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Brown pelicans ponder life's wonders in the Pacific Northwest's Westport Harbor.
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 Saturday Spotlight can be seen here. So far, more than 18,600 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.

How a Housewife Transformed an Open Sewer into a Swimmable River—by Ellen Moyer: "In the 1960s the Nashua River was starved of oxygen, biologically dead, and one of the ten most polluted rivers in the United States. The sludge-filled river, which flows through New Hampshire and Massachusetts, was a different color every day, depending on what was discharged that day. People could smell its stench from a mile away. In 1962, Marion Stoddart moved to the area with her family. Stoddart made it her life mission to restore the river to its pre-industrial condition—running clean and clear, teeming with fish and wildlife. She mobilized industry leaders, government officials, and concerned citizens and ultimately accomplished her goal. At that time in the United States, it was legal to dump sewage and industrial waste into rivers. One of Stoddart's initial tasks was to push hard for federal and state legislation."

green dots
Agricultural pesticides cause autism. Don't hold your breath.—by SkepticalRaptor: "Recently, I was pointed to an article that attempted to outline an epidemiological correlation between agricultural pesticides and neurodevelopmental disorders, published in the journal, Environmental Health Perspectives. Before examining the methods, data and analysis, it's important to ascertain the overall quality of the journal and the researchers. The journal itself, Environmental Health Perspectives, has an impact factor of 7.26, which is not low, but certainly is not in the upper tier of journals. In many academic environments, any article published in journals with an impact factor less than 10 may not be used in consideration of tenure (although this guideline is not universally accepted). [...] The Cliff Notes version of this study is that it appears to be a kilometer wide and a few mm deep. There's a lot of data, but I'm dubious that it supports the conclusions that pesticide use is correlated to (or even causal to) autism spectrum disorders. Of course, the popular press and the anti-chemical crowd is all over this article. It's so frustrating that they accept this research without actually examining it carefully. But I'll try."
Greg Abbott: Not doing the Kochs' bidding means the terrorists win—by TDDVandy: "Oh, Greg Abbott.  Your opponent in the race for Governor points out that your office is now hiding information about where dangerous chemicals are stored, that you've received a bunch of money from the Koch brothers (because, really, what Republican hasn't?), and that the Koch brothers really don't want people to know where dangerous chemicals are stored because freedom and asks Texas voters to connect the dots.  Your first response, that people should just go ask if there are dangerous chemicals being stored next to their houses, was roundly ridiculed, so it's back to the drawing board: Texans deserve to know what kinds of chemicals are being stored in their communities. At the same time, the Texas Legislature is equally concerned about providing terrorists a road map to all facilities in Texas that could be used to build bombs and destroy communities. In passing the Texas Homeland Security Act in 2003, the Legislature recognized that, in a post-9/11 world, there should be a balance to accessing sensitive information about where terrorists could locate bomb-making materials or targets to attack. That is why the Legislature unanimously agreed that providing a database of information about chemical facilities was a danger too great. Yeah, that's the ticket. Terrorists. Because we should be concerned about terrorists figuring out where the dangerous chemicals are being stored in our state, and not about, oh, I don't know, the dangerous chemicals spontaneously combusting and leveling a nearby town because that's what dangerous chemicals sometimes do when they're stored that close to human habitation and the state doesn't bother to even inspect the plant to make sure it's safe."
green dots
Taking applied ecology to the seas: Philip Hoare on Whales and Climate Change—by FinchJ: "The oceans represent perhaps greatest potential source of carbon sequestration, food security, and untold other resources if only we will take the actions necessary to bring this about: Declaring marine preservation zones and backing up the decision through whatever means necessary. Preferably through integrated, whole systems approaches that will provide a means of living for the local fishers who rely up on these tracts of ocean- whether they be off the coast of the United States or Thailand or West Africa. Local communities should be supported by the rest of us while the fishing grounds recuperate from centuries of abuse. Communities should be involved in education, reskilling, organism hatchery jobs, establishment and running of marine veterinary hospitals, establishment of infrastructure where necessary (artificial reefs where appropriate), and maintenance of marginal ecosystems (between the ocean and land- estuaries and such). None of this is anything that appropriate taxation of the richest among us could not pay for at the drop of a hat. Nor is it anything that even a small fraction of our- or the world's- military budgets could accomplish."

