A W A K E N

Spotlight on green news & views: Baboon killer booted; surviving bad eco-appointees

CRITTERS AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS

RonK writes—The Daily Bucket: Nooksack River Part 2 – The History and Current State of the River: “In part I of this series I described the Nooksack River from its headwaters in the North Cascade Mountains through its course to the Salish Sea. I made the case that this river, along with others like it, were critically important to sustaining our icons of the Salish Sea—salmon and orcas. Sustaining these icons is dependent in part on the health of these rivers that grow the fish which in turn feed our resident orca. That is, healthy rivers are a necessary but not a sufficient condition for saving these critters. In this part I relate the history of the river, what has happened to it and why it is important today that it is restored to health and maintained. On casual viewing, most of this river appears robust and healthy as seen in Part 1. Although much of river is in pretty good shape, closer examination shows that it is not totally pristine, especially as it pertains to our aquatic friends. In general, the river is relatively healthy in its upper reaches and deteriorates progressively as it flows toward the sea which corresponds with the increased density of residential and agricultural occupation. The story of the Nooksack River has been written numerous times of other rivers all across the continent from east to west. The Nooksack was one of the last to experience change as the area was not settled until the mid to latter part of the 19th C.”

Attack Gardener writes—The Daily Bucket – Amazing Transformations: “Hey, all! I’m still working on my next herbal Bucket but I thought it would be fun to have a summer photo journal until I can finish the darn thing. It occurred to me this past weekend that I have seen quite a number of changes and transformations this summer. A lot of changes in nature happen slowly and are easy to miss unless you’re paying attention; others happen in the blink of an eye. I actually caught a few on camera this year and would like to share them with you. […] One rather fun change happened early this summer when I made a friend of one of our multitudinous chipmunks. He went from a skittish little rodent … to one who thought this human might be ok … Hey, you know, this isn’t so bad after all!

shimmering lake

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – magical sea creatures: “October 15, 2018. Salish Sea late afternoon. Sunny days in October in the Pacific Northwest are magical. Sea creatures are enjoying this cool water and slanted sunlight. I observed a few on a calm late afternoon near my home. The water was peaceful enough to see swimmers down below leaving tracks on the surface ….It’s the autumn colors in slanting golden light that creates these watery glistening reflections. There’s just enough breeze across the surface to generate flat ripples. I like the impressionistic look more than a mirrored reflection. Dynamic but also peaceful. Foraging sea creatures add unpredictable curves to the pattern. These Horned grebes are among the earliest winter migrants to the bay, joining a resident lone seal on this afternoon. […]  Stepping back from my perusal of particular visitors in the bay, here’s a bigger view. You may be able to see some of these magical sea creatures hiding in plain sight. (reflected colors are from Oceanspray and Oregon Grape bushes turning color, as well as fallen foliage from same and from alders and firs up higher, plus tree trunks, dry grass and bedrock.)”

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – gulls and open bucket: “I’m mainly tending comments over at my Birds and Birdwatching diary, which is about gulls, but we need a DAILY bucket too. I’m going to make this a gullful day! So enjoy a few gulls, and add your observations in the comments about your natural neighborhood.”

durrati writes—Monster Who Bragged About Killing Family of Baboons Forced to Resign by Idaho Governor. (Trigger): “Idaho state Fish and Game Commissioner Blake Fischer recently posted trophy photos and couldn’t keep from bragging about killing a whole family of baboons with his trusty bow and arrows. Fischer also posted shots of his prowess at killing giraffes and cheetahs but I will spare you the carnage. Idaho’s Republican Governor, C. L. ‘Butch’ Otter, was not amused and called for and readily accepted Fischer’s resignation. In a resignation letter to Idaho Gov. C. L. ‘Butch’ Otter, state Fish and Game Commissioner Blake Fischer cited poor judgment in posting the images. ‘I recently made some poor judgments that resulted in sharing photos of a hunt in which I did not display an appropriate level of sportsmanship and respect for the animals I harvested,’ he wrote. ‘Harvested.” Isn’t that precious?”

Running Eagle Falls

Ojibwa writes—Glacier Park: Running Eagle Falls (Photo Diary): “Running Eagle Falls is located in the Two Medicine area of Glacier National Park in Montana. The photos shown below were taken in June 2018 at a time when the creek was running near flood stage. Running Eagle was a Blackfoot woman warrior. According to the information sign: Running Eagle was a tall and beautiful woman, with long black braids, and walking a straight religious path with grace, pride, and honor. Near her 30th year, Running Eagle went on her last raid across the Continental Divide, where she was killed by the Flathead in their territory. Her body was brought back to Two Medicine and placed in a tree on the mountain overlooking the falls.”

