Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bush Administration Manipulates Science in Grazing Report

The Bush Administration manipulated scientific data in a government study on the environmental impact of cattle grazing prior to announcing that it would loosen regulations limiting grazing on public lands, according to two scientists who contributed to the study.

"They rewrote everything. It's a crime," said Erick Campbell, a former biologist with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), who wrote the sections of the report that address the effects of the new rules on wildlife. "This is a whitewash— they took all of our science and reversed it 180 degrees." [1] Campbell made his remarks last week in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Bill Brookes, a retired BLM hydrologist who worked on the study also complained of Administration meddling. "Everything I wrote was totally rewritten and watered down," Brookes told the Times. [2]

The new rules will allow ranchers to graze their cattle on public lands for a longer period of time --up to five years-- before they are required to reduce the size of their herds. The new rules will also severly limit public participation in decisions on grazing issues.

According to BLM Director Kathleen Clarke, the new rules "will produce long-term rangeland health benefits," including increased vegetation on stream banks, which will reduce soil erosion and provide more wildlife habitat. [3]

But the original report conducted by the BLM's own scientists reached the opposite conclusion. According to the original report, "The proposed action will have a slow, long-term adverse impact on wildlife and biological diversity in general." This entire section was ultimately eliminated and, incredibly, BLM now says the new grazing regulations are in fact "beneficial to animals." [4]

But according to Tom Lustig, senior counsel for the National Wildlife Federation, "Almost nothing in these rules benefits the public lands or the millions of Americans who use them for purposes other than raising cattle." [5]

Environmental experts note the new regulations will have widespread and lasting impacts. According to Bobby McEnaney, a grazing expert with the Natural Resources Defense Council, "Grazing regulations affect 160 million acres of public land in the Western United States --far more than any other industry-- so any change to grazing laws will have a dramatic impact on the country's public lands."

McEnaney condemned the Administration's distortion of science and public participation. "The science was completely rewritten in order to cater to ranching interests."

[1] "Federal cattle grazing analysis called white wash," Los Angeles Times, Jun. 18, 2005.
[2] Ibid.
[3] "Bush Eases Land Use for Ranchers," Christian Science Monitor, Jun. 22, 2005.
[4] Ibid.
[5] "New federal grazing rules will rip up public lands," National Wildlife Federation, Jun. 16, 2005.

Monday, June 27, 2005

A college that trains young Christians to be politicians.

This is the article that John Stewart referred to on the Daily Show Monday night, with his guest Hanna Rosin. It's definitely worth reading.
Here's the link: The New Yorker: Fact: "

A college that trains young Christians to be politicians.
Issue of 2005-06-27

In the last days before the 2004 Presidential election, Patrick Henry College, in Purcellville, Virginia, excused all its students from classes, because so many of them were working on campaigns or wanted to go to the swing states to get out the vote for George W. Bush. Elisa Muench, a junior, was interning in the White House's Office of Strategic Initiatives, which is overseen by Karl Rove. On Election Day, she stood on the South Lawn with the rest of the White House staff to greet the President and Mrs. Bush as they returned from casting their votes in Texas. Muench cheered along with everyone else, but she was worried. Her office was "keeping up contact with Karl," and she knew that the early exit polls were worse than expected. Through the night, she watched the results, as Bush's electoral-vote total began to rise. The next morning, after Kerry conceded, she stood in the crowd at the Bush campaign's victory party, in clothes she'd been wearing all night, and "cried and screamed and laughed, it was so overwhelming."

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Only YOU have the power to Save Toby!

Time is running out for Toby! June 30th is the deadline, then Toby gets it!

Only you have the power to Save Toby!

What delicious dish will the Tob-ster become? Marinate that bad boy in garlic, shallots and some kosher salt, baby, with asparagus on the side! Grill 'em!

Friday, June 24, 2005

God mentioned that I'm smarter than you

From the Associated Press:

OAK CREEK, Wis. - Environmentalists and the state of Illinois are lining up against a proposal to construct a mammoth coal-burning power plant on the shores of Lake Michigan, warning it will pollute the air and water across the Midwest and set off a 'coal rush' to build more such projects around the country.

The project is actually a $2.15 billion expansion of a 1950s-era plant in this Milwaukee suburb, 80 miles north of Chicago. The resulting complex would produce enough electricity for 615,000 homes, burn 1.5 million tons of coal a year and draw 2.2 billion gallons of water from the lake each day, or almost as much as Chicago and 100 of its suburbs use.

The plant's operator, We Energies, and the state Public Service Commission, which approved the project, say that it is the cheapest and best way to meet growing power needs in the busy Milwaukee-Chicago corridor and that the project complies with all environmental regulations."

