Tag Archives: Pollution

The Region Worries About Pollutants From WV

Will ill winds carry pollutants from West Virginia to Virginia and Maryland?

Will ill winds carry pollutants from West Virginia to Virginia and Maryland?

Citizens and public officials from Virginia and Maryland are concerned about an 150-million-dollar 135-acre WV insulation manufacturing plant in Ranson that may hurl pollutants up two 200-foot high smokestacks that will fall upon the citizens of West Virginia but also Virginia and Maryland as well.

The citizens of Ranson, WV, where the factory is to be located, following a June 2018 ground-breaking, are up in arms protesting what this could mean to the health and wellbeing of their children attending nearby schools and daycare facilities.

The plant is scheduled to run 24/7, and is located directly across Route 9 from North Jefferson Elementary School, and within 10,000 feet of T.A. Lowery Elementary, Jefferson High School and Wildwood Middle School.  These four schools have about 2,744 students.  Parents are talking about removing their children from school and moving. Continue reading

Indifference to the Earth, Our Home

Open field (photo by John P. Flannery)

Open field (photo by John P. Flannery)

There is this ridiculous notion that the earth is some magical waste dump that can absorb every harmful thing we do.

Some believe we can spew forth every kind of toxic garbage into the air, water, and earth and, magically and somehow it’s all good.

This happy time worldview is a direct result of a rampant childlike indifference to preserving and protecting our natural resources, and our own lives.

The “need for greed,” to get top dollar, that infects our energy industry “leaders” makes them distort the facts of global warming in the junk science they publish.

Our leaders take the corporate contributions of fossil fuel predators and vote their way, insisting that we not trust our senses that that’s what they are doing, even as they do it at the cost of our health and safety and survival.  In the bargain, they stall cleaner, safer renewable energy sources.

Remember those tobacco execs swearing before Congress that they weren’t spiking cigarettes with nicotine, and that no one’s health was at risk. Continue reading

The president of Pittsburg, not Paris

Life on Mars

Life on Mars

There are plenty who embrace space travel and the science that might take us to Mars – in part because a lot of these wannabe astronauts have given up on saving earth – and think space flight to Mars is next up to form colonies.  Any takers?

These self-styled survivalists delude themselves that these other worldly colonies are a good idea because of what Matt Damon’s stranded character did in a sci-fi movie – given the ingenuity of this imagined scientist to stay alive until he could be rescued.

If we do the kitchen table math, to get to the fourth rock from our sun, to Mars, we could travel the 35 million miles in several hundred days if we were going at about 36,000 miles an hour.

But here’s the rub, putting aside how complicated that space mission would be, based on low bidder equipment, when we get there with our landing party, we have to terraform Mars, modify its atmosphere, temperature, topography and ecology so that Mars is habitable.

What makes us think we can or would make Mars livable when we won’t take the time or effort to sustain the planet where we now live – and the only known space rock in the universe where we can live.

You might ask Mr. Donald Trump that question.

The Paris agreement was a break through to address the threat of global climate change.  The objective was for the nations to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) – to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

After all, we are the 2nd greatest carbon emission polluter on the planet.  We are a large part of the “problem.”

It took more than twenty years for nations around the world to agree to an approach, and Mr. Trump preferred instead to join Syria and Nicaragua in dissent from that approach, with a thumb in the eye and thug shove to every other nation who might have believed we were all in this together to save the planet.  Continue reading

The canary in the stream

Horse fly larva

Horse fly larva

The expression and the actual practice is “the canary in the coal mine,” a means to detect deadly levels of carbon dioxide gas that overwhelms the canary, signaling to the miners that they might succumb next, and so they are fairly warned to escape.

There are comparable early warning signs, using other small creatures, to detect whether the river and stream waters that we drink, fish and swim in may be “impaired,” or significantly degraded.

Unfortunately, we do have “impaired waters” – so this is not an academic question.

All our County’s streams are affected by human activities, especially development, and some do not meet the standards of the Clean Water Act and Virginia Water Quality Standards for recreational use and aquatic life.

