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The 377-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert is 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas.
The 377-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert
is 40 miles southwest of Laz Vegas.
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 18,200 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.
A win in the fight against mountaintop removal mining—by DWG: "There was a win this week in the fight to stop the insane practice of mountaintop removal (MTR) mining in the coalfields of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Virginia. [...] Alpha Natural Resources, one of the biggest coal energy companies in the country, operates a slew of MTR mines in West Virginia. A coalition of environmental organizations (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and the Sierra Club) filed suit in U.S. district court against two Alpha MTR mining sites. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection ignored evidence of violations and refused to act. Here is the gist of the complaint. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants Elk Run Coal Company, Inc., (Elk Run) and Alex Energy, Inc., (Alex Energy) violated these statutes by discharging excessive amounts of ionic pollution, measured as conductivity and sulfates, into the waters of West Virginia in violation of their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits and their West Virginia Surface Mining Permits. On June 4, U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers ruled against the coal giant. The news attracted little attention in media coverage dedicated to the 'war on coal.'"
green dots
Bluebird
Daily Bucket - Bluebirds of Happiness—by Attack Gardener: "After dithering for the entire spring, our bluebirds finally settled down to producing offspring! Yesterday, we found the first egg in the nest box! Woot! So for the past 2 years we've had a pair of bluebirds in our area, upstate NY, Saratoga county. The first year, we saw them but they declined our offer of free rent in a good location. Two locations, actually, as we have 2 boxes up but neither was up to snuff. The second year, they accepted the offer with enthusiasm, choosing the box closest to the forest, and raising 2 broods. They were not the best of tenants. They trashed the place, requiring a complete renovation after each brood - take down the box, remove the disgusting mess of a nest, clean with bleach and bake in the sun till dry. I should have charged their security deposit but I'm a big softy and let them get away with it.This year, they built nests in both boxes, the original one from last year and the one in the middle of a garden bed. The male defended both against all comers but the Missus just couldn't seem to settle down and pick one."
green dots
Migratory birds vs Canadian tar sands—by Gwennedd: "The boreal forests of Alberta are known to birders as the nursery for millions of US song birds. However, the stripping of huge tracts (an area about the size of Florida) of these important forests, and the noisy, noxious mining of the tar sands has resulted in the deaths of thousands of birds according to a new report by The National Wildlife Foundation and Natural Resources Council. Not only are the forests razed completely but the mining produces a left over..a highly toxic mix of water laced with deadly chemicals and oil. This chemical soup is spewed into hastily prepared "lakes" or tailings ponds. These ponds are nothing more than flat, low-lying lands with sand bulldozed up around them to contain the liquid waste. They leak..but that's a subject for another diary. The ponds cover roughly an area of 50 square miles and use cannons and scarecrows to ward off birds that try to land on them. They don't always work. In 2008, 1600 ducks died in a Syncrude tailings pond. October, 2010, a storm resulted in hundreds of ducks landing in a Suncor pond-550 were too oiled up to save. As of 2010, 43 species of protected birds have died as a result of exposure to tailings ponds."

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

Climate Chaos

Bringing climate solutions down to Earth - controlling other non-CO2 causes of global warming—by HoundDog: "The major idea we should highlight in his inspiring article is solving global warming does not need to mean a grim, tightening-of-the-the-belt, and deprivation, but rather can be a brighter, more positive, and even profitable way forward with creativity and innovation. Also, in the late 1970 and early 1980's when I was professional involved with some of the groups that did some of the mathematical modeling for the global modeling discussions, I became greatly influenced by several books. One E.F. Schumaker's Small is Beautiful, and Amory Lovin's Soft Energy Paths both of which advocated small scale, what we called then 'appropriate technology' solutions that could be produced locally, with local resources. I'm curious that I do not see that terminology being used any more as I come back into these fields. Do any of our readers know?"

Oregon Court of Appeals gives Teens another Opportunity to bring Suit over Climate Change—by jamess: "Well, it IS their Common Future (and that future's Quality of Life) that is arguably being treated with reckless procrastination, by so many of Today's aging and feckless leaders. These teens worried about the world they will inherit, just may have a case ...Eugene teens win reversal in climate change case—The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled that a local judge should not have dismissed a lawsuit filed by two Eugene teenagers who allege that the state is violating the public trust by failing to take adequate steps to stave off climate change. [...] The girls challenged Lane County Circuit Judge Karsten Rasmussen’s ruling in 2012 that courts lack authority to order state officials to create and carry out a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions."