Here's a link to the rest of the article: Duluth News Tribune | 06/23/2005 | Coal power plant project is firing up controversy

Unfortunately, this article only briefly mentions mercury and mercury poisoning, and does not say how far downwind you'll have to be to avoid it. The scrubber technology that is to be installed is outdated and has already been banned in Illinois.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

PBDE levels are on the rise in your blood stream

From Green Guide

For the past 30 years, flame retardants have been collecting in the bodies of humans and have been shown to cause learning deficits and reproductive problems in animals.

PBDE levels are on the rise in Americans and are now comparable to those levels linked to lower sperm counts and damaged ovaries in animal tests. PBDE's, widely used in polyurethane furniture foam and plastic TV and computer monitors, readily migrate into the environment.

In some cases, blood levels of PBDEs in Americans have surpassed the levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are known to harm the developing brain and nervous system in humans and have been banned in the U.S. since 1978. In animal studies, PBDEs have produced effects similar to the effects of PCBs and the two chemicals are similar in structure as well. Because PBDEs... also cross the placenta, some scientists fear that, as has happened with PCBs, maternal levels of PBDEs may result in children's delayed development, including learning and behavioral problems.

Food is the primary source of high PBDE levels in the human body, with farmed fish possessing the highest levels of PBDEs, on average, of all animal food groups tested. PBDEs are also entering our bodies through the air in our homes. Children's PBDE levels, in particular, may receive occasional spikes from dust encountered while playing on the floor.

What to do:

Eat less farmed fish (no more than once per month), especially European and U.S. salmon, which have been shown to have high levels of PBDE. Choose wild Alaskan, fresh or canned salmon instead.

Shop for PBDE-free computers and electronics, or better yet go without them. Several manufacturers have eliminated PBDEs in their consumer products including: Apple, Dell, Fujitsu Siemens, Hewlett Packard, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, Matsushita/Panasonic (removing all brominated flame retardants from products by March 31, 2006), Motorola, NEC, Philips Semiconductors, Sony and Toshiba.

Clean floors with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner that traps fine particles of dust, soot and pollen, and wet mop regularly. It's also important to keep your home well-ventilated. This will help reduce concentrations of other forms of indoor air pollution.

Cover and seal rips in upholstery that expose polyurethane foam, especially if the foam is loose and crumbling, a condition that may encourage the release of PBDEs into house dust and air.

Contact your mattress manufacturer to see whether your mattress contains PBDEs. If it does, but you aren't ready to replace your mattress, consider purchasing a tightly woven, allergen-barrier mattress casing to reduce PBDEs leaching into your air and a HEPA air filter to capture any that do.

If you buy a new air conditioner, choose one with a HEPA filter and clean it regularly to remove dust.

Eat a heart-healthy diet. In addition to helping prevent cardiovascular disease, a diet low in animal fats will also help reduce your exposure to bioaccumulating chemicals like PBDE.

To read the executive summary of the report, Learning Hazards: Toxic Fire Retardants and How to Avoid them in Consumer Products and Food, go to www.thegreenguide.com.

Afghanistan Watch

There's a significant amount of news that is not being reported by the US press about the ongoing Afghan conflict. Do yourself a favor and check out the Afghanistan Watch website, it contains tons of information on recent events.

Yet another post on Biodiesel

Are you sick of hearing about it yet? Is it really a solution?

With oil almost gone, biodiesel has been making quiet, steady progress as a viable alternative transportation fuel. Biodiesel can burn safely in any diesel engine, making it an attractive option as US car makers begin to introduce hybrid diesel models.

A new USDA/DOE report claims that the US can sustainably produce enough biodiesel to replace 30% of the nation's current petroleum consumption. This total includes crop waste (cornstalks), grains...
perennial crops (grasses, etc.), animal manure, process residues, and miscellaneous other feedstocks. The report projects that by 2010, biofuels could supply 4% of US transportation fuel needs up from 0.5% in 2001. By 2030, that could reach 30%. If true, this could make a significant dent in US oil imports. Now is a good time to ask local farmers and pressure state ag agencies about Midwest prospects in the nation's energy future.

Biomass recently surpassed hydropower as the largest domestic source of renewable energy — currently serving about 3% of US total energy consumption. Also, biomass represents the only existing renewable source of liquid transportation fuel.

The largest US biodiesel plant is currently being built by a German company in Minot, ND, and should be completed by December 2006.

