EPA Suppresses Internal Report Questioning Regulation of CO2

A series of articles and posts are sweeping the Internet regarding malfeasance by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Background: in April the EPA announced they will be regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant [here]. They issued a document in that regard entitled Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act (EF). The EPA requested public comment on the “endangerment” finding [here]. The comment period ended June 23rd.

But it turns out that the EPA suppressed their own scientists who had disagreements with the “endangerment” finding, and further, the EPA has no intention or capability to evaluate the public comments they received.

more »

25 Jun 2009, 3:48pm
Climate and Weather
by admin
2 comments

Opening Pandora’s Box: Classifying CO2 as a “Pollutant”

By Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson, Center For Vision & Values, June 08, 2009 [here]

A few days before “Earth Day” (which happens to be the same day as Lenin’s Birthday), America’s ideological greens and reds received a present they have been desiring for many moons: The Environmental Protection Agency — egged on by the U.S. Supreme Court — officially designated carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant. That means that either Congress or the EPA is expected to produce a plan for regulating this common gas.

So opens a new chapter in regulatory absurdity, a veritable Pandora’s Box of complications.

more »

25 Jun 2009, 12:22pm
Federal forest policy The 2008 Fire Season
by admin
1 comment

Concerned Citizens for Responsible Fire Management Report

Last October (while the fires were still burning) the Concerned Citizens for Responsible Fire Management, a group made up of professional foresters resident in Trinity County, CA, critiqued USFS fire suppression practices in a (now) 48-page report to Congressman Wally Herger.

That report has now been posted in the W.I.S.E. Colloquium: Forest and Fire Sciences [here].

The nine authors (David Rhodes, Charley Fitch, Michael Jameson, Clarence Rose, Jerry McDonald, Frank Grovers, Stan Stetson, Dana Hord, Gay Berrien) have a combined professional forestry experience of over 220 years, most of those in fire prevention and suppression.

Their conclusions, expressed in the report, are that the US Forest Service leadership has altered (for the worse) Federal fire and fuels policies, and the new policies have led to repeated failures in fire management.

If these management policies in suppression are not addressed and changed, then we can look forward to the same catastrophic fire scenario each summer until our Trinity forest is no longer a forest.

As noted in a previous SOSF post [here], the Concern Citizens report also offered these comments:

… [A] lack of responsible suppression policies and actions … in the past several years have caused great damage and negative impacts to private property (timber, watersheds, water lines), the local economy, watersheds and soils, wildlife, aesthetics, cultural resources, and air quality–sometimes in radical proportions. Safety in firefighting is also challenged. When fires continue for such long periods of time, there is increased potential for accidents and, yes, fatalities. …

The fire suppression organization has been adversely affected due to retirement of many of the older, more experienced people in the last 20 years. This has left a void in the top incident command management positions as well as in line personnel. …

If the tactics were as aggressive and reasonable as they were several years ago, these fires would have been contained several ridges over from where they were finally stopped. …

Although we agree that fuels are a problem, something to consider in fire management, they are not THE cause of large-scale and long-enduring fires–the cause is changes in fire suppression practices. …

A few people think all fires are beneficial, irregardless of the reality. This is what is promoted by many environmental groups who do not seems to want any management of the National Forests. Under controlled circumstances… prescribed fire can be beneficial. Uncontrolled wildfire is NOT beneficial. …

The people of Trinity County are not happy with the mismanagement in the way fires are being suppressed, and the way the Forest Service is being managed. Something needs to change.

We need to (1) get the Forest Service back to managing the timber and other resources on National Forest Lands, (2) change fire management suppression tactics–if this includes adding more firefighters, then that is what should be done, (3) re-staff stations in remote areas, and (4) have the Forest Service address and resolve the “liability” issue. …

more »

US Government’s Climate Con-Job

Note: the Waxman-Markey Carbon Cap-and Trade Bill is due for a floor vote in the House of Representatives, possibly as soon as Friday [here]. The following timely essay was written by Paul Driessen, senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death.

