Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Keep Watershed Science Safe

January 17, 2017

How Will Ambient Delaware River Water Quality Assessment Data Fare Under Trump’s Tiny Thumb?

‘What we’re seeing is environmental McCarthyism,’ said Patricia Kim, a graduate fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Program in Environmental Humanities, of the incoming administration. She was commenting at a ‘guerrilla archiving eventat the University of Toronto in December, 2016, which was aimed at informing climate scientists how best to preserve climate data ahead of the Trump presidency.

cartoon

There’s No Replacin’ A River Basin

The Delaware River Basin Commission reports regularly on water quality issues pertaining to the watershed. Published data sets are posted online here:  http://www.nj.gov/drbc/quality/datum/

Keeping the database is part of the DRBC’s responsibility, according to law, passed by congress in 1961. Nevertheless, now would be a great time to acknowledge this essential and invaluable public service, and to assure the DRBC of our support for the protection of their data along with our drinking water supply.

(more…)

Advertisements

Merry Christmas, Beloved Delaware

December 24, 2016

When George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware on Christmas Eve in 1776, the nearly frozen river was jammed with ice. Three boats made the attempt, but only one made it across. Fierce winds drove freezing rain down in needles and chunks of ice clung to the hulls, dragging them downstream. The men were too busy hacking at the ice with their oars to row effectively. It was a crazy-dangerous endeavor, and the odds were not in their favor. That’s why it worked.

78189_delaware_lg

George Washington and his men. Illustration by Mary Mapes Dodge

All American bravery in the face of extreme adversity, Washington and his men pressed on! This is who we are.

In Solidarity!

Is Rick Perry High Energy, Or Just High?

December 17, 2016

Trump’s Pick for Energy Secretary Should Just Say No

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry didn’t simply fail to recall the name of the Department of Energy in a past presidential debate, he failed Science.

According to his Texas A&M University transcripts, as reported by Joe DePaolo in Trump’s Energy Secretary Choice Rick Perry Flunked A Chemistry Course In College, MediaITE, December 14, 2016, “In the spring of 1970, he flunked Organic Chemistry II. He also got a C in physics, and a number of other C’s and D’s.”

rick-perry-dancing-with-stars-1

Photo: Twitchy.com

Perry may be light on facts, but he’s also light on his feet. Suffice it to say, this sparkle-suited climate denier did better on Dancing with The Stars than he did in college. But how will he fare when faced with a determined, increasingly vocal scientific community? Based on Perry’s academic record, it looks like an experiment that’s bound to fail. Of course, academics are not always a true measure. Other factors in life might contribute to a person’s success or failure in performing a particular job.

In 13 Times It Sure Seemed Like Rick Perry Was High as a Kite on DrugsRaw Story, June 15, 2015, Katie Halper chronicles all the Perry ‘Oops’ moments captured on video. Watch them and decide for yourself.   (more…)

Saving Science

December 17, 2016

Suddenly, it’s a thing.

Perhaps climate science advocates are operating under an abundance of caution, but they’re willing to take that chance. Their goal is to protect painstakingly collected data and safeguard their work as they prepare to operate under an administration that is demonstrably hostile towards climate research.

365ecc10051debc5689e758f1b84e2d4

Cartoon by Sidney Harris

“It’s truly remarkable the quick attention that it’s received and the number of people that are volunteering to help,” says meteorologist Eric Holthaus, host of the @ourwarmregards podcast, in a December 14 interview with Audie Cornish on NPR.  

(more…)

Trump’s Generals Are Playing Russian Roulette, Too

December 17, 2016

Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and a few career climate change deniers are attempting to profit at the planet’s peril.

While Donald Trump and his crew have been busy waging war on science and screwing over Mother Earth for Mother Russia, the U.S. military has been, for years, openly shoring up our defenses against the effects of climate change, such as super-storms, droughts, and mass population displacement. They even put out a press release about it in 2014.

DoD Releases Report on Security Implications of Climate Change,  July 29, 2015.  