Meteor Blades writes—Open thread for night owls: Millions of years needed for mammals to recover from one of their kind: “Throughout our existence, humans and other hominins have hunted other mammals, first for meat, and then for pelts, trophies, trade, and more. Since the last Ice Age, more than 300 species have gone extinct, including mammoths, woolly rhinos, and thylacines. A quarter of the remaining 5,500 species are endangered, thanks to one species: us. A sobering new study by Matt Davis at Aarhus University throws these losses into stark relief. He estimated how long it would take for mammals to evolve enough new species to replace the ones that we have eradicated. And his most realistic answer is somewhere from 3 million to 7 million years. That’s at least 10 times as long as we have even existed as a species. We have inflicted such grievous wounds on our own family tree that the healing process can’t possibly happen “on any kind of time scale that’s relevant to humans,” Davis says.”

6412093 writes—The Daily Bucket–My Struggle with Heron Addiction: “I never thought it could happen to me, a middle aged white guy in the suburbs. Sure I smoked a little pot in college, but I didn’t inhale. But all it took was one heron shot, and I was hooked. A Leica with a 12X zoom it was, for my first shot. I did heron pictures, every chance I got. When the Leica broke down, I hocked my grandparent’s silverware to buy a Canon, d–— it, I wasn’t going a weekend without a shot. /s/ In the early days, the heron(s) came by my backyard ponds quite often. The fat and slow goldfish were an easy meal. I built my life around the moments when the heron would land in my backyard.  I established several viewing/picture taking spots from within my house; windows open partway, blinds barely parted, and window screens removed. If the heron could see me moving around in the house it would get angry and glare at me, often cussing with a “G-A-A-C-K!,” followed by dropping a generous white splash, and then the  heron would flew away, rising rapidly with smooth powerful strokes of its gigantic wings. So whenever the heron was in the back yard, I would dodge around the house, sometimes on my hands and knees, peering from corners of windows, looking for that good shot.  I learned to watch a couple of spots where the heron liked to rest while planning its attack; here, the neighbor’s roof.”

Besame writes—Daily Bucket: California could save these four bumble bees, except one may be extinct already: “Since the feds are playing games with the Endangered Species Act, it might be up to states to offer protection. Even though many at-risk species don’t remain within one state, protecting some of populations and their habitat will help. Conservation and food safety groups petitioned California to list four bumble bee species as Endangered under the California ESA —western bumble bee, Franklin’s bumble bee, Crotch’s bumble bee and Suckley cuckoo bumble bee. Franklin’s might already be extinct. Despite thorough surveys of its small historic habitat area in the Siskiyou Mountains (CA and southern OR), the species hasn’t been seen since 2006 and that was just one individual. The Suckley cuckoo can only live where its host, the western bumble bee, lives and the western’s abundance has decreased by 84%. Three of them are listed as Critically Endangered or Endangered by IUCN, but the western bumble bee proposed for CESA listing is a subspecies not yet formally listed by IUCN.”

CLIMATE CHAOS

Pakalolo writes—New phenomenon enables Polar jet circulation to bring Saharan dust to Arctic Circle: “Now a new threat to the ice has been discovered that has the effect of amplifying changes to the Arctic by decreasing reflectivity from snow and ice with layers of dust originating in Africa’s Sahara desert. EurekAlert published a press release on a recent study that found that the new mechanism is raising temperatures and melting ice in Greenland. Research scientists at NYU Abu Dhabi, along with other global researchers, have identified a new mechanism by which warm dust travels from the Sahara Desert to the Arctic Circle. This has been proven to affect rising temperatures and ice melt in Greenland. “The poleward transport of dust is caused by a meandering polar jet stream that was at the origin of both dust emission (through cyclogenesis over Northwest Africa) and poleward transport of the uplifted dust toward the Arctic (through circulation related to cutoff low formation).’ The polar jet stream has been identified as the main driver for such events according to the study.

