Skip to main content

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 267 of these spotlighting more than 16,450 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 84 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.]
We are close to eating bait fish and jelly fish as big fish numbers plummet.—by Pakalolo: "Since 1950, one in four of the world’s fisheries has collapsed due to overfishing. 77 percent of the world's marine fish stocks are fully exploited, over-exploited, depleted or slowly recovering. The cod fishery off Newfoundland, Canada collapsed in 1992, leading to the loss of some 40,000 jobs in the industry. Twenty years later, the fishery has yet to recover. Scientists estimate that 90% of the world’s large fish have been removed from our oceans, including many tuna, sharks, halibut, grouper, and other top level predators which help maintain an ecological balance.Of the 3.5 million fishing vessels worldwide, only 1.7 percent are classified as large-scale, industrial vessels, yet these vessels take almost 60 percent of the global fish catch."
Key West boats have been taking tourists
 fishing for decades and taking photos of the
 catch. Here's how they did in 1957.
And in 2007.
green dots
Duke got law changed so its coal ash pits are protected in North Carolina regulatory bill—by HoundDog: "In 2013, a coalition of environmentalist groups sued Duke Energy "to clean up nearly three dozen leaky coal ash dumps spread across the state." So last summer, Duke Energy had North Carolina legislators change the laws to make make it much more difficult. Michael Biesecker and Mitch Weiss report that Duke's Coal Ash Pits Protected By Provision In North Carolina Regulatory Bill. An investigation by the Associated Press show that Duke's lobbyists had Republican legislators insert a 330-word section into a 60-page Regulatory Reform Act that: allowed Duke to avoid any costly cleanup of contaminated groundwater leaching from its unlined dumps toward rivers, lakes and the drinking wells of nearby homeowners. ... 'This sweeping change gutted North Carolina's groundwater law,' recounts D.J. Gerken, a senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. ... Still, regulators alone could not protect the company from its huge liability if the environmental groups persevered in court. So Duke officials lobbied—successfully—to change state law, itself. Their vehicle was the Regulatory Reform Act. And they took aim at a provision in state law that had been on the books for decades, requiring Duke to halt the source of contamination if its subterranean plumes of pollution crept more than 500 feet from its ash dumps. So, the law was changed so Duke does not have to do anything about underground contamination of groundwater on land it owns, but only react in proportion to levels of pollution that reaches a neighboring property."
green dots
Anti-fracking protest, 3-16-14
Anti-fracking rally in Sacramento—by ybruti: "In Sacramento on Saturday, March 15, two busloads of 'fractivists' from Fresno and Merced joined many other groups from around the state for a huge, well-organized anti-fracking rally. Young people as well as raging grannies and everyone in between were there with a great outpouring of creative signs and props. Unfortunately, my camera battery ran low before I could get a picture of a woman dressed as a shower with flames pouring down on her. But I did manage to get a few pictures. At the beginning of the program, members of the Winnemem Wintu tribe of Northern California emphasized the need to protect water resources and to oppose raising the Shasta Dam even higher. I recognized some of the people from the documentary Dancing Salmon Home and was able to congratulate them on that extraordinary film. [...] Idle No More was present. This is a protest movement which began in December 2012, 'originating among the Aboriginal peoples in Canada comprising the First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and their non-Aboriginal supporters in Canada, and to a lesser extent, internationally.'"
green dots
New Study: Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax Would BOOST the Economy While Slashing CO2 Emissions—by lowkell: "The conventional wisdom to date has generally been that a carbon tax would help the environment but would hurt the economy. For instance, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)—not exactly an unbiased source, to put it mildly—found a parade of horrors from a carbon tax. For instance, NAM claimed that "any revenue raised by the carbon tax would be far outweighed by the negative impact to the overall economy" and that "increased costs of coal, natural gas and petroleum products due to a carbon tax would ripple through the economy and result in higher production costs and less spending on non-energy goods." The question is, should we take anything NAM says on this subject seriously?"

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

Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice

Kitchen Table Kibitzing - 3.17.14 It is Spring here today + Stop Fracking California—by Paradise50: "They expected 3000 folks to show up, more than 4000 did. At one point we took to the sidewalks and surrounded the capitol building."

Don't Frack California protest in Sacramento, Calif. 3-16-14
Check out that cool banner.
Kitchen Table Kibitzing—by remembrance: "One Woman Blockade: Cheyenne River Hero Halts Megaload."

Connect! Unite! Act! ATTN: Events for DC, Dallas & Detroit! +Q: What Was Your Last Protest?—by navajo: "Four Kossack regional groups descend on the California State Capitol
to demand that Governor Jerry Brown ban the oil and gas production process known as fracking. Representing Northern California, the SFKossacks, Central Valley Kossacks, Paradise & Chico Kossacks and the Silicon Valley Kossacks gathered on the mall of our state capitol in Sacramento on Saturday, March 15th to protest fracking. Governor Brown has the ability to ban the environmentally destructive, water-intensive oil extraction practice known as hydraulic fracturing in California. The state is in a severe drought and the last place our water should go is into fracking. It is estimated the protesters numbered around 4000. We endured the hot sun which sent the temperatures into the 80s as we gathered midday to make a lot of noise and get the attention of the Governor."

Sacramento, 3-15-14, anti-fracking protest
Hundreds of Tribal members join huge California rally to oppose fracking—by Dan Bacher: "Hundreds of members of California Indian Nations and Tribes from throughout the country gathered with a crowd of over 4000 people at the State Capitol in Sacramento on March 15 to send a clear message to Governor Brown: ban fracking, an environmentally destructive oil extraction practice that pollutes groundwater, rivers and the oceans. The large Tribal contingent included members of the Miwok, Maidu, Winnemem Wintu, Yurok, Karuk, Hoopa, Ohlone, Pit River, Cahto, Round Valley, Pomo and Chumash Nations, as well as members of the Dakota, Lakota Sioux, indigenous communities, native organizations and activists in the Idle No More Movement and Klamath Justice Coalitions. Many Tribal representatives emphasized the direct connection between fracking and the Shasta Dam raise and the Governor’s peripheral tunnels plan, which will provide water for fracking. 'We should call the Governor ‘Westland’s’ Brown,'  quipped Chook Chook Hillman, a member of the Karuk Tribe and the Klamath Justice Coalition that has organized many direct action protests to remove the Klamath dams, stop the violation of tribal gathering rights by the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create so-called 'marine protected areas,' and to stop the Westlands Water District legal attempt to raid Trinity River water."

Clean Energy Nonprofit Yanks Errant Support for Fossil Fool Rush Limbaugh—by ProgLegs: "A Kansas nonprofit organization devoted to creating a clean energy future called the Climate and Energy Project was shocked and dismayed to find itself inadvertently supporting the Rush Limbaugh Show after a Flush Rush volunteer heard its ad on that show in Kansas City yesterday. Limbaugh has a long history of shilling for big oil, using his right-wing talk show to deride renewable energy such as wind and solar as a harebrained left-wing stunt. [...] When contacted by Flush Rush, the executive director of the Climate and Energy Project moved with lightning speed to yank the ad off Limbaugh's regressive show."

Victory in Georgia: Students Continue to Make Progress Against Campus Coal Plants—by Mary Anne Hitt: "I am thrilled for students at the University of Georgia: After more than four years of campaigning, gathering more than 5,000 signatures and 100 faculty endorsements, and a slew of community and campus events, the UGA Beyond Coal Campaign is seeing some serious results. Last week the UGA administration announced that the campus coal boiler will be replaced!"