We have to be concerned about Catoctin Creek and Goose Creek and their tributaries, Little River, Limestone Branch, Piney Run, Broad Run and Sugarland Run.  We all have an obligation as stewards to use but not alter or compromise this most essential natural resource, the waters by which we live.

We have pollution from storm water runoff, grazing, failing septic tank systems.  The more impervious surfaces we have, the more our watersheds are compromised.  Nor can we ignore the fecal bacteria mostly due to livestock.  We have to remediate against these polluting practices.

The good news is that there are things we can do to protect and preserve our waterways and we have the means to detect when our streams are “impaired.” Continue reading

Dominion’s 550 mile toxic gas pipeline

dominionpipelineWe all resent the fact that Dominion Power owns the elected officials and pols in both parties in the Commonwealth of Virginia, rather than having our elected “representatives” represent “our” interests.

Dominion Power dictates legislation that favors its unrestrained exploitation of our natural resources in derogation of our individual rights and liberties.

Only days ago, our leaders in both parties told us that it was a good deal for us to have a floor on electricity rates and to exempt Dominion from regulatory oversight for seven years.

Last year, the General Assembly gave Dominion a $400 million corporate welfare write-off for a plant that Dominion may never build.

A particularly obvious example of personal excess is a million dollar state grant to Dominion’s CEO, Thomas Farell, to make a civil war movie.

Unsurprisingly, Dominion has no hesitation about planning a 550 mile 42-inch wide pipeline, called the Atlantic Pipeline, from Harrison County, WV, through Virginia, and on to North Carolina, full of fracked and toxic liquid natural gas, 1.5 billion cubic feet a day, at a pressure of 1,440 psig, extracted from the Marcellus shale fields in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

In order to build this pipeline, Dominion shall destroy swaths of forests and private property, compromise wildlife and historic venues, and, when they’re done, if we don’t stop this juggernaut now, there will be toxic liquid natural gas (LNG) spills and leaks. Continue reading

Impure Water – And Getting Worse?

When we use water, drink it, cook with it, bathe in it, it’s not “pure.” 

Accepting that it’s impure, how “safe” is our water?

The answer is we have cause for concern.

The reasons are obvious in Northern Virginia.

There is the increased density of our population, the accompanying development, the large number of households that use wells, the bad practices that many of us follow that can compromise the water’s “purity,” and, perhaps worst of all, the waste products that industry is allowed by law to dump into the water, also what industry dumps that is unlawful (that it’s not supposed to discharge), and how weakly the feds and the state push back against those who pollute, allowing the general public to absorb the cost and risk to their health and mortality.

We don’t always think of the cycle of water that we take for granted. Continue reading

Birth Control Is Pro-Life

Population_explosion_birth_controlBirth control is pro-life.

Birth control means we have the children we want, that we can afford to raise and care for, and that we are bearing those children we can sustain.

There is an impulse in this nation to reproduce children without regard for whether the children are wanted or sustainable.

That’s why we have 400,000 children in this nation in foster and state homes. Half of these children in foster care have chronic medical problems. Those who age out of foster care endure homelessness, poor health, unemployment, incarceration and worse.

In response to a question online, “Should pro-life activists be morally obligated to adopt, love and provide for a ‘saved child’ currently living in state care,” 71% responded that they feel no obligation to adopt any unwanted child themselves.

Continue reading

BLUNDER ON …

It is remarkable how often, after the fact, everybody knows what should have been done to avoid the latest national disaster.

You have to wonder if they really thought about the matter at all beforehand.

Consider how many Americans following the Boston Marathon bombing thought Chechens were from Czechoslovakia.

Petr Gandalovič, Ambassador to the United States from the Czech Republic, had to inform the “social media” that “the Czech Republic is a Central European country; Chechnya is a part of the Russian Federation.”

What we don’t know, we all need to know so that we can make informed policy decisions.

To make matters worse, our modern political “dialogue” consists principally of public disinformation focused on banal distractions and not what really matters.

We are a culture that poses with equanimity but that incites its citizens against immigrants, racial minorities, welfare mothers, feminists, gays and lesbians.

In the shadow of Earth Day, I’d like to underscore one of those issues that prompts a sadly anorexic dialogue about how we can safely breathe the air and drink the water.

Continue reading