Pakalolo writes—Trumpism views climate change as a free, endless driver of genocide via natural catastrophe: “If we don’t act as if our lives depended on it, then the IPCC warns we will face an apocalyptic world of famine, wildfire, flood, disease, violence, trauma, suicide, mass migration, and deadly heat waves by 2040. That half a degree of warming may sound insignificant to most but, it is enough to kill off the world’s coral reefs and leave the Arctic without sea ice –  which is what cools the planet allowing our civilization to exist as we know it. There is one thing about the IPCC report that escaped the public’s attention, the dirty secret that the nightmare scenario we face, according to the United Nations, is not the worst case scenario but instead the best case scenario.If you are still reading after this scary and grim news, you may ask what does neo-fascism have to do with any of this. Why make fascists angry? It is way too hot of a topic. Too conspiratorial. Too dicey. Too speculative. Too dangerous. We are all to blame for our predicament some say, but that is not true. One hundred companies are responsible for 71% of carbon emissions and, most knew of the cataclysmic results the Earth would experience by the combustion of coal and oil for our energy needs decades ago. There are billions of us that want action.”

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Only Heartland’s Cuckoos Care About Heartland’s NIPCC, the IPCC-Rip-off Report: “Since 2008, the Heartland Institute has tried, and failed, to make an IPCC knock-off report a thing. And by naming it the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, they hope to trick their audience into believing that it’s similar in scope and credibility to the real thing. Much like the cuckoo will drop its eggs in the nest another bird spent time and resources building, deniers crave the credibility of real science institutions, but time and time again they’ve proven they just can’t do the job themselves.On October 5th of this year, Heartland released a ‘Summary for Policymakers for its latest NIPCC project in anticipation of the IPCC 1.5 report. To be honest, dear reader, we didn’t even notice. WUWT ran a verbatim copy-paste of the press release, and a couple days later there was an op-ed by Heartland folks in the American Thinker and one by Heartland’s Paul Driessen in TownHall, but that seems to be the extent of the media strategy. No one unaffiliated with the report has written anything original about it. This NIPCC report is created and published by a group funded by the fossil fuel industry, and big surprise, it’s about all the different ways that fossil fuels are good and renewables bad. But are the examples valid, intelligent and/or compelling?

Ray Kamada writes—3 Ways to Suggest an Impossibly Optimistic IPCC Report: “Here, I’ll present three different approaches all suggesting that the IPCC report presents, not a best case scenario, but an impossibly optimistic one. Assuming ‘business as usual,’ the approaches outlined below yield a tight cluster of estimates of 14.3, 13.5, and 12.7 years remaining to lock in, not just 1.5, but rather 2.0 degs C of warming since global temperature record keeping began in 1880. Despite all professed concerns and counter-claims, the global CO2 emissions rate is still creeping upward. So, as yet, there’s nothing to suggest anything other than ‘business as usual’ in our immediate future. Meanwhile, those averse to high school math or prone to typing tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) can skip to the heading marked Items of Note.

m2c4 writes—Climate Change May Have Just Destroyed 10% Of Our F-22 Fighters: “The F-22 and the F-35 are the backbone of America’s fighter aircraft capabilities. Imagine if the United States was attacked by an external force and nearly 10% of our total number of F-22 fighter planes were destroyed by that enemy. That would be a story. In fact, it actually happened just last week when Hurricane Michael devastated Tyndall Air Force base near Panama City, Florida. Reports indicate that 17 F22-Raptors were damaged or destroyed by the hurricane. These are probably all training aircraft or could not be moved because of maintenance or safety problems. Any combat-ready F-22s were presumably moved off-base before the storm hit. But, even so, those 17 planes represent about 10% of the entire US F-22 fleet. Each plane costs at least $140 million.”

Karen Feridun writes—Note to Pennsylvania Democrats: This Is No Way to Court Youth or Climate Voters: “Note to the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, it is bad form to ask youth voters who purchased tickets to a fundraiser for Senator Bob Casey, Governor Tom Wolf, and 6th District Congressional candidate Chrissy Houlahan to leave. It’s especially bad when they have spent the day canvassing for Democratic candidates. It’s unforgivably bad form when they are the Sunrise Movement’s Rose Strauss and Olivia Freiwald. Video of Rose Strauss being called ‘young and naïve’ by GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner went viral this summer. She’d asked Wagner about climate change. ‘Two-thirds of Pennsylvanians think climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed, and you’ve said that climate change is a result of people’s body heat and are refusing to take action on the issue. Does this have anything to do with the $200,000 you have taken from the fossil fuel industry?’ Incumbent Tom Wolf and running mate John Fetterman lost no time making ‘young and naïve voter t-shirts and stickers, but Wolf never addressed the substance of Strauss’ question. The Sunrise Movement she represents has succeeded in getting more than 1,200 candidates nationwide to sign its No Fossil Fuel Money pledge. In Pennsylvania, 109 candidates, including John Fetterman, have taken the pledge. Casey and Wolf have not. In fact, according to Follow the Money, Casey has taken $48,550 in oil & gas industry donations during this election cycle. Wolf has taken $110,500.

