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Bison born in Saskatoon; Big Oil’s useless ‘net zero’ goals

Bison born in Saskatoon; Big Oil’s useless ‘net zero’ goals


6412093 writes—The Daily Bucket—Hanging with the Heron: “I live near 20 acre Bethany lake, west of Portland Oregon. I’m the Great Blue Heron, the State Bird!  We are the biggest birds in the northern hemisphere with a six foot wing span, but we will lose fights with eagles, so we nod to each other and respect jurisdictions. The Parks Department stocked Bethany Lake with foot-long rainbow trout.  These are technically native because they are salmonoids. I love trout when they are young and foolish. I barf on the water, they swim up to eat the particles, and pow pow pow, I’ve speared and eaten three trout. Yummy!” 

funningforrest writes—The Daily Bucket: On Dellinger’s Pond: “When I was a kid growing up here in Quincy, CA, the large local water feature of Dellinger’s Pond was a frequent playground.  In summer we’d go after frogs and catfish (just for fun; catch and release), in winter if it got cold enough the pond would freeze over and we would ice skate on it.  Here’s a link to a personal blog by someone who knows the pond well. Today the pond covers just about five acres or so, but back in the day it was nearly twice that large.  New road construction in the early 60’s  just about cut the pond in half. The south and west side of the pond was formed by the natural hillside to which it abutted.  The east and north containment of the pond was formed by construction of an earthen dike.  To the best of my knowledge the pond was constructed to keep the adjacent pasturage from flooding.  It still serves that purpose to a fair extent these days (albeit the pasturage is becoming more and more housing tract), but its greatest service is as a wildlife habitat.  And not all the wildlife is necessarily benign; back in February a mountain lion was seen prowling around.”

funningforrest writes—The Daily Bucket: Haze Grey and Another Day: “We’ve had cloudy skies and intermittent light precipitation for the past several days.  Nothing unusual for this country at this time of year. Despite the potential melancholy grey days can represent, they still are the indicator that our planet hasn’t stopped orbiting the sun and sometimes that’s just good enough to go on with. Me, I like the rain most of the time.  Beats the heck out of drought, gives life.  Not much fun to work in though.  Some people live where it rains a lot, some people pray for rain.  Sometimes it rains way too much.  We’ve had some tremendous excessive rain here in times past.  Washed out highways and destroyed homes.  Gotta take the bad along with the good; it’s just life.” 

Nonlinear writes—On Earth Day, 2020 something wonderful happened: “When I tell people I think baby bison are incredibly cute they look at me like I am crazy. They are born a pumpkin orange. Yup the mighty beasts in this picture were born cute little furry pumpkins. Those of us committed to bringing Bison back from the edge of extinction are delighted every time another calf comes into the world. But some are especially important. And thus we come to Earth Day, 2020. A baby Bison was born in Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. And why is that significant? This is the first calf born in this area in 150 years. The following link from CBC Kids News offers more video and pictures.

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – roadside bouquet: “Every one of these tiny pretty flowers was growing within a couple of feet of a paved road on a half mile stretch near my house. I guess we’d call them weeds. Delicate but tough. Half of them are legumes, nitrogen-fixers, able to thrive in very marginal soil. Many Most of these flowers are nonnative. Still, they turn the roadside into a long colorful bouquet. And pollinators love them.

OceanDiver writes—Dawn Chorus: Epic Eagle Encounters: “There are many things we explore about birds here at the Dawn Chorus and one of my favorites is what we see them doing. Behavior is a window into the minds of creatures. Usually the descriptions in guide books are dry recitations of size and color and number of eggs and such, but there’s so much more. Birds and other critters are not robots — they are thinking, reacting beings with individual personalities. We just don’t usually have a chance to see that in our brief observations, and when they all look alike in our human-centric perception. But an unexpected moment gives an insight into their minds at work. I hope we’ll have more Dawn Choruses exploring that. Many of us have photo archives going way back, and that’s a good resource to share. I’ve dredged up a couple of sets of photos for today. Bald Eagles are the most visible raptors where I live in the Salish Sea islands. I love all our raptors but I see the others less often —  Redtailed hawk, Osprey, Turkey vulture, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned, Cooper’s hawks, Peregrine falcon and Merlin are more intermittent, seasonal or elusive. Bald eagles are so abundant in the Salish Sea it’s a rare day I don’t see one.”

