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Trump and Ryan Zinke And Scott Pruitt Are Environmental Disasters


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#1 LFC

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 03:39 PM

The sale of the United States is well on its way. I wish I could at least say it was to the highest bidder but I know better than to hope for that. This piece in Vox lists the 5 major ways that Zinke has been doing more explicit actions to cause environmental damage than any administration in history.

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From his recent proposal to open almost all of America’s coast to offshore drilling to rolling back federal protections on national monuments, Zinke has taken extraordinary steps to make public lands more accessible to fossil fuel companies and other industries. Part of what he’s doing is selling mineral and energy rights to our public lands through leases — and potentially lowering royalties for industries in the process. In line with Trump’s interest in expanding mining on federal lands, Zinke has made critical mineral production a top priority.

“When Zinke was nominated, he told the American people that he was a conservationist in the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt, and he was committed to stewarding our public lands, and he was concerned about issues like global warming,” says Jay Turner, an environmental historian at Wellesley College. “In practice, Zinke has aggressively worked to open up our public lands and natural resources to development by private interests and aggressively rolled back regulations meant to protect those resources and address issues like climate change.”

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

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#2 LFC

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 03:49 PM

The NY Times has a list of 67 environmental regulations attacked by Trump and his henchman. As this Vox article points out the GOP now believes virtually all regulation is bad.

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President Donald Trump’s administration has been on a deregulatory bender, particularly when it comes to environmental regulations. As of January, the New York Times counted 67 environmental rules on the chopping block under Trump.

This is not one of Trump’s idiosyncrasies, though. His administration is more ham-handed and flagrant about it, but the antipathy it expresses toward federal regulation falls firmly within the GOP mainstream. Republicans have been complaining about “burdensome” and “job-killing” regulations for so long that their opposition to any particular health, safety, or environmental regulation is now just taken for granted.

For instance, why would the Environmental Protection Agency close a program investigating the effects of toxins on children’s health? Is there some evidence that the money is wasted or poorly spent? Why would the EPA allow more unregulated disposal of toxic coal ash? Don’t people in coal regions deserve clean air and water? Is there any reason to think coal ash is currently well-regulated?

These questions barely come up anymore. Republicans oppose regulations because they are regulations; it’s become reflexive, both for the party and for the media the covers them.


More importantly it also points out that the OMB just very quietly released a report on the cost / benefit analysis that encompasses the years of all those "job killing" regulations created under the Obama administration. One look at the numbers and I'm shocked the Republicans didn't straight up bury it as fast as they could.

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As it happens, though, we know something about the costs and benefits of federal regulations. In fact, Trump’s own administration, specifically the (nonpartisan, at least for now) White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), just released its annual report on that very subject. (Hat tip to E&E.)

The report was released late on a Friday, with Congress out of session and multiple Trump scandals dominating the headlines. A cynical observer might conclude that the administration wanted the report to go unnoticed.

Why might that be? Well, in a nutshell, it shows that the GOP is wrong about regulations as a general matter and wrong about Obama’s regulations specifically. Those regulations had benefits far in excess of their costs, and they had no discernible effect on jobs or economic growth.

OMB gathered data and analysis on “major” federal regulations (those with $100 million or more in economic impact) between 2006 and 2016, a period that includes all of Obama’s administration, stopping just short of Trump’s. The final tally, reported in 2001 dollars:
  • Aggregate benefits: $219 to $695 billion
  • Aggregate costs: $59 to $88 billion

By even the most conservative estimate, the benefits of Obama’s regulations wildly outweighed the costs.

According to OMB — and to the federal agencies upon whose data OMB mostly relied — the core of the Trumpian case against Obama regulations, arguably the organizing principle of Trump’s administration, is false.

The piece goes on to note that environmental regulations have been particularly effective at producing greater benefits than costs. Of course those getting the benefits are spread across the U.S. economy and those bearing the losses are clumped. They are also the ones buying the GOP.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

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""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#3 LFC

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 01:55 PM

Coal ash is a massive environmental problem that is killing people but Trump's EPA is knocking bag regulations because it costs industry too much money. Once again the Republicans privatize the profits and externalize the costs. Or put more succinctly, "FREEDUMB!!!"

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The Kingston spill is one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. Coal ash, which contains toxic metals like mercury, arsenic, and cadmium, smothered the water and soil in rural Roane County, and a decade later, residents like Steele are still unaware of whether the toxins have been removed—or if they ever will be.