*****

Obama administration “report” on climate change is deceitful, scare-mongering, bogus science

by Paul Driessen

Suppose a company doctored data, misrepresented study findings, replaced observations with computer simulations, and hired PR flacks to promote its new “wonder drug.” News stories, congressional hearings and subpoenas would be in overdrive. Fines and jail sentences would follow. And rightly so.

But the standards change when “climate catastrophe” is involved.

The White House has made global warming the centerpiece of its revenue-raising and energy policies. A House of Representatives 1,201-page bill would tax, regulate and penalize all US hydrocarbon energy use, to “save the planet from climate disaster.” The Senate promises an August vote.

But average global temperatures peaked in 1998 and since have fallen slightly, even as carbon dioxide levels continue to climb. Thousands of scientists say CO2 has little effect on planetary temperatures, and there is no climate crisis. Few developed countries are ready to commit economic suicide, by agreeing to reduce their CO2 emissions by a fraction of what the House bill demands for the United States.

Americans are beginning to realize the legislation would cost millions of jobs and trillions of dollars for a hypothetical 0.1 degree F reduction in global temperatures. Most put global warming dead last in a Pew Research list of 20 concerns.

The government’s answer to these inconvenient truths is simple.

Issue another report by government scientists carefully selected to exclude any who don’t subscribe to climate Armageddon. Ignore contrary data and analyses. Crank out more bogus computer-generated worst-case scenarios. Hire an activist media firm that specializes in environmental scare campaigns. And spend tens of millions hyping every imaginable climate disaster:

Rising sea levels, floods in lower Manhattan, California beaches permanently submerged. Ferocious hurricanes, floods and droughts. Food shortages, epidemic diseases, a quadrupling of heat-wave deaths in Chicago. Aged sewer systems convulsing from massive storm runoff. Wildflowers disappearing from Rocky Mountain slopes and polar bears from the Arctic. Leisure time gone, as people struggle to survive.

“Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States” is the “most up-to-date, authoritative, comprehensive” analysis ever done on how human-caused warming affects the United States, deadpans Obama “science” advisor John Holdren.

Actually, it’s the most flagrant attempted con-job and propaganda campaign in US history.

more »

22 Jun 2009, 9:49pm
Forestry education
by admin
leave a comment

Environmental Apocalypticism

Professor Aynsley Kellow is Head, School of Government, University of Tasmania in Hobart. He is the author of Science and Public Policy: The virtuous corruption of virtual environmental science, 2007, Edward Elgar Publishing [here].

I have not read his book yet, and so cannot review it at this time. But he posted an excerpt at Watts Up With That [here] that rings true like a silver concert bell.

The discussion at WUWT revolved around the suicidal tendencies of certain social movements, notably the Xhosa people of Southeast Africa [here, here]. The chat then drifted into millenarianism [here], a type of a religious, social, or political movement whose followers are sometimes prone to committing mass suicide.

Dr. Kellow chimed in with a passage from his book that describes the postmodern cognitive dissonance of the Environmental Movement, a cult of sorts that exhibits millenarianism tendencies. I had just posted The Trap of Uncontrolled Equivocation [here], a post that discussed the clash of ontologies: colliding world views, and so I was particularly attuned to PoMo deconstructions of runaway apocalyptic environmentalism and, perversely, environmental “science”.

more »

22 Jun 2009, 1:29pm
Forestry education Saving Forests
by admin
1 comment

A Pyne Trifecta

Stephen Pyne, World’s Foremost Expert on fire and author of over 20 books on the subject, has written three “fire journalism” essays on modern anthropogenic fire in the Midwest. They are now posted in the W.I.S.E. Colloquium: Forest and Fire Sciences.

Missouri Compromise was posted last December [here]. Patch Burning is [here]. People of the Prairie, People of the Fire is [here].

“Fire journalism” is Pyne’s label. I see them more as non-fiction literary essays. Pyne further demurs:

Anyone familiar with the pyric geography of these sites will appreciate that I add nothing to data or concepts. Instead, I have sought only to establish a different perspective and narrative for their understanding.

which is too humble, in my opinion. In truth, Pyne once again plows new ground with insight and wit.

