Archive for the ‘Environmental’ Category

Unless you have been sleeping under a rock then you surely know that next year is an election year. Next year we decide upon who will be President the following four years. Ron Paul one of the front runners is planning to abolish the Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Interior and Education. This in itself is pretty radical and would affect nearly every American and most for the bad. Now even worse Republicans are advocating eliminating the EPA. Earlier this year former House Speaker Newt Gingrich became the first high-profile conservative to champion one of the most extreme environmental positions in recent memory: total elimination of the EPA. I personally feel that this position is ludicrous. I think the upcoming elections need to be watched closely. These programs that they want to eliminate protect all of us and our country for not only us but our grandchildren and their grandchildren. Some help us gain ownership of homes. There is oversight of our roads and airways, protection of public lands, energy planning for our future,Commerce and education. Somethings they say sound good but you need to listen to everything. loss of all of these would be bad for the country and only help those who wish to rape and pillage our country for themselves and to hell with the future. I hope you are able to see through their facade and see them for what they really are.

Right now we are in the midst of an alarming rate of mortality for sea water turtle in the Gulf Of Mexico. The death rates are up over 300% so far this year. Part of this is probably due to the ecological disaster that was the Deep Water Horizon crude oil spillage that resulted in millions of barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf and it wildlife and pristine beaches. Even taking into effect the extra deaths due to the oil spill we still have something else contributing to their deaths. Signs point to the shrimping industry as the likely culprit. Now I love to eat shrimp as much as the next person but we really need to make a change in the nets that catch the shrimp as they are also catching and drowning our marine turtles. There is supposed to be a simple remedy for this and it is a devise known as a Turtle Excluder Devise or TED. Adding these devises to the shrimp nets would surely help prevent a large portion of the turtle deaths. You can visit Defenders Of Wildlife Sea Turtle Petition
and sign the petition to urge congress to act to enforce the ESA or Endangered Species Act and make it a requirement to place TED’s in their nets. This would be similar to the way they exclude dolphin from tuna nets now. When it was learned how many dolphins were being killed by tuna fisherman people boycotted brands that did not use the safer dolphin strategies. Maybe we need the same warnings on any shrimp we consume. I feel that all creatures are important and should be protected for our children’s future. I urge you to please visit and sign the Defenders Of Wildlife Sea Turtle

A little good news on the environmental side. Obama’s team is putting some of Bush’s decisions on air quality out to pasture. First is the decision to drop an appeal of a New Jersey courts decision that required coal and oil fired power plants to install more stringent mercury controls on their emissions. Last year the appeals court rejected a Bush administration plan for regulating mercury emissions and was slated to go before the Supreme Court before the Obama administration submitted papers Friday to the court asking for the case to be dismissed. The power companies still have a separate petition challenging the court ruling and it is unaffected by this decision. At a green jobs conference in Washington Lisa Jackson, the new EPA Administrator, said the EPA would draft its own rules and set limits on mercury emissions. “We’re better off spending all our resources making rules that will stick instead of fighting the courts on this one,” Jackson said. Seventeen states and health groups both joined a lawsuit to block the Bush plan that would have allowed “hot spots” around power plants. Mercury is believed to cause neurological problems in infants.
In another EPA air quality case they have decided to let California and other states set more stringent air quality standards for auto emissions. This too will be challenged by industry I am sure, but it is a step in the right direction.

After all of the pomp and ceremony of the inauguration was over President Obama went straight to work. It was an emotional thing to watch with so many Americans coming out on such a cold day to see it and experience the events of the day. It made me wish I had been able to go but there is no way I could have survived the day out in the cold like that or standing that long. Obama hit the ground running and one of his first acts was good news for the wolves of the mainland United States. As one of his first things in office President Obama halted plans to allow hunting of wolves until more studies can be done. Wildlife conservationists say the freeze will delay and possibly prevent the removal of gray wolves from the federal endangered species list in Montana, Idaho, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, and also in portions of Washington, Oregon, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. The pause will afford President Obama and his new Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar the opportunity to rethink the previous administrations efforts to remove wolves from the endangered species list. I haven’t heard yet how the wolves of Alaska will fare under this but hopefully this will put an end to bounties and aerial killings of our wolves. I can not call that hunting as it is far from a real hunt.It is shooting fish in a barrel type of hunt as they have no chance at all of fleeing. On Jan 14th the Bush administration announced that the Northern Rockies Gray Wolf would be taken off the endangered species list, but this wipes that out. Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity says,”Rather than remove protections from wolves in a piecemeal fashion, in the isolated locations where they have finally begun to recover from past persecution, the Obama administration should develop and implement a national gray-wolf recovery plan that will ensure the survival of these magnificent animals.” This is great news and should be applauded.

After a few months of bloody wolf killing a federal court ruled against the Bush/Cheney administrations proposal to remove wolves from the Endangered Species Act. In response the administration withdrew that proposal a few weeks ago. I do not know what the administration has against wolves but they are once more attacking them with a proposal that would lead to two thirds of the population being slaughtered. Please take action now to insure this does not happen by contacting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They are only accepting public comments until November 28th. Speak up now as they can not speak for themselves. We as a people own the land they are on and need to have the wilderness preserved.

I haven’t did a lot of posting lately letting the political arena slide somewhat and not voicing my opinion on the candidates nor their potential vice presidents. Well you may know by now I am a staunch supporter of wildlife conservation and hunting but am dead set against the aerial hunting of wolves as has been promoted by GOP vice presidential nominee and Alaska governor Sarah Palin. She is in favor of opening up ANWR (Alaska National Wildlife Refuge) up to drilling that I oppose. I do agree that we can open up off shore drilling though. Opening up ANWR will do little to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and will threaten wildlife and habitat in a pristine area.
But I find the promotion of aerial hunting for wolves, bears and their cubs abhorrent to me. Governor Palin has done a lot to promote the killing of wolves and bears.