Climate Chaos

American Association for the Advancement of Science decide to take a Different Tact—by jamess: "Scientists: Let's Change How We Talk About Climate Change. After years of publishing scientific reports filled with impenetrable jargon and numbering in the thousands of pages—like those released every few years by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC]—one group of American scientists have said enough's enough. Under the banner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the group of more than a dozen scientists on Tuesday launched "What We Know," an outreach effort that aims to encourage people to think of climate change as a risk management issue for human societies, rather than solely as something that impacts the environment. 'Our specific goal in this case is to try to help move policy forward by making science as clear and straightforward as we possibly can,' said Dr. Alan Leshner, the chief executive officer of AAAS, in a conference call with reporters Tuesday. [...] I like where this might lead.  Scientists talking to people, like people ..."

AAAS Seeks to End Confusion on Climate Change; They've Got Their Work Cut Out For Them—by xaxnar: "The New York Times featured a report March 18, 2014, from the AAAS, the Amercian Association for the Advancement of Science. Reporter Justin Gillis focused on Mario J. Molina, who was among those honored with a Nobel Prize for work detailing the threat to the ozone layer in the previous century. Molina is now spearheading efforts by the AAAS to sound the alarm on the urgency to act on Climate Change, and they're serious. 'The evidence is overwhelming: Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising,' says the report. 'Temperatures are going up. Springs are arriving earlier. Ice sheets are melting. Sea level is rising. The patterns of rainfall and drought are changing. Heat waves are getting worse, as is extreme precipitation. The oceans are acidifying.'"

Changing Snowfall Patterns—by Land of Enchantment: "There's been a lot of snow this past winter, but also extended drought in the West. And the planet's ice cover, in the form of glaciers and sea ice, has been undeniably receding over the last century or more. They know it in Iceland where features like the Jokullsarlon (Iceberg Lagoon) have been growing quickly. And the same is true throughout most of the world: Glacier National Park has lost most of its glaciers. The snows of Kilamanjaro will soon be gone. Maple syrup producers aren't having an easy time of it, either. While serious people like James Balog document our precipitously changing planet, a multi-billion dollar network of climate deniers has been filling the airwaves with noise for the benefit of a handful of unimaginably wealthy fossil carbon interests."

Nate Silver's new science writer bashed for "ignoring" climate data and distortions of statistics—by HoundDog: "Nate Silver’s New Science Writer Ignores The Data On Climate Science. I hadn't realized that Nate Silver, who used to write here, and then at the New York Times, just started his own website, FiveThirtyEight, this week. This launch is receiving poor reviews, with extra scathing criticism for science editor, Roger Pielke Jr., who is apparently raising eyebrows in the scientific and environmental communities. [...] Kroh, of ThinkClimate offers so many examples of Pielke, Jr.'s 'numerous distortions of data and statistics,' that have been 'debunked by actual climate scientists,' it is challenging to choose just three examples. Pielke routinely seeks to minimize the impacts and severity of climate change and in the process, has been repeatedly criticized as inaccurate and misleading by some of the nation’s foremost climate scientists. ... Most recently, Pielke tangled with Obama science advisor and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, John Holdren, over the relationship between the severity of California’s epic drought and climate change. In February, Pielke slammed Holdren for offering a scientifically-grounded explanation of how climate change is worsening western drought. As Joe Romm observed, 'Holdren’s views are right in the mainstream of climatologists’ view of drought. I can think of no climate scientists who share Pielke’s startling assessment of Holdren’s views as ‘zombie science.’"

White House climate.data.gov needs a twin showing how communities already deal with global warming—by Meteor Blades: "What the White House might ponder while climate.data.gov gets honed is establishing another site, a twin, if you will. This would be sort of a reverse website of climate.data.gov  to provide information from municipalities, states and—dare I suggest—foreign nations that have already adopted measures to deal with climate change. Many of those policies, such as requirements for efficiency standards and for how much future electricity should be provided from renewable sources, are the sort of far-sighted moves that would be of interest to communities just getting started on passing measures related to global warming. Many of those local and state policies ought to become elements of national policy. As such, the twin website ought to be required reading for every member of Congress, especially the ones who still believe that climate change is a hoax or those who don't think so but still can't get their butts in gear to do anything about it."

New Gallup Poll on Climate Change Shows Media and Political Malpractice—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "On Monday, Gallup came out with a new poll on public perceptions of climate change. Almost half (49%) of Democrats said that the seriousness of climate change was "generally underestimated" in most news coverage. [...] Overall, this produced the following general results: 42%: 'generally exaggerated.' 33%: 'generally underestimated.' 23%: 'generally correct'. On a positive note, less than half of those surveyed thought the seriousness of climate change was exaggerated in media coverage. On another note, we're doomed."

Confronting Climate Change.....—by Political Guy: "As a person who has recently finally understood the magnitude of climate change, I have taken just a few meaningful steps to change myself and help out with the whole thing. Whether or not I can do anything by myself, I still think that it remains to me in my moral framework to change my personal habits, which I've heard can help the situation. Briefly, a few things; I will: Ride my bike more often. Remain a committed vegetarian, having began from today. Shop less, and only really buy the necessities. Learn about everything I can, build resources to share with others, and work for free to install infrastructure that can help with the problem. I am talking to my family currently about changing their eating habits as well. I do firmly believe that chain reactions of action among concerned citizens can create meaningful change; this is especially true when you consider modern technology. We have to consider what our own impacts on this planet are. Plant your own gardens if you can and go outside and enjoy the outside instead of using electricity. Summer is here."

Food, Agriculture & Gardening

Pesticides and Farm Workers. A Labor and an Environmental Issue.—by marc brazeau: "This week's must read comes from Susan Freinkel writing for FERN in The Nation on long term research into the impact of pesticides on the children of farm workers in California. [...] The article underscore one of the biggest fault lines in US agriculture. To me the issues surrounding class and labor issues between produce growers in California and Florida are very different than even the largest family farms in the Midwest. In developing a productive and accurate critique of so-called 'Big Ag' on 'Industrial Agriculture' it's important to keep in mind that it's not just one thing. Large commodity crop farms in the Midwest are almost universally family farms and highly mechanized. They don't require many hired hands and those they do hire tend to be long term and local. The people handling the pesticides tend have college degrees in agriculture, and relationships with extension agents and sales reps. You can bet if their kids are helping out, they using best practices for handling those pesticides. The same is nowhere near as true for farm workers, especially migrant farm workers in places like California and Florida."

Voracious rootworms evolve, overcoming genetically engineered corn when farmers defied scientists—by HoundDog: "Thanks to CroneWit for alerting us to the evolution of rootworms resistant to genetically engineered 'rootworm resistant corn,' 'Bt corn.' In a rush to maximize short-term profits, farmers and seed companies defied guidelines established by the EPA and scientists, allowing rootworms to gain the upper hand. Brandon Keim, tells the tragic story, Voracious Worm Evolves to Eat Biotech Corn Engineered to Kill It in Wired, which highlights why we need a more independent EPA, and independent academic scientists to help protect and promote the common good, and why we should not let those led only by short-term profit motivation set agricultural, governmental, or other social policies by themselves. Genetic engineers created Bt corn by incorporating the genes of the pesticide producing Bacillus thuringiensis into genes of the roots of traditional corn, vastly reducing the amount of pesticides needed, and increasing crop yields. Keim tells us that Bt corn is now used in three quarters of the U.S. crop. Scientists warned that unless farmers and regulators set aside reserve areas, to keep mixing in with the genes of rootworms not growing in Bt corn, resistance could emerge. [...] But, did seed companies and farmer listen? No! They brazenly defied these reasonable warnings from scientists that they plant up to 50% of their corn crops with non-BT corn.  Seed companies even induced the EPA to set the guidelines down between 5% and 20%, and many farmers didn't even follow those reduced guidelines! Another lesson here is we need a more lobby resistant EPA."

