Recently in Environmental Category

Poor Japan

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First the storm and now this - from the Express:

Japan earthquake: Sapporo ROCKED by 6.7 earthquake - landslide traps people in homes
The Magnitude 6.7 quake struck 70 miles south of Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

The tremor triggered a landslide which covered homes in the rural town of Atsumi trapping residents inside.

People in Sapporo were woken up by strong shaking shortly after 7pm BST (3am Thursday local time) as the earth moved for around 20 seconds.

Japanese TV showed damaged buildings and quoted police as saying some people had been trapped in collapsed structures.

A very bad week for a wonderful nation.

Prayers going out to Japan

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From the London Daily Mail:

Typhoon Jebi smashes Japan: Giant waves and 135mph winds rock the country as train station roof COLLAPSES during the worst storm in 25 years and a MILLION are told to evacuate
A powerful typhoon slammed into western Japan on Tuesday, killing at least nine people and injuring scores of people as more than a million people were told to evacuate amid the worst storm to hit the country in 25 years.

Typhoon Jebi, reportedly the strongest typhoon to make landfall in Japan since 1993, headed north across the main island of Honshu toward the Sea of Japan.

Giant waves and winds of up to 135mph lashed the country, inundating the region's main international airport and blowing a tanker into a bridge, disrupting land and air travel and leaving thousands stranded.

The storm hammered the west coast as it made landfall in the latest severe weather to hit the country this summer following rains, landslides, floods and record-breaking heat that killed hundreds of people.

Some horrible photos and videos at the site. 

This is just ridiculous - the USA is not anywhere near the top of the plastic pollution heap. We are number 20 on the list and China is by far the worst offender (hard numbers here and here)

20180903-plastic.jpg

Of course, given the source, it is easy to understand the hyperbole - from Mother Jones:

Flushing Your Contacts Does Terrible Things to Our Land and Oceans
For a lot of people, contact lenses are a daily necessity. Market research shows 45 million Americans, about one in eight, wear contacts, meaning the United States alone consumes somewhere between five and 14 billion lenses annually. And now, new research shows all those contact lenses may end up as micro-plastic pollution in our soil, rivers, and oceans.

An estimated 20 percent of contact-lens wearers, studied as part of a 400-person online survey, flush their lenses down the sink or toilet, as opposed to placing them in the trash as industry experts recommend. That amounts to 20 metric tons of plastic, or 20,000 kilograms (about 44,000 pounds), flushed per year—about the weight of a small airplane. The biggest culprit? Daily-use lenses, which occupy about 40 percent of the market.

These people are crazy - there is no other condition that could account for their behaviour. Right out of DSM:

DSM-IV 301.95 Progressive Personality Disorder
A pervasive pattern of progressive political and inter-personal thought and action, rooted in discredited leftist (neo-Marxist) beliefs, beginning in early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by at least five of the following (individual must be at least 18 years of age to qualify for the diagnosis of Progressive Personality Disorder, as many of the criteria are age-appropriate for adolescents). This disorder often coexists with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

      1. Utopian thinking, e.g. a delusional belief that there exist simple, linear, side effect-free solutions to all social problems.
      2. Lack of historical knowledge and perspective, and repression of personal memories dissonant with this belief system. e.g., the national mood post 9-11, including that of PPD patients, is suppressed in order to avoid conflict with subsequent reversal of beliefs as the PPD delusions were reinstated - hence the downplaying of terrorism as a threat and the obsessive concern for the "rghts" of temporarily feared and hated terrorists. (Note to clinician: please differentiate between mere historical ignorance, e.g., a doctorate in history from an elite university, vs. neurotic or psychotic delusions necessary to sustain these beliefs. )
      3. Anthroplastic delusion, e.g. The delusion that behavioral conditioning performed by the government or some other collective will cure all behavioral and social problems, rooted in denial of fixed human nature. Implicit in this delusion is the idea that human beings are infinitely malleable and subject to behavioral manipulation leading to perfect control and predictability. Free will, personal conscience, and objective morality are denied, devalued or denigrated.

More at Tiny Vital - brilliant satire.

Very nice - Purina dog food

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Purina is one of the better companies out there. Well run, great products and now this - from Sporting Classics Daily:

Purina Commits $1 Million to Ducks Unlimited
Ducks Unlimited and Nestlé Purina PetCare Company have partnered to protect and improve 1,600 acres of wetland and grasslands across Iowa over the next three years through Ducks Unlimited’s Living Lakes Initiative, promoting healthy soil, healthy crops and healthy wildlife habitat.

Purina, which operates three pet food manufacturing facilities in Iowa (in Clinton, Fort Dodge and Davenport) and sources high-quality ingredients for its dog and cat food products from farms across the state, has committed $1 million to help promote sustainability of the supply chain and improve recreational use of wetlands and lakes across the state’s Prairie Pothole Region.

“Purina and Ducks Unlimited are joining in Iowa’s efforts to help improve our state’s water quality, and I applaud this partnership,” said IowaGovernor Kim Reynolds. “These organizations represent farmers, conservationists and outdoors enthusiasts who all have a stake in preserving our natural resources for the livelihood of Iowans and wildlife.”

And Ducks Unlimited is not a shabby organization either - founded in 1937, it is one of the few environmental groups that actually use hard data and science to steer their agenda.

Smoke gets in your eyes

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The wildfire smoke was really bad last week and now it is moving in again. From Cliff Mass:

Smoke Now Pushing Into Western Washington
During the next 12 hours there should be a major influx of wildfire smoke into the lower elevations of western Washington.

The MODIS satellite imagery around noon showed very dense smoke over eastern WA and the north Cascades, with lesser but substantial smoke now over northwest Washington, with a thinning from Seattle southward.

Looking at being worse than last week - the setting sun was blood red tonight. Beautiful but not good.

I really wish that the US Government managed our forests better - more in tune with nature. The number of large fires would drop. Sure, we would have a lot more smaller fires but they would burn themselves out and the forest would be rejuvenated. Now, we prevent fires at all cost while the fire load (available fuel) ratchets up year after year until there is a huge conflagration.

Got him - great news

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The little turd was hiding in Cuba but we extradited his a** and he is standing trial. From The Seattle Times:

Ecosabotage suspect linked to Olympia arson arrested in Cuba after 12 years on run
After more than a decade as a fugitive, a former Seattle resident has been taken into federal custody to face criminal charges that he joined in ecosabotage attacks in Washington, Oregon, and California.

In an initial court appearance Friday in U.S. District Court in Portland, Joseph Dibee pleaded not guilty to charges that he helped set fire in 1997 to an Oregon meatpacking plant and was ordered detained as a flight risk.

He also faces federal charges in Western Washington for his alleged role in planning a June 21, 1998, arson attack at a U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service facility in Olympia.

Dibee, in an indictment filed in 2006, was accused of being part of a group of 12 people linked to a string of Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front arson and other attacks between 1995 and 2001 that caused more than $45 million in damages.