Lenny Flank writes—Photo Diary: Sawgrass Lake Park: “Some critters and birdies seen lately at Sawgrass Lake in St Pete FL.

Tingler Lake is at the heart of Tingler Prairie Natural area, near West Plains, MO.
Tingler Lake is a five-acre sinkhole pond,

lostintheozarks writes—The Daily Bucket – A Mother’s Day Hike: “Ever since we moved to Missouri we have subscribed to ‘The Missouri Conservationist,’ a lovely nature magazine created for Missouri nature lovers by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Last Sunday my husband suddenly asked me if I would like to check out a nearby natural area that had been featured in this month’s magazine. We had never heard of Tingler Prairie before but it was no more than an hour’s drive away, so I looked up the directions and off we went. After parking, the first stop along the trail was a landing that overlooks this small marshy area which is otherwise known as Tingler Lake.” 

CaptBLI writes—The Daily Bucket – Another birthday with better gifts:I took a “back roads” trip, for a change of pace and birthday treat.  There are cotton fields that have been plowed and I knew birds would be visible for long stretches if I followed the farm roads.  One bridge crosses the Yocona (pronounced Yauk-ne here) River between those fields that especially drew my attention.  The following 33-second video does not begin to describe the thrill of my encounter with the Cliff Swallows that live underneath.

CaptBLI writes—The Daily Bucket – Mississippi wildlife videos: “Hay seed has been busy because there are more birds at his house this year than ever before. I thought we would keep it simple and just provide the videos. There will be a brief description and time for each film. I hope you enjoy the show.


AmericaAdapts writes—Racially just Adaptation + Urban Planning and Climate Inequities with Dr. Linda Shi: “In episode 111 of America Adapts, Doug Parsons hosts Dr. Linda Shi, an Assistant Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University.  Doug and Linda talk about coastal development and adaptation economics; what happened to the 100 Resilient Cities Initiatives; urban inequality; racially just adaptation; transformative adaptation and much more!” 

Pakalolo writes—The accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere passed the CO2 equivalent of 500 ppm in 2019: “CO2-Earth tweeted a grim milestone yesterday after NOAA released data showing that the combined influence of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere has hit the CO2 equivalent of 500 ppm. Not one press release and zero media coverage have occurred since the release of the NOAA data were made public. Though Daily Kos is a blog centered on electing Democratic candidates, consider this post the first media outlet to report on this critical issue. CO2- Earth: NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory posts an Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI) that tracks yearly changes in the warming-influence of long-lived, trace greenhouse gases. As reported May 14, 2020, by NOAA-ESRL with an update to its AGGI webpage, the combined influence of all greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere reached the equivalent of 500 ppm CO2 in 2019.  With carbon dioxide and other GHGs continuing to accumulate in the atmosphere, despite the global COVID-19 pandemic, humanity’s climate crisis has now surpassed the symbolic milestone of 500 ppm CO2e.

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Courts and Climate Change and COVID-19: Trump’s Been Hard At Work On One Of These Things: “Last week, Dawn Reeves at InsideEPA reported that ExxonMobil’s lawyers attempted to convince the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a district court ruling and move a case brought by the City of Boulder to a federal court, instead of the Colorado state court where it was initially filed. Exxon’s approach mirrors defendants’ efforts in other recent climate suits to remove cases to federal courts, where they feel they’ll get a more sympathetic judge. This tactic has failed in recent cases brought by Baltimore, California and Rhode Island. It’s impossible to predict how a court may rule, but an attorney who supports the litigation efforts told Reeves that they are ‘very encouraged’ by the proceedings, and that the court ‘did appear skeptical’ of the ExxonMobil lawyer’s arguments for moving the Boulder suit to a federal court, which is nice to hear. Also nice to hear is that groups protecting vulnerable populations during the coronavirus pandemic could potentially build on legal tactics employed in climate litigation, and for those bringing climate lawsuits to learn from coronavirus litigation. This week, Reeves covered a new draft paper by the University of Connecticut’s Sara Bronin, who identifies these areas of overlap and things to watch.

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Rebuttal Roundup: Moore Debunkings Than You Can Count For ‘Planet Of The Humans’: It’s been a few weeks since Michael Moore’s deceptive re-release of Planet of the Humans, a documentary so loaded with errors it’s spawned at least 30 rebuttals and even more critical reviews. Scientists, journalists, activists, energy experts and even another documentary filmmaker have published debunkings, while the fossil-fuel funded climate denial network has praised it. “My friends and I have been saying these things for years about renewable energy,” former tobacco lawyer-turned climate denier Steve Milloy told E&E. There you go. Even its biggest fans acknowledge that Planet of the Humans is little more than regurgitated climate denial. Not that it wasn’t obvious that the documentary was woefully out of date and deceptive. Leah Stokes, Ketan Joshi and many others have explained how the decade-old details of the movie fall apart when examined.

