EVENT: Day of Science in Port Angeles – APRIL 22nd.

Science Celebration Flyer final

I am an Arctic researcher. Donald Trump is deleting my citations – Guardian

Very disturbing news about what is happening to our base of science from the incredibly malicious Trump Administration. We saw similar  wanton destruction of science to validate a political point of view from the Harper Administration in Canada about three years ago. We can only hope that they are simply deleting web pages and not the actual data, which, in case I have to remind anyone, is data that we, the taxpayers, paid for. It is not theirs to delete. Perhaps a lawsuit is in order?

Just over 1% of US Arctic waters have been surveyed to modern standards. In truth, some of the maps we use today haven’t been updated since the second world war. Navigating uncharted waters can prove difficult, but it comes with the territory of working in such a remote part of the world.

Over the past two months though, I’ve been navigating a different type of uncharted territory: the deleting of what little data we have by the Trump administration.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/28/arctic-researcher-donald-trump-deleting-my-citations

Trump budget slashes agencies to focus on wall, defense – AP/Seattle Times

It’s no longer theoretical about what the Republicans might do to the environment. It’s here now and it’s real. They are going to take the money from environmental restoration and pour it into bombs and more border patrols. Is that really in our best interest as a country? What really matters to you as a citizen and what are we defending? We need all hands on deck to register disgust and anger at this proposed budget. Eastern Washington Republicans, Republicans from all over the Puget Sound region, including Mason county and other locales, and Representative Dave Reichert, the “brave” ex-sheriff that is afraid of holding public town halls because he doesn’t want to face the public that he is personally impacting with his support of these changes, all need to hear from you now. A year from now will be too late. Your neighbors, your environment, restoration of salmon stocks, the protection of the Orca, and by the way,  your health care if  you are not employed by a major corporation or the military, is all on the line. Our fellow citizens in the midwest have allowed us to be taken over by a far right wing zealot and a congress that will stop at nothing to strip us of our hard earned gains in environmental protection, health care, and much more. Time to speak up, or forever hold your peace.

President Donald Trump unveiled a $1.15 trillion budget on Thursday, a far-reaching overhaul of federal government spending that slashes many domestic programs to finance a significant increase in the military and make a down payment on a U.S.-Mexico border wall. Trump’s proposal seeks to upend Washington with cuts to long-promised campaign targets like foreign aid and the Environmental Protection Agency as well as strong congressional favorites such as medical research, help for homeless veterans and community development grants. Andrew Taylor reports. (Associated Press)

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/trump-budget-defense-spending-a-priority-over-agency-money/

Political Suppression of Science: Lessons from Canada – Hakai Magaz

Not sure how bad it could get for science under Trump? You only have to look north of the border. For 10 years Canadians scientists were literally combing dumpsters to save their priceless history of climate science in Canada. No kidding. I was reporting on this as it happened back then here in this blog. This is well worth reading. From Hakai. Erica Gies reports.

During the 10-year term of Canadian Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, some government scientists were unable to publish their research or talk to the public without minders; research was defunded or blocked; and invaluable data archives dating back a century were destroyed in acts dubbed “libricide.” Reports were literally tossed into dumpsters.

https://www.hakaimagazine.com/article-short/political-suppression-science-lessons-canada

EPA declares fracking contaminates drinking water

This week, the EPA finally confirmed what we’ve known all along: fracking contaminates drinking water.

https://www.epa.gov/hfstudy

Feedback from:

http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/12/epas-final-fracking-report-re-writes-takeaways/

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/epa-report-fracking-hydraulic-fracturing-safety-risks/

https://psmag.com/dont-drink-the-water-93f4f1751554?gi=6c343acb4eb

http://www.wsj.com/articles/fracking-can-impact-drinking-water-epa-report-finds-1481652649

https://www.democracynow.org/2016/12/14/headlines/epa_final_study_concludes_fracking_does_contaminate_drinking_water

Last year, after a 5-year study on the impacts of fracking on drinking water, the EPA released a highly flawed draft report. The topline claimed that there were no “widespread, systemic” impacts on drinking water from fracking.