Members called themselves “The Family,” and their targets included the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture that was destroyed by arson on May 21, 2001, according to the Justice Department.

The Center for Urban Horticulture fire destroyed a lovely library and also wiped out one fourth of the worlds supply of a very rare plant being propagated at the lab.

The Environmental Protection Agency just owned up to it. From The Daily Caller:

EPA RELEASED A LONG-DELAYED REPORT SHOWING ETHANOL HURTS THE ENVIRONMENT
An extensive report from the Environmental Protection Agency found that including ethanol into the U.S. gas supply is wreaking havoc on the atmosphere and soil.

In a study titled “Biofuels and the Environment: The Second Triennial Report to Congress,” the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that ethanol derived from corn and soybeans is causing serious harm to the environment. Water, soil and air quality were all found to be adversely affected by biofuel mandates.

“Evidence since enactment of [the Energy Independence and Security Act] suggests an increase in acreage planted with soybeans and corn, with strong indications from observed changes in land use that some of this increase is a consequence of increased biofuel production,” read a portion of the 159-page report.

A bit more:

“[A]ir quality modeling suggests that production and use of ethanol as fuel to displace gasoline is likely to increase such air pollutants as PM2.5, ozone, and SOx in some locations,” read a section of the report pertaining to air quality. While traditional gasoline contains more CO2, ethanol-based fuels have more nitrogen oxides (NOx), which can be more harmful to human health. NOx can exacerbate asthma by causing inflammation of the respiratory airwaves, with long-term exposure resulting in decreased lung function.

Long delayed?

The EPA study, published on June 29, came after a long delay. Federal law calls for the EPA to conduct a study on the Renewable Fuel Standard every three years, but the government was four years late this go-around. The agency’s previous ethanol study was published in 2011.

Ethanol in fuel is a scam delivered to us by the corn lobby. It is especially bad on small engines - lawnmowers, string trimmers, generators, etc... Those engines only last 200 hours or so running on E10 where they basically run forever on full gasoline. Ethanol absorbes water from the air and eats up gaskets and hoses. Great stuff in a wine glass but not in an engine...

Heh - bad news for anti-Frackers

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From Jazz Shaw at Hot Air:

The Study You Won’t Be Hearing About: No Impact On Groundwater From Fracking
Protests by environmentalists against hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) have been going on for years now, along with the Hollywood efforts of serial fabulists such as Josh Fox. One of the biggest concerns surrounding the process is the possibility of contamination of groundwater. While a previous study in Pennsylvania by the state Department of Environmental Protection revealed zero instances of this happening (except for surface spills during transport of hydraulic fluids), critics discounted the study and the protests continued.

The study was published at Springer - from the abstract:

We found no relationship between CH4 concentration or source in groundwater and proximity to active gas well sites. No significant changes in CH4 concentration, CH4 isotopic composition, pH, or conductivity in water wells were observed during the study period. These data indicate that high levels of biogenic CH4 can be present in groundwater wells independent of hydraulic fracturing activity and affirm the need for isotopic or other fingerprinting techniques for CH4 source identification.

And Jazz brings up one serious point:

Another attack frequently launched by the “keep it in the ground” crowd consists of questioning the bias of the study participants or the source of funding. This testing was done on a completely independent basis and the funding came from two sources. One was the David & Sara Weston Foundation, a group whose mission is to, “enrich and strengthen underserved communities in… the arts, environmental conservation and social services.” Additional funding was provided by a grant from the Deer Creek Foundation, which seeks to “enrich the cultural and artistic quality of life in the St. Louis metropolitan area.”

In other words, we’re not talking about flunkies for ExxonMobil here.

Of course, the mainstream media is all like:

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Russian meddling

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Now this is interesting - from Newsweek:

PUTIN IS FUNDING GREEN GROUPS TO DISCREDIT NATURAL GAS FRACKING
Forget about allegations of Russian interference in U.S. presidential elections for a moment, or even “collusion” between Russian officials and Trump campaign operatives.

The real action is in the European and U.S. energy markets, according to a letter from two Texas congressmen to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that details what they call “a covert anti-fracking campaign” with “little or no paper trail.”

A bit more:

Smith and Weber quote sources saying the Russian government has been colluding with environmental groups to circulate “disinformation” and “propaganda” aimed at undermining hydraulic fracturing. Commonly called fracking, the process makes it possible to access natural gas deposits.

Russia sells Natural Gas to the rest of their world. This is one of their larger sources of hard currency. They will do anything to prevent anyone else from tapping into this market. They have been selling Natural Gas and Propane to the USA and Canada for a long long time - here is an article from May 15th, 2008:

MTUSA to Subscribe for 100% of Capacity in North American LNG Terminal
Gazprom Marketing & Trading USA, Inc. (GMTUSA) and the Rabaska partners, Gaz Métro (TSX: GZM.UN), Enbridge Inc. (TSX, NYSE: ENB) and Gaz de France (Euronext Paris : GAZ) announced today that they have signed a Letter of Intent outlining the major terms under which GMTUSA will become an equity partner in the proposed Rabaska liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification project and contract for 100 percent of the import terminal’s capacity. The parties expect to execute definitive agreements before the end of this year.

Using the Rabaska terminal, GMTUSA, a wholly owned subsidiary of OAO Gazprom, expects to import Russian LNG supplied from the Shtokman liquefaction project currently under development by OAO Gazprom, which anticipates initial production of LNG from Shtokman in 2014. The Shtokman gas and condensate field, discovered in 1988, is located in the central part of the Barents Sea, approximately 450 kilometers northeast of the city of Murmansk, Russia. The Rabaska terminal is designed to be capable of receiving, storing and re-gasifying imported LNG with a nominal natural gas send-out capacity of 500 million cubic feet per day.

Like I said, their natural gas industry is a major source of revenue for Russia and they will do anything to prevent anyone else from taking their rice bowl away - what's a couple million cash to some environmental groups. That is pocket change when you look at the money at stake.

Great news re: cars

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From The New York Times:

E.P.A. Prepares to Roll Back Rules Requiring Cars to Be Cleaner and More Efficient
The Trump administration is expected to launch an effort in coming days to weaken greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for automobiles, handing a victory to car manufacturers and giving them ammunition to potentially roll back industry standards worldwide.

The move — which undercuts one of President Barack Obama’s signature efforts to fight climate change — would also propel the Trump administration toward a courtroom clash with California, which has vowed to stick with the stricter rules even if Washington rolls back federal standards. That fight could end up creating one set of rules for cars sold in California and the 12 states that follow its lead, and weaker rules for the rest of the states, in effect splitting the nation into two markets.

What is actually happening is that Obama's heightened CAFE Standards (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) are being rolled back to a more reasonable requirement. A bit more:

The rules, aimed at cutting tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to global warming, were one of the two pillars of Mr. Obama’s climate change legacy. Put forth in 2012, they would have required automakers to nearly double the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

First of all, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, it is plant food. Without CO2, there would be no photosynthesis and therefore no plant life.

