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Every week Daily Kos diarists write dozens of environmentally related posts. Many don't get the readership they deserve. Helping improve the odds is the motivation behind the Green Diary Rescue. In the past seven years, there have been 243 of these spotlighting more than 14,798 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 67 more that appeared in the past seven days. That makes for lots of good reading during the spare moments of your weekend. [Disclaimer: Inclusion of a diary in the rescue does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.]
Green Diary of the Week

150 Plants Retired: Another Major Milestone Hit in Moving Beyond Coal—by Mary Anne Hitt: "Today, the Sierra Club and a growing coalition of over 100 allies announced the retirement of the nation's 150th coal plant. This is a huge milestone in the ongoing campaign to move the country beyond coal by 2030.[...] This milestone comes only a year-and-a-half after we hit the 100th retirement, the notorious Crawford coal plant in Chicago. The momentum continues to increase as Americans see that coal is fading as a part of the nation's energy mix. Now we must ensure that the transition from coal to clean energy happens in a way that protects workers and communities. We've seen it happen before - from the Pacific Northwest to the Tennessee Valley. We call on Brayton Point's owners, Energy Capital Partners, to structure the retirement of this plant in a way that takes care of the workers and the community. We also call on Governor Deval Patrick and the legislature to pass the Clean Energy Commonwealth Bill (HB 2935), which would create a community empowerment fund to assist communities and workers by protecting the local tax base and providing worker assistance and retraining opportunities when a coal plant retires."

••• •• •••

Releasing a banded redtailed hawk.
Diarist releases banded hawk.
Dawn Chorus: I'm with the band—by lineatus: "For a bander, the moment of releasing a bird is bittersweet.  After this brief overlap in lives, the bird is now on its way to continue its journey (yea!) but in all likelihood, we'll never (knowingly) see that bird again. If we ever hear anything about it, it will probably be because the bird has died (hopefully some years later). Sometimes we get lucky and someone is able to read the band number on a live bird, thanks to the combination of optics and the occasional digital camera. That's usually limited to larger birds like redtails, whose bands are big enough that the numbers can be seen in the field.  Even then it's tough because the number wraps around the leg and you need to see enough of it to make a positive ID. This year, the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory is making it easier to tell if we're encountering an old friend."

••• •• •••

Risking Arrest Tomorrow Re: XL Pipeline—by UnaSpenser: "I thought I'd let all my friends at DailyKos know that I will be joining this action tomorrow morning: [...] #NoKXL State Department sit-in Join the rally and sit-in at the State Department office in Secretary of State John Kerry's home town of Boston, to build pressure on the Obama Administration as we await the State Department's final environmental review and a decision on Keystone XL -- and to show the serious commitment of the more than 75,000 activists who have pledged to risk arrest if necessary to protest approval of Keystone XL. As a parent, I am compelled to do whatever I can, regardless of how ineffective others may think it will be, to fight the devastation that is already happening and will only get worse if we don't stop tar sands extraction and the movement of bitumen across landscapes."

Please read below the sustainable squiggle for more rescued green diaries.

Critters

Very cute wolf spider
The Daily Bucket: One More Time with Spiders!—by PHScott: "It's a Wolf Spider, a very big Wolf Spider. [...] Well I said I was done with spiders last week but darn if the next day I didn't see this awesome beauty. It was hard to miss as it scooted out from under my shower stall when I was blowing leaves around. [...] I figured this was a wolf spider (Lycosidae family) but way bigger than any I had seen before, and the color was much darker, not the usual light brown. I knew I was going to need better photos if I had any chance of identification. You would have laughed to see me chasing after it. I step forward and bend over, it scoots away, another step, off it goes, repeat... Finally it stopped. Maybe it realized I meant no harm; maybe it thought it blended in; or maybe, since they are sensitive to vibrations, I quit making so much noise."

The Daily Bucket - Circle of Life—by FOYI: "On a morning walk I was admiring my neighbor's purple passion vine flowers. When I noticed there were spiked, orange and black caterpillars chomping on the leaves of the vine. After seeing their numbers were sufficiently high, I decided to take one home to see if I could photo document it morphing into a chrysalis. I placed it in a container with a stick and plenty of passion vine leaves to munch on. And I watched. And I waited. It morphed. I was able to photograph the change from caterpillar to chrysalis and made a slide show."

Islands of Green in a Sea of Cement: Florida Wildlife Photo Diary—by Lenny Flank: "Pinellas County, Florida, which includes the city of St Petersburg, is one of the most densely populated areas in the state. Just under one million people live within its 280 square miles of land area. Despite this dense crush of people, asphalt and cement, however, Pinellas County has a network of city parks, wildlife refuges, and preserves which allow a surprising amount of wildlife to flourish, even within the city limits. These include Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, Sawgrass Lake Wildlife Refuge, Weedon Island Preserve, and Brooker Creek Preserve. Here are some photos I have taken of Pinellas County wildlife."

