NOAA: 9 Months in 2012 Capped Hottest Years On Record

Of the 12 hottest 12 month periods recorded in the the US, 9 spanned between 2011 and 2012. That includes all 8 of the top 8 periods. This is according to preliminary data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

These are the warmest 12-month periods on record for the contiguous United States. The December 2011-November 2012 12-month period was the sixth warmest consecutive 12-months that the contiguous U.S. has experienced and the warmest November-October 12-month period on record.

~ NOAA

For more check:

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2012/11/supplemental/page-2/

 

 

It’s also been pretty dry. For yet more, check: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/

Thanks Climate Progress for the heads up!

~ Nuevaspora

High School Students Explain Significance of Climate Change

On Saturday Oct. 27th, this young woman spoke to the threat and magnitude of climate change before a crowd at the week long Vigil to End Climate Silence in Boston’s Government Center. It would be three days before several elected officials would choose to follow suit, responding the the shocking destruction of Hurricane Sandy. On this election day, voters are still wondering where many candidates stand on this issue.

Recording by Susan R.

Update: Don’t miss this amazing essay, posted today on Climate Progress, from 16 year old climate activist and now Sandy survivor, Maya Faison.

“I am 16 years old and I am currently in my home in Laurelton, Queens.  It is day six with no heat, no power and no gas in my mom’s car to escape.
Trees are down all over my neighborhood and at night it is pitch dark, with only the moon as light. I feel paralyzed with cold.

…Our nation is in danger and my future is in danger.
This is the future I want: a country that is better prepared for climate and environmental disasters, and is working proactively to mitigate global warming. Just like we have fire drills in school, we need to have evacuation plans and disaster preparedness kits.  We must rely less on oil and more on alternative energy, and reduce carbon emissions by any means necessary. We need more preservation of natural resources and less consumption. We cannot continue to provide subsidies to oil and gas companies that are wreaking havoc on our earth.  Science matters, and we must educate the next generation on the realities of climate change so we are all working to promote a better, more sustainable future.”

~ Nuevaspora

Controversy Over Logging of Algonquin Land

Lest we forget what is happening with our northern neighbors…

Last week in Montreal, clanging cookware and red squares became symbols of solidarity with an Indigenous community defending its land rights. On Wednesday, July 18, about 200 people demonstrated at the Montreal headquarters of Resolute Forest Products, the logging company currently locked in a stand-off with Algonquin protestors near Poigan Bay, Quebec.

Banging pots and pans, the crowd denounced Resolute for continuing to log in the territory of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake despite staunch opposition from the people living there.

Members of this Indigenous community, located a four-hour drive north of Montreal, have maintained a protest camp near the logging site for more than two weeks. Gabriel Wawatie, an elder whose family harvesting grounds fall within the area being cut, wrote in a letter to Quebec Premier Jean Charest on July 4: “As one of the main harvesters, I was not properly consulted nor provided a written consent to this logging.”

Read more of LORI THERESA WALLER‘s article in: Red squares for Indigenous solidarity: Montreal protests logging of Algonquin Land.

To learn more about he situation check out the Barriere Lake Solidarity site.

~ Nuevaspora (By way of Rita Sebastian)

 

 

 

 

Pilgrims, Nukes and Refugees

A belated weekly rundown…

10 families in PA barricade themselves to avoid a fracking eviction, reports of 14 people arrested in MA for protesting Pilgrim Nuclear power plant, and it’s just the start of the week.

10 Families in Jersey Shore PA Refuse To Be Displaced for Fracking Operation

In Jersey Shore PA, over 30 families were told that they would have to vacate Riverdale Mobile Home Park to make way for the construction of a water withdrawal site to support hydraulic fracturing. 10 families refused to leave, and are now standing their ground. At least some of these families lack the means to move their homes. Construction was scheduled to start on Friday. What started as a vigil on Thursday night has extended through and past the weekend as people from a myriad of groups and organizations (including OWS) have gone to the park to stand with them. The protest has been peaceful and they have set up barricades preventing vehicle’s from entering. Aqua America, the company that bought the land and initiated the evictions can be reached at: (610) 527-8000.

Riverdale Mobile Home Park, Jersey Shore PA

Fortune has begun to shift at least a little, and the company is scheduled to go into negotiations with residence today.

The water withdrawal its self was permitted in March by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, a water shed management agency. More information can be found on the Save Riverdale blog.

An update on our own Charles River via Michael:

 

 

The New England Regional office of the EPA released its annual report card on the Charles River. EPA water quality data shows that during 2011, the Charles River had an acceptable water quality for boating and swimming. The grade issued this year is a ‘B”. The grade reflects that the river met bacteria-based water quality standards for boating 82% of the time and for swimming 54% of the time. The EPA launched its Charles River Initiative in 1995 when the river received a D for meeting boating standards 29% of the time and 19% for swimming. The EPA has been measuring the cleanup of the Charles River against the objectives set in the Clean Water act of 1972.

The New England Regional Office of the EPA is designated as Region 1 and includes all of New England and the ten tribal nations recognized by the Interior Department Bureau of Indian Affairs. The ten tribes include the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribal Council and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head in Massachusetts, The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Indian Tribe in Connecticut, The Narragansett in Rhode Island and five tribes in Maine. The tribes in Maine include the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, Houlton Band of Malaseet, Passamaquoddy (Indian Township), Passamaquoddy (Pleasant Point) and the Penobscot.