Fast forward to today. The first season of The Appointee Apprentice is nearly a wrap, and The Donald is still delivering an endless raft of distractions. Hey, this shitshow makes great TV! Trump’s palace intrigue, however, only serves to distract us from the fact that the characters he has appointed – Tillerson, Pruitt, Perry and Zinke – are all willfully intent on cooking the planet for the private gain of a few corporations. Their only interest, it seems, is to make a yuge buck, or ruble, as the case may be.

Let’s not forget what climate disruption means to Vladimir Putin.   (more…)

Philly Just Got Greener

December 7, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  Food and Water Watch Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA — The Green Justice Philly coalition applauds the announcement that Governor Tom Wolf and the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) will dedicate $300 million to developing shipping capacity at the Port of Philadelphia and making green improvements to existing infrastructure at Southport, which represents a firm rejection of fossil fuel projects at the site.

(more…)

Donald Trump Is Like Rock Snot

December 1, 2016

He’s slimy, offensive and a threat to the ecology.

Like rock snot, Trump’s proposed policies would be devastating to Pennsylvania’s watersheds. Like rock snot, a Trump administration may be a danger to the drinking water of 17 million people in the Delaware River Watershed. Like rock snot, Trump jeopardizes the integrity of our state’s tourist economy. Plus, he’s just gross.

imgres
Didymo, often referred to as rock snot, kind of looks like Donald Trump’s hair.
Didymosphenia geminata, or Didymo, is a single celled, invasive algae. “Thick mats of Didymo can crowd out or smother more biologically valuable algae growing on the riverbed. Didymo is easily spread, and the chance of it hitchhiking its way into nearby streams or rivers that currently lack this unwanted invader is cause for alarm.”

According to Reince Priebus, Trump’s White House chief of staff, climate denial is the president-elect’s official default position. While the rest of the world scoffs, Trump has repeatedly promised to boost gas and coal. He is currently, albeit quietly, appointing frackers and climate change deniers to top cabinet posts. The current frontrunners in The Appointee Apprentice are Myron Ebell for EPA Chief, and fracking billionaire, Harold Hamm, for Secretary of Energy, swamp-dwelling industry insiders both. Hamm is, by way of his adultery, the current record holder for most expensive divorce of all time.

Rock snot sticks to your shoes and spreads easily, so you need to check very closely. With similar vigilance, Pennsylvanians need to pay special attention to these fossil fools because they plan to expand fracking in the Marcellus Shale, big time.

(more…)

Physicians Warning: Fracking Is Harmful To Your Health

November 21, 2016

World class climate hoaxter, Donald Trump, may see Pennsylvania as just another pretty piece of shale, his for the grabbing, but a growing number of physicians and scientists are calling on Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf [D] to enact a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.

In October, the archly conservative Pennsylvania Medical Society was unanimous in its resolution calling for a moratorium on new shale gas drilling permits, voicing the need to create a statewide health impact registry. Their advice grows urgent as more peer-reviewed studies are published, and the data chronicling the human harm becomes more widely available.

“The medical society’s call for a moratorium came just a day before the release of a new study by the Yale School of Public Health that found numerous carcinogens used in fracking have the potential to contaminate the air and water of nearby communities and increase the risk of childhood leukemia,” reports Don Hopey in Doctors call for state ban on drilling and frackingPittsburgh Post Gazette, October 31, 2016.   (more…)

Trump Wins Presidency But Climate Keeps The Mandate

November 16, 2016

The Unlikely Path To Less Carbon …

Last week, The Donald won the election but not the popular vote. Days later, membership in the Sierra Club exploded faster than any time in its 124 year history. The country’s oldest and most iconic environmental preservation group is now more than 2.5 million members strong with considerably greater reach. 

Maybe it was because most sane people, and even some Trump voters, know that science has no agenda. They listen to climatologists, not lobbyists. Maybe it’s because they love the great outdoors, or they want to preserve our biosphere for future generations. Or maybe it’s because Mother Nature is the original nasty woman, and whether you accept the reality of climate change or not, she always bats last.