Second of all, the CAFE Standards are responsible for a marked increase in traffic fatalities. To increase the fuel efficiency (mileage), the manufacturers need to reduce weight - they do this by using thinner metal in the car bodies making them more dangerous in a collision. Data to support this: here, here, here, here, here and here

News from California - water

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California is running out of water so they are planning to do this - from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Recycled water from sewers coming to California taps
Water that once coursed through city sewers may soon find new life coming out of your home faucet.

New regulations approved Tuesday by the California State Water Resources Control Board allow treated recycled water to be added to reservoirs, the source of California municipal drinking water.

The regulations specify the percentage of recycled water that can be added and how long it must reside there before being treated again at a surface water treatment facility and provided as drinking water, according to the Water Board.

California has plenty of water. What they lack are places to store the winter snowpack and rains until they are needed during summer. They used to build dams but then the environmentalists got into the picture.

About that clean coal

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Great news on the Energy front - from Don Surber (a daily read for me):

Trump revives coal
The War on Coal ended on November 8, 2016. I will give you a guess about which side won.

"The U.S. last year produced 773 million short tons of coal, 45 million more than 2016. That was the largest year-to-year increase in nearly two decades, government numbers show," the Washington Times reported.

It gets better. Europe imported a record amount of coal from the USA in 2017.

Don provides links to the data - sensible energy is back again. The abject myth of carbon being bad is getting stuffed back into the trashcan where it belongs. Without CO2, there is no plant-life - photosynthesis relies on Carbon Dioxide.

You may have heard that California is toying with a new law that would make customers have to ask for a soda straw when they are being served a drink. If the waiter brings an unasked straw, said waiter can be fined $1,000 and there is an option for jail time. The reason for this odious piece of legislation comes from some reasearch done by a nine year old boy. No. Really. Christian Britschgi has the facts and also links to multiple cases of the media taking this number at face value.

15 Times Major Media Outlets Used a Statistic about Plastic Straws Based on Research by a 9-Year-Old
Yesterday, I reported that the oft-cited, debate-driving statistic that Americans use 500 million plastic straws a day was the product of a 9-year-old's guesstimations. Despite those shaky factual foundations, the 500 million figure has quickly spread, virus-like, across the media landscape and even into our shops and schools.

Visitors to the D.C. tea house Teaism—just a short walk from Reason's D.C. office—will be confronted with the questionable fact on a small poster adorning the restaurant's single-use straw dispenser, replete with a picture of a cute sea turtle. Meanwhile, impressionable children at the Mount Vernon Community School in nearby Alexandria, Virginia, are coming home with "Straw Wars" handouts citing the same dubious figure.

It's easy to understand how the school could have been led astray, given how ubiquitous this claim is in the media. Please see below for a list of just a few of the news outlets that have cited this "fact"—or otherwise quoted people saying it without any critical pushback—in their reporting:

Unreal. Christian also links to several environmental groups and then offers this comment:

Attempts to ban plastic straws—or indeed any plastic product—have as much to do with signaling your environmentalist bona fides as they do with actually cleaning up the oceans or saving the planet. So people pushing the claim have little incentive to investigate it. And the media have every incentive to hype the impact of a phenomenon they're covering.

Let this serve as a reminder: A statistic's popularity does not prove its accuracy.

So true - it's all about Virtue Signalling. Here is a link to Milo's page: Be Straw Free Campaign 
Eco-Cycle is a Boulder, Colorado based recycling company.

The consequences of their actions

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The environmentalists shut down the coal burning plants because of the pollution (coal is actually a very clean fuel if you use high-grade anthracite) and they shut down nuclear because... nuclear!. Now, they are paying the consequences. From the Conservative Tribune:

New England Liberals Shut Down Coal Power Plants, Now They’re at Risk of Freezing
Because of years of left-wing environmentalism being forced on power companies in New England, these energy suppliers are now struggling to fulfill the demands of local residents seeking to merely stay warm during this intense winter.

“Officials at ISO-New England, operators of the region’s power grid, said energy demands during the recent arctic weather have placed major pressures on energy generators, forcing power companies to rely more on coal and oil to produce electricity,” the Hartford Courant reported this week.

The Courant further noted that though energy industry officials have for years recommended that New England fix its energy problems by, at the very least, constructing new natural gas pipelines, such proposals have “been blocked or withdrawn” mainly because of opposition from environmental groups.

This post does a nice synthesis of the problems and the causes leading up to this winter with links to corroborating stories. The greenies are trying to have their cake and eat it too without thinking of the consequences of their actions. Especially as we are heading into a period of markedly cooler weather. Here is today's post from ISO-New England:

Power Systems Update: New England grid operations through recent bitter cold weather and preparation for winter storm
As of Sunday, January 7, New England’s bulk power system continues to operate reliably during this extremely frigid weather covering New England and the Northeast. Nevertheless, managing the region’s power system through these conditions continues to be challenging, primarily because of fuel availability.

During this extreme cold, some power plants have either tripped offline or had to reduce their output, while other oil-fired and dual-fuel generators are quickly depleting their fuel supply. As a result, ISO New England has taken steps to conserve fuel by ‘posturing’ units, which means that the ISO is postponing the operations of certain generation for later in the day or week, and using other generating resources instead to produce electricity. Consequently, some facilities will operate ‘out-of-merit’ which means these resources will be compensated to operate when the ISO requires them.

While the ISO is continually assessing the reliability of the system, other conditions continue to make grid operations difficult. Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station remains out of service, some oil-fired generation is nearing emissions limitations, and other power plants are awaiting fuel deliveries that were postponed because of Thursday’s storm. But these deliveries will not begin before tomorrow at the earliest.

With temperatures expected to warm up this week, the ISO expects power grid conditions to improve for the region, and offer a window for fuel replenishment. Such fuel replenishment is critical to handle any future cold snap. In the meantime, the ISO will continue to issue these updates if system conditions warrant.

In other words, New England is hanging on by its short and curlies and if they do not get a resupply during the coming warm spell, they are S.O.L.

An outbreak of common sense in Norway

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From Hart Energy:

Norwegian Government Wins Arctic Oil Lawsuit
An Oslo court approved Norway’s plans for more oil exploration in the Arctic on Jan. 4, dismissing a lawsuit by environmentalists who had said it violated people’s right to a healthy environment.

The case, brought by Greenpeace and the Nature and Youth Group, had argued that a 2015 oil licensing round in the Arctic that gave awards to Statoil, Chevron and others was unconstitutional.

“The environmental organizations’ argument that the plan violates the Constitution’s Article 112 has not succeeded,” Oslo district court ruled. “The state, represented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, is exonerated.”

The court ordered the environmental groups to pay the state’s legal costs of 580,000 Norwegian crowns (US$71,687). It was not immediately known if they would appeal against the ruling.

Norway is Western Europe’s largest producer and exporter of oil and gas and plans to keep pumping for decades despite its support for the 2015 Paris climate accord, which aims to end the fossil fuel era this century.