This collection of three essays is group-titled Middle Ground and surveys fire in Oklahoma, the Missouri Ozarks, and prairie remnants in Illinois. The set has also been posted at the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center [here]. A photo montage entitled Middle Ground: Image Slideshow accompanies the essays at the WFLLC site [here].

As usual with his writing, there are numerous quotable quotes, or Pynisms. From Patch Burning:

Especially as the proneness of landscapes to propagate fires splintered to the eastward, as land roughened, watercourses multiplied, and humidity thickened, only people could have set enough fires. Remove any part of this prairie fire triangle and the fire would go out.

The upshot is that those prairie patches were not only pyric landscapes: they were cultural landscapes. They remain so today. …

And from People of the Prairie, People of the Fire:

The indigenes at the time of European contact, the Potawatomi, were known variously as the people of the place of the fire, or the keepers of the fire, because they maintained the great council fire around which the regional confederation of tribes gathered. But that fire did not stay within the council circle: it spread throughout the landscape, a constant among the diversity of grasses, trees, shrubs, ungulates, small mammals, birds, and insects that congregated around the informing prairie. In time the Potawatomi became known equally as the people of the prairie since the one meant the other. Remove fire, and the prairie disappeared. Remove prairie, and free-ranging fire lost its habitat. Remove the keepers of the fire and both prairie and fire vanish into overgrown scrub, weedy lots, or feral flame. …

Yet there is a second narrative of fire restoration at work as well, in which fire is returned not only to the land but to the hand. The reconstruction of Nachusa reinstates fire to ordinary people. The volunteers, who do much of the hard work of gathering and disseminating seeds, clearing invasive shrubs and weeding new acres, also do the burning. As much as reinstating big bluestem and lady fern, Nachusa has returned the torch to folk practitioners, the kind of fire wielders who sustained the prairie peninsula through millennia. The people of the new prairie have become people of the new fire. …

Please study and enjoy these works. This post is the proper place to make comments about Pyne’s Midwest trifecta — generally speaking, comments are not allowed in the Colloquia subsites to avoid littering them with extraneous dialog.

Roadless Rule Enjoined — Again

On June 15th US District 10 Judge Clarence A. Brimmer reinstated his injunction against the Clinton-Dombeck Roadless Rule for the third time [here, here, here, here]. Technically speaking, he denied a USDA motion to suspend his previous injunctions, which has the same effect.

The motion had been made by the USDA and intervenor the Wyoming Outdoor Council in response to the suit (dating back to 2002) brought by the State of Wyoming and the Colorado Mining Association. The attorney representing the CMA, Harriet Hageman, wrote an excellent synopsis of the long-running case [here].

Judge Brimmer’s new ruling is clear and concise [here]. Some excerpts:

Once again this Court is faced with determining the validity of the 2001 Roadless Rule. On two different occasions this Court has held that the Roadless Rule is invalid as it was promulgated in violation of this nation’s environmental laws. …

more »

20 Jun 2009, 10:14am
Forestry education
by admin
leave a comment

The Trap of Uncontrolled Equivocation

Two new science articles have been posted at W.I.S.E. which you might enjoy and learn from.

The first is Re-Inventing the United States Forest Service: Evolution from Custodial Management, to Production Forestry, to Ecosystem Management by Doug MacCleery, found in the W.I.S.E. Colloquium: Forest and Fire Sciences [here].

The second is The Threat of the Yrmo: The Political Ontology of a Sustainable Hunting Program by Mario Blaser posted in the W.I.S.E. Colloquium: Wildlife Sciences [here].

Both deal (in part) with the clash of ontologies: colliding world views. When worlds collide it often results in equivocation — doing nothing while speaking in vague falsehoods — a phenomenon Mario Blaser calls “the trap of uncontrolled equivocation”.

The trap of uncontrolled equivocation can lead to megafires and forest destruction (see the first article) and/or oppression and starvation of native indigenous peoples (see the second article).