Millions in Midwest will see delays in arsenic protection

More than 4,000 US water utilities serving 13 million people don't meet the new federal standard for arsenic, and must bring their systems into compliance by Jan. 23, 2006. Some have begun to do so, but many are struggling, and a few are paying no attention to the deadline. (read more)

The US areas most likely to have arsenic-contaminated groundwater are in the West, Midwest, and Northeast, but "hot spots" can occur elsewhere. To reduce problems, community water providers must meet the new standard, and millions of people who get their water from unregulated wells may want to investigate the local potential for risk.

About 97% of the utilities that don't meet the new standard are small, serving fewer than 10,000 people. Their small size makes the necessary improvements potentially much more costly per customer than for larger systems. EPA estimates annual costs per household will run about $32 for systems serving more than 10,000 people, but will jump to $38-327 for utilities serving fewer than 10,000 people.

The Rural Community Assistance Partnership says many of the small communities it's working with are having a difficult time, given the expense and limited funding and remediation options. RCAP would prefer to see the deadline pushed back, and to have a more aggressive national effort to find technology alternatives and funding sources. On the other hand, RCAP doesn't want to see its constituents drinking unsafe water.

RCAP says some communities remain unaware of the new standard and deadline, and that others are already beginning the process of requesting an exemption or extension from their state water department. Some states are just beginning to figure out how the exemption process, permitted in the EPA regulation, will work.

Holy Shit! Technology Rocks! Oh, It's about smog...

Concerned about the air you're breathing? The feds now supply you with national real time reports on ozone and particulates. You can view an animated US map of atmospheric pollution as it changes throughout the day and compare it with previous days. This is cool if you're a fatass lazy techno-geek wanking it to internet porn, but for the rest of us it lends itself to rather disturbing conclusions.

Check it out: AIRNow - Home

Monday, June 20, 2005

CDC to release 3rd report on chemicals in humans

From the Society of Environmental Journalists:

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is tentatively scheduled to release the Third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals at the end of June 2005, though that timing (first planned for early 2005) could be delayed once again. The report will offer the best available data on the 'body burden' of chemicals carried by US residents. About 150 chemicals are expected to be documented in this year's report, an increase from 116 in the previous report, released in January 2003, and 27 in the first report, released in March 2001.

In addition to covering more substances, the third report may provide better trend information for a few substances, as well as improved breakouts by categories such as age, sex, and race. Substances monitored in the third report are expected to include 13 metals, 43 pesticides, 12 phthalates, 6 phytoestrogens, 23 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, 17 dioxins and furans, 34 PCBs, and tobacco smoke."

Happy campers beside the oily nuclear plant?

From Tom Spears at theOttawa Citizen - canada.com network

Add this to the pile of news that does not get reported in the US.

Bruce Power makes it sound like a pretty small event: A transformer fire and oil spill on their property, the Bruce Nuclear Power Development, on Lake Huron. It's North America's biggest commercial nuclear complex, so people's attention naturally turned to one question: Are the nukes safe?"

The Kalamazoo is still in trouble

From the Kalamazoo Gazette, read the entire article here: Senate wants to fund study of Kalamazoo River dams

Concerned over the potential for disaster as three state-owned dams along the Kalamazoo River continue to crumble, the Michigan Senate has earmarked $250,000 to plan for the dams' removal or repair.

But the cost to draft the plan is dwarfed by the cleanup cost for the 80-mile stretch of the river, which includes contaminated sediments and is estimated to total at least $1 billion.

130,000 tanks leaking contaminants such as MTBE

From the Society of Environmental Journalists:

One of the most important concerns swirling around the latest energy bill discussions about the gasoline additive MTBE is that the chemical readily leaks from underground storage tanks and contaminates drinking water.

Even though leaking underground storage tanks (known by the catchy acronym LUSTs) have been getting fixed for 20 years, a substantial problem still remains. EPA says nearly 130,000 LUSTs are known and unrepaired. Of the 680,000 known tanks that are in use, less than two-thirds comply with requirements for leak prevention and detection. EPA says LUSTs are the most common source of groundwater contamination, and that petroleum products are the most common contaminant. (more...)

EPA acts as the umbrella funder and regulator for the LUST program. Its funding tax (0.1 cent per gallon of motor fuel) has already been extended several times, but is due to expire Oct. 1, 2005.

In addition to EPA's role, much of the funding and enforcement is delegated to the states. Nonetheless, only 34 states, DC, and Puerto Rico have independent programs approved by EPA. The rest require ongoing EPA oversight, though a few of these still don't have agreements with EPA; about half of these states are in the West, while many of the others are in the Midwest (Map of States With Approved UST Programs). Many of these states happen to be the ones with the highest numbers of unrepaired LUSTs. ID is the lone state that still doesn't have a comprehensive program for leak detection and prevention, though it does have a cleanup program.

