Wednesday, April 23, 2014

South Dakota, New Mexico, Wyoming spinning energy revolving door

Looks like South Dakota Secretary of Tribal Relations JR LaPlante is leaving a Republican post for one under a Democrat. My guess is he got fed up with the kidnapping of American Indian kids during the Rounds and Daugaard terms. You can listen to Kealey Bultena's story that she produced for Bill Janklow's idea of public radio here.

The sign for Black Hills Exploration and Production in Bloomfield, New Mexico was head-snapping on the recent drive to Chaco Wash. So was the announcement that ecoterrorist Peabody Coal is sending their CEO to deliver the commencement speech at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology where a Peabody board member, an earth hater former US Representative from New Mexico, serves as president. Her twitter feed reveals quite the jet-setter life regularly flying home to Albuquerque and elsewhere. Fracking is happening just outside of Chaco threatening to trigger seismic activity under the fragile sacred site.

Intersecting with a blogger's obsession and Republicans plundering the earth for personal and corporate gain is a piece from guest writer University of Wyoming professor emeritus Peter Shive posted at WyoFile. Here are a few grafs:

Powerful external and internal voices argue that the University has failed to adequately serve the needs of the state, and that we must never offend the energy industries. Because of the importance of energy resources to Wyoming’s economy, we are encouraged to enter into “partnerships with energy.” Our newest college, the School of Energy Resources, is designed to foster such partnerships.
I saw the benefits of similar partnerships to my department colleagues, and in fact the new Geology building was built using excess funds from the Abandoned Mine Lands program, which would not have existed without Wyoming coal. These partnerships worked, and the key reason they worked was that there were no strings attached.
It is different now, because the strings (cables, actually) have been added. When legislators say, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you,” or threaten to reduce or remove university funding, and even suggest reprisals to individuals for offending an energy corporation, the message is that we must not