Recently in Environmental Category

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its energy problems by, at the very least, constructing new natural gas pipelines, such proposals have “been blocked or withdrawn” mainly because of opposition from environmental groups.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:


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 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.

The water in Flint Michigan

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Turns out that thousands of communities have it worse. From Reuters:

The thousands of U.S. locales where lead poisoning is worse than in Flint
On a sunny November afternoon in this historic city, birthplace of the Pony Express and death spot of Jesse James, Lauranda Mignery watched her son Kadin, 2, dig in their front yard. As he played, she scolded him for putting his fingers in his mouth.

In explanation, she pointed to the peeling paint on her old house. Kadin, she said, has been diagnosed with lead poisoning.

He has lots of company: Within 15 blocks of his house, at least 120 small children have been poisoned since 2010, making the neighborhood among the most toxic in Missouri, Reuters found as part of an analysis of childhood lead testing results across the country. In St. Joseph, even a local pediatrician’s children were poisoned.

Last year, the city of Flint, Michigan, burst into the world spotlight after its children were exposed to lead in drinking water and some were poisoned. In the year after Flint switched to corrosive river water that leached lead from old pipes, 5 percent of the children screened there had high blood lead levels.

Flint is no aberration. In fact, it doesn’t even rank among the most dangerous lead hotspots in America.

This is not surprising but whomever is running the water systems is not doing their jobs. Our little water cooperative has stringent rules for testing for coliform bacteria, radioactivity, heavy metals and the trigger levels are very low. Our water is fantastic but other neighborhoods have problems - from The Bellingham Herald:

Whatcom County asks state for millions to contain Swift Creek asbestos
A long-term fix for containing the naturally occurring asbestos and metals that flow into Swift Creek depends on $5.8 million that Whatcom County has asked the Legislature to set aside in the 2017-19 state budget.

It marks the third time the money has been requested from the state. If funding doesn’t come through this time, it could be a case of three strikes and you’re out.

“We are at a critical juncture,” said Roland Middleton, special programs manager for Whatcom County Public Works.

Time to start maintaining the infrastructure.

Fish and Plastic

Earlier this year, there was a big environmental story about how juvenile fish were eating bits of plastic instead of their normal food and it was killing them. Here are some links:

The uproar was such that the use of plastic microbeads in toothpastes and cosmetics has been severely curtailed if not outright banned. Here, here, here, here, here and here.

Well guess what. From today's Retraction Watch:

Stolen data prompts Science to flag debated study of fish and plastics
In August, Science told us it was considering adding an Expression of Concern to a high-profile paper about how human pollution is harming fish — and yesterday, the journal did it.

The move comes after a group of researchers alleged the paper contains missing data, and the authors followed a problematic methodology. In September, however, the co-authors’ institution, Uppsala University in Sweden, concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to launch a misconduct investigation.

The notice from Science stems from the theft of a computer carrying some of the paper’s raw data, making it impossible to reproduce some of its findings:

In the 3 June issue, Science published the Report “Environmentally relevant concentrations of microplastic particles influence larval fish ecology” by Oona M. Lönnstedt and Peter Eklöv (1). The authors have notified Science of the theft of the computer on which the raw data for the paper were stored. These data were not backed up on any other device nor deposited in an appropriate repository. Science is publishing this Editorial Expression of Concern to alert our readers to the fact that no further data can be made available, beyond those already presented in the paper and its supplement, to enable readers to understand, assess, reproduce or extend the conclusions of the paper.

“Environmentally relevant concentrations of microplastic particles influence larval fish ecology” caught the media’s attention for suggesting fish larvae are eating small particles of plastic rather than their natural prey. It became the focus of scrutiny soon after it was published when a group of researchers raised allegations of misconduct, even submitting a formal letter outlining their concerns.

We contacted corresponding author Oona M. Lönnstedt, and received an out-of-office message.

Heh - oops - laptop stolen and no backup of the data. So no verification. Cherry picked data if not outright fabrication. The whole fish/plastics thing was just another example of wishful thinking. Narrative passing for critical thought -- that is the hallmark of the liberal mind.

About that renewable energy - Europe

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It is a joke - worse for the environment than just burning coal - from New Scientist:

Europe’s green energy policy is a disaster for the environment
The European Union’s proposals for revising its renewable energy policies are greenwashing and don’t solve the serious flaws, say environmental groups.

