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Many environmentally related posts appearing at Daily Kos each week don't attract the attention they deserve. To help get more eyeballs, Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The most recent Wednesday Spotlight can be seen here. So far, more than 18,000 environmentally oriented diaries have been rescued for inclusion in this weekly collection since 2006. Inclusion of a diary in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.
President Obama to Use Exec Authority to Reduce Carbon from Coal-Fired Electric Plants by 20%—by TomP: "This is good news and it will create a firestorm of criticism from the Koch Brothers and their wholly-owned political party, among others, including some Democrats. It's a courageous move and will help begin reductions of carbon. It also may impact the rest of the world with respect to what they do. President Obama will use his executive authority to cut carbon emissions from the nation’s coal-fired power plants by up to 20 percent, according to people familiar with his plans, and will force industry to pay for the pollution it creates through cap-and-trade programs across the country. Mr. Obama will unveil his plans in a new regulation, written by the Environmental Protection Agency, at the White House on Monday. It would be the strongest action ever taken by an American president to tackle climate change and could become one of the defining elements of Mr. Obama’s legacy."
green dots
Is it time we start saying the E word?—by Pakalolo: "It is pretty good odds that a mass extinction is going on right now as you read this. This ticking time bomb proves that we are like insects, which live just a few days and will never experience changes in a season much less years. You and I will never know from experience the history of this planet. Much of that history is as abstract to us as the dimensions of the universe. Our planet is a complex, dynamic system that we probably will never fully comprehend. The Earth system, like the human body, comprises diverse components that interact in complex ways. The Earth's atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere is a single connected system. [...] An article from New Scientist reports on a study by Chris Thomas at the University of Leeds, UK, and colleagues, evaluating the impact on species of mild, moderate and severe levels of predicted climate change. Mr. Thomas is quoted as saying: 'The absolutely best case scenario - which in my opinion is unrealistic—with the minimum expected climate change and all of the species moving completely into new areas which become suitable for them, means we end up with an estimate of nine per cent facing extinction.' This best case scenario means that 1 million species would go extinct assuming there are 10 million species in existence."
green dots
The Daily Bucket - botanizing by boat in San Juan Islands National Monument—by OceanDiver: "May 20 & 22, 2014. Salish Sea. Pacific Northwest. Last week over two long days I accompanied a crew of BLM researchers to nine of the 70 or so small islands in San Juan Islands National Monument, which came into being a year ago thanks to President Obama and the Antiquities Act. About half the Monument acreage is several large sites on Lopez and San Juan Islands, with the rest being these islands, ranging from 1 to 200 acres. State and local groups actively help manage these lands, such as the Washington State Parks system, Washington Trails Association, Keepers of the Patos Light, and many more, mostly volunteer. I tagged along to assist the botanist surveying and documenting vegetation, and I was happy to help, since I'd never stepped on any of these tiny non-ferry-served outlying islands before. I was surprised and amazed by the difference between them, and between them and the populated main islands of the county. One beautiful surprise was how many of the smallest islands, not much more than rocky bluffs, are graced by Garry oaks (Quercus garryana), rare on my home island."

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

Climate Chaos

Carbon Regulation

President Obama planning to use executive authority to cut carbon emissions in coal plants by 20%—by HoundDog: "Coral Davenport writes President Said to Be Planning to Use Executive Authority on Carbon Rule, in what appears to be a remarkable bold initiative to make substantial reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. President Obama will use his executive authority to cut carbon emissions from the nation’s coal-fired power plants by up to 20 percent, according to people familiar with his plans, and will force industry to pay for the pollution it creates through cap-and-trade programs across the country. Mr. Obama will unveil his plans in a new regulation, written by the Environmental Protection Agency, at the White House on Monday. It would be the strongest action ever taken by an American president to tackle climate change and could become one of the defining elements of Mr. Obama’s legacy."

Natural Resources Defense Council: Chamber of Commerce lies about EPA power-plant emissions rule—by Meteor Blades: "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a study Wednesday claiming that an Environmental Protection Agency rule governing power-plant emissions of carbon dioxide will devastate the U.S. economy, reducing gross domestic product by $51 billion annually, leading to an average of 224,000 fewer jobs each year, causing a cumulative loss of $586 billion in income by 2030 and raising electricity prices $289 million over the same period. Call that hokum, if you like. But such a label is overly charitable. The chamber's claims are outright lies, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group. The NRDC released a new analysis of its own Thursday about gains from emissions limits."

