Energy

State of the birds and of the Endangered Species Act

Submitted: Mar 20, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The unprecedented "State of the Birds" Report 2009 caused a small stir in some circles during a week otherwise devoted to stories of unprecedented extortion by finance, insurance and real estate representatives in and out of the Obama administration.

The Wall Street Journal, in an apparent lapse of syntactical clarity, offered this line:

Among the more than 800 bird species in the U.S., 67 are listed as endangered or threatened by the federal government, the report says.

Certainly under the Bush administration, including the former president's parting shot at gutting the Endangered Species Administration (see last posting by Badlands), a wide variety of wildlife species in the US have been endangered or threatened by the actions and especially the non-actions of federal government agencies charged with their protection. As the collected works of former Department of Interior Inspector General, Earl E. Devaney, documented, these agencies were frequently in the pockets of the extortionists now destroying the national human habitat and economy. The most outrageous case Devaney investigated, involved oil and gas leases in Colorado, home state of Obama's Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar.

The Wall Street Journal continues:

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State of the birds and of the Endangered Species Act

Submitted: Mar 20, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The unprecedented "State of the Birds" Report 2009 caused a small stir in some circles during a week otherwise devoted to stories of unprecedented extortion by finance, insurance and real estate representatives in and out of the Obama administration.

The Wall Street Journal, in an apparent lapse of syntactical clarity, offered this line:

Among the more than 800 bird species in the U.S., 67 are listed as endangered or threatened by the federal government, the report says.

Certainly under the Bush administration, including the former president's parting shot at gutting the Endangered Species Administration (see last posting by Badlands), a wide variety of wildlife species in the US have been endangered or threatened by the actions and especially the non-actions of federal government agencies charged with their protection. As the collected works of former Department of Interior Inspector General, Earl E. Devaney, documented, these agencies were frequently in the pockets of the extortionists now destroying the national human habitat and economy. The most outrageous case Devaney investigated, involved oil and gas leases in Colorado, home state of Obama's Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar.

The Wall Street Journal continues:

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Don't let Bush's ESA rules stand

Submitted: Mar 20, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

This item below courtesy of the Center for Biodiversity, brings us up-to-date on Bush's lame-duck anti-Endangered Species Act regulations, what Obama has done about them, what he hasn't don't about them, and what remains to be done to get rid of them in the next several weeks.

 

 

3-18-09

Center for Biological Diversity

(415) 632-5319 for more information

Secretary of Interior Should Rescind Bush Endangered Species Act Rules —

Congressional Authorization Expires in 53 Days

Shortly before leaving office, the Bush administration issued three regulations that (1) remove the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an independent, scientific watchdog over potentially damaging federal projects such as timber sales, mines, and dams; (2) exempt all greenhouse gas-emitting projects, including coal-fired power plants and federal fuel efficiency standards, from Endangered Species Act review; and (3) specifically ban federal agencies from protecting the imperiled polar bear from greenhouse gas emissions. These policies eviscerate the central Endangered Species Act process — U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service oversight — that has protected endangered species for 35 years, and they exclude the greatest future threat to endangered species — global warming — from consideration under the Act.

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The port-smog story mistold

Submitted: Dec 14, 2008
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The Contra Costa Times, covering a story of Port of Oakland air pollution, supposedly of interest to its readers, missed the crucial political fact of the year on this issue: that Gov. Schwarzenegger, vetoed the bill that would have provided the most money for air clean up, by putting a surcharge on all full containers passing through the port. The additional fact that Gov. Sarah Palin, Barfly-AK, had something to do with persuading him to veto the bill, was also missed.

The Contra Costa Times was, until recently, owned by Knight-Ridder, which sold it to the McClatchy Co, which sold it to Denver-based MediaNews Group. Moody's has just again downgraded MediaNews's credit rating and pointed to significant challenges in the chain's near future.