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

Climate Chaos

Lego toys and Shell oil: a marriage made in the melting Arctic—by VL Baker: "How ironic is an advertising partnership between the worlds largest toy company and Shell, a fossil fuel corporation, whose profits depend on destroying the very future of those toy buying children? Amelia Urry at Grist writes about this nonsensical arrangement has been in place since the 1960's and has grabbed the attention of Greenpeace, which is hoping to bring an end to the lunacy. In fact, LEGO and Shell go way back, to the 1960s when the popular build-it-yourself toy company started selling Shell-branded toys to future engineers. But now, with Shell making persistent yet tentative moves in the warming Arctic, Greenpeace is calling out the companies’ 2012 contract, which they claim is worth $116 million to Shell’s PR department. The run of logo-bedecked toys are sold at gas stations in 26 countries, and have supposedly been accompanied by a 7.5 percent increase in Shell sales.
Shell is using Lego to clean up its image for dirty oil drilling and to gain acceptance in its desire to drill for oil in the fragile Arctic. Tell Lego to cut ties with Shell and save the Arctic."

Video created by Greenpeace

Hobby Lobby? Does the GOP and Tea Party Want Climate Scientists to Pass a Religious Test Next?—by kto9: "This week Las Vegas will be even weirder than normal; the oil, gas, tobacco and coal lobbbyists pseudo-sceptics are in town.  The 9th International Conference on Climate Change, hosted by The Heartland Institute (cuz you know Vegas is smack dab in the middle of the heartland), will trot out their konspiracy kids for an event that should provide enough quotes to keep environmentalists, progressives, and Democrats  busy for months. And while the line-up is pretty much the same old denier, denier, lobbbyist, denier, pseudo-sceptic, paid-shill, denier, pseudo-sceptic, lobbyist, paid-shill parade of snake-oil salesmen the GOP and Tea Party have come to know and love, I'm crossing my fingers that, perhaps emboldened by the Hobby Lobby decision, we'll see them go public with one of their more ardent aspirations - making scientists have to pass  a religious litmus test. For more on that we must visit the cesspool that is the intellectual home of one Lord Christopher Monckton, Third Viscount of Brenchley. Featured Tea Party speaker and invited multiple times by Republicans to testify before Congress. Put your boots on the sh*t gets deep."

All hail Lord Rupert of House Murdoch—by DWG: "Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Lord Rupert Murdoch is proud to announce the successful repeal of that odious carbon tax in Australia. It required skillful media and political manipulation. Opponents of the carbon tax implemented in 2012 had the media largely on their side. Electricity prices soared—not mainly because of the tax, but because power companies were spending billions on infrastructure. Most electricity users were compensated for the added cost of the tax, but many of them didn't know that. And rising gas prices fed the fury—even though the tax didn't apply to gasoline. The low information voter and consumer is the perfect target for carpet-bombing a message. All hail Lord Rupert! The coal industry is now free to mine Australia dry to sell coal to China without no stinking carbon tax. What is the moral of this story? It seems rather straightforward. Our goose is cooked thanks to Lord Rupert and others like him."

BBC Will No Longer Give Climate Change Deniers A Platform—by Retroactive Genius: "Finally; the tide appears to be turning against the clowns who think that their 'beliefs' trump science. According to The Daily Telegraph (in a story amusingly headlined 'BBC staff told to stop inviting cranks on to science programmes '): BBC journalists are being sent on courses to stop them inviting so many cranks onto programmes to air ‘marginal views’ The BBC Trust on Thursday published a progress report into the corporation’s science coverage which was criticised in 2012 for giving too much air-time to critics who oppose non-contentious issues. The report found that there was still an ‘over-rigid application of editorial guidelines on impartiality’ which sought to give the ‘other side’ of the argument, even if that viewpoint was widely dismissed. Some 200 staff have already attended seminars and workshops and more will be invited on courses in the coming months to stop them giving ‘undue attention to marginal opinion.’"

BBC Scolded for False Balance—by ClimateDenierRoundup: "In the United Kingdom, a report by Parliament's Science and Technology Select Committee chastised the BBC for giving equal weight to climate deniers as they gave to actual climate scientists. The report comes after a February debate on BBC, where conservative politician and chairman of the climate change denying Global Warming Policy Foundation Lord Lawson was given equal time as climatologist Sir Brian Hoskins. The report noted that some editors failed to distinguish between credible and questionable sources, 'putting up lobbyists against top scientists as though their arguments on the science carry equal weights.' The deniersphere, obviously, was not pleased with the report."