The long-term effects of the spill on those exposed to the ash cleanup are clear, however. In 2013, more than 30 current and former workers and some spouses filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court against Jacobs Engineering, a company hired to oversee cleanup efforts, claiming the company knowingly exposed the workers to the toxic coal ash. Other workers and their families keep coming forward. In March, 180 new cases of dead and dying workers who had cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and other conditions from working for months or years cleaning up the spill were recently filed in Roane County Circuit Court. The death toll is now more than 30, and those who fell ill have reached at least 200, according to an ongoing investigation by the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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“The EPA estimates that these sites are responsible for at least 30 percent of all toxic pollution coming from industrial pollution,” Frank Holleman, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, said. “[The Southeast] is much higher because we have more than our share—almost every major river system in Southeast has one or two facilities near it.”

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Despite overwhelming evidence that coal ash is a major health risk, President Trump’s administration is prepared to roll back federal regulations on the disposal and maintenance of coal ash, giving more power to states to decide how and where to store coal ash and how to clean up spills and leaks. Last month, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt announced the agency will move forward with more than a dozen changes to the the 2015 Coal Combustion Residuals rule—the first time the federal government finalized regulations for coal ash disposal. The EPA claims the changes will save the utility sector “up to $100 million per year in compliance costs.”

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#4 LFC

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 03:18 PM

They're also looking to hack back at the Migratory Bird Treaty, basically letting companies off the hook for birds they kill through their activities. Once again it's externalizing costs only this time on wildlife.

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Now the Interior Department has issued a legal opinion that reinterprets the act and excludes “incidental take” – activities that are not intended to harm birds, but do so directly in ways that could have been foreseen, such as filling in wetlands where migrating birds rest and feed. Why? For fear of “unlimited potential for criminal prosecution.” As the argument goes, cat owners whose pets attack migratory birds or drivers who accidentally strike birds with their cars might be charged with crimes.

But the MBTA has not been enforced this way. It is applied to cases of gross negligence where potential harm should have been anticipated and avoided, such as discharging water contaminated with toxic pesticides into a pond used by migratory birds. This new reading of the law means that companies will escape legal responsibility and liability for actions that kill millions of birds every year.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#5 pnwguy

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 03:44 PM

 LFC, on 16 April 2018 - 03:18 PM, said:

They're also looking to hack back at the Migratory Bird Treaty, basically letting companies off the hook for birds they kill through their activities. Once again it's externalizing costs only this time on wildlife.
Well, there's also a bevy of Republican landowners who are profiting from new wind-farms. While they usually just get leases for siting wind generators on their farms and ranch land, it's possible that they could be considered a party to any neglect charges.
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#6 LFC

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 04:06 PM

 pnwguy, on 16 April 2018 - 03:44 PM, said:

Well, there's also a bevy of Republican landowners who are profiting from new wind-farms. While they usually just get leases for siting wind generators on their farms and ranch land, it's possible that they could be considered a party to any neglect charges.

It's a lot easier to place the windmills without having to have any concern about the damage they can cause. They'll never be completely non-lethal but there are definitely designs and placements that can reduce the damage quite a bit.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#7 LFC

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 01:40 PM

The speed of the environmental policy damage by Trump and his evil minions is actually impressive. Next up, existing changes to automobile emissions standards for 2022-2025 but states are balking. So how long before they announce they want to scrap all emissions standards? You know they want to.

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California and 16 other U.S. states are suing the Trump administration over its plans to scrap standards for how much greenhouse gases vehicles can emit.

California Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the lawsuit Tuesday.

It takes aim at a plan by the Environmental Protection Agency to scrap standards for vehicles manufactured between 2022 and 2025.

The standards would have required vehicles to get 36 miles per gallon (58 kilometers per gallon) by 2025, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) over the existing standard.

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt says the standards are not appropriate and need revision.

Joining California are Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#8 LFC

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 04:14 PM

Scott Pruitt is zeroing in on his goal for the EPA of "regulatory capture", the change to serving the needs of industry rather than citizens of the U.S. This is the Republicans' Randian Paradise in full swing. Don't like it? Sue the polluting industry. All you have to do is figure out exactly what's happening (while they block you from access to any information), file suit, keep up with the avalanche of paperwork from a team of lawyers intentionally designed to slow you down, and then prove that the pollution is from that exact source. See? Easy!