Instead of dealing with problems in a direct manner, the bureaucratic style (worldwide) often is to yammer endlessly in strange tongues. Sometimes that works; the problems go away on their own. But sometimes it doesn’t and the problems intensify.

Both articles are excellent and worth your study. Please enjoy them, too.

19 Jun 2009, 7:15pm
Saving Forests
by admin
8 comments

Evergreen Magazine Reborn Online

Over the last twenty-plus years there has been one clear, consistent, and surprisingly infallible advocate for forests, Mr. James Petersen of the Evergreen Foundation. Jim is the founder, publisher, and editor of Evergreen Magazine, the voice of the Foundation.

We heart Evergreen. Jim has published some of the best commentary, interviews, and in-depth reporting about forests. We have previously discussed some of our favorite issues [here, here, here]. We have posted some of the perspicacious speeches by Jim Petersen [here, here, here, here].

Sadly, Evergreen has been silent while undergoing a refurbishing. But now, finally, after a year-long hiatus, Evergreen Magazine is now online [here] in a brand new format!!! Hooray!!!

It’s all there: back issues, Jim’s speeches, commentary and news, quotable quotes, and fresh new content. There are even some essays by yours truly.

Please spend some time cruising around the new Evergreen site. Share the new/old website address (http://evergreenmagazine.com) with your e-mail lists.

Make a tax deductible contribution if you are able.

Longtime Evergreen Foundation and W.I.S.E. member, SAF Fellow and National Assn. of Forest Service Retirees director John F. Marker writes:

If you haven’t heard, Evergreen Foundation’s web site is about to launch, so break out the champagne for our long time friend and colleague, Jim Petersen.

Jim, a writer of superior skill and a journalist of the highest order, has been supporting professional forest management, family owned forest product firms, and forest communities for over a quarter of a century. Those of us who have known him for many of these years and know his work, welcome him to the world of electronic communications and back to the never ending fight for the forests and the people they support.

Yes sir. Tip one for Jim and the rebirth of Evergreen. We are very glad to have him back in the fray.

19 Jun 2009, 10:59am
Federal forest policy
by admin
4 comments

Tidwell Interviewed by the Missoulian

Newly appointed Chief of the US Forests Service Tom Tidwell was interviewed by the Missoulian, published today. The questions were weak, the answers fairly stock.

Personally, I take little inference from the interview. The emphasis on climate change is not realistic, in the sense that climate realism provides evidence that global warming is a hoax and fraud. There has been global cooling for 10 years. There has been no change in snowpack. There has been no change in date of snowmelt. Catastrophic fires are late-season, anyway. But official obeisance to irrational paranoia might be expected in today’s political climate of global warming madness. The implication is that “climate change” will continue to be used as an excuse for megafire. That is not reassuring.

Tidwell’s emphasis on water and watersheds is a refreshing change, however. I am also pleased that he did not use the term “wildlands.”

The interview:

New USFS chief to address climate effects, watersheds

By ROB CHANEY of the Missoulian, June 19, 2009 [here]

Watershed management and climate change science will become top priorities for national forest management, according to newly designated U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

The 32-year veteran of the Forest Service spent the past two years leading the Region 1 headquarters in Missoula. He spoke with the Missoulian on Thursday while wrapping up a senior executive service training session in Maine.

Missoulian: Tell us about the selection process. Who was in charge of the choice, and what were they looking for in a new chief of the Forest Service?

Tidwell: The Secretary of Agriculture (Tom Vilsack) was in charge. They wanted someone who had demonstrated they can work with people, be able to reach out. I expect to develop a collaborative approach. We’ve very successfully been able to move those concepts forward in the Northern Region. And also to have someone who’s been with the agency.

Missoulian: Homer Wilkes backed out of the undersecretary of agriculture job last week. That was the post formerly held by Mark Rey, and it oversees the chief of the Forest Service. Who’s going to be your boss?