Food, Agriculture & Gardening

Back to the land, semi-urban style.—by SemperEducandis: "Update on the garden.  Some successes, a couple of failures. Firstly, one of the items I have to put in the 'failure' category, since nothing is as it ought to be. One of my co-gardeners didn't seem to get the message about leaving a certain portion of the land fallow, due to the over-fertilizing, massive poisoning, and complete ignorance of crop rotation practiced by the previous owner of the land. A few days ago I went out to sow ten pounds of yellow clover seed on one of the fallow spots, and found the that 'Randy' had beaten me to that part of the garden. And instead of a green manure crop** like clover or hairy vetch, he had planted melons. He put cantaloupe seed on the same ground where the previous owner of the place had for several years running planted—melons."


Fossil fuel subsidies value increased by 45% under Obama's “All of the Above” energy policy—by dturnbull: "Oil Change International has released a new report today that exposes some shocking figures with respect to the rise in value of US fossil fuel subsidies in recent years, amidst the oil and gas boom in the US and the All of the Above energy policy. Among a variety of stats outlined in the report, we find that production subsidies for fossil fuels in the US exceed $21 billion per year, and federal fossil fuel production and exploration subsidies in the US have grown in value by 45 percent since President Obama took office in 2009."


Blowhard Trump still dissing Scottish wind turbines that would ruin the view from his golf course—by Meteor Blades: "This isn't Trump's first shriek at wind turbines in Scotland—which has so much wind power potential that it is in some circles called the 'Silicon Valley' for wind. He first threatened legal action against a proposed 11-turbine, 100-megawatt offshore installation in 2012, complaining that the project would ruin the view from his billion-dollar golf resort, where he dug up 1,235 acres—all the while calling wind turbines 'disgusting,' 'monstrosities' and 'obsolete.' He also made the ridiculous claim that wind projects are being abandoned all around the world. Purchased in 2006, Trump's Aberdeenshire 200-acre estate includes an existing 14th-century mansion that he rebuilt as his personal residence, a hunting lodge and private residential properties. When completed, the golf development is slated to include two 18-hole courses, 36 golf villas, 950 holiday homes and 500 private residences. But Trump is threatening to pull his investment if the wind turbines are built."

Residential solar will be cheaper than grid electricity in 25 states by 2015 says utility CEO—by HoundDog: "Cynthia Shahan of Clean Technica reports Residential Solar Cheaper Than Grid Electricity In 25 States By 2015, Utility CEO States. The cost of solar panels has come down 75% in the last four years. Although a trade war with China and India over low cost solar panels will be a 'bump in the road,' this basic trend is going to continue as the learning curve for the global solar photovoltaic industry is now well established at a 20% reduction of unit manufacturing cost for every doubling of the installed base. David Crane, CEO of utility NRG sees major disruptive impact for the traditional U.S. utilities industries, and he has decided to 'switch rather than fight.'"

Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts renewable will be 55% of 2030's $7.7 trillion power investment—by HoundDog: "A prediction from Bloomber New Energy Finance: 2030 Market Outlook, has been released showing Bloomberg's energy division's view of the new financial investment the expect in the next 16 years. Note they include nuclear as a "renewable" which changes the definition. Bloomberg does not say much about their model, or assumptions. This scenario looks conservative to me in terms of the amount of renewable capacity additions, and excessive for the number of additional fossil fuel plants added, especially in the late 20s, however you know what they always say, 'a projection in hand, is worth two in the archives,' so I'm sharing this one with you now and hope we can add some additional more optimistic projections showing a faster transition to renewable energy, this evening after work."


Frackonomics—by gjohnsit: "Fracking has had an incredibly dramatic, and mostly unexpected, positive effect on the economy. But like everything about fracking, the short-term effects paper over serious, long-term economic problems. Almost all of the debate surrounding fracking involves the fact that it poisons our groundwater and other environmental side-effects. While that is the most important long-term consequence of fracking, Washington and big business are only concerned with the short-term economic issues of fracking. [...] If it wasn't for the shale oil boom the American economy would probably be crippled by high energy prices. It isn't just energy prices. The shale oil boom has contributed 450,000 good paying jobs with many more jobs coming. If you wonder why your politician is going out of his way to support fracking, look no further than these two facts."

Fracking and its Economics—by gjohnsit: " Almost all of the debate surrounding fracking involves the fact that it poisons our groundwater and other environmental side-effects. While that is the most important long-term consequence of fracking, Washington and big business are only concerned with the short-term economic issues of fracking. Fracking has had an increadibly dramatic, and mostly unexpected, positive effect on the economy. But like everything about fracking, the short-term effects paper over serious, long-term economic problems."