EPA provides summary information about each state, and contacts. However, some states have thousands of LUSTs but don't provide key data, such as compliance rates. OH is one example.

The Sierra Club says in a report released April 19, 2005, that the number of LUSTs repaired has declined substantially during the Bush administration, that about 9,000 new LUSTs are discovered each year, that there are an additional 190,000 unregistered underground storage tanks, and that about 100 million people drink groundwater in states where delayed cleanups threaten groundwater quality. The report also includes charts documenting each state's cleanup backlog, funding difficulties, and more.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Local Man Fed Up, Burns All Material Possessions

Bill "The Spot" Van Houten, a former candidate for Drain Commissioner in Ottawa County, spent Saturday afternoon pondering the deeper meaning of it all while watching his lifelong collection of material goods go up in flame.

"All you need is a little Coleman fuel," said Van Houten, as he cracked open his fifth Pabst Blue Ribbon, "Coleman fuel and a little moxie."

First thing into the fire pit was a much maligned and incredibly uncomfortable chair inherited ten years ago. "Why the hell should I sit in that fart-laden piece of crap? Just Because? Fuck it!"

Grandma's favorite chair, inherited by Van Houten in 1996

Other material goods soon found their way into the blaze. Anything Van Houten's wife had not "rescued" went up in the great pyre.

"My wife's dresser really burned nicely," commented Van Houten

Friends arrived to witness the event, a great deal of laughter ensued and the news of Van Houten's sudden leap to enlightenment passed throughout the neighborhood.

"My son is going to have to find a new place to store his Star Wars shit," said Van Houten. "No son of mine is gonna keep his dolls in a pink cabinet, Star Wars or not."

The pink Star Wars storage cabinet erupts

Fundamentals of Sustainability discussion

This may not be news to some of you, but I just stumbled upon it on Cascadia Scorecard and thought it was a great conversation that more of us should be participating in. I'm still a card carrying Oregonian, so my attention drifts to the Pacific Northwest frequently.

Northwest Environment Watch (NEW) is trying to articulate—both for internal guidance and to anchor its public communications—the fundamentals of sustainability. By "fundamentals," we mean a brief list of values and principles that NEW and its supporters believe in, that capture the central messages we want to share with others, and that we hope to move up the public agenda together.

Northwest Environment Watch:
Values and Principles Discussion

I'm all for defining the values and principles of sustainability, these are certainly not salient points for the majority of Americans. Let's push this discussion as far as we can, beyond NW Environmental Watch and to our own businesses and lifestyles. Even if you don't give a rat's behind about NW Environmental Watch this is a good exercise, they've offered a great beginning. Throw in your opinion and help them - and all the rest of us who are engaged in this type of work - clearly define the message.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Right wing blog "Powerline" promotes I love gitmo t-shirts

I just saw this on Eyeteeth: A journal of incisive ideas.: "Feel the love: Rightwing blog Powerline endorses a line of t-shirts with an 'I (heart) gitmo' logo on the front (Powerline loves a prison camp where torturers are paid through my US tax dollars?). And so apparently does Halliburton: they were just handed another building contract there. Through a $30 million contract, which could expand to $500 million, a subsidiary of the company will build a permanent two-story prison at Guantanamo."

Eyeteeth is pretty cool. Lots of good ideas.

Bay of Quinte

From Community Press Online:: "Where next for the Bay of Quinte?
by Louise Livingstone

For almost 100 years, since Canada and the United States of America signed the Boundary Water Treaty in 1909, the two countries have worked together to safeguard the Great Lakes. The International Joint Commission (IJC) monitors the working of the trans-boundary agreements which now include the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the Air Quality Agreement, and alerts governments to emerging issues along the boundary that may give rise to bilateral disputes. The IJC met in Kingston last weekend for its biannual meeting and announced the two governments have asked the IJC to consult the public on a revised water quality agreement. There is a growing consensus the Water Quality Agreement, first signed in 1972 and last updated in 1987, should be reviewed in light of advances in science and new challenges to the integrity of the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Dennis Schornack U.S. chair of the IJC spoke in Kingston about laying the foundation for a new era of progress in restoring the Great Lakes.
Before the Kingston meeting the Water Quality Board (advisors to the IJC) came to Quinte, as each year the board visits one of the Areas of Concern (AOC) in the Great Lakes to learn about successes and barriers to action.
Representatives of the board, both American and Canadian, met with local politicians and members of the Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan (RAP) Restoration Council at the Ramada Inn on Wednesday, June 8.
The Right Honourable Herb Gray, Chair of the Canadian Section of the IJC, elder statesman and former deputy prime minister of Canada attended the meeting.