Good - time to push back against these marxists who want to hamstring our growth and prosperity. Abundent and cheap energy is the best thing anyone can do for this planet and all creatures who dwell upon her. I remember back when Greenpeace actually did good solid scienced-based work.

California - no surprises there

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The wildfires have mostly been caused by overhead power-line arcing. Yes, there was one homeless camp whose cooking fire started a wildfire but that was it - one.

Turns out the Governor Moonbeam actually vetoed a bill which would have required the public utilities to relocate power lines underground in high-risk areas. From Larry Hamlin writing at Watts Up With That:

Jerry Brown vetoed enhanced requirements for undergrounding power lines, blames CA wildfires on nebulous “climate change”
In September 2016 California Governor Brown vetoed Senate Bill 1463 which enhanced requirements for the CPUC and state Forestry and Fire Protection to facilitate the undergrounding of power lines in high fire risk areas across the stately by requiring the states involvement with cities and counties facing high fire risks and by requiring the prioritization of high fire risk regions.

The vetoed Bill would have provided enhanced requirements for how the CPUC was to lead this effort by mandating involvement of the states cities and counties along with prioritization of high fire risk regions.

Overhead power lines have been linked to a number of major California wildfires including the 2007 Witch Creek fire in San Diego County which destroyed 1141 homes with 21 deaths and in 2015 are also suspected of being the cause of the Northern Ca. wine country fires as well. Wind damaged overhead power lines are suspected as a potential cause of some of the most recent large and tragic fires in California this year.

Much more at the site including screen-captures and links to other information. The Californian government is so dysfunctional and clueless it hurts. The 5% elite controling the lives of the 95% real people.

Looks like the Green's war on coal was poorly thought out - the waste from coal mining is another richly concentrated mine of it's own. From the United States Department of Energy:

High Concentrations of Rare Earth Elements Found in American Coal Basins
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has found high rare earth element (REE) concentrations in coal samples taken from the Illinois, Northern Appalachian, Central Appalachian, Rocky Mountain Coal Basins, and the Pennsylvania Anthracite region. These highly concentrated samples are greater than 300 parts per million (ppm).

“Rare Earth Elements are vital to the development and manufacturing of high-tech devices such as computers, cell phones, and our national defense systems,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “The current difficulties and high expenses associated with REE extraction has left the U.S. dependent on foreign REE imports. Supporting innovative research and development to establish efficient, cost-effective REE extraction methods is critical to our country’s energy and national security.”

Concentrations of rare earths at 300 ppm are integral to the commercial viability of extracting REEs from coal and coal by-products, making NETL’s finding particularly significant in the effort to develop economical domestic supplies of these elements.

Much more at the site - the cool thing is that they are looking at the acid mine runoff and lignite (bad coal) deposits. Both of these are considered to be toxic to the environment but they are rich sources of rare earths and mining these two will remove the toxicity and benefit our technology. Win/Win.

Rare Earths are used for magnets, video displays, MRI instruments for hospitals, aircraft instrumentation, audio and video recording, cameras, the list is huge. Our only source for them has been China because of our own environmentalists blocking any new development. To find that we have abundant sources sitting in what is otherwise a waste stream is pure gravy for the United States.

The Wine Country wildfires

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An interesting look at governement inaction - from San Jose's The Mercury News:

Wine Country fires: Gov. Brown vetoed 2016 bill aimed at power line, wildfire safety
A year ago, a bipartisan bill aimed at reducing the risk of wildfires from overhead electrical lines went to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

It was vetoed.

The author of the measure — passed unanimously by both houses of the Legislature — now says the governor missed out on a chance to tackle one of his state’s longstanding vulnerabilities: massive wildfires endangering residential communities. 

And this is a story why? From The Mercury News (different article):

PG&E power lines linked to Wine Country fires
As the first reports came in Sunday night of numerous fires that would grow into one of the most destructive wildfire disasters in California history, emergency dispatchers in Sonoma County received multiple calls of power lines falling down and electrical transformers exploding.

And of course, the chance for high wind had been forecast well in advance - from Cliff Mass:

The Northern California Fires: Driven by the Diablo Winds That Were Predicted Days Before
A large area north of San Francisco was devastated Sunday night/Monday morning by explosive wildfires that have killed at least 13 individuals, destroyed over 1500 structures, and burned over a hundred thousand acres. Over one-hundred people are missing.

Sad news indeed. I have driven through the USA on occasion and have come across areas that had been burned. I find it amazing that only now is our understanding of forest fire management getting to the point where it mimics nature.

Nature tends towards lots of small fires that keep the undergrowth clear from the mature trees but never get big enough to challenge the trees themselves. Our "management" has been to eliminate fires at all costs - the undergrowth accumulates as this huge fire-load and when it does reach the tipping point, everything is burnt. The forest burns and we are left with a meadow that takes 100's of years to return to mature forest.

Fancy a game of Golf?

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The Beacon Rock Golf Course in North Bonneville, WA just added a new hazard - wildfire. From their Facebook page:

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Another day in smoky paradise

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The sun is a salmon-colored patch of light in the sky. This is supposed to clear out shortly but it is not fun. I lay this at the feet of the environmentalists who demand that no trees be cut anywhere. Their stupid activism has caused a large build-up of fuel in the forests preventing what nature does naturally - an occasional fire sweeping through and burning all the weak and dead trees. The burned areas allow sunlight to come in and help the seedlings to grow. The ash is fertalizer and the heat makes trees release their seeds.

We could be doing much the same process with selective logging and reforesting but NOOOOOOOO!!! Here is a video of what we are talking about - brain-dead idiots. These people need to be mocked not revered. And the last science class that you passed was in what university high school grade school kindergarten:

Another alt.energy story - batteries

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When people talk about electric vehicles, they gloss over the fact that these require a lot of batteries and that standard lead-acid cells simply do not have the energy density needed. High tech batteries use rare earth elements and we are buying these from 3rd world nations because the environmentalists will not allow us to mine our own resources. The upshot is that these mines are environmental disaster areas with horrible labor conditions. For an example, this article from the London Daily Mail:

Child miners aged four living a hell on Earth so YOU can drive an electric car: Awful human cost in squalid Congo cobalt mine that Michael Gove didn’t consider in his ‘clean’ energy crusade
Picking through a mountain of huge rocks with his tiny bare hands, the exhausted little boy makes a pitiful sight.

His name is Dorsen and he is one of an army of children, some just four years old, working in the vast polluted mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where toxic red dust burns their eyes, and they run the risk of skin disease and a deadly lung condition. Here, for a wage of just 8p a day, the children are made to check the rocks for the tell-tale chocolate-brown streaks of cobalt – the prized ingredient essential for the batteries that power electric cars.

And it’s feared that thousands more children could be about to be dragged into this hellish daily existence – after the historic pledge made by Britain to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040 and switch to electric vehicles.

Much more at the site - the word you are looking for to describe the environmentalists is Hypocrisy - from the link:

Hypocrisy is the contrivance of a false appearance of virtue or goodness, while concealing real character or inclinations, esp. with respect to religious and moral beliefs; hence in general sense, dissimulation, pretense, sham. It is the practice of engaging in the same behavior or activity for which one criticizes another.