The Real Danger from Fracking (& related drilling methods) - It's Groundwater Contamination, Stupid—by Steven D: "One can argue all you like about the danger of earthquakes posed by waste water injection by the oil and gas extraction industry. However, from both a short term and long term perspective, the contamination of the groundwater resources that millions of Americans rely upon for fresh water for drinking and agriculture is the real threat. The chemicals involved in the hydrofracking process are a closely held secret that, by law, not even the US government (thanks to former Vice president Cheney) may disclose to US citizens at risk of the side effects of using and injecting 'proprietary formulas' of water and other elements at high pressure underground. However, research has indicated that the use of such fluids is a clear and present danger to the health and safety of Americans who live within states where hydrofracking and high pressure waste water injection underground is ongoing."

Oil Interests Want Illinois To Frack for the Children—by Willinois: "In what may be the most shameless in a long line of dishonest appeals, the Illinois oil industry is now asking us to start fracking for the children. The oil industry propaganda website, Energy In Depth (or Energy in Deception as it's often called), is blaming Illinois' school funding problem on the state's failure to start fracking. They claim additional revenue from fracking is just what school kids need. It's part of their campaign pressuring the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to rush weak fracking rules. Extraction industries have grown used to IDNR being subservient to their interests, so like a spoiled Veruca Salt, they can't stand not getting everything they want right away."

One-fifth of all Central and Eastern US seismicity tied to four Oklahoma Disposal Wells—by terrypinder: "That something strange is going on beneath the central and eastern US is not in doubt. Since 2008, there has been a remarkable rise in seismicity, a good deal of it attributed to anthropogenic causes. States like Ohio, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas have all seen significant increases in seismicity. A new study published in Science suggests that 20% of all central and eastern US seismicity since 2008—one-fifth-—can possibly be laid deep at the feet of only four wells. 45% of of all of that seismicity comes from Oklahoma, a state that in 2014 has had more earthquakes than California, which as we've learned, has its own possible problems."

Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation

25 million people are in the oil train Blast Zone. Are you?—by ForestEthics: "On April 30th, a train carrying highly-flammable oil derailed and exploded in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia, sparking a massive fire, forcing the evacuation of hundreds, and spilling toxic crude into the James River. Each day, Big Oil sends more unsafe tanker cars loaded with volatile oil barreling through our towns and cities on tracks that were never designed for such dangerous cargo. More than 25 million Americans live in the Blast Zone along these oil train rail lines. It's not a question of if, but when the next tragedy will strike. The people of Lynchburg live in the oil train Blast Zone — do you? Find out if you and your family are in the Blast Zone and take action to stop dangerous oil trains! Congress has the power to get these dangerous oil tanker cars off our railways—but it’s up to us to make sure they get the job done."

Seattle Oil by Rail Rally
Seattle Oil by Rail Rally
Dairyland to Petrostate: Wisconsin Oil-By-Rail Routes Published for First Time—by Steve Horn: "DeSmogBlog is publishing the first documents ever obtained from the Wisconsin government revealing routes for oil-by-rail trains in the state carrying oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') in the Bakken Shale basin. The information was initially submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) under the auspices of a May 7 Emergency Order, which both the federal government and the rail industry initially argued should only be released to those with a “need to know” and not the public at-large. The Wisconsin documents show the three companies that send Bakken crude trains through the state—Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), Union Pacific and Canadian Pacific—all initially argued routes are “sensitive security information” only to be seen by those with a 'need to know.'"

Industry Data: Oil-By-Rail in North America Moving at Record Levels—by Steve Horn: "On July 3, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) released June 2014 data showing oil-by-rail and petroleum products at-large are moving at record levels throughout North America. The release of the data comes on the heels of the ongoing oil-by-rail nationwide week of action launched by environmental groups. For the 26th week of 2014 (the half year point) in the U.S., 18.5% more tank cars were on the tracks carrying petroleum and/or petroleum products than last year, a total of 15,894 cars. Examined on a year-to-date basis, 7.0% more of those same tank cars were on the tracks in the U.S. this year than last, totaling 380,961 cars to date."

Eco-Related DC & State Politics

First Endorsements By Climate Hawks Vote:—by RLMiller "Climate Hawks Vote has issued its first endorsements, both in Hawaii.
Practically the first words Senator Brian Schatz said upon arrival in Washington were: "Climate change is urgent, solveable, human-caused, and real." He's shaken up the Senate by, among other things, organizing the #UpForClimate all-night talkathon. And he told a Netroots Nation 2013 panel the same thing that they heard at Climate Hawks Votes' NN13 off-grid talk the previous day: we need to elect Democrats who will prioritize the climate crisis, not just treat it as yet another Democratic issue. In short, he's Climate Hawks Votes' prototype politician—a Democrat bringing new energy to Washington, prioritizing the issue, engaging the public, and laying groundwork for bold action on climate."