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Under the Trump administration, the Environmental Protection Agency has veered so far from its foundational mission of protecting human health and the environment that it faces the highest risk in its 47-year history of being reshaped to serve industry rather than the American public, according to a new study in the American Journal of Public Health.

The EPA routinely faces criticism from environmental and public health advocates for allegedly quashing science and softening rules to help industry. During the early years of the Reagan presidency in particular, EPA Administrator Anne Gorsuch worked to scale back the agency's activities.

But the new study, based on interviews with current and former EPA staff and reviews of White House and EPA initiatives, concluded that the agency is now on the edge of "regulatory capture," when industry priorities determine policy rather than the public interest and impartial research.

"New EPA leadership has thus far aimed at deconstructing, rather than reconstructing, the agency by comprehensively undermining many of the agency's rules, programs, and policies while also severely undercutting its budget, work capacity, internal operations and morale," concluded the study, titled "The Environmental Protection Agency in the Early Trump Administration: Prelude to Regulatory Capture."

The study, part of the American Journal of Public Health's special issue on climate change, adds to the mounting scrutiny and criticism of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's policy, personnel and operational decisions, which sometimes weave together.

For instance, the study suggests that the undermining of the EPA's public health mission is enabled in part by Pruitt and his aides making policy decisions with little input from longtime staff and scientists.

Such isolation is cemented by "the extraordinary lengths that Pruitt has [gone to] to preserve secrecy and autonomy from the EPA career staff, such as cordoning his office wing off from career employees, reportedly forbidding note taking at some meetings and employing 24-hour armed guards," the report said. The study was accepted by the peer-reviewed journal in February of this year, before some of the recent scandals around Pruitt had surfaced, including his condo rental from the wife of a lobbyist. He currently faces at least 10 investigations from his EPA tenure.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#9 LFC

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 10:25 AM

I updated the title to include Scott Pruitt since he seems hell-bent on poisoning America. He's a hard-right Christianist so he probably believes Armageddon is on its way so why conserve anything? Here we have the White House and EPA hiding alarming findings about how badly some of our water is contaminated because it would be bad PR. Poisoning for profit, it's the Republican way. I wonder what all of the "pro-life" Evangelicals would have to say about the poisoning of fetuses in the womb? I guess any impacts are just God's Will ™.

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Scott Pruitt’s EPA and the White House sought to block publication of a federal health study on a nationwide water-contamination crisis, after one Trump administration aide warned it would cause a "public relations nightmare," newly disclosed emails reveal.

The intervention early this year — not previously disclosed — came as HHS' Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry was preparing to publish its assessment of a class of toxic chemicals that has contaminated water supplies near military bases, chemical plants and other sites from New York to Michigan to West Virginia.

The study would show that the chemicals endanger human health at a far lower level than EPA has previously called safe, according to the emails.

“The public, media, and Congressional reaction to these numbers is going to be huge,” one unidentified White House aide said in an email forwarded on Jan. 30 by James Herz, a political appointee who oversees environmental issues at the OMB. The email added: “The impact to EPA and [the Defense Department] is going to be extremely painful. We (DoD and EPA) cannot seem to get ATSDR to realize the potential public relations nightmare this is going to be.”

More than three months later, the draft study remains unpublished, and the HHS unit says it has no scheduled date to release it for public comment. Critics say the delay shows the Trump administration is placing politics ahead of an urgent public health concern — something they had feared would happen after agency leaders like Pruitt started placing industry advocates in charge of issues like chemical safety.

Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) called the delay "deeply troubling" on Monday, urging Pruitt and President Donald Trump "to immediately release this important study."

"Families who have been exposed to emerging contaminants in their drinking water have a right to know about any health impacts, and keeping such information from the public threatens the safety, health, and vitality of communities across our country," Hassan said, citing POLITICO's reporting of the issue.Details of the internal discussions emerged from EPA emails released to the Union of Concerned Scientists under the Freedom of Information Act.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a fellow New Hampshire Democrat, called the delay "an egregious example of politics interfering with the public’s right to know. ... [I]t’s unconscionable that even the existence of this study has been withheld until now."

The emails portray a “brazenly political” response to the contamination crisis, said Judith Enck, a former EPA official who dealt with the same pollutants during the Obama administration — saying it goes far beyond a normal debate among scientists.

“Scientists always debate each other, but under the law, ATSDR is the agency that’s supposed to make health recommendations,” she said.

The White House referred questions about the issue to HHS, which confirmed that the study has no scheduled release date.