After visiting kids with asthma, President Obama emphasizes need to cut carbon pollution—by Laura Clawson: "President Obama delivered his weekly address after meeting with children with asthma and other breathing problems at the Children's National Medical Center, and he focused on the need to address carbon pollution for kids' health now and the health of the planet and the economy in the future. 'Earlier this month, hundreds of scientists declared that climate change is no longer a distant threat,' Obama warned, and we must take action. Though the president sounded a serious warning, he also expressed confidence in America's ability to meet these challenges: ... every time America has set clear rules and better standards for our air, our water, and our children’s health—the warnings of the cynics have been wrong. They warned that doing something about the smog choking our cities, and acid rain poisoning our lakes, would kill business. It didn’t. Our air got cleaner, acid rain was cut dramatically, and our economy kept growing."

Major Freakout By Grimes and McConnell this Monday on Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rule—by Merlin1963: "McConnell will be dancing a jig when the EPA makes its announcement on Monday because it gives him the chance to change the subject. Phew!  No more talking about eliminating kynect! War on Coal all the time!!!! And the dutiful lapdogs in the state and local media will cover McConnell's hyperbole because he will have all the Democrats in the state, except maybe Yarmuth, taking McConnell's side against Obama, including Grimes. Some may say, 'Well, this is a great opportunity for Grimes to prove she is not a rubber stamp for Obama.' There are plenty of other ways to prove you are not a rubber stamp for Obama, but siding with McConnell and the coal industry will not help Grimes. It will be a debate on McConnell's turf not on hers. Instead of talking about kicking over 421,000 off their health insurance plans, we will be debating how to protect 12,000 coal mining jobs."

Who’s afraid of the Carbon Rule?—by Ivy Main: "When I was a law student working at the U.S. EPA in the ‘80s, we sued a company that had been polluting a Maine river for years. Back then, EPA calculated penalties based on the amount of money a polluter saved by ignoring the requirements of the Clean Water Act. The idea was to take away the economic benefit of pollution so that companies would make out better by installing treatment systems than by imposing their toxic waste on the community. Not surprisingly, the company’s lawyers tried to prevent their client from having to pay a penalty for all those years it had been dumping pollution into the river. But their reasoning was interesting. Faced with the lawsuit, the company overhauled its industrial process and eliminated most of its waste products, which turned out to be a money-saving move. Thus, said the lawyers, the company hadn't gained any competitive advantage by polluting the river; it had actually lost money doing so. Really, they'd have made a lot more money if we'd forced them to clean up their act sooner. Needless to say, the argument didn't fly, and the company paid a fine. But its experience turns out to have been a common one. When it comes to environmental regulation, industry screams that the sky is falling, but then it gets to work to solve the problem, and frequently ends up stronger than ever."

John Boehner says "I'm not qualified to debate the science over climate change" but then slams plan—by HoundDog: 'Andrew Kaczynski of Buzzfeed reports John Boehner: “I’m Not Qualified To Debate Science Over Climate Change,” wherein Boehner sides steps the climate change question, saying he is not a scientist, in order to slam  President Obama's plan  to use executive authority to cut carbon emissions in coal plants by 20%. When reporters asked Boehner his opinion of this plan, his declaration that 'I'm not a scientist,' did not prevent him from offering his expert analysis of the merits of the plan asserting that it will damage the economy and reduce the numbers of jobs.'

Is 'I am not a scientist' the new climate denier talking point?—by Hunter: "Are we seeing an intentional rhetoric shift in climate change inaction, a move by Republicans from we do not believe the science, so we should not do anything to we are ignorant of the science, so we still should not do anything? I wonder: House Speaker John Boehner became the latest top Republican to try that tack Thursday, seeking to deflect an issue that has given Democrats an opening to brand the GOP as 'anti-science.' 'Listen, I’m not qualified to debate the science over climate change,' Boehner told reporters when asked about the science behind climate change. 'But I am astute to understand that every proposal that has come out of this administration to deal with climate change involves hurting our economy and killing American jobs.' That is not what the word astute means, or how you use it. You do not generally get to say you are astute to an asinine theory, which you then proceed to state outright due to your abject lack of shame, that not turning the Earth into a planet-sized barbecue spit is an anti-jobs plot."