MI-06: clearest Climate Change contest of cycle; Clements' principles & our interests—by emorej a Hong Kong: "The purest and clearest Climate Change contest of the cycle is in southwest Michigan's 6th district, where House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton-- who has an abysmal lifetime Global Warming crucial vote score of 1.39 and who was dubbed the #1 biggest threat to planet Earth on planet Earth by the L.A. Times-- is fighting off a challenge by environmental activist Paul Clements. See more at:

Libertarian for Senate: Pollution is a Crime—by patbahn: "has anyone heard of this fella? Interesting, a libertarian saying "Pollution is a crime" and calling for the directors of companies facing criminal charges. [...] If he gets some traction in North Carolina, it's going to be interesting."

The Great Outdoors

fantail (of New Zealand)
Dawn Chorus: Australia and New Zealand—by cardinal: "Good morning everyone. This diary is the latest in my occasional "An American Gets Giddy over Someone Else's Common Backyard and Nuisance Birds" series. My wife and I finally made our long-discussed trip Down Under last month, spending a few days each in Sydney, far North Queensland, and New Zealand's South Island. Our first stop was New Zealand. Merely setting foot in the country was quite moving, bringing to life the images from -- admit it, you're expecting me to say LOTR -- the songs of my all-time favorite musician Neil Finn. While working through our jet- and stomach-lag in the friendly but still earthquake-devastated city of Christchurch, we took an afternoon trip to Akaroa, an old, French-settled village on a stunning volcanic bay. During a brief hike in a forested area, I was lucky to see one of my most-desired New Zealand songbirds, a fantail. [...] The biggest birding disappointment was our inability to see the famous kea parrots in the wild. The world's only alpine parrot, and one of the smartest bird species on the planet, they annoy locals but delight tourists with their crazy antics such as eating the rubber off cars and stealing food. I had planned two stops in kea-heavy areas: the Homer Tunnel and Arthur's Pass. However, both stops were cancelled by hazardous weather (in fact, we missed being trapped in Arthur's Pass by a massive landslide by about 2 hours)."

The Daily Bucket - Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Kansas - Photo Diary—by foresterbob: "Last week I drove across the country, from Georgia to Nevada. As usual, I took back roads much of the way. Driving highways such as Interstate 70 in the populated parts of the country is an exercise in dealing with traffic, and not much else. Kansas has other east-west highways that are less crowded. Take one of those roads, and you can actually see the countryside around you, stop when you're tired, or pull off the road to take pictures. Near the town of Strong City, I was ready for a break. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve loomed ahead on the map. With only an hour or two of time available, there was no way I could experience the whole 10,000-plus acres. But I had time to see the visitor center and hike a short loop trail. The first settlers on this land were Stephen and Louisa Jones, who oversaw the construction of the farm house and outbuildings. The house was finished in 1881 at a cost of around $25,000, a tidy sum in that era. Outbuildings, including a 100 by 60 foot limestone barn, cost another $15,000. The area was a working ranch from 1878 until 1986. With help from The Nature Conservancy, the ranch was developed into a national park, with full park status achieved in 1996."

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
The Daily Bucket: 4th of July weekend in the blast zone—by Elizaveta: "The biggest, most awesome, most natural firework in the Pacific Northwest--in my backyard--is Mount Saint Helens, though the show, which wasn't sparkly and full of color, was over years ago, and the area in the blast zone is still in recovery. Guess she was more of a super-huge firecracker with only the laws of nature to guide her in whether she exploded or not. Her sister peaks hold the promise of even greater shows that will happen, hopefully, many, many years in the future. Every time I look at the crater that used to be a mountain and think about the force it took to create it and the new landscape around it, I feel small and helpless to the point of irrelevant and filled with that tension of fright or flight, even though there is no immediate threat of eruption. It's difficult to avoid cliché words like 'awestruck' when you think about the power of the blast."
Mt. St. Helens, quiescent.
I took to the woods, camera in hand—by mayim: "Ordway Grove has been a preserve, owned by the Twin Town Nature Club, since 1931, although the name and the trees go back to the late 1700s. Because it has been preserved that long, it has some of the oldest and largest white pines in Maine. It now has an easy 6/10 of a mile trail through a 9 acre site, with lake views from various spots. The approach is non-descript ~ what looks like a dirt driveway, marked by a small wooden sign, between two houses at the edge of a small town. But then you walk through the area of white pines....hard to photograph, they are so tall; some are over 150 feet in height; they grow close together, covering just a small portion of the Grove."