Extreme Weather

Food, Agriculture & Gardening

Saturday Morning Garden Blogging, Vol. 10.17—by rb137: "We live in the Pacific Northwest, so it rains a bit. The ground gets soft for half the year, so the digging and running wears holes into the ground and trails into the landscape. This is not to mention their deliberate garden help. Last fall when I pulled up my tomato plants, the puppies pulled up my rosemary bushes. Monkey see, monkey do, I guess. But my goal is to design around all of that so that we can live in harmony with the dogs and the yard. We live on a wooded lot -- a beautifully wooded lot, which we love. The other design challenge is that most of the yard is shaded, and the sunny spots already have spectacular things growing in them. Rhodos, azaleas, hydrangeas, roses, lilies -- all kinds of pretty flowering things. I want to keep all of that while I make the buddies' wanton help less obvious. I also want to install a greenhouse and a fairly substantial kitchen garden, but I need to find space with sunlight. I will otherwise stick to indigenous and shade tolerant plants. Happily, the 'weeds' that grow here are beautiful, so I'm transplanting a lot of them from one part of the yard to another."

Just finished tilling the last half-acre.—by SemperEducandis: "EVERYONE should try to garden SOMETHING, even if it's just a couple of tomatoes in pots on the verandah. Some of us get to take it just a bit further than just a bit of a garden. A bit more than four acres, before we're done. Once everything is de-toxified and back up to full fertility and good tilth. Inside the town. We live in a small town, there are still about 7500 people left living here since Wally-World came in and shut down all the small businesses. Mine included (computer repair, some hardware sales, all gone thanks to those Bentonville Bastards). There are some junk shops and "antique" stores where there used to be small retailers and service providers.  Not much left, and less every year."

Introduction to Agroecology: Soil Life Theory (Me on video!)—by FinchJ: "It has been a very long time since I have posted anything here. I've been busy with a three month internship at an urban farming project in Helsinki, which is drawing to a close next week. I have a few different options ahead of me, but permaculture design remains at the heart of all of them. Anyway, I thought I would share a talk I gave during an "Urban Farming School" day at the project. I had 45 minutes to explain some basic soil life, with an emphasis on mycorrhizal fungi and vermicompost. I exaggerated a bit with the percentage of plants that associate with mycorrhizae [estimates range from 80-95%] and made some other mistakes constantly (like calling them [mycorrhizae] all mushrooms even though I said that they aren't! [always]). Plus my body language was all rigid and wacky. But I think that adds to the fun?"

US food and antibiotic crisis is taking us back to the 'dark ages' of medicine—by VL Baker: "With all our sophisticated technology you would think that at the least we would be able to keep our modern society safe and healthy. But yet, we have a food system that is now leading us into a global public health crisis which would take us back to the dark ages of medicine; the days when a simple cut or even a tooth infection could lead to severe sickness and even death. In the US eighty percent of the antibiotics used to treat infection are fed to factory farmed animals to help them grow faster and larger leading to antibiotic-resistant bacteria superbugs. According to the Center for Disease Control 23,000 Americans die each year because of these antibiotic-resistant super bugs and millions more get sick. Even if you don't eat meat or live near a factory farm the failure of antibiotics impacts you."

Antibiotic resistant bacteria found in squid in Canadian supermarket raises concern about spread—by HoundDog: "Lena H. Sun Bacteria found in squid raises concern about spread of antibiotic resistance, study finds, and highlights that risk of exposure to antibiotic resistant microorganisms is not just a hospital issue. The bacteria found, Pseudomonas fluorescens, are resistant to carbapenems, one of our "last-line-of-defense" antibiotics.   [...] Overuse of antibiotics, especially on factory farms has led to the emergence of broad ranges of microbes that are immune to nearly all of our existing antibiotics, meaning that soon even simple surgeries we've taken for granted will become extremely high risk events that may be too risky. This particular kind of bacteria is extra dangerous because it has the ability to exchange genes with other bacteria making them resistant as well. Sun tells us that the microbes were found in a package of frozen squid purchased in a Chinese grocery in Saskatoon, Canada, which was supplied by a South Korean vender."