US Forest Service finds “No Significance” in the Navy expanding war games next to Olympic National Park

In an expected ruling, the Forest Service rubber stamped the Navy’s plans to expand their war games using electronic warfare using high speed unmuffled jets right next to one of the quietest places on earth, the Hoh Rain Forest. In a ruling that can only be called cynical political point-making with the incoming Trump Administration, Dean Millet, the District Ranger in charge of the ruling, ignored tens of thousands of signatures on petitions and thousands of letters of concern, many of them from scientists, political figures and people with a stake in the economy of the Peninsula. He claims to have, “carefully considered public input” in making the decision, but that he found nothing at all to criticize in the Navy’s plans, means that he really didn’t try.

Now, we turn to the courts, and to the elected officials, like Derek Kilmer, who has done very little to stop this, somewhat understandably given the population of military retirees and Bremerton Navy jobs at stake in Kitsap County.

We hope that Representative Kilmer brings his earplugs with him when he and his family go hiking in the Olympic National Park next year, he’ll likely need them. Jets which are supposed to be flying at over 6000ft have been seen and recorded on numerous occasions  by many different eyewitnesses flying at less than 1000, despite the assurances of the Navy. In a video shot at a public hearing out on the coast a couple of years ago the head trainer from Whidbey admitted as much, saying that he had to discipline his cadets  sometimes for flying too low. But other than this one man, there is no real oversight to keep them above 6000′. We don’t have public records to look at even on something as non-essential to security as this.

Is that what a National Park is supposed to represent? Do we want to turn all our places of solitude from the stresses of our industrialized world into low level fly over training sites by unmuffled jets?  What exactly is something that the Forest Service considers a “significant finding?”  I just have no idea of what Ranger Millet’s threshold is. Should we take recordings of jets and go to his house, Representative Kilmer’s house, Senator Murray and Cantwell’s house at night and play them at full volume? Would that help understand the ask? And at what point do we have “enough” training spots in the US that we don’t need more? And who ultimately should decide that? Us, the military or a combination of the taxpayers and those in our employ. Why did the 1988 MOU between the Department of the Military and the FS not come into play?  That document seems pretty clear. Very short and to the point. Less than one page of law.

These are just questions that we would love answers from the people in power, some of whom we elected as recently as this November. It seems clear from this ruling that the Forest Service is not acting in our best interests. Since the Spanish American war we have set about turning the Puget Sound and Strait into a militarized zone. And now we seem to be at a point where our military does what it wants, regardless of what us, the taxpayers, want of it. This is truly the tail wagging the dog.

Also from Ashley Ahearn

Navy Granted Permits For More Growler Jet Training On Olympic Peninsulahttp://kuow.org/post/navy-granted-permits-more-growler-jet-training-olympic-peninsula
The Navy has just been granted permits by the U.S. Forest Service to expand electromagnetic warfare training over Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Now the Navy is cleared to drive trucks out into the Olympic National Forest, armed with electromagnetic signaling technology. Then growler jets will take off from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and fly overhead, searching for the signal trucks from the air. It’s essentially a military training game of hide-and-go-seek. The trucks simulate cell towers and other communications behind enemy lines that the Navy wants to scramble. Ashley Ahearn reports. (KUOW)

Work begins on a new Washington State initiative for a meaningful carbon tax

The work has already begun to get a meaningful carbon tax passed in Washington State. I don’t know if the population of this state is willing to pay more in taxes, which is really what is at the heart of this whole issue, but there is no other way forward. I would prefer to see a massive push towards converting to solar, wind and getting people into electric cars, but the ‘powers that be’ in the environmental movement keep coming back to this notion of a carbon tax being something that the population will buy. Given Trumps’ election, I’m not so sure that this is true, but I’m willing to go along.

This plan includes a coalition of organizations that could actually get this done, and it’s up to the folks who failed with their ballot measure to suck up their loss, and join this coalition  to get this through. This initiative, while still raising taxes on gas, would use the money to put tens of thousands of people to work with it. That, to me, seems like a win/win situation.

With Trump headed for the White House, climate activists look to states for action to cut carbon emissions, and plan for a new legislative push in Olympia

Seattle Times original article.

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