❁ hurray for flower p0rn - july 2014, featuring tiny critters ❁—by blueyedace2: Photo Diary

The Daily Bucket - Out to Sea—by Milly Watt: "It was all matching mole's idea - and what a great idea it was!  He was coming to the Pacific Northwest and suggested going out on a pelagic birding tour. The scheduling fit in well with other travel plans that Mr. Watt and I had for the summer, so I eagerly signed up to go with Westport Seabirds. [...] There were three zones in the trip: 1) Grays Harbor, from the boat basin in Westport to the outer buoy, going out at 5:30 am and returning around 3 pm. 2) Waters outside of the harbor to the edge of the Continental Shelf at 125W. 3) Deep offshore waters, west of the underwater Grays Canyon, at the outer slope. Brown Pelicans watched us leave and arrive back into the boat haven. I think every pelican in the Pacific Northwest was in Westport this weekend. Our guides estimated seeing 2500 pelicans, 1/3 of which were young. It must have been a convention of United Pelicans (UP)."

Birding in July - a photo diary—by boriscleto: "This was a big weekend for my birding life list. Four new species, I couldn't positively identify a flycatcher as an Alder or Willow so I don't get credit. July is also the month in which the fewest people participate in eBird than any other month. So eBird has a July challenge. Submit 50 birding checklists. The winner of the eBirder of the Month challenge gets a pair of Zeiss binoculars and a selection of books from Princeton University Press."

yellow-bellied sap sucker
Yellow-bellied sap sucker
The Daily Bucket: Workday fun clearing the FNST thru the ANF...—by PHScott: "I was out in the Apalachicola National Forest this morning doing maintenance on the Florida National Scenic Trail and when we took a break, we looked up the forest road and saw this black bear approaching. Steadily approaching except once it turned left to mosey into some berries or something tasty. We were downwind so even tho it might see us, it didn't smell us - or whatever bears do to be alerted. The bear did get alerted by a couple turning down this road on an ATV and that scared it off. The only darn people we saw all day and they came by at the wrong time. Dang it - I coulda had some great pics even with the cheap camera I had in my pocket. We locked the food up in the truck after that as we went back to cutting Titi. This section of trail, mostly used by thru-hikers in the winter and not so much day-hikers, was nearing the point where we might lose it to overgrowth."
Florida Black Bear
Water & Drought

RTD: Any water bond with tunnels mitigation is not 'tunnels neutral'—by Dan Bacher: "Responding to recent water bond proposals by the State Senate and Governor Jerry Brown, Restore the Delta (RTD) on July 8 said that 'any state water bond that includes mitigation for the damage from the tunnels project is not "tunnels neutral".' 'The tunnels cannot be built without hundreds of millions of dollars to fund "mitigation" or "restoration" of the project's damage, damage the water-takers refuse to pay, and are foisting onto taxpayers,' said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD executive director. 'Naming mitigation ‘restoration’ does not cure its purpose: helping to pave the way for the tunnels. We also know that existing Delta restoration projects have not produced the positive results for fisheries that they promised. A bond with more restoration money, will simply result in throwing good money after bad.'"

Senator Lois Wolk reintroduces revamped $7.5 billion water bond—by Dan Bacher: "“This revised version of SB 848 responds to the Governor’s desire for a smaller bond while remaining a comprehensive approach to addressing the state’s critical water needs,” said Senator Lois Wolk. 'At $7.5 billion, SB 848 maintains funding for statewide priorities including water quality and supply reliability projects. The Senate bond continues to help communities enhance their water supply and prepare for drought. It funds storage projects at the same level proposed by the Governor. And, critically, it continues to be 'tunnel neutral.'"

Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice

Big rally against the tunnels set for July 29!—by Dan Bacher: "July 29 will be the last day for public comment on Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels. I urge every body to join Restore the Delta in a rally marking this date and in raising the ongoing message 'NO TUNNELS!' 'We are at a critical time in the BDCP twin tunnels process–we must make our opposition against the tunnels seen and heard throughout the state," according to an announcement by Restore the Delta. 'We need all supporters to show up in large numbers to show how unpopular these tunnels really are. Save the date, share our event, and plan to join us.' The twin tunnels won't create one drop of new water, but they will lead to horrendous environmental degradation. The construction of the tunnels will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other fish species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath river."

