Monday, March 31, 2008

GAO Report Finds EPA Library Closures Undercut Agency’s Mission; UCS Research Concludes Closures Impede Fed Scientists’ Work

GAO Report Finds EPA Library Closures Undercut Agency’s Mission; UCS Research Concludes Closures Impede Fed Scientists’ Work: "GAO Report Finds EPA Library Closures Undercut Agency’s Mission;
UCS Research Concludes Closures Impede Fed Scientists’ Work
EPA library closures undercut agency, impede research"

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released today criticizes the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to close five of its libraries around the country in 2006. The report concluded that the closures may have hindered EPA staff work and curtailed public access to information. Meanwhile, an independent investigation by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) found that hundreds of EPA scientists maintain the closures hampered their ability to do their jobs. -from Union of Concerned Scientists

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Controlling Nature

Controlling Great Lakes and the difficulty of coming up with a level suitable to all presents humanity with major conundrum.

First, are we really in control, or are we merely fiddling with a complex system we barely understand? For, besides homeowner values and other economic considerations, there are other factors to consider.

The Great Lakes are a part of the global ecology and when we tweak lake levels here there are effects on the planetary environment as a whole. Also, as Global Warming takes affect in our area, over time the glacial sheets which supply the Great Lakes with water will rise as the ice melts and then fall as the major source for the water in the system dries up.

So, shouldn’t we also be adjusting the lakes levels in anticipation of this major long-term effect on water levels—perhaps trying to shore up as much water as possible before dramatic shortages to the system occur? Isn’t the problem of lake level controls one of priorities?


If we are a responsible people to our children and our way of life, shouldn’t our priority be a sustainable future?

Read from the Democrat & Chronicle

1. Sailing far from clear for new lake-level plan democratandchronicle.com Democrat and Chronicle An international panel floated a new plan on Friday for regulating water levels in Lake Ontario, but whether the proposal will sink or swim remains very much an open question. The plan, written by the International Joint Commission to replace decades-old rules, would benefit some of the lake's diverse user groups more than others. (March 29, 08) Democrat & Chronicle and

2. Shoreline property owners look to benefit from new water level proposal democratandchronicle.com Democrat and Chronicle As details emerged about a new proposal to regulate Lake Ontario water levels, it appeared that shoreline property owners may be clear winners. Under the plan released this morning by the International Joint Commission, a U.S.-Canada treaty organization, levels would be adjusted to provide some benefit to shoreline wetlands, though not nearly as much as environmental advocates would like. (March 28, 08) Democrat & Chronicle

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chunk of Antarctic Ice Collapses - New York Times

Chunk of Antarctic Ice Collapses - New York Times: "A chunk of Antarctic ice about seven times the size of Manhattan suddenly collapsed, putting an even greater portion of glacial ice at risk, scientists said. Satellite images show the runaway disintegration of a 160-square-mile chunk in western Antarctica, which started Feb. 28. It was the edge of the Wilkins ice shelf and has been there for perhaps as many as 1,500 years. The rest of the Wilkins ice shelf, which is about the size of Connecticut, is holding on by a narrow beam of thin ice. Scientists worry that it too may collapse."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Latest Press - American Lung Association site

Latest Press - American Lung Association site: EPA Ozone Standards: Half Measures and Compromises Are Not Good Enough

"Washington, DC (March 12, 2008). Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a critical tightening of the health-based National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone. We wish we could be happier about this decision, but we cannot. The standard announced today, although an improvement, falls far short of the requirements of the Clean Air Act. We are unable to celebrate half measures when the risks are so evident, when the science and the scientists are so united about what is needed and when the missed opportunity means that thousands will suffer more and die sooner than they should. Furthermore, we reject the suggestions made by the Administrator to weaken and undermine the Clean Air Act itself. Coming from the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, such suggestions are truly outrageous."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bats Perish, and No One Knows Why - New York Times

Bats Perish, and No One Knows Why - New York Times: "In what is one of the worst calamities to hit bat populations in the United States, on average 90 percent of the hibernating bats in four caves and mines in New York have died since last winter."