Lotte's Garden live blog 2014: Come grow with me!—by SteelerGrrl: "When winter renders it too cold to tie dye, one of my favorite refuges is my seed catalog collection. I've dabbled in gardening for years, but never to the point of growing most of my own veggies through an entire season. This year, I decided to try doing just that. Then I had the idea to live blog my garden. It's not going to be big or fancy, and it may or may not be a delicious success."

Energy

Guess who's the major stakeholder in Canada's oil sands? Of course, it's the Kochs—by Joan McCarter: "While the Kochs aren't the primary beneficiaries—they haven't reserved space in the potential pipeline and are not partnering with TransCanada—they would benefit handsomely from the infrastructure put in place by the pipeline. So says the activist group, the International Forum on Globalization, which is publicizing the Kochs' tar sands holding. They contend that the pipeline will 'create competition among rail and other pipelines and lower transportation costs for all oil sands producers, bolstering profit margins and making additional reserves economically viable.' Exploiting their extensive tar sands holdings would only be made easier—and more profitable!— IFG says, if Keystone XL is approved.That could certainly help explain the Republican obsession with the Keystone XL pipeline approval, beyond their base love for fossil fuels and environmental degradation."

More Coal Woes: Always a Fun Diary to Write—by Wisper: "Oh, where do we begin since we left off? Let's start with general news that US Coal distribution fell another 7% in the fourth quarter of 2013. This lack of demand continues to batter the trading price of coal. Its currently trading at $60.53 and positioned to fall.  Remember the price of all fuel rises in the Winter due to heating demand and today, boys and girls, is the first day of SPRING! ... and ICF International recently released their market analysis and expects 2014 to be the weakest year for the US Coal industry ever. But whatever, even the lesser-political Koch brother has read the writing on the wall and pulled his company, Oxbow Carbon, out of the Coal business altogether…. So let’s get to some details!"

Time to “Warrior Up” against coal terminal – Jewell James—by RonK: "I would like to call readers’ attention to a very well written and timely article by Jeff Galbraith published in the latest issue of Sierra Magazine about the proposed coal export terminal slated to be perched on the edge of Puget Sound and the Salish Sea. The article features the Lummi Nation who, along with the rest of us would be seriously affected by this terminal and its ultimate consequences. In 2011 SSA Marine began filing permit requests to build a new coal export terminal. In addition to the snaking trains carrying crude oil to refineries and the endless conveyor of tankers toting the refined fuel to China and India, the proposed terminal would be capable of shipping 49 million tons of coal per year. Up to 18 additional train per day – .. .The coal would be transferred onto vessels three times the length of a football field, shipped over sea lanes that would eat upwards of 20 percent of the Lummi fishing grounds, and finally delivered to power plants in Asia, primarily in China. The proposed site is at Cherry Point, Whatcom County, Washington State, just 15 miles north of Bellingham and about 10 miles south of the Canadian border. More significant is that the estimated additional 18 coal trains per day that would run from Wyoming’s Powder River basin, through Montana, Idaho, and all of Washington State, would also run through Seattle, many other small towns including Bellingham, and the Lummi tribal lands to be deposited on their ancestral grounds at Cherry Point."

Lummi protesters against NW coast coal terminal.
Lummi protesters
Koch Power Raised Gasoline Prices By 40 Cents A Gallon Overnight—by govs: "Koch Power is not the name of a company.  It is the oligopolistic power wielded by the Koch brothers over the Minnesota retail gasoline market. On May 16, 2013, they exercised that power to raise the price of retail gasoline by 40 cents a gallon overnight. But that story, like all stories involving the Kochs, does not end there. Koch Power is not the name of a company. It is the oligopolistic power wielded by the Koch brothers over the Minnesota retail gasoline market. On May 16, 2013, they exercised that power to raise the price of retail gasoline by 40 cents a gallon overnight. But that story, like all stories involving the Kochs, does not end there. Below the fold you will read a story that could easily be titled House of Cards: Minnesota."

Over 5,000 Ask Illinois Attorney General to Investigate Permit at Peabody Rocky Branch Strip Mine—by Willinois: "Over 5,000 people signed a CREDO mobile petition in just a few days asking Attorney General Lisa Madigan to halt logging and review the permit for a Peabody Strip Mine near Equality, Illinois. The petitions asks: Due to the extraordinary number of unaddressed issues and permit inconsistencies and errors, we call on Attorney General Lisa Madigan to file a petition requesting an internal administrative review of the Department of Natural Resources' decision to allow the Rocky Branch Strip Mine. I visited the Rocky Branch neighbors with a mix of sadness and inspiration this week. It's heartbreaking to see the area depopulated as Peabody buys homes and drives out neighbors. It's gut-wrenching to see clear cutting, nearby coal slurry ponds, and a company telling people they'll be sorry if they try to stay in homes where they expected to spend the rest of their lives."

US Sailors Exposure to Fukushima Radiation Much Higher than Reported—by Eternal Hope: "Exposure levels of US sailors who helped to clean up Fukushima were much higher than had previously been reported. The revelations contained in the report could have a bearing on the lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Company by more than 70 U.S. service members who say they suffer from long-term health effects from their participation in the U.S. navy's response to the nuclear disaster. Kyle Cleveland, a Temple University professor based in Japan, obtained documents showing military officials aboard the carrier detected radiation levels that were 30 times greater than normal and significantly greater than what the Japanese government told them to expect. Navy officials have maintained that the radiation levels service members were exposed to during Operation Tomodachi were not enough to cause health effects. But participants in the lawsuit have experienced a disproportionate number of health problems since the operation despite being in their 20's."

City of Fairbanks Passes Resolution Calling for More Fukushima Monitoring—by Eternal Hope: "The City of Fairbanks unanimously passed a resolution Monday calling for more radiation monitoring of their coastline as we enter the third anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. While radiation levels there are still a fraction of harmful levels, the goal is to watch for trends to ensure that the levels do not get any higher."

China moves thorium to a "war-like" development schedule—by Keith Pickering : "A team of scientists in Shanghai had originally been given 25 years to try to develop the world's first nuclear plant using the radioactive element thorium as fuel rather than uranium, but they have now been told they have 10, the researchers said. Now working under 'war-like' pressure to reduce smog in cities, the Chinese are about to change the world with American technology, while we watch passively on the sidelines. They will build meltdown-proof thorium reactors that produce no long-term waste, and they will become the first nation on Earth to replace their smog-producing, population-killing coal plants with carbon-free thorium."

Facts: Difficult to Ignore—by richturc125: "We’re enjoying the (temporary) fruits of that ingenuity and technological prowess via the shale production boom because that’s what’s left for us. Conventional crude oil fields (also finite) continue their inexorable depletion, while wells now being fracked (a much more expensive process to begin with) have staggering decline rates—just one of the many issues about shale production we must acknowledge and address. Despite the chatter, tight oil production is not our energy savior. Is it better to run ourselves headfirst into a wall, or might it be wiser if start having meaningful, fact-based conversations with the goal of adaptation to the reality of current and future rates of production? Rate is what matters. The misleading “increasing reserves” argument has a narrow range of utility and benefit. You can safely assume neither is directed to the general public."

Good News on the Climate Change Front! Huge Losses Reported by Fossil Fuel-Based Utility—by mobiusein: "The good news on the climate change front these days is the extraordinary rise of renewable energy sources in the electric utility industry in Germany. Accounting today for more than 25% of electricity production in the country, decentralized solar and wind energy has led to the precipitous decline of fossil fuel-based utility industry during the past few years. Among the casualties in this energy battle are the huge losses reported this week – in the tune of €2.8 billion or $3.87 billion – by Peter Terium, CEO of RWE, one of Germany largest utility companies: German energy giant RWE has taken a massive loss of €2.8 billion—it’s first loss in 60 years—after admitting it got its strategy wrong, and should have focused more on renewable and distributed energy rather than conventional fossil fuels. [...] Last night, Peter Terium, who has been CEO for less than two years, conceded that the company had got it wrong. He admitted that the change in electricity markets, which has seen earnings from conventional generation gutted by the impact of solar and wind energy, was 'unstoppable.' It was now time to change strategy, and focus on what the electricity market will look like in the future."