American alligator in Pinellas County, Florida 2013
Florida's most famous resident. An American alligator, an old adult about 11 feet long. Once endangered, Alligators can now be found in virtually any permanent body of water.
The Daily Bucket--When Squirrels Ruled the World—by 6412093: "I sat down in the back yard for a talk with my Douglas Squirrel. Amazingly, all my grapes were still there. Doug Squirrel claimed he'd protected them from the grey squirrels while I'd been away. It's true that Douglas Squirrels prefer conifer cones to nuts and berries, but I was skeptical. Doubling down on my skepticism, Doug then bragged,"Hey, we did just fine for 44 million years before you a-------s showed up.' My first thought was that once again, I'd misjudged how powerful 100 micrograms can be.  But if you follow this squirrelly bucket below the orange rodent footprint, you may learn that there's some true to Doug's assertions."

Rough Skinned Newts—by amygdalavet: "Hi, Here are three pics of two different rough skinned newts that I noticed while walking today. This is roughly the same area as the egg masses I posted on the 1st of this month which have not changed as far as I can tell. These newts were not very close to the egg masses but they are pretty good pictures showing their rough skin and the tiny little hand and leg type things they possess. I suppose there is a scientific name for them but I haven't had the time to research them much so just enjoy them for what they are. The egg masses remain the same, and I check them each day that I walk. I will post back with any changes. Take Care."
sss8
The Daily Bucket: Serpent Star—by OceanDiver: "The shorter days of autumn are slowing photosynthetic activity in the bay. Today daylight fuels the phytoplankton nearly 5 hours less than in midsummer, and it gets only about half as high in the sky. Less solar energy means less planktonic food for hungry growing invertebrate larvae..I'm finding less stuff in my plankton net these days. I was losing hope of finding any baby echinoderms - like seastars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, sand dollars - but I got lucky a couple of days ago! This little fellow is a late-stage larval Brittle Star, also known as a Serpent Star. Both good names, you'll see why."

A gun hater's kid takes up hunting.—by ban nock: "Take a hunter safety course. Take it with your kid, there will be many other parents in there doing the same. Hunter safety is usually taught by some of the most knowledgeable hunters in your state. If your kid is old enough to go hunting, he or she is old enough not to be embarrassed appearing with a middle aged non hunting mom or dad in public. The courses are almost free, usually ten or so dollars for ten or twelve hours. Much of the costs are covered by a tax all shooters pay. Take it twice, or five times from different people. Courses cover all the laws, all different types of firearms, safety, and many practical considerations."

Climate Chaos

LAST HOURS for Humanity?—by Renewable Rider: "Consider this: nearly all life on Earth could go extinct because of manmade climate change. Internationally syndicated talk show host and bestselling author Thom Hartmann released a devastatingly powerful new film, LAST HOURS. A jolting wake-up call for humanity, this 10-minute film describes a terrifying science-based scenario where runaway climate change is triggered by massive releases of frozen methane. Here's the devastating part: the melting of these trillions of tons of carbon is already underway."

Is Geoengineering Our Future?—by Trenz Pruca: "If anyone reading this Diary decides to ponder its implications, I suggest you consider one other thing (among the many). According to the estimable Brad DeLong, toward the end of the 19th Century, most economists predicted that the energy use (calories expended) of the lowest level laborer in industrialized society would increase by a factor of almost 5 by the end of the next century. In fact it increased by a factor of almost 500. Can the hoped for transition to renewable energy sources maintain that level of growth into the future even without carbon producing fossil fuels? And if not what then? Is physical growth no longer a goal of society? What about less developed societies that expend much less energy? Do we reduce ours and share it with them?"

Important Under-the-Radar Climate News—by Panacea Paola: "Although climate scientists are very certain anthropogenic climate change is real and happening now, the ignoramuses and deceivers in the denier crowd have latched onto the 15-year window over which average Earth air surface temperatures have remained constant as proof that this is all one giant hoax. They are, of course, way, way off. Notwithstanding the apparent cherry-picking of the 15-year period to make their point, and ignoring that only 7% of the energy from the sun that reaches Earth contributes to air surface warming, it turns out some of that "unpredictable climate variability" might not be so unpredictable after all."

L.A. Times Bans Climate Deniers - When Will the Rest of the Media Follow Suit?—by kindler: "This past week, the Los Angeles Times took a little-noticed step that could have a profound impact on your children’s and grandchildren’s future: it decided to ban climate change deniers from its pages. If this step catches on and spreads to other media outlets, it could finally lead us away from the distraction of the phony, manufactured “debate” over the existence and causes of the global climate disruption and actually get down to the real work of confronting this challenge."

Extreme Weather

Disaster Awaits India as Met Dept Lowballs Phailin's 165mph Winds gusting to 195mph—by FishOutofWater: "Super Cyclone Phailin may be more powerful than hurricane Katrina because it is maintaining it's strength as it approaches land. Maximum wave heights estimated by the Joint Typhoon Warning center are 56 feet. However, the India Meteorology Department has not recognized how much Phailin has strengthened. [...] A large area of heavy rain, as much as 20 inches will move inland as the storm  dissipates over the next 48 hours after landfall. Flooding will cause extensive damage over a large area as Phalin's remnants move up slope towards the Himalayas.  Tropical systems moving upslope often dump enormous amounts of rain. This is an exceptionally dangerous situation that India does not appear to have adequately prepared for in time because of Phalin's exceptionally rapid intensification."

