A real time global warming experiment

We have entered totally uncharted territory lately, as we all know, due to a virus that may or may not have started in a wet market in a Chinese city most of us have never heard of before this event.  We had been warned about viruses becoming more frequent as global warming accelerates.  and also here. (https://www.livescience.com/55632-deadly-diseases-emerge-from-global-warming.html)

Our current President has dismissed science, the scientists  that could have helped prevent it, the budget for them, our global alliances that we rely on for support and almost any mention of a science based approach. We have one of the most ignorant men of the modern era leading us at the most important time of the last twenty years. Those that elected him were fools then and now will likely follow him into the hospital as they listen to his lies and misinformation. Many innocent people will die from this. We are in free fall and are racing to find a way to stop the pandemic. Most likely we will, but at what cost?

I have been busy setting up remote at-home workstations for clients, complete with video conferencing, using the remote access tool TeamViewer. (highly recommended). So I apologize for not having kept up on this blog, which so many tell me they rely on for local environmental news. It’s been amazing to watch as people who have resisted virtual communications as it has grown, suddenly find themselves needing to become proficient with it to survive. People can change when they have to. It’s a lesson worth noting as we face the future.

The only good news out of all of this, is that we are seeing in real time, what the Green New Deal may have accomplished on a orderly basis, which is the radical slowing of our green house gases into the environment. Certainly there will still be coal fired electrical generation happening, but with the vast bulk of petroleum based engines being idled, we will gain some insight into what it means to stop oil use globally.

We can now watch, in real time, as we see how much impact a major shift away from oil will have. I’m looking forward to seeing the data.

I’m still hopeful. As Mindy Lubber, the CEO of Ceres, a sustainability non profit organization said in a recent Forbes article,

One thing that history has shown us is that a crisis can produce real change. The power of collective action will become evident. True leaders will emerge. The impossible will become inevitable. Innovative ideas and policy solutions will take hold, save lives and eventually get the economy back on track.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mindylubber/2020/03/26/coronavirus-climate-change-and-our-community/#2d4b2fa84f78

Stay strong, get out and get a walk. Protect yourself and stay healthy. We’ll need all of us after this is over to move back into real change for the next crisis that our warming world is creating.

 

One year after Paradise burned, the new normal for California – Washington Post

www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/10/26/this-is-new-norm-fire-ravaged-wine-country-rolling-blackouts-become-way-life/

“This is the new normal in fire ravaged wine country. Rolling blackouts become a way of life.” Blackouts affect millions. 13,000 people still displaced from Paradise and surrounding areas. No relief in site. Government agencies overwhelmed by the magnitude of the disaster. The short video in the article highlights a mother of three from Paradise who lost everything and struggles to get by, having to move 13 times since the fire. And this week, more fires. These are America’s climate refugees. To those still denying climate change, It’s time to demand action and see reality because you may be next.

Humans’ role in climate change, oil and gas industry lawyer says ‘that ship has sailed’ – Wa Post

The Washington Post got ahold of closed door comments by the a top Petroleum industry executive. This shows that the industry is well aware of their role in this climate emergency, and that they are not assuming the Trump agenda is lasting or helping them.

The burning of petroleum accounted for 45 percent of the United States’ energy-related carbon emissions last year, according to the Energy Information Administration, while natural-gas burning contributed 31 percent.

In a closed-door meeting of oil and gas executives this summer in Colorado Springs, industry lawyer Mark Barron offered a bold proposal: Energy companies must accept that fossil fuels are helping to drive climate change. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s real, or not real, or what the issues are,” said Barron, who heads the energy litigation arm of Baker Hostetler. “That ship has sailed from a political perspective.” Barron added that any American younger than 40 had grown up learning that climate change is “an existential crisis that we need to address.” The recording of the June 24 meeting of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), which was obtained by The Washington Post, highlights a growing schism between the Trump administration and key players in the fossil fuel industry. Even as Trump officials work to repeal federal restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions, some oil and gas executives say they have no choice but to press forward with plans to address climate change. Juliet Ellperin reports. (Washington Post)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/when-it-comes-to-acknowledging-humans-role-in-climate-change-oil-and-gas-industry-lawyer-says-that-ship-has-sailed/2019/09/26/63c0d250-c9c2-11e9-a4f3-c081a126de70_story.html

17 States Sue Feds Over Endangered Species Act Rules – AP

Perhaps we should consider the cost benefit analysis of saving humans.I don’t think we would be allowed to be saved if all species on this planet would be able to cast a vote for or against us.