Cutting back on carbon emissions not all that expensive according to critic's own study says Krugman—by HoundDog: "Paul Krugman of The New York Times calls our attention to the facts of a Chamber of Commerce report on the costs of President Obama's proposed regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions that are being cited by anti-environmentalist critics which he says actually show the opposite of what they claim. Writing in, Cutting Back on Carbon, he says '(e)verything we know suggests that we can achieve large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at little cost to the economy,' says Krugman. [[...] To put this estimated cost into perspective, Krugman notes this equates to a cost of $200 per year for the average American household which has an income of $70,000 a year —less than a small fraction of 1%. And out of the $600 billion a year we spend on military spending, it is less than 8% to confront global warming, which a group of top generals has already identified as a significant threat to our national security."


U.S. Bishops sends a letter to EPA asking for a reduction of carbon pollution—by HoundDog: "Here is a significant piece of encouraging news. Yasmine Hafiz of Huffington Post informs us that U.S. Bishops Call For Reduction On Carbon Pollution. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) called on the Environmental Protection Agency to combat climate change in a May 29 letter. It specifically focused on the issue of carbon pollution, particularly from power plants. 'The USCCB recognizes the importance of finding means to reduce carbon pollution,' said Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami. 'These standards should protect the health and welfare of all people, especially children, the elderly, as well as poor and vulnerable communities, from harmful pollution emitted from power plants and from the impacts of climate change.'"

Climate Change: Just the Facts, Please, Part 1 - Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels—by Steven D: "If, like me, you are not a scientist, or have little scientific training, it can be difficult to argue with family and friends, particularly conservative or Republican ones, who (1) deny  climate change is occurring or (2) believe that whether or not it's occurring, science has not demonstrated any connection between human activity and rising global temperatures, extreme weather events, mass extinction, etc. Heck, even people with a background in science are often ignored by such people. You can argue that 97% of climate scientists agree that the rapid changes to our planet's climate are primarily driven by human actions until you are blue in the face, but many of our conservative brethren refuse to accept the 'opinions' of those scientists. In general, they see little reason for changing our continued reliance on burning fossil fuels for energy. They come to the argument already convinced that you are either lying, an 'alarmist' or simply a liberal who wants to expand government. In effect, these folks have been 'brainwashed' by the right wing propaganda machine."

MA-Sen: Ed Markey (D) Meets Pope Francis To Make Common Cause On Environment—by poopdogcomedy: "Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said Thursday that Pope Francis agrees with him that climate change is a 'moral issue.' 'The Pope and all people of faith understand that climate change is a moral issue, and that we are called to respond to this personal and planetary challenge,' Markey said after meeting with the Pope and other high-level Vatican leaders in Rome to talk about climate change. Markey said he and other lawmakers from around the world discussed the health and economic consequences of not addressing climate change. 'It was an honor and a privilege to meet with Pope Francis and other Vatican leaders to share our common concern about the challenge of our time, climate change,' Markey said."

Waves, Ice, and the Accidental Tourist—by jamess: "Scientists have discovered that large ocean waves can travel through sea ice for hundreds of miles before their oscillations are finally diminished, according to BBC News. The up and down motion can fracture the ice, potentially aiding its break-up and melting, the researchers told Nature magazine. They say storm swells may have a much bigger influence on the extent of polar sea ice than previously thought, writes BBC News."

Climate Change: You Can’t Have My I-Pad!—by John Crapper: "A while back I purchased an I-pad. I love it. I’m not sure how I ever survived without it. I read a lot more. I social network a lot more. It has become an integral tool in my daily life. But it takes energy to work.  It increases my carbon footprint ever so slightly.  But I won't give it up. It's one of the little things created in our modern world that I will not give up.  I care a lot about climate change. I spend a lot of my time researching the issue and trying to spread the word about its seriousness. But, when I’m honest with myself there are limits to what personal actions I’m willing to take to help mitigate it. [...] I spend a lot of time on my I-pad researching climate change. It is something I’m interested in. Then it dawned on me. Because of this new electronic tool, I now spend a lot more hours every day reading from an electronic device rather than turning the pages of a book. My reading activities now use electricity."

Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice

Arizona: Fight for Clean Air and Clean Energy Inspires Family of Activists—by Mary Anne Hitt: "Kathy Mohr-Almeida and her daughter Anna—along with millions of others in Arizona and surrounding states—could breathe a little easier if the Environmental Protection Agency steps up to enforce the Clean Air Act protections for Navajo Generating Station, one of the biggest polluters in Arizona. Kathy and Anna are superstar volunteers for Arizona Beyond Coal who are working to transition Arizona away from the Navajo Generating Station coal plant (NGS) and replace it with clean energy. The 2,250-megawatt NGS, near Page, Arizona, is the largest and dirtiest coal plant in the state. Today Kathy and Anna joined a crowd of parents marching and delivering more than 10,000 petitions to the Environmental Protection Agency office in Tempe demanding strong clean air protections at NGS."