India is about to have a catastrophic humanitarian disaster -- 165 MPH cyclone expected at landfall—by Weatherdude: "Cyclone Phailin is on track to make landfall in the state of Odisha on the northeastern coast of India with 165 MPH winds, making it the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. The environment is highly favorable to sustaining the strength of Phailin through landfall—very warm waters, no wind shear, no dry air to disrupt the storm—so the only chance at weakening is the structure of the storm cycling in a process known as the eyewall replacement cycle. [...] If Phailin does make landfall with 165 MPH winds—or even anywhere near that strength —this part of India is going to experience a catastrophic humanitarian disaster. Hurricane Katrina was about as bad as we've seen in recent memory in the United States, and the images from that storm were horrific. The humanitarian disaster that will follow a storm like this would be unimaginable to both Americans and many other people in the West who have it relatively good compared to the rest of the world."

75,000 cattle die in an "early and unusual" South Dakota blizzard—by pfiore8.

Food, Agriculture & Gardening

There are no words—by VL Baker: "This is a well-shot window into the industrial food system from the documentary Samsara. It's the same in the U.S. though you don't see it because it's a crime to be caught documenting the process. Hmmm...who thought of that? Ignore the fat-shaming at the end otherwise it's a rare look at the reality of factory farms and processing."

Macca's Meatless Monday: Slow boat to China—by VL Baker: "The China Study (2005) is a book by T. Colin Campbell, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, and his son Thomas M. Campbell II, a physician. It examines the relationship between the consumption of animal products (including dairy) and a variety of chronic illnesses, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancers of the breast, prostate and bowel.  The China Study is the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted and is one of America's best-selling books about nutrition. [...] Former President Bill Clinton cited the book in explaining how he lost 24 pounds by converting to a plant-based diet in hopes of improving his heart health. The president gave up dairy, switching to almond milk, and says he lives primarily on beans and other legumes, vegetables and fruit."

Agroecology: "Wake up before it is too late"- UNCTAD's TER13 Report—by FinchJ: "Remember last week when I said that agroecology is the one field that is offering hope to combat and eliminate many of the ills we as humanity have been facing for a very long time now? Well, here is a 300+ page report written by over 60 experts who are saying almost exactly that: if we adopt new methods of relating to the planet, we will see tremendous progress."

CDC Recalls Workers as Antibiotic Resistant Salmonella in Chicken Hospitalizes Hundreds—by FishOutofWater: "Antibiotic resistant salmonella contaminated chicken is responsible for 278 illnesses across 17 states according to the Center for Disease Control. This strain of Salmonella Heidelberg is putting 42% of its victims, twice normal, in the hospital. Because it is resistant to multiple antibiotics it is harder to treat and potentially more dangerous than food poisoning from ordinary salmonella. The CDC has recalled 30 furloughed workers to deal with the outbreak. The outbreak has been traced to Foster Farms chicken plants that were involved in a previous outbreak, according to the LA Times. The chicken has not been recalled because the salmonella is not considered an adulterant. Foster Farms could voluntarily recall the chicken, but the government will not under present rules. Health experts have been arguing for a change in the rules as antibiotic resistance becomes more common."

Don't Worry about the Food Poisoning Outbreak, Your Chicken is Safe—by FishOutofWater: "Reports have been flying over the internet that there's a salmonella food poisoning outbreak from contaminated chicken, but don't worry. It's true that the government shut down has closed CDC labs that could identify the source of the contaminated chicken, but  don't worry. It's true that the government's food inspection service is hamstrung by the shut down, but don't worry."

Are Rotten Chinese Apples in Your Apple Juice?—by lotac: "85 per cent of the apple juice consumed by U.S. residents is imported, with the vast majority—367.2 million gallons in 2012—imported from China. I thought North America grew plenty of apples for fresh fruit as well as other uses. I had no idea imports of apple juice were that high. Or were happening at all, for that matter. I haven't been reading the labels, because at our house we try to avoid processed juices anyway, preferring fresh fruit. And we do try to source that as locally as possible, given that our area is not known for agriculture, aside from the canola crops. The news was broken by the independent-minded 21st Century Business Herald, which sent reporters to a region of the country known for its fruit groves and fruit-juice manufacturers. They found three of China's leading juice manufacturers purchasing rotten apples and pears from farmers unable to sell them for direct human consumption."

Monsanto: A Beginner's Guide to the World's Most Dangerous Corporation—by JohnAloysius: "What are the long term effects of consuming GMOs? Truthfully, no one knows. Monsanto created the first GMO in 1985 and only within the past few years has their use become widespread in our food supply. In essence we are all unwittingly participating in the trial of long-term health effects. Monsanto argues that because their GMO corn has been manufactured to have roughly the same amount of vitamins and minerals as natural corn then it must be safe. Meanwhile, scientific studies done over an entire lifespan of rats have shown that GMO corn causes tumors, organ failure, cancer and premature death."

What's for Dinner?: Autumn Holidays—by Batya the Toon: ""What's for dinner?" can be an extremely complicated question during the holiday season.  On the one hand, all the evening and midday meals are expected to be festive -- a cut above the everyday, ideally with multiple courses -- and it's traditional to invite guests, especially for the holiday of Sukkot. On the other, the restrictions of not doing certain types of work on the holidays (similar to the types of work prohibited on the Sabbath*) mean that we have to do all the grocery shopping at least a day or two in advance, along with any food preparation that requires use of electrical appliances: food processors, immersion blenders, and so on.  And this year, as happens every so often, it's further complicated by the fact that each of the two-day holiday periods falls on Thursday and Friday (each day officially starting at sunset the night before), and goes directly into Sabbath."

Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 9.34—by blue jersey mom: "Good morning, garden bloggers. Today I want to talk about gardening and climate change. This semester I have been teaching a course called Last Hunters-First Farmers that explores the transition to agriculture on a worldwide basis. In particular, we have been discussing the possible relationship between climate change at the end of the Ice Age and the beginnings of farming in the ancient Near East. I have been gardening in the Mid-Atlantic since I was a high school student on Long Island in the mid-1960s. In the past 10-15 years, I have seen changes in my garden that were unheard of in the 1960s."

Global Warming on My Front Stoop—by jwnemec: "So, our rose bush in Philadelphia is blooming in mid-October, and back in February a tree across the street (no idea what kind, but it had white spring flowers), well, it bloomed in February. Why do I have to watch the world literally heating up in front of my eyes and pretend it isn't happening? Why does the T.V. news give a weather report every 10 minutes in the morning? And why does that report have to be so detailed, giving every scrap of information about humidity, rain, local temperatures in various parts of town, but without giving any such detailed attention to major, life-changing stories? A few days ago, it was 90 degrees in Philadelphia, and humid, in October. This is not normal. Yet, everyone was happy to talk about how "nice" the weather was."

Energy

4th Scoping Hearing on Millenium Bulk coal export mega terminal in Longview—by Lefty Coaster: "A thousand people turned out for the forth Scoping Hearing on the proposed Millenium Bulk Terminal in Longview. This is the second proposed coal export mega-terminal to start the scoping process to get their projects approved for construction to move head. The first was the proposed Pacific Gateway mega-terminal near Bellingham, and that one already concluded its public comment period, and the comments are being evaluated to see which issues need the closest scrutiny when the project is evaluated before the proposal is approved or rejected. Once again the opponents outnumbered the supporters, as happened in all the previous public hearings for the Pacific Gateway Project. Neither of these projects appear to have a groundswell of public support to propel them forward."

Mr. Burns personified: PR flack & Big Coal exec. caught on tape—by Mike Stark: "Last month, I attended Platt’s 36th Annual Coal Marketing Days. As a journalist predominantly focused on climate change and the coal industry for the past year, I was pleasantly surprised at how much ground was covered. At the same time, I was not surprised by the subdued mood that permeated this event. If coal is your business, your best days are behind you, whether you're a mining executive or a PR flack. And the convention attendees were incapable of hiding their forlorn resignation. The gallows humor was contagious, even to someone who can be characterized as generally happy to see one of the world's dirtiest fuels in decline."

Coal by Numbers—by Michael Brune: "Great news: In the past three years, 150 coal-fired power plants either have been retired or have announced a retirement date. Plant number 150 was Brayton Point in Massachusetts. Like lots of people, I enjoy tracking things by the numbers. If you have a quantifiable goal, reaching a big round number is a good time to reflect both on how far you've come (and still have to go). For the Sierra Club and our local, regional, and national allies, reaching this milestone of 150 coal plants means that we're further along in our campaign to get America completely off coal-fired power by the year 2030 than almost anyone believed possible just a few years ago.

World Bank-Supported Coal Plant Faces Further Delays Due to Local Opposition—by nicoleghio: "Aside from forcing people from their homes, massive coal-fired power plants like Central Java pose an immediate threat to nearby communities that will be forced to live with contaminated air and water. It is for this reason that more than 7,000 local residents are strongly opposed to the project, with many citing the environmental impact of the plant as their reason for refusing to sell their land. And despite the massive financial interests behind the project, activists are winning very real victories. Construction was supposed to begin in October of 2012, but with 2014 just around the corner, J-Power's inability to secure land and issues around environmental assessments have effectively stopped the project in its tracks."

Do What I Say, Not What I Do: Coal and International Finance Institutions—by nicoleghio: "The world of international energy financing has become a bit stranger lately. While the World Bank came out with a new energy strategy that will end funding for coal plants except in rare circumstances, the draft language for a new energy strategy at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) would allow retrofits to dirty, existing facilities, which could allow some of the most deadly plants to continue operating for decades to come. You might imagine, then, that the World Bank is actively supporting sustainable energy in Kosovo while EBRD pushes fossil fuels, but in fact the reverse is true."

Is Japan's Abe Being Honest About Fukushima—by nukefree: "Abe’s request for global help with Fukushima’s water problems may be a welcome start. But the fuel rods at Unit #4 embody our Earth’s most serious immediate crisis. The team in charge of bringing them down must embody all the best minds our species can muster, along with every ounce of resource we can bring to bear. The whole world must be watching as this operation begins."

Renewables

Our Dream Come True: Solar Power is as Cheap as Gas, Coal Plants Closing Slashing CO2 Emissions—by FishOutofWater: "The cost of renewable energy is now so low that coal is uncompetitive before taking into account the huge environmental costs of burning coal. Colorado's CO2 emissions are being slashed at no cost to consumers. Years of government and private investment are paying off. Renewable energy incentives will continue to be good investments because they are paid off by job growth and savings in health costs and environmental damage, but in this case they were not necessary.
Utility Xcel Energy last month submitted a proposal to Colorado regulators that identifies 170 megawatts of solar and 450 megawatts of wind as the most cost-effective resources. It's the first time that Xcel Energy, which serves eight states in the West and Midwest, chose solar and wind in its planning process strictly for economic reasons, rather than to meet the state's renewable energy standard, according to the company.  ... Other components of the plan include permanently closing a 109-megawatt unit at a coal-powered station and converting an existing coal plant to natural gas at the end of 2017. If all the measures were adopted, Xcel Energy says it would reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by one-third compared to 2005 levels. The state commission needs to respond to and amend the proposal by December 9."