Jim Kelleher joint chair of the Bay of Quinte RAP Restoration Council and general manager of Lower Trent Conservation welcomed the Right Honourable Herb Gray, members of the Water Quality Board and many local politicians including Mary-Ann Sills, Bob Campney, Jim Dunlop, Margaret Walsh, Jim Harris, and Jack Nicolson and representatives from the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and thanked them for their support.
Barry Jones, Bay of Quinte RAP implementation officer, spoke of key big ticket items as they move toward delisting.
“Twenty one per cent of Lake Ontario drainage, which includes both U.S. and Canada, is from the Bay of Quinte watershed,” said Jones. “The watershed of the Bay of Quinte covers 18,000 square kilometres. All of which is covered by conservation authorities (CA). Around the bay these include Lower Trent Conservation, Quinte Conservation and Cataraqui Conservation.

“The Bay of Quinte is 100 kilometres long and riverine [like a river] in structure covering a surface area of 250 square kilometres. The Upper Bay is only three metres deep, the Middle Bay is five metres deep and Adolphous Reach or the Lower bay is between 30 and 60 metres deep. Fresh water comes in from Lake Ontario into the Lower Bay usually at the deep water level unless there is a storm.”
He showed aerial photos of Belleville dating from 1948 and 1992. “There was a great deal of infilling of coastal wetlands in the fifties and and sixties,” said Jones. “The area on which the Ramada Inn is built was a landfill site. One can still see leachate seeping out. The issues are boiling underneath us.
“The Bay of Quinte was designated as an area of concern in 1985, because of eutrophic problems, loss of fish and wildlife habitat, and degraded benthos.

“In 1986 a multiple government department agency was set up to resolve problems. A Public Advisory Committee was formed in 1989 which included the conservation authorities and the Mohawks of Bay of Quinte.

“The steering committee produced the Stage One document in 1990 and the Stage two document with 80 cleanup recommendations came out in 1993. These cleanup actions are related to restoring the impaired beneficial uses.

“In 1998 Restoration Council was formed with local groups taking the lead. The two chairs Terry Murphy and Jim Kelleher are from the conservation authorities which ensure the involvement of 25 different municipalities.”

Jones paid tribute to the people involved in the Restoration Council.
“The current five-year plan is coming to an end, and we need new pubic work plan,” said Jones.
He gave a brief review of what has been achieved. “For the last 11 years the Quinte Conservation engineer has reviewed all new storm water developments greater than one hectare, so water leaving a development is cleaner than water going in,” said Jones.
“The Rural Water Quality program with farmers reduced the loading of phosphate, bacteria and sediment to the Bay of Quinte by 16,500 kilograms which was the target figure.

“The Community Wildlife Monitoring program recruits local volunteers for parent programs. For example we sign up and train volunteers for marsh monitoring and they send results to the province-wide programs.

“In the mid-nineties the land owner contact program visited every land owner on the Bay of Quinte with advice on naturalizing and buffering the shorelines. All private land owners on coastal wetlands and all Upper Bay shoreline owners received a mail box drop off with information. We now have a targeted communication strategy with regular media bulletins, an annual report, a web site and radio promotions.”
“The Restoration Council is working on computer modeling,” said Jones.

“We are redoing, with the University of Toronto, the contamination model of loading and sources of contaminants in the Bay of Quinte. This includes the life span of contaminants and how long contaminants stay in the system.

“There is also a phosphorus simulation model of environmental sources of phosphate, bacteria, and sediment loading to the bay. We need to plug in a new sewage treatment plan and model different scenarios.”

Barry Jones played tribute to Project Quinte, which started in 1972. “it is the longest running data base in the Great Lakes and is now doing ecosystem modelling,” said Jones.

