People for the West -Tucson
PO Box 86868, Tucson, AZ 85754-6868 firstname.lastname@example.org
Newsletter, November, 2017
Real environmentalism can go hand in hand with natural resource production, private property rights, and access to public lands
It’s time to dump the EPA “endangerment finding” which classified carbon dioxide as a pollutant
by Jonathan DuHamel
In 2009, the EPA ruled, under the Clean Air Act, that “the current and projected concentrations of the six key well-mixed greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)—in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.” In essence, the EPA classified carbon dioxide as a pollutant.
For some perspective, note that current atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is about 400ppm (parts per million) while the air we exhale with every breathe contains 40,000ppm carbon dioxide. Is breathing causing air pollution?
This EPA ruling in effect allowed EPA to regulate everything from automobile exhaust to power plants to refrigerators. In order to overturn the finding, one would have to successfully show that the underlying scientific basis is wrong – and it is. Another tactic would be to have Congress amend the Clean Air Act, something that is very unlikely in the current contentious Congress.
The EPA’s scientific basis is derived from climate models, predictions of which diverge widely from reality. See my Wryheat blog article: “More Evidence That Climate Models Are Wrong”
Additional reading on the “Endangerment Finding” if you want to get into the details:
The EPA CO2 endangerment finding endangers the USA by Dennis Avery.
“In science, if your theory doesn’t take account of all the relevant data, you need a new theory.” Avery shows how the climate models fail to explain observations. Dennis Avery is a former U.S. State Department senior analyst and co-author with astrophysicist Fred Singer of Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years.
by Alan Carlin. Carlin is a scientist and economist who worked for the RAND Corp. and the EPA.
“Revoking the EF is the only way to bring the climate alarmism scam to the untimely end it so richly deserves in the US and hopefully indirectly elsewhere. Until that happens the CIC [climate industrial complex] will continue to pursue its bad science through reports such as the National Climate Assessment with the recommended disastrous policies that would seriously damage the environment, impoverish the less wealthy, and bring economic disaster for our Nation by raising the prices and decreasing the availability and reliability of fossil fuel energy which is so central to our way of life and economy.”
In a separate post, Carlin also said that “EPA never engaged in a robust, meaningful discussion. Rather, there was a pro forma review after a decision had already been made which met many but not all of the legal requirements.” He lists “six crucial scientific issues that EPA did not actively discuss despite my best efforts to bring a few of them to their attention in early 2009.”
Patrick J. Michaels is the director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute. Michaels is a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and was program chair for the Committee on Applied Climatology of the American Meteorological Society. He was a research professor of Environmental Sciences at University of Virginia for 30 years.
“We the undersigned are individuals who have technical skills and knowledge relevant to climate science and the GHG Endangerment Finding. We each are convinced that the 2009 GHG Endangerment Finding is fundamentally flawed and that an honest, unbiased reconsideration is in order.” ☼
Other EPA news:
EPA to end Obama-era ‘sue and settle’ practice
By Ben Wolfgang – The Washington Times
The Trump administration took steps to end the highly controversial “sue and settle” practice that led directly to a host of environmental regulations throughout former President Obama’s tenure.
In an agency-wide directive, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said the process has “harmed the American public” and kept citizens in the dark about exactly how rules and regulations are made.
“The days of regulation through litigation are over,” Mr. Pruitt said in a statement. “We will no longer go behind closed doors and use consent decrees and settlement agreements to resolve lawsuits filed against the agency by special interest groups where doing so would circumvent the regulatory process set forth by Congress. Additionally, gone are the days of routinely paying tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees to these groups with which we swiftly settle.” Read more
For some background on “sue and settle” see EPA’s Secret And Costly ‘Sue And Settle’ Collusion With Environmental Organizations ☼
Some Tucson archaeological history:
Archaeological Discoveries Reveal Value of Santa Cruz River in Prehistory
by Sam Potteiger, Water Resources Research Center
When people think of Tucson, Arizona, they typically think of our scorching hot summers or the highly-regarded University of Arizona. However, Tucson can also be associated with a rich history dating back to the earliest Southwest Paleoindians. In fact, the Santa Cruz River Valley is one of North America’s longest inhabited regions. The earliest evidence of human occupation dates back 12,000 years, prior to the existence of the Clovis peoples. The Clovis culture is generally regarded by archaeologists to be the ancestors of most Native American tribes. Around 4,000 prehistoric sites have been identified in the Santa Cruz watershed and exciting new discoveries continue to be made. These discoveries could potentially alter how archaeologists view the technological progression of the region’s earliest inhabitants.