Arizona Corporation Commission Staff Sides with Net Metering—by BaileyA: "To strengthen its monopolistic position and wipe out rooftop solar, Arizona Public Service—Arizona’s largest electric utility, sent a proposal to the Arizona Corporation Commission requesting to either cut net metering payments by more than half, or add fees to rooftop solar customer’s bills. Net metering is the policy that gives rooftop solar customers fair credit for the excess energy they put back on the grid. Following a request by Commissioner Gary Pierce that ACC Staff analyze of the proposal, Commission staff filed a report on September 30 that rejects the APS proposal. The “Pierce Report” recommends that the net metering be addressed in the next rate case in 2016. The report also recognized the value inherent in distributed generation that APS’s proposal did not consider—such as avoided fuel costs and increased grid security, air quality."

The Ethanol Mandate Needs to Be Reformed—by Michael Lux: "I have written before about the market manipulation going on in ethanol, a classic case of Wall Street speculators driving up prices for everyone else, and using government subsidies to do it. Beyond the market manipulation, though, progressives like me are quickly coming to the conclusion that the entire Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program that mandates more ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply may need to be dramatically reformed or even ended. Sold in the beginning as an environmental idea, it has become rife with problems of all kinds, including major environmental concerns, and is now just a fat corporate subsidy and a tool for Wall St speculators to make money off of. An increasing number of lawmakers realize its demands are unworkable and driving up the price of food and gas. The most recent Member of Congress to pile on is strong progressive Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), who called the ethanol mandate a “flop” this week and rightfully argued for serious changes to the program."

Fracking

Over 865,200 Gallons of Fracked Oil Spill in ND, Public In Dark For Days Due to Government Shutdown—by Steve Horn: "Over 20,600 barrels of oil fracked from the Bakken Shale has spilled from a Tesoro Logistics pipeline in Tioga, North Dakota in one of the biggest onshore oil spills in recent U.S. history. Though the spill occurred on September 29, the U.S. National Response Center - tasked with responding to chemical and oil spills - did not make the report available until October 8 due to the ongoing government shutdown. 'The center generally makes such reports available on its website within 24 hours of their filing, but services were interrupted last week because of the U.S. government shutdown,' explained Reuters."

Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation

Obama's Former Communications Director Anita Dunn Pitches "Ethical Oil" Keystone XL Ad—by Steve Horn: "Ezra Levant is the man behind an attempt to re-frame the Alberta tar sands as 'ethical oil.' 'Ethical'—Levant's deceptive public relations campaign argues of the tar sands 'carbon bomb'—because it doesn't come from the war-ridden and human rights-abusing Middle East. Now, the 'ethical oil' campaign has a new backer: Anita Dunn, former White House Communications Director for President Barack Obama and current Principal of SKDKnickerbocker, a public relations firm with offices in Washington, D.C.; New York City and Albany."

Is the Canadian government involved in the shutdown? XL Pipeline?—by illinifan17: "According to a story running in WC Native News and in Huffington Post Canada, billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer has written a letter accusing Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper of meddling in the U. S. government shutdown for the purpose of promoting the approval of the XL pipeline. From the Huffington Post article: 'My view is you don't take "no" for an answer,' Harper said. 'This won't be final until it's approved and we will keep pushing forward.' Steyer took issue with those comments in his letter to the prime minister. 'Have your government, your government’s lobbyist and/or agents representing TransCanada communicated with House Republicans about including Keystone in the original litany of demands put to President Obama?' Steyer asks in the letter to Harper sent Friday. "

Eco-Related DC & State Politics

VA GOP "Extreme Team": The Pro-Puppy-Mills, Pro-Elephant-Killing Ticket?—by lowkell: "Two items in the last 24 hours really make you wonder if the Virginia GOP "extreme ticket" of Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson and Mark Obenshain is also the "pro-puppy-mills/pro-elephant-killing ticket" as well.  Item #1: check out this story from the Washington Post Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli II (R) is scheduled to hold an Alexandria fundraiser next week co-hosted by an NRA consultant whose hunting show was canceled last month after he killed an elephant on safari and then compared the hunt’s critics to Hitler. Cuccinelli’s campaign characterized the NRA consultant’s use of a Hitler comparison as unfortunate but said he would attend the event."

Oil lobby has spent over $45 million in California since 2009—by Dan Bacher: "A new report released by the American Lung Association reveals that the oil industry lobby, the biggest corporate lobby in California, has spent $45.4 million in the state since 2009. The report was unveiled at a crucial time in California environmental politics - just a couple of weeks after Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 4, the green light to fracking bill, and less than 10 months after a network of so-called "marine protected areas" created under the "leadership" of a big oil industry lobbyist and other corporate operatives was completed on the California coast."