He identified the need to accommodate future growth as the municipalities expand; problems with exotic species like zebra mussels which will soon be all though the watershed; and with climate change which could reduce inflows to bay.
“We could lose many of the gains we have made,” said Jones
“There used to be good monitoring of the streams coming into the bay. We need to rerun the phosphorous model of what is coming in and look at the effectiveness of point source control [at the sewage treatment plants].
“Pollution prevention is good with new developments but we need to revisit the storm water system with existing development as they may need retrofitting.”
He ended by quoting government figures produced in 2000 showing for the $120-million spent on the Bay of Quinte Cleanup, the economic benefit was $230-million, and 302 new positions were created.
“Ecosystems are complex, and we may not have the effect we would like to have,” said Jim Kelleher. “Often we don’t understand all the relationships. Phosphorus management involved upgrading sewage treatment plants [STP] and setting tight limits. Elements are very successful and municipal STPs have met targets going down from 200 kilograms per day between 12 - 14 kilograms per day. This is a testament to the investment and to the operators. However, it is not straightforward and we are finding seasonal problems. Also, we must plan how to accommodate future growth as municipalities expand.”
He spoke about the work done to reduce the loss of fish and wildlife habitat and the draft fish habitat plan.
“Because of the sheer size of the whole watershed where should the cut off be or should we just focus on the coastal area?” asked Kelleher. He said they focus on the Bay and the coastal area.
“There are many players and it is difficult to co-ordinate and agree on actions,” said Kelleher. “Balancing social demand and ecological possibilities is difficult. This area used to called the walleye capital when walleye was the dominant fish species. Now, the bay has changed and other fish species have come in. Some people say, ‘I don’t like other fish, I like walleye.’ We need to complete the fish habitat plans.
“We will be able to compare the fate of contaminants and transport models done in 1992 and 2005. The major sites are being addressed such as the Deloro Minesite, Meyers Pier and Zwicks Island. Domtar Creosote Ponds have been cleaned up. However, we need ongoing monitoring and vigilance.”
He spoke of what the delisting process might entail, and the difficulty of getting sufficient money for research and monitoring.
“Project Quinte research doesn’t always match the needs of the RAP. We have to get in line and wait our turn. We need sufficient and stable funding and we need to revisit targets in Stage Two implementation document. There have been changes since the period between 1985 and 1993 when this was prepared and some of the recommendations are fuzzy. We have to rationalize them and work out what is acceptable to the public.”
A current problem facing the Restoration Council is how to fund the two RAP staff. “We have to make multiple applications to fund them,” said Kelleher.
Terry Murphy, joint chair of Restoration Council and general manager of Quinte Conservation speaking directly to the Water Quality Board and the Right Honourable Herb Gray said, “We need your help to get us money.
“The provincial and federal governments need to look at the whole watershed and give technical expertise and funding, and provide co-ordination.
“Deloro, 50 kilometres to the north, is contaminating the Bay of Quinte. There will be a plan in place in a couple of years time of how to contain the site.
“We are looking for watershed solutions. Sixty years ago the conservation authorities were set up to manage watersheds. Now, the whole of the Ontario side of the Great Lakes is covered by conservation authorities.
“We can delist the Bay of Quinte tomorrow, but we need to continue to monitor forever. The local CAs have programs which supplement the Bay of Quinte, for example, with wetland and source water protection.
“The IJC and Water Quality Board should be looking at all watersheds and their impact on Great Lakes and not just at the Areas of Concern. I am asking for support for a watershed approach to the Great Lakes. A third of the Canadian population lives in the watershed of the Great Lakes and 95 per cent of Ontario live in the Great Lakes watershed. This is why the federal government should be involved in watershed protection.”

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Should I ditch the ads?

There have been Google ads on this site for some time now, I put them there hoping to generate some cash to pay the monthly internet hookup. I'm questioning whether any of the ads are worth it. Many of Google's "content-specific" ads are for organizations that I would not normally support. For example: General Electric has been promoting its "Ecoimagination" campaign on environmental websites everywhere, but any self-respecting ecofreak wouldn't buy anything from GE because of its enormous nuclear energy program. Dumping Google Adsense seems like the way to go, but so far I haven't found an alternative ad revenue source, and I do mean "alternative". Does anyone out there have a suggestion for an ad source that would be more in line with the values that I am attempting to promote, or do you think I should just go ad free?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

A car that runs on compressed air?

You heard it here first!!! MDI's MiniC.A.T. (CAT stands for 'compressed air technology') is about to roll off the assembly line. Check out the specs and order yours online at www.theaircar.com So...clean emissions, but how do we power all the air compressors?

MDI MiniCAT Posted by Hello

MDI family model Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Soul of Environmentalism

From AlterNet. Definitely worth reading. Alternet continues to kick serious butt.

Environmentalists face the paradox of diminishing power and swelling ranks, and they are not unique in this regard. Membership in human rights, pro-choice and environmental organizations has swelled in the last four years -- not because of bold new strategies but because of bold new threats. If the growth in membership is akin to the mobilization of white blood cells in a body facing disease, then progressive movements in the United States may well be facing a sickness unto death. Without new life, new vision and new victories, their members may tire of fighting threats and capitulate to an increasingly powerful conservative agenda.