The Tucson area is known to have been an important agricultural hub for ancient Native American tribes, and the Santa Cruz River floodplain contains the earliest recorded instances of irrigation in the Southwest. Evidence suggests that it was farmed extensively in the Early Agricultural Period, roughly 2,000 – 3,000 years ago.
Nearly two years ago, construction began to connect West Sunset Road with I-10 and North Silverbell Road. A worker excavating at the site of a planned bridge made an astounding discovery. As Patrick McNamara described in the Tucson Daily Star (sic), the excavator, Dan Arnit, gently scratched away at the dirt, revealing what looked to him to be a heel. He slowly uncovered the rest of the print to reveal the toes and eventually a set of human footprints. The prints belonged to ancient farmers who had tended to fields along the Santa Cruz River, which is thought to have existed up to a mile away from its current location. The rest of the site was excavated to reveal an ancient agricultural field with multiple sets of footprints, field boundaries, planting pits, and irrigation canals.
According to McNamara, these findings were more than just a glimpse into history for Jason Bahe, Pima County Department of Transportation project manager. For Native Americans, the site represents a medium to establish a relationship with their ancestry. Bahe, of Navajo descent, brought his daughter to the site, which provides a 3,000-year-old snapshot of the life of these early farmers. The discovery made there is the earliest evidence of the use of irrigation in the Santa Cruz Valley.
Sunset Road acts as a lens into a transitional period for the Santa Cruz peoples. During this period, societies moved towards larger permanent settlements and increased prosperity. At settlements along the Santa Cruz River, people grew corn, squash, and beans to supplement existing hunting and trapping. Eventually, multiple family groups began to settle together. Populations boomed, and settlements expanded into villages and harnessed resources from a greater area. Other aspects of culture advanced as a result of this expanded wealth. At the site at Sunset Road, the technological advances of the early Santa Cruz societies can be seen. There is evidence of trade with neighboring tribes and even with peoples as far as Mesoamerica. Scholars have posited that as culture flourished and the Early Agricultural Period came to a close, distinct identities began to appear among the Paleoindians. Archaeologists point to this time as the moment when a culture formed that could distinctly be labeled Hohokam. The Hohokam method of irrigation was unparalleled anywhere else in the Southwest. The canals the Paleoindians and early Hohokam built in the Santa Cruz Valley prefigured the complex networks that the Hohokam built in Central Arizona nearly 2,000 years later.
The Hohokam canals built in the Mesa area as long ago as 600 CE are still considered engineering marvels. The irrigation system is simple, but the true marvel of its creation is its monumental scale. The trenches were dug 12 feet deep and diverted water from the Salt and Gila Rivers. The main channels, which drew water directly from the river, were wide at their mouths and tapered as secondary branches drew water from the main channel. By reducing the channel size as the flow decreased, the Hohokam were able to sustain a steady flow rate throughout the different branches of the system. The steady flow rates ensured that the irrigation system would function correctly. If the flows were too fast, sediment would be brought into the trenches and hinder flow. Water that was too slow might not reach the fields at the ends of the branching canals. By meticulously crafting their canals, the Hohokam were able to support an estimated population of 80,000 through the irrigation of more than 100,000 acres of land between 1,100 CE and 1,450 CE. The much earlier sites on the Santa Cruz River indicate that the Hohokam had perfected their irrigation techniques over the course of several millennia.