National Parks, Forests & Other Public Lands

150 Years in Yosemite: Those Who Kill—by rb137: "As we celebrate 150 years of protecting Yosemite National Park, we have to look closer at how it became ours in the first place. The name itself—Yosemite—is a slur. It is a Miwok word that means 'Those Who Kill.' Sometimes it's translated as "Some of Them Are Killers," and it refers to the Ahwanhee people who'd lived in the valley for centuries before the US government ordered its evacuation and later created a national recreation area under the Yosemite Grant Act. But the people who lived there weren't killers. They just lived in a valley that our government wanted to use for entertaining dignitaries. That is the untold story of Yosemite National Park."

Yosemite Photo Diary—by Jill Richardson: "I'm just back from my first trip to Yosemite, which occurred right after the park's 150th birthday. Thanks to permit issues, I did not see some of the more iconic parts of the park, and thanks to the drought, I did not see the waterfalls at their best... but it was still freaking incredible. Our national parks are such an incredible treasure."

Yosemite: View of the valley from North Dome
View of Yosemite Valley from North Dome
Wilderness Forward—by Dan Chu: "This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, one of our country's greatest tools for protecting America's wild places. Signed into law on September 3, 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Wilderness Act established the National Wilderness Preservation System and set aside an initial nine million acres of wild lands for the use and enjoyment of the American people. Over the past 50 years, and as a result of America's support for wilderness, Congress has added nearly 100 million more acres to this unique land preservation system—in 44 out of 50 states and Puerto Rico. [...] As Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune embarks on a family summer road trip this week through wild places in the Pacific Northwest, he'll get to experience some of these scenic wild places first hand—though with three kids the solace and peace may be harder to find. Thanks to the enduring legacy of the Wilderness Act his family, and countless others, will hike, camp and enjoy spending time together away from it all in our great outdoors—you can follow along with the trip right here."

Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash

"Coal Rollers": Conservatives intentionally spew black smoke from their cars to piss off liberals—by Paul Hogarth: "When I first read about this, I assumed it had to be a joke. But according to David Wiegel at Slate, the phenomenon of 'rolling coal' is real. For as little as $500, anyone with a diesel truck and a dream can install a smoke stack and the equipment that lets a driver 'trick the engine' into needing more fuel. The result is a burst of black smoke that doubles as a political or cultural statement—a protest against the EPA, a ritual shaming of hybrid 'rice burners,' and a stellar source of truck memes. Yes, that's right. Conservatives are actively harming the environment, by wasting more fuel in their trucks and emitting black smoke. Just to piss off Obama, the EPA and liberals. Some have even labeled their smokestacks 'Prius repellent,' and make it a sport to emit smoke whenever some weenie liberal is driving behind them with an energy-saving car."

"Rolling Coal" - The stupid, it burns...literally—by puakev: "First there was Sarah Palin handing out 1000-calorie-a-serving s'mores to grade school kids to protest Michelle Obama's calls for kids to eat healthy and exercise, then you had man-children taking their AR-15s with them to Target while they go shopping for Oreos, now you have mentally-compromised sons of liberty resorting to stuff like this in the war against Obama's tyranny. That'll show Obama and those dirty tree-hugging hippies!  To paraphrase Patrick Henry, Give me liberty AND give me death! Because nothing says 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' like aggressively spewing toxic, carcinogenic chemicals and hydrocarbons into the atmosphere in an attempt to more quickly bring about an extinction event via climate change."

So, when did Intentionally Polluting become a 'Thing'—by tmservo433: "In order to show off how little they believe in Global Warming, it appears as though numerous right-wing anti-environment types have decided to show off why they aren't just opposed to global warming, but they apparently just dislike the environment. [...] I was still a bit surprised to encounter such a vehicle on my drive back across rural Kansas over the weekend. The thing that gets me isn't that they want to protest, fine fine.. or even that they disagree with global warming.. anti-science crazies abound ... it is far more simple: Who the heck just thinks burning their own money in fuel costs is a good idea? Because wow, I guess I have better things to do at $3.80 a gallon, or over $4 a gallon in Diesel."

The Texas Alliance of Progressive Bloggers: Driving Around, Looking for Explosive Chemicals—by Libby Shaw: "This week the TPA is focused on the search for incendiary chemicals.  This is due to gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott's claim that we can easily find where hazardous chemicals are stored in our communities.  All we have to do is drive around and ask."