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Every Unhappy Conspiracy Theorist is Unhappy In Their Own Way: “”The latest issue of the Atlantic magazine, Shadowland, focuses on a topic near and dear to us: conspiracy theories. Though not specific to climate, the parallels are clear and the fact that deniers are basically just motivated conspiracy theorists is, well, undeniable. Jeffrey Goldberg’s essay looks at the difference between famous kooks like Alex Jones and President Trump (one ‘lives in the White House. That is one main difference’) and concludes that ‘nonsense is nonsense, except when it kills. And conspiracy thinking, especially when advanced by the president of the United States, is an existential threat.’ President Trump built his political brand on the not-even-subtly racist “Birther” conspiracy theory challenging the authenticity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Adam Serwer pulls more on that thread, opening his essay with an interesting anecdote about how ‘the biggest irony of birtherism is that the guy who created it didn’t mean to.’ But plenty of people meant to spread it, through Fox News, the GOP, and American body politic. It was never all that fringe either. Mitt Romney, the paragon of Conservative Decency, made a birther joke, which Serwer explains ‘makes the target responsible for the racism directed against him; if Obama did not want his birthplace questioned, he should have been white’.

Meteor Blades writes—Tuesday night owls: Physician prescribes climate action to prevent the next pandemic: “Dr. Gaurab Basu is a primary care physician and holds a master’s degree in public health. He’s an instructor at Harvard Medical School, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader, and co-director of the Cambridge Health Alliance Center for Health Equity Education & Advocacy (CHEEA). At Grist, he writes—Want to prevent the next pandemic? This doctor is prescribing climate action: […] The link between coronavirus and climate starts with its origins. COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease — an infection that made the leap from animals to humans. Viruses like this pose a growing threat because our ecosystems are in peril. Climate change, deforestation, pollution, and encroachment into natural habitats have fundamentally disrupted our equilibrium with nature and other species. Human activity has decimated the ecological buffer nature has provided us to temper the spread of diseases that could be the source of the next pandemic. Testing, vaccines, and treatment solutions for COVID-19 cannot come soon enough, but neither can they prevent the next pandemic unless we clearly and forcefully advocate for restoring our ecosystems and biodiversity.

Egberto Willies writes—Town Hall on Addressing the COVID-19 & Climate Emergencies: “The COVID-19 Emergency Response Group was formed in March 2020 by leading public health experts, faith and business leaders, current & former senior Congressional Hill staffers, current and former local and state elected officials, and leaders of global, national and local NGOs. Our mission is to support others in mobilizing the people’s voices to save as many lives as possible.

Kemph2020 writes—Protect The Environment: “Climate change is an economic and national security issue that affects all of us. Climate change is real, man-made, and far past time to do everything we can to mitigate its effects. We must begin talking about mass migration out of low-lying and coastal zones, severe increases or outright cancellation of flood zone insurance policies and moving the Atlantic fleet out of Norfolk. We absolutely must have aggressive changes to our energy infrastructure. I will fight to act on expert’s scientific based recommendations. We all have a duty to all Kentuckians to prevent the economic and environmental devastation that climate change will bring to our country. We must get serious about the transition off of fossil fuels.” 


williamsfor78 writes—Shawn Williams Endorsed for Florida State House District 78 By the Democratic Environmental Caucus: “Lee County Chapter of the Democratic Environmental Caucus is endorsing Shawn Williams as the preferred candidate running for Florida State House District 78. This district is entirely within Lee County, Florida. This area is hit hard by the Republican State legislature’s assault on local environmental legislation and Shawn Williams is dedicating to countering that. Williams says, ‘Our land, our water, and our beaches are our state’s greatest treasures and greatest economic assets. Our current ‘representatives’ do not understand this basic economic truth, and their disregard for Florida’s natural resources is a reckless threat to our economy.’ Williams supports the DECF position that there is a direct connection between environmental health and human health. DECF President, Dr. Janelle Christensen says, ‘For 8 years, this seat was run by someone who believed who constantly voted to override local attempts to protect their environment: voted against local plastic regulations and regulating chemicals in sunscreens that hurt coral reefs. It didn’t matter how many of his constituents he hurt. Shawn Williams can undo that damage’.” 