Food, Agriculture & Gardening

Recycling with earthworms—by worm man: ""Recycling with earthworms is an easy way to convert large portions of household waste into nutrient rich fertilizer and natural pesticide. Most households produce more than 50% of waste that could simply be composted with the help of earthworms / compost worms. Earthworms feed basically on anything that has ever been alive and is now dead. Nearly any organic and natural materials will be welcomed as a food source by these humble creatures. Food waste like apple cores, banana peels, carrot off cuts, tea bags, coffee filters and coffee ground can be fed to compost worms as well as old corrugated cardboard, newspapers, junk mail, old tissues and toilet paper. Worm composting can be done virtually anywhere, indoors and outdoors. You can purchase a commercially available worm bin or just set up your own worm farm within a few minutes using an old plastic bucket, plastic bin or even an simple plastic bag that you have at home. Recycling with earthworms is easy."

About time. Consumer group sues USDA over meat containing salmonella—by VL Baker: "The level of corruption and ineptitude at the USDA under Secretary Vilsack has become so toxic that it seems the only way for a consumer group to get it to pay attention to public health is with a lawsuit. Currently, 80% of antibiotics sold in US are added to livestock feed to promote growth and to prevent livestock from getting sick due to overcrowded, unsanitary conditions on factory farms. This has been a major contributor to the growth of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria which has led to a massive public health crisis. CBS News reports on the CSPI lawsuit: The group Center for Science in the Public Interest, or CSPI, filed the complaint in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, to try to force the USDA to treat antibiotic-resistant strains of salmonella as adulterants, which would prevent the sale and distribution of tainted meat."

How Does Your Garden Grow? IAN—by broths: "Since Chicago had such a crummy spring, I'm just planting my garden now. Hopefully most of the veggies will have enough time to grow before the cold weather comes again. This year I'm planting: Tomatoes, Sweet yellow and red peppers, Swiss Chard, Broccoli, Zucchini, Potimarron - an orange winter squash, Butternut Squash, Basil, Parsley. I'm also thinking about planting potatoes in a large container. Has anyone planted potatoes before? Are they so much better than store bought, or should I just go to the store and buy a bag of potatoes?"

Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 10.15—by Frankenoid: "It's been a glorious week here in Denver—starting out in the 70s, then building to a mid-week warm of almost but not quite hot temperatures in the upper 80s. Then yesterday came a cool down with a back to the 70s and a blast of thundershowers. In the front yard the rugosa hansa rose bush is in gloriously fragrant bloom; a few more blossoms grace the Zéphirine Drouhin, now starting to grow vigorously. It's a wonderful ending to what has been a wild month."


How coal companies risk workers' health by cheating on safety rules—by Laura Clawson: "Black lung is resurgent in coal mining areas, despite all the industry's whining about President Obama's overzealous regulations. So how are regulations and modern safety equipment not preventing a disease that had been declining since the 1970s? For one thing, there's a lot of cheating. Dave Jamieson reports that, at one unannounced Mine Safety and Health Administration inspection: According to witnesses, supervisors at the mine went into a panic, ordering workers to shut down their machines and stop running coal. There was good reason for the freakout. According to Labor Department documents, Armstrong miners weren't wearing their coal dust pumps. These are the devices that measure the amount of dust in a mine's atmosphere; when a company is sampling dust levels, miners are supposed to wear them for a full shift as they work. At Parkway, the MSHA report says an inspector found the two dust pumps hanging away from where the coal was being mined and at the power center, where the air is much cleaner. The pumps were guaranteed to register dust levels much lower than those to which miners were actually being exposed. It didn't take long before the worker who'd called in an anonymous tip was fired."


OH-Gov: Kasich's (R) Freezing Renewable Energy Standards Heats Up Hope For FitzGerald (D)—by poopdogcomedy: "So this sucks: The Ohio House of Representatives approved a bill on Wednesday that would roll back the state's renewable energy and energy efficiency law, making Ohio the first state to reverse standards meant to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. [...] The Ohio legislature approved the renewable energy and efficiency standards in 2008, when it passed them almost unanimously. But opponents of the measure have been trying to roll them back for several years. Last year, state Sen. Bill Seitz, a Republican from Cincinnati, said the standards are like 'Joseph Stalin's five-year plan.' (Seitz is a co-sponsor of this year's bill.) The new measure would pause required increases in renewables and efficiency for two years, and would also weaken the standards when they come back into effect in 2017. The original plan called for a 5.5 percent increase in renewables by 2017, while the revised measure lowers that to a 3.5 percent increase."