Sadly, the inmates have taken over the asylum. Trump is looking to run the country from his gilded New York City penthouse, sending his proxy to Washington via Mike Pence, who has already begun to seize executive power Dick Cheney-style (only his war is against women and he’s a much bigger dick.) Trump will also look to white supremacist, Steve Bannon, as senior policy whisperer. And because, in Trumplandia, conflicts of interest only apply to everyone else, our new Commander-In-Chief will be relying on fracking billionaire – and yuge campaign contributor, Harold Hammto head the Department of Energy transition team. He’s also considering Sarah “I can see Russia!” Palin for Secretary of the Interior. No joke. But, in perhaps what is the most egregious pick of all, Trump has named chief climate denier, old King Coal himself, Myron Ebell, to dismantle the EPA and overturn Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

Windmills, Not Windbags

Thankfully, the world does not revolve around Trump Tower. The next four years will be rough, regardless of how many evil clowns Trump sends to Washington. No amount of dark money poured into GOP coffers, no degree of economic protectionism, will insulate his administration from global market forces. Trump will be compelled to follow the money. It won’t serve him to sit on his tiny hands and bet the entire U.S. energy future on extreme fossil fuel extraction while the rest of the world laps us in the development of sustainable energy.

cxugxdyxuaazgnl

This is what Climate Policy Change looks like. Marrakech, November 2016

Should the Trump administration shun the Paris Agreement, should they renege on U.S. commitments, and ramp up fracking and Arctic Drilling, his government will be sued, and then there’s every possibility that the invisible hand of the free market will give him the finger. Trump may want to believe there’s a growing taste for coal, fracked gas and more carbon, but better, cheaper, more efficient alternatives already exist. The rest of the world’s markets are reshaping and retooling, surging forward on renewable energy, decoupling their economies from a rapidly diminishing supply of fossil fuels, and they recognize the clear danger of Trump’s ideas about energy.

The Donald has promised a lot of people a lot of jobs, and I can’t help but wonder, where does he think the best-paying, most secure and desirable incomes will come from? The clean energy sector has grown despite all the Republican efforts to squelch it. That says a lot about the strength, resiliency and sustainability of the clean energy market. To borrow that over-employed phrase, it seems like it’s already baked in.

UN Secretary-General BanKiMoon said he is “optimistic” that Donald Trump can be “made to see reason.” (I know, LOL, right?) Nevertheless, he asserts, “I believe that he understands that there are market forces already at work on this issue. And we need to harness these forces for good of the planet and all the species in this planet.”

Environmental activists are now striving to take the longview, and to not be discouraged – or worse – distracted by the present sideshow that is American politics. My only hope is that we can rely on the rule of law. Ours is a great Republic, and citizens should be able to look to the law to provide reasonable checks and balances for the powers that be. In the fight to conserve our natural resources, the courts have often served as the last bastion of protection for environmental human rights.

Still, I feel sick when I see what the orange menace is plotting. I’m repulsed by the small-mindedness under which he operates, and by how he and his crew of deplorables want to devalue important, vaunted U.S. institutions like the EPA. Sure, I know the fight for climate is a long one, longer and more complex than any one U.S. presidency. Plus, I refuse to be cowed by bullies. I also know I’m not alone. Think about Sierra. 

Think Global, Act Fast

Maybe you will Stand With Standing Rock and the Sioux Nation’s right to protect sacred water. Perhaps you side with Senator Sanders and the Climate Revolution? No matter how you contribute to the climate movement, we need to work smarter and faster, and we need good quality information. Not all news is created equal and some actions are more powerful than others. Here are a bunch of trusted resources. I share them in the hopes that they might help you in your efforts — solidarity!

For Climate, Fight Fracking

PA AgainstFracking:  Broad, statewide coalition of groups and individual members across Pennsylvania who are in support of stopping fracking through a statewide moratorium.

Delaware Riverkeeper Network:  Non-profit, membership organization dedicated to addressing “the issues, actions, regulations, legislation, policies, programs and decisions that impact the health of our Delaware River Watershed waterways and our ability to protect and restore them for the benefit of all.”