Archaeological discoveries provide evidence that the Santa Cruz River acted as the heart of all life in the Tucson area for thousands of years. In historic times, Europeans encountered Native American societies built around the bounty the river provided, although by that time the ancient irrigation canals had long since been abandoned and lost under layers of sediment. Father Eusebio Kino, a Spanish missionary, was the first European to set foot into the Santa Cruz Valley. He founded Mission San José de Tumacácori in 1691, and over the course of the next century, the Spanish established other missions in the region where orchards and gardens were irrigated by diverting water from the river.
At the time of American settlement in the 19th Century, the river still had a beneficent aspect. Julius Froebel, German journalist and world-traveler, was astounded by the natural beauty of the river during his visit in the mid-1800s. “The banks of the river, and the valley itself, are covered with poplars and willows, ash trees and plantains, oaks and walnut trees.” Froebel was enchanted by the stark contrast between the bountiful river valley and the harsh surrounding desert. The meadows and grasses of the river valley also supported a diverse range of wildlife. Gold-hungry settlers rushing to California mentioned catching turkeys and hunting pronghorn along the riverbanks. The history of the Santa Cruz River describes a river of plenty. For early inhabitants, it was the source of life in an otherwise challenging environment. The Hohokam constructed sophisticated canal systems to divert its water and support a thriving community. Long after the times of the Hohokam, European settlers saw how the river breathed life into the desert. Although the river may not flow in Tucson anymore, discoveries like those made at Sunset Road act as reminders of the Santa Cruz as a living river. (Source) ☼
Historic Preservation Laws Lead to Deterioration, So Does Involuntary Conservation
by Jonathan Wood
Under historic preservation laws, allowing a structure to age creates a significant liability for property owners, a condition which is easily avoided. The laws ironically encourage the destruction of buildings just before they would potentially be subject to designation. So too with many environmental regulations. Burdensome Endangered Species Act regulations encourage the preemptive destruction of habitat before it can be designated for the species’ protection. Read more ☼
STATE OF THE UNION
Desert Pupfish Forces Border Agents to Patrol on Foot
by Audrey Hudson, Human Events
Federal agents must abandon their vehicles and chase drug smugglers and illegal aliens on foot through 40 acres near the Mexican border because of a pond that is home to the endangered desert pupfish.
It’s part of the agreement between the Homeland Security and Interior departments on how best to protect the ecosystem, frustrating lawmakers who say it also prevents agents from conducting routine patrols.
Drug cartels and other criminals could care less about these so-called memos of understanding, or whether they are trampling through a protected species’ habitat, Rep. Rob Bishop (R.-Utah) told Human Events.
“They would just as soon eat an endangered species as protect it,” Bishop said. The two-inch, bluish pupfish lives in the Quitobaquito Pond and spring channel in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument west of Tucson, Ariz. Read more ☼
Politicized sustainability threatens planet and people
by Anthony Watts
It seems nearly everyone wants to advance sustainability principles. The problem is, no one really knows what they are. Real sustainability means responsible conservation and stewardship of natural resources. The public relations variety is mostly image-enhancing fluff. Politicized sustainability – the version that’s all the rage on college campuses and among government regulators – insists that we may meet the needs of current generations only to the extent that doing so “will not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”
The problem with this infinitely malleable definition is that it requires us to predict both unpredictable future technologies and their raw material demands. Even worse, we are supposed to protect those future needs even if it means ignoring or compromising the undeniable needs of current generations – including the needs and welfare of the most impoverished, politically powerless people on Earth today. That’s why this irrational, unworkable, environmentally destructive idea deserves to land in history’s trash bin. Read more from an essay by Paul Driessen ☼
Why Protecting the Northern Spotted Owl Sparks Forest Fires
By Terry Anderson, Newsweek
This past summer, wildfires scorched nearly eight million acres across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.