Seventeen states sued the Trump administration Wednesday to block rules weakening the Endangered Species Act, saying the changes would make it tougher to protect wildlife even in the midst of a global extinction crisis. The lawsuit, in federal court in San Francisco, follows a similar challenge filed last month by several environmental groups, including the Humane Society and the Sierra Club. The new rules begin taking effect Thursday. They for the first time allow officials to consider how much it would cost to save a species. They also remove blanket protections for animals newly listed as threatened and make it easier for creatures to be removed from the protected list…The states challenging Trump’s rules are California, Massachusetts, Maryland, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. The District of Columbia and New York City were also named as plaintiffs. Gene Johnson report. (Associated Press)

17 States Sue Feds Over Endangered Species Act Rules

Hunting and Fishing to Expand on 77 National Wildlife Refuges – OPB

The outrage to our National Wildlife Refuges by the radical right wing that Trump has put in place in our federal government continues. It is hard to believe that most Republicans that voted for Trump were voting for this to happen. This is a right wing revolution taking place right in front of our eyes, and the damage may never be recovered from it. These areas were set aside as refuges,over the last 100 years,  now they are nothing more than shooting galleries for hunters. I have no idea why anyone would cheering such a thing.  Once again it reinforces the notion that you could have all the great intentions in the world, but if you sit out elections because your favorite candidate didn’t get the nod, then you have no power to accomplish anything, and you likely lose what you value. Voting counts.

Hunting And Fishing To Expand On 77 National Wildlife Refuges
The Trump administration is expanding hunting and fishing opportunities in 77 national wildlife refuges. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service eliminated or revised thousands of regulations to closely match state laws. The expansion added more than 1.4 million acres nationwide and more than doubled the acreage that has been opened or expanded in the last five years combined…. In Washington, San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge and the Spring Creek, Leavenworth, Little White Salmon and Entiat national fish hatcheries will open to sport fishing for the first time. In addition, the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge will open more land to waterfowl hunting this season.  Molly Samayoa reports. (OPB)

Proposed EPA Rules Could Limit State And Tribal Power To Block Infrastructure Projects -OPB

Over the last few years, since Trump came to power, I have been hearing about companies, some here in the NW engaged in shellfish farming, that have been quietly spending tens of thousands of dollars lobbying the Federal government to strip away the capability of local jurisdictions, such as county, state and tribal governments, to create local rules that could stymie the businesses operations or licensing by the federal government, under the Clean Water Act. A goal of theirs has been to take away the ability of local environmentally concerned organizations to sue, other than at the federal level.  Now, it appears the Trump administration is acting on their lobbying efforts. Think about fish farming, pulp mills, or any other activity covered under the Clean Water Act.

The rules specifically would restrict these non-federal governments’ authority to review the water quality impacts of projects that require a federal permit or license. These projects range from pipelines to hydropower facilities to dredging — any development that result in “discharge” into U.S. waters.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before October 21, 2019. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–HQ– OW–2019–0405, at https://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lauren Kasparek, Oceans, Wetlands, and Communities Division, Office of Water (4504–T), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 564–3351; email address: cwa401@epa.gov.

Read the whole legal document (very long, very difficult to follow if not a environmental lawyer) at

Click to access cwa401certification_2060-af86_nprm_20190807_prepublication_version.pdf

https://www.opb.org/news/article/federal-water-quality-rules-energy-infrastructure/

Debate Over Water Quality Standards Takes A New Turn – Puget Sound Institute

Christopher Dunagan writes on the issue of the Federal EPA vs. State of Washington EPA, vs. the people of Washington, as the real battle of Trumps reigning in of environmental regulations changes the rules of engagement. The issue is very relevant to all of us in the Salish Sea basin, as it pits a national standard of water quality, established by the EPA under Obama’s era, against an update by the Trump administration. How much cancer causing chemicals can we eat before we get cancer?