Food and Water Watch:  National group led by Winonah Hauter, leading public interest advocates and author of Frackopoly. FWW champions healthy food and clean water for all. Join FWW’s Clean Energy Revolution or help Ban Fracking Everywhere. Busy local chapters such as Food Water Watch in Philadelphia, Pa. love to hear from volunteers, will gladly put you to work!

Sierra Club:  Longtime conscientious objector to fossil fools, this group simply wants to #LeaveItInTheGround.

Friends of the Earth:  Global network of more than two million activists in 75 different countries. Several U.S. offices advocate in the halls of Congress, in state capitals, and with community groups around the country. Online petitions.

Earth Justice:  Because the Earth obviously needs a good lawyer.

NextGen Climate:  Founder, Tom Steyer, believes Climate Change is the most pressing issue of our time. Nextgen actively seeks to engage voters. 

News & Information:

StateImpactPA / NPR:  https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/

EcoWatch:  http://www.ecowatch.com/

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Don Hopey:  http://www.post-gazette.com

PA Against Fracking Newsroom:  http://www.paagainstfracking.org/newsroom/

ClimateWire by EENews:  http://www.eenews.net/cw

Democracy Now, Amy Goodman:  http://www.democracynow.org/

DeSmog Blog:  http://www.desmogblog.com/

PA Environmental Digest: Environmental news and headlines:  http://www.paenvironmentdigest.com/newsletter/

The Berks Gas Truth: Regularly updated links to headlines across Pennsylvania covering the great  fracking divide:  http://paper.li/BerksGasTruth/1369451548#!all

Delaware Riverkeeper’s BlogMaya van Rossum is an environmental champion, attorney and organizer: http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/blog/

Laura Legere, freelance journalist:  https://twitter.com/LauraLegere

Oil Change International:  http://priceofoil.org/

ClimateChangeNews:  http://www.climatechangenews.com/

Follow Sierra’s Executive Director, Michael Brune, on facebook and feel like a climate  insider:  https://www.facebook.com/michael.brune.9

Protecting Our Waters: Northeastern U.S. water advocates:  https://protectingourwaters.wordpress.com/ 

Raging Chicken PressRefreshingly left, entirely raw truth spoken here:  http://ragingchickenpress.org/

@fractivista, all the #fracking headlines I can find, and why you should read on:  https://twitter.com/Fractivista

The Onion, because sometimes you just have to laugh:  http://www.theonion.com/

List by no means comprehensive, please feel free share your favorite resources and organizations in the Comments.

Frack Bans Expanding

March 4, 2014

Progressive Measures Across U.S. Aim for Local Protection of Land, Air and Water Resources

Leave it to LA to make a big splash. The city of angels just became the largest U.S. city to approve a zoning ordinance against hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation methods, and the vote was unanimous.

City council unanimously voted Friday afternoon to send a moratorium motion to the city attorney’s office to be written as a zoning ordinance. It will then return to council for a final vote,” reports Brandon Baker in Breaking: Los Angeles Passes Fracking MoratoriumEcoWatch News, February 28, 2014.

I’ve been updating the List of Bans Worldwide page regularly. Thankfully, the list will never be finished. Bans against hydraulic fracking, shale gas processing and waste disposal are proliferating. Pennsylvania has 17 local bans and a statewide moratorium in the works, and many democratic gubernatorial candidates agree with the growing call for a permanent ban in state parks and the Delaware River Watershed. New Jersey has 33 anti-fracking actions currently gaining momentum, and New York has a staggering 218, including a strong statewide moratorium measure. When the tiny town of Marcellus, New York seeks a fracking ban and the right to local zoning, the irony pretty much abounds.

Seems wherever fracking goes, vigorous grassroots opposition springs to life. High volume hydraulic fracturing is a developing industrial technology, and as it expands into more populous regions, shale gas drillers are finding that most people object to noxious air pollution, water contamination, explosions, blow outs, spills, truck traffic, light pollution and earthquakes caused by the injection of millions of gallons of radioactive toxic waste – water that was once fresh, clean and potable. Turns out, no one – not even Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson – wants to live in an industrial sacrifice development zone.