Pruitt‘s chief of staff, Ryan Jackson, defended EPA’s actions, telling POLITICO the agency was helping “ensure that the federal government is responding in a uniform way to our local, state, and Congressional constituents and partners.”


Details follow on the chemicals being studied.

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The discussions about how to address the HHS study involved Pruitt's chief of staff and other top aides, including a chemical industry official who now oversees EPA’s chemical safety office.


It sounds like they're back to "business as usual" just like we had under George W. Bush. Again, poisoning for profit.

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Environmentalists say such interference was routine during the Bush administration.

"It’s why the Obama administration issued a call for scientific integrity policies across the federal government," Kothari said in an email to POLITICO. "Dr. Beck should know firsthand that the Bush administration sidelined science at every turn, given that she spent time at OMB during that time."

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#10 DCoronata

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 10:52 AM

 pnwguy, on 16 April 2018 - 03:44 PM, said:

Well, there's also a bevy of Republican landowners who are profiting from new wind-farms. While they usually just get leases for siting wind generators on their farms and ranch land, it's possible that they could be considered a party to any neglect charges.
There are new designs that are not only very efficient but almost bird-death free. Believe me (we've got birders here!) the greatest threat to wildlife in America is not wind farms, but habitat loss, caused by land degradation and encroachment of people into habitat. Far more birds are killed by building strikes and treetop-strip mining than by windmills. If they ain't got nowhere to breed, they don't "die", they just die out.
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#11 LFC

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 12:37 PM

 DCoronata, on 15 May 2018 - 10:52 AM, said:

There are new designs that are not only very efficient but almost bird-death free. Believe me (we've got birders here!) the greatest threat to wildlife in America is not wind farms, but habitat loss, caused by land degradation and encroachment of people into habitat. Far more birds are killed by building strikes and treetop-strip mining than by windmills. If they ain't got nowhere to breed, they don't "die", they just die out.

I saw a good presentation on wind farms before the new designs even existed. The opening line was "Every time to you turn on a light switch you kill something." It was a comparison of wind farms, along with the identification of particularly bad locations that when avoided reduced kill rates, to the deaths and habitat damage caused by coal, oil, and nuclear power. Nothing is a free ride and it drives me nuts to see supposed conservationists going on and on about wind turbines with little acknowledgement that the current alternatives are far worse. It's a classic case of the perfect being the enemy of the good.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#12 andydp

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 12:44 PM

Well, there's also a bevy of Republican landowners who are profiting from new wind-farms. While they usually just get leases for siting wind generators on their farms and ranch land, it's possible that they could be considered a party to any neglect charges.



Went through Idaho on the way to SLC from Yellowstone NP. Lots of windmills all over the farmlands. I'm sure these farmers aren't dyed in the wool libtard tree huggers. In fact, I'd almost think they found a way to make money for the farm.


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#13 DCoronata

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 12:49 PM

 LFC, on 15 May 2018 - 12:37 PM, said:

I saw a good presentation on wind farms before the new designs even existed. The opening line was "Every time to you turn on a light switch you kill something." It was a comparison of wind farms, along with the identification of particularly bad locations that when avoided reduced kill rates, to the deaths and habitat damage caused by coal, oil, and nuclear power. Nothing is a free ride and it drives me nuts to see supposed conservationists going on and on about wind turbines with little acknowledgement that the current alternatives are far worse. It's a classic case of the perfect being the enemy of the good.
Wasted several good hours today searching for Golden-winged warblers (heard, not seen) at Sterling Forest. I sometimes dream about how many more they'd be along with ceruleans, wood thrush, rusty blackbirds, (Bachman's warblers???, Ivory Billed???) if we hadn't turned a quarter of our Appalachian and Piedmont mountains into coal country. The worst part is, we knew more than 60 years ago about the current and future threats and it wasn't taken seriously then, it's only barely taken seriously now. Many of our EU allies use a lot less energy per capita/per economic unit dollar than we do, and they don't live any worse lives than we do.
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#14 LFC

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 12:53 PM

 DCoronata, on 15 May 2018 - 12:49 PM, said:

Many of our EU allies use a lot less energy per capita/per economic unit dollar than we do, and they don't live any worse lives than we do.

