Rapt attention

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Dead River

I suppose there is a limit that one man, even one president, can wreak on a country in four years. Broken families will eventually reunite, Supreme Court justices tend to moderate their orthodoxy, we usually find a way to regain our senses after our country goes through a wave of vile racism. But it is disheartening when it is our environment, the water and air that we breathe, under such attack from the new administration.

Garbage patch geese - Great Lakes - Puwanai

The news over at the EPA is not good. A workforce slashed by 3000 jobs, 25% of its budget cut. 42 programs destined for death or radical dismemberment including:

Baltimore Harbor - Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore
The Puget Sound, Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes all face radical cuts. No more EPA work studying endocrine receptors (e.g. why fish in polluted areas are suddenly changing sexes.)

Did you know that the Orca whales of the Puget Sound are the most PCB contaminated mammals on earth?

Diesel emissions, beach water testing, sewage programs on the Mexican border all facing the knife.

Already we have announced revisions to climate change reductions, car emission reductions, methane capture, the clean water act, mining waste, mountaintop removal, royalty restructuring for mining companies.

I was reading about the last point, the companies have been selling to shell companies, paying limited royalties to the government and then selling overseas, avoiding major taxes. Trump is cool with that.

In 2016, companies sold 316 million tons of coal from federal and Indian lands valued at $5.4 billion. Those sales generated almost $600 million in reported royalties, according to Interior Department data, the Associated Press reported.
Rules in place since the 1980s have allowed companies to sell their fuel to affiliates and pay royalties to the government on that price, then again sell the coal at higher prices, often overseas, AP stated.
Yesterday I heard that the NOAA is targeted for steep cuts. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is slated to lose its coastal research arm and a big chunk of funding.
The Trump administration is seeking to slash the budget of one of the government’s premier climate science agencies by 17 percent, delivering steep cuts to research funding and satellite programs, according to a four-page budget memo obtained by The Washington Post.
The proposed cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would also eliminate funding for a variety of smaller programs, including external research, coastal management, estuary reserves and “coastal resilience,” which seeks to bolster the ability of coastal areas to withstand major storms and rising seas.
Of course the deniers want to cut funding and emasculate an agency that monitors climate change.
NOAA spilled the beans that 2016 was the hottest year on record, at least since record keeping started in 1880. Now they must be punished.

Planning on visiting the tropics? You might want to go to the Antarctic instead. The March high temperature now stands at 63.5 degrees fahrenheit.

Over at the Interior, they are now bringing back lead shot. You know the kind that helped kill all those condors we reintroduced? Read this article over at the National Park Service before they take it down.
Numerous scientific studies have reached a consensus: lead poisoning is the biggest threat facing the successful recovery of the California condor. Semi-annual test results show that the majority of free-flying condors at Pinnacles National Park have blood lead levels that exceed 10 ug/dL, which is the same threshold used by the Center for Disease Control as an initial warning sign that a human child is at risk. Some condors have been measured with blood lead levels as high as 570 ug/dL, a value that would potentially kill a human. By the time condors at Pinnacles reach breeding age of 7 years old, almost all of them have received emergency, life-saving chelation treatment at least once. Numerous condors in the flock have now required multiple chelation cycles.
Scientific studies have documented that the primary source of this lead is from spent ammunition that remains in carcasses after they are shot. When a lead rifle bullet traveling at almost 3 times the speed of sound strikes animal tissue, it quickly begins to expand and loses hundreds of tiny pieces as it continues its journey. The organs and other bloodshot areas that are trimmed away and left behind are usually contaminated with these lead fragments. Because condors feed on dead animals and are group feeders, even small amounts of lead can sicken or kill many condors. Also, since all of their meals come from dead animals, condors are more frequently exposed to lead bullet hazards than most wildlife.However, lead poisoning through ingestion of spent lead bullets and shell shot has been demonstrated as being a serious factor for many other wildlife species too, including our national symbol the bald eagle. Other scavengers that have documented as being affected include golden eagles, hawks, ravens, turkey vultures, and grizzly bears.
More than 500 scientific studies published since 1898 have documented that worldwide, 134 species of wildlife are negatively affected by lead ammunition.
Red fox, Yellowstone