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation & Court of Appeals

The date of MCWC's oral arguments against Nestle is June 14, 2005 at 9:00 a.m. in the Michigan Court of Appeals. The oral arguments will be conducted in the Hall of Justice Courtroom, 925 West Ottawa, Second Floor, Lansing, MI. The Judges will be: William B. Murphy, Helene N. White and Michael R. Smolenski.

I called the Court of Appeals asking how many people the courtroom would hold. On June 1, I was asked to call again to tell them how many MCWC people would be attending. I gave them an estimate of 30 people. Members of MCWC in the Mecosta/Mt. Pleasant area - and anyone else who wants to travel together - will be meeting at the Park and Ride in Mt. Pleasant located on East M-20 just past the on ramp for US 127. We will meet at the Park and Ride at 7:00 a.m. If you are going to be arriving to Lansing from other areas we will meet in front of the Hall of Justice Courtroom and go through security together. Hope to see you in Lansing.

Terry Swier
Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Grand Opening of Kettering's Center for Fuel Cell Systems Scheduled

The construction phase for the Center for Fuel Cell Systems and Powertrain Integration is just about to wrap up as Kettering staff begins planning for the Grand Opening scheduled for June 15 2005.
Kettering is anxious to showcase the new state-of-the-art facility to the many supporters from government, industry and academia whose efforts have made the Center a reality.

The Center is dedicated to advancing research, development, testing, manufacturing and commercialization of mobile, stationary, and consumer-based fuel cell applications.

Key supporters include the U.S. Department of Commerce-Economic Development Administration, the State of Michigan and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, Delphi Corporation, private foundations, Kettering and local supporters. High-end equipment manufacturers include Greenlight Power Technologies, Hydrogenics Corporation, Advanced Measurements Inc., Stuart Energy Systems, and the Schatz Energy Research Center.

A key component of the Fuel Cell Center is the business incubator that will enable individuals or companies with promising related technologies to grow their ideas into commercially successful products and services.

Incubator businesses will be able to partner with Kettering faculty, technicians and graduate students, and when mutually beneficial, other businesses, to test their concepts. Eventually the goal is for the businesses to spin their innovations off into new profitable products and services.

Along with expertise, Kettering will provide office space, administrative support, shared laboratory space and equipment to those candidates who meet the required criteria. Each incubator businesses will pay a rental fee based on its space and other needs.

Source: Fuelcellworks.com

Friday, June 03, 2005

Midwest High Speed Rail Development

Info from the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Chicago:

"Bush's fiscal 2006 budget proposal eliminates all funding for Amtrak. It would end virtually all intercity rail passenger service in the nation. This places the burden of funding intercity passenger rail entirely on states that do not have the financial resources or governing structure to assume such an unfunded mandate.

Members of Congress are organizing across party lines to save Amtrak and strengthen passenger rail in America.

The Administration claims that an Amtrak bankruptcy would eliminate 'inefficient operations' and lead to the emergence of a 'more rational' passenger rail system. This is NOT the case. Unlike airline bankruptcies, an Amtrak bankruptcy would NOT trigger new negotiations with labor unions and creditors but would lead almost immediately to Amtrak's liquidation by a court-appointed trustee whose sole responsibility would be to protect creditors.

Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Mike Castle (R-Del.), and Rob Andrews (D-NJ) have announced the formation of a new bipartisan Passenger Rail Caucus. The mission of the new caucus is to create a coalition among Members of Congress who will ensure the long-term sustainability of America's passenger rail system. The Caucus will serve as a forum of ideas to improve passenger rail, and the group will soon announce a series of briefings and events meant to enhance communication between the many competing reform proposals that are currently being considered in congress and by experts throughout the nation."

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The revolution will not be funded

Lip Magazine's Andrea del Moral critiques the nonprofit sector this week.

"At $1.3 trillion, the US nonprofit sector is the seventh largest economy in the world. Employing 10% of the US workforce, the NPS—aka the NP Industrial Complex, as it is coming to be known by a growing number of critics positioned both within and outside the sector—spans private hospitals, city symphonies, environmental groups, human rights organizations, professional associations, theater companies and churches. Their goals are in no way unified. Some of them drive fundamentalist social policy and other right-wing agendas like demolishing public education and defunding welfare. Others, in the words of longtime social justice fundraiser Kim Klein, are involved in "everything that is decent and humane."

What these 1.5 million organizations DO share is their state-assigned tax status as 501©(3) institutions—and, consequently, the way they effect social change in the US. Named for the section of the tax code that regulates their existence, this uneasy band of organizations do not pay income tax—all individual donations are tax-deductible—and they have access to grants from foundations, corporations and the government.