The EU gets 65 per cent of its renewable energy from biofuels – mainly wood – but it is failing to ensure this bioenergy comes from sustainable sources, and results in less emissions than burning fossil fuels. Its policies in some cases are leading to deforestation, biodiversity loss and putting more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than burning coal.

Like the old saying goes: "Our appearance of careful management is just a careful management of appearances."

It seems that people are caving to him even though he has not been inaugurated yet - from Fuel Fix:

EPA plans to withdraw pollution regulations for seven Texas power plants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it plans to voluntarily withdraw a requirement that seven Texas coal-fired power plants reduce pollution, according to a filing with a federal appeals court.

The so-called regional haze rule is part of the Clean Air Act and was proposed two years ago with the goal of cleaning up the air in national parks. The act requires states to craft a plan to address air pollution, or else be forced to implement a plan compiled by the EPA. Texas declined to create a plan, and along with power plant owners took its objections to the EPA’s plan to court.

The EPA said it plans to soon file a motion to withdraw the regional haze rule with U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is reviewing it. The agency is not expected to scrap the rule, but rather to reevaluate its requirements come back with a reworked rule, according to the Sierra Club, a national environmental advocacy group. The original rule targeted sulfur dioxide pollution in national parks, and required that coal-fire power plants use scrubbers, air pollution control devices, to reduce emissions.

The rule would apply to seven power plants that the EPA claims affect air quality in Big Bend National Park and the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the only two national parks in Texas. Big Bend is along the state’s western border with Mexico and the Guadalupe Mountains run along the Texas-New Mexico border.

A couple of things - the 'haze' in those parks comes from Mexico, and the plants in question are already kitted out with Flue-gas desulfurization units - there is essentially zero SOx or particulates escaping from the chimney. Most hippies will never admit it but we have had clean coal technologies for over 25 years.

Disaster planning for Seaside Oregon

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I love the place - I used to like Cannon Beach about 20 miles to the South but C.B. has been 'di$covered' and is now very gentrified while Seaside has retained its working roots. I have been down there for the last couple of years for a very large amateur radio conference in June. Great coffee, chinese food and a wonderful hole-in-the-wall tavern where the locals hang out. When I lived in Seattle, Cannon Beach and Seaside were some of my favorite places to visit (with the obligatory side trip to Powell's in Portland).

Unfortunately, the town is smack-dab in the sights of a tsunami when the Cascadia subduction zone lets go. The New Yorker has an excellent article about some people trying to make the Seaside schools more tsunami-proof:

By their nature, coastal towns are seldom at the center of things. The little boardwalk city of Seaside, Oregon, is in the far northwest corner of the state, four square miles that are not square, bisected by a river and flush against the ocean. In the summer months, nearly everyone there is from elsewhere; given a little sunshine, well over half a million tourists spread their towels along the town’s long shoreline. After Labor Day, though, the candy stores and kite shops close their shutters, the “vacancy” signs blink on, and the beach, gone brown with rain, thins out to seagulls and bundled-up locals walking their dogs. Year-round, some sixty-five hundred people live in Seaside.

But everything is at the center of something. Last year, I wrote an article in this magazine about the Cascadia subduction zone, a little-known fault line that cyclically produces the largest earthquakes and tsunamis in North America—shaking of magnitude 9.0 or higher, waves of a scale and destructive force analogous to the 2011 disaster in Japan. The subduction zone runs for seven hundred miles along the western coast of our continent. At its south end is Cape Mendocino, California. At its north end is Vancouver Island, Canada. In the middle is Seaside.

That centrality is not just geographic. With one possible exception—the similarly unlucky town of Long Beach, Washington—no other place on the West Coast is as imperilled by the Cascadia subduction zone as Seaside. When the earthquake hits, the continent will jolt westward into the Pacific, displacing an enormous amount of ocean. All of that seawater will be forced upward into a massive liquid mountain, which will promptly collapse and rush back toward the shore. That’s the tsunami, which will flood the coastal region up to a mile and a half inland and to a depth of twenty, forty, even a hundred feet, depending on your precise location. The area that will be swamped is called the inundation zone; within it, tsunamis are essentially unsurvivable. Eighty-three per cent of Seaside’s population and eighty-nine per cent of its workforce are located inside that zone. So is its energy infrastructure, water supply, wastewater-treatment plant, hospital, police department, and fire stations. And so, during the school year, are nearly all of its children.