US cancels entire Antarctica field season—by Pakalolo: "The United States government maintains 3 bases on Antarctica: McMurdo, Amundsen-Scott and Palmer, which house and support the work of hundreds of American scientists as well as thousands of others around the world every year. The McMurdo Station itself houses 1258 residents, many of whom perform or support scientific research in Antarctica. [...] On October 8, orders were given to evacuate all facilities with the exception of skeleton crews to maintain the bases. The field season in Antarctica only lasts a few months every year during the summer; during the long, Antarctic winter conditions are too harsh to allow much work. Scientists who want to work on the continent therefore have spent in most cases years planning and preparing their expeditions to get in during the narrow window around October when they can arrive, travel to the sites they wish to visit, and return before the beginning of winter. The announcement was a devastating  blow for the polar science community."

Message from an Antarctic Scientist—by FishOutofWater: "The U.S. government shutdown has started to permanently damage American scientific research. Antarctic researchers have been told to prepare to evacuate because the NSF's Antarctic program will run out of funds on October 14. Instead of getting their research up to speed for the short research season, scientists are struggling find jobs and a place to go after they are evacuated. The logistics of Antarctic research are challenging when the best laid plans are made. The emergency shutdown of the U.S. Antarctic program caused by the House's refusal to fund the continued operations of the U.S. government has caused a logistical nightmare for science and for young American scientists. It may permanently damage the careers of some of our best and brightest young researchers."

Please sign petition to save Antarctic research from the shut-down!—by Hopeful Skeptic: "My project and thousands of others depend on taking samples in Antarctica in the coming weeks to months. However, thanks to the current lack of government funding, research in the Antarctic is being suspended for the season.  With a short season mandated by the Antarctica climate, a delay of only a few weeks can result in the loss of an entire years' worth of work! Please sign this petition asking the Senate for an urgent exception for Antarctic research. And please share with everyone you know who cares about science!"

PA-Gov Corbett receives "F" for the environment—by Glacial Erratic: "PennEnvironment released its evaluation of Governor Tom Corbett's environmental record. Big Surprise: it ain't good. PennEnvironment’s report card includes some of the most hotly-debated environmental policies in Harrisburg—and Gov. Corbett’s position on those issues—since becoming governor in 2011. [...] 'From the first bill he signed into law that gutted energy conservation for buildings across Pennsylvania, to rolling back protections to keep our parks safe from drilling and proposing to dismantle funding for farmland preservation, this report card makes it clear that our environment has taken a beating under Gov. Corbett,' said Adam Garber, PennEnvironment field director. 'Fortunately, broad bipartisan support in the Legislature was able to defend against many of the governor’s shortsighted proposals.'"

Surviving Climate Change : Geo-Engineering the Salvation Lakes—by wade norris: "Several years ago when I was speaking on behalf of Environmental Refugees, people thought I was exaggerating the amount of Climate Change that was going to be occurring in the near future. I had to explain, as others have done, that the Climate models proposed by reputable organizations like the the UN's International Governmental Panel on Climate Change, were far too conservative in their estimates."

Fox News cheers shutdown of toxic waste cleanup—by VL Baker: "Amazing show of disconnect from Fox News. Again. Do they really believe that only Democrats will be affected by toxic air and water? Shauna Theel at Media Matters has the proof that Fox News is oh so happy that the EPA is shutdown and even hoping that the shutdown is permanent. A Fox News anchor suggested that since the majority of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees have been furloughed under the government shutdown, we should simply do without them even after it has been resolved. [...] Stunning crap coming from Rupert Murdock's crew at Fox News. You pay these people enough they will sell out their Grandmom."

I know that politics are a big hairy deal but, you know, environment?—by thefarleftside: "'Incontrovertible' is not a kind of car. It means something that cannot be denied or disputed... like evidence that humankind is directly responsible for soaring amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the side-effect of which is rising temperatures, melting ice-caps, and future mass-extinction of, you know.... us. We need to stop squabbling over oil and marshal our resources against our real enemies... methane and CO2."

Jumping Aboard Fracking’s Fossil Fuel Carousel—by brasch: "Two Pennsylvania legislators who have taken money from—and enthusiastically supported—the natural gas industry have teamed up to now praise coal. State Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Williamsport), chair of the Environmental Resource and Energy Committee, and Rep. Tim Solobay (D-Canonsburg, Pa.) are co-chairs of the newly-established Coal Caucus. It’s a strange move on their part, since both have praised natural gas as the economic future of Pennsylvania."

The Great Outdoors

fall colors along the fox—by blueyedace2:

The Daily Bucket: Beech Drops in Bloom—by PHScott: "One of the pleasures of volunteering out in the woods is looking around for other plants while pulling invasive privet. Beech Drops were one of the finds Tuesday, something I've heard of but never noticed. They are easy to miss since most of the year they look like a dead twig but I was drawn by a circle of orange flags. I assume one of the Wolf Creek Preserve botanists marked this area. Beech Drops are a parasite of the American Beech (Fagus grandifolia).  The scientific name is Epifagus americana which actually makes a lot of sense since "epi" means upon or attached to. Beech trees are a East coast native altho I read they once covered the whole continent. Beech Drops are in the Orobanchaeae or Broomrape family. That family also includes squawroot and FOYI's Gerardia. Apparently the family divides into Parasitic and Hemiparasitic genera."