Source:epa.gov news release 4/21/12

CASEJ:

CASEJ met last night deciding plans for the Summer. This will likely include joining a rally in protest of the re-permitting of the Pilgrim Power Plant on June 7th and another advocating for clean sustainable energy on June 14th.  Details:

Pilgrim Coalition protest at NRC hearing on nuke plants Thursday June 7 at 9:15 a.m. (yes, this Thursday!) at Post Office Square. Bring signs. Why? According to the invite: “While the hearing will be held in Boston, the content pertains to all Mark 1 boiling water reactors in the U.S., which have the same faulty design as the Fukushima reactors.”

On a related note, fourteen people were arrested in Plymouth on May 20th as part of a protest to close the unsafe Pilgrim plant. Some of them will be at the rally. Check out the story in the Boston Occupier.

Lobby Day for Renewables Bill Senate 2214 at State House on Thursday, June 14 (next week).  Meet on State House steps at 11 a.m. next to big banner for Climate Action–Connect the Dots, followed by visits to key legislators with support letter. This is part of an entire week of events with Energy Week Boston. (*Those of us who speak with legislators will be introducing ourselves simply as concerned and active citizens, not as Occupy, Occupy Boston or OB CASEJ.) Whether you want to support it or say that it’s not enough, lets make the clean energy discussion loud!

The full text for Renewables Bill Senate 2214 can be found here.

We will also be training more of our members to tweet, wiki and blog, so watch out!

Young Protester Refusing Eviction From Riverdale Mobile Home Park. Jersey Shore, PA

Looking at the Algonquin Pipeline

Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Gas Transmission Line (as it now stands)

Ever spent a couple days looking up hydraulic fracturing? It involves sifting through unpleasant, murky information that can ultimately leave you feeling a little sick to your stomach. Crucial information is simply not there, and if you trace the periphery around what is missing, and why it is missing, the outline draws a picture that is not quite right.

I’ll start with a story of my own. Several years ago, my mother caught my 3 year old brother lugging a big bright orange plastic jack-o-lantern full of water from our second floor bathroom to our third floor attic bedroom. Surprised, she asked him what he was doing. My brother, always fast on his feet, answered.

“Nothing. Um… Don’t come upstairs right now. OK Mom?”.

He quickly scampered up the steps, jack-o-lantern and all.

What did my mother do then? Every parent and every reader knows. Toddlers are not known for their well developed sense of consequence and responsibility. When a toddler says, “Don’t look over there”, a responsible adult has only one real choice.

Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Gas Transmission pipeline has already been built. It looks a a little like a spider vein running through New England, pumps methane to consumers ready for cheap energy, pumps their money to the Texas company that owns it, and relies on  the pumping of unknown chemical agents ultra deep into the earth. This is called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”.

Proposed Algonquin Incremental Market Project

What are these agents? Where do they go?

At the moment, it is very difficult to say what happens. Colorado is the only state requiring companies that frack to divulge both the chemicals and concentrations used for injection, and the legislation was enacted only about a month ago. In 2005 Fracking was exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). According to the EPA, this Act:

“is the main federal law that ensures the quality of Americans’ drinking water. Under SDWA, EPA sets standards for drinking water quality and oversees the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement those standards.”

It gives the EPA the authority to “control underground injection to protect underground drinking water sources”, and so is the legal basis for the EPA’s Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program. Leaving the story of how this happened for another post, in 2005 the term “underground injection” was legally changed to exclude “the underground injection of fluids or propping agents (other than diesel fuels) pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities”. Congress actually changed the definition of “underground injection” legally so that the EPA lost its authority to monitor fracking. It was a very convoluted way of saying, “Don’t look over here. OK?”.

So, we don’t. To the best of my knowledge, when contaminated water near gas wells is analyzed by the EPA, they don’t do any analysis to determine weather those contaminants are a result of fracking. No analysis means no credible documentation.

At the moment, Spectra Energy is planning to expand the line and all operations associated, in order to provide us with more cheap gas. Massachusetts includes a prime slice of the target consumer demographic. Over 30% of our electricity comes from gas  imported and domestic, and in 2010 we used 430 billion cubic feet of it. Implicit in their plans is the assumption that we, the people of Massachusetts, are consumers first and citizens concerned about the health of our neighbors second. The same assumption is made when politicians, even those sympathetic to environmental concerns, say its development would “allow all Americans to benefit from the low-price, abundant, and secure supplies of natural gas now being produced in the United States”. Perhaps, to an old political hand with a heavy plate, this all seems necessary. Still, to a novice it seems like a new spin on the old cohen:

If a kid falls ill in the forest, and no one is there to investigate, does it really matter?

Does it? We lack documentation that fracking has harmed anyone, but have we actually looked? Also, what are our other options?

When my brother was running water to the attic for no discernible reason, Mom looked. That’s what good moms do. We were in the middle of making a swimming pool…  in a cardboard box.

For those of us who are fortunate, childhood is a time when we feel safe and protected, sometimes even from the consequences of our own actions. My brother and I found ourselves in serious trouble over the “swimming pool” but, really, we were prevented from causing structural damage to our childhood home. Adulthood is a time when we recognize that the world can be quite dangerous. It is when we take responsibility for protecting ourselves, our community, and quintessentially our most vulnerable members.

In the absence of nearly any regulation, fracking presents a difficult situation, and it is very easy to turn the other way. Still, being a responsible adult, a responsible citizen, means that you look, even and perhaps especially when critical information is missing. From that perspective, whether and how we respond to Spectra’s proposal for the Algonquin pipeline expansion is not simply a question of what we will do, but ultimately a question of who we are.

You won’t find the answer to that one online.

My Accomplice
(a few years after the “swimming pool” debacle)