Social justice organizers and activists have spent decades learning this lesson, and they are beginning to raise an audible voice of dissent. I first heard this voice at The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, a May 2004 conference sponsored by the women of color, anti-domestic violence network, INCITE! Hour after hour, movement builders from within the NPS spoke of the paralysis, disempowerment and ineffectiveness of the nonprofit world. They presented visions of a different strategy. Rooted in grassroots organizing of the the 20th century and with a priority on democratic process, popular education and development from below, a post-nonprofit world is now emerging.

Charities first gained tax-exempt status because Congress determined that they provided services that the government would otherwise have provided. Since these organizations were saving the government money, it seemed logical to give them a tax break. As this system evolved, however, the work of nonprofits replaced government services to the point that we consider it normal that a hospital depend on..."

Read the rest at LiP Magazine.

Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Emperor Palpatine has got to go!

Liberals vs. The Empire! The Pain the latest comic from Tim Kreider. This one is worth printing out and sticking on the fridge.

Industry Aims to Strip Local Control of Food Supply

From Zmag: Legislation aiming to prevent counties, towns and cities from making local decisions about our food supply is being introduced in states across the nation. Fifteen states recently have introduced legislation removing local control of plants and seeds.

Eleven of these states have already passed the provisions into law. These highly orchestrated industry actions are in response to recent local decisions to safeguard sustainable food systems. To date, initiatives in three California counties have restricted the cultivation of genetically modified crops, livestock, and other organisms and nearly 100 New England towns have passed various resolutions in support of limits on genetically engineered crops.

These laws are industry's stealth response to a growing effort by people to protect their communities at the local level. Given the impacts of known ecological contamination from genetic modification, local governments absolutely should be given the power to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens. Local restrictions against genetically modified crops have provided a positive and hopeful solution and allowed citizens to take meaningful action in their hometown or county.

Check out www.zmag.org for the rest of this article.

EPA Drops Voluntary Program For Lead Poison Prevention

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has formally withdrawn its voluntary program for preventing childhood lead poisoning just five months after it was first unveiled. For the past several months, the agency had offered this voluntary program as the reason that it was balking at adopting long overdue regulations requiring that repairs and renovations in pre-1978 housing be conducted in a lead-safe manner.

Congress had mandated that EPA set up a certification requirement for contractors to ensure that workers are trained in lead-safe practices when remodeling buildings constructed before 1978. Under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the deadline for EPA to adopt these “regulations to renovation or remodeling activities” was October 28, 1996. In 2004, however, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson scrapped plans for renovation regulations and instead opted for a voluntary approach.

“On the issue of combating childhood lead poisoning, the Bush Administration has dropped its final fig leaf and tacitly admitted that it is doing nothing,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, whose organization is preparing a lawsuit against EPA on the issue. “EPA’s voluntary alternative to lead-safe regulations was such a joke that the agency could no longer keep up this facade with a straight face.”

Renovation and repair of older residences is the principal source of lead dust exposure to U.S. children.
EPA’s own internal reviews showed that the now-abandoned regulation would benefit 1.4 million children under age 7, prevent at least 28,000 lead-related illnesses each year and create net economic benefits of several billion dollars by reducing medical and other expenses associated with high lead exposures.

As late as April 13, 2005, in response to questions posed as part of his confirmation process, Stephen Johnson assured Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that regulation was unnecessary because –

“[T]he Agency is developing an education and outreach campaign that will convey the benefits of the use of lead-safe work practices to minimize both workers’ and homeowners’ exposure to lead dust during renovation and remodeling. EPA is also targeting outreach efforts to expand consumer awareness…EPA plans to launch this material by this fall and will evaluate the effectiveness of this effort and will determine what additional steps may be necessary, including regulation.”

One month later, on May 16, the agency quietly filed a one-word Federal Register notice that the voluntary program had been “withdrawn” with no explanation or elaboration. The notice did cite the date of the action as April 1, 2005, days before Johnson wrote to the Senate extolling the voluntary approach.

“Besides the fact that EPA had budgeted no money for a massive consumer education program, the agency has no evidence that this approach has the slightest prospect of success,” added Ruch. “With each passing month due to EPA’s dithering, thousands of children will be exposed to lead dust that has permeated into their homes’ carpets, ductwork and soil, so that the children breathe the dust for months and years to come.”

In February 2000, the President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children set a national goal of eliminating childhood lead poisoning by 2010. While EPA still cites this 2010 national goal, the agency now officially has no plans for achieving it.

If George Bush called it "absurd," it must be good!

Amnesty International's Annual Report is available online in pdf format. This is the report that the liar Bush called "Absurd." Don't take Bush's word on this one. Take a few minutes and read it for yourself and form your own opinion.