|Every week Daily Kos diarists write scores of environmentally related posts. Many of these don't get the readership they deserve. Helping improve the odds is the motivation behind the Green Diary Rescue. In the past seven years, there have been 221 of these spotlighting more than 12,300 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 78 more that appeared in the past seven days. Lots of good reading for the spare moments of your weekend. [Disclaimer: Inclusion of a diary in the rescue does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.]
Two bits of big news this week: James Hansen, the climate scientist who did the mostest firstest to alert us to global warming at a time when most people didn't listen, announced his retirement as director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Science; and there was the big spill of toxic tar sands oil (actually, diluted bitumen) from a 20-inch pipeline in the little town of Mayflower, Arkansas. Owner Exxon Mobil said at least 19,000 barrels of oil and water have so far been recovered. That's nearly 800,000 gallons. So, this week, after looking at the Green Diary of the Week
, we'll look at a rescued diary on the Mayflower spill and one on Hansen.
Green Diary of the Week
Hanford's Radwaste Tanks Leaking & Explosive, Waste Treament Plant Unsafe: Whistleblowers Vindicated
: "The highly radioactive dregs of WWII and cold war bomb-making continue to evolve explosive hydrogen gas, corrode and leak through tanks, while plans to clean them up continue to fail. 53 million gallons of high-level defense waste are held in 177 underground tanks, 149 of which are single-shelled and leak-prone. One million gallons of radioactive waste, leaked into groundwater, is seeping towards the Columbia river. The Bush-Cheney administration fast-tracked a risky, untested, plan to simultaneously design and build a waste processing and vitrification facility to dispose of the highly radioactive residue of plutonium production. Costs have already run 3 times over the original $4.3 billion budget and the promised completion date in 2011 has been put off indefinitely. The basic design of the waste processing system called the "pretreatment facility" may be critically flawed. The GAO has written multiple reports finding multiple faults with the safety, design, construction, and management of the Waste Treatment Plant (WTP) project. Multiple whistleblowers have exposed severe safety, design and management problems with the project."
Legendary climate scientist James E. Hansen retiring from NASA to fight and lobby governments—by Laurence Lewis: "Hansen has been raising the alarm over climate change and anthropogenic global warming since 1981, and stresses that the dire consequences continue to outpace predictions. And the predictions continue to grow more ominous [...] If this sounds apocalyptic, it is. [...] Given the State Department's shamefully dishonest Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on Keystone, and State's decision to keep public comments on Keystone closed to the public, there's little wonder many are reading the tea leaves on the president's upcoming decision. But Hansen won't be going away."
Exxon's Skies: Why Is Exxon Controlling the No-Fly Zone Over Arkansas Tar Sands Spill?—by Steve Horn: "The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has had a "no fly zone" in place in Mayflower, Arkansas since April 1 at 2:12 PM and will be in place "until further notice," according to the FAA website and it's being overseen by ExxonMobil itself. In other words, any media or independent observers who want to witness the tar sands spill disaster have to ask Exxon's permission. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette revealed that the FAA site noted earlier today that "only relief aircraft operations under direction of Tom Suhrhoff" were allowed within the designated no fly zone. Suhrhoff is not an FAA employee: he works for ExxonMobil as an "Aviation Advisor" and formerly worked as a U.S. Army pilot for 24 years, according to his LinkedIn page."
Here's Chris Hayes:
Among the rescued diaries below the fold are several more on Hansen and the tar sands dilbit spill.
Food & Agriculture & Gardening
From Growing Profit to Growing Food: Challenging Corporate Rule
Farmworkers pick tomatoes in Immolakee, Florida.
—by Bev Bell
• "Just four companies own approximately 84 percent of the U.S. beef market;
• Four firms control 66 percent of the pork-packing market and another four
control 58 percent of poultry processing;
• Four companies own 43 percent of the world’s commercial seed market;
• Three companies control 90 percent of the global grain trade; and
• Four companies own 48 percent of grocery retailers."
Macca's Meatless Monday...Any Lime At All—by beach babe in fl: "To me, nothing says springtime more than adding the cool acidic sharpness of limes to my cooking. Like a vacation in my mouth, lime brings the tastes of the Caribbean, Mexico, Cuba or Thailand with each taste. Not to mention my favorite drinks including: mojitos, margaritas, cuba libra (rum & cola/lime) and I even put a wedge of lime into a bottle of Corona! Today I'll share recipes which include limes, and it's amazing to see how much these little green fruits identify with some of the great cuisines of the world."
Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 9.7—by Frankenoid: "And with the glorious weather finally arriving, this week saw the accomplishment of tasks which had been delayed by weather and procrastination. I emptied the compost tumbler and readied it to be moved to a new location. I spliced in a new section of soaker hose, to replace a section that had split. I raked aside the veggie patch’s thick mulch of straw, put a layer of compost down, topped it over with a section of wire fencing secured with garden staples to deter Arwen the Terrible’s digging, set the support fencing, and planted the snap peas — they were perfectly sprouted, with most showing roots, but none having yet sent those roots into the layer of damp paper towels they were sprouted on. And I made a double batch of espresso ice cream to take to the party at ColoTim’s place today."