Tidwell: Jay Jensen is our acting undersecretary. He’s my boss.

more »

19 Jun 2009, 10:24am
Uncategorized
by admin
leave a comment

Kruse Reports on the Oregon Legislature

by Senator Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, District 1 [here]

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Today is Friday, June 19, 2009 and the 75th Legislative Assembly should be drawing to a close. As it turns out we will probably be here at least one more week because not all of the “children” have learned to play together in the sand box. Last week was, in my opinion, one of the worst weeks in the history of the legislature. Not only did we raise taxes by over one billion dollars, we also created significantly more government which was to a large degree the reason for the tax increase. However, that was last week and I have faith in the judgment of the people to reject at least the tax increase portion of the package. Currently the debate is between the Governor and the Democrat leadership over how much of the Rainy Day Reserve Fund to spend. Over the last six years we have created two reserve funds and they each have different requirements.

THE SCHOOL STABILITY FUND

The School Stability Fund is rather simple and straight forward in the way it can be accessed and the funds used. There are certain triggers necessary for using any of the money, for example two fiscal quarters in a row with a significant decline in revenue. All of the trigger events have happened and we will be accessing this fund, which also has rules about how much of the money can be used at any one time. The reason this is simple is because the School Stability Fund is Constitutional. What this means is the Legislature cannot do anything beyond what is in the law without a vote of the people. We will be using the amount of this fund allowed by law, and this is an appropriate action.

THE RAINY DAY FUND

On the surface The Rainy Day Fund was set up the same way as the School Stability Fund with basically the same set of economic triggers. The major difference is this fund is not in the Constitution, just in law. This is a very significant difference simply because the Legislature has the ability to ignore any rules it has set up simply by using the term “Not Withstanding”. So in this case by adding the words notwithstanding and condition or limitation in ORS 293.144 the legislature can use any or all of the Rainy Day Fund for any purpose at any time. The Democrats are proposing to use the majority of this fund now to balance this budget, which I think is a violation of the principles we agreed to in the creation of the fund. As a matter of full disclosure our back to basics budget did propose using some of this fund, but only the amount prescribed in law.

THE GOVERNOR ARRIVES

After being absent for the majority of this session the Governor has now chosen to participate. He has told the Democrat leadership he will veto the K-12 budget if too much of the Rainy Day Fund is spent. The Governor even went to the extraordinary length of meeting with Republican leadership, for the first time all session, to see if we would help him prevent a veto override. We used this as an opportunity to explain to him what our budget proposal was, to which he had no comment. We have also had conversations with leadership over what our position is on this debate. After being told for months we were unnecessary, we are choosing to not commit to either side on this issue for now.

THE GAME IS ON

By law the Governor has 5 days to sign or veto a bill once it reaches his desk while the Legislature is in session. Once the Legislature has adjourned he has 30 days to make a decision. So the goal of leadership at this point is to force the issue before we adjourn. To this end the Ways and Means Committee will be meeting this morning to pass out the K-12 budget and it will be on the Senate floor for a vote this afternoon. This budget will then be voted on in the House on Monday and should be put on the Governor’s desk by Monday afternoon. This would require him to either sign or veto the bill by next Saturday, which would mean the Legislative Assembly could potentially vote to override the veto (if it happens) on the same day.

This is not an official time line and nothing is in writing, just my opinion as to how I think events will transpire. I should also note I will be voting against the K-12 budget simply because it is significantly less than the budget we proposed. Furthermore, there are a lot of bills being held hostage for passage of other bills. In virtually every case the bills have nothing to do with each other, they are just trade bait. I personally do not play this game as I vote all bills on merit and will never vote for something I don’t like to get something I might want. These are the sort of tactics that give politics a bad name.

Sincerely,

Senator Jeff Kruse

18 Jun 2009, 11:22pm
Federal forest policy
by admin
5 comments

Addressing Forest Service Employee Morale

by Doug MacCleery, 06/18/2009

This is a follow-up to the note I sent on June 3 on the Forest Service’s abysmal rating in the recently released Best Places to Work survey. The agency was 206 out of 216. In this survey, 945 people from the Forest Service responded, a healthy 3% of agency employees. The results are [here].