Renewables

13 Native American renewable energy projects get funding from Department of Interior—by HoundDog: "Katie Valentine, Think Progress' rising star ecological journalist generates enthusiasm with a breezy article announcing With Interior Department Funding, Native American Tribe Could Soon Build A Billion-Dollar Wind Farm. 21 Native America energy and mineral projects received $3.2 million of grants including 13 proposals for renewable energy projects and plans. Not all of the tribes know how much money they’ll receive yet, but renewable projects accounted for the largest chunk of grant money at $1,972,350 for the 13 proposals. One of the tribes to receive grant money is the Crow Creek Sioux tribe in South Dakota, which has plans to build a billion-dollar wind farm. Crow Creek leaders hope the farm will provide free electricity to the 2,000 tribe members that live on the reservation and also generate electricity that the tribe could sell to nearby towns. If the tribe gets enough funding to build the project, leaders say it could produce enough energy to power 100,000 to 400,000 homes."

1 Square Mile = 4 Million Barrels—by jamess: "The solar energy that hits one square mile in a year is equivalent to 4 million barrels of oil. [...] (18,840,000 bbl per day / 4,000,000 bbl per mile² per year) * 365 days per yr = 1719.5 miles² of Solar Area (41.5 miles x 41.5 miles) would provide for the Total US annual Oil Consumption (circa 2011). For context that land area, if put into solar production, which could make the U.S. Oil-Independent, is roughly the size of a typical county: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county [Hamilton County, New York] has a total area of 1,808 square miles (4,700 km2), of which 1,720 square miles (4,500 km²) is land"

The Daily Bucket - Recycling Water with Solar Power—by enhydra lutris.

Fracking

The California Frack Wars: Episode IV A New Hope—by FractivistForce: "For months, the frustration surrounding the Governor's pro-fracking stance has been simmering among fractivists and democratic party delegates alike. We have done literally everything within our legal capacity in order to get Jerry Brown's attention. There was the nonstop bird-dogging, the rallies, the petitions, and, more recently, the delivery of more than 100,000 public comments to his office. 'We know it's rattling him," said David Turnbull, 'We know he's paying attention and he's hearing it.' At the end of February, Jerry Brown announced that he was running for re-election this year, as many of us had expected. There were a few interesting notes from his re-election announcement: 'I said that I would work with both Democrats and Republicans, oil companies and environmentalists, unions and business, and I have...' (More: Big Oil and Governor Brown) 'My goal is to decrease the use of fossil fuels while fostering vibrant communities and a sustainable environment.' (Climate Change: An Update) Unfortunately, actions speak louder than words, and our pro-fracking Governor is still infatuated with the oil and gas industry's plan to frack up California."

Californians rally to save their state—by jarbelaez: "There are an unknown number of faults in California. The ones we do know about are active, and have the possibility of causing a major earthquake at anytime. All Californians live with the constant thought that the 'big one' could occur at any time. So why are we about to increase our earthquake risk—if Governor Brown has his way—by fracking, acidizing, and then injecting trillions of gallons of wastewater underground? On Shaky Ground, a recent reportby Earthworks, Clean Water Action, and the Center for Biological Diversity, exposes the risks of increased fracking in the Monterey Shale. It calculates that developing the Monterey Shale will produce nearly 9 trillion gallons of wastewater—the vast majority of which will be injected into disposal wells. As noted in the report, this type of wastewater injection increases the risk of a seismic event. California is earthquake country. We have more people and more infrastructure at risk from earthquakes that any other state. Scientists have known for decades that underground wastewater injection can reduce a fault’s natural friction, and increase the risks of earthquakes."

"Hydrofracking: What Everyone Needs to Know"—by Old Redneck: "The energy industry and, sadly, a lot of people in government who should know better, have sold the public on the lie that hydraulic fracturing—'fracking,' 'hydrofracking'—will solve all our energy demands, make the USofA "energy independent," and lead us into a Promised Land flowing with milk and honey and cheap gas. Horseshit.  (Can I say that on Kos?) I've recently read three books and am now re-reading and studying them. I recommend these for anyone who wants to know what fracking is all about and what it can, cannot, and will not do for us. I purchased extra copies of these books and donated them to my local library."

Nyet, Exxon Mobil—by Robocop: "Enter ExxonMobil and other giant oil and gas producers.  Taking advantage of political upheaval in Ukraine, they’re petitioning the U.S. government to increase the practice of fracking all over the world. The NYT says that Halliburton has already started fracking in Poland and Shell will soon begin fracking in Ukraine. The gas company shills, the Republican Party, have eagerly lined up to do the bidding of their masters. Speaker John Boehner has stated that “one immediate step the president can and should take is to dramatically expedite the approval of U.S. exports of natural gas…and the U.S. Department of Energy’s excruciatingly slow approval process amounts to a de facto ban on American natural gas exports that Vladimir Putin has happily exploited to finance his geopolitical goals.' Boehner’s overheated demands, however, are disingenuous, as the gas companies, once in place to export natural gas, can sell to whomever they wish, leaving Putin free to lower the price of Russian exports."

The Hilcorp Frack-Gas Stampede to the Utica is Ready to Trample Right Over You—by philosleft: "Imagine getting a letter that amounted to this: Dear Land-Owning Sucker: We at Hilcorp are relentless in the pursuit of profit. Hence we have decided that in order to make this gambit on fracking the Utica worth the millions we are going to have to put into it, we have to get every square inch of land we can under our drill bit. And that means yours. Thanks, Steve Fisackerly, Senior Landman, Hilcorp Energy Company."

Berkeley CC to Act on Fracked Oil Transport through City—by dharmasyd: "On Tuesday, March 25  the Berkeley City Council will consider legislation to stop the transport of Fracked Crude Oil through Berkeley. My Council member for district #3, Darryl Moore sent this information today.  I hope many can attend the CC meeting. Here's the information from Councilman Moore: I recently became aware of a plan Phillips 66 has to ship highly hazardous crude oil by rail, in large volumes, along our Union Pacific tracks, to San Luis Obispo. These are the very tracks Amtrak uses, adjoining residences, industries, shopping areas. The record of accidents and explosions of this material is frightening, as you can see in the piece KPIX aired last week."

Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation

Lakota: Dead or Prison before KXL—by Don midwest: "The control of territory and resources is the basic issue here. Those people who live close to the land and respect nature are fighting back. 'They want to get rid of the Lakota, the protectors of the earth,' said Olowan Martinez, an organizer in the Lakota community. 'But what they don’t know is when they get rid of the Lakota, the earth isn’t too far behind. Our people believe the Lakota is the earth.' 'Dead or in prison before we allow the Keystone XL pipeline to pass,' the Lakota warriors, many mounted atop horses, repeated during the Liberation Day celebration. Their words carried the weight of 521 years, and counting, of lived resistance."

About that 'overwhelming Keystone support'—ABC/WaPo Poll this March. It's really just BS..—by Eric Nelson: "After seeing this latest meme; "overwhelmingly favored" being touted by the right as 'truth' and even some opponents of the Pipeline repeating the language of the headlines giving it more credence, I took a look, and not being an expert on polling or the science of it I ask the simplest questions to test this phrase being tossed around as fact—Do the people being polled have the facts or not? And what were they really voting for; jobs or the Keystone pipeline? Is this the truth or just another "conservative"/corporate spun up conclusion created to be added into the things we say in conversation first, and then come to accept without really questioning its veracity or the meaning of it?"