Breakthrough in International Climate Talks?—by boatsie: "In an unprecedented about face, the world's 49 least developed countries (LDCs) have agreed to binding cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions in a symbolic effort to fast track the UNFCCC negotiating process and keep total global emissions significantly below 2 degrees. (Least developed countries agree to cut greenhouse gas emissions, The Guardian.) This represents a total shift in the official policy of the LDC negotiating bloc, which until now has held firm to its position that the developed industrialized countries need to lead the way in cutting carbon emissions."
Billionaire Pledges to Spend His Fortune To Fight Climate Change Deniers—by TomP: "It's an interesting post-Citizens United world. Yesterday, billionaire Tom Steyer pledged to 'destroy' climate change denial. [...] 'The goal here is not to win. The goal here is to destroy these people. We want a smashing victory,' Steyer said of candidates he judges to be on the wrong side of the climate change debate."
In Major Decision to Benefit Climate Change Mitigation;SCOTUS Rejects Challenge to EPA Authority—by beach babe in fl: "In a decision which will have enormous consequences for US climate change mitigation, the SCOTUS has rejected a challenge to the EPA authority on air pollution rules. The case, American Petroleum Institute vs. EPA, saw the oil lobby disputing a rule adopted in 2010 that “set a tighter Clean Air Act standard for short-term spikes in nitrogen dioxide pollution near roads.” This new standard is 100 parts per billion for one hour, compared to the previous annual standard of 53 parts per billion dating back to 1971."
Good thing there's no such thing as climate change or Mich would have to dredge 58 harbors. Oh,Wait.—by Eclectablog: "The Great Lakes are now at historically low levels. So low, in fact, that Governor Snyder was forced to prevail upon the legislature to pass emergency funding to dredge 58 harbors and bays so that ships and recreational vessels can continue to use them. Yet, somehow, the corporate-funded climate change deniers still have a voice in what is no longer a debate about the reality of global climate change."
Climate activists must become economic activists, and vice versa—by thereisnospoon: "It's going to take a massive jobs program to solve the country's economic problem and do our part to tackle the world's climate problem, while also disincentivizing further oil imperialism abroad. It will be difficult to corral support for major action on climate without tying it to kitchen table economic action. And as I have mentioned before, creating climate-saving jobs isn't just about engineers installing solar panels. Conservation and fossil fuel conversion can theoretically require a nearly endless stream of blue collar jobs needing no more than a high school education."
The new Arctic—by DWG: "The [Northwest Passage] is predictably navigable today only by ships with moderate ice-breaking capability (Polar Class 6). For standard open-water vessels, the NWP was only technically navigable prior to 2005 about 15% of time during peak season. By mid-century, the probability of navigation by open-water vessels increases to 53% in the medium emissions scenario and 60% in the high emissions scenario. Even more impressive, Polar Class 6 ships will be able to cut directly across the North Pole."
Florida: Rising Sea Level Floods Road to National Park—by Zwoof: "J. Earle Bowden Way is a 7-mile long two lane ribbon of roadway that threads it's way through pristine sand dunes and remnants of British and Spanish forts from as early as 1763. The park also features Civil War structures and gun placements from WWII. The road is the only access by land to the beautiful and historic area known as Fort Pickens, a part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore park system. No longer does it take a hurricane to wash out portions of the road. A strong south wind combined with high tide can send waves surging over the road and deposit sand drifts that can be 6 inches high. 'That’s the new normal,' Gulf Islands National Seashore Superintendent Dan Brown said. 'We are going to lose that section of the road, in all likelihood, sooner rather than later.'"
Hansen gets to work: Keystone XL Is The Pipeline To Disaster—by beach babe in fl: "Legendary climate scientist James Hansen, who announced this week that he was retiring from his position of 46 years at NASA to work full time as environmental activist has not lost a moment and has come out with pistols blazing in his new role. He seems to be focusing in two areas; that of advocating for a price on carbon and trying to mobilize opposition to the building of the Keystone XL pipeline."
Dual Deals With the Devil—by dannym999: "Climate scientist James Hansen has published an article that explains the lack of warming in the past decade as well as the slowing of the uptake of CO2 in the atmosphere while the burning of fossil fuels has increased. Dr. Hansen describes two effects, both of which sound good at first, but in reality are "Faustian bargains" (deals with the devil)."
Breaking: Nuclear Power Prevents More Deaths Than It Causes—by psilocynic: "According to a new study conducted by Pushker A. Kharecha, a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, and James E. Hansen (also of Goddard) using nuclear power in place of fossil-fuel energy sources, such as coal, has prevented some 1.8 million air pollution-related deaths globally and could save millions of more lives in coming decades."