Some really good people, a great gift of land from Weyerhaeuser timber company for the new school buildings and a growing awareness of what can happen and how to cope. Out here, we will experience about a 5.0 Magnitude - building damage, unsecured houses shifting off their foundations, some dams and bridges failing - not as serious as Seaside but still something to prepare and plan for.

The Paris Climate Accord is a cultural marxist scam designed to skim off many billions of dollars from rich nations to line the purses of despots and the "climate challenged" nations. The USA has thankfully, not signed on to this piece of crap. Not what the UK Guardian thinks:

Paris climate change agreement enters into force
The Paris agreement on climate change enters into force on Friday, marking the first time that governments have agreed legally binding limits to global temperature rises.

The passage of the accord – the fruit of more than two decades of often tortuous international negotiations on combating climate change – was hailed by nations and observers around the world.

Under the agreement, all governments that have ratified the accord, which includes the US, China, India and the EU, now carry an obligation to hold global warming to no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels. That is what scientists regard as the limit of safety, beyond which climate change is likely to become catastrophic and irreversible.

Unnnh - that would be a no. From the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:

Paris Agreement - Status of Ratification
The Paris Agreement pdf-icon entered into force on 4 November 2016, thirty days after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 % of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the Depository.

The list below contains the latest information concerning dates of signature and receipt of instruments of ratification by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as Depository of the Kyoto Protocol. The dates in the third column are those of the receipt of the instrument of ratification, acceptance (A) or approval (AA).

Authoritative information on the status of the Paris Agreement, including information on signatories to the Agreement, ratification and entry into force, is provided by the Depository, through the United Nations Treaty Collection website, which can be accessed here, and the Depository Notifications which are available here.

Background information related to the ratification, acceptance, approval or accession of the Paris Agreement, as well as its entry into force can be found here.

As you can see from the list, the United States accepted the ratification but it did not issue a declaration. Obama is forcing this using his pen and his phone but the Senate is not ratifying this treaty (as they must under the US Constitution and it must be by a 2/3rds vote).

Now this is interesting - arctic noise

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From the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

Mysterious 'ping' sound from sea floor baffles Igloolik
Hunters in a remote community in Nunavut are concerned about a mysterious sound that appears to be coming from the sea floor.

The "pinging" sound, sometimes also described as a "hum" or "beep," has been heard in Fury and Hecla Strait — roughly 120 kilometres northwest of the hamlet of Igloolik — throughout the summer.

Paul Quassa, a member of the legislative assembly, says whatever the cause, it's scaring the animals away.

"That's one of the major hunting areas in the summer and winter because it's a polynya," an area of open water surrounded by ice that's abundant with sea mammals, he said.

"And this time around, this summer, there were hardly any. And this became a suspicious thing."

The noise is "emanating from the sea floor," according to remarks Quassa made last month in the Nunavut legislature.

One possibility and I would not put it past them:

He also says some of his constituents suspect the sound is being generated on purpose by Greenpeace to scare wildlife away from the rich hunting ground. The organization has a tense past with Inuit stemming from its opposition to the seal hunt in the 1970s and 1980s. 

"We've heard in the past of groups like Greenpeace putting in some kinds of sonars in the seabed to get the sea mammals out of the way so Inuit won't be able to hunt them," Quassa said.


About that global warming

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From AccuWeather:

Blustery winds, interior snow to chill northeastern US this weekend
Colder weather, and in some cases, a taste of winter with snow will continue to invade the northeastern United States this weekend.

Shorts and short-sleeve weather from earlier this week is being replaced by conditions requiring long sleeves and layered clothing, including coats, hats and even gloves, for those spending time outdoors at area football games.

Some people may have to put their heat on for the first time this season.

Looking at some epic snow this winter for Mtl Baker. Good for business.

Earthquakes on the brain

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An interesting metric from My Northwest:

Google searches prove devastating earthquake still top of mind in Washington
It’s clear that earthquakes are still top of mind for Western Washington residents.

One need only to look as far as the Google search bar to understand just how much interest there is.