John Kerry tells students that not even his wife knows his opinion about the Keystone XL pipeline—by Meteor Blades: "There will be political fallout regardless of what Kerry recommends and what Obama chooses to decide. The question is, how much? If the president approves Keystone XL, that would put him at odds with environmental advocates, many of them young people who have demonstrated a growing disconnection from both Democrats and Republicans. If he rejects the pipeline, it means diplomatic tension with Canada whose tar sands petroleum would be transported by Keystone XL, with many unions, with some Democratic governors, with a significant number of Democratic senators and representatives, and with a plurality of rank-and-file Democrats, according to various polls. The latest one, a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, asked, "Do you favor or oppose building the Keystone XL pipeline that would transport oil from Canada’s oil sands region through the Midwest to refineries in Texas?" It found that 49 percent of Democrats favor building the pipeline, with 38 percent opposed. Eighty-four percent of Republicans favor it, with 9 percent opposed. Sixty-one percent of independents favor it against 29 percent opposed."

Sorry, Tom Friedman — Protecting the Planet is Non-Negotiable—by Eternal Hope: "Tom Friedman seems to think that Keystone is a bargaining chip. He says that Putin's seizure of Crimea should present our politicians on both parties an opportunity—strike a grand bargain on energy that will end our dependence on foreign oil and bankrupt Putin. The key ingredients for a new U.S. energy strategy, argues Hal Harvey, the C.E.O. of Energy Innovation, is, first, 'to optimize affordability, reliability and clean together, rather than one at the expense of the other.' Second to 'take advantage of new technology,  we finally have the capacity to build an energy system we can be proud of, and by choosing this future, we will stimulate even more technologies that deliver energy that is indeed affordable, reliable and clean.' And, third, to 'ensure that our natural gas bonanza actually ushers in a truly clean future.' The problem is that this proposed 'grand bargain' includes Keystone."

Obama, McKibben, and NoKXL—by StopMotionsolo: "In my feelings about the #NoKXL marches what I have consistently mentioned and been proud of was the showing of people for them. I've never even thought much about the passing of the pipeline; I've wanted the President to kill the pipeline through executive order, but I haven't lost sleep over it. I've thought about the success activism was having against the TPP and FastTrack but not to KXL. The article discusses what Bill McKibben has done. Personally, I think Mr. McKibben's efforts have been excellent but not for the obvious reason of marches. His brilliance has been his ability to rally people together so that they can connect and organize later. His brilliance has been his discussions on the issues in general. His brilliance has been his success in leading divestment campaigns. As far as pressuring Obama though, I question how much effect he is having on that, specifically. Obama may still respond to public pressure but in this case it's a question of his 'legacy,' donation bonuses, and stocks (if he has any)."

Eco-Related DC & State Politics

Big oil lobbyist serves on federal marine protected area panel—by Dan Bacher: "A prominent California oil industry lobbyist not only served as a high ranking official overseeing the creation of marine protected areas in California, but also currently serves on a federal marine protected areas advisory panel, according to information published on the NOAA website. In one of the biggest conflicts of interest in recent California history, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California from 2009 to 2011. (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/....) During the period from 2004 to 2012, she also served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast. Under her leadership, she and other corporate interests made sure that oil industry operations, including fracking operations in Southern California waters, weren’t impacted at all by the creation of 'marine protected areas.'"

Sec of Interior Jewell-Sen Tester-Meet With Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation—by ban nock: "Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, and Senator Jon Tester hosted a round table discussion with interested outdoors people at the headquarters of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) in Missoula Montana Saturday afternoon. In Secretary Jewell's words, 'I'm here with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation hearing about what's important to them, about the conservation of public lands, our management of the public lands for the long term health of wildlife as well as the people that live here and the people that come and recreate here.' [...] The secretaries talk in Bozeman centered around 3 issues, doing less with less money due to funding shortfalls, less young people interested in the outdoors, and climate change. Questions from the audience were about public access to land, potential coal mining on Indian reservation, and Vegas diverting water from the Missouri which is kind of far fetched."

Sen. Inhofe brags that if Republicans retake the Senate, he'll be in charge of the environment again—by Hunter: "Now that's good old-fashioned nightmare fuel.
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe said Tuesday he will again head the Senate committee overseeing transportation and environmental regulation if Republicans win control of the upper chamber in November. He's right, of course. The Republican method of governance is to put people in charge of things ironically; this is how you get people like Rep. Michele Bachmann on the 'Intelligence Committee' and noted environment-not-believer-in, public-works-hating Sen. Jim Inhofe on the 'Environment and Public Works Committee.' As ranking Republican, Inhofe would re-assume control of the committee unless Republicans, in an episode of sudden onset embarrassment, tweaked the rules to prevent it. Which isn't likely."

Trade & Foreign Policy

Report on NAFTA at 20 Shows How Environmental Destruction is not a Bug. It is a Feature.—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "On December 8, 1993, when Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) into law, he spoke in glowing terms about its future effects: I believe we have made a decision now that will permit us to create an economic order in the world that will promote more growth, more equality, better preservation of the environment, and a greater possibility of world peace. A new report from a group of environmental and progressive groups from the US, Canada, and Mexico puts this promise of a new era of better environmental protection up against the reality of the twenty years of NAFTA, and it's not pretty. The groups involved were the Sierra Club, Sierra Club Canada, the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade, the Institute for Policy Studies, and the Council of Canadians. The report looks at NAFTA’s effect on a number of sectors: agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and energy."

US Can't Frack Europe Free of Russian Gas—by ManfromMiddletown: "There is a low, but rising, rumble from the right.  Last week, GOP House Speaker John Boehner let loose the argument that all the US needs to do to free Europe from dependence on Russian gas imports is to export fracked gas. Russia has been playing a much more intricate game than the United States in recent years. The resulting imbalance has created a growing threat to global stability, as evidenced last week by Vladimir Putin's invasion of neighboring Ukraine. The ability to turn the tables and put the Russian leader in check lies right beneath our feet, in the form of vast supplies of natural energy. Cue the talking heads parroting the meme that the Obama administration is aiding and abetting our once, and again, Soviet Russian nemesis by keeping all that sweet fracked gas trapped in North America. Just one problem. Even a cursory examination of the facts reveals that the scenario envisioned by Boehner et al., the US replacing EU imports of Russian gas, isn't even a remote possibility."

Exxon's Russia Partnerships Challenge US Exports As Energy Weapon Narrative—by Steve Horn: "But even before the vote and issuing of sanctions, numerous key U.S. officials hyped the need to expedite U.S. oil and gas exports to fend off Europe’s reliance on importing Russia’s gas bounty. In short, gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') is increasingly seen as a 'geopolitical tool' for U.S. power-brokers, as The New York Times explained. Perhaps responding to the repeated calls to use gas as a 'diplomatic tool,' the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced it will sell 5 million barrels of oil from the seldom-tapped Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Both the White House and DOE deny the decision had anything to do with the situation in Ukraine. Yet even as some say we are witnessing the beginning of a 'new cold war,' few have discussed the ties binding major U.S. oil and gas companies with Russian state oil and gas companies."

The Great Outdoors

Anhinga spear fishing.
Daily Bucket: Pinellas Botanical Garden and Arboretum—by Lenny Flank: "Located just outside St Pete, Florida, the Pinellas County Botanical Gardens and Arboretum has 25 different themed gardens in its 150 acres, including palms, tropical fruits, wetlands, Florida natives, and the Wedding Garden, ranging from formal stylized gardens to wild nature trails. It's also a great spot to see wading birds and other wildlife."