Earth Day 2008 Events | Earthday

Earth Day 2008 Events Earthday: "Earth Day 2008: A Call for Climate

Earth Day 2008 is expected to be the biggest yet! From Tokyo to Togo, to our flagship event on the National Mall in Washington, DC and 7 other U.S. cities, we will be galvanizing millions of people around the world behind a Call for Climate, our global warming action theme. Hundreds of events are popping up all over the globe and April 22 should be a most memorable Earth Day. We will be asking people to call their government and urge significant and equitable action on climate change."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Schumer wants fed funding for Great Lakes invasive species, toxic sediment and industrial pollution

Schumer wants fed funding for Great Lakes invasive species, toxic sediment and industrial pollution: "Schumer wants fed funding for Great Lakes invasive species, toxic sediment and industrial pollution

WASHINGTON – With the Great Lakes increasingly threatened by invasive species, habitat loss, toxic sediment, and other dangerous conditions, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer Monday announced efforts to get the federal government to do more to ensure that “vital funding” is delivered to local governments currently footing the billion-dollar bill for programs to protect and preserve New York’s most precious natural resource." --from EmpireStateNews.net

CEI: Center for Environmental Information

CEI: Center for Environmental Information: "What's in your water? Prescription drugs found in drinking water across U.S. (AP) -- A vast array of pharmaceuticals -- including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones -- have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Democracy Now! | Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming

Democracy Now! Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming: "Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming

Dr. James Hansen is widely regarded as the leading climate change scientist in the country. For the past twenty-five years, he has headed NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Just over a year ago, Dr. Hansen went public with a charge that made headlines around the world—that the Bush administration had been trying to silence his warnings about the urgent need to address climate change. Dr. Hansen joins us in our firehouse studio. His story is detailed in a new book by author Mark Bowen titled Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming. Mark Bowen joins us from Massachusetts."

For those who don't believe in Global Warming (quite a trick these days) could it be because there has been a media and governmental blitz on keeping the truth from you? If that is true and if Global Warming turns out to be the most important problem in this new century, what does that say about our collective ability to sustain our existence. Can we survive without the truth, without uncensored science? --Frank J. Regan

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

VHS Public Informational Talks?

Shouldn't one of our local official organizations be doing a public educational project on Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) too?

Duluth News Tribune Parks, tribal band work to educate people about fish virus Four National Park properties along Lake Superior and the Grand Portage Band of Ojibwe announced on Monday a coordinated response to the threat of VHS, the deadly fish disease that’s spreading across the Great Lakes. While the coalition has imposed no new rules or regulations, they are working to raise public awareness of the disease and how it spreads. (March 18, 08) Duluth News Tribune

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Media Jumps Ahead

It's a great leap forward for the local media to allow the public to publish entire articles on their website. I congratulate the Democrat & Chronicle for their trusting of the public and allowing for a more open media. Check out: A decade of RochesterEnvironment.com democratandchronicle.com Democrat and Chronicle March 9, 08) Democrat & Chronicle

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Blocking State Leadership on Global Warming

Blocking State Leadership on Global Warming:

"Last week, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson published the official explanation of his decision to deny a waiver of preemption for California's program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. This action will undoubtedly set off another round of litigation on top of pending cases challenging the waiver denial—challenges that legal experts believe are likely to prevail.Last week, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson published the official explanation of his decision to deny a waiver of preemption for California's program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. This action will undoubtedly set off another round of litigation on top of pending cases challenging the waiver denial—challenges that legal experts believe are likely to prevail." from Center for American Progress

A Decade of RochesterEnvironment.com


RochesterEnvironment.com is the most comprehensive online portal of environmental information for one municipality--Rochester, New York--in the world. This site provides an example of one specific community's entire environmental profile. Though I focus sharply on Rochester, NY, there is nothing particularly significant about this mid-sized, upper New York State community’s environmental situation. I merely use Rochester because I live here and thus I have better access to much of the information needed to demonstrate my ideas.


February 2008 RENewsletter


Greetings the February 2008 RENewsletter is out.


RENewsletter comes in two formats: MS Word and Adobe Reader.




The reason for two formats is that while the Word format provides all the online features (all links on the newsletter work) not everyone can use this format. And while with Adobe Reader, a format that most browsers accept, there is a limited ability to follow the embedded links to online articles and web pages, and e-mails that are a very important part of RENewsletter.
Both formats print out perfectly for easy reading.


*** For complete information about this newsletter and downloading a version on your browser please go to: http://www.rochesterenvironment.com/subscribe.htm


Please consider sharing this RENewsletter.


*** Also, if any of the links above do not work, please copy and paste the entire link to your browser's address line and it will work.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Will Rochester Be Affected by Global Warming?


Ah, yeah. Given that Global Warming is occurring and that it’s occurring all over the world, then Rochester will experience the consequences of Global Warming. (Neat little syllogism, that I learned in philosophy 101.)