poopdogcomedy writes—Newsweek, “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Joins Joe Biden’s Climate Policy Task Force”: “From Newsweek: Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday said that Democratic New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is serving on a joint policy task force coordinated by him and Democratic Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The task force will work on campaign goals to attract supporters of Sanders’s former campaign to vote for Biden in the November presidential election. ‘I’m working with Bernie and with his people. And so, and we’ve made some changes. We’ve listened to Bernie supporters and, you know, for example, we have Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, she is on one of the panels,’ Biden told News8 in Las Vegas on Tuesday.”


DownHeah Mississippi writes—Saturday Morning Garden Blog V.16:20: A Very Strange Year: “2020 has, indeed, been a very strange year. For the 2nd consecutive year, a physical injury disrupted my Spring planting. Many thanks to my Wife and youngest Son for stepping up and doing much of the heavy lifting again this year. The Tomato Patch has a different look this year. In the past, I grew 27 plants in-ground on 9 wire cages with some buckets to accommodate surplus plants. This year, I’m only growing 2 varieties in-ground: Big Beef and Roman Warrior; both are nematode resistant hybrids.  I plant Big Beef every year.  It’s about the best all around tomato that I’ve ever grown.  Roman Warrior, new-to-me this year, is a paste type, similar to Roma.  All other varieties are in  buckets this year.”

Tomato Patch 2020
Tomato Patch 2020


Fossil Fuels & Emissions Controls

Dan Bacher writes—Stop New Oil & Gas Drilling in East Contra Costa County in the Delta – Comments due by May 19: “This action alert from the Sunflower Alliance reveals that a  new application for exploratory oil and gas drilling in unincorporated Brentwood, in east Contra Costa County in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, is being submitted during the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic as oil prices have plummeted to below zero and dozens of oil tankers are congregated off the California coast with no place to store their oil: When we think of the fossil fuel industry in Contra Costa County, what probably comes to mind is coal export (Richmond) or oil refining (Richmond and the rest of the county).  Contra Costa County hosts four of the five Bay Area refineries that make up the second largest refining center on the West Coast.  But it is also the eighth largest center of oil and gas extraction in the state, right after Santa Barbara and just before San Luis Obispo.  Who knew? This is brought forcefully home by a recent discovery.  The County just reviewed a brand new application for exploratory drilling in unincorporated Brentwood—and found it good.  This means that a county planner has done an environmental review of the proposal and intends to issue, pending public comment, and in the parlance of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a ‘negative declaration.’  In other words, nothing to look at here, folks, move along:  more oil drilling will have absolutely no negative impacts on public health or climate.”

Dan Bacher writes—ExxonMobil Seeks to Restart Offshore Platforms Five Years After Refugio Oil Spill Idled Them: “Tuesday, May 19, marks the fifth anniversary of the massive Plains All American Pipeline spill near the Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County. The collapse of the severely corroded pipeline resulted in 140,000 gallons of crude oil spilling into the ocean, killing hundreds of birds and marine mammals, halting recreational and commercial fishing and fouling four ‘marine protected areas’ created under the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative as the spill was cleaned up.Now, as U.S. oil prices plunge and dozens of oil tankers with no place to store their oil are idling off the California coast, ExxonMobil is trying to restart its three platforms and transport that oil by using up to 70 tanker trucks per day on coastal Highway 101 and accident-prone Route 166 in a project Santa Barbara County is considering this summer. The other four offshore platforms shut down by by the spill are being decommissioned, according to a statement from the Center for Biological Diversity. The idling of the seven offshore platforms served by the pipeline has prevented ‘massive emissions of climate pollution’ since the spill, the Center said.”


Victor Menotti writes—Senators Tell Trump: Wall Street Must Lend to Oil, Gas, Coal: Financial Distancing from Fossil Fuels: “Senators from top U.S. oil producing states have written a letter to President Trump asking he make big banks lend more money to troubled fossil fuel companies, many of whom face mounting debt if not bankruptcy after their access to credit decreased due to investors’ increasing perception of real risks from fossil fuels. With ‘American energy dominance’ the purported pillar of Trump’s economic and foreign policy platform—and the fossil fuels industry being the foremost funder to his campaign coffers—Trump has a self-interest in bailing out one of his biggest donor bases. Signed by 14 Senators and 22 Representatives, the letter signals that fossil fuels executives are seriously concerned climate campaigners have convinced capital holders that oil, gas, and coal pose real risks, prompting investors to practice financial distancing from fossil fuels.” 