As Estatly points out, “How to survive an earthquake?” is queried by Washingtonians in the Google search engine more frequently than any other state, including California. And that’s somewhat surprising, considering the fact that anxiety was high recently after a swarm of seismic activity prompted a warning of elevated risk for a San Andreas fault earthquake, and two faults were just found to be connected.

The search queries in Google were taken from the most common how-to questions over the past five years.

This is a good thing - preparedness begets survival and the more prepared you are, the more comfortable you will be until relief arrives.

Our government and local farmers

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This sucks - central planning at it's most egregious - from Capital Press:

Congress mulls project to flood Washington farmland
Federal lawmakers may authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to pursue a $451.6 million project to convert hundreds of acres of privately owned farmland into Puget Sound fish habitat, unsettling to a farmer who owns property vital to the government’s designs.

“It’s definitely, definitely in the back of my mind, all the time,” said Scott Bedlington, third-generation Whatcom County farmer. “I have to farm. That’s what we live off.”

The corps and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife propose to inundate 2,100 acres in Whatcom, Skagit and Jefferson counties, including by removing dikes protecting farms.

Restoring habitat is a nice idea and it plays well with the disconnected-from-reality urban voters but the habitat was disturbed and nothing we do can bring it back to what it once was. Some of the dam removal is good for restoring salmon runs but stuff like this is expensive and will do nothing major. It will remove the layer of flood protection that the levees give which caused them to be built in the first place.

Follow the money:

The corps and WDFW spent 15 years and $22 million developing the Puget Sound Nearshore Restoration Project.

The corps forwarded the plan to Congress last month. The plan calls for $293.6 million in federal funding and $158 million in state funding over about 10 years.

How about we put this towards reforming our education system. The Federal funding is just our tax dollars being misspent and the state funding is money that would be better served fixing infrastructure. Fish do not say thank you.

Very cool news - the EPA

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President Trump has picked an awesome person to lead the EPA Transition team. From EENews (Environmental and Energy):

Trump picks top skeptic to lead EPA transition
Donald Trump has selected one of the best-known climate skeptics to lead his U.S. EPA transition team, according to two sources close to the campaign.

Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, is spearheading Trump's transition plans for EPA, the sources said.

As they say in New England, the guy is 'wicked smaaht' - has a sense of humor too:

In a biography submitted when he testified before Congress, he listed among his recognitions that he had been featured in a Greenpeace "Field Guide to Climate Criminals," dubbed a "misleader" on global warming by Rolling Stone and was the subject of a motion to censure in the British House of Commons after Ebell criticized the United Kingdom's chief scientific adviser for his views on global warming.

Sitting here, eating breakfast and watching hippies heads exploding. A great morning!

Got to be California

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America's test lab for wacky ideas - from the San Francisco's CBS affiliate KCBS:

Cow Fart Regulations Approved By California’s Legislature
California’s Legislature has approved regulations on cow flatulence and manure – both blamed for releasing greenhouse gases.

A bit more:

The legislation seeks to reduce methane emissions associated with manure to 40 percent below their 2013 levels by 2030. Methane is one of several gases known as short-lived climate pollutants that don’t persist for long in the atmosphere but have a huge influence on the climate.

The bill also calls for efforts to significantly increase composting to eliminate the amount of food waste in landfills, which releases methane when it breaks down.

This is going to impact dairy and meat operations so say hello to higher prices for those two staple foods. Also, composting releases methane just as much as landfills. In landfills, the methane can be captured and used for fuel. As for greenhouse gas - if they are really serious, they need to go after water vapor. That accounts for a lot more greenhouse gas activity than either CO2 or CH4 (Methane).

A bunch of twits

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From Seattle station KIRO:

Protesters block coal train in Bellingham
A fossil fuel resistance group blocked a coal train in Bellingham, Washington, Saturday as part of an ongoing campaign against fossil fuels.

Protestors raised a tripod structure in the middle of a rail bridge crossing Mud Bay south of Bellingham. Trains have been stopped since early in the afternoon.

Organizers of the blockade said they believe fossil fuels should be stopped in order to avoid global warming.

For decades, Bellingham has been in the sights of the fossil fuel industry. Activists expressed ongoing efforts to keep fossil fuel transportation out of the city.

And I bet these morons all have iPhones and wear polyester. Carbon is our friend and CO2 is plant food. Silly hippies...

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