unknown human. I thought I've observed that kind of learned behavior. However, today convinced me otherwise. I now conclude that goldfish have the brain power and deductive reasoning of a piece of floating bark."
2014 Backyard Science Yardbird Race Tally #4—by bwren: "Welcome to the 2014 Daily Kos Backyard Science Yardbird Race! This is the 4th tally for 2014 and is the official place to post your sightings, ask for help, and brag some if you wish. All of the fine print can be found way below under the pile of squiggly orange bird poop. Here's what the race is all about: The Daily Kos Backyard Science Yardbird Race is a birding competition where, over the course of one year, participants strive to identify the most bird species - by sight and/or by sound - from the confines of their yards. There are a number of categories, so people who live in urban centers don't have to compete against others who have a lot of open space or waterfront views."
The Daily Bucket - drama in the wetland pond—by bwren: "Seattle. April 10, 2014—Sometimes everything stops as you get caught up in a drama where the characters are unfamiliar and the plot makes no sense at all. I collected water from the Wetland Pond on April 9, too impatient to wait for the monthly collection I'd planned for this project. The microscope sits prominently on my study desk now, inviting this kind of thing. The first ten minutes were boring, just the fast little detritus eaters that tumble through the field too quickly to focus. I was about to give it up, clean the slide, and fix dinner when this popped into view. [...] Something appeared to be attacking something else. Note that I wasn't fast enough to get everything into focus before snapping this image, and that before the image was taken the two critters were definitely separate, and the squarish thing seemed to be trying to stab the round thing with its spike."
Water & Drought
A Tale of Water, and Life in Jeopardy—by xaxnar: "There's a Sunday Review article in the New York Times that's a sobering reminder that one person's 'progress' can be another's disaster. One of the great stories of the late 20th century has been the rise of China as an industrialized nation and major trading partner in the global economy. It has literally happened within the lifetimes of many Chinese citizens. But, what has been gained has come at a terrible price. Sheng Keyi has been making periodic visits to her old home town, and over the years the changes have mounted. The Lanxi [river] is lined with factories, from mineral processing plants to cement and chemical manufacturers. For years, industrial and agricultural waste has been dumped into the water untreated. I have learned that the grim situation along our river is far from uncommon in China. The nation has more than 200 'cancer villages,' small towns like mine blanketed with factories where cancer rates have risen far above the national average. (Some researchers say there are more than 400 such villages.)"
Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice
Earth Day: Climate Action!—by AceDeuceLady: "During the last Ice Age the global average temperature was only about 5°C cooler than now. Since man began farming, the average temperature has stayed within a 1-2°C range. With a business-as-usual approach, the Earth’s temperature is predicted to rise 4°C by 2100. What is the hot-house equivalent of glaciers reaching all the way to Kentucky? The Earth Day: Climate Action initiative (edca2014.org, @EDCA2014) is working to bring climate change to the fore on Earth Day by organizing rallies and educational events around the country. In this, our inaugural year, we have seven events planned in Michigan, including a large rally on the campus of the University of Michigan and educational events in Jackson, Chelsea, Saline, Ypsilanti, Brighton and Canton. Earth Day: Climate Action is a project of Clean Water Action Michigan, Organizing for Action Michigan and Ann Arbor 350, in partnership with the Earth Day Network (earthday.org). For more info or to volunteer, contact email@example.com."
National Parks & Other Public Lands
Bureau of Land Management Seizing 1,000 Cattle from Nevada Rancher—by Eternal Hope: "The Bureau of Land Management is in the process of seizing 1,000 cattle from rancher Cliven Bundy as a 20-year feud between the two parties finally came to a head this year. The seizure has brought in 'militiamen' from out of the area who are protesting at what they see as excessive government interference. The government is taking the cattle and selling them at auction in Utah, which prompted the ire of Utah's politicians. Since the roundups began, protesters have been confined to two areas to publicly declare their grievances, but the peaceful protests in recent days 'have crossed into illegal activity, including blocking vehicles associated with the (roundup), impeding cattle movement, and making direct and overt threats to government employees,' the two federal agencies said in a statement."