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Quantifying Dishonesty: Big Oil’s “Net Zero” Goals Are Just As Useless As You’d Expect: “So what are we doing to keep our planet habitable? Well, the oil industry certainly wants you to think that it’s continued existence is perfectly compatible with a non-deadly atmosphere, but is it? No, not really. That’s a simplified description of findings from a new report from the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), which compares the “net zero” commitments of six oil and gas majors, with what they’re actually doing. As expected, plans fall far short of what’s needed for the oil and gas industry to actually be net zero. The paper got a decent amount of coverage yesterday, with Emily Atkin’s characteristically salty “bologna” treatment, and more straightforward coverage at Reuters and the BBC, and a piece from Akshat Rathi at Bloomberg that explains some of the basics of what “scope 1” 2, and 3 emissions are and what that means for these plans.” 

Renewables, Efficiency, Energy Storage & Conservation

mastergardener2k writes—Renewable Energy Surges Past Coal in Production of US Electricity: “The New York Times reports that renewable energy sources including wind and solar power are now regularly outproducing coal fired electric power plants in the United States. Just 10 years ago, almost 50 percent of electricity came from coal but lower costs are now driving up renewables and increasing making coal the dirty fuel of a bygone age. In 10 years, the cost of wind farms has declined by 40% while solar costs are down more than 80%. … (In 2020) America’s fleet of wind turbines, solar panels and hydroelectric dams have produced more electricity than coal on 90 separate days — shattering last year’s record of 38 days for the entire year. On May 1 in Texas, wind power alone supplied nearly three times as much electricity as coal did.

Mokurai writes—Renewable Monday: Free Electricity for Health Care in Nigeria: “We have a different kind of Good News today, combining covid-19 treatment with renewable energy in Africa, funded by an oil company. We are going to need a lot more of this. (I needed to take a break from evil after my last covid-19 diary, on a murderous plan to let it burn through the global population.) Nigerian solar company Green Village Electricity (GVE) has installed PV systems to power Covid-19 isolation and treatment center s in the states of Enugu and Rivers, funded by the All On impact investment fund established by oil major Shell. Port Harcourt-based GVE said it is working with partners to supply free electricity to 21 health centers which feature on the mini-grids it operates in eight Nigerian states, as well as to other healthcare facilities nationwide. The project partners are The IEEE Smart Village impact investment fund operated by the New Jersey-based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Chinese PV manufacturer JinkoSolar, French solar inverter supplier Schneider Electric, Nigerian oil and gas company Ardova plc and Lagos-based engineer Tranos.

Mokurai writes—Renewable Tuesday: Fossil Fuel Soot Increases Death Rate from Covid-19: “No! Really? We had to find out all over again that soot kills, and that it especially kills those with lung diseases? [sigh] Yes, we had to. And even the unborn. So where are all those Pro-Lifers when we could use their help? Oh. Sorry. Silly me. Placentas Are Caked in Soot from Car Exhaust. Could It Reach the Fetus?Scientists found that a mother’s relative exposure to air pollution correlates to the amount of soot found in the fetal placenta. No, duh. So how about we test the newly born, at least?” 

Mokurai writes—Renewable Wednesday: Big Battery Bank Boom: “A tipping point in financing in the battery storage market, shifting from expensive private equity investments to ordinary bank finance. Which will be another factor leading to a terawatt of storage by 2040. Banks Finally Start to Spend Big on Giant BatteriesOnce reluctant to finance big projects, lenders now are taking another look. One result of falling prices, improved performance, and easier, more regular access to funding is projected to be a terawatt of battery-backed grid-scale electricity storage by 2040. That doesn’t include behind-the-meter storage in homes and businesses, nor does it include using electric vehicles for electricity storage. But they also add up.”

Projected market for battery-backed grid energy storage, 2020-2040

Mokurai writes—Renewable Thursday: Portugal Going Off Coal: “The death of coal just accelerates. Portugal was holding on to two coal-fired plants, with shutdown planned for 2030. Now the renewable replacement for that coal is being constructed, and it will end seven years sooner. Here, to start, is the old plan. Portugal to phase out coal-fired power by 2030 » Kallanish EnergyNov 21, 2017 – Portugal has confirmed it will close its two remaining coal-fired power plants before 2030, phasing out electricity generation from the so-called … Portugal confirms coal phase-out before 2030 – Argus MediaLisbon will remove tax exemptions for coal-fired generation from next year to encourage the power sector to become coalfree. It will also reform the national … That was then. Portugal to replace last coal plants in 2023 with hydro power complex — IEEFA.” 