The Great Outdoors

self heal Prunella vulgaris
The Daily Bucket - Iceberg wildflowers, June update—by OceanDiver: "June 9, 2014. Salish Sea. Pacific Northwest. My latest walk out in the Iceberg Point seaside meadow community was even more fun than usual - accompanied by fellow kossacks AZ Sphinx Moth and Bisbonian, here on the island for a few days break from the heat of the Southwest. They saw and heard things I hadn't been paying attention to, and it was just a delight to share my beautiful backyard with folks who love nature as much as I do. [...] I've been observing and documenting the phenology here to help discover how global climate change may affect my local natural communities. Today, on emerging from the woods out into the meadow, we saw bright purple Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris) nestled in the damp green grass. As you might gather, Self-Heal has been used for centuries by indigenous people in North America, Asia and Europe for its medicinal properties. Modern scientific research confirms its anti-bacterial and anti-viral efficacy (one of the studies here). This low-growing member of the mint family prefers damp soil, and we only saw it in the greeny area next to the woods."

Energy

This is what Peak Oil looks like—by jamess: "The turmoil in Iraq pushed up U.S. and world oil prices about 4% this week. The U.S. benchmark crude oil, West Texas Intermediate, closed at $106.91 a barrel, up 38 cents on Friday. Brent, the international benchmark, rose 31 cents to $113.41. The IEA [International Energy Agency] has forecast that Iraq, which has the world's fifth-largest proven oil reserves, would account for 60% of production growth from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries for the rest of this decade. Iraq, now producing about 3.3 million barrels a day, has become OPEC's second-largest producer, after Saudi Arabia. Even if the fighting stays in Iraq's north, the IEA sees an impact. It says the unrest makes the reopening of a key pipeline from Kirkuk in Iraq to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan in Turkey "look even more elusive." It has been out of use since March because of sabotage."

Renewables

Why Are Some in Congress Content to Let Wind Industry Jobs Blow Away?—by Dave Hamilton via Mary Anne Hitt: "Believe it or not, there was a day when the Production Tax Credit for clean, renewable energy was not a partisan issue. When it cleared the House Ways and Means Committee in 1992, it was with a strong bipartisan majority. Then, clean energy was not perceived in Congress an us-versus-them issue. There was broad agreement on both sides of the aisle that developing new, cleaner energy industries would begin to level the playing field among energy sources and create more choices for consumers. It was described as good for the environment, the economy, and the nation as a whole. Members of both parties jockeyed to get projects and factories in their districts. Alas, those days are gone, even if the benefits are not. Now there is a crusading right-wing that is happy to take fossil fuel money hand over fist and be the spear tip for that industry's efforts to sabotage its growing clean energy competition. Most Republican members of Congress are now under great pressure from the big polluters who are their big money campaign donors to actively oppose clean energy industries that have been an agent of economic growth in the nation generally and in rural Republican districts specifically."

Worldwide cumulative wind power generation capacity to double by 2020 says GlobalData—by HoundDog: "GlobalData report: Worldwide cumulative wind power capacity to more than double by 2020, from '319.6 GW in 2013 to 678.5 GW by 2020, says research and consulting firm GlobalData.' China added 45% of the total global capacity addition in 2013. The report, 'Wind Power Update, 2014,' confirmed that China remains the largest single wind power market. The country  is expected to have a cumulative wind capacity of 239.7 GW by 2020, according to GlobalData. If you recall, China overtook the US as the leading market for installations in 2010, when it added a massive 18.9 GW of wind capacity. 'China doubled its cumulative wind capacity every year from 2006 to 2009, and has continued to grow significantly since then,' said Harshavardhan Reddy Nagatham, GlobalData’s analyst covering alternative energy. 'Supportive government policies, such as an attractive concessional program and the availability of low-cost financing from banks, have been fundamental to China’s success.'"

Fracking

Illinois Fracktivists Plan Statewide Action Day for Monday, June 16th—by BrentRitzel: "Who: Illinois citizens who support a clean & sustainable energy future, and demand an honest government that serves the people and protects our water, air and soil! What: Statewide day of actions to demand renewables and say NO to fracking. Get attention: plan a direct action or meet with your legislators, write letters, give interviews, hang banners, educate the public! Any action that shows we believe a better future for Illinois is possible and we will not be divided! [see OneIllinois.org for Illinois media contact list, and http://openstates.org/.... to contact your state legislators] When: A one hour action during the day on Monday, June 16th, 2014. Where: Throughout the State of Illinois. Chicago, Springfield, Normal, Decatur, Marion, Mount Vernon.... you get the picture! Where ever you are! Why: Because we must tell politicians and industry that deception is not a valid point of view. Illinois is and shall remain united, as one Illinois, we will not be divided by political expediency or industry greed. Our future is as a bright as we want it to be, if we are able to stand together!"