Meanwhile, according to Project Finance Magazine, on Dec. 9, five multi-leteral export credit agencies pledged $5.25 billion for widening and improving the Panama Canal, another blow to westcoast ports. Shipping by sea remains the cheapest means of transport.

Another aspect of the problem of ports, pollution, and the money to improve air quality around the ports, is that the planned "inland ports," warehousing and truck depots in the San Joaquin Valley reached by rail from the ports, have lost one big pot of expected public funding as a result of Schwarzenegger's veto.

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Tri-Valley CAREs sues the Lab on FOIAs

Submitted: Dec 13, 2008
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

for immediate release, December 2, 2008
 

for more information, contact:

Robert Schwartz, Staff Attorney, Tri-Valley CAREs, (925) 443-7148
Marylia Kelley, Executive Director, Tri-Valley CAREs, (925) 443-7148

BAY AREA GROUP SUES TO COMPEL OPEN GOVERNMENT, ENFORCE PUBLIC RIGHT TO KNOW:

LIGITIGATION CHARGES PATTERN OF ABUSE, HAS NATIONAL IMPLICATIONS

 

LIVERMORE, CA - This morning, Tri-Valley CAREs filed a lawsuit in federal district court in San Francisco against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The suit alleges numerous violations of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the nation's key open government law enacted to ensure public access to federal government records.

Tri-Valley CAREs was forced to pursue litigation after DOE and NNSA failed to respond to six, separate FOIA requests within the 20-day timeframe generally required under the statute. By forcing Tri-Valley CAREs to wait up to 18 months and longer with no substantive response, DOE and NNSA have not only violated the law but greatly diminished the value of the information sought, which often becomes less relevant over time.

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Wild steelhead win in Fresno Federal District Court

Submitted: Oct 30, 2008
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

10-28-08
Fresno Bee
Fish policies upheld in court ruling
Judge says feds have steelhead discretion...John Ellis
http://www.fresnobee.com/local/v-printerfriendly/story/967296.html
A federal judge in Fresno ruled Monday that the U.S. government has discretion to recognize differences in steelhead fish populations when determining whether they are eligible for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger issued a 168-page ruling on two challenges to how the National Marine Fisheries Service viewed California's steelhead populations.
One case challenged the government's practice of counting hatchery steelhead populations separately from wild populations.
The Pacific Legal Foundation had argued that Endangered Species Act listing decisions could be based on the numbers of hatchery steelhead produced each year. Based on that, the foundation had asked the court to remove five separate populations of steelhead from the list of endangered species.
In his decision, Wanger wrote that the "best science available" used by the NMFS "strongly indicated that naturally-spawned and hatchery-born [steelhead] are different."

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Hedge fund founder cashes out to walk in truth

Submitted: Oct 19, 2008
By: 
Incultus


Letter: Andrew Lahde, Lahde Capital Management
By Andrew Lahde...10-17-08

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/128d399a-9c75-11dd-a42e-000077b07658,s01=1.html
Today I write not to gloat. Given the pain that nearly everyone is experiencing, thar would be entirely inappropriate. Nor am I writing to make further predictions, as most of my forecasts in previous letters have unfolded or are in the process of unfolding.

Instead, I am writing to say goodbye.

Recently, on the front page of Section C of the Wall Street Journal, a hedge fund manager who was also closing up shop (a $300 million fund), was quoted as saying, “What I have learned about the hedge fund business is that I hate it.” I could not agree more with that statement. I was in this game for the money. The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.

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Sacramento's "tortured middle way"

Submitted: Aug 19, 2008
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Thanks to Sacramento’s man on the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Anthony Kennedy, who created the meaningless “significant nexis” to determine the connectivity of waters to navigable streams, federal resource agencies have been up a creek as far as knowing their jurisdiction to enforce the Clean Water Act. The EPA has done nothing about more than 400 CWA enforcement cases since the Supreme Court ruling called the “Rapanos Decision.” Kennedy’s middle ground stood between four conservative justices who wanted CWA enforcement only on permanent streams and four liberals who voted for intermittent streams as well, including wetlands and vernal pools.