The State of Washington EPA fought the original stricter standards, because it would mean more effort by industrial corporations (i.e. Boeing et al) to meet the newer standards, which were put in place partly due to the fact that many of us are eating far more fish than what was originally believed. Now those same corporations are petitioning Trump’s EPA to ease the standards.

It’s not just an academic debate. Cancer causing chemicals effect us and our resident Orcas and more. Read the whole short story on it here. Www.pugetsoundinstitute.org

https://www.pugetsoundinstitute.org/2018/11/debate-over-water-quality-standards-takes-a-new-turn/

Many people thought the issue of regulating toxic chemical discharges into Puget Sound was settled when the federal government forced Washington state to use stricter criteria, but the debate may be underway once again.

ZINKE ORDERS BROAD ROLLBACK OF WILDLIFE PROTECTIONS

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has announced a “commitment to defer” to state hunting and fishing practices on all lands within agency purview. His order is a stunning abdication of a more than century-old legal foundation of federal primacy for wildlife management on federal lands, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

In a September 10, 2018 Memorandum to Heads of Bureaus and Offices, Zinke declared that henceforth states will be the “first-line authorities for fish and wildlife management” on all Interior lands and that Interior “hereby expresses its commitment to defer to the States in this regard.” To implement this reversal, Zinke directs Interior agencies compile any “regulations, policies, guidance that pertain to public recreational use and enjoyment of fish and wildlife…that are more restrictive than otherwise applicable State provisions” within 45 days. Within 90 days after that, each agency is supposed to recommend steps “to better align its regulations, policies, and guidance with State provisions.”

“This across-the-board abandonment of federal fish and wildlife safeguards is rooted in an ideological stance unsupported by any factual analysis,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, arguing that Zinke ignores the fact that many state game agencies are funded by hunting and fishing license fees and pursue practices, such as predator control, to maximize that revenue. “Federal parks, preserves, and refuges have a mission to protect biodiversity and should not be reduced to game farms.”

A sample of what Zinke’s memo could usher in is reflected by his controversial order that the National Park Service open its Alaska preserves to questionable hunting and trapping techniques, such as killing bear cubs and wolf pups in their dens, luring bears with bait, and shooting swimming caribou from a motorboat. Zinke’s order would put any federal wildlife protection not required by law on a path to repeal. This could mean federal parklands, refuges, and rangelands may have to accommodate states:

• Introducing non-native fish to natural lakes in a park or exotic pheasants for upland game bird hunting;

• Eliminating all wolves or other natural predator populations in a game management area; or

• Approving destructive or dangerous hunting techniques, such as trapping in hiking venues, hunting with dogs even on island refuges, hunting contests, and absence of bag limits.

Zinke’s memo posits the premise that “State governments have consistently demonstrated their commitment to sustaining fish and wildlife resources in perpetuity for the benefit of both current and future citizens.” This statement not only is demonstrably untrue but ignores the conditions leading to enactment of the federal Endangered Species Act.

“Mr. Zinke says that he does not want to give away ownership of federal lands but happily cedes their management,” added Ruch. “With his penchant for sweeping yet ill-considered actions, Ryan Zinke is on a trajectory to become the worst Secretary of the Interior since Teapot Dome.”

Navy wants to use more Washington state parks for stealth SEAL training – Seattle Times

Just say no to this insanity! Please let your state and federal representatives know how you feel.

The Navy wants to use 29 state maritime parks for stealth SEAL training, but state parks officials have yet to begin a review of the plan and say approval is no sure thing.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/navy-wants-more-washington-state-parks-for-stealth-seal-training/?utm_source=marketingcloud&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Morning+Brief+3-12-18_3_12_2018

UPDATE: Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen appointed to EPA post in Seattle- Bellingham Herald

This article in the Bellinham Herald has been denied by State Senator Ericksen. No announcement at this moment on who will be heading Region 10 of the EPA. 