Hansen: Nuclear power has prevented 1.8 million deaths—by Keith Pickering: "Climatologist James E. Hansen, who just this week retired as head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Science, has just co-authored a paper that has been accepted by the journal Environmental Science & Technology, in which he calculates that nuclear power has prevented 1.84 million deaths worldwide that would have occurred if nuclear power plants had been built as fossil-fueled power plants instead. That's actually a conservative figure, because it doesn't count a number of things, like the effects of CO2 on climate change. Although this number isn't terribly surprising to those who study energy issues, it does point up a hugely under-reported aspect of energy policy: nuclear power is the safest way ever devised to generate electricity. Safer than wind. Safer than solar. And far, far safer than fossil fuels."
Utilities on Solar & Distributed Power "It's a potential threat to us over the long term"—by Muskegon Critic: "NRG Energy Inc. (NRG), the biggest power provider to U.S. utilities, has become a renegade in the $370 billion energy-distribution industry by providing electricity directly to consumers. Bypassing its utility clients, NRG is installing solar panels on rooftops of homes and businesses and in the future will offer natural gas-fired generators to customers to kick in when the sun goes down, Chief Executive Officer David Crane said in an interview. Translation: Utilities can be cut out of the loop with current technology that makes distributed power systems ever more viable."
Big Trouble In Arkansas—by Joieau: "Ah, the equipment crane failed, dropped the 500 ton stator, crushed some people, knocked out a pipe that flooded the turbine building, which caused an entire electrical circuit board to explode and caused a total loss of offsite power. At first they claimed it was just unit 1, and that everything was cool [at the nuclear power plant] even though the steam loops for both units were venting outside containment via the Main Steam Dump Valves, releasing 'minimal' radiation into the environment. Then they admitted that unit 2 had lost all off site power as well, which caused the reactor to scram from 100% power. Along with a loss of primary system circulation. Heat exchange primary to secondary is maintained using the dump valves, and now there is talk of the loss of ability to isolate the turbines - which will compromise cooling efforts somewhat. They say convection cooling is operational at unit 2, informing us that for some reason the EDGs aren't running the reactor coolant pumps for residual heat removal. Hmmm. Oh... and no, there are NO circulation pumps providing cooling to either of the overloaded spent fuel pools."
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Fukishima—by dbprods: "Today, the NRC is meeting in Baltimore to discuss the lessons learned from Fukishima. Ironically, the NRC also met today at 1 p.m. today to discuss a plan by the San Onofre plant's operator - Southern California Edison—to re-activate San Onofre on a plan that would allow it to operate at what is considered 70% of its safety requirement plan."
Peak oil and peak silliness—by DWG: "The media is filled with people chanting, "peak oil is dead, peak oil is dead." It is particularly popular among conservatives, egged on by the oil industry and Wall Street. The reasons are not complicated. The shale oil "boom" seems to validate the "drill, baby, drill" meme. Investment firms are always looking for over-hyped areas to inflate a bubble or two. It also serves the "free market" mythology, our hero flexing its glorious muscles to "solve" the energy needs of the nation while "freeing" us from our dependence on foreign markets, particularly those nations with an affinity for Islam or run by dictators not to our liking. And who can resist a little flag-waving nationalism as America proudly emerges as a new force on the energy market? Finally, there is the satisfaction of shouting down the "doom-sayers" that dared question the fossil emperor's elegant robes. On the one hand, it is an impressive propaganda campaign, with articles timed to appear almost simultaneously in media outlets, each spouting the same talking points, and drawing from the same sources. Before long, heads are bobbling everywhere. Of course, there is one small problem with the narrative. It is all bullshit."
U.S. EPA Wins Sixth Circuit Appeals Decision Against Detroit Edison Monroe Power Plant—by LakeSuperior: "A 2010 decision by the U.S. Federal District Court for the
Eastern District of Michigan regarding dismissal of an EPA enforcement case
against the Detroit Edison Monroe Power Plant — one of the largest
coal fired power plants in the United States — has been reversed by the Federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals according to Power Engineering Magazine."
Fracking is class warfare—by theupstatedemocrat: "Fracking does nothing to solve 30 years of economic austerity in the Southern of New York or any rural part of America for that matter. If anything it creates a systematic assault on the working rural poor and farmers. We as citizens of the rural heartland have been given an ultimatum. Somehow we are supposed to accept the fact that natural gas development is good, and will bring jobs to the Southern Tier of New York. Somehow that our counties on the tip of New York, the most impoverished counties in all of New York State will have to endure the economic and class experiment that is the Natural Gas industry."
Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation
And now a word about oil pipeline safety—by DWG: "The superb consultants that wrote the Keystone XL pipeline's environmental impact statement for the State Department have assured us that spills are going to be rare and small. We should stop worrying our pretty little heads and let the prosperity flow. The serious people have spoken. Not everyone in the industry got the memo. Many of the big names in oil and pipelines have been in the news in recent days. Let's sample a few headlines."