Rmuse writes—U.N. climate report exposes Trump as a global killer: “Trump says climate change is fake news, but one has to believe that the millions of Americans being adversely affected by the results of climate change likely have a different opinion; even in states like Florida that banned the term “climate change,and North Carolina that banned the use of storm surge data in planning new developments. According to the United Nations IPCC report, the world’s leaders have about a decade to get anthropogenic climate change under control. If not, exactly as many climate scientists have been predicting over the past decade  It’s game over for the climate.” Under normal circumstances it would be an understatement to call the task put forward by the United Nations climate experts daunting, but even “daunting” fails to take into consideration America’s goal of increasing its carbon emissions that make the rest of the world’s efforts futile. The executive director of the U.N. Environmental Program, Erik Solheim, tried to express the urgency of the IPCC’s report to inspire the planet’s nations to take major steps to save the climate. He said: ‘It’s like a deafening, piercing smoke alarm going off in the kitchen. We have to put out the fire. Net zero must be the new global mantra’.

srkp23 writes—Leaders move past Trump to protect world from climate change: “I took some kind of solace in an article in today’s Guardian: Leaders move past Trump to protect world from climate change. There are significant world leaders and influencers—politicians, thought leaders, scientists, business leaders, who are coming together to try to help mitigate some of the suffering that will be wrought by global climate change. Far too little is being done to protect people from the heatwaves, storms and floods being supercharged by climate change, according to a high-level international commission. It aims to rebuild the political will to act that was damaged when US president, Donald Trump, rejected the global Paris agreement. The Global Commission on Adaptation is being led by Ban Ki-Moon, Bill Gates and Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank. It involves 17 countries including China, India, South Africa, Indonesia, Canada and the UK. Although Trump and his administration of climate change deniers, aided and abetted by criminally short-sighted, selfish Republican politicians, are at best a drag on such efforts, we cannot allow them to become successful obstructers. Having the involvement of China and India in this project is crucial.”

Karen Rubin via NewsPhotosFeatures writes—Climate Action is the Key Issue for Midterm Elections: “There are many specific issues to drive voting these midterms – health care, gun violence prevention, women’s reproductive rights, immigration reform – arguably the most important elections of our lifetime, but the one that addresses an existential threat to our lives and our planet is climate change. (Interestingly, though, advocacy of one in this age of tribal politics almost invariably aligns with the rest.) Rather than unify the nation around a disaster, climate catastrophes have become more political than ever. Indeed, we see that some Americans are more valuable to protect and restore than others; depending upon how you voted, you will be more deserving of aid than others. Aid is like a reward for voting ‘the right way’ – it’s kind of amazing how fast the billions flow to red states. […] It is crucial for voters need to elect representatives at every level of government, local, state and federal, who acknowledge this existential threat and vow to take climate action.

Hunter writes—Sen. Jeff Flake wants Republicans to combat climate change, even as he himself refuses to: “There may come a day when some elected Republican lawmaker somewhere grows three millimeters of spine, finds their voice, and pulls their party back from the anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-facts, anti-democracy void that they so eagerly hurtle towards. But today is not that day, and the self-parodying would-be hero Sen. Jeff Flake is not that person. Here he is in his natural habitat, a Sunday talk show, expressing alarm at the recent U.N. report warning that we are now all but locked into catastrophic climate change in the coming century and offering up the very serious-minded suggesting that somebody in his party might want to do something about that. ‘I mean there’s been more recognition among Republicans, the administration hasn’t taken the view of some of us that this is something we really need to deal with. I hope we can move along with the rest of the world and address this. It’s going to be challenging, obviously, that report that came out is pretty dire. There are things that we can do and should do and I think Republicans need to be at the forefront if we want to keep our place and keep our seats.’ Sen. Jeff Flake is, quite literally, one of the most powerful people in the nation. He holds a position of great public distinction and responsibility; he could, by virtue of his voice and his vote, work to craft the change he seeks. Stubbornly, if need be. Obnoxiously, if need be. Using the power that he, out of only 100 people in our entire nation, has been granted, if need be. He need not wait until he is out of office and powerless to advocate for the changes in Republicanism he wishes to see.”