Water

TURN Water Supply Advocacy for Low Income Californians—by mettle fatigue: "In spring 2013, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved the 2012 settlement agreement between California American Water, The Utility Reform Network (TURN) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The decision was supported by the state's consumer protection Division of Ratepayer Advocates, and affects customers in seven counties: Los Angeles, Monterey, Placer, Sacramento, San Diego, Sonoma and Ventura. Under this settlement, an estimated 20,000 low-income households receive an on-bill rate credit of 20 percent (up from 15 percent) within a tiered rate structure akin to the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program. California American Water Rates Director Dave Stephenson said this model “also promotes wise water use with higher costs for water used outdoors' by encouraging customers to fix leaks, install water-efficient appliances and avoid over-irrigating their lawns, per California’s goal of a 20-percent reduction in per capita water use by 2020."

Restore the Delta to rally 700 people against tunnels—by Dan Bacher: "Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Governor Jerry Brown’s rush to build peripheral tunnels that would drain the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and doom Central Valley Chinook salmon and other Pacific fisheries, announced they would rally 700 tunnels opponents on Thursday evening in French Camp."

Restore the Delta rallies 700 people against tunnels—by Dan Bacher: "Jerry Meral, the Deputy Secretary for the California Natural Resources Agency, and other Brown administration officials promoting the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), have tried to portray the growing movement against the tunnels as only "token" opposition. The attempts to marginalize the opposition were exposed as completely absurd when Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Governor Jerry Brown's rush to build the twin tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, rallied over 700 tunnels opponents on Thursday evening at a gala fundraiser and awards ceremony in French Camp."

Environmental Groups Oppose Bay Delta "Conservation" Plan—by Dan Bacher: "The Environmental Water Caucus (EWC) says the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the twin tunnels 'ignores numerous plans that have been put forth which will solve the Delta’s purported "crisis" with less costs to ratepayers and the general public and with more ecological certainty."

Forests, Parks & Public Lands

Interior Secretary Jewell Caves to Republicans—by bmastiff: "1) Fox News is gleefully reporting that Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is cutting deals with the Republican Governor of Utah, Gary Herbert, to allow five National Parks in Utah to reopen in exchange for Herbert paying the wages of the Park Rangers. Similar offers are being extended to several other Red States. 2) This severely UNDERMINES  the Democratic position in the ongoing fight over affordable healthcare, raising the federal debt and ending the shutdown of the federal government."

Utah to Reopen National Parks—by notdarkyet: "Utah is rushing to take an offer from Pres. Obama to reopen National Parks if they pay for it.  He told them they would probably not be reimbursed.  Utah is willingly paying the $1.65 million to reopen their five parks and plan to have them open as soon as Saturday., said one ranger at Zion. So far Gov. Brewer is not planning to pay the $122,000 a day for a full reopening of Grand Canyon National Park. [...] I’m of two minds about this. It smacks of letting some government open while others don’t have a choice. It is the piecemeal approach that Republicans have been pushing. On the other hand many small communities absolutely depend on the tourism and are being greatly affected."

GOP wants to SELL our National Parks, not open them—by JLFinch: "There really has been much public whining and gnashing of teeth by the GOP because the National Parks are closed as a result of the GOP shutdown.  The GOP would have Americans believe that they value our National Parks and are outraged - outraged! - that the parks are closed. Oh really?
A powerful Republican chairman in the House of Representatives just shared with his constituents his desire to begin selling our national parks. Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida was caught on video in a local town meeting. Here is what he said: 'I got attacked in a previous town meeting for not supporting another national park in this country, a 200-mile trailway. And I told the man that we don't need more national parks in this country, we need to actually sell off some of our national parks.'"

The Government Shutdown and Public Lands: For the People...?—by Dan Chu: "Hundreds of national wildlife refuges, closed. Opportunities for the public to comment on important conservation issues such as the proposed removal of wolves from the endangered species list, dirty fuels projects on public lands, proposed timber sales, have been suspended. Government websites that provide transparency and accountability have been locked down. Looks like those we elected to run our government have forgotten that they are in office as public servants...to ensure government is...for the people!"

Expanding the National Park System #2- Alaska—by MorrellWI1983: "This week, I visit the largest state in the union, Alaska. Alaska is called the Last Frontier for a reason, it has huge expanses of wilderness, national parks, preserves and monuments, and, at over 663,000 square miles in area, there's' barely one person per mile in the state. Today I will look at the existing national parks and monuments, as well as describe the ones I'd like to add and rename. Fitting for a state one-fifth the size of the entire Lower 48, there's going to be a lot of them, and they are going to be massive."

Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash

Losing the Pacific Ocean—by Joieau: "We began hearing in August that something was happening at Fukushima Daiichi that was new and different from all that came before in the never-ending saga of the World's Worst Nuclear Disaster since it began on March 11, 2011. Seems their shoddily-built temporary storage tanks, into which they've been pumping hundreds of tons' worth of grossly contaminated water being poured down the meltdown-holes daily, began to spring leaks. Oh... and a recent sizable earthquake had shifted the underground river Daiichi was built right next to back to its original fault-following pathway, so that it now flows directly underneath the facility and into its basements, which were built below sea level. Since the corium lava that was once reactor cores in three of the 4 nuclear plants destroyed in the disaster is in or underneath those basements, the underground river water is becoming grossly contaminated and is going right on out to sea. And some of it is coming up in seeps located well beyond the seawall's artificial lagoon directly into the ocean."