Fracking moratorium bill defeated by oil industry lobby—by Dan Bacher: "The California State Senate failed to pass SB 1132, legislation authored by Senators Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno that would have stopped hydraulic fracturing and other dangerous well stimulation methods while the state studied their risks. The defeat of the legislation was undoubtedly due to the huge amounts of money dumped into lobbying the Legislature by the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, and oil companies. [...] The statewide coalition Californians Against Fracking issued the following statement: 'Despite polls showing a majority of Californians in favor of banning fracking, today the California Senate failed to pass SB 1132 to place a moratorium on fracking. The vote is disappointing but not completely unexpected given that the oil industry has spent a whopping $15 million on lobbying activities to defeat the bill and buy influence in Sacramento. [...]'"

Fracking Moratorium Fails to Pass CA Senate: Up Again Tomorrow—by boatsie: "SB1132, the bill calling for a moratorium on fracking in California is just three votes short of passing in the California State Senate, with four Democrats still abstaining from casting their votes. The vote garnered only 18 votes in favor of the moratorium and remains 'on call' for reconsideration tomorrow. [...] As SB 1132 successfully passed through Appropriations to a vote on the full senate floor last Friday, David Turnbull noted just how huge a role Big Oil bucks play on the Senate floor.

Chris Hayes Interview Perfectly Summarizes Ramrodding of NC Fracking Bill—by Intheknow: "The North Carolina Fracking Bill is about to become law pending a Governor's signature. The Senate gave final approval with no debate. This follows House passage earlier this afternoon. Fracking should start in North Carolina in early 2015. MSNBC's Chris Hayes does a great job exposing the shenanigans in ramrodding this legislation through with little or no public input. As I have written earlier, this is an ALEC bill written by and for the Gas and Oil Lobby. Most disturbing is the bill is being passed long before the State Mining and Exploration Board completes it's rulemaking on fracking. In other words, they could hypothetically permit fracking in State Parks and no one could vote to oppose this in the General Assembly."

Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation

WI Tar Sands Oil Pipeline—by sillycarrot: "Why not split the State of WI in 1/2 with tar sands oil? Line 61 crosses through Wisconsin from Superior to Flanagan, IL and will include new pumping stations (in Hawthorne, Ladysmith, Owen, Marshfield, Minong, Stone Lake, Adams, Portage, and Waterloo) and increased pumping pressure at existing stations (Sheldon, Vesper, and Delavan). This puts a number of our water bodies at risk, from Castle Rock Lake, the Rock River, Lake Koshkonong, the Flambeau River, and most importantly, Lake Superior and the Great Lakes, which provide drinking water for 42 million people.  A spill could devastate these waterways, and the jobs and economy that depend on them."

Oil By Rail - Week of Action—by Justin Mikulka: "Here is what we know about the current state of moving oil by rail.  Robert Sumwalt of the National Transportation Safety Board(NTSB) has stated in a congressional hearing that using the existing DOT-111 tank cars to move the explosive Bakken Crude oil is an 'unacceptable public risk.' Pretty simple to understand that if you are part of the public. This is an unacceptable risk. Currently these rail cars make up 70% of the oil-by-rail fleet. Now you might say to yourself, 'Too bad for those people who live near the rail lines, but that ain't my problem.' You might want to take a look at this map that was put together by Oil Change International this week along with a report on the oil by rail industry.  Odds are you or someone you know lives near one of these lines. However, this past week, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers said the following about those same rail cars and their use in transporting Bakken crude oil. 'As the standards are today for flammable liquids, Bakken crude fits right in, and the DOT-111 cars should be fine'"

Artist Stops Oil Pipeline Cold—by occupystephanie: "Alberta artist, Peter von Tiesenhausen, has effectively stopped oil corporations from putting a pipeline through his 800 acre property by covering it with artwork and copyrighting the top six inches of his land as an artwork. Realizing that mining companies can legitimately lay claim to any land underneath private property to a depth of six inches, van Tiesenhausen contacted a lawyer who drew up an intellectual property/copyright claim that said that if the oil company disturbed the top six inches in any way, it would be a copyright violation."

The Great Outdoors

The Daily Bucket: Gone to Seed—by PHScott: "First up are Blueberries - I believe this is what is classified as a Highbush Blueberry. I'm struggling with these members of the Heath family. Everytime I'm out with someone, names get tossed around and attributes gone over and all that "leaves" me more confused.  They always talk of Elliott's Blueberry but I think they just like to say Elliottii
-- El lee OT Tee I. It's a bumper crop this year—lots of rain at the right time. And yes, even tho there are only a few ripe, and they are very small, I ate them."