The Daily Bucket - Bloom City—by enhydra lutris. "Castro Valley, CA: "My entire neighborhood as well as my yard is abloom. Salvias (many types), poppies, ribes, oxalis, ceanothus, lavender, dandelions, acacias, oranges, lemons, apples, pears, redbuds, calla lilies, vinca, and assorted ornamentals I can't name, Some irises and daffodils as well, conifers are bearing cones."

Daily Bucket--Time Lapse Photos at the Backyard Pond—by 6412093: "Here are pictures of my larger backyard pond.  I took the first picture in the middle of February, and the second picture yesterday, March 17."

Critters
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Daily Bucket: Sandhill Cranes in the Thumb of Michigan, Part I—by Dr Arcadia: "Sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) have one of the oldest fossil records of any existing birds, going back at least 2.5 million years. These prehistoric looking birds are an immense joy to those of us privileged to know them in our backyards. This diary was originally going to be based on photographic and observational records from a number of years to create a detailed chronological sequence for a single year. However, that is daunting, so I decided to share a portion of the information from this year and add to it as things progress. [...] The sandhill crane was under immense stress in Michigan in the early 20th century. There were an estimated 17 nesting pairs in the entire state in 1931. Today, the estimated number of migrating sandhill cranes in south central Michigan, where they congregate before leaving, is estimated at about 20,000. While habitat conservation is certainly important, I believe that the dramatic recovery must be related to hunting bans. We see the birds return here in late February or early March.  They returned a bit late this year on March 12th as opposed to February 27th last year. (I am working on a graph of arrival dates, but it will have to wait.)  In the fall of 2013, the last cranes showed up in our back yard on November 11th, and the last I saw in the neighborhood was November 13th. So, this winter season they were gone for 122 days."

Dawn Chorus: Butt-sittin' Birding!—by Senor Unoball: "Every year, when it's time for the annual Birdathon sponsored by Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, we get up early, join the car-caravan, and drive all over this county to see how many species we can find. It's fun. We see a lot of birds. We see a lot of territory. It's a lot of work! During this year's Birdathon, on April 19, my wife and I will join a team that will have a slightly less frenetic way to count. We're going to let the birds come to us. The Eagle Eyes, led by former SCVAS director Bob Power, are going to do a 'Big Sit.' For four hours that morning, we will park our butts within a 30-foot circle and count every feathered creature we see flying, walking, or swimming. (Bob has an excellent ear for birds, as well, so I suspect some of our count will be heard-birds.)"

satyr
The Daily Bucket - early butterflies and bees in the PNW—by OceanDiver: "Pacific Northwest. March 21, 2014. My viburnum is in full flower right now. Yesterday when the sun came out, there was a lot of activity there, insects flying between flower heads, feeding on the blossoms and crawling around amongst them. These are my earliest butterflies and bees. There are very few native plants in flower yet, so I'm happy the viburnum can provide them with fuel. The nights are still a bit chilly, and sun is occasional at this time of year. This orange one is the Satyr Anglewing (Polygonia satyrus)."

How Much Should We Spend For a Fish? - Endangered Species—by ban nock: "Recently I was surprised to learn that six species of trout and salmon used up 40% of the endangered species budget over the past two decades and that one species of fish, the Chinook Salmon received more funding in 2011 from various government agencies than all 1400 endangered species combined. I know what you are thinking. Where is this ban nock fella getting this tripe? From some libertarian, budget cutting, anti wildlife think tank? Actually it's from an op ed by Timothy Male, former vice president of policy at Defenders of Wildlife and employee of The Environmental Defense Fund. Writing in the Seattle Times Mr. Male commits the further blaspheme of linking to a report by the Congressional Republican group working to rewrite the endangered species act. Which might be worth a read because if Republicans win the senate in the upcoming elections that report might well be the blueprint for the reforms President Obama signs into law."

Monarch at the Schenectady Museum of Innovation and Science.
Backyard Science: A Day at the Science Museum—by Attack Gardener: "Last weekend, the Darling Spouse and I traveled to the Schenectady Museum of Innovation and Science to visit a butterfly house they have on display until April 19. They had built a temporary structure right in the middle of the main room, complete with plants and an 'airlock' to prevent escapees. The house seemed to be a small greenhouse, perhaps donated temporarily for the display. Close quarters, in any case. There were quite a few butterflies loose in the house. A nice collection of monarchs, painted ladies, red admirals and swallowtails; all native to the US, no tropicals. A small cocoon shelter was set up with explanations of the process and lots of empty cocoons. [...] Somewhere between 10 and a bazillion small children were racing around the main part of the museum but all the ones in the butterfly house were well-behaved."

The Daily Bucket - pairs—by OceanDiver: "Shores of the Salish Sea. March 2014. Spring has officially arrived! A sign of the season: birds pairing up. Unlike some creatures, many birds flaunt their pairing publicly. I find wildlife behavior fascinating, so I watch. Here are a few pairs I've seen recently along the shore. [...] My local Black Oystercatcher pair, Ray and his new mate. I still see them together at all times."

RAy pair
California recreational ocean salmon season to open on April 5—by Dan Bacher: "The long-awaited recreational salmon fishing season will open in California’s ocean waters on Saturday, April 5, 2014, from Horse Mountain in Humboldt County (40° 05' 00" N. latitude) south to the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the California Fish and Game Commission and the Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Federal fishery biologists estimate approximately 934,000 fall-run Chinook salmon, including Sacramento River and Klamath River fish, will be in California coastal waters through the summer."

Water & Drought

Drought relief needed for Delta farmers—by Dan Bacher: "In addressing the current drought, the Brown and Obama administrations and Congress have focused exclusively on corporate agribusiness interests farming unsustainable land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, neglecting the impacts of the drought on Delta farmers and businesses and other Californians."

Delta Tunnel Opponent to Address Environmental Council of Sacramento—by Dan Bacher: "Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build Peripheral Tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom salmon and other Pacific fisheries, will address a forum in Sacramento today Monday, March 17, to outline the damage the governor’s project would do to the Sacramento area and the San Francisco/San Joaquin Bay delta and estuary."

Sustainability

Living Building Challenge—by gmoke: "I had heard of the Living Building Challenge (http://www.livingbuildingchallenge.org) and looked at its winning entry for the Buckminster Fuller Challenge award but the idea did not come into focus until I attended the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association's (http://www.nesea.org) Building Energy conference in Boston a few weeks ago. At the conference, Amanda Sturgeon of the Living Building Challenge taught a pre-conference workshop and gave one of the keynote addresses and I finally understood what the idea is, architecture as ecological restoration. Now that's interesting. How do you design a building like a flower?"

National Parks, Forests & Other Public Lands

A Victory for the Mendocino Coast—by Jared Huffman via Dan Chu: "The environment and economy of the North Coast just scored a big victory. Last Tuesday, President Obama designated the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands as part of the California Coastal National Monument, protecting these pristine and breathtaking coastal lands. This landmark event is a testament to the power of a committed and engaged community. President Obama's executive order protects more than 1,660 acres of the Mendocino coast, home to Great Blue Herons, Peregrine Falcons and the Laysan Albatross. This complex and fragile ecosystem includes habitat for endangered species like the Point Arena mountain beaver and the Behren's silverspot butterfly. More than two miles of the Garcia River and the estuary are also protected - good news for our salmon and steelhead fisheries."