 

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Judgment Entered in Favor of Raptor, POW and Citizens Group in RMP suit

Submitted: Jun 20, 2008

MERCED, CA (June 20, 2008) --Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Humphreys signed this week the judgment for the lawsuit between San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center, Protect Our Water, Citizens for the Protection of Merced County Resources (petitioners), against the County of Merced and real party of interest Riverside Motorsports Park (respondents).

Judge Humphreys ordered in favor of petitioners that the following approvals of the Merced County Board of Supervisors on the RMP project be voided and vacated:

Resolution No. 2006-219;
Ordinance No. 1800;
Zone Change No. 03-007;
General Plan Amendment No. 03-005
Removal of project site from the Williamson Act Agricultural Preserve;
Amendment to the Merced County General Plan to redesignate the project site from "Agricultural" to "Castle Specific Urban Development Plan Industrial";
Rezone of the project from "A-1" and "A-2" to "Planned Development";
Approval of the project master plan;
Text Amendment to Merced County General Plan to modify policies in the Circulation Chapter that would exempt the project from traffic Level of Service standards for feature and major events.

The Court also ordered the County of Merced to refrain from further approvals on this project until the County and RMP undertakes further environmental review "to correct the deficiencies in the EIR and as otherwise required under the California Environmental Quality Act."

"We have nothing but the highest praise for our legal team," said San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center President Lydia Miller. "Gregory Maxim, Julie Garcia, Marsha Burch and their law firms, Sproul Trost LLP of Roseville and the Law Offices of Don B. Mooney in Davis."

"This judgment is a tremendous victory for the citizens of Merced County," said Gregory Maxim. "This lawsuit was brought for the purpose of ensuring that the citizens were provided with a full and fair opportunity to review and comment on all project impacts. This judgment, and the voiding of nine of the project's prior approvals, will provide the citizens with this opportunity."

"We are overjoyed at this positive outcome for the Raptor Center and Protect Our Water," Miller continued. "But we were particularly pleased with the strong support we received throughout the process of this lawsuit from the Citizens for the Protection of Merced County Resources, led by Suzy Hultgren, Paul van Warmerdam and Stacey Machado."

For further information contact:

Lydia Miller GREGORY L. MAXIM
San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center Attorney at Law
Protect Our Water Sproul Trost LLP
(209) 723-9283, ph. (916) 783-6262 tel

Citizens for the Protection of Merced County Resources

Suzy Hultgren-(209) 358-2339 ph, (cell) 209-769-8583
Paul van Wamerdam- (209) 678-2251 ph,(cell) 209-678-2251
Stacey Machado-(209) 564-8361 ph,

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The Green Job Frame, a Loose Cheeks Special Feature

Submitted: May 20, 2008

About a hundred people, many of them from Merced, got an education in UC intellectual bankruptcy this week at the old Merced Theatre during a forum on "Green Jobs." The event was organized by Kenny, the Monster UC Merced Faculty Spouse, and it featured a trio of top Bay Area speakers on everything green. After the Monster got the computers started (computer inadequacy is a hallmark of Monster Shows), we entered the world of "Framing and Reframing," a rhetorical confection created by UC Berkeley's Chomsky-Lite, Prof. George Lakoff.

The Monster framed it like this: the environmental debate is always framed as an environmental protection argument, yet we need thousands of new jobs but if the environment collapses, human health and safety also collapses; ergo, we need "green jobs." QED, it's a "no brainer" for Merced to seek these "green" industries and jobs.This "framing" of the question unleashed the speakers to bay after the elusive "green job."