Extreme Weather & Natural Phenomena

Walter Einenkel writes—Power shut down to almost 60,000 California residents to lessen chance of wildfires: “Since Sunday, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has been temporarily shutting down the power grid for tens of thousands of Northern California customers, in the face of forecasts including “low humidity and gusty winds of up to 60 MPH.” These are the kinds of weather conditions from which wildfires arise. PG&E says it is hoping to help lessen the chances of a repeat of last year’s terrible fires. According to KQED, six California counties had their power cut on Sunday, affecting 59,000 residents. PG&E said it’s monitoring conditions in Butte, Sierra, Placer, Nevada, Plumas and Yuba counties and could turn off power in those communities, too. The winds have dropped since Sunday, and, while the arid conditions continue Monday, PG&E says that they will be bringing service back.”

FLwestcoast writes—Trump’s FEMA failing again – Citizens without water and food for days from Hurricane Michael: “Donald Trump’s FEMA appears now to be failing the citizens of the US like Puerto Rico last year with Maria. Two recent articles document that many people haven’t received any food or water since Tuesday night. While Trump is hosting a reality TV show with Kanye West, the Gulf coast residents are scavaging for scraps just to survive. From a Daily Beast article today from Ingrid Amesen: Since the storm, there’s been no electricity and no water in Panama City. Emergency disaster relief was yet to be seen in strength as of Saturday morning and residents were growing more frustrated and desperate. Chantelle Goolspy sat in her car making phone calls to get help. Goolspy and many of her neighbors live in a public housing area in downtown Panama City that was badly devastated. ‘We’re in need of food, water, anything, we’re not getting any help. The whole street needs help,’ Goolspy told the Red Cross. “FEMA referred me to you. That person told me to call 211’.

POPULATION, SUSTAINABILITY & EXTINCTION

Rikon Snow writes—Evolution too slow to recover from current mass extinctions: “A recently released study led by Matt Davis which appeared in the science journal PNAS and was reported at the wonderful ScienceDaily web site, finds that it will take 3 to 5 million years for evolution to replace the number of species going extinct— both animal and plant –— to current levels of biodiversity and 5 — 7 million years to get to the diversity levels that existed prior to the emergence of  modern humans. As reported at ScienceDaily, The sixth mass extinction is underway, this time caused by humans. A team of researchers have calculated that species are dying out so quickly that nature’s built-in defense mechanism, evolution, cannot keep up. If current conservation efforts are not improved, so many mammal species will become extinct during the next five decades that nature will need 3-5 million years to recover to current biodiversity levels. And that’s a best-case scenario. A particularly interesting aspect of the the study was a focus on finding those species which represent entire evolutionary branches’.” 

billofrights writes—A Great Dilemma: How to write, and act, about the natural world when it’s vanishing before our eyes? “Dear Citizens and Elected Officials: I was supposed to write, this morning,  about the largest solar power project east of the Mississippi, something I’ve been ‘excavating’ over the past two weeks, trying to understand how it happened in the state of Virginia, and  not Maryland. In Spotsylvania County, no less, where the only needed permits remaining are from the county, home to some of the bloodiest Civil War battles in 1863-1864. It’s for 500 MW, on more than ten square miles and for a million or more solar panels, more than twice the size of the largest ever built in Maryland. It involves some of the biggest names in American IT-Silicon Valley corporate history.  How did it happen in a state not known, or on the map,  for solar pioneering? But along the way Bill Hubick, of the Maryland Biodiversity Project (here at www.marylandbiodiversity.com) wrote in the spirit of a quandary which  had just been posed to me, and all of us, by the great writer, Elizabeth Kolbert, in the October 15, 2018 print edition of The New Yorker: ‘Now you see it: How to write about the natural world when it’s vanishing before your eyes.’ It’s something we can’t escape: how and when to tell the young, how can we keep our spirits up in the light of the grimmest latest scientific findings, and the even grimmer politics…”

OCEANS, WATER, DROUGHT

Dan Bacher writes—Trump signs memorandum to send more water to San Joaquin Valley agribusiness interests: “Congressman Jeff Denham (CA-10) on Friday joined President Donald Trump in Arizona for Trump’s signing of a memorandum directing the Department of Interior to slash environmental protections for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in order to benefit Central Valley agribusiness interests. The memo directs the Department of Interior to deliver more Sacramento and San Joaquin River water to big growers in the San Joaquin Valley — and less to salmon and other imperiled fish populations and the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary. The memo was issued just prior to the midterm elections as Denham and other GOP incumbents face tough challenges from Democratic candidates. ‘President Donald Trump is jumping into Western water wars on the side of agricultural interests just weeks before the midterm elections, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the plans — a major political gift for GOP incumbents in some of the most competitive House races in the country where water supply is a top campaign topic,’ according to Politico reporter Annie Snider before the release of the memo.