Why do Republicans hate America's National Parks?—by Joan McCarter: "House Republicans are taking a break next week from both taking breaks and from Obamacare repeal votes to beat up on National Parks some more. Responding to President Obama’s decision last week to protect a stretch of California’s Coast near Point Arena as a new national monument, the House of Representatives is planning to vote next week to overturn a 108 year-old law that presidents of both parties have used to protect iconic American places, including the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, and Arches National Park. The bill, H.R. 1459, aims to block presidents from using the Antiquities Act of 1906 to establish new national monuments by putting caps on how many times it can be used, requiring congressional review of proposed monuments, and forcing local communities to engage in an ironic exercise of reviewing the environmental impacts of protecting lands for future generations. After 108 years of presidents using the Antiquities Act to save some of the nation's most critical natural areas, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) says that the creation of this new national monument was an egregious overreach by President Obama. Of course."

Expanding the National Parks System -#14 Indiana—by MorrellWI1983: "This is the fourteenth diary in my Expanding the National Parks series. This week, I'm in Indiana, the Hoosier State. Indiana doesn't have much land protected at the federal level, at 2.0% its tied for 37th in country with Delaware, despite being about 18 times bigger than Delaware. Indiana currently has 1 national forests, 3 wildlife refuges and 3 other NPS units. Additional Monuments—3: • Indiana Coastal—would protect Indiana's portion of Lake Michigan, as well as open land up to 10 miles inland. While Indiana has the smallest coastline of the Great Lake states-45 miles, that actually makes it easier to protect, rather than the hundreds of miles of coastline in Wisconsin and thousands of miles in Michigan. • Indiana Dunes—would upgrade the existing Lakeshore to monument status. since, frankly 'Lakeshore/Seashore' have never really been clarified as to where they stand on the "Park-monument-preserve-recreational area-refuge' totem pole, upgrading it to 'monument and lakeshore' or 'park and lakeshore' seems a necessary move. • Hoosier— would upgrade some of the forest to monument status, granting those areas additional protection and funding. since Hoosier is the only current national forest in state, it is a logical candidate to see some of it receive monument status, as many national forests contain national monuments."

Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash

Trust is Not a Word We Use Around Here: Life in Chemical Valley During West Virginia's Water Crisis—by Virally Suppressed: "If you had any doubts concerning the veracity of Washington's disinterest in the well being of the West Virginian people, their response to last month's Freedom Industries spill that funneled 10,000 gallons of coal cleaning chemicals into a water treatment plant intake that provides water to hundreds of thousands of West Virginians should quell them. President Obama, for his part, signed an emergency declaration on the day after the spill enabling the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to 'identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.' Since then, he has not gone so far as to publicly acknowledge that the spill occurred, giving West Virginians a particularly egregious snub during his State of The Union address when he touted his commitment to, “strengthening protection of our air, our water, and our communities,” while neglecting to mention the fact that the water supply of the largest city in West Virginia had just been tainted by thousands of gallons of two relatively unknown industrial chemicals. Our nation's Congress hasn't faired much better, as Senate party leaders neglected to mention the  chemical crisis in West Virginia during their regular press briefings on the Tuesday after spill, while House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) used this disaster, which was the direct result of a gargantuan gap in regulatory policies concerning the storage of chemicals, as another opportunity to insist that we didn't need to enact any new regulations."

Duke Energy illegally pumped coal ash into Cape Fear River—by Christian Dem in NC: "Duke Energy is in hot water again over coal ash. Earlier this month, local environmentalists noticed Duke was pumping down coal ash lagoons at a retired power plant.  That triggered an investigation that ended yesterday, when the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources announced that Duke had illegally pumped 61 million gallons of coal ash-tainted wastewater into the Cape Fear River."

What is 4" wide, 35 feet long and Duke Energy insists poses no threat?—by Rock Strongo: "What is four inches wide, 35 feet long and, according to Duke Energy, poses no threat? The answer is a crack in an ash pond dyke at their Cape Fear Steam Electric Plant in North Carolina. They announced the news last night. 'Company engineers and engineering consultants responded to the site today and are making repairs,' Duke says in a prepared release. 'No ash basin discharge has occurred, and out of an abundance of caution, the company is taking steps to prevent any potential for discharge.' This is the same plant, and one of the same ponds, where the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resource says Duke violated its wastewater permits by improperly pumping water into the Cape Fear River."

EnviroNews USA Newsfeed—by EnviroNews: "In a press conference at the state capitol on Feb. 13, 2014, Dr. Brian Moench, president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment lambasted the Utah Department of Health’s recently released Stericycle and Cancer study and the representation of that study in the media. “The Health Department has misinterpreted their own data,” says Moench. One concern that Moench raised was the fact that the study does not take into account enough time. Solid tumors can take decades to form, and Stericycle has only been operating at that site for about 24 years with the neighborhoods being built up around it about 10 years ago. 'Cancers often have latency periods of 15 to 20 years,' says Tom Hudachko, public information officer for the Utah Department of Health, 'so that’s certainly one of the limitations in this study.'"

'Significant' Oil Spill Near Ohio River—by Desi: "An estimated 10,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from a pipeline and was discovered overnight in Colerain Township in Ohio, which is located in one of the Hamilton County park system's four conservation areas. The spill reportedly appears to have affected a mile of intermittent stream, pooling in a wetland in the Oak Glen Nature Preserve. Hazmat crews and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency were called to the scene. [...] The Cincinnati Enquirer reports: This is at least the third time in the last six years that oil has leaked from the pipeline in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky."

Oil Spills: Merely Increasing the Limit of Liability for Damages Is Not the Solution!—by Brian J. Donovan: "Although Congress created the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF) in 1986, Congress did not authorize its use or provide taxing authority to support it until after the Exxon Valdez incident in 1989. The OPA, signed into law on August 18, 1990, provided the statutory authorization and funding necessary for the OSLTF. The National Pollution Funds Center (NPFC), an administrative agency of the United States Coast Guard (USCG), manages the OSLTF and acts as the implementing agency of OPA. Since 2003, the USCG has operated in the Department of Homeland Security. A primary purpose of the OSLTF is to compensate persons for removal costs and damages resulting from an oil spill incident. In essence, the OSLTF is an insurance policy, or backstop, for victims of an oil spill incident who are not fully compensated by the responsible party. OPA established an expenditure cap of $1 billion per oil spill incident. This $1 billion expenditure limit includes $500 million for natural resource damage assessments and claims. Victims of the BP oil spill are at risk as a result of the cap. The cap is for total expenditures. This $1 billion expenditure limit applies even if the OSLTF is fully reimbursed by the responsible party and net expenditures are zero."

Transportation & Infrastructure

Amazing photos show us why the American transportation network has fallen off the rails!—by Democrats Ramshield: "'Forget the space race. The new arms race is over high-speed trains. China is in negotiations to build a high-speed rail network to India and Europe that would make a trip from London to Beijing last just two days'. As an American expat living in the European Union I was recently able to travel in a German hi-speed rail train, clipping along at excess of over 300 kilometers an hour from Frankfurt to Cologne. It was a very smooth ride, much smoother than any airplane I've ever been on. It was also much quieter than any plane I've ever been on, and of course there were more bathrooms than any plane I'd ever been on. I kept my tray during my trip in the upright position, except when I was using my laptop, which I was able to plug in under my seat. Instead of being served that really tacky tasting airline food, I was able to go to the dining cart and pick out from a full menu of tasty dishes. During the ride I was able to use my cell phone as well as wireless internet, and of course there could be no luggage lost, because I was able to keep a hold of my luggage, not just a carry on. Then let me state the obvious there was no pre-flight check in, no pat downs, no scanners. When you buy your ticket, you don't even have to go to a ticket counter, you can buy it from a vending machine. If you miss your train it is never a problem, because there will be another train usually within the hour. Watching the German countryside whisk by at a speed of over 300 kilometers an hour was breathtaking, as well as beautiful. It beats looking out your window at clouds that's for sure."