1959303_10202772099320079_1741034878_n

The Big Ban Theory

A lot of very talented people are working hard to make clean air, non-industrialized un-fragmented land, and protected public water supplies a reality. Luckily, Food and Water Watch keeps a list of their efforts. It’s grown to 407 measures passed in the U.S., and counting.

I’m With Rex Tillerson, Ban Fracking  #ImWithRex via David Fischer

FWW also maintains a handy interactive map.

Plus, here’s yet another budding ban from Texas:

Denton, Colorado: Group seeks ban on fracking, Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe, Denton Record-Chronicle, February 18, 2014

 

1888717_655786797813750_2129319780_n

via Moms Clean Air Force

USGS Warns Of Disinfection Byproducts From Treatment Of Produced Waters

September 6, 2013

You don’t have to be a hydrogeologist to understand the severity of the U.S. Geological Survey’s most recent warning. As the number of suitable sites for deep wastewater injection wells dwindles, and production in the Marcellus ramps up, pressure is mounting on municipal water treatment plants to deal with all the frack waste. But as every good sewage plant operator knows, what goes in, must come out.

Technical Announcement: Disinfection of Energy Wastewater Can Lead to Toxic Byproducts

Contact Information:

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey

Office of Communications and Publishing

12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119, Reston, VA 20192

Mike Focasio 703-648-6808

Alec Demas 703-648-4421

Released: 9/4/2013  —  Wastewater treatment plants that process waters from oil and gas development were found to discharge elevated levels of toxic chemicals known as brominated disinfection byproducts, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.    (more…)

Lessons From The PA Farm Show

January 12, 2013

This week, I tabled at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg. The booth was co-sponsored by Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Food and Water Watch, PennEnvironment, Protecting Our Waters and Berks Gas Truth. It was an amazing experience, despite the fact that I had to park in Pittsburgh.

We put a lot of good information in the hands of farmers, food producers, land owners, students and laypeople. We did receive a few dirty looks, but far more people stopped by to ask questions and thank us for our good work.

Meeting others who are committed to the clean energy cause is always a pleasure, and interacting with the show’s visitors was absolutely incredible. The highlight for me, however, was slapping Ban Fracking Now! stickers on the tote bags being handed out by the Marcellus Shale Coalition a few booths away.

Here are a few of my personal observations from the show:   (more…)

The State of Obama’s Shale Gas Policy

January 25, 2012

It’s not 10am on the East Coast, yet much has been made of President Obama’s State-of-the-Union address last night. The president not only promoted Natural Gas, he essentially gave the government credit for developing Fracking technology! OMG. If there was one line that gave me Hope…

Amer­ica will develop this resource with­out putting the health and safety of our cit­i­zens at risk.

Sooner or later, President Obama will have to recognize the fact that Fracking is already putting the safety of our citizens at risk. (more…)

Bulgaria Leads EU Anti-Fracking Movement: Thousands Protest on Saturday

January 15, 2012

As Chevron Corporation moves in to frack the EU nation of Bulgaria, several thousands flooded the streets and squares of major cities, brandishing loaves of bread, beating drums and blowing whistles. The protest, which was organized by the grassroots environmental group, Fracking Free Bulgaria, was meant to be a wake up call to citizens: “No to shale gas, Yes to nature!” was the cry. Protestors were also calling on lawmakers to model France’s moratorium and “Ban Fracking Now!

Spectacular.

A few days prior to the protests, I received this information from the group:

“The title of the nationwide protest is “Bulgarians, rise up and defend your land!” and aims to make a wake-up call to all of the Bulgarians that are still not aware of the rising environmental catastrophy. (more…)

The Energy Addict’s Prayer

December 20, 2011

Lately, I’ve become obsessed with simplifying daily life. Simplicity, it seems, may be the only way to collectively solve the world’s energy crisis. I’m all in with this steadily growing, common-sense movement. I’m ready to conserve, tread more lightly, and live with less stuff in better balance. It’s not about rainbows and unicorns, though I do secretly wonder if it’s possible to “go off the grid” in suburban Philadelphia. Rather, it’s an urgent awakening to the dire need for a fundamental change in the patterns of human consumption. I can only speak for myself, but I‘m actively seeking more realistic solutions. (more…)