The Daily Bucket - Baby Birds and Foliage—by enhydra lutris: "On (or shortly before) 5/26 we had baby Bewick's Wrens hatch in the bird box in the Spruce out front. (I think that some have also hatched in the Juniper out back within the last day or two.) Our redbuds are fully leafed out, and the apricot, apple and pear have bloomed out and now have fruit somewhere around the size of ping-pong balls. Poppies and Milkweed are going strong, though the former are fading."

Trade & Foreign Policy

House Republicans Seem to Think that TPP and TTIP Will Strengthen Environmental Regs. If Only.—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "I found it rather funny that Republicans seem to think that Obama will try to backdoor a climate treaty through something like TPP or TTIP. From the leaked text of the environment section of the TPP, we know that it contains no real enforcement. Both TPP and TTIP would allow fossil fuel companies to sue governments for unlimited compensation for lost profit. Both (see here and here) are expected to lead to an increase in fracking in the US, and US trade officials are trying to use TTIP to get Europe to accept tar sands oil. Sometimes I wish that the Obama of the Republican imagination was the one we actually had."


Baby deer, "if you care, leave them there"—by ban nock: "It's that time of year. Across most of the United States ungulates (deer, moose, elk, antelope) have either dropped their young or are about to. The reason they all do it at the same time is because this is also the time of year when all the predators eat as many babies (fawns and calves) as they can find. Nature causes all the animals to birth at the same time because with so many other animals being born the chances of one individual deer being eaten is lessened. Nature is flooding the zone, so to speak. [...] Every year many well meaning but uninformed people see young deer, and assuming the lack of a mother means the deer has been abandoned, take it upon themselves to take a deer home. What they are really doing is killing that deer, they just don't know it yet. Deer are good pets for a few days only, then they become a nuisance, they become more problematic not less as a puppy or kitten might."

We Murdered All Mammoths.—by aoeu: "Now we may be in the process of murdering the rest of the system that supports human life. We are killing out every large animal species whether or not we want to eat specific animals. Rhinoceros for their horns, for example. Effective weapons when wielded by a rhinoceros but useless in human hands. There are two Singularities in front of us. One may be a winner and one is certainly a loser. Human Extinction."


The 6th Great Extinction (you don't want to read this)—by Agathena: "but I have to write it, to get it off my mind. I don't blame people for not wanting to take part in this conversation. But it really demands our attention. This is a hopeful diary because I believe that if we change, we might survive. I highlight three other writers who are also hopeful. Staff writer for The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert is hopeful if we preserve what's left of our wilderness; Duke University scientist Stuart Pimm encourages us to work to save the most endangered animals; British writer George Monbiot in the Guardian wants us to change our economic system. [...] There's a great interview of Elizabeth Kolbert on Democracy Now by Amy Goodman and Aaron Maté. It is interspersed with the climate change denier Rep. Paul Broun, R. Georgia and there is a compete transcript if you don't believe your ears. But wait, he is chair of oversight and investigations for the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. This shows how far we have to reach to get this conversation going."

Water & Drought

Delta tunnel plan violates civil rights of non-English speakers—by Dan Bacher: "Bay Delta Conservation Plan documents are in English only. Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird and other state officials have repeatedly claimed that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels would be 'fair, open, and transparent,' but a panel of environmental justice experts today exposed this claim as false when they revealed the blatant institutional racism that permeates the controversial process."

Draft implementing agreement for tunnel plan to be released—by Dan Bacher: "The Department of Water Resources (DWR) and Natural Resources Agency held a pre-briefing on May 28 with water agency representatives and others about the draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) Implementing Agreement (IA) that they are preparing to release for public review and comment within the next few days."

National Parks, Forests & Other Public Lands

Obama's Gift to Us in the Land of Enchantment—by Dan Chu: "On Wednesday, May 21, President Obama gave a gift to all Americans, proclaiming nearly 500,000 acres of the Organ Mountains- Desert Peaks range as our nation's newest national monument. Home to wildlife, cultural and historical treasures, the Organ Mountains tower 9,000 feet tall just east of the southern New Mexico town of Las Cruces. This unique natural treasure is now permanently protected thanks to more than ten years of hard work by the people of Las Cruces joining with groups such as the Sierra Club. Last Friday, I joined the Las Cruces community to host Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on a high school field with the Organ Mountains as a backdrop. I was struck by the great diversity of supporters in the crowd of over 700. Tribal and religious leaders, local business owners, ranchers, farmers, hunters, backcountry horsemen, Sierra Club volunteers, elected officials, local artists…this is the embodiment of land conservation in the twenty-first century."