The cynical abuse of power by the Trump administration continues with no let up in sight. Appointing politicians who have spent their careers denigrating the various bureaucracies they now are placed in charge of, with the marching orders to shrink, gut and cut any power that these agencies have to do their jobs. Doug Erickssen is one such politician who has made it clear he hates the EPA.

As reported in Oregon Live.com “The work of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency? It raises “the cost of operations so high that too many businesses are closing and too few new businesses are opening up.”

According to the Seattle PI – “The EPA under Trump has dismantled regulations and withdrawn efforts under the Clean Water Act to block a huge proposed mine in Alaska adjoining two of Bristol Bay’s major salmon producing rivers.”

Candidate Donald Trump said at the debate of March 3rd, 2016,” Department of Environmental Protection. We are going to get rid are of it in almost every form. We’re going to have little tidbits left but we’re going to take a tremendous amount out.”

State Sen. Doug Ericksen has been appointed to a new job as the senior adviser to the Region 10 administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency in Seattle. He will start his position some time in the near future, according to the executive assistant for Chris Hladick, the regional administrator for the Pacific Northwest and Alaska region. The Ferndale Republican, in an email, neither confirmed nor denied that he had a new job with the EPA. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/article193252109.html

So is this what Washington State Republican voters expected?

Northwest farmers urge Trump administration to sidestep salmon protection rules – AP

Ah yes, some of the folks in Eastern Washington and Idaho, people who’s livelihood was created by the tax payer funded dam projects that irrigated the dry eastern side of our state are back wanting the Feds to kill off the remaining runs of salmon for their short term benefits. These people, who have continued to complain for decades about the intrusion of the very government that created the dams and their farms, now wants it’s help again. This time to overrule the laws that protect our remaining runs of salmon. One of the big supporters of these folks has been Rush Limbaugh, among other radical right wing folks. You can bet your bottom dollar that if this committee ever comes to fruition, there will be not a single environmental representative on it.

A group that represents farmers is calling the costs of saving imperiled salmon in the largest river system in the Pacific Northwest unsustainable and is turning to the Trump administration to sidestep endangered species laws. The Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association wants the government to convene a Cabinet-level committee with the power to allow exemptions to the Endangered Species Act. Known as the “God squad” because its decisions can lead to extinctions of threatened wildlife, it has only gathered three times — the last 25 years ago during a controversy over spotted owl habitat in the Northwest. Keith Ridler reports. (Associated Press)

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/trump-administration-urged-to-avoid-salmon-protection-rules/

Environmental Penalties Down Under President Trump – NPR

This should come as a surprise to no one. This president and his inept band of anti-science vandals, are hell-bent on reversing decades of protection of our air, water and earth. But we need to document the damage they are causing by not enforcing the laws of both Republican and Democratic legacy.

Since President Trump took office in January, enforcement of environmental laws has dropped dramatically, compared with past administrations. A study released by the Environmental Integrity Project finds that $12 million in civil penalties have been collected from violators in 26 cases between January and the end of July….  That’s significantly less than the number of cases prosecuted and the penalties collected under the same six month period by the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations. Greg Allen reports. (NPR)

http://www.opb.org/news/article/npr-environmental-penalties-down-under-president-trump/

President’s fiscal 2018 budget would slash EPA spending by 30% – CNN and NY Times

Trumps dead on arrival budget and the disaster that it wants to create.

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget request would slash EPA spending by almost a third, according to a copy of the President’s proposal obtained by CNN.

The budget blueprint, which the White House plans to submit to Congress next week, would cut the EPA’s total budget by more than 30% and its operational budget by 35% compared to current funding levels.
Some of the biggest cuts would go to categorical grants for science and technology and environmental program and management spending, which would face 40% and 35% decreases, respectively. Some of the hardest-hit programs would include clean air efforts in the environmental program and management category, which would be cut nearly in half.
The budget would also zero out money for states for dealing with such problems as non-point source pollution, radon, lead, underground storage tanks, pollution prevention and beach protection.
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