The Bundy Ranch flashpoint, one Nevadan's perspective by nachtwulf: "As a lifelong resident of Nevada, I thought that some perspectives on the state and atmosphere here might help. I grew up here, attended school here and though I live in Vegas have learned to understand the particular Western mindset of the people that live in the more rural parts of Nevada. See, this state is essentially Reno at one end and Vegas at the other, and Wyoming in between. In every statewide election the cities vote Blue and the rurals are a deep, deep red. They are steeped in the myth of the self sufficient Western rancher/cowboy, the loner who is his own autonomous kingdom. It was never true, but it is useful to those who would manipulate it for their own ends, like the wealthy ranchers who make large profits from public lands. (Incidentally, those awful and destructive wild horse roundups that so many of us hate? Yeah, that's at the behest of the ranchers, who want them off of the prime grazing land. But I digress.)"
Right-wing media overtly stoking violence in Nevada by Kuparuk: "On dozens and dozens of right-wing websites at the moment, you will see a pattern forming. They are united in fabricating a sinister anti-government background that allows their audiences to justify violence over the seizure of cattle from Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who has for over 20 years refused to pay for grazing rights on Federal lands. The story is that Sen. Harry Reid's son was hired by Chinese firm ENN to establish a solar power array, and that this project is the real reason why the Bureau of Land Management has suddenly decided to unjustly deprive Mr. Bundy of his ancestral rights to that land. (I will not link to the Infowars seed of this story -- you can Google it if you must.) Reid, they claim, is using his big government power to steal federal land from the poor family rancher in order to hand it to the Chinese. This is a complete fabrication, and the calls for violent defense of Bundy's rights are starting to pour in. Militias have sworn unity and are heading to the ranch."
Cliven Bundy: right-wing extremist domestic terrorist lawbreaker by JGibson: "Hey, someone had to do it. And since hardly anyone else is discussing the real reasons for outrage regarding this Cliven Bundy "scandal", we figured we might as well wade into this hot mess. So to recap, some G-O-TEA politicians are screaming at the BLM because the BLM is enforcing existing law. A rancher is willfully violating the law and encouraging armed rebellion against the federal government because he doesn't like the law. And meanwhile, the land itself and the original inhabitants of this land are reeling because we've allowed the land to be mistreated by the likes of Bundy... While we threaten the climate that's supposed to sustain this land."
MediaMatters consolidates the Rightwing Outrage over the NV Rancher's stand against the Feds by jamess: "Something about Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy having his cattle confiscated by the over-reaching Federal Government. Because of them 'damn environmentalists' and 'an uncaring federal government, that likes to shoot Nevada horses, too.'"
Breaking: BLM backing down on Bundy ranch stand-off—by Catte Nappe: "The dispute between the Bureau of Land Management, and a Nevada rancher who has failed to pay grazing fees for use of public land under BLM management (well covered in diaries here and here appears to be coming to an end. The Bureau of Land Management has announced it will stop the roundup of cattle owned by rancher Cliven Bundy. The BLM says the animals have been illegally grazing on public lands for 20 years. The BLM made the announcement Saturday morning."
Expanding the National Parks System #17-Kentucky—by MorrellWI1983: "This is the seventeenth diary in my "Expanding the National Parks" diary series. Last week, I was in Kansas, this week I'm in Kentucky. Kentucky has 5.4% of its land owned by the feds, good for 26th in the country. Currently Kentucky has 1 national park, 2 national forests, 3 wildlife refuges, and 4 historic sites. I will be proposing the first monuments in the state."
Padlock Ranch wins sustainability award—by marc brazeau: "Padlock Ranch, headquartered in Ranchester, WY just won the Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Beef Council and the Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Foundation's environmental stewardship award. Padlock Ranch was started in 1943 by the Scott family on 3000 acres and has grown into a 500,000 acre operation employing precision farming and rotational grazing in both Wyoming and Montana."
Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash
If you are responsible for 85 years of poisoning the earth...—by suzq: "...you are responsible for cleaning it up. (U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara). On April 4, 2914, the Department of Justice settled with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation for $5.15 billion. That's billion with a b. It is the Department of Justice's largest environmental recovery. Who is Anadarko Petroleum Corporation? They are an oil and gas extraction company, since 1953. They bought Kerr-McGee in 2005, believing they were buying just gas and oil extraction investments, but they were buying the company's entire toxic legacy."
Innovative environmental SWAT teams collect samples from Los Angeles businesses to nab polluters—by HoundDog: "Here's a fun and encouraging article about a creative approach to controlling pollution written by Tony Barboza of the LA Times writes called Environmental SWAT team tests runoff to nab polluters. A private group called Los Angeles Waterkeeper employes seven full time environmentalists who coordinate a small army of volunteers who collect samples of rain water run-off from area business and have them tested for pollutants such as heavy metals, pesticides, soups, de-greasing agents and others chemicals. Results are sent to city or state regulators or used to negotiate private fixes and settlements with business owners."
New Gulf of Mexico oil leases will help BP heal profits, but eco-group says gulf is far from healed—by Meteor Blades: "Having negotiated an end to a ban on any new oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico waters that it tainted with a gigantic spill in 2010, BP last month won 24 of the 31 bids it offered for new leases there. All told, a bit over $42 million. Although BP was only the No. 5 spender at the auction, its successful bids were another step on the road to recovery for the world's third largest oil company. Too bad the same can't be said for the gulf. For bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, bluefin tuna, pelicans and other creatures, the situation remains grim, according to a National Wildlife Federation report released Tuesday. Researchers cited by authors of the report—Four Years into the Gulf Oil Disaster: Still Waiting for Restoration—found that 14 animal species continue suffering from the spill. But the full effect is unknown."
Explaining North Carolina—by Science Watch: "The Rachel Maddow show has recently been covering an interesting case in North Carolina, in which environmental groups charged Governor McCrory's administration with protecting and covering up Duke Energy's coal ash disposal procedures. These groups claim that in each of a series of lawsuits brought against Duke Energy, the state took over as plaintiff and then settled the case out of court for a pittance. The Associated Press covered the issue in early February, but it didn't receive federal attention until the occurrence of a massive coal ash spill from one of Duke Energy's coal ash ponds on the Dan River. Then, a federal grand jury opened a criminal probe into the relations between state water quality regulators and the energy company."
BP Lake Michigan Oil Spill—by Flsts97: "BP, the EPA, and the Coast Guard have reported since day one, March 24th, that all the oil spilled into Lake Michigan, was contained with a couple of small booms, the water was safe to drink, nothing to see here, go about your business...I was sent a video the next day, the raw WGN helicopter feed, as they pulled into the scene that next morning, saying Good Morning to the Gary, IN, airport...https://www.youtube.com/.... This video, instantly disproving all that they had put out in the press, all not knowing this video existed, burying themselves in what they put out."
More Trouble For Pebble Mine—by MorrellWI1983: "Some news I discovered this morning. Rio Tinto, who owned nearly a 20% stake in Pebble is pulling out of the Project. The EPA in February announced it is invoking Section 404 of the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay, which is something it has rarely done- 11 times before this. So this is good news as Northern Dynasty is the only stakeholder left, and will need to find a new partner in order to keep the project alive. in my Alaska diary in my National Park series I called for Bristol Bay to become a monument. I renew that call here. President Obama, use the Antiquities Act to protect Bristol Bay, so that a mine like Pebble can never mar its beauty or wildlife. in the meantime, the fight continues."