The greens own this word. No denying it.

Turns out, Germany's CO2 emissions are rising - from The American Interest:

The Kaiser Has No Clothes
After President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord on June 1st, the media turned its proverbial head to another head of state for an instant reaction: Angela Merkel. The German chancellor is the de facto leader of the global green caucus, as she is an outspoken proponent of the international approach to combatting climate change, and her country is the undisputed leader in rolling out renewable energy. Merkel was predictably displeased by Trump’s renunciation of the Paris deal, saying that the decision was “extremely regrettable” while reaffirming her commitment to the UN-organized effort to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. To the casual observer, Merkel and Germany are now playing the virtuous hero in this climate change story, a foil to the new Trump administration. But there’s a problem with that surface level reading of events: Merkel’s Germany isn’t the green champion so many environmentalists seem to believe it to be. Let’s take a look.

And some numbers:

On some fronts, Berlin has been extremely successful in this endeavor: for the past two years, it has sourced 29 percent of its power from renewables. Of course, in order to kickstart its clean energy industries, Germany was forced to subsidize the production of wind and solar power by offering producers long-term above-market rates for their supplies. Those feed-in tariffs, as they’re called, have produced some of the highest power bills in Europe.

Shades of Barry's electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket - and this is double-dipping. The initial subsidies come from the taxpayer's wallets and then, the utilities turn around and charge higher rates for the energy costing them that much more money. How about Nuclear?

Germany’s decision to nix nuclear was motivated partly by security concerns (not exactly a rational fear, considering nuclear’s safety and the relative lack of natural disaster threats that German reactors face), and partly by the long-held revulsion the environmental movement has held for the energy source. How ironic, then, that a phase-out so foundational to a green energy transition would end up increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Shame they are not building LFTR reactors - abundant fuel, incredibly efficient and walk-away safe. So what is replacing the reactors as baseload?

Sure enough, German emissions crept up 0.7 percent last year. Some analysts are pinning that increase on the growing German economy, but the country’s biggest brown problem is its reliance on coal. Coal is just about the dirtiest fossil fuel around, but it’s been in increased demand in Germany following all these nuclear shutdowns. Germany imports hard coal to supply 17 percent of its power, and sources another 23 percent of its electricity from domestically produced lignite, an especially dirty variety of coal. All of that adds up to a lot of emissions.

And the USA?

But however hard she tries to position herself as the virtuous green, the fact remains that German emissions rose last year, while America’s fell three percent (thanks to cheap, abundant shale gas displacing coal). Words matter, but so do numbers, and the data tells us that lately—whatever Trump is trumpeting—the United States is doing more to combat climate change than Germany.

Heh - nothing like a little bit of schadenfreude on a nice Sunday morning...

Coming to a head in Iceland

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Looks like they may have another eruption on their hands - from SHTFplan:

Iceland Could Be About To Experience A Major Volcanic Eruption
Iceland’s largest volcano, Katla, was just moved to yellow status.  But that isn’t all that’s concerning. There have also been over 500 earthquakes in Iceland in the last four days.

Experts now believe that a volcanic eruption that could be quite large, may soon occur in Iceland. A series of 40 small earthquakes occurred just North East of Mount Fagradalsfjall two days ago, with the final one felt in Reykjavik, measuring at almost 4 on the Richter scale.  Following tremors at Katla in South Iceland and a glacial river flood in Múlakvísl, the Icelandic Met Office has raised the status of the famous volcano on its “Aviation Colour Code Map for Icelandic Volcanic Systems” from green to yellow. People have even been warned to stay away from the Múlakvísl  River because of the odor of sulfur.

Gorgeous place - was there for two months in 1974 after the Eldfell eruption - backpacked around the island.

Reclamation - coal mining

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Coal mining used to be an environmental nightmare with the coal companies having no incentive to restore the land after they were done - now this is part of their contract. Here are some people who are taking care of what was left behind from the "old school" mining practices:

But the science is settled

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I love it - from The Daily Caller:

Bill Nye Freaks Out After Scientist Schools Him On Climate Change
Comedian Bill Nye accused CNN of doing a “disservice” to its viewers for inviting a well-respected physicist on Earth Day to argue about the legitimacy of man-made global warming.

Nye, who is well known for hosting a children’s TV show in the 1990s, scolded CNN’s “New Day Saturday” panel Saturday for pitting his environmentalist pedigree against the climate skepticism of physicist William Happer.

He also suggested the 24-news channel should instead drown out people like Happer with 98 scientists who believe in man-made global warming.

“And I will say, much as I love the CNN, you’re doing a disservice by having one climate change skeptic and not 97 or 98 scientists or engineers concerned about climate change,” Nye said after the Princeton University academic suggested that it is a “myth” to believe that carbon dioxide is a pollutant causing widespread ecological destruction.

And what did the good Doctor Happer say that upset Bill so much:

“Carbon dioxide is a perfectly natural gas, it’s just like water vapor, it’s something that plants love. They grow better with more carbon dioxide, and you can see the greening of the earth already from the additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” he added.

He went on to say that Nye’s views on science are backward. Science is based on observation, Happer said, “[a]nd if you observe what’s happening to, for example, the temperature, the temperature is not rising nearly as fast as the alarmist computer models predicted. It’s much, much less — factors of two or three less.”

True - CO2 is basically plant food - at one time our atmosphere had up to 9,000ppm (compared to today's 450ppm). Nye is a partisan hack - he has no understanding of the science. His skill is being funny on television.

Picking on California these days

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I must be feeling lazy - such a good target - like shooting fish in a barrel. This one from USA Today:

California again leads list with 6 of the top 10 most polluted U.S. cities
California's smoggy reputation appears to be deserved: Six of the USA's 10 cities with the worst air pollution are in the Golden State, according to a new report.

Bakersfield, Calif., again holds the dubious distinction of having the USA's most days of highly polluted air, based on data from 2013-2015, the American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report released Wednesday found.

In addition to the worst spikes of short-term pollution — led by Bakersfield — the report also lists the cities with the worst overall year-round pollution — led by Visala/Hanford, Calif.— and the worst ozone pollution, led by the Los Angeles/Long Beach area.

Tell me again how environmentally conscious you are? Committed to the environment. Big difference between saying something and doing it.

Stayin' classy - Democrats

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This level of delusion is unreal - from The Daily Caller:

Democrats Ask Teachers To Destroy Books Written By ‘Climate Deniers’
Three senior House Democrats asked U.S. teachers Monday to destroy a book written by climate scientists challenging the environmentalist view of global warming.

The Democrats were responding to a campaign by the conservative Heartland Institute copies of the 2015 book, “Why Climate Scientists Disagree About Global Warming” to about 200,000 science teachers. Democratic Reps. Bobby Scott of the Committee on Education, Raúl M. Grijalva of the Committee on Natural Resources, and Eddie Bernice Johnson of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology all issued a statement telling teachers to trash the book.