Republican uses Easter/Passover rites to threaten Obama over Keystone XL, as cleanup in AK continues—by BikingForKarma.
Could Keystone XL really be that popular?—by mooremusings: "Despite all the protests and all the lobbying efforts by environmental groups against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, major polling organizations are showing "broad public support for the project." I was alarmed when I saw this morning the latest Pew Research poll finding that 66 percent of Americans support Keystone, including 54% of Democrats."
Tar Sands: A Matter of Time—by Michael Brune: "Just over two weeks. That's how much time we have left to tell President Obama he should reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. We'll be living with the consequences of his decision for a lot longer. The climate pollution that mining the tar sands would create is reason enough not to approve Keystone, but last weekend's disaster in Arkansas is a glaring reminder of the other reason: Tar sands crude is much riskier to transport than conventional oil.
Keystone XL pipeline economics—by DWG: "Oil companies playing in the Alberta tar sands want the Keystone XL pipeline for two reasons. One is that it is the most inexpensive way to transport the product to markets. Second, Gulf Coast refineries in Texas and Louisiana can handle bitumen in barely diluted form. Without the pipeline, the oil companies would have to invest more money in upgrading the bitumen to synthetic light crude before sending it to refineries and foreign markets."
To Pipeline or not to Pipeline—by radical simplicity: "There are some estimates on how much airborne benzene may or may not cause lasting harm to people who breathe such concentrations, but unfortunately, those estimates were of no help to the health department in Kalamazoo, because they're designed based on certain types of industrial exposures. There is no information for the exposures that occurred in Michigan, and there were no measurements taken in most homes (except a few private measurements taken by Enbridge, the results of which they refuse to release) in the area, so even if there were health estimates, no one knows what kinds of exposures were experienced for what durations by the affected families."
Federal Agencies asked to delay Keystone XL over Pipeline safety issues—by beach babe in fl: "In the first time that anyone has formally petitioned the government over dilbit, Inside Climate News is revealing that a petition filed with federal agencies last week by a coalition led by the National Wildlife Federation is demanding a moratorium on pending tar sands pipelines—including the Keystone XL—until regulators establish new rules to ensure their safety. Filed on behalf of 29 environmental and community groups and 36 individuals, the petition includes a list of nine policy recommendations for the safe transport of dilbit, a type of crude oil produced from Canada's oil sands region."
I Wrote to My Senator about His Vote for Keystone XL. Here is the Response I Got (Annotated)—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Last week, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) heard several times from an unhappy constituent (i.e. me) about his vote for the Keystone XL pipeline during the Senate's budget amendment vote-a-rama. I have included the email response that I got from Sen. Casey's office last Friday, which I've decided to annotate to highlight its factual inaccuracies and platitudes."
What? Oil Companies lie.—by vcmvo2: "Or so claims Charles Pierce from his eyrie at Vogue err ...Esquire ... in today's article on the XL pipeline. The Fix is In. We are, of course, talking of the fabled XL Pipeline which is crossing Canada into the United States and will end up spewing its garbage in Texas for sale to China and other oil hungry nations."
Tar Sand Crude Spill New Video: Lake is Contaminated—by Zwoof.
Exxon's Skies: Why Is Exxon Controlling the No-Fly Zone Over Arkansas Tar Sands Spill?—by Steve Horn: "The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has had a "no fly zone" in place in Mayflower, Arkansas since April 1 at 2:12 PM and will be in place "until further notice," according to the FAA website and it's being overseen by ExxonMobil itself. In other words, any media or independent observers who want to witness the tar sands spill disaster have to ask Exxon's permission."
Backyard Picture of Mayflower AR Exxon Oil Spill—by joedemocrat: "This morning on Facebook, I noticed people are sharing a backyard picture of the Mayflower, AR oil spill. I read in the linked article that local authorities haven't allowed the press full access so the public hasn't seen the extent of the spill."
Exxon's Media Blackout Fails as Video Reveals Extent of Keystone Oil Spill—by ProgLegs "In spite of Exxon's desire to keep the damage out of the news, helicopter footage showing a subdivision besieged by black sludge has now surfaced."
Is Exxon trying to limit the media's access to the tar sands spill?—by JesseC: "Sure seems like it. According to reports from the ground, Exxon is in full control of the response to the thousands of barrels of tar sands oil that began spilling from Exxon's ruptured pipeline in Arkansas last weekend."
When Oil isn't Oil—by DownstateDemocrat: "[A]ccording to federal law, tar sands oil is not "oil," and Exxon Mobil is able to get off without having to pay an $0.08/barrel tax that is used to fund a federal trust fund that pays for oil spill cleanup.