Most of the fires, which cost taxpayers $2 billion to fight, were on national forest land.
Increased fuel loads over the last century—resulting from trees that are diseased, insect infested, and dead—are a major cause of these massive wildfires.
Before the Forest Service got into the fire suppression business in the early 1900s, natural succession of forests created a mosaic of new and old growth timber that minimized fuel loads.
The Forest Service wants to use scientific management techniques—including logging, prescribed burns, and thinning—to treat forest fuel loads, but it is continuously thwarted by environmental activists who want to let nature take her course.
Environmentalists use administrative procedures and litigation to stop projects that would reduce fuel loads, claiming that those projects are no substitute for natural processes and that they destroy habitat for endangered species. Read more ☼
Sea level alarm called off:
Inconvenient: NASA shows global sea level…pausing, instead of rising
by Anthony Watts
It appears that a “pause” has developed in global sea levels. For two years, since July 2015, there has been no sustained increase in global sea level, in fact, it appears to have actually fallen a bit. See NASA graphs
Two good essays on sea level and its measurement:
There are two important points which readers must be aware of from the first mention of sea level rise (SLR):
1) SLR is a real imminent threat to coastal cities and low-lying coastal and near-coastal densely-populated areas.
2) SLR is not a threat to anything else — not now, not in a hundred years — probably not in a thousand years — maybe, not ever.
Germany’s Green Caste System: Poor Forced to Subsidize the Green Elites
Over the past two decades, Germany has focused its political will and treasure on a world-leading effort to wean its powerful economy off the traditional energy sources blamed for climate change.
The benefits of the program have not been universally felt, however. A de facto class system has emerged, saddling a group of have-nots with higher electricity bills that help subsidize the installation of solar panels and wind turbines elsewhere.
Germany has spent an estimated 189 billion euros (about $222 billion) since 2000 on renewable energy subsidies. But emissions have been stuck at roughly 2009 levels, and rose last year, as coal-fired plants fill a void left by Germany’s decision to abandon nuclear power. That has raised Read more. ☼
Claim: Climate Change will Make Roads Rougher
by Eric Worrall
According to a study by Arizona State University, global warming will accelerate deterioration of roads because the original asphalt won’t cope with the anticipated rapid temperature rise. Read more ☼
More than 100 schools sign on to teach health risks of climate change
A growing movement in higher education responds to a shortage of health professionals and researchers trained in climate change and health. The Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education (GCCHE) today announced that, since its launch earlier this year, 125 health professions schools and programs around the world have joined and committed to ensure future health professionals are educated on the health impacts of climate change. These impacts include more deadly heat waves, flooding, and wildfires; greater spread of disease vectors like ticks and mosquitos; and growing food and drinking water insecurity. Read more ☼
California mulling ban on fossil-fuel vehicles
The internal combustion engine’s days may be numbered in California, where officials are mulling whether a ban on sales of polluting autos is needed to achieve long-term targets for cleaner air.
Governor Jerry Brown has expressed an interest in barring the sale of vehicles powered by internal-combustion engines, Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, said in an interview Friday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. The earliest such a ban is at least a decade away, she said. Read more ☼
White privilege bolstered by teaching math, university professor says
A math education professor at the University of Illinois says the ability to solve geometry and algebra problems and teaching such subjects perpetuates so-called white privilege.
Rochelle Gutierrez laid out her views on the subject in an article for a newly published anthology for math educators titled, “Building Support for Scholarly Practices in Mathematics Methods.”