Merced City Councilman John Carlisle, the only member of the panel that did not indulge in "framing" lingo, described the situation in Merced in dire terms -- gangs, bad air quality, teen pregnancy, etc. -- all the products of poverty in this weird county, which has among the nation's least affordable housing, its highest foreclosure rate and is among the five poorest counties in the state. For "a community already in need of help,"

Carlisle wants "green jobs." In his definition of "green jobs," however, the audience got its first intimation that it was going to get had that evening. "Green jobs," according to Carlisle and others on the stage have good employers, good benefits, upward mobility, and meaningful work -- for starters. Carlisle's election apparently owed quite a bit to the work of the sponsors of the Green Job event. In this context, we can understand his utopian affection. Otherwise, he seems to be a pretty level-headed retired probation
officer.

Nwamaka Agbo, from the Oakland-based Ella Baker Center, made an excellent presentation on the Center's efforts to get more "green-collar jobs" in Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville and Richmond, pointing out that poor communities of color also care about the environment but have more immediate worries. She defined "eco-apartheid" in West Oakland near the port, presenting the dichotomy of "organic food v. no food at all." "Eco-equity" means the incorporation of everyone into the environmental movement. We thought Agbo's presentation would have been equally interesting and relevant to Merced if she had been talking about Brooklyn or Compton, but we now live in the home of UC Merced, so we must gratefully
accept its total framing of our lives as we so gratefully accepted the finance, insurance and real estate framing of our economy in recent years.

"The environmental conversation lacks racial analysis," Agbo bravely asserted against the entire history of the environmental justice movement in an evening definitely not devoted to discussion of CEQA suits in Planada. (One of the event sponsors later tried to “reframe” what Agbo said, but Loose Cheeks, “framing-deficient," didn't get it.)

Marc Stout represented the Bigshot Entrepreneur wing of "green jobs," a flak for Cleantech, "a utility-scale power-plant project developer." He said construction and maintenance of future solar farms will require thousands of workers. He mentioned figures. He described a 40-acre facility near Mendota (unfinished) and a 640-acre solar farm his company is planning for the San Joaquin Valley.

The only interesting thing he said was that Germany, a cold, northern European country, employs a half a million of its citizens in the solar business. Siemens, the German global conglomerate, is the largest player in this market, according to other sources, but Germany is probably absorbing most of what it produces. Japanese solar technology dominates the US market at the moment, but Siemens’ India-made panels sold here reportedly have quality problems. It is interesting to note that in the cornucopia of “green jobs” Stout touted, manufacturing solar panels or any other "green" technology was absent. The entire industry seems to be gearing up for its Conquest of America on off-shored manufacturing.

Although, according to Stout, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be available soon for construction and maintenance of solar farms, about twice as many jobs will be available off-shore plants to make solar panels. Stout did not indicate if all this solar power injected onto the grid will in any way lower utility rates and not just make money for the utility companies and solar entrepreneurs like himself (and, of course,
those thousands of construction and maintenance personnel, who will all be US citizens and working for Bay Area-level wages and protected by strong unions.)

It was with the presentation by Cheryl Brown of the UC Berkeley Labor Center that we entered into the full vedanta of what it means to be "green."

"Green jobs are quality jobs," she said. And, although that was about as far as she went to defining green in mere layperson's language, she said she thought that some concept of "sustainability" should be included and that a quality job meant one that might last.

That would knock out solar farm construction work. Stout never broke down the figures on numbers of jobs between construction and maintenance. Asians will manufacture the panels.

While we have heard and largely approved of the new verb, "to greenwash," to describe what corporations are doing to claim to be environmentally friendly, it was Brown who brought back to our hick consciousness the verb, "to green," languishing in the shadows since the 1970's gerund, The Greening of America.

Brown's "framing" was dead on arrival, but it twitched along obliviously anyway. Quality jobs apparently mean that we must "unionize in the market-driven green solution." Well, we dunno. But, to use an older Berkeley term, we had a " flashback." We don't think Cesar Chavez' dying words in Yuma were, "Unionize in the market-driven green solution!"

Brown cavorted around the various bills in Congress and the state Capitol and the innumerable institutions out there doing something "to green" industry and jobs, claiming that the East Bay is to become the "Silicon Valley of green stuff."