You are clearly a cheese eating surrender monkey. 'Murica! Freedumb! TRUMP!
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#15 Traveler

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 03:01 PM

 DCoronata, on 15 May 2018 - 12:49 PM, said:

Wasted several good hours today searching for Golden-winged warblers (heard, not seen) at Sterling Forest. I sometimes dream about how many more they'd be along with ceruleans, wood thrush, rusty blackbirds, (Bachman's warblers???, Ivory Billed???) if we hadn't turned a quarter of our Appalachian and Piedmont mountains into coal country. The worst part is, we knew more than 60 years ago about the current and future threats and it wasn't taken seriously then, it's only barely taken seriously now. Many of our EU allies use a lot less energy per capita/per economic unit dollar than we do, and they don't live any worse lives than we do.
How much do you think it's habitat loss in wintering grounds? Believe it or not, we have far more trees now than we did a century ago. And two and a half centuries ago, the northeast was almost totally denuded for charcoal. It seems that birds are adapting to fragmentation. We have a pair of pileateds that breed a quarter mile away in a 10-acre woodlot. We hear and see them regularly on our farm, which has another woodlot about half a mile away and our house is between them so we get to see them a lot. Otherwise it's meadows and hedgerows here, and suburbia elsewhere.
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#16 Bact PhD

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 04:15 PM

 Traveler, on 15 May 2018 - 03:01 PM, said:

How much do you think it's habitat loss in wintering grounds?

Probably a larger contributor than we think. For the last half-century, Flori-DUH has become the personification of the old Joni Mitchell tune:



A parking lot...and endless strip shopping centers...tons of McMansions...

I can't speak to Mexico or Central or South America, but somehow I suspect it's at least as bad, if not worse.
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#17 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 06:04 PM

 LFC, on 15 May 2018 - 12:37 PM, said:

The opening line was "Every time to you turn on a light switch you kill something." It was a comparison of wind farms, along with the identification of particularly bad locations that when avoided reduced kill rates, to the deaths and habitat damage caused by coal, oil, and nuclear power. Nothing is a free ride and it drives me nuts to see supposed conservationists going on and on about wind turbines with little acknowledgement that the current alternatives are far worse.

I didn't see solar on that list.
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#18 LFC

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 08:49 PM

 D. C. Sessions, on 15 May 2018 - 06:04 PM, said:

I didn't see solar on that list.

They're complaining about solar too because it covers sections of land and the solar concentration plants (that heat water for steam) can kill birds.
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#19 Rich T Bikkies

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 01:39 AM

 DCoronata, on 15 May 2018 - 10:52 AM, said:

Believe me (we've got birders here!) the greatest threat . . . .

You used the phrase "Believe me!"?!?!

SAD . . .
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#20 DCoronata

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 05:38 AM

 Traveler, on 15 May 2018 - 03:01 PM, said:

How much do you think it's habitat loss in wintering grounds? Believe it or not, we have far more trees now than we did a century ago. And two and a half centuries ago, the northeast was almost totally denuded for charcoal. It seems that birds are adapting to fragmentation. We have a pair of pileateds that breed a quarter mile away in a 10-acre woodlot. We hear and see them regularly on our farm, which has another woodlot about half a mile away and our house is between them so we get to see them a lot. Otherwise it's meadows and hedgerows here, and suburbia elsewhere.
Depends upon the species- some are very specific and will not breed outside of their very well defined areas (wood thrush, Kirtland's, least tern, piping plover, salt-marsh sparrow, etc...). Although wintering grounds are very much at risk, its also the flyways that are being disturbed- there's only so much of America's gulf and Atlantic coast that aren't developed which is why migrant traps are so astonishingly successful for birders.

If you really want to know why we're seeing such a decline in birds, its because there's an astonishing decline in bird food. Flying insect populations are plummeting.

https://www.cnn.com/...many/index.html

This is a German study- my own intel is purely anecdotal but if you live on the east coast and are of a certain age (old) you'll appreciate what I'm saying. Remember when you drove in the evening or dusk during the summer; your car's grill and bumper was pelted by flying insect carcasses. I doubt I run through as many bugs in a year now, than I used to in a week in the 1980s. I remember the porch lights (even in the city) were covered by moths in August, and now its a few on sporadic days. Remember how thick swarms of fireflies used to be?

Some species can adapt (palm warblers steal food off of your tables in Florida) and some can't. Most songbirds depend upon a rich insect bounty to feed their young in the spring. Even seed eaters and fructivores eat insects when available- its always fun watching house sparrows try to catch moths, it's generally about a 1-in-5 success rate. Although I suppose, not so much fun for the moth.
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