CA-Gov: Sierra Club Pressures Brown (D) To Use Executive Power To Impose Fracking Moratorium—by poopdogcomedy: "Received this e-mail today from the Sierra Club regarding Governor Jerry Brown (D. CA): Now we know, from peer-reviewed science from around the country, that fracking is associated with unfixable ground and surface water pollution. It is linked to serious air pollution, earthquakes, and birth defects. And, according to the latest government downgraded estimates on oil recoverable by fracking methods in California, extreme oil extraction methods like fracking are not going to produce the bonanza of jobs that the governor once believed they would. So help give the governor another chance to be prudent and wise. Urge him today to use his executive power to impose a moratorium on fracking and well stimulation until we know it won’t wreak the same havoc on our public health and environment that it has in other parts of the country."

#TalkFracking UK Tour—by StewartAcuff: "My beautiful Goddaughter Elizabeth Arnold is on a #TalkFracking tour in the UK! Here's an update from Elizabeth in her own words: My name is Elizabeth Arnold and I’m from Pennsylvania, USA. I’m here in the UK to #TalkFracking and provide the public with insight into what to expect from the fracking industry after they start drilling. Fracking snuck up on us in Pennsylvania before anyone had a real idea of what this unconventional drilling method entailed. Pennsylvania has a long history of gas and oil drilling and coal mining, but what we’ve found is that fracking is a very different type of extraction to what our parents and grandparents were doing. Around 9000 fracked gas wells across 60% of the state have been fracked, yet there has been little discussion in the media and in public forums about how fracking is impacting Pennsylvanians and other businesses. For the first time in Scotland the gas industry is pushing to exploit coal bed methane through unconventional extraction methods that have proven so harmful in my home state. The gas industry in Pennsylvania has not taken responsibility for the water it has contaminated, the devaluation in house prices that its caused, or the negative consequences that the drilling has had on other businesses and public health. It’s important that the UK public talks about fracking, and weighs up the impacts and track record of the gas industry in other parts of the world."

Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation

CO-Sen: Mark Udall (D) Won’t Bow To Pressure, Will Vote No On Keystone XL—by poopdogcomedy: "Big vote next week: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will vote on legislation Wednesday that would approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The committee is expected to easily approve the bill, which is co-sponsored by Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.). Landrieu, who is facing a tough reelection battle this year, originally offered the bill last month to be voted on in conjunction with energy efficiency legislation taken up by the Senate. But the effort collapsed amid a larger fight over floor procedure. On Wednesday, the committee will tackle the legislation, a Landrieu aide confirmed. All Republicans on the committee, Landrieu, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) are expected to vote for the bill. "

5 Ways That Harper and Big Oil Have Tried to Ease the Enbridge Opposition & Why They Don’t Work—by ForestEthics: "We’re in the middle of a seriously tense waiting game. Any day now, the Canadian federal government will announce its decision on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project. The federal government has made countless chess moves toward satisfying the concerns of British Columbians, so that we accept the risks and act as a throughput of tar sands oil to Asian and US markets. But we really aren’t easy to appease with so much at stake with this project, including our coast, wild salmon waterways, and climate."

Eco-Related DC & State Politics

My response to Tom Hayden's commentary on my article—by Dan Bacher: "Dear Tom. Thanks for your quick and thoughtful response to my article. I would love to sit down with you and discuss Brown's environmental record some time. You say, 'His litany of grievances is informed and well argued. I agree with many of his points, but I have trouble understanding his basic mission, which seems to be to take down Jerry Brown and dismiss everything the clean energy movement has achieved in California since 1974. It's an unbalanced form of argument. Essentially Dan is claiming that everything California has achieved over the decades is worthless in comparison with what California, and Brown, have not achieved.' I appreciate that you agree with many of my points, but I disagree that my basic mission seems to be to "take down Jerry Brown and dismiss everything that the clean energy movement have achieved in California since 1974.' Let's make it clear that I completely support clean energy and California's efforts to develop clean energy since 1974. I don't believe that those efforts are 'worthless in comparison with what California, and Brown, have not achieved.' However, I don't support policies supposedly designed to support clean energy that occur on the backs of indigenous peoples across the planet."