“School mathematics curricula emphasizing terms like Pythagorean Theorem and pi perpetuate a perception that mathematics was largely developed by Greeks and other Europeans,” she says, according to Campus Reform. Read more ☼
New California law allows jail time for using wrong gender pronoun, sponsor denies that would happen
By Brooke Singman
California health care workers who “willfully and repeatedly” decline to use a senior transgender patient’s “preferred name or pronouns” could face punishments ranging from a fine to jail time under a newly signed law. Read more ☼
Massive New Coal Boom to Fuel Southeast Asia’s Booming Economies
The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that about 100 GW of new coal-fired power generation capacity is expected to come online in Southeast Asia by 2040, more than doubling the region’s current coal power capacity. Global coal-fired generation capacity to grow by nearly 50% over today’s levels. Read more ☼
Ethanol and corny capitalism
Investors Business Daily
This is one campaign promise we wish President Trump would break. But alas, he just told his EPA to give up any thought of cutting back on the federal government’s anti-consumer, anti-environment ethanol mandate. Sad.
The story begins in 2005, when President Bush approved the Renewable Fuel Standard program as part of an energy bill, which required oil refiners to blend in predetermined amounts of “biofuels” into their gasoline, starting at 4 billion gallons in 2006.
A revised version of the RFS, which Bush signed in 2007, expanding the program, requiring ethanol levels to climb steadily to 36 billion gallons by 2022.
The argument at the time was that forcing ethanol into the market — which is mainly derived from corn — would cut energy imports, improve energy security, reduce pollution, lower fuel costs and create jobs.
Even if those reasons were sufficient at the time to justify this heavy-handed government intervention in the energy market — and we don’t think they were — today’s energy picture makes the ethanol mandate entirely obsolete.
Thanks to the fracking revolution, the U.S. is now awash in domestic supplies of oil and natural gas. Oil prices have dropped and net imports are lower than they’ve been in more than 30 years. The U.S. could become a net exporter of oil within a decade.
So the idea that replacing some oil with ethanol is vital to national security or stable energy prices is a relic of a bygone era.
Nor is the RFS a win for the environment. In fact, various studies have shown that, when you consider the entire life cycle of each energy source, ethanol is a bigger polluter than gasoline. A 2014 University of Minnesota study, for example, found that “corn ethanol is about twice as damaging to the air quality as gasoline.” The Environmental Working Group has called ethanol “a disaster for the climate.”
Ethanol is also bad for fuel economy because it is less energy dense than gasoline. The Department of Energy says that mixing 10% ethanol into gasoline cuts vehicle mileage by up to 4%. The more ethanol, the worse the mileage.
But here’s the worst part about the Renewable Fuel Standard — it threatens to wreck millions of cars on the road.
At the moment, the standard for ethanol blends is 10%. There’s good reason for that. Studies have shown that higher levels of ethanol can damage engines and fuel systems in existing cars, to say nothing of lawn mowers, boats and other equipment. In fact, several carmakers have said that using a 15% ethanol blend could void a car’s warranty, if the car isn’t specifically designed to handle higher ethanol levels.
The problem is that when lawmakers set the annual RFS amounts back in 2007, they assumed that gasoline use would continue to climb at a rapid pace, and so ethanol would remain a small percentage of the total gasoline consumed.
Gasoline sales, however, climbed far more slowly than expected. And refiners say that they won’t be able to meet the rising RFS annual mandates without breaching that 10% limit.
When the EPA under Scott Pruitt announced in early October that the agency was considering slightly lowering the mandated level for ethanol next year, it sparked a firestorm from Republicans. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley accused Trump of a “bait and switch.” He and Iowa’s other senator, Joni Ernst, threatened to block Trump’s EPA appointments. Several Republican governors from the Corn Belt sent a letter to Trump warning him than any cutback in the RFS would be “highly disruptive, unprecedented and potentially catastrophic.”
This week, Trump told Pruitt to back off any talk of cutting the RFS mandate.
It’s a shame that Trump caved on this issue. He, more than anyone else, should know that the free market is the best way to determine how much, if any, ethanol should be added to gasoline. (Source)
War Against Chemicals Is a Shame on Science
by Matt Ridley, The Times
Re: the widely used herbicide glyphosate, also known as Roundup
The entire case against glyphosate is one “monograph” from an obscure World Health Organisation body called the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which concluded that glyphosate might cause cancer at very high doses. It admitted that by the same criteria, sausages and sawdust should also be classified as carcinogens.