“Public school classrooms are no place for anti-science propaganda, and I encourage every teacher to toss these materials in the recycling bin,” Scott said. “If the Heartland Institute and other climate deniers want to push a false agenda on global warming, our nation’s schools are an inappropriate place to drive that agenda.”

The book’s three authors all hold doctorates and taught climate or related science at the university level. The book was written by former Arizona State University climatologist Dr. Craig D. Idso, James Cook University marine geology and paleontology professor Robert M. Carter, and University of Virginia environmental scientist Dr. Fred Singer.

The last paragraph bears re-reading. The authors work in the field while the politicians are only responding to whomever gives them the most money. This book very much belongs in every schoolroom.

Green gone bad

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A great rant from Christopher Booker at The London Daily Mail:

From killer diesel fumes to ruinous floods, every green initiative imposed on us by politicians has ended in disaster... and this is the great folly of our age, says Christopher Booker
What a parable for our times the great diesel scandal has been, as councils vie to see which can devise the heaviest taxes on nearly half the cars in Britain because they are powered by nasty, polluting diesel.

And Christopher cites a lot of examples - here are just three of them:

Consider the scandal of Drax in Yorkshire, until recently the largest, cleanest, most efficient coal-fired power station in Europe.

Now, thanks to an annual half-a-billion pounds of public subsidy, Drax has been switching from burning coal to millions of tons a year of wood pellets.

Absurdly, these are shipped 3,500 miles to Britain from the U.S., where vast acreages of virgin forest are being felled, supposedly to be replaced with new trees that will eventually soak up all the CO2 emitted by burning them.

Unfortunately, a bright spark has just pointed out in a report for a respected think-tank that it could take a replacement tree hundreds of years to grow to maturity — which would be far too long to have any supposed effect on any climate change. (It should be noted that the former coalition energy minister Chris Huhne, having been released from prison for perverting the course of justice over speeding points, became the European chairman of a firm called Zilkha Biomass, which makes its money supplying wood pellets from North America to Europe.)

The bottom line is that a new report has just confirmed that, far from reducing its CO2 footprint, Drax is now emitting more than it did when it was only burning coal.

And this one:

Then there was the dream of ‘carbon capture and storage’, for which Gordon Brown’s government offered £4 billion for companies to come up with a way of removing CO2 from the coal and gas used to make electricity, and then piping it away for burial in holes under the North Sea.

Only one Scottish power station took up the offer, spending £1 billion before it discovered that it didn’t work.

But even though geologists say it can never work, the Government still talks about it as the only way it can allow coal and gas-fired power plants — which still supply more than half our electricity — to stay in business.

It would work very well - if you didn't mind paying one hundred times your normal electricity bill for the cost of doing this. And one more:

For 18 years, the local rivers and drainage ditches had not been dredged by the Environment Agency, with the deliberate intention of keeping more water flooding out on to the Levels, to provide a habitat for birds and other wildlife.

One former head of the agency, who previously ran the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, had remarked that she wanted to see ‘a limpet mine’ on every one of the pumping stations which — separately from the dredging — were used to pump out the water channels to prevent flooding.

When the lack of dredging led to the inevitable, and the Levels disastrously flooded for the second time in three years, it not only did £100 million worth of damage to homes and businesses.

With bitter irony, it also resulted in the drowning of huge numbers of the birds, badgers and other creatures the conservationists had wanted to save.

A lot of these "drainage ditches" were part of the extensive canal system that pre-dated England's railways. They are now used for recreational boating but they were not maintained and when England had a rainy spring, the flooding was disasterous. A lot more at the site including over 860 comments - well worth reading these too.

About the Bees

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The population of bees is increasing nicely - from Science 2.0:

Bee Experts Challenge Environmental Claim That Wild Bees Are Near Extinction
Colony Collapse Disorder, the belief that honeybees, an important pollinator, are being killed off in droves, has been good for environmental fundraising but hasn't had a scientific foundation.

Nonetheless, it has persisted for 10 years despite data showing that periodic die-offs in bees are as common, and therefore predictable, as solar cycles and California droughts. From the time that records of bees were formally kept, there were reports of mass die-offs without explanation, a thousand years before pesticides even existed.

But pesticides are the moneymaker. Activists can't gather $1 billion per year complaining about nature, like parasites. Yet despite some short-term buzz, the arguments rang hollow. Targeted seed pesticides, like the neonicotinoids that replaced broad-spectrum spraying, were the go-to fundraising claim until it was shown that bees were not declining everywhere they were used. In places like Australia, they didn't decline at all, while in northern Europe bee numbers correlated better to land use changes.  More bees died in truck accidents hauling around bees to places where they were supposedly in decline, and due to beekeeping amateurs not knowing what they were doing, than can be attributed to science.

Once it was revealed that honeybees were actually at a 20 year high, environmentalists wisely changed tack - they began to claim instead that wild bees were dying due to pesticides. This was smarter, because we can't actually count wild bees. There is not even a baseline. Of the 25,000 species of bees worldwide, only 7 even have hives in which they could be counted. If the only number is guesswork, then guess at a baseline and then use guesswork later to claim it has declined.

Speaking truth to power. Environmentalism is making a few people (Al Gore is the poster boy) and a few organizations very wealthy - all of this on the backs of the volunteers who think they are making a difference for the planet. They are not. They are just useful idiots helping the agenda of the 1%. The Gang Green.

From our Department of Transportation:

Work to remove 20 million-pound rock along SR 503 in Cowlitz County is underway
While dangerous rockfall continues to threaten State Route 503 near Speelyai Recreation Road, work to remove trees from on top of the slope began Friday, March 31.

The Washington State Department of Transportation signed an emergency contract with Pacific Blasting & Demolition, a contractor who specializes in precision rock removal and slope stabilization work. Crews will work through the weekend to clear access points onto the hillside, allowing for removal of surface rocks from the top section of the slope.

“This is a major milestone, but there’s still a lot of work to do to get the highway open,” said WSDOT project engineer Lori Figone. “We’ve got to remove the large rock slab, assess what’s behind it and then stabilize the slope.”

WSDOT geotechnical engineers estimate a 20 million-pound rock slab came loose from the hillside, causing a debris slide and closing the highway on Monday, March 13.

The two links in the final paragraph go to the WSDOT Flickr web page - that is a big slab of rock. Couple more photos here.

Here's how you do it - the Trump EPA

Under President Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency is getting back to its original mandate - from the EPA / News Releases:

EPA Awards $100 Million to Michigan for Flint Water Infrastructure Upgrades
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today awarded a $100 million grant to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to fund drinking water infrastructure upgrades in Flint, Mich. The funding, provided by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016, or WIIN, enables Flint to accelerate and expand its work to replace lead service lines and make other critical infrastructure improvements.

“The people of Flint and all Americans deserve a more responsive federal government,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “EPA will especially focus on helping Michigan improve Flint’s water infrastructure as part of our larger goal of improving America’s water infrastructure.”