TRADE AND ECO-RELATED FOREIGN POLICY​

Mark Lippman writes—15 million gallons of gas made from Saudi crude are sold in the US every day: “What ever happened to “energy independence? When gasoline prices spiked to over $4.00 a gallon in 2008 and 2012, ‘energy independence’ was Big Oil’s favorite political marketing slogan  Americans were sold a con job (imagine that!) about reducing dependence on Saudi Arabian oil by substituting imports from our friendly neighbor to the north, Canada, and by fracking the hell out of shale formations around the US. What happened since then? US imports from Canada increased, Saudi imports decreased, and widespread fracking was introduced in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, and North Dakota. Then the oil boom went bust when the global market for crude collapsed in 2014 and 2015. Spot prices sank from $105/barrel in July 2014 to $35/barrel in December 2015 and as fracking became unprofitable, US production fell and imports rose again. The market recovered somewhat to its current level of $70 a barrel and US production increased again to near record levels, today. However, imports are also rising now, too. Why? For one thing, the US has been exporting ever increasing amounts of crude since 2016, a record 66 million barrels in July 2018, No doubt, most Americans would say it defies common sense to import and export crude oil, at the same time, if they knew about it.

Hunter writes—Trump administration mulls plan to turn West Coast military bases into coal export ports: “Just when you think you’ve heard everything, Team Trump comes up with a new plan so incredibly ridiculous and malevolent that it actually manages to surprise you. This time, it’s a new proposal to use West Coast military bases as … government-run coal export centers. No, really. Because West Coast states have put steep environmental requirements on new would-be coal terminals, the Trump Administration proposal is, Eff it, we’ll just start our own coal ports on military bases where nobody can do a damn thing about it! The almost comically crooked Ryan Zinke, still heading the Interior Department mostly because twenty other Trump scandals have overwhelmed his own in recent months, is bold in attempting to justify it as a national security concern. ‘I respect the state of Washington and Oregon and California,” Zinke said. “But also, it’s in our interest for national security and our allies to make sure that they have access to affordable energy commodities.’ So every U.S. naval officer on the West Coast will have to show up to work each day with a bucket of coal to put on the pile, or something, lest our nation be imperiled by a lack of coal elsewhere in the world? Not quite; the first site being mentioned is the mostly abandoned Naval Air Facility Adak in the Aleutian Islands, but Zinke suggests it’s only the first of several to be used up and down the Pacific coast.”

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Trump Trying To Turn Military Bases Into Gas Stations: “Beware the military-industrial complex, a real president once warned America. Unfortunately for us Trump, with all his complexes of a different sort, is looking to turn the military into an arm of industry, just like he has the rest of the federal government. That’s the latest development in Trump’s attempts to bail out the dying coal industry, reports Ben Storrow at E&E. Initially, Storrow reports, the bailout was going to be the Department of Energy’s job. Last year Rick Perry put on his smartest looking glassesand did his best to cook up a report justifying the use of presidential war powers to require military bases to buy coal and nuclear power. But it turns out Perry might need more than just a new pair of black plastic rims: Bloomberg recently reported that the grid study didn’t turn out the way the administration wanted, which is likely why it’s yet to see the light of day. DOE denied that portrayal this week, but Politico reported on Monday that Perry’s plan is dead in the water, and Hannah Northey at E&E got a quote from a Trump admin official calling Perry’s proposal ‘poorly articulated.’ (This must be a particularly painful dig for Perry, given that the criticism is coming from an administration led by a man who not only speaks like a child, but probably doesn’t even know the meaning of ‘articulate.’)

WILDERNESS, NATIONAL FORESTS AND PARKS & OTHER PUBLIC LANDS

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Ojibwa writes—Public Lands: The National Bison Range: “For the Plains Indians, the buffalo (technically bison) was more than an important source of food, shelter, and clothing: the buffalo was also an important spiritual and cultural symbol. At the beginning of the nineteenth century there were an estimated 30 million buffalo roaming the Great Plains. A century later, in 1900, the buffalo had become an endangered species. At this time there were only 500 buffalo left. […] President Theodore Roosevelt established the National Bison Range near Moise, Montana on the Flathead Reservation in 1908. The mission of the National Bison Range is to provide a representative herd of buffalo, in natural conditions, to help ensure the preservation of the species for the public benefit and enjoyment. While the Bureau of Indian Affairs discouraged buffalo on the reservation, it freely gave up reservation land for the new Bison Range. As usual, the Indians were not consulted in this transaction. The following year, 34 buffalo from the Conrad herd (which had been the Allard-Pablo herd on the Flathead Reservation) were purchased by the American Bison Society and placed on the National Bison Range. Thus, the buffalo which had been discouraged by the Bureau of Indian Affairs came home to the Flathead Reservation.”