Members of Congress should do the right thing and change the law so that tar sands oil would no longer be exempt from the federal tax that is used to fund the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, however, I'm not holding my breath."
Tar sands oil spill? Or just 'heavy' oil spill? Exxon loves having it both ways—by Meteor Blades: "For tax purposes, it's tar sands oil. But for Exxon's PR purposes—and no doubt to assist the deceptions of the backers and builders of the Keystone XL pipeline who keep telling us that spills of tar sand oil are 'unlikely'—what leaked out onto the streets and yards of Mayflower is conventional, heavy oil."
lax regulation and loopholes for dilbit pipelines—by machiado: "The Pegasus pipeline that ruptured in Mayflower Arkansas was not designed for transport of dilbit, or anything else at high pressure. It was originally a pipeline designed for conventional oil to be shipped from Texas to Illinois (and from there, to Canada). Exxon/Mobil reversed the pipeline 7 years ago in order to ship dilbit from Illinois to refineries in Texas. They did little or nothing to inspect or upgrade the pipeline to make sure it was safe at the higher pressures and volume planned for dilbit flow. A particularly stunning insult to all of us is that the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, used to pay for clean-ups, receives not a single dime from Exxon/Mobil for transport of dilbit, thanks to a tax loophole that deems dilbit 'not oil'."
Exxon Exempted Out Of Paying Oil Spill Clean Up Costs—by Leslie Salzillo: "Yes, according to an IRS memo, tar sands oil is not considered “crude oil.” Tar sands oil is in the category of dlibit (shale oil, liquids from coal, tar sands, or biomass). What does this mean? It means the legal definition of dilbit has exempted Exxon from paying into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, (OSLTF) which will be the national fund used to clean up the Arkansas tar sands oil spill."
Another Pipeline Spill in Texas—by Zwoof: "According to an article on RT.com, a Shell Oil pipeline near Huston ruptured spilling oil into a waterway that connects to the Gulf of Mexico."
Eco-Related DC & State Politics
VA-Sen: Mark Warner (D) Calls For Action On Lead Found In Water At Military Family Care Facilities—by poopdogcomedy: "U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) today asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to take action to protect military families from unsafe levels of lead in drinking water. Recent tests at two Hampton Roads Navy child care centers found lead in drinking water that far exceeded Environmental Protection Agency safety levels. Lead exposure has been found to cause serious medical issues including permanent damage to the brain and nervous system, which can result in behavioral and learning problems. Sen. Warner urged Secretary Hagel to confirm that appropriate testing has occurred at other military facilities across all branches of the military services."
climate denier Chris Stewart, head of influential climate change committee in Congress, confronted—by JesseC: "At a recent town hall meeting, a group of activists confronted Stewart on his ill-informed views on climate science. The activists, working with the group Forecast the Facts, presented Stewart with a 17,000 signature petition demanding the Chairman of the Science Committee's Subcommittee on Environment stop using his seat to promote climate denialism. They also held up banners reading Believe It Or Not Climate Change Is Not Going Away,97% of Say Climate Change is Human Caused. We Trust Them, and Stewart Denies While Utah Burns."
NM-Sen: Sign Tom Udall's (D) Petition To Protect ANWR—by poopdogcomedy: "When my father, Stewart Udall, was the Secretary of the Interior, he fought to protect ANWR. My uncle Mo was a huge supporter of protecting ANWR in Congress, too. I guess you could say that, for the Udalls, preserving ANWR is a family tradition. The Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) is one of the world's most diverse ecosystems. But some in Congress want to destroy it."
The Southernization of North Carolina: House Committee approves rollback of Renewable Energy—by bepanda: "Another day, another 'Turn back the clock' in North Carolina. This time, the target of the Republican dominated Assembly: Renewable Energy. This is happening through House Bill 298 (HB298), introduced in mid-March 2013. Here is how the bill was introduced: AN ACT TO REDUCE THE BURDEN OF HIGH ENERGY COSTS ON THE CITIZENS OF NORTH CAROLINA BY ELIMINATING RENEWABLE ENERGY PORTFOLIO STANDARDS."
U.S. EPA/Justice Win Major Environmental Crimes Case in Response to Citizen Public Health Concern—by Lake Superior: "Don't let anyone ever tell you that the government can't get results and does not respond to public complaints when it comes to environmental protection. And never forget about that not-so-small thing, the power of an individual. A couple of years ago Jackie James-Creedon of Buffalo area became concerned about western New York industrial sources of air pollution. She and her neighbors founded a group called the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York. Erin Heaney later entered as the Executive Director of the group. This citizen air quality planning and emissions assessment led to the group focusing on a very significant local source, Tonawanda Coke."
