The assault on our environment, including our oceans, continues with this latest (i.e., today) Executive Order from trump. He’s starting in motion the process to reverse President Obama’s temporary and permanent bans, and the requirements for safety equipment imposed after the Deepwater Horizon spill. He’s also ordering a review of the marine sanctuaries created or enlarged by President Obama.
He will do anything to prove up to his supporters that his first 100 days will be the most productive period of time since the alleged 6 day creation effort by the Judeo-Christian-Islamic deity aka God. And we all know that this 100 day effort, if graded, wouldn’t even qualify for an “F.”
President Trump signed an executive order Friday that aims to expand offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, as well as assess whether energy exploration can take place in marine sanctuaries in the Pacific and Atlantic.
The “America-First Offshore Energy Strategy” will make millions of acres of federal waters eligible for oil and gas leasing, just four months after President Barack Obama withdrew these areas from possible development. In late December, Obama used a little-known provision in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to bar energy exploration in large portions of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, and a string of canyons in the Atlantic stretching from Massachusetts to Virginia.
Still, even Trump administration officials said it would take years to rewrite federal leasing plans and open up these areas to drilling. And global energy prices may deter investors from moving ahead with additional drilling in the Arctic Ocean in the near term, despite the effort to make more areas eligible for development.
Speaking to reporters Thursday night, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said it would likely take about two years to do a thorough review of what new areas could be put up for auction.
In addition to reviewing what drilling can take place off Alaska and the East Coast, the new directive charges Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to halt the expansion of any new marine sanctuaries and review the designations of any marine national monument established or expanded in the last decade. That includes Hawaii’s Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which Obama quadrupled in size last year, and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts off Massachusetts.
And here’s a summary from the New York Times about trump’s order regarding off-shore drilling safety equipment:
Trump also took aim at regulations on oil-rig safety.
Last year, the Obama administration unveiled a set of regulations on offshore oil and gas drilling equipment, intended to tighten the safety requirements on underwater drilling equipment and well-control operations. In particular, the new rules tighten controls on blowout preventers, the industry-standard devices that are the last line of protection to stop explosions in undersea oil and gas wells.
The 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig was caused in part by the buckling of a section of drill pipe, prompting the malfunction of a supposedly fail-safe blowout preventer on a BP well.
Sea otters were once locally extinct from the Washington coast, but in 1969 and 1970, 59 sea otters were relocated there from Alaska. These otters have thrived: today more than 1,800 individuals call the Washington coast home! Most of them live in the waters of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.
Each year, researchers survey the population – the 2016 census was organized by U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, with assistance from volunteers and staff from the sanctuary, Seattle Aquarium, and Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. One large raft of over 600 sea otters was observed off the mouth of the Hoh River!
Just finished reading “Ice Massacre” by Tiana Warner, a self-published author on Amazon. And it is amazing! The story is original, the characters are complex and interesting, and Tiana is brilliant at building tension. Best book I’ve read so far this year. Waaaay better than what you can find at publishers these days (who, unfortunately, are too afraid of taking chances.)
Plot summary: The novel is about 18-year old Meela who lives on
Erina Kwai (an imaginary island outside the coast of Alaska). The people of Erina Kwai
are experiencing a famine, because the ocean has been invaded by bloodthirsty
mermaids who kill anyone who dears venture into the waters. Each year the
Island sends young men to battle the hostile sea demons, and every year they
fail to return. Desperate for survival the Island comes up with a new strategy.
They are going to send women instead, as women are not perceptible to the mermaids’
allure. Only problem is, they hadn’t accounted for lesbians.
Archaeologists need a new theory for the colonization of the Americas. Plant and animal DNA buried under two Canadian lakes squashes the idea that the first Americans traveled through an ice-free corridor that extended from Alaska to Montana.
The analysis, published online in Nature on 10 August and led by palaeogeneticist Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen, suggests that the passageway became habitable 12,600 years ago1. That’s nearly 1,000 years after the formation of the Clovis culture — once thought to be the first Americans — and even longer after other, pre-Clovis cultures settled the continents.
Some 14,000 years ago, as North America was emerging from the last Ice Age, twin glaciers that blanketed central Canada receded, creating the ice-free corridor before the appearance of Clovis people across what is now the central United States. “That coincidence seemed too powerful to ignore,” says archaeologist and co-author David Meltzer of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. “People who have been cooling their heels in Alaska for thousands of years see this new land open up and they come blasting down this corridor into the new world.”
To build a picture of the habitat as it crept out of the Ice Age, Willerslev’s team analysed DNA in cores taken from beneath two lakes in what was the last stretch of the corridor to melt. The first plant life — thin grasses and sedges — dates back just 12,600 years. The region later became lusher, with sagebrush, buttercups and even roses, followed by willow and poplar trees. This habitat attracted bison first, and later mammoths, elk, voles and the occasional bald eagle. Around 11,500 years ago, the corridor began to resemble the pine and spruce boreal forests of today’s landscape.
The region’s bounty must eventually have tempted hunter-gatherers. But the dates rule out its use as a corridor by Clovis people and earlier Americans to colonize the Americas, says Willerslev. Instead, both probably skirted the Pacific coast, perhaps by boat.
Loren Davis, an archaeologist at Oregon State University in Corvallis, agrees: “Now that the ice-free corridor has been shown to be dead in the water — no pun intended — we can start to look at something like a coastal migration route.”
Other recent research has hinted that Clovis people and other early humans could not have moved through the ice-free corridor. In June, a team led by Beth Shapiro, an evolutionary palaeobiologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, sequenced ancient DNA from bison that lived to the north and south of the passageway and found that these populations were cut off from each other during the last Ice Age until at least 13,000–13,400 years ago, when they started mixing again2. Shapiro, too, now favours the theory of a coastal migration route for humans.
Willerslev hopes to be part of the searches, and thinks that recreating these once-coastal habitats through DNA sequencing could prove to be a valuable tool. The fact that early humans advanced to the Americas despite continent-sized glaciers standing in the way has also prompted him to rethink the conventional wisdom that early humans, like other animals, migrated solely in search of food.
“Just like people today are trying to reach the top of Mount Everest or the South Pole, I’m sure these hunter-gatherers were also explorers and curious about what would be on the other side of these glacier caps,” he says. “When you first reach California, why would you go further? Why not just stay in the Bay Area?”