Mokurai writes—Renewable Friday: Drawdown 2020: “In April 2017, Project Drawdown released its inaugural body of work on climate solutions with the publication of the best-selling book Drawdown and a suite of open-source resources on The idea was to collect and explain the 100 best ideas for Healing the World (what Jews call Tikkun Olam) from Global Warming via a massive drawdown of CO2 and other Greenhouse Gases (GHGs). The World Entire: humans, other animals, plants, the material Earth, our understanding of our place in the Cosmos. Buddhists generally focus on compassion for sentient beings in past, present, and future. Some Christians have a concept of Stewardship of the living and material environment. There are many other such notions in various religions, and in non-religious thinking as well. Whatever you call it, we can do with more of it. I have drawn heavily on the original Drawdown for topics and data since then, but inevitably my dog-eared copy fell out of date. Here, then, is its successor, with vast new Free, Open-Source resources.” 

Pipelines & Other Oil  and Gas Transport

peregrine kate writes—Enbridge hopes to sneak through the permit for their Line 5 replacement tunnel. Let’s block them: “While we are all understandably focused on coping with the pandemic, fossil fuel behemoths like Enbridge Energy Partners hope to take advantage of our distraction to pursue their own destructive goals. Enbridge operates Line 5, the 67-year-old twin pipelines that rest on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac and carry up to 23 million gallons of crude oil and other unrefined fossil fuels daily between Superior, Wisconsin and Sarnia, Ontario. Line 5 has long been considered a major environmental catastrophe waiting to happen, as I described here. The ‘solution’ that Rick Snyder and his cronies pushed through with Enbridge while Snyder was on his way out of office in 2018 proposes replacing the pipelines with one massive tunnel to be dug underneath the lake beds (and keeping the pipelines in operation until the tunnel is done). Both Gov. Whitmer and AG Nessel ran on a platform to decommission Line 5 and block this new tunnel, but so far their efforts have not succeeded in undoing Snyder’s dubious deal.


ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Trump’s EPA Grasping At 145 Year-Old-Straws To Defend Its Dirty “Secret Science” Rule: “Nothing’s ever really final, but next Monday is the last chance you’ll have to register your opposition to two and a half decades worth of tobacco and fossil fuel industry planning that has culminated in the Trump administration’s Orwellian-named Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science rule. We’ve touched on this long-running campaign recently, describing how it is core to the pseudo-intellectual DNA of both climate and COVID-19 denial as perfectly evidenced by Steve Milloy, and how its call for “sound science” sounds reasonable. To mark the end of the comment period, Michael Halpern at UCS provides a helpful timeline of the campaign. It began in the mid-’90s, with the tobacco industry’s lawyers (Steve Milloy and Chris Horner) pitching a plan to “construct explicit procedural hurdles” to prevent the EPA from using particular types of studies to inform regulations. Specifically, studies like the Harvard Six Cities paper that showed that PM2.5 air pollution, aka soot, is dangerous to public health. Since burning cigarettes and coal both produces soot this studies and others like it became a target for the fossil fuel and tobacco industries.

Meteor Blades writes—Wheeler shows he’s a Trumper through and through in EPA move to defy court on regulating chemical: “Showing once again how little the Trump regime cares about the rule of law, according to unnamed insiders, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Chief Andrew Wheeler will in the coming weeks defy a court order to set a drinking water standard for a toxic chemical known to cause fetal and infant brain damage. The deadline for the standard under the Safe Drinking Water Act is the end of June. The EPA had looked at several options. It picked the most extreme one in its draft proposal: no standard at all. The chemical is perchlorate, an ingredient in munitions, fireworks, and rocket fuel that gives it more punch. Perchlorate has contaminated wells that provide potable water to 16.6 million people. In 2011, the Obama administration reversed a Bush administration decision not to regulate the chemical and said it would set a standard. But it was slow-going, and the Natural Resources Defense Council sued to speed things up. Out of that came a consent decree requiring that an EPA standard be proposed by October 2018 and finalized before the end of 2019. By then, of course, President Obama was no longer in the White House and the deadline had been extended to next month.