I understand this issue was discussed briefly at the Forest Service National Leadership Team meeting last week. I believe that it is important to ponder ways to address this critical issue, even as the leadership of the agency is in transition. It would be difficult to conceive of a issue more important to the future of the Forest Service.

Last week (June 10) the Washington Post ran a story on the topic “The Forest Service Struggling with Morale” [here]. This story discussed the Best Places survey, as well as a March 19, 2009 hearing before the National Parks, Forest and Public Lands Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee.

This hearing, “Restoring the Federal Public Lands Workforce,” focused on management and morale issues in three federal land managing agencies — the Forest Service, BLM and National Park Service. Hank Kashtan provided testimony for the Forest Service. Several other government and outside witnesses testified, including George Leonard for the National Association of Forest Service Retirees, and Ron Thatcher, President, Forest Service Council, National Federation of Federal Employees.

Last Friday (June 12), Chief Kimbell issued a letter to all employees discussing the Best Places survey and the Washington Post story. Chief Kimbell reinforced the importance of the issue by stating that it “deserves leadership’s attention and your attention at every level of the agency.” Clearly, this issue is a major one for all those who care about this agency and its future.

There are certainly a variety of factors that have contributed to this situation, several of which were mentioned by Chief Kimbell, including fire transfer and downsizing. Other factors were mentioned by Kank Kashtan at the hearing mentioned above, including centralizing business and human resources in Albuquerque, and others.

But the Forest Service is an agency which has faced many challenges in the past and has found ways to overcome them. In writing about Forest Service history, I reviewed many of these challenges in a brief history, released in 2008: “Reinventing the U.S. Forest Service: evolution from custodial management, to production forestry to ecosystem management” [here]. See, in particular, pp. 62-71. Given our impressive history and important mission, there is no doubt that we can address this challenge — if we will only devote ourselves fully to the task.

The hearing mentioned above provided a wealth of information about the Best Places survey and its implications for the Forest Service, BLM and NPS. It provided detailed information on the causes of the situation, as well as suggestions and recommendations for addressing it. The full hearing record can be accessed [here].

Kevin Simpson, Executive Vice President of the Partnership for Public Service (which helped compile the Best Places to Work survey) testified and discussed in detail the Best Places survey and its implications. This testimony was delivered before the recent ratings were released, which saw the Forest Service decline and BLM and NPS improve somewhat. His summary of the situation (p.6) is that:

The Forest Service, NPS and BLM are fortunate to have workforces that are highly committed to their respective missions and who generally believe their immediate supervisors are doing a good job. But these are also workforces who say they lack the resources to do the job required of them, that their agencies do not excel in recruiting new talent with needed skills, that their leaders fail to inspire and motivate high performance, and that the skill level of the agencies is stagnant. We can say with confidence that an under-resourced, under-trained workforce will not be able to perform at its best on behalf of the American people.

Mr. Simpson also discussed what he thinks should be done to address this issue. He described a NPS case study (p.6 of his testimony) that focused on the situation and made specific recommendations as to what might be done to address it. Most of these recommendations would be applicable to the Forest Service as well. Many could be put in place immediately at various Forest Service organizational levels. Kevin Simpson’s testimony is [here].

There are also other excellent assessments of the situation, as well as recommendations, in the testimonies of George Leonard, Ron Thatcher and others, which can be accessed from the full hearing record link provided above. Mr. Thatcher’s testimony contains both his recommendations and those of 37 district rangers who sent them to the Forest Service National Leadership Team (Exhibit 1).

Many Forest Service retirees are very concerned about the situation and could be called upon to help. For example, I have spoken to a former Chief and a former Associate Chief who both brought up an arrangement called the “Junior Staff” that used to exist in the Forest Service. It was a group of staff level employees (from a variety of resource areas) who had direct access to leadership (no gatekeepers) and who were expected to alert leadership as to important management issues affecting lower level employees.

We clearly do not need to start from scratch to analyze this issue or wait to develop more centralized solutions. We have some capacity at all levels to begin to deal with it appropriately.