Our grandkids may never get to hike these woods -- send your message to Congress today!—by Nathan Empsall SierraRise: "It's chilling, but true: The great American forest is disappearing. A runaway outbreak of pine beetles has laid waste to millions upon millions of acres of gorgeous western pine forests. The beetles feed, lay eggs, and spread fungus in the trees, ultimately killing them. The Pacific Northwest, and even states as far east as New Jersey, could be next. This is devastating news for the forests' wildlife -- especially grizzly bear cubs. If nothing changes, we'll have to tell our children and grandchildren stories of a vast pine forest full of wildlife that they'll never get to hike, smell, or even see. The Rocky Mountains and Black Hills could sound more like imaginary fairy-tale forests than actual places—will our kids even believe us? There's still time for Congress to help save our forests. Together, we can make sure 50,000 letters are waiting for our lawmakers when the Senate comes back from recess on Monday!"

Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash

Too Much Regulation?—by Vinny Ith: "I can still remember hearing as a child over 50 years ago a voice on the radio saying, 'Those environmental wackos want to stifle industry and not allow manufacturing companies to send wastewater into streams.' I lived in Syracuse, NY for many years and watched Allied Chemical pollute Onondaga Lake for years. Onondaga Lake was probably one of the most beautiful lakes in the country. First we were told that we can fish in the lake, but must throw the fish back and not take it home. Then we were told no fishing was allowed in the lake at all. Allied Chemical didn’t break any laws by polluting the lake since there were no restrictions at the time. Ultimately Allied Chemical was told to clean up the lake. So Allied Chemical instead closed their plant and let approximately 1000 workers go. Honeywell is now spending money on cleanup after merging with Allied Chemical."

WVa DEP tells Range Resources they are not going to be PA's radioactive dumping ground—by PinHole: "A couple of weeks ago we read that the waste treatment plant supervisor in Wetzel Co, WV (north end of WV, just south of PA line) had complained that there was no way his plant could correctly process the toxic material it was receiving. Mr Pinhole was born in Wetzel Co. And sadly his relations still in the region have rolled over, and made poor decisions about WV being trashed by these new (and old) companies that have raped the land and the people. Here is the report I received about radioactive waste from Washington Co going to West Virginia. It seems that maybe, just maybe, the people in the WV DEP are starting to say "STOP!!" after the chemical water contamination in southern WV. Of course they know full well they have quite enough of their own radioactive waste. Therefore this news from another source (Pittsburgh Post) was quite welcome, saying the WVa DEP had rejected the radioactive cannisters from coming to a Waste Management landfill in WVa. So what community will be lucky enough to get this hot potato, and other ones like it?"

Fukushima Report by California Coastal Commission—by MarineChemist: "The purpose of this short diary is to bring to your attention a report recently released by the California Coastal Commission on the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Disaster and Radioactivity along the California Coast.  The report refers to many published peer reviewed, scientific studies previously summarized here as part of an ongoing series dedicated to providing the best available science on the impacts of Fukushima on the health of the Pacific and residents of the west coast of North America. While the language in the Coastal Commissions Report is specific to CA it is very applicable to other residents of the Pacific coast. For those interested the document is a very useful primer and compendium of current scientific inquiry into the impact of Fukushima on ecosystem and public health. The report summary concludes: The levels of Fukushima-derived radionuclides detected in air, drinking water, food, seawater and marine life in California are extremely low relative to the preexisting background from naturally occurring radionuclides and the persistent residues of 20th century nuclear weapons testing. The additional dose of radiation attributable to the Fukushima disaster is commensurately small, and the available evidence supports the idea that it will pose little additional risk to humans or marine life. However, it should be noted that the long-term effects of low-level radiation in the environment remain incompletely understood, and that this understanding would benefit from increased governmental support for the monitoring of radioactivity in seawater and marine biota and the study of health outcomes linked to radiation exposure."