Mokurai writes—EV Tuesday: If EVs Were a Country: “Good EV News!. Bullard Sparklines The global auto industry has more than $2 trillion in annual revenue and employs millions of people in dozens of countries. It’s also shrinking—at least in terms of what it delivers to customers. The number of vehicles sold last year, 78 million, was down for the second year in a row, and came in more than 8% below 2017’s peak. This year, sales in China, the world’s largest auto market, were down 80% from a year earlier in February, when many people were barricaded at home due to the threat of COVID-19. Growth seems unlikely to pick up this year. The China Passenger Car Association said last month that nation-wide sales for the year could be down 5% from 2019.” 


Dan Bacher writes—Yurok Tribe, Earthjustice Seek Temporary Restraining Order to Restore Water Flows to Klamath River: “The Yurok Tribe, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), and the Institute for Fisheries Resources (IFR), represented by the nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice, are seeking a temporary restraining order to reinstate water flows in the Klamath River to protect threatened salmon, according to a joint press release issued today. Earlier this year, the plaintiffs successfully obtained a new three-year plan from the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) for operating the Klamath Irrigation Project to increase springtime flows in the Klamath River. On Monday however—and without warning—Reclamation shut off the augmented flows required under that plan, pushing the Klamath River to dangerously low water levels and placing juvenile salmon in peril. A hearing is scheduled for May 22, 2020.”

Dan Bacher writes—Trump’s wild rant about California water transcribed (and translated): “Donald Trump’s recent rant about California water, based loosely on corporate agribusiness talking points, is one of the strangest of his that I have listened to. I decided to transcribe the president’s musings from the below video, shared on Twitter by Aaron Rupar, an associate editor at Vox covering politics and policy, so people could see exactly what what Trump said.Trump made the comments during Friday’s GOP luncheon after he heard remarks from Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) about California essential workers. Nunes is a relentless supporter of pumping more water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to Central Valley agribusiness corporations at an enormous cost to West Coast fisheries, Delta farmers, California Indian Tribes, recreational and commercial fishing families, environmental justice communities, Delta and Northern California businesses and the people of California.”

Dan Bacher writes—Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Trump’s Increased Water Exports Plan: “A federal court on Monday, May 11, granted a preliminary injunction in two lawsuits — one filed by the state and the other by fishing and conservation groups — challenging the Trump Administration’s expansion of water export operations in the Central Valley. The order by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California blocks the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation until May 31 from increasing the amount of water it pumps from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta through the federal Central Valley Project. The lawsuits argued that increased water exports would cause ‘imminent and irreparable harm’ to salmon, steelhead and other species protected under the state and federal Endangered Species Acts. United States District Judge Dale A. Drozd (DAD) ruled’…the harms are real, ongoing and are likely to have enough of a population level impact to warrant an injunction’.” 

Dan Bacher writes—Delta Tunnel Forges Ahead in Pandemic: Agreement in Principal Reached for SWP Contract Amendment: “On April 30 during the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the negotiators for the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Contractors finalized an Agreement In Principle (AIP) for the State  Contract Amendment for Delta Conveyance, according to a notice sent out yesterday by the Kearns and West Facilitation Team. This is a significant step in the process to push forward the Newsom Administration’s Single Delta Tunnel. Of course, this negotiation of this agreement took place despite strong opposition by the majority of Californians, including recreation anglers, commercial fishermen, conservationists, Tribal leaders, family farmers, Delta business owners, elected officials and the public.”

Dan Bacher writes—AquAlliance Files Lawsuit Against Long Term Water Transfers from Sacramento River Watershed: “On May 11, AquAlliance sued the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority (SLDMWA) in federal District Court over their long term water transfer transfer program that threatens Northern California farms, fish and communities. An environmental group that exists to defend northern California waters and to challenge threats to the hydrologic health of the northern Sacramento River watershed, AquAlliance filed the suit to challenge the agencies’ second attempt to disclose and analyze impacts from their long term water export plans. The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and the California Water Impact Network joined AquAlliance in the litigation, represented by the Aqua Terra Aeris law firm. Co-plaintiffs in the litigation also include Central Delta Water Agency, Local Agencies of the North Delta, and South Delta Water Agency that are represented by the Soluri Meserve law firm. The suit is: AquAlliance et al. v. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation et al., case number 2:20-at-00462, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.” 

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