Transportation & Infrastructure

Dispelling Electric-Vehicle Myths, #3A: The Sales Wars—by Assaf: "In case you missed them, Diaries One and Two dealt with environmental aspects. After establishing that even 1st-generation mass EVs already deliver a greenhouse-gas improvement, with the future promising rapid further improvement (that was #1), and making the case that the benefit from breaking oil's monopoly far outweighs any of the valid environmental concerns and objections about EVs (that was #2)—It is time to ask: How soon can oil's monopoly really be broken by EVs? Or is it all heat with no light, and EVs are going nowhere?
Are EVs condemned to be a niche product, constrained by price, utility and profitability limitations? You might answer, "Who Cares?" Well, if you're not convinced that moving motorized travel from petroleum-fueled to the only viable alternative available now (i.e., EVs), is indeed good for the planet—then please read no further. You will definitely waste your time. (if that's your stance and you haven't read Diaries 1-2, reading them might help)."

Sunday Train: A Nation of Cycleways vs Level of Service—by BruceMcF: "Under a Pedal to the Metal sustainable transport policy, we are not going to want to restrict sustainable transport to large cities alone. We are going to want to pursue sustainable transport nationwide. And laying the groundwork for pursuing sustainable transport nationwide requires an across-the-board reform of LOS rules. There has been substantial progress on this front since the state of affairs at the turn of the century. A total of twenty-seven (27) states [pdf] have some form of legislative language or DOT regulation that requires or encourages the recognition of most or all users of the public right of way. However, its notable that one of those states is our case at hand, California, which passed a complete streets measure in 2008 (2008-AB1358), but which as we have seen is only now reforming the heavy hand of auto-centric LOS regulations, and even there only partially."

Eco-Philosophy & Essays

Journalism at the LA Times—by RLMiller: "Yes, the Los Angeles Times has standards. Saying "there's no sign humans have caused climate change" is not stating an opinion, it's asserting a factual inaccuracy. It started off last Saturday with a note from the editors on the claim that Congress has exempted itself from Obamacare, and why that claim has not appeared in letters to the editor: 'Simply put, this objection to the president's healthcare law is based on a falsehood, and letters that have an untrue basis (for example, ones that say there's no sign humans have caused climate change) do not get printed.'"

Wilderness Versus Progress: Is There Really A Conflict?—by blip1944: "What we have ended up with is the notion that wilderness preservation versus economic development are inextricably opposed; that you either wind up with one or the other. Every development initiative is a threat to nature, every preservation plan is an effort to derail economic development. The fight over the Keystone pipeline is the argument in its current form. The origins of the fight go back to 1890 when the Census declared the wilderness to be closed. But the United States was the only country in the entire world that industrialized and closed its frontier at the same time. In Europe, the wilderness disappeared a thousand years before the Industrial Revolution began. In America we were laying railroad track and slaughtering buffalo at the same time.The truth is that our extraordinary economic development took place not as a conflict with nature, but because we were able to tap the abundant resources of nature for the first time. Urban centers that appeared in Europe during the 19th century competed for building materials that had to be expensively extracted and shipped from distances far and wide; Chicago was built from wood that floated down from Wisconsin. Ten years after we closed our frontier the output of our national economy surpassed the combined production of all the other industrialized economies. The resources that fueled American economic development were so cheap that re-investment and further growth could occur at three or four times the rate experienced in other industrializing zones. The greatest irony is that the self-same conservationists, like Roosevelt and Grinnell, who mourned the disappearance of wilderness came from the elite class whose economic fortunes derived from the resources extracted from the wilderness itself."

Miscellany

The Myth of Suicidal Lemmings—by PBJ Diddy: "California GOP Rep. Deving Nunes has likened his Republican colleagues to "Lemmings in Suicide Vests" due to their herd behavior in blindly following their leadership over the edge concerning the current shutdown/debt ceiling fight. (Presumably the vests are there so they can detonate themselves before they feel the icy chill of the water below...a double safeguard self-destruct mechanism, if you will.) And then, without the slightest hint of irony or self-awareness -- with perverse pride even, he has continued to vote in lockstep with them. But here's the problem. Lemmings don't commit suicide."

Kickstarter to Digitize the Archives of the American Solar Energy Association—by gmoke: "Kickstarter to digitize the archives of American Solar Energy Association & make them open access, 60 years worth of work on renewables. They nearly lost the archive to the recent CO flooding. Make sure this resource will never vanish."

Diatryma, flightless bird from 10-12 million years ago.
Diatryma, a flightless bird from 10 to 12 million years ago.
The Daily Bucket -- Fossils and Pseudofossils in the The Chuckanut Formation: Part 2, fauna—by RonK: "This is the second of my two-part diary of the fossils from the Chuckanut Formation (C/F), located near Bellingham in Northwestern Washington State. As noted in part 1, (flora), this formation developed during the Eocene Epoch, some 50 million years ago (ma). This area was a subtropical fluvial plain on to which sediments were deposited and ultimately hardened into sandstone, shale, and siltstone that captured specimens of both flora and fauna of that time. (No new pseudofossils in this part.)"
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