Sunday Train: Four Rules for Transit-Oriented Development from Five leaders—by BruceMcF: "We should always keep in mind the fundamental driver for providing local transport alternatives: our current system of fossil-fueled local transport is unsustainable, and if we rely upon it exclusively, we are faced with a race between transport system collapse and collapse of the broader industrial economy which it is serving. We do not, after all, know the timing with any precision, but once we have identified that a fundamental and largely irreplaceable support service is being provide in an unsustainable way, we do know that sooner or later it will stop being sustained. Having alternatives already in place means first and foremost that our industrial economy does not have to collapse when we are no longer able to provide essential transport services with the current dominant system. It allows for a 'soft collapse,' with reliance on the present dominant system declining progressively over time, rather than being forced into increasingly desperate efforts to shore the system up until the point of collapse."

Eco-Philosophy, Eco-Essays & Eco-Poetry

The White Man Marchers Have A Point—by Steven D: "The message of the White Man March participants, or one of their messages, is that their race (or group identity if you prefer) is threatened by genocide.  I wholeheartedly agree with them. [...] But then, so is every other racial, national, religious and ethnic group in the world. The Asians. The Muslims. The Africans. The Europeans. The Jews. The Native Peoples in every nation on earth. In effect, major portions of the entire human species are slowly (for now), but methodically, being eradicated. And the people who are responsible for these multiple genocides, or multiple democides, if you prefer that term instead of genocide, are a small cabal of obscenely wealthy individuals, corporations, their hired lackeys and the government officials whom they effectively control. This group of international criminals persists in promoting the extraction and use of fossil fuels, denying the consequences of burning fossil fuels, and/or (as is the case with respect to the many governments who are in thrall to these profiteers and mass murderers) acknowledge the threat of the slow extermination of human beings, but take little if any significant action to do anything to stop it. If you think I'm joking, I'm not."

Canadian Govt Targets Environment NGOs—by Don midwest: "it wasn't that long ago that I respected Canada. maybe I was naive. but with the 'conservative' or should I say, 'extract any resource' government of Harper, things have been getting worse. the government has been shutting down government labs that tracked things like water levels in streams and lakes. they have charged some demonstrators as terrorists for trying to block extraction. now they are going to a new level to go after NGOs and shutting down science that tells the story of the results of extraction."

Watch Out! ... a song about climate change—by kbman: "Now way back many years ago, before the dawn of man,
The giants we call dinosaurs roamed across the land.
And then one day a ferocious rock storm rained down from the sky,
And for the age of dinosaurs it was time to say goodbye.

[Chorus I]
Hey there brontosaurus, and all you other dinosaurs,
Trompin' through the forest,
Watch Out! For that meteor.

(Yeah, ya gotta watch those things. They'll ruin your day for sure.)

Then Mother Nature did an amazing thing with their enormous bodies,
She buried them deep as time and pressure made them into a commodity.
It started in western Pennsylvania in a town called Titusville,
Where they set up timber scaffolding and said, 'Drill baby, drill!'" [...]

All The Facts Leads To Better Planning—by richturc125: "An observation worth noting … and pondering, from J. David Hughes: A new energy dialogue is needed in the U.S. with an understanding of the true potential, limitations, and costs—both financial and environmental—of the various fossil fuel energy panaceas being touted by industry and government proponents. The U.S. cannot drill and frack its way to ‘energy independence.’ At best, shale gas, tight oil, tar sands, and other unconventional resources provide a temporary reprieve from having to deal with the real problems: fossil fuels are finite, and production of new fossil fuel resources tends to be increasingly expensive and environmentally damaging. Fossil fuels are the foundation of our modern global economy, but continued reliance on them creates increasing risks for society that transcend our economic, environmental, and geopolitical challenges. The best responses to this conundrum will entail a rethink of our current energy trajectory. Who doesn’t like a simple, trouble-free story? In these times, saddled as we are by a host of economic, cultural, and political woes, who wants to add energy-supply problems to the mix? I know I don’t, and I can’t imagine too many people won’t agree. But when organizations and spokespersons are deliberately withholding important information that would help citizens prepare and plan for challenges ahead, or when they cherry-pick only those few factors to fit their self-serving narratives, we have a problem."

NASA Study suggests Progressive Policies may stave off Civilizational Collapse—by Vyan: "The fact is that an engine can not function if it does not have the correct balance of parts and fuel. As we've now - by all reasonable accounts - passed beyond the Rubicon of peak oil, forcing the use of more and more dangerous and deadly extraction methods - while the financial stratification of those who provide the demand that fuels the economic engine become more and more encrusted in the exhaust pipes and valves - the less efficiently that engine functions, striving harder and hard to produce more while using less. At a certain point - the engine breaks down and seizes. This, according to the study, can be shown in the fall of 'the Roman Empire, ... the advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires.'"

NASA-Backed Study: Polluter Tyranny Destroying Civilization—by TheGreenMiles: "A new study backed by NASA warns that, much like the Romans and Mayans before us, our elite power brokers may be driving us towards a cliff as the 1% vacuums up wealth and natural resources: [...] This study warns we're repeating history as our leaders keep us burning our entire supply of fossil fuels that took hundreds of millions of years to accumulate—coal, oil and natural gas—in the span of just a few generations. Even as the cost becomes apparent and both the climate crisis and global inequality accelerate, for those polluting oligarchs, the answer isn't to change course, it's to double down - see the Koch brothers pouring their vast polluting fortune into the 2014 elections or Vladimir Putin seizing natural gas facilities in Ukraine. But who'll call them on it? Democrats and environmental organizations are heavily dependent on the wealthy elite for funding, so Democrats rarely talk about inequality and environmental organizations talk about the effects—global warming, polluted water, disappearing wildlife—not the causes."

Meltdowns, Social and Nuclear—by interguru: "Lately there has been talks of a whole social/civilizational collapse, for example this NASA funded study. [...] A civilization meltdown would be followed by nuclear power meltdowns as we would no longer be able to maintain our reactors. In the blog discussions, I argued that the meltdowns would be a local, not a global problem. To prove my point I conducted a what if experiment: in the style of XKCD What If—What if all the nuclear reactor core radiation was released and spread evenly around the world?"

NASA: Civilization headed for collapse—by don mikulecky: "A model based study is full of gloom and doom:  Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'? It makes our book Global Insanity: How Homo sapiens Lost Touch with Reality while Transforming the World seem even more on the mark."

Miscellany

Gallup Shows Americans Once Again Choosing Environmental Protection over Economic Growth—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "A recent poll from Gallup shows that Americans once again say that they value environmental protection over economic growth, a trend that was broken during the economic downturn. As you can see, the Gallup survey asks respondents whether they agree more with one of two statements: (A) Protection of the environment should be given priority, even at the risk of curbing economic growth. (B) Economic growth should be given priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent. The peak support for environmental protection over economic growth occurred in 1990 and 1991, at the 20th anniversary of the first Earth Day. Preference for environmental protection stayed high in the 1990s then fell for most of the 2000s. The 2010s have seen a mild bounce-back, but to levels still lower than before. More interesting than the general numbers, though, is the disaggregation. The partisan gap is at its largest since 1997."

NYC Explosion Raises Focus on Methane, Climate Change—by Eternal Hope: "The recent fatal New York City apartment explosion has increased the focus on methane and climate change. Investigators say that it is more likely that gas was the cause of the explosion, although it is still being investigated. Witnesses smelled gas and called Con Edison 15 minutes before the blast, but it was too late. The explosion also increases the focus on aging infrastructure that is used to deliver the gas, some of which was put in back in the 1800's. [...] Since methane is nearly as responsible for global warming as all of the other CO2 gases put together, this makes New York City's gas issues an issue of global importance as well as national importance."

Sea Island Saga Continues—by hannah.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site