In my opinion, at the root of the assertion that animals have rights is the belief that animals and men are equal in creation, that man evolved from apes, and that creation is an allegorical myth contained in the Bible. There is no escaping the connection between secular humanism and animal rights activism.
Rush Limbaugh
Yellowstone coyote
Wolves can now be shot on sight, for any reason in Wyoming, thanks to a new Federal Appeals Court ruling.
Wolves were hunted to near extinction in the lower 48 states. Following a slight recovery after federal protections were granted in 1978, they exist on only 10 percent of their historic range. Many of the wolves that could lose their protection live outside the borders of Yellowstone National Park, where hunting is prohibited and where the wolves have been reintroduced.
Environmental groups earlier convinced a lower court that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Obama administration should not have moved to remove endangered-species protection for wolves based on promises from Wyoming that it would not harm them in certain areas.
The appeals court essentially ruled that the federal agency had reason to trust Wyoming’s word.
Wyoming’s “promises to protect wolves don’t amount to much” in a state that allows aggressive hunting, said Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity. Wolves trying to make it to the southern Rocky Mountains to mate or establish territory “have to make it through the shoot-on-sight zone,” a deadly journey that could once again lower their population, he said.
Bye bye wolves. It was a great idea, until the age of Trump anyway. Talk of apex predators and trophic cascades is pretty much lost on the muggles. If a species can't cut the 21st century mustard, well too bad for them.

Speaking of Wyoming, Senator John Barasso, a doctor of all things, takes the cake for cynical stupidity this week.

He's worried about it encroaching on the rights of mining companies as well as “states, counties, wildlife managers, home builders, construction companies, farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders. "

In addressing the Endangered Species Act, he said this:
As a doctor, if I treat 100 patients and just three recover enough to be discharged from the hospital, I would deserve to lose my medical license.
A similar standard should apply to the Endangered Species Act. This law was meant to protect animals, plants, and other species identified as endangered or threatened with extinction. It also tried to conserve ecosystems upon which these species depend.

A major goal of the Endangered Species Act is the recovery of species to the point that protection under the law is no longer necessary. Since the law’s enactment in 1973, there have been 1,652 species in the United States listed as either endangered or threatened with extinction. Just 47 have come off the list due to recovery.
That’s a recovery rate of less than 3 percent. That’s unacceptable.
So we haven't been real successful to date John and so the answer is to let the rest of them die and kill the act? Brilliant.
Last week, the Interior Department under President Trump delayed the start date of protections for the endangered rusty patched bumblebee, which has lost an estimated 90 percent of its population in the past two decades.
It is hard to comprehend this level of ignorance and shortsightedness. But coming from a bunch of flat earthers, a majority of whom still believe the earth was created 10,000 years ago, it becomes a little easier to understand.

future republican voter
Hear what's happening in Texas? Texas Bill 25 would allow doctors to lie to their patients about their babies' health and shield them from subsequent lawsuits.
The Texas Senate Committee and State Affairs voted this week to advance a controversial bill that would prevent parents from suing their care provider if their baby is born with disabilities, even if their doctor discovered the fetus’ condition and failed to disclose it.
Proponents say Senate Bill 25 protects doctors and children with disabilities, but opponents have slammed it as a thinly veiled attempt to curb abortion rights by extending protections to doctors who mislead their patients.
“SB 25 would allow doctors to lie to their patients,” Heather Busby, executive director at the advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said in a statement to The Huffington Post. 
To all of my socially liberal fiscally conservative friends who voted for the current President, thanks again. He's even worse than I thought he would be. You elected him, why not own this stuff?

Did you see the recent articles regarding the rise of colorectal cancer amongst the young today?  This hits home for me, my brother is dying from colorectal and liver cancer.
...the age-specific risk of a CRC diagnosis dropped for successive generations in the first half of the twentieth century, but escalated back to the level of those born in the late 1800s for current birth cohorts. As the proportion of rectal cancer diagnosed in adults younger than age 55 years years has doubled in just two decades.
Isn't it possible that there is an environmental component to this disease?  I found this on a board discussing the subject:
Colon cancer - Limited evidence for solventsxylene and toluene and ionising radiation.
Rectal cancer - Metalworking fluids and mineraloils. Some evidence for solvents, includingtoluene and xylene.
We consider ourselves quite remarkable, perhaps our most remarkable attribute is how thoroughly and successfully we have managed to trash our planet.

Had a nice blog birthday last night, ten years. Thanks to all that showed up to celebrate withLeslie and I. Pardell had an interesting take, said all this retrograde motion was merely the dying gasp of the old paradigm. Looks like the old paradigm can still do a considerable amount of damage to me.


Jon Harwood said...

We accept her, we accept her. One of us, one of us. Gooba-gobble, gooba-gobble!

Sanoguy said...

I would say that you must be kidding, but I know you aren't. It i going to take a huge (Yuge) effort to send these folks packing!