Grover Norquist's Deceptive Campaigns for Dirty Energy and Big Tobacco—by deesylvie: "This coordinated attack on clean energy bears resemblance to the effort by Big Tobacco to prevent public health laws from impacting the profitability of tobacco companies. And it turns out, a lot of people working to dismantle renewable energy laws are deeply connected to Big Tobacco. Some, like Grover Norquist, even worked with Big Tobacco on their misinformation campaigns and are now turning their lobbying power to attack state clean energy policies."
Ed Rendell’s Frack Attack—by ThirdandState: "The natural gas industry in Pennsylvania is like a new baby: it’s tiny but gets all the attention. Through a coordinated and well-financed public relations effort (remember My Range Resources?) and a legion of lobbyists, the industry has given an impression of its importance that just doesn’t square with the facts. In 2012, the natural gas industry provided one-half of one percent of all jobs in Pennsylvania."
The Great Outdoors
melting leaves—by blueyedace2.
The Daily Bucket - Canada Goose nest watch, 2013—by bwren: "A pair of Canada Geese has taken up residence on the sandbank again this year. The same pair or a new one? There's no way of knowing, though this nest is in a slightly different location, just a little bit east of the previous ones. A week ago I watched for a long time as the female fluffed herself on a pile of grass she'd gathered around her, watched as she reached over to the tall grass, taking clumps in her beak and pulling them out, pillowing each clump under her body, fluffing herself some more."
The Daily Bucket: emergence of the Henderson's Checkermallow—by OceanDiver: "Besides how lovely it is to see these bright pink stalks emerging out of a mix of grass and glasswort, it also represents what tipped the balance in shifting this wetland from private to public ownership. The Checkermallow is considered a "Species of Concern" by the federal government, less at risk than "Endangered" or "Threatened", but rare in nature. That status makes this a Category 1 wetland, most sensitive out of the four categories, as classified by the state of Washington, requiring protection from degradation."
The Daily Bucket - breaking!—by Polly Syllabic: "One of the rarest of the New World warblers is rumored to be frequenting a small woodlot along the North Branch of the Milwaukee River. The elusive Packer's Warbler was first discovered, identified and named by the famous exploratory team of G. Calhoun and C. Lambeau on August 11, 1919, on the west shore of Lake Michigan near a large bay. This small passerine's spirited song and persistent, defensive loyalty within its territory is legendary."
The Daily Bucket: A Few More Thoughts on Names (Part 1)—by matching mole: "Cold (for April) and damp in Tallahassee today. I don't have much new to report but thought I would post a bucket as none seem to be waiting in the wings. I did see one of the fledgling eagles this morning and right before dawn a pair of Great Horned Owls were perched on the snag across the street. I don't think I have seen two together before in our neighborhood. I don't know when they breed here - will have to look that up. A short while back Milly Watt gave up a very nice bucket about the names of organisms and the names of the people who name them."
The Daily Bucket—Stumped?
—by Milly Watt
: "OK, the real excuse for this bucket is that we've found a new park in which to walk the dogs that contains lots of interesting stumps. Western Washington is rich in the legacy of its logging past (and present—there are signs of a pending timber sale nearby). Left behind are huge stumps like th[e one in the photo]: It is serving as a nurse stump for the trees that have sprouted on its top. It also has an interesting notch 2/3 of the way up. There is a mirror notch on the opposite side. Could it be that those notches held springboards for the loggers who cut the tree down? In the olden days, the loggers would set up springboards about five feet long but only six inches wide to stand on to cut the tree above the swell of the base where the roots spread out. Sometimes, they did this because they had to climb up to a point where the trees were stable enough to cut and narrow enough to accommodate their saws that maxed out at 12 feet in length."
First crocuses—by not4morewars: "It has been cold here in IA but it's starting to feel more like spring every day. The yellow crocuses are usually the first to appear every year in our yard."
Fish & Wildlife
Sea Lion Pups Dying in SoCal—by TheOrchid: "The rate of pup strandings (a condition just prior to death) in the first three months of 2013 is already an order of magnitude higher than last year, with 214 strandings in San Diego County vs. 32 last year, 189 in Orange County vs. 20 last year, and 395 in Los Angeles County vs. 36 last year. While the cause is uncertain, what is clear is that the pups are underweight and appear to be starving."
13 yr old Masai boy does what Ranchers in US cannot - Coexist with predators—by Chaoslillith: "This Masai boy—Richard Turere wanted to keep lions from killing his family's cows. He rigged up flashing lights that flash around the compound and it works. How is it US Ranchers cannot learn something from him and invent something useful instead of killing wolves?"
Spring Naturalogy: The real resurrection. Photo Diary
Red Winged Blackbird
: "Chamber's Creek property, an 950 acre abandoned open pit gravel mine and industrial wasteland, is now a world class golf course that also hosts a huge Pierce County Park comprised of three "meadows" that are linked by walking/running trails. The Central Meadow is the largest and home of the Osprey nest so we'll start there today."