Voice of Reason, Or Equivocation? Seamus McGraw Stirs Shale Gas Debate

September 13, 2011

If you live in Pennsylvania, and you haven’t read it yet, download/buy/borrow The End of Country right now. Done? Author Seamus McGraw is not only well-informed, he’s irreverent and blunt. To wit, his recent post on Facebook: “I’ve long argued that the two most dangerous chemicals that are used far too liberally in the fracking process are testosterone and adrenaline.”

As a man who facilitated the leasing of his mother’s land to Chesapeake Energy (testosterone), he is often perceived to be a part of the problem by angry fractivists (adrenaline). I would suggest that here’s a guy, a self-proclaimed environmentalist and early biofuel user, who understands the very real dangers of fracking, (more…)

DEP Secretary Krancer Has Wealthy Dad: This Is Not News

July 7, 2011

An article by Laura Olson in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette today reports that a few state minority leaders are irked by the somewhat flamboyant timing of Ronald Krancer’s donation to the state GOP – it was on the eve of the confirmation of his son’s appointment to Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. It’s curious why, all the sudden, this matters. Michael Krancer’s appointment by Gov. Tom Corbett was widely applauded on both sides of the aisle, and his later confirmation was smooth sailing. And it’s odd because while Corbett has made some questionable appointments, this isn’t one of them. (more…)

FrackTrack.org – The Website Drillers Don’t Want You To See

June 12, 2011

The most valuable tool for Pennsylvania water activists yet comes in the form of FrackTrack.org.  It’s Google Maps meets Fracking Facts in Pennsylvania. For example, do you want to know which is the closest waste treatment facility to accept frack waste near you? If you live in Montgomery County, it’s: (more…)

DRBC Postpones XTO Water Withdrawal Decision – Again

June 2, 2011

Turning Tide?

Deposit, NY: Delaware River Basin Commission spokesman Clarke Rupert said a transcript of the four-hour hearing on June 1, 2011, and over 9,000 written comments will be reviewed before a decision is reached on whether to approve the application. There is no timeline on the process. SOURCE: Press & Sun-Bulletin, June 2, 2011

A Surprising Twist…

New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner, Joe Martens, had sent a letter to the DRBC requesting that all Delaware River Basin Commission water withdrawal applications within New York that are associated with high volume hydraulic fracturing be postponed until completion of the New York environmental review process.  SOURCE: Press & Sun-Bulletin

Industry groups are unhappy. They don’t like to wait.

Of course Mr. Martens didn’t mention that his boss, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has just told Martens to essentially stop dragging his feet and get the draft drilling guidelines completed by July 1—a mere month from now. But after the draft is done, there will be a new public comment period etc etc which may continue to drag things out for a while. Still, Mr. Marten’s request is superfluous because XTO would not be able to start withdrawing any water until it has received drilling permits from both the DEC (Martens’ own agency) and from the DRBC, neither of which will happen any time soon.  SOURCE: marcellusdrilling.com

Frack Flowback in the Schuylkill River Basin?

June 1, 2011

Bryn Mawr-based AquaAmerica, Inc., one of the nation’s largest and fastest growing water utilities, is vastly expanding its waste management services in the Schuylkill River Basin, source of drinking water for 1.5 million residents of Montgomery, Chester and Delaware Counties. Since 2005, Aqua Wastewater Management, Inc., a solely owned Pennsylvania subsidiary, has been systematically building their portfolio of non-regulated waste-hauling ventures including Leary and Higgins waste hauling business in Chester County and Concord Wastewater Services, Inc. in Delaware County.

In July, 2006, Aqua Wastewater Management, Inc, acquired Perna Wastewater Management in Souderton, the largest residential septage hauling operator in the Schuylkill basin for $5.1 million. The purchase represents Aqua’s strategy to expand its waste hauling and treatment business in the region, which the company hopes will come to represent approximately two percent of annual sales. (more…)