Sierra Club Endorses Mark Takai for Hawaii Congress CD1—by Karen from Maui: "Today the Sierra Club of Hawaii held a press conference and endorsed Mark Takai for congress in district 1. This is the open seat that Hanabusa abandoned to primary Sen Brian Schatz. Seven Democrats entered this race. Unfortunately the current front runner in the polls is Donna Mercado Kim—someone who takes 'Democrat in name only' to new heights (or lows). Progressives, environmentalists, labor all want to make sure she doesn't win. But since most of the other candidates range from decent to great, the vote is fracturing among them and this split could allow Donna Kim to win. The only candidate coming close to her in the recent polls is Mark Takai who is six points behind her (the margin of error in the Civil Beat poll was six points) The rest are down by double digits. The Sierra Club of Hawai'i chair alluded to that in his remarks, saying it was time to coalesce around a single good candidate."

Extinction & Sustainability

Dispatches from a Pale Blue Dot—by lucid: "Despite our pride, heartfelt beliefs, experience, hopes, dreams and nightmares, we are stuck together on a tiny planet, that while it seems enormous, unfathomable and beyond the possibility of our comprehension, is actually that shared speck of dust in a much more unfathomable world. We seem to give up too soon when apprehending our world. We can 'know' that it extends past the reality of our lives. We can 'hope' that it will change. But both of those projections, in our daily lives, don't reflect the universe. They obfuscate the real for a reality. A reality that undermines our own existence. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves."

Thinking About The Unthinkable—by bisleybum: "The earliest human civilizations are thought to have evolved in the fertile crescent area of the middle east about 5,000 years ago. The key words for our all too brief history refresher are Mesopotamia and Bronze Age. If the doomsayers are correct our human species may find itself without a planet in just a hundred years or so, and the human ascendency on earth will have lasted for a mere five and a half millennia, a mere finger snap in geologic time, but also pretty shabby on the biological species level as well."

Critters

leaf miner larva on umbrella magnolia
The Daily Bucket - Leaf Miners—by foresterbob: "From time to time, I mention the umbrella magnolia (Magnolia tripetala) in my back yard. It even earned its own diary a year ago. When I'm in the yard, I can't help but notice the enormous leaves. Things that happen on trees with smaller leaves might be easily overlooked. [...] One day last week, I noticed a squiggly trail on one of the leaves. It looked very much like an aerial view of the twisting course of an undammed river. Having taken entomology in a century long ago and far away, I knew the the culprit was a leaf miner. And like so many things in nature, it's not easy to know which species, because there are so many different types of leaf miner. [...] What's causing the damage? The culprit is at the bottom of the [image on the right] [...] Identifying the insect is above my pay grade, considering that nobody is paying me to do this. A quick check of Wikipedia reveals that there is no shortage of suspects: A leaf miner is the larva of an insect that lives in and eats the leaf tissue of plants. The vast majority of leaf-mining insects are moths, sawflies and flies, though beetles and wasps also exhibit this behavior..."

Water & Drought

The Water Wars.... Begun they have.—by CanisMaximus: "I have at least positioned my genetic legacy where there will be water for at least 50 years. I believe it will be a crap-shoot who what and where any of us survive the storm I believe is coming. This may be to some -even most- to be some paranoid fantasy of mine. Maybe it's a case of 'truthiness.' But I believe we've poisoned ourselves and have been whistling past the graveyard for decades. Look around you. Do your best. Try and save what you can in the next fifty years."

Environmental Water Caucus Shreds 'Misleading' Bay Delta Conservation Plan—by Dan Bacher: "The Environmental Water Caucus, a diverse coalition including conservation, fishing and environmental justice groups and the Karuk and Winnemem Wintu Tribes, on June 11 responded to Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan and its associated Environmental Impact Report with a stinging 250-page critique of BDCP’s inadequacies and multiple failures to conform to state and federal laws. 'The plan is an omelet of distortion and half-truth intended to mislead and deceive,' said Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA). Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta (RTD), characterizes the BDCP as 'a construction project masquerading as a habitat conservation plan.'"

Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash

Natural Gas Leaks: Methane Management—by gmoke: "This summer, the Squeaky Leak Project (https://www.indiegogo.com/....) will drive down every street in Cambridge and Somerville, MA with a high-precision methane analyzer and map all the natural gas leaks in these cities. By October, they intend to post the maps of the leaks so residents and the city governments can • fix 10 of the worst leaks to save an expected $44,500 per year and the carbon emission equivalent of taking 500 passenger cars off the road for a year. • Map, label and publicize at least 10 trees being killed by the leaks. The clear visual proof of the damage, along with the estimated cost of the total damage to trees in both cities will help persuade both the residents and the municipalities this problem needs to be fixed. Share the map of the leaks with Somerville and Cambridge so the cities can work effectively with the utilities. • Create a national website that allows local groups to find and fix the worst leaks in their communities. They have a plan, the equipment and the expertise but could use a little more help with the money.  They need to raise at least another $20,000 to fix all the Squeaky Leaks and begin the practice of Methane Management."