Dawn Chorus: Okay, maybe some fuzzy chicks for Easter after all—by lineatus: "The diary scheduled for today has apparently gone to Easter Brunch somewhere, so this is a bit of an impromptu fill in with photos I've taken for the Daily Bucket backyard bird count. More on that in the comments, if you're interested in taking part."
An Easter PHOTOdiary: Peeps & global warming
Peregrine falcon checks out shorebirds a blocik away.
: "Spring came early to southern Michigan this year so on Good Friday, my wife Anne and I put our kayaks in the Huron River and set out to document the effects of global climate change on the wildlife of our area. What we found was both stunning and shocking. As we started our journey, we knew something was different. Never before had we been able to don shorts and t-shirts and paddle this early in the season. And we were not the only ones enjoying the disrupted climate. These are Map Turtles (Graptemys). They emerge in the spring after several months of hibernation deep in the mud of the river bottom. But this year, the have emerged much earlier than normal. And, if you ask me, they seemed a little "friskier" than usual, too."
Turtle porn: These map turtles are doing what turtles do in the spring, but they are doing it earlier than usual.
Resources Secretary uses snow survey to promote corporate water grab—by Dan Bacher: "Snow surveyors reported Thursday that water content in California’s snowpack is only 52 percent of normal, with the spring melt season already under way, according to the Department of Water Resources. After a record dry January and February in much of the state, DWR has decreased its water delivery estimate from 40 to 35 percent of requested amounts from the State Water Project (SWP)."
Peripheral Tunnel Opponents to Hold "Death of Delta" Funeral—by Dan Bacher: "Opponents of Gov. Jerry Brown's rush to build peripheral tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom salmon and other Pacific fisheries will present California Natural Resources Agency Deputy Director Jerry Meral, the Administration's point man for the project, with a coffin on Thursday at a public meeting on the tunnels plan. Opponents will hold a news conference outside the meeting, and then deliver the coffin to the Brown Administration, which is now fast-tracking the construction of the tunnels through the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP)"
The Great American Drought Predicted to Worsen in 2013; GOP Ignores Reality—by Steven D: "Climatologists and drought forecasters are now comparing the last few years of severe drought to the Dust Bowl era. And if their predictions are correct, that drought will be worse this year than last, which was about as bad as we've seen in the lower 48 in decades. The news that our drought situation is already off to a worse start than in either of the past two years is very discouraging news, and will have major impacts for most Americans, whether they live in the more drought stricken areas of the country or not."
Forests & Public Lands
Drilling on the doorstep of a national park—by RockyWest: A video.
Public Access to Public Lands—by ban nock: "We hear a large landowner is selling, the one we had permission to walk across, then we hear it has been sold to someone from Xyz but they never arrive, and lots of work is done remodeling, then they come one weekend in the fall and we go knock on the door, and they smile and politely say they haven't decided about access yet, but then there is the sign at the gate, and it turns out the guy has a addresses in the Caymans, Chile, Ventura CA, and NY NY. Then you also find out it's been put in conservation easement. Two hundred more acres gone, and no access to the National Forest behind."
DKos Tour Series: Grand Canyon National Park (Part 1)—by richholtzin: "A nearly two billion-year rock repository of materials created in the last five to six million years. A process of uplift and downcutting, followed by erosion. There are two versions of the canyon's creation: The first is the easiest, dubbed the fairytale version, meaning the Grand Canyon was entirely created by the Colorado River. The second version requires additional thought and explores the most popular theories pertaining to the Grand Canyon creation story (presently, there are two or three passionately discussed and defended by Colorado Plateau geologists). Meanwhile, the cause and effect aspects of the Grand Canyon is fairly easy to comprehend and has everything to do with downcutting (by the river) into a former intact plateau landscape by which all else followed."
DKos Tour Series: The Grand Falls Of The Little Colorado River—by richholtzin: "Located to the southeast of the Grand Canyon, the Little Colorado River Gorge is sometimes referred to as the Baby Grand Canyon. [...] Of course, it's really a deep chasm, whose average depth is around 1,000 feet. At the upper end, near Cameron (Arizona), the sinuous gorge etches toward the Grand Canyon, as though a gigantic and deep crack in the Earth opened up."
Like a torrent of chocolate milk spilling down the stair-stepped lava-based profile of the Grand Falls.
DKos Tour Series: Slot Canyon Hikes!
Not the place to be when it rains.
: "In this case, I elect to relate the negative before the positive. In short, putting the danger before the pleasure. The danger is, of course, the potential of flash flooding. I relate this grim stuff just so you know what to be wary of before entering any slot canyon. Indeed, and for a change, your life depends on common sense should you elect to mess about with Mother Nature."
CO-Sen: Mark Udall (D) Launches Legislation For Browns Canyon National Monument—by poopdogcomedy: "Senator Udall says the proposal, still in draft form, will preserve Browns Canyon, create jobs and protect the quality of life in Colorado. 'We’ve crafted a balanced proposal that will preserve a remarkable landscape,' said Udall. 'And it will draw visitors that will boost the economy for what is a treasured part of Colorado.'"
