Trump directs EPA to begin dismantling clean water rule
Stepping up his attacks on environmental protections, Trump takes aim at a signature Obama legacy.
By Evan Halper

“The directive to undo the clean water initiative is expected to be closely followed by another aimed at unraveling the Obama administration’s ambitious plan to fight climate change by curbing power plant emissions. … Trump vowed Tuesday that he would continue to undermine the Obama-era environmental protections wherever he sees the opportunity, arguing they have cost jobs.”

Clean Water Act under attack

Good Op-Ed in the NYT this morning:

The American economy has performed well over the past four decades: real per capita income has doubled since 1970 and pollution is down even with 50 percent more people. The choice between a healthy environment and a healthy economy is a false one. They stand, or fall, together. We’ve been blessed in the United States with abundant water resources. But we also face daunting challenges that are putting new demands on those resources — continuing growth; the need for water for food, energy production and manufacturing; the push for biofuel crops; the threat of new contaminants; climate change and just maintaining and restoring our natural systems.

If we narrow our vision of the Clean Water Act, if we buy into the misguided notion that reducing protection of our waters will somehow ignite the economy, we will shortchange our health, environment and economy.

I don’t quite understand why the EPA is coming under so much attack this election cycle.  I get that some people find any and all regulation reprehensible, but if the government shouldn’t be the ones to regulate the environment, then who should?  Perhaps an independent commission of executives from BP, Exxon, et. al.?  Ya, that’s probably the right solution.

Groups sue to block construction of Louisiana oil pipeline

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Environmental groups have sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a bid to block construction of a 162-mile-long (261-kilometer) crude oil pipeline across south Louisiana, including through the environmentally fragile Atchafalaya (uh-CHAF-uh-LIE-uh) Basin river swamp.

The federal lawsuit filed Thursday claims the Corps violated the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws when it approved a permit for the Bayou Bridge Pipeline project in December.

Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners plans to build the 24-inch-wide (60-centimeter-wide) pipeline from Lake Charles to St. James Parish, which is about 60 miles (95 kilometers) west of New Orleans. The same company built the Dakota Access pipeline, a project that sparked a string of violent clashes between protesters and police in North Dakota in 2016 and 2017.

A spokesman for the Corps’ New Orleans district said Friday that he can’t comment on pending litigation.

Col. Michael Clancy, the district’s commander, said in a statement last month that the Corps neither supports nor opposes the project.

“Our mission is to apply the best science, engineering and information available to determine if a proposed project complies with all regulations under our authority,” Clancy said.

The Corps said it completed an environmental assessment for the project before issuing the permit on Dec. 14. The lawsuit claims that review was “plainly inadequate” and asks the court to vacate the project’s permit.

Attorneys from Earthjustice filed the suit on behalf of Sierra Club, Waterkeeper Alliance, Gulf Restoration Network, Atchafalaya Basinkeeper and the Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association-West.

The pipeline is designed to have a maximum capacity of 480,000 barrels, or roughly 20 million gallons (75 million liters), of crude per day. The suit says it would, “in essence,” be the final segment of a pipeline network connecting the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota with Louisiana refineries and export terminals.

Building the pipeline “will have significant environmental impacts on the human and natural environment of Louisiana.”

“It will cross hundreds of streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and bayous, where both construction and operation of the project presents significant environmental threats,” the suit says.

Energy Transfer Partners spokeswoman Alexis Daniel said in an email on Friday that pipelines are “heavily regulated” by the federal government “for both safety and reliability, and have proven to be the safest, most efficient means of transporting energy resources.”

“This project has been in development since 2015 and has been carefully vetted by all applicable regulatory agencies and local governments along its route,” Daniel added.


May 28th 1892: Sierra Club founded

On this day in 1892, John Muir founded the famous environmental organisation - the Sierra Club - in San Francisco, California. Muir was a notable conservationist and preservationist and became the Club’s first president. The Sierra Club worked to establish and protect federal national parks, most famously Yosemite National Park. Their cause received a boost during the Progressive Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency (1901-1909), who was a naturalist like Muir. Some of the Club’s most notable successes since 1892 came during Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programme, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. The Sierra Club continues to be an influential group in the United States as one of the largest pressure groups in the nation. It has a significant influence over environmental issues and dedicates itself to tackling climate change and damage to the environment, most recently protesting against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Women of Qumar (3.8)
  • Bartlet: What are you doing?
  • Charlie: I'm sorry, sir, I had a few minutes.
  • Bartlet: I'm not on you, I'm just asking.
  • Charlie: I'm making notes for a final in Modern American History, the consumer movements in late 20th century America.
  • Bartlet: Modern American history sucks.
  • Charlie: I had a hunch.
  • Bartlet: You want to study history, study the Crusades, the fall of the Roman Empire from Theodosius to Justinian.
  • Charlie: The Visigoths.
  • Bartlet: Damn right, the Visigoths. Modern history's another name for television.
  • Charlie: Yes, sir.
  • Bartlet: Is there any way I can help?
  • Charlie: No thank you, sir.
  • Bartlet: I'm a master of modern history. You can ask me anything.
  • Charlie: What year did we pass the Clean Water Act?
  • Bartlet: I don't know.

“Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things…every one! So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, Senator, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.”
– Matt Santos, The West Wing

Let me list for you a few of the “Democratic Socialist” contributions to our nation:
  •     Medicare
  •     Medicaid
  •     Medicare Part D medications
  •     Social security
  •     Child Labor laws
  •     40 hour work week
  •     Overtime pay
  •     Family leave
  •     Bankruptcy forgiveness of debts,
  •     Labor unions
  •     Workplace safety
  •     Public fire departments
  •     Public police departments
  •     The national parks
  •     Wildlife preserves
  •     Clean air act
  •     Clean water act
  •     Anti pollution laws
  •     Public education through grade 12,
  •     Public water works
  •     Public utilities for gas and electric power,
  •     Public sewer system,
  •     Public transportation trains and subways,
  •     Postal service,
  •    Safe food standards
  •    Safe Prescription Drugs
  •    Construction building codes,
  •    Hydro electric dams and power stations,
  •    Interstate highway system,
  •    The Affordable Care Act
  •     And countless more…

Our economy is a marriage of both regulated free enterprise and public enterprise. Where free enterprise offers the individual opportunity and public enterprise provides a base of services that make our lives better, safer, convenient and in many ways makes our lifestyle possible.

Earth Day 2015

Earth Day 2015

By Philip Ross

April 22 is Earth Day, the annual event meant to raise awareness about Mother Nature’s health and the efforts being made to protect it. Environmental groups in countries all over the world are gearing up to take their message of good stewardship to millions of people. Below are 23 quotes and sayings to share on Earth Day 2015 to help spread the word. Some are inspiring, others are just for laughs and some come from a place of wisdom.

Earth Day events commemorate what is considered the birth of the modern environmental movement. The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 on college campuses across the U.S. and was the invention of Gaylord Nelson, a former Democratic U.S. senator from Wisconsin whose idea for Earth Day was born out of watching the momentum of the student-led anti-war protests of the 1960s and his frustration with D.C. gridlock over enacting environmental protections. “It was a gamble,” Nelson said of the movement. “But it worked.“

It was Earth Day that largely led to the U.S. passing legislation such as the Clean Water Acts and to the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Here are 23 sayings that pay homage to Mother Nature:

1. “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein
2. “Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them.” – Bill Vaughan
3. “As crude a weapon as the cave man’s club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life.” – Rachel Carson
4. “We have met the enemy and he is us.” – Walt Kelly
5. “Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” – Cree Indian proverb
6. “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.” — Theodore Roosevelt
7. “I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.” – Frank Lloyd Wright
8. “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
9. “Environmentalists have long been fond of saying that the sun is the only safe nuclear reactor, situated, as it is some ninety-three million miles away.” – Stephanie Mills
10. “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir
11. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
12. “The earth is what we all have in common.” – Wendell Berry
13. “Keep close to Nature’s heart … and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” – John Muir
14. "That’s the thing about Mother Nature, she really doesn’t care what economic bracket you’re in.” – Whoopi Goldberg
15. “For 200 years we’ve been conquering nature. Now we’re beating it to death.” – Tom McMillan
16. “Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees.” – Karle Wilson Baker
17. “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi
18. “A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.” – John James Audubon
19. “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu
20. "An understanding of the natural world and what’s in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfillment.” – David Attenborough
21. “Sooner or later, we will have to recognize that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans.” – Evo Morales
22. “I believe alien life is quite common in the universe, although intelligent life is less so. Some say it has yet to appear on planet Earth.” – Stephen Hawking
23. “Why should I care about future generations? What have they ever done for me?” – Groucho Marx