ENERGY

Nuclear

Winter Rabbit writes—My Deceased Grandfather’s Solution to the Energy Crisis: Nuclear Power and a Hydrogen Economy: “Continuing, my biological grandfather made a ‘good start’ sending his plan to solve the energy crisis with Nuclear Power and a Hydrogen Economy to Republicans. But since that really wasn’t a ‘good start,’ I asked him to send a copy to Barbara Boxer. He did, and it was one of the last things he did. I’m not mentioning his military rank and placement on purpose in order to preserve anonymity, but here’s his letter (may have to increase view to 150%). Since the right attitude is we should get as low a temperature as we possibly can, and that will make it much easier for humans and ecosystems to survive, shouldn’t ‘Nuclear Power and a Hydrogen Economy’ be seriously considered?

Fossil Fuels

Mark Sumner writes—Trump–Perry Plan to force utilities to burn coal can’t even find support in the Trump White House: “In November 2017, the Donald Trump administration announced a plan to employ emergency powers that had gone untouched since the Korean War in order to distort the energy marketplace in favor of coal. But as early as January of this year, Trump and designated point man Rick Perry found that even Trump-appointed regulators were unwilling to go for the plan that would force utilities to produce more power from coal and nuclear—even if it caused higher prices for their customers and generated more environmental damage. After 10 more months of trying to make this thing happen, including multiple announcements and schemes for its implementation, the proposal has lost so much momentum that Politico reports Trump and Energy Secretary Perry can’t even find enthusiasm for the plan among Trump’s White House staff. The White House has shelved the plan amid opposition from the president’s own advisers on the National Security Council and National Economic Council, according to four people with knowledge of the discussions. The scheme required utilities to make a portion of the electrical grid “safer” by keeping 90 days worth of fuel on site. Since windmills and solar plants can’t stockpile the wind or sun, they were left out. And since natural gas power plants generally get their fuel from pipelines with only a small amount of on-site storage, even they were left out. Truthfully, the whole thing was a transparent scheme to slow the closing of coal plants. But it hasn’t worked.”

REGULATIONS & PROTECTIONS

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—DC Rolls Out Dirty Welcome Mat For Oily DOJ Appointee: “It’s been 632 days since Trump took office and the halls of the White House are filled with the dirty footprints of the countless fossil fuel insiders. How could industry possibly assume more power in this administration? Well, move over, coal-dusted smog lovers, and take a seat, gassy pipeline boosters, because last week the Senate officially confirmed one of the oiliest swamp creatures of all, Jeffrey Bossert Clark, to the top environmental position in the Justice Department. Who is Clark, you may ask? Why, none other than the lawyer who successfully defended BP against state lawsuits in the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill. He’s also involved in lawsuits against the Clean Power Plan, has voraciously challenged the government’s ability to regulate carbon emissions, and has called climate science ‘contestable.’ Clark’s also got full-throated support from CEI’s Marlow Lewis Jr., one of the fossil fuel industry’s favorite frontmen.

Eyesbright writes—Head of EPA’s Children’s Health Office Put on Leave – Fears Kids are “Disposable” under Trump: I just read this article at Think Progress and it’s completely ‘pegged’ my outrage meter. I’ve excerpted as much as I can under “fair use” but there’s more, of course, and it’s well worth reading. The Trump administration is refusing to consider any new regulations to protect children from environmental hazards, according to Dr. Ruth Etzel, director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Children’s Health Protection, who was placed on administrative leave three weeks ago… The Trump administration placed Etzel on administrative leave in late September. After getting no explanation from Trump officials on why she was placed on leave, Etzel chose to speak out about how the Trump EPA is neglecting to take measures to protect children from lead poisoning and other environmental hazards… Etzel’s office did not prevail last year when then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt rejected a ban on the organophosphate pesticide chlorpyrifos, which paralyzes the nervous system of insects — and which has been linked directly to fetal brain damage. One study found that ‘US children born in 2010 lost 1.8 million IQ points and 7,500 children had their IQs shifted into the intellectual disability range as a result of prenatal organophosphate exposures.” (emphasis added)’ ”