Wouldn’t we want to know what’s coming at us, or more likely because of the lag time in energy dispersal in a weather system as large as Earth, our children? As a matter of fact, wouldn’t everyone want to know how Global Warming is going to affect the Rochester area—business leaders, politicians, citizens of our community, teachers, businesses, hospitals, farmers, real estate people, lawyers, and well, just about anyone? Seems rational.


So, if you do, check out this comprehensive report on what Global Warming may bring to our area (which, of course in in the US Northeast) and possible solutions we might consider for our area. Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast Prepared by the Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment Synthesis Team:

Getting the Lead out:


Rochester is already a leader in addressing the lead in our homes, from decades when lead-based paint was considered safe. But, there's also lead in the air not just our Rochester air but all over the country. Find out how much lead there is in Rochester's air, how and where it is monitored. NRDC: Get the Lead Out: Lead in Your Neighborhood From , zoom in an find out what's going on with lead in your neighborhood --Rochester Google Lead Map.

Rochester Moves Towards the Future on Environmental Indicators

Wouldn’t it be nice if Rochester had a web site that gave a complete inventory of all the measurable indicators for a vivant, sustainable community—including a whole section on our environment? Maybe, something as comprehensive and useful as the one Boston, Mass has-- The Boston Indicators Project - Environment -from The Boston Indicators Project….

Well, we’re working on it and the beginning should begin this fall. The point, as far as environmental indicators go, would be for the public, media, politicians, business to assess the environmental quality on various issues from an objective inventory of indicators and make sound policy based on them. Rochester Area Community Foundation “The Community Foundation and United Way are jointly launching a program to measure, analyze and disseminate community indicators.”

Friday, March 07, 2008

EarthTheSequel > Trailer

EarthTheSequel > Trailer

Uneven burden: Great Lakes get billions in local funds | Battle Creek Enquirer - www.battlecreekenquirer.com - Battle Creek, Mich.

Uneven burden: Great Lakes get billions in local funds Battle Creek Enquirer - www.battlecreekenquirer.com - Battle Creek, Mich.: "There seems to be widespread agreement that our Great Lakes need to be cleaned up, restored and protected. They are, after all, a natural treasure that provide huge economic, environmental and recreational benefits not only for the region but for the entire nation.

A report released last week, however, indicates that financial support to help the lakes is coming mainly from local governments, despite President Bush's call in 2004 for a federal strategy to protect and restore the lakes. The following year, a coalition of government agencies, Indian tribes and other groups produced a wide-ranging plan to do just that - at an estimated cost of $20 billion"

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Great Lakes Danger Zones? | The Center For Public Integrity | Investigative Journalism in the Public Interest

Great Lakes Danger Zones? The Center For Public Integrity Investigative Journalism in the Public Interest: "Listen to the podcast
By Sheila Kaplan
For more than seven months, the nation’s top public health agency has blocked the publication of an exhaustive federal study of environmental hazards in the eight Great Lakes states, reportedly because it contains such potentially “alarming information” as evidence of elevated infant mortality and cancer rates.
Researchers found low birth weights, elevated rates of infant mortality and premature births, and elevated death rates from breast cancer, colon cancer, and lung cancer.The 400-plus-page study, Public Health Implications of Hazardous Substances in the Twenty-Six U.S. Great Lakes Areas of Concern, was undertaken by a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the request of the International Joint Commission, an independent bilateral organization that advises the U.S. and Canadian governments on the use and quality of boundary waters between the two countries. The study was originally scheduled for release in July 2007 by the IJC and the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)."

NPR: 'Global Warming Is Not a Crisis'

NPR: 'Global Warming Is Not a Crisis': "Climate change is big news these days, from melting mountain glaciers to warming seas. But is the buildup of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere leading to a crisis?

That was the question at the core of a recent Oxford-style debate called Intelligence Squared U.S. The series is based on the Intelligence Squared program that began in London in 2002. Three experts argue in favor of a motion; three others argue against it."

---Of course, one way to avoid all the trouble it would be to investigate, research, learn, change one’s life, and take responsibility for the global world crisis that most scientist agree is happening (Check out: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) is to deny it’s even happening. Next time you hear reports from a majority of medical experts on the news that a virulent disease is spreading through your community, just convince yourself that it must be a joke. And, let us know how that works out for ya. --Frank J. Regan

New Yorkers and Climate Change - Dot Earth - Climate Change and Sustainability - New York Times Blog

New Yorkers and Climate Change - Dot Earth - Climate Change and Sustainability - New York Times Blog: "City Room has an interesting post up on some fresh polling examining New Yorkers’ concerns on climate and energy. They’re worried for sure, with quite a high percentage foreseeing the need to abandon some parts of the five boroughs due to rising seas within 50 years or so."