“I appreciate the EPA approving this funding to assist with Flint’s recovery,” Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said. “Combined with the nearly $250 million in state funding already allocated, this will help keep Flint on a solid path forward. It’s great to see federal, state and local partners continuing to work together to help with infrastructure upgrades and pipe replacements for the people of Flint.”

Obama could have done this with his pen and his phone but no. Flint was already solidly under Democratic rule so he did not need to help them out, he already had their votes. Trump is doing what is right. Stuff like this is what the EPA should be doing, not designating people's backyards as wetlands (here, here, and here).

He writes this editorial in the New York Times:

A Lesson Trump and the E.P.A. Should Heed
In March 1983, President Ronald Reagan asked me to return to Washington to run the Environmental Protection Agency. I had been the E.P.A.’s first administrator, from 1970 to 1973, and over the agency’s first 10 years, it made enormous progress in bringing the country’s worst pollution problems under control despite resistance from polluting industries and their lobbyists. A worried and outraged public had demanded action, and the government responded.

Yet the agency and its central mission came under attack during the 1980 presidential campaign. The Clean Air Act was criticized as an obstacle to growth. The agency was seen as bloated, inefficient, exceeding its congressional mandates and costing jobs. The Reagan administration and its new administrator were going to fix that. Sound familiar?

A bit more:

Budget cuts that hurt programs that states now have in place to meet those duties run the risk of returning us to a time when some states offered industries a free lunch, creating havens for polluters. This could leave states with strong environmental programs supported by the public at a competitive disadvantage compared to states with weak programs. In other words, it could lead to a race to the bottom.

Voters may have supported Donald J. Trump believing his campaign rhetoric about the E.P.A. But they don’t want their kids choking on polluted air or drinking tainted water any more than Hillary Clinton voters, and as soon as the agency stops doing its job, they’re going to be up in arms.

No Bill - the EPA has grown to be a bloated bureaucracy and is greatly overstepping it's original mandate. Little Timmy will not have his feet rot off because he was playing in a polluted stream. That part of the EPA works and will continue to work in the future. The EPA's infringement on personal water rights, Environmental Justice, over-the-top species protection, climate change and others are beyond the scope of the agency and need to be pruned back. President Trump is only cutting their budget by 19% - not a catastrophic amount although Ruckelshaus wants you to believe otherwise. President Trump is trimming the corporate fat, not murdering the agency.

Lest we forget, it was Ruckelshaus who, as head of the EPA, instituted the ban on DDT that is directly responsible for the deaths of over fifty million people worldwide. For more information read here, here, here, here and here (PDF file).

More on the budget cuts here at Anthony's: About those ‘devastating’ EPA budget reductions

Perfect example of what is both good and horrid - Portland, Oregon station KOIN:

Truckloads of baby fish hauled to river in restoration plan
These speckled, rose-tinted fish haven’t been spotted in this bubbling river in remote northeastern Oregon for more than 30 years — until now.

But this week, the waters of the Lostine River suddenly came alive as hundreds of the 4- and 5-inch-long juvenile coho salmon shot from a long white hose attached to a water tanker truck and into the frigid current. The fish jumped and splashed and some, momentarily shell-shocked, hid along the bank as onlookers crowded in for photos.

“All of us are speaking from the heart and our gladness for these fish coming back into this river, bringing something that has vanished, but has come back,” Nez Perce tribal elder Charles Axtell said. “We take care of each other and that’s what we are doing — taking care of this fish. We are the circle of life.”

Good news is that more fish is better for a diverse environment. Bad news is that for some reason - disease, a marginal environment, over-fishing, whatever - the population of fish crashed. The Lostine River was not able to support a population of Coho.

Now, when these fish do return, they will become a unique population and will be awarded some measure of Conservation status - probably Vulnerable or Endangered and then say goodbye to any recreational or commercial use of the watershed. No well drilling for backwoods cabins, no timber harvesting, no road building. The fact that this population is not natural, that it was trucked in from 300 miles away will be conveniently forgotten.

Now that is a budget cut - EPA

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I knew that President Trump was planning to cut the Environmental Protection Agency's budget but I did not know it would be this much - very happy! From The Daily Caller:

Trump Pushes For Massive Budget, Staff Cuts At EPA
President Donald Trump will ask Congress to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget 24 percent, or nearly $2 billion, according to sources familiar with the budget plans.

The White House sent draft budget plans to agency heads Monday, detailing billions of dollars in cuts to a wide range of federal programs. Cuts to EPA and other agencies will fund a $54 billion increase in defense spending.

A source informed of the budget plans told E&E News Trump will push for a nearly $2 billion cut to EPA’s $8.1 billion budget. A source told Politico Trump also “proposed reducing EPA’s 15,000-strong workforce to 12,000, a level not seen since the mid-1980s.”

That is a great start. Their original mandate was very good - the US had serious pollution problems. They did not stop once these had been cleaned up and they extended themselves into every aspect of people's lives. Time to dial them back to their core commitments.

Governor Frank Keating of Oklahoma writes in Tulsa World:

Frank Keating: I signed wind industry tax breaks, and I was wrong
In 2001, when I served as governor of Oklahoma, I signed legislation creating the Zero Emissions Tax Credit for industrial wind energy. The tax credit was designed to give a jump-start to a wind industry in its infancy in Oklahoma at the time. It was sold to us as a low-cost way to broaden our already robust energy and economic development program. It was supposed to create jobs and develop a more prosperous future for Oklahoma.

Signing this legislation was simply a mistake. What was promised to cost the state less than $2 million annually when I was in office has soared to $113 million for the 2014 tax year and is expected to cost billions in the future. Wind farms average 10 to 13 permanent jobs, which hardly lives up to the promised employment growth.

Because the tax credits weren’t limited or capped, the Zero Emissions Tax Credit has warped into a scam costing taxpayers millions to the detriment of other publicly funded services. In 2014, the credits became directly refundable, meaning the state writes wind companies checks for 85 percent of the value of each credit. That’s essentially a blank check funded by taxpayers that goes to multibillion-dollar corporations based outside of Oklahoma and mostly located in foreign countries. It’s the worst kind of corporate handout.

Kind of late for Oklahoma but a good warning to other states and counties. It is not about alternative energy, it is about a few people becoming very very rich off taxpayer dollars.

From The Hill:

Senate confirms Pruitt to lead EPA
The Senate voted Friday to confirm Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ushering in what are likely to be dramatic changes to the agency.

The 52-46 vote was almost along party lines. All Republicans except Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) voted for Pruitt, while all Democrats except Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) voted against him.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) did not vote due to a military conference he is attending in Germany. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) also did not vote.

I love it - Pruitt is currently serving as Oklahoma’s attorney general. He knows the West and he knows the law. A bit more:

Trump promised to roll back Obama’s entire climate change agenda, including the Clean Power Plan, which sets carbon dioxide limits for power plants. He also pledged to repeal the EPA’s Clean Water Rule, which asserts federal power over small waterways like ponds and streams.