#PaintThinner in Children’s Cereal Exposed. Today, we understand there are good fats as well as bad fats, and that processed sugar is a bigger culprit when it comes to a child’s diminishing health. The #Inquisitr understands how important it is for parents to keep on top of their children’s health. Apparently, the three most used infant formulas have genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in them. That may anger some parents but not as much as #PediaSure, the health shake for children, containing #Roundup, the weed-killer.
Now, there are reports that parents may be feeding their children paint thinner without even knowing it. Why? It is because it is an ingredient in some of the most popular children’s cereals on the market today.
According to Natural Society, a mother was shocked to find her children’s cereal contained #TrisodiumPhosphate (#TSP). She was wondering why it was even there, given the fact she bought it from Trader Joe’s, a smaller grocery chain known for higher quality foods without unnecessary additives and harmful ingredients. What people may not know is that TSP is an industrial-strength paint thinner. Sometimes going by the names trisodium orthophosphate or sodium phosphate, TSP is well-known among construction workers and developers for being a substitute to mineral spirits to remove paint. What is more disheartening is the fact that Trader Joe’s isn’t the only grocery store known for carrying cereals that contain this paint thinner. As a matter of fact, it is located in hundreds of foods in hundreds of stores because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed the “additive” as “safe.” If that is the case, why is the activist environmental group, The Clean Water Act, taking serious steps to limit TSP in cleaning supplies because it harms the environment? It is because TSP is a poison.
According to the poison info provided by Pesticide Info, it states TSP should be avoided at all cost due to the high risk of poisoning. #4biddenknowledge

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How Corporate Cash Threatens the Environment

If there’s one issue that hasn’t been talked about enough in this election, it’s the environment.

Yet the difference between the parties is stark: Republicans, bankrolled by polluters like the Koch Brothers, want to cut the EPA and rollback or weaken vital environmental protections like the Clean Air and Clean Water Act, laws that ensure millions of Americans can breath our air and drink our water safely.

Mitt Romney calls the EPA “a tool in the hands of the President to crush the private enterprise system,” and has vowed to block needed protections on things like fracking and carbon emissions.

Interviews include Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-7) and policy experts from the Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, and, who share the history, purpose, and success of our environmental laws, and push back on the Republican lie that environemntal protections are bad for the economy.

With the health of millions of Americans potentially impacted by the dangerous positions of Mitt Romney and Republican lawmakers, it’s vital that this issue isn’t forgotten this election season. Help us spread the word by sharing the video.

Yesterday, NASA released this new view of the entire sunlit side of Earth from one million miles away. This color image of Earth was taken by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) on on NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite. 

At the request of the whitehouse, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium, offered reflections on this new image of our home.

Earth. Not mounted on a stand, with color-coded state and national boundaries, as schoolroom globes are prone to display. Instead, we see our world as only a cosmic perspective can provide: Blue Oceans – Dry Land – White Clouds – Polar Ice. A Sun-lit planet, teeming with life, framed in darkness.

In 1972, when NASA’s Apollo 17 astronauts first captured an entire hemisphere of our planet, we were treated to such a view. The Blue Marble, it was called. The Space Program’s unprecedented images of Earth compelled us all to think deeply about our dependence on nature and the fate of our civilization.

Of course, at the time, we had other distractions. Between 1968 and 1972, the United States would experience some of its most turbulent years in memory, simultaneously enduring a hot war in Southeast Asia, a Cold War with the Soviet Union, the Civil Rights Movement, campus unrest, and assassinations. Yet that’s precisely when we voyaged to the Moon, paused, looked back, and discovered Earth for the first time.

The year 1970 would celebrate the first Earth Day. In that same year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) were formed with strong bipartisan support. In 1972, the pesticide DDT was banned and the Clean Water Act was passed. And one year later, the Endangered Species Act would be enacted, the catalytic converter would be introduced, and unleaded automotive emission standards would be set. A stunning admission that we’re all in this together, with a common future on a shared planet.

Regrettably, we still live in a turbulent world. But we now have at our disposal, not simply a photograph of our home to reflect upon, but continual data of our rotating planet, captured 13 times per day, by the robotic Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), a specially designed space camera & telescope, launched and positioned a million miles from Earth.

We will now be able to measure and track Sun-induced space weather as well as global climactic trends in ozone levels, aerosols, vegetation, volcanic ash, and Earth reflectivity, all in high resolution; just the kind of data our civilization needs to make informed cultural, political, and scientific decisions that affect our future.

Occasions such as this offer renewed confidence that we may ultimately become responsible shepherds of our own fate, and the fate of that fragile home we call Earth.

Neil deGrasse Tyson
American Museum of Natural History, New York City

This post was originally published on Dr. Tyson’s Facebook Page

Image via NASA
EPA Boosts Water Policing as Worst Fears Realized

Fifth-generation farmer Kenny Watkins ran afoul of the U.S. clean-water police in 2009. His infraction: Planting hay in a pasture.

The federal officials “want to increase their empire,” Watkins said. “That’s what their ambitions are.”