Monday, December 19, 2011

Musings On The State of Our Environment


By Norris McDonald

The Occupy DC folk have partnered with Marsha Coleman-Adebayo and the No Fear Coalition to incubate an Occupy EPA movement.  Of course, the holiday season is muting the occupiers IMO.  Plus, global warming has kept it warm, but the entire Occupy Movement will be tested during the cold of January and February.  Yet I suspect they are not going anywhere.  And the folk at EPA do not seem to care too much about the budding movement down at Freedom Plaza in Washingtion, DC.  I've been down this road before.  Funny things can happen when you ignore the streets.  Will Bill McKibben join with Marsha and the Freedom Plaza Occupiers? Inquiring minds want to know.  Let's just say that Earth Day will probably be very interesting in 2012.

The Keystone XL pipeline is like a Twilight Zone episode.  One minute it is dead and the next minute it is alive and the next minute it is dead.  Greenies surround the White House and scare the president into punting on the project.  Industry and Republicans hit back with legislation tied to a payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits.  Rod Serling would be right at home on Capitol Hill.  The Keystone XL pipeline will get built, but approvals will have to wait until after the 2012 elections.  It is just a political football until then.  If pipelines are to be built, we want some African American ownership.  For the Keystone XL pipeline is but a small part of the thousands of miles of pipelines that will be needed if America is to meet its voracious energy demand.

Virginia Uranium wants to mine uranium in Virginia.  I like to write that.  There is a pretty big deposit of the radioactive mineral near the North Carolina border.  The NAACP has come out in opposition to the project siting environmental justice considerations.  We are pro nuclear, but our jury is still out on this project.  Will the nuclear industry get serious about community concerns, or will they simply try to blast their way through the Virginia legislature.  Inquiring minds want to know. 

Hydraulic fracturing could provide all of the natural gas we ever dreamed of having.  EPA should finalize a years-long study in 2012 that will determine the environmental impacts of fracking.  A preliminary EPA report on fracking in a small town in Wyoming has found contaminants in groundwater.  The fracking industry disputes the findings of the report.  Ultimately, America might have to decide whether having all the natural gas we want is worth contaminating some groundwater sources.    We have established criteria for evaluating fracking projects.

I guess that is enough musing for this week.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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