  • Palin offered a $150 bounty on wolves with hunters only needing to present the left foreleg of a wolf to collect the money.
  • She actively opposed a ballot measure that would have brought an end to aerial hunting and approved a $400,000 state funded campaign to sway voters on the issue.
  • She also introduced legislation to make it easier to kill wolves and bears and which would have also removed the aerial hunting initiative from the ballot and block the ability of citizens to vote on the issue.
  • The Board of Game, which she appoints, has approved the killing of black bear sows with cubs as part of the program and expanded the aerial control programs.
  • The media is currently looking into reports that state officials implementing one of the aerial wolf killing programs illegally killed five-week old wolf pups just outside their dens

Warning: This video is extremely disturbing. It contains graphic images of aerial hunting of wolves — a brutal and needless practice that Governor Palin has fought hard to promote and expand.

Great news for wolf lovers. Wolves in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho who were about to be slaughtered in wolf hunts this fall have been given a temporary reprieve in the decision of U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy who in a forty page decision over ruled the federal governments new rules that took wolves off the endangered species list. Environmentalists had sued the courts to overturn the decision by the federal government to allow wolf hunts. As many as five hundred of the estimated one thousand wolves could have been killed in hunts scheduled to begin in the fall.
In his ruling?Molloy said the federal government had not met its own standard for wolf recovery, including interbreeding of wolves between the three states to ensure healthy genetics. He also said that the killing of wolves in hunts and for livestock attacks would likely “eliminate any chance for genetic exchange to occur.” Look for resistance from both sides on this issue. It is a delicate balancing act keeping enough wolves for genetic diversity while keeping them away from livestock predation

The Bush administration has not had a very good track record of protecting the enviroment but in a rare moment they were sided by environmental groups when a component of President Bush’s clean air policies was challenged in court by utility companies. A federal court ruled against them in what many consider to be the worst enviromental news of the year. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates that the regulation [The Clean Air Interstate Rule] would save 17,000 premature deaths a year. The rule would dramatically reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, saving as much as $100 billion in health benefits, besides the reduction in premature deaths. Large power companies even the ones in the lawsuit are somewhat surprised by the ruling. Most utility companies have been gearing up for the rule and have invested billions in order to comply with the regulation. Hopefully the Bush administration will appeal this ruling or we can get our congress to rewrite the law to allow the EPA the legal right to regulate more pollutants emitted by power plants more stringently.

We are in the middle of an economic crisis brought on by our dependence upon foreign oil imports that are running the prices of necessary commodities up to astronomical prices. The dependence on foreign oil is the biggest threat we as a country face today. Prices of food and any product that relies upon transportation to your stores is going up in price. Way up and hurting America as it does. Plus the money we spend on foreign oil helps feed the coffers of terrorists. It is insane to send money to people who hate us and are dedicated to destroying us and driving us out of the region.

Currently we produce 8 million barrels of oil per day here in the United States but consume 20 million barrels a day. That is sending about 45 billion dollars a month out of our country. The CBO [Congressional Budget Office] estimates the cost of the Iraq war at about 9 billion dollars a month, a staggering amount of money but that is only about 20% of what we spend on foreign oil.

In the short term we can all start driving less. Consolidate activities into one trip whenever possible. We may need to limit highway speeds again like we did in the 70′s. We should already require that all vehicles sold in the U.S. either be flex fuel – running on gas or alcohol – or be hybrid or electric. Brazil has already done it and now only imports about 20% of its fuel requirements, growing the rest as sugar cane. And while we are talking about Brazil we need to eliminate the 54 cents per gallon tariff on sugar cane ethanol imported from Brazil.

In the long term we need to build non petroleum cars and trucks, expand our oil drilling into possible offshore wells. It is being done safely already, we need to at least look into it. Right now I am still against drilling in the ANWR [Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] as I feel that right now they will not protect sensitive species that depend upon it for their survival. Also with more studies and new technologies we may have the ability to protect wildlife species in the future when oil will be at even more of a premium than it is now. Besides there is nothing like having an ace to hold in the hole. We need to give incentives to companies and individuals to invest in green technologies. Hybrids, electric, hydrogen, clean liquid coal and a myriad of technologies that we may have not even thought of yet. The sky is the limit if we break the foreign oil dependency that has a strangle hold on us right now.

With the high price of gas and diesel people are emphasizing efficiently with their vehicles and cutting the amount of miles they drive. Both candidates are also coming out with their own energy plans. McCain is declaring for off shore drilling to begin and Obama against it. I doubt we can drill our way to self sufficiency but it might help a little bit to allow drilling. I do not think it is advisable for our state – South Carolina – to take the chance. Our largest industry is tourism with the beaches being the primary draw. A spill off the coast would devastate the beaches and maybe even offshore sport fishing which creates a lot of jobs also. Perhaps lifting the federal moratorium on offshore drilling may be a good idea for some states but they need to weigh the benefits against possible repercussions that may arise. I think that deep water drilling can be done safely but it must be done carefully. It won’t affect prices right away and might take years to bring any on line if we even did any drilling. I still have very serious ?worries about offshore drilling but perhaps it is something we need to discuss further. I still disagree with opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling at this time. So I agree on one point with McCain and one point with Obama. Actually a lot more with Obama than McCain but I do agree with at least one point on McCains energy plan.