We Promise This Will Never Happen Again: Freedom Industries Spills More Waste In West Virginia—by Virally Suppressed: "Sometimes, when I come across a story about a chemical spill or environmental disaster in West Virginia, my thoughts lead me to story of the Greek Titan Prometheus. In Greek Mythology, Prometheus was humanity's architect and benefactor. He was the Titan entrusted by the gods to fashion mankind out of clay and, once he had sculpted us, he was the one who stole fire from the Gods so that we mighty have it. As punishment, Zeus chained Prometheus to a rock on the face of a mountain and had an eagle swoop down and tear out his liver, not to kill him, but to make him suffer. By the time morning came around, Prometheus's liver would have regenerated and he would endure the same fate that day as he had the last. I only mention this because the misfortune and tragedy that befalls many West Virginians on a regular basis has a very Promethean quality to it. For instance, just yesterday, the news broke that Freedom Industries, the specialty chemical company that tainted the water supply for over 300,000 West Virginians when it unceremoniously dumped over 10,000 gallons of the coal-cleaning chemical Crude MCHM into the Elk River, spilled the noxious byproducts of their labors in the river for a second time. Compared to the first spill back in January, the likely impact of this recent incident--a result of a malfunctioning sump pump and an overflowing containment trench--is small potatoes. However, the very fact that it happened at all tells us something about how intractable Big Coal's and Big Chemical's grip on the state is."

Transportation & Infrastructure

Tesla: "All Our Patents Are Belong To You"—by VL Baker: "In a clear reversal from business as usual in the tech industry, where the largest tech industries hoard their intellectual property and lawsuits fly at the drop of a bucket, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, has sent out a letter titled: "All Our Patents Are Belong To You." And looks like they mean what they say; they're going to open source ALL of their patents and they won't sue anyone for using their technology. [Excerpt from Musk's letter]: Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology. When I started out with my first company, Zip2, I thought patents were a good thing and worked hard to obtain them. And maybe they were good long ago, but too often these days they serve merely to stifle progress, entrench the positions of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal profession, rather than the actual inventors. After Zip2, when I realized that receiving a patent really just meant that you bought a lottery ticket to a lawsuit, I avoided them whenever possible."

Eco-Philosophy, Eco-Essays & Eco-Poetry

The Things We Take For Granted—by John Crapper: "There are lots of important things in this world we tend to take for granted.  To prove my point conduct this little experiment before we go further. Hold your breath for three minutes. Did you try? Can you do it? There is a saying well known to asthma sufferers. 'If you can’t breathe nothing else matters' Yet, in many ass-backward ways we take the air we breathe for granted. We shouldn’t. Another thing we take for granted is the arrival of spring. Some years it arrives a little early and some years a little late but we always count on its arrival. We really don’t doubt the trees will bud and the flowers will bloom year in and year out. If it ever didn’t happen due to some environmental imbalance we’d be in deep doo doo in short order. [...] The water that comes out of our faucets every day is vital to our lives but we tend to ignore its importance and continue to routinely waste and contaminate it. Pretty ass-backward. Our food supply is also something most of us tend to take for granted. Many of us routinely overeat while millions starve. We waste it; we eat too much and we think very little about how it gets on our plates every day or where it comes from. We tend to take the energy we use for granted. It all comes from the sun."

Miscellany

Emails: ND Ethics Law Potentially Broken on Petraeus Fracking Trip—by Steve Horn: "DeSmogBlog has obtained emails via North Dakota’s Open Records Statute revealing facts that could be interpreted as indicating that North Dakota Treasurer Kelly Schmidt broke State Investment Board ethics laws. The potential legal breach occurred during a late-April fracking field trip made to the state by former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus. In a radio interview responding to DeSmogBlog’s original investigation about the trip, Schmidt said rolling out the red carpet for Petraeus—who now works at Manhattan-based private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), which holds over $1 billion in oil and gas industry assets and calls itself a 'mini oil and gas company'—was 'not unusual.' KKR initially told DeSmogBlog it followed all state and federal laws during the Petraeus visit. But new emails obtained by DeSmogBlog from both the North Dakota State Investment Board and the Office of the North Dakota State Treasurer call that and much more into question."

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