Loose Cheeks left before all the questions from the audience were finished because they weren't questions. They were living ads for various "green" and "greenwashed" groups and public institutions.

However, in the hoopla before the event and during the event, we noted only two references to agriculture. In the Merced Sun-Star's editorial boosting the event, editors referred to "stagnant agriculture." At the "green jobs" forum, agriculture was treated solely as land available for the placement of large numbers of solar panels and as a very minor source of air pollution (less than 10 percent, versus construction, the worst polluter at 40 percent).

One of the sponsors of the event, the carpet-bagger professional opponents of the WalMart distribution center project, once again increased the threat to their cause and our environment. Having done very little but kiss the posteriors of politicians and the press since they arrived, the City of Merced has totally suckered the WalMart Action Team into making "positive contributions" instead of simply and coherently opposing the project.

They were overjoyed that the City's economic development director was in the audience. They don't like Quintero much because they feel he doesn't always listen to them. That could be because Quintero actually knows something about the employment situation in Merced. He made more sense than anyone on the panel when he said Merced contains many "line workers" who need a job tomorrow and certainly cannot afford to go through lengthy "green job" training programs, assuming government funds are made available for them. All the panelists and some of the "questioners" mentioned the sainted state Sen. Darryl
Steinberg's bill to provide $3 billion for "green job" training. Clue: Steinberg has made an entire career out of haphazard, ill-timed defenses of politically correct causes.

Thoroughly engrossed in the process of allowing UC to completely “reframe” their reality, Kenny the Monster and his sponsors never thought to include anyone on the panel who actually knew anything about the San Joaquin Valley environment or its labor history. For this act of appeasement, they were rewarded: the Sun-Star didn’t even send a reporter to cover the event.

Loose Cheeks left the performance at the old theatre in a disordered state. How is it that you come to "green" Merced without talking about its natural resources? How does that work? Presumably, UC Merced and Kenny Monster will reframe it for us us all in the finest Goodbar/Valley Hopefuls style.

Loose Cheeks learned the next day that Merced County Planning Commissioner Etc. Cindy Lashbrook said something about not wanting all the farmland filled with solar panels. This is reported to have made the posterior-kissing crowd nervous, for which we applaud the Commissioner of Many Hats.

Meanwhile, to respond to Quintero's excellent question: house the homeless in foreclosed, empty homes and hire the unemployed to mow those lawns and maintain those gardens. That would provide permanent housing for the homeless and work for those gardeners for the rest of their lives. With water, the grass and the gardens would once again be "green."

As for the Walmart "opponents," the asthma coalition and the local Sierra Clubbers who sponsored the event, Loose Cheeks wanted to remind them and their Florida-based employers, knucklehead labor goons, that you don't stop environmentally destructive development by sucking up to the land-use officials that approve the projects, and the job of opponents does not include providing "positive" solutions. That’s the business of the government and its good friends in private enterprise.

--------------
RE: [WMAT_Leadership] MSS: Forum to tout green growth‏
From: wmat_leadership@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Diana Westmoreland Pedrozo
(mcfb@pacbell.net)
Sent: Thu 5/15/08 4:26 PM
To: 'Kenny Mostern' (kenny@kennymostern.net); wmat_leadership@yahoogroups.com;
cvaq@yahoogroups.com; cvhopefuls@yahoogroups.com; ccvj4j@yahoogroups.com; 'Nick Robinson'
(ndrobinson@gmail.com)

Just wanted to let you know that I will not be able to attend tonight. Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront. If I can be of assistance in any future endeavors please let me know. I am sitting on the board of the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization formed last year through the Housing, Land Use and AG Committee of the San Joaquin Valley Partnership and green jobs is an important component of addressing energy and air quality issues here in the Valley.
Good Luck!
Diana Westmoreland Pedrozo
(Executive Director Merced County Farm Bureau, President California Women for Agriculture, Top Henchette Supervisor Deidre Kelsey reelection campaign, Etc.--ed.)

--A.J. Gangle

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