Dan Bacher writes—Interior Secretary’s Office: Inspector General Mary Kendall Will Stay In Her Job: “It has been a really bizarre week at the Department of Interior under Secretary Ryan Zinke. After media reports earlier this week that the Interior Department’s Acting Inspector General Mary Kendall would be replaced with Suzanne Tufts, a political appointee from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Interior Department today issued a statement that the reported replacement was ‘false information.’ In fact, Kendall will be staying in her job and there never had been any decision to replace Kendall with Tufts, according to the Office of Interior Secretary Zinke. ‘HUD sent out an email that had false information in it,’ said Heather Swift, a senior adviser to Zinke, in a statement. ‘Ms. Tufts was referred to the Department by the White House as a potential candidate for a position in the Inspector General’s office. At the end of the day, she was not offered a job at Interior’.”

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Milloy’s Pro-Pollution Secret Science and PM2.5 Policies Put On Backburner At EPA: “Steve Milloy, former lobbyist for Big Tobacco turned climate denier, has been enjoying the Trump administration. As part of Trump’s EPA transition team, he laid much of the groundwork for Scott Pruitt’s pro-pollution agenda, including on soot (aka PM2.5 particulate matter) and radiation, the tobacco industry’s secret science plan, and truck gliders. On Monday, Sean Reilly at E&E reported on Milloy’s latest “YUGE win” on his quest against good science at the EPA: the dissolution of a subgroup of the Clean Air Science Advisory Council. But his celebration got cut short on Tuesday, when the government’s 2018 Unified Agenda went live, and much of Milloy’s agenda got put on the backburner, per PoliticoPROThe Unified Agenda is the government’s gameplan for the next year, including what regulations it expects to finalize, introduce or otherwise move forward on. For example, the administration is planning on finishing it’s repeal of the Clean Power Plan and the auto emission standards by March of next year, and will soon propose a rule to replace Obama’s regulation on new or modified power plants.

AGRICULTURE​, FOOD & GARDENING

Dan Bacher writes—Eight protesters arrested at Monsanto plant in Woodland, CA: “ Yolo County Sheriffs Deputies arrested eight environmental and social justice activists  at the main gate to Monsanto/Bayer Plant between about 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. today. All were taken to the Yolo County Jail for processing and expected to be released by the end of the day. […] The blockade also builds on a major court victory recently in a $289 million Dewayne Johnson vs. Monsanto court case in San Francisco, CA  that was won by Mr. Johnson. This case has become a clarion call to environmentalists and health experts further proving the extreme health risks and dangers posed by Monsanto and their products.  There are more than 9,500 more law suits that are waiting to be filed. ‘We eat the same pesticides that are killing the bees and butterflies when we eat foods containing GMO’s,’ said Bob Saunders, an Anti-Monsanto Project member. ‘2-4-D/Agent Orange (created by Monsanto and widely used in Vietnam), is now an approved additive to the chemical cocktail and has been approved by the EPA, which is counter intuitive. We are calling for an immediate moratorium on the spraying of Glyphosate/Roundup and all broad spectrum pesticides while we are working on and pushing for a full and enforced ban of these herbicides/pesticides’.”

Sammons Butterfly House

mahdalgal writes—Saturday Morning Garden Blog Vol. 14:42 – Texas State Fair 2018 – Sammons Butterfly House: “Dallas has had very few ‘perfect weather’ days this year. One of those rarities —  70o, sunshine and a light breeze—was Oct. 11, 2018. I visited the State Fair of Texas that day with only a few destinations in mind: the Sammons Butterfly House, talk to the horticulturist at the Discovery Gardens, wander the Livestock Barns and, of course, eat a Fletcher’s corny dog. These four destinations took 8 hours. Fair Park is a dizzying maze of art deco buildings (built in 1936 for the Statehood Centennial celebration) and the Cotton Bowl (1930), situated on 277 acres smack dab in the middle of Dallas. […]  The Butterfly House is a 2 story tropical rain forest enclosed in glass for perfect temperature and humidity control, housing an uncountable number of free flying lepidoptera and an astounding variety of insects and flowering plants/trees. The moment you walk through the specialized 2-stage doors and gain entry to the house, hundreds of colorful butterflies greet you. It is QUIET even though there are lots of people. Color photo charts describing all the butterflies/moths were available at several viewing stations; however, due to the crowd I never could get close enough to read/photograph them.”

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