Trump said any new regulations will be judged on whether they benefit workers, and he would refocus the EPA’s mission on clean air and water.

At his confirmation hearing, Pruitt promised to take seriously the EPA’s mission, but also to improve cooperation with states and regulated parties.

“Regulators are supposed to make things regular, to fairly and equitably enforce the rules and not pick winners and losers,” Pruitt told senators.

Good - get the EPA back to its core competencies and stop with the regulation overreach by unelected officials with no checks and balances. This has gone on for way too long.

That soft popping sound you hear is environmentalist's heads exploding. I love it.

Business as usual in Washington State

I knew it was bad but I did not realize just how bad - from The Seattle Times:

Washington’s 30-year earthquake drill for the ‘Big One’: Order studies. Ignore them. Repeat.
On Jan. 17, Gov. Jay Inslee strode into an auditorium in Olympia with a message for the new subcabinet he formed to help prepare the state for a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.

“The science is clear that we have in our future a megaquake,” Inslee said. “The establishment of the subcabinet is our attempt to marshal the resources of the state to have a coordinated resilience plan.”

But the governor’s rhetoric gave way to some familiar realities in Washington state. The subcabinet has no budget, staff or regulatory authority — and simply creating it took more than three years, internal records show. The dozen state officials assembled onstage were on loan from their day jobs. And the members are responsible for delivering just one product: a draft of their findings by July.

The federal government is doing a lot of real good - FEMA for the states and various programs like CERT for counties and cities but WA State is doing nothing. There is a lot of planning going on through local fire and police districts working with FEMA and CERT - I have been involved in a bunch of these drills for the last couple of years and there is good work being done. Still, without WA State's involvement, our work will be that much harder.

Some more looking at the problems:

Elected officials over the past three decades have repeatedly directed seismic-safety experts to produce such reports, all of which have called for action to reduce threats to public safety and the state’s economy. But time and again, state politicians have largely ignored recommendations that require money or legislation to see them through, an examination by The Seattle Times has found.

As a result, Inslee’s new subcabinet will be grappling with issues raised many times before, but which still pose serious risks to the state’s residents.

Five government reports since 1986 have urged Washington’s lawmakers to mandate seismic evaluations of public schools, where thousands of children attend classes in vulnerable buildings. Evaluations remain optional.

State seismic advisers called on the Legislature in 1991 to require that electric and water utilities analyze their earthquake weaknesses. Washington still has no authority to compel the utilities to act.

And for at least 25 years, seismic committees have advocated more retrofits for state bridges. With nearly $200 million spent on the work, funding for the program has slowed to a trickle, even as 11.3 million vehicles a day drive over almost 500 bridges flagged for strengthening.

And yet, we piss away millions of dollars on renewable energy and climate mitigation. Much more at the site. You should print out several copies of this article and spread them around your neighborhood. I am doing this. We need to light a fire under our legislators - we elected them, they are supposed to represent us. Make them do their job and stop piddling around with ephemeral things like the weather.

Happy 317th Birthday - Big One

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On this date in 1700, the Cascadia Subduction Zone ripped apart causing a Magnitude 9 earthquake and a major tsunami which devastated our coastline but which also caused damage and flooding in Japan. Geologic record shows that these quakes happen every 300 to 500 years so we are technically overdue.

From The Seattle Times:

Last ‘Big One’ happened 317 years ago today in the Pacific Northwest — and we’re still woefully unprepared
On this date 317 years ago, the “Big One” shook the Pacific Northwest. A magnitude 9 megaquake struck off the Pacific coast, splitting tideflats, collapsing hillsides and dropping shorelines by several feet.

Then the tsunami hit.

“Beaches where hundreds of thousands of tourists now fly kites and race three-wheelers on sunny days were swallowed by waves no man or beast could outrun. Uprooted trees became battering rams. Caught up in the icy water, people flailed desperately for anything to grab onto, anything to keep them afloat. Entire villages were swept away in a matter of moments,” wrote Seattle Times reporter Sandi Doughton in her book, “Full Rip 9.0: The Next Big Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest.”

Today, about 5.4 million people in Washington live in areas that would be endangered by a megaquake. FEMA projects 9,400 Washingtonians would die if a megaquake and tsunami struck.

No time like the present to get prepared. Fortunately, the cities of Seattle and Vancouver are well shielded from the bulk of the tsunami but our coastal towns will be overwhelmed. Further inland, the quake will be more of a Mag 5 - some structural damage, chimneys down, windows broken, etc... Still - people need to start preparing now - three weeks of food, water, medications, pet food, flashlights, books, etc... It is not IF it is WHEN

The declining Polar Bear population

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Pure bunkum. From The Washington Times:

Polar bear zoologist blasts Obama’s climate alarmism: ‘Sensationalized nonsense’
The Obama administration warned Monday that polar bears may disappear unless something is done about climate change, despite recent research indicating that the bears are actually thriving.

In its final Conservation Management Plan, the Fish and Wildlife Service painted a grim picture for the future of the massive Arctic-dwelling mammal, warning that its fate will be determined “by our willingness and ability to address climate change.”

“The current global polar bear population is estimated to be 26,000,” said the Fish and Wildlife Service. “If greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at the current rates throughout the 21st century, polar bears will likely disappear from much of their present-day range.”

And the actual facts from someone who works in the field:

The announcement prompted pushback from zoologist Susan J. Crockford, founder of the Polar Bear Science website, who blasted the service for igniting a rash of “sensationalized nonsense” by fueling alarmist media reports.

The funny thing is the polar bear populations are not dependent on sea ice - that is a myth. The population is also recovering nicely since hunting by non-Inuit natives was made illegal. The Inuit's follow a strict lottery system - they draw a ticket and have 48 hours to get their bear before that ticket gets drawn again. Annual quota is 48 bears (used to be 60). The lucky winner is allowed to sell his ticket to an outsider but again, the 48 hour rule still applies.

Cascadian Subduction Zone

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Fairly long (48 minutes) but excellent documentary by the BBC on the Cascadian Subduction Zone:

This is what I have been training for as part of the Cascadia Rising drill last June, the Great American Shakeout last October and the upcoming earthquake drill this April. A lot of the initial research was done by people a the University of Washington and I have had the pleasure to meet some of the people in this documentary. Very good detective work by some highly intelligent people.

FEMA has a lot of really useful information for earthquake and other disaster preparedness. The old line about three days of food and water is not used any more - it is more like a week to three weeks supply.

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Wizbang


Gone but not Forgotten...
A Coyote at the Dog Show
Bad Eagle
Steven DenBeste
democrats give conservatives indigestion
Allah
BigPictureSmallOffice
Cox and Forkum
The Diplomad
Priorities & Frivolities
Gut Rumbles
Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
MegaPundit
Masamune
Neptunus Lex
Other Side of Kim
Publicola
Ramblings' Journal
Sgt. Stryker
shining full plate and a good broadsword
A Physicist's Perspective
The Daily Demarche
Wayne's Online Newsletter

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