Utopia Parkway in LA - Ride-Sharing Revolution—by CALinnovates: "My interest was piqued last year during a phone call with Nick Allen, a member of my CALinnovates Advisory Board. Nick told me that he was in the process of winding down his fund at Spring Ventures, which would allow him to focus his energy on a new business he founded with Sunil Paul. The new venture, called SideCar, launched in San Francisco last June. Four months later Allen and Paul raised a Series A round of $10 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Google Ventures, SV Angel, Mark Pincus, Lerer Ventures and a convoy of other prominent angels and VCs. The A round allowed SideCar to expand well beyond their launch city of San Francisco. SideCar now serves passengers in Seattle, Austin, DC, Philly and, now, thankfully, the City of Angels. Competition abounds, mostly in the form of Lyft, another Bay Area-based purveyor of ride-shares. You simply can’t miss Lyft’s cars driving around the city due to its clever marketing ploy of placing big, pink “carstaches” on the grill of each car in their fleet."
Miscellany & Essays
Farming Tip #137—by Methinks They Lie: "Say a starry eyed city slicker shows up to the farm talking about wanting to work outdoors, with nature, and flowers, and staying in shape and wanting to get back to some romanticized version of some theoretical idea of what farming is, and suppose they want to quit their office job, buy some land, and sit on the front porch chewin' on a piece of straw listenin' to the "kayoats", and say they want to work on your farm for a while so they can "learn the ropes." You know who I'm talking about (ahem, what? Not me!). Well tell that person, "Why sure, why don't you come back tomorrow and we'll get you started." Now you know it's going to rain tomorrow and you know you'll be harvesting carrots so why have them start today? Right?"
Rush gives 13 yr old climate skeptic an IPad then gets upset when it was noticed in the press—by Lefty Coaster: "CALLER: Well, over the radio we listen to different things. I've heard lots of evidence that man-made global warming is a hoax. And since I'm doing speeches, I thought it was a very interesting topic. I want to learn more about this. I guess I just always doubted that. There's so much evidence that global warming is not man-made.
RUSH: You know what? I'm gonna... Alex, if your parents will let me, I'd like to send you an iPad."
Oil Industry Pulls Triple Header — New Ties To Earthquake, BP Trial, & Pipeline Bursts In AR—by Leslie Salzillo: "Kind of a slimy week in the U.S. (No, I’m not taking about Rush Limbaugh, but be my guest.) This is about oil. Black gold. Texas Tea."
Singing For The Planet (350 Benefit Concert, Boston, 4/19)—by WarrenS: "'Singing For The Planet' is the seventh concert in the 'Playing For The Planet' series, conceived as a way for creative musicians to contribute to the urgent struggle against global warming. On Friday, April 19, three singers from diverse musical traditions will join together to draw attention to the global climate crisis. Featured artists are: singer-songwriter Dean Stevens, Hindustani classical vocalist Warren Senders, and Boston's 'Queen of the Blues,' Toni Lynn Washington. The music begins at 7:00 pm, at Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA. Tickets are $20; $15 students/seniors. All proceeds will go to 350ma.org, the Massachusetts chapter of the environmental advocacy organization 350.org. For information, please call 781-396-0734, visit 'Singing For The Planet' on Facebook; for online ticket purchases, try the event website, or the Eventbrite page."
My tree is dying and I am crying—by zmom: "Soooo, I sit outside in the rain this morning, while my tree guy explains how rotted the branch was due to an old wound, the tree being under seige and that of course the tree is old and up until we moved in 10 years ago the tree had not been taken care of. I ask if my tree, for all intensive purposes, is dead, he says we really wont know without doing some drilling or sonic detection to see how the other limbs' structures are doing. Discussion ends with my tree guy feeling the oil spraying is not strong enough for this infestation and the systemic chemical treatment is needed, the tree cant handle this on its own. Chemical treatment, all too familiar words for me, as I come closer to the 5 year saddiversary of my husband's passing due to treatment complications and Lymphoma."
Steve Fraser: A Disaster for All Seasons—by TomDispatch: "Even if you set aside the man-made environmental disaster that is China (at a cost now estimated conservatively at $230 billion annually), ever more expensive disasters seem to be on the rise globally. Moreover, thanks to climate change -- that is, the greenhouse gases we’ve been pumping into the atmosphere at record levels -- the distinction between man-made catastrophes and natural ones is rapidly blurring. In the United States, we’ve recently suffered a one-two punch when it comes to extreme weather: 2011 now holds the American record for weather disasters that cost $1 billion dollars or more with 14 of them, and 2012 came in an uncomfortably close second with 11. (You can check out the list here.) The Swiss Insurance firm Munich Re points out that “nowhere in the world is the rising number of natural catastrophes more evident than in North America.” A dubious honor."