Very respectfully,

Doug MacCleery

Douglas W. MacCleery is Senior Policy Analyst and Assistant Director, Strategic and Emerging Issues, Forest Management, National Forest System, USDA Forest Service

“Conservation is our attempt to put human ecology on a permanent footing.” — Aldo Leopold

“The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” — Colin Powell

18 Jun 2009, 5:53pm
Useless and Stupid
by admin
7 comments

Water Panic in Oregon

The Goober of Oregon and his Running Dog Legislature want to force every well owner in the state to put a water meter on their private wells. They also wish to then bill every well owner for using their own water.

It should come as no surprise that private well owners (who also own the water rights, which do not belong to the State) are a little peeved at the Goober.

But the Dem-faithful Portland Oregonian newspaper (motto: “We Heart Child Molesters”) is attempting to raise a panic over the “dwindling supply” of water in this rain-drenched place.

From the MolesterNews yesterday:

Good data on water runs dry in Oregon

by Les Zaitz, The Oregonian, June 17, 2009 [here]

Secret House Vineyards ran straight into Oregon’s emerging water shortage when it sought water for 16 acres outside Eugene.

The state Water Resources Department last month told vineyard operators they couldn’t have a new well. It would sap water from a tributary to the Long Tom River.

About the same time, the state turned back a developer’s effort to get irrigation water for 18 homes north of Hillsboro. There wasn’t enough underground water.

Across the valley, Clackamas River Water, a district serving 100,000 people, wanted water for future home use, fire protection, park watering and more. It, too, was told no because of inadequate flows in the fall.

Picking who gets Oregon’s water falls to a tiny agency, the state Water Resources Department. But as water challenges mount, the department has lost employees and suspended research, falling years behind in its work. An agency that lives off data — how much, how deep, how fast — is starved for information. …

“Data is not sexy,” said Lorna Stickel, a Portland Water Bureau executive and former state water commissioner. …

In 1999, 161 people worked there. In 2007, that was down to 138. Staffing shot up with the current budget, but virtually all that will be lost in the coming months.

Well now, we can help. For one thing, we are sexy, Lorna. Maybe we’re not sex perverts like the mayors of Portland, but we like to think we cut a fine figure.

For another, speaking of figures, we know how to do math, unlike the 150-odd folks who work for the state Water Resources Department and the math-challenged journalists of the Oregonian.

… Two years ago, [OR Goober] Kulongoski got the Water Resources Department a $750,000 down payment on a statewide water plan. That bought a study that concluded Oregonians will want another 1 million gallons of water daily by the year 2050. The agency’s challenge is to deliver that water or sharply improve conservation. …

One million gallons is about the amount that comes out of a garden hose if you leave it running for 20 weeks (5 gals/min x 60 min/hr x 24 hr/day x 140 days = 1,008,000 gallons).

It ain’t nothing, in other words. To save a million gallons a day, turn off 140 hoses.

Please send me $750,000 for that tidbit of information, Mr. Goober.

more »

18 Jun 2009, 10:30am
Federal forest policy Saving Forests
by admin
2 comments

An Open Letter to Tom Tidwell

Dear Tom,

SOS Forests welcomes you as the next Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. We salute your prior accomplishments, share in the excitement of your appointment, and wish you every possible success.

And we really mean that. We really do wish your tenure as Chief to be successful. It is going to be a difficult road, though. The deck is stacked against you, but we will help you all we can.

You need our help because the USFS has lost more than half of its staffing over the last 20 years. Many District, Forest, and Regional offices have closed, and those that remain open have skeleton crews. Active management has ground nearly to a standstill.

As a result, megafires are exploding out of control every summer. 2008 saw the California fire bust, with over a million acres burned in that state alone, and more than a dozen firefighter fatalities. 2007 was the worst fire season in five decades, with nearly 10 million acres burned by wildfires and 20 firefighter lives lost. Over 800,000 acres burned in Central Idaho alone, and the aftermath brought catastrophic erosion and degradation of soils and waterways. 2006 was another record-breaking fire season. This year promises to be even worse, if national USFS fire policies do not change.