Indeed, pound for pound coffee is more carcinogenic than the herbicide, with the big difference that people pour coffee down their throats every day, which they don’t do with glyphosate. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream was recently found to contain glyphosate at a concentration of up to 1.23 parts per billion. At that rate a child would have to eat more than three tonnes of ice cream every day to reach the level at which any health effect could be measured.
The IARC finding is contradicted by the European Food Safety Authority as well as the key state safety agencies in America, Australia and elsewhere. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment looked at more than 3,000 studies and found no evidence of any risk to human beings at realistic doses: carcinogenic, mutagenic, neurotoxic or reproductive. Since glyphosate is a molecule that interferes with a metabolic process found in all plants but no animals, this is hardly surprising. Read more☼
The End of the Ocean Acidification Scare for Corals
The global increase in the atmosphere’s CO2 content has been hypothesized to possess the potential to harm coral reefs directly. By inducing changes in ocean water chemistry that can lead to reductions in the calcium carbonate saturation state of seawater, it has been predicted that elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 may reduce rates of coral calcification, possibly leading to slower-growing — and, therefore, weaker — coral skeletons, and in some cases even death. Such projections, however, often fail to account for the fact that coral calcification is a biologically mediated process, and that out in the real world, living organisms tend to find a way to meet and overcome the many challenges they face, and coral calcification in response to ocean acidification is no exception. A new paper finds that corals can modify, control, and adapt to ocean acidification. Read more at CO2Science. Another study finds that “Reef-building corals thrive within hot-acidified and deoxygenated waters.” Read more at CO2Science. ☼
Great Barrier Reef is recovering “surprisingly” fast
Optimism is rising among scientists that parts of the Great Barrier Reef that were severely bleached over the past two years are making a recovery.
Scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science this month surveyed 14 coral reefs between Cairns and Townsville to see how they fared after being bleached. The institute’s Neil Cantin said they were surprised to find the coral had already started to reproduce. Who would have thought that after 5,000 years of climate change, sea level change, temperature change and super-storms every 200 years — that the Great Barrier Reef would have something left up its sleeve? Read more (Headline from May, 2017: “Great Barrier Reef is damaged beyond repair and can no longer be saved, say scientists” [source])
Polar Bears Are Literally Holding This Russian Town Hostage
by Chris White, Daily Caller
A large group of aggressive polar bears are holding 600 people hostage in a small coastal town in Russia after feasting on the dead carcasses of a nearby colony of walruses.
Local officials believe the polar bears, a species known for its intelligence, forced hundreds of walruses to jump off 125ft cliffs to their deaths. Twenty of the bears are now surrounding the coastal area of Ryrkaypiy. Read more ☼
“History affords us many instances of the ruin of states, by the prosecution of measures ill suited to the temper and genius of their people. The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy.” —Benjamin Franklin (1774)
“The aim of education is to make people think, not spare them from discomfort.” – Robert Zimmer, President, University of Chicago
“We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. We know that in secrecy error undetected will flourish and subvert.” – J Robert Oppenheimer
“Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.” —Benjamin Franklin (1722)
“Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence.” —Joseph Story (1833)
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1) Support private property rights.
2) Support multiple use management of federal lands for agriculture, livestock grazing, mining, oil and gas production, recreation, timber harvesting and water development activities.
3) Support a balance of environmental responsibility and economic benefit for all Americans by urging that environmental policy be based on good science and sound economic principles.
Newsletters can be viewed online on Jonathan’s Wryheat Blog:
See my essay on climate change:
The Constitution is the real contract with America.
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People for the West – Tucson, Inc.
PO Box 86868
Tucson, AZ 85754-6868
Jonathan DuHamel, President & Editor
Dr. John Forrester, Vice President
Lonni Lees, Associate Editor
People for the West – Tucson, Inc. is an Arizona tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) corporation. Newsletter subscriptions are free.
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