Transportation & Infrastructure
Sunday Train: Koch Brothers Aim to Screw Tennessee Transit Riders & Motorists—by BruceMcF: "In a move to squash the freedom and local political autonomy of Nashville residents, the Koch Brothers-finded Americans For Prosperity turn out to be supporting a proposed State of Tennessee law outlawing Bus Rapid Transit systems that have dedicated lanes. [...] One thing we know is that the claim of traffic problems and safety issues from a middle lane location is a red herring ~ not because its patent nonsense, though it is, but because that's not what the bill restricts. The bill does not ban center lane Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), or side lane BRT, it bans effective BRT. If passed by the House and signed into law, it requires that any BRT system run exclusively in mixed traffic ... which means that its not likely to be a BRT at all, but would be, instead, a new coat of paint on city buses and some improved facilities at some city bus stops. So more on why the Koch Brothers are against Tennesseans having effective BRT and so also against improved traffic conditions in Tennessee cities, below the fold."
Eco-Philosophy & Eco-Essays
Climate Change - Mitigating Ego - Part 1 of 2—by John Crapper: "There are some things we just don't think of when it comes to action we can take to mitigate climate change. Here at the Church of the Holy Shitters we contend the main reason for ignoring these solutions is rooted in our ego. We actually postulate that our ego is the main culprit we need to understand and come to terms with to really begin to get a handle on addressing anthropogenic climate change. One such issue I want to talk about today is controlling our numbers. When I was born in 1951 the world’s population stood at around 2.6 billion. Today it has grown to over 7 billion. So it has more than doubled in 60 years! Seven billion people shitting on average a pound of the stuff each day times 365 days a year! That’s a load of shit to deal with! Add another billion more people in about 15 years. Holy crap! Add another billion more poopers in the following 12 years. That’s some serious overpoopulation we’re looking at don’t you think?"
Climate Change & GOP destruction; what if the Vietnam War was still going on?—by Churchill: "Warning: Thought Experiment: What if Vietnam wouldn't agree to a truce and we were fighting there today; even after 50 years. What if Vietnam were winning battle after battle? Could you imagine the Democratic party, who started The Vietnam War, still in existence? No. The Climate War for the United States begin in 2005 with Katrina (a debatable point). What's will 2055. Will things get better? HELL NO. The Republican Climate-Change-Denier Party will also cease to exist. The Climate War will not go away. And it will get worse the next 50 years. Each year more and more droughts, floods, hurricanes, crop failings and food scarcity, drinking water scarcity, etc..."
We will survive, but how many...—by StopMotionsolo: "So with Global Warming: I don't think it will destroy the planet. I do think humans will come through in the end. Furthermore, I think the rich will be the ones who do it but we'll see. I say this because in the end the wealthy care about two things, losing their money... and their lives. As such once they realize environmental catastrophes are not cost effective and they destroy the planet they will likely work to fix them. Basically the problem is these disasters need to affect the wealthy."
April 14 is 50th Anniversery of Rachel Carson's death and National Monarch Butterfly Day (sort of)—by HoundDog: "Rachel Carson, is considered by many to be one of the founders of the modern American environmentalism movement. With her publication of The Silent Spring in 1962, she called our attention to the role pesticides were playing in our ecological systems. [...] We owe Rachel Carson a great debt of gratitude for raising our awareness to the insidious role pesticides were playing in our ecological systems and in many way can be considered to be the other of the environmentalist movement in America. To honor and commemorate Rachel Carson, and also call attention to the ongoing devastation excess use of pesticides, herbicides, and now genetically modified herbicide-resistant crops (that allow higher amounts of herbicides to be applied), The Make Way For ButterFlies Foundation has called for Monday, April 14 to be a 'day of action and contemplation for monarch butterflies and other imperiled pollinators.'"
Peter Matthiessen - We've lost a great writer.—by lineatus: "Writer and environmentalist Peter Matthiessen died today at the age of 86; according to this story, he had been ill with leukemia. He was a wonderful writer and a compelling speaker; a strong voice for the preservation of the natural world, for justice and human rights. [...] Though I always think of him as an environmental writer first and foremost, he was so much more. He started the Paris Review with George Plimpton, and wrote some significant fiction as well, including "At Play in the Fields of the Lord." I feel lucky to have heard him speak several times. Though he wrote on some weighty topics, he was a lively and entertaining speaker."