Halting our current crisis of megafires is a very tall order. You can, however, take a few initial actions that will start your administration off on the right foot.

First, please use the word “forests” in speeches and writings. You are going to be Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. The ground you will oversee is neither “timberlands” nor “wildlands.” It is forests, or forestland. Please refer to it as such.

This is easy to do, costs you nothing, and will demonstrate your core values. (Not to mention that failing to do so will handicap you right away, and come back to haunt you later, too, as it did your predecessor.)

Second, cancel the Whoofoo program. Whoofoo’s (wildland fire use fires) are accidental fires in accidental locations started by lightning during the height of the fire season. Such fires should be suppressed with rapid initial attack, not left to burn. Whoofoo’s led to enormous and expensive tragedies like the Warm Fire, the Tripod Fire, the Tatoosh Fire, the Middle Fork Fire, the South Barker Fire, the East Slide Rock Ridge Fire, the Cedar Fire, and many others.

Whoofoo’s are the renamed equivalents of “prescribed natural fires” which caused catastrophes such as the 1988 incineration of Yellowstone National Park. The lack of rapid initial response with adequate firefighting forces was directly responsible for the 500,000 acre Biscuit Fire of 2003 and dozens of other megafires in the last two decades. Inadequate initial response has been ultimately responsible for every modern megafire, as a matter of fact.

You should also reconsider Appropriate Management Response, a euphemism for Let It Burn. AMR has led to over 1,000 square miles of unnecessary forest destruction in each of the last two years, including the Payette fires of 2007 and the Northern California fires of 2008. Decision made under AMR have huge ecological consequences but never go through normal NEPA processes. It does not serve our national forests, the Agency, or the mission to avoid proper legal and public involvement procedures.

Third, please initiate a national program to develop natural histories for every National Forest in the System. The histories should reach back at least 10,000 years, and should document the actual, historic, forest development pathways that occurred, in reality, location by location.

We cannot care for our forests, or restore them, or prevent megafires, if we don’t have a good handle on how our forests got here in the first place. Emphasis in the histories should be on ancient anthropogenic fire and the actual human/forest relationships that have had so much impact on the conditions, indeed the very existence, of our forests today.

Fourth, it is time to reconsider and restate the mission of the USFS. In the absence of a clear mission the Agency is rudderless. All resource values are threatened. I encourage you to engage in a national dialog in that regard.

Fifth, please look to forest experts outside of government for advice on forest stewardship. We have much to offer. Ignoring our expertise and deep concern for our public forests is a grievous mistake made by prior Chiefs, much to the detriment of our forests and the Agency. We are ready, willing, and able to assist you. Do not dismiss or discount outside expertise.

We extend our best wishes to you, and to your family and friends, as you embark on this important voyage. We wish you every success. We really do. Because the survival of our priceless, heritage, American forests depends on it.

Sincerely,

Mike Dubrasich
SOS Forests

17 Jun 2009, 2:43pm
Climate and Weather
by admin
1 comment

Baghdad Bob (and Jane) of Global Warming

This is pretty funny:

AP Baghdad Bob of Global Warming Continues Ignoring Reality

By P.J. Gladnick, NewsBusters, Media Research Center, June 17, 2009 [here]

Rising sea levels!

Sweltering temperatures!

Deeper droughts, and heavier downpours!

Hey, that looks like fun! Let me try. Here goes:

Saudi spring snowfall!

Plunging temperatures!

Frozen Australians!

One big difference in the two warnings, besides my reluctance to call for a massive government spending program, is that mine have actually been happening on a big scale recently as I reported in NewsBusters. The prior group of warnings have been issued by Seth Borenstein who is quickly earning the well-deserved reputation as the Global Warming Baghdad Bob of the Associate Press. No matter what the actual climate conditions the world is experiencing, Borenstein will continue to engage in Global Warming alarmism to the extreme.

more »

 
  
  • Colloquia

  • Commentary and News

  • Contact

  • Follow me on Twitter

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Meta