Today's Nasty Chemical: Benzene—by LaFeminista: "Now Benzene is used in the hydraulic fracturing process. Of course, there remain serious questions about the impact of the industrialization on the environment. The Sasol plant reportedly will emit 85 times the state’s threshold rate of benzene each year. [...] Potential Acute Health Effects: Very hazardous in case of eye contact (irritant), of inhalation. Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant, permeator), of ingestion. Inflammation of the eye is characterized by redness, watering, and itching. Potential Chronic Health Effects: CARCINOGENIC EFFECTS: Classified A1 (Confirmed for human.) by ACGIH, 1 (Proven for human.) by IARC. MUTAGENIC EFFECTS: Classified POSSIBLE for human. Mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells. Mutagenic for bacteria and/or yeast.TERATOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available. DEVELOPMENTAL TOXICITY:Classified Reproductive system/toxin/female [POSSIBLE]. The substance is toxic to blood, bone marrow, central nervous system (CNS). The substance may be toxic to liver, Urinary System. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage So if one plant is allowed to emit 85 times the limit set for the whole State of Louisiana, what if ten plants are allowed to do the same, you know to ensure a level playing field n all."

Ammonium Nitrate Stored In TX Town Center I Wrote About In 2013 Burns, Residents Evacuated.—by LieparDestin: "I wrote a diary in 2013 about the continued lack of regulation in regards to storing explosive materials in town centers in the wake of the West, TX explosion which killed more than a dozen and pretty much leveled a town. [...] Not only is the building/roof mostly wooden, but it's full of holes, is barely structurely sound and really that's not the worst of the issues because the building burned to the ground, forcing portions of the town to be evacuated: Firefighters evacuated the town square in Athens Thursday afternoon because of a large fire a block away that burned down a facility that stores ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Thursday'€™s fire started about 5:30 p.m. according to resident Billie Morse. It'€™s uncertain what sparked the fire, but images on social media showed large flames shooting into the air."

Transportation & Infrastructure

Solar Roadways -- $1.6 Million and Counting!—by New Minas: "Solar Roadways is extending their crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo. Their innovative project is generating new interests and each contribution allows them to accelerate the final design phase and go into mass production of low-cost, high durability, user-friendly solar powered roads even faster! [...] This technology will change everything we know about energy, transportation and private/public partnerships."

Electric Vehicle Love—by too many people: "I am in love, and not just with my wife. My Fiat 500e is adorable. I leased a 2013 Fiat 500e four months ago. At $199/month (now available at $169) with a $1500 state rebate, $999 down and a $1500 dealer rebate, it has been a good deal, IMO. You also get 12 free (gas)car rentals every year. I figure it costs me a little over 2 cents per mile for electricity. It has a range of about 80 miles, though I get over 100 with careful driving. The mpge is 135 - 165 mpge for most trips, again driving like a granny. I plug into a 120 volt outlet. A full charge would take about 20 or more hours. With 240 volts I think that would be more like 4 hours. The car is peppy with 111 hp, and I have accidentally laid scratch a few times. In fact, it is faster to 60 mph - about nine seconds - than the gas model. It is cuter than a Leaf, IMO,but with less room."

Eco-Philosophy & Eco-Essays

Clear and magical thinking—by Cassiodorous: "Oh, but I know!  The problem is climate change deniers.  Right?  The problem can be solved by more 'renewables and efficiency.' That way we'll just automatically "reduce carbon emissions."  We don't really need to change anything otherwise. Magical thinking is da bomb y'know.
This last piece of magical thinking appears in full stripes, although sweetened a bit, in Tom Hayden's piece, 'The Great Unifier: California Against Climate Change.' Hayden's thesis: My dream is that California under Governor Jerry Brown's leadership will become a multi-cultural world-class economy powered entirely by renewable resources and energy conservation, and a model to which President Barack Obama can point during the critical global talks on climate change in December 2015. The problem, of course, is that it's nice to have two drops in the bucket instead of one to show off to your world-ruling friends at the big conference, but what really needs to happen to mitigate climate change is an effort to shut down the oil and coal companies and to cease the production of fossil fuels altogether at some point while maintaining basic life necessity guarantees to ordinary people.  Fossil-fuel capital needs to be abolished, which ultimately means that all of capital needs to be controlled."


Peptide 1018 destroys biofilm in several strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria—by HoundDog: "It's rare to find good news coming under the tag of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, so it is a pleasure to follow-up my grim post, World must consider antibiotic-resistant pathogens to be same level of a threat as climate change, of a few days ago, with three possible breakthroughs that give us some hope against a still dire and growing threat. If nothing else, my hope is that our first article will improve your understanding of how colonies of bacteria use biofilms as a strategy to accelerate their multistage spread, and how a peptide called 1018 destroys this capability in many strains. Our second and third articles will mention how scientists are also exploring the use of PPMOs and  bacteriophages as alternative ways of attacking antibiotic resistant bacteria."

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