Texas sheriff wants criminal charges against fracking polluter—by Jen Hayden: "On March 10th, Texas residents witnessed a truck illegally dumping hazardous fracking chemicals: Under the cover of early-morning darkness in South Texas last March, a tanker truck ferrying fluids from an oil and gas drilling site rumbled down a country road spewing its toxic load all over the place. The concoction of drilling fluid, which typically includes undisclosed and dangerous chemicals, oil, metals shavings and naturally occurring radioactive materials, coated eight miles of roadway, according to a Karnes County Sheriff's Department report obtained by InsideClimate News. The spill has prompted an investigation by the sheriff's department, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the state Railroad Commission. After investigating, On Point Services LLC was eventually identified as the offending company and after failing to report or properly respond to the spill, the local sheriff wants to see more than just civil charges filed against the company."

Transportation & Infrastructure

Sunday Train: Thinking About a Bakersfield Express Bypass—by BruceMcF: "Since Gov. Brown saved the California HSR project for the second time (the first time was in 2012), I've had a look at the general issue of funding HSR with Cap and Trade, and looked at some possibilities for complementary conventional intercity rail in the Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley north of Fresno ... so I thought I might start moving south of Fresno. And today I am going to focus on Bakersfield and a starting sketch of an idea for what I call the "Bakersfield Express Bypass." I do want to stress upfront, so its not lost in the details of talking about the Bypass, that I am not talking about "skipping Bakersfield", but rather talking about how best to plan for those LA to SF trains that will eventually be Express trains, Anaheim, LA, Burbank, Fresno, San Jose, San Francisco Transbay."

Eco-Philosophy, Eco-Essays & Eco-Poetry

Tomgram: Fighting for Oil—by Michael Klare via TomDispatch: "Call it a double whammy for the planet or simply irony with a capital 'I.' As the invaluable Michael Klare, TomDispatch regular and author of The Race for What’s Left, points out today, if you scan the planet for conflict, what you’ll find  from Syria and Iraq to the South China Sea are a series of energy wars—fossil-fuel conflicts to be exact. At present, despite some hopeful signs,  this crazed planet of ours is still a ravenous beast that only fossil fuels can sate. No question that conflicts and wars are terrible  things. Just consider the million new refugees just generated by the disintegration of Iraq in a blaze of warfare and sectarian killings. But oil wars add a grim twist to the mix, because when they’re settled, however  miserably or bloodily, the winners take to the oil rigs and the  refineries and pump out yet more of the stuff that puts carbon dioxide  and methane, both greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere and, as in the Middle East today, creates the basis for yet more conflict."

A Tragically Common Storyline—by jencke: "As economic forces penetrate and overwhelm the natural environment, they overrun the only remaining people who know how to live in harmony with that environment. The Brazilian government has made contact with an Indian tribe in the Amazon forest near the border with Peru, for the first time in 20 years. The tribe is believed to have taken refuge in Brazil after escaping Peru, due to illegal logging and drug trafficking, occurring in the country. A spokesperson of Survival International, a London-based NGO, which advocates worldwide tribes' rights, told Vice that the group's name is unknown. It also unclear what language the tribe speaks."


Coal, Corporate Personhood & The Twilight of Labor Unions in America—by Virally Suppressed: "In light of the Supreme Court's recent rulings in Harris v. Quinn and Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services v. Hobby Lobby Stores, which have dealt another body shot to organized labor and further entrenched the idea of "corporate personhood" in our nation's legal code, I feel it might be worthwhile to discuss a bankruptcy case from last year that presaged both of these decisions. The case IN RE PATRIOT COAL CORPORATION, is yet another instance of a troubling trend in our nation's judiciary that places the bulk of the concern on protecting the rights of corporations and helping them to stay solvent, with little to no consideration of how their ruling may effect the workforces of those corporations. The actions relevant to the case began about six years ago when The Peabody Energy Corporation—the world’s largest privately owned coal company—decided to spin-off most of their holdings east of the Mississippi into a separate outfit, which they subsequently called The Patriot Coal Corporation."

Peabody Coal wants their retired workers dead—by Vet63: "Imagine getting up every working day and head to a place that you know will maybe someday kill you. I told you in my last diary about the great work is doing to tell the world about what's happening to miners in West Virginia. As I was saying, breathing coal dust is not healthy for anyone. Men have worked in mines for years. Many have retired to face not fun, but a long slow death. COPD and other similar diseases take time to kill you. I have told the story about my own uncle who had to stand by his car while his birthday party was being held inside our house. He could not climb 3 small steps. I was with him when he died, he was in agony. He could not breathe. At least the miners had pensions and health benefits to  ease the stress. Not so fast, due to perfectly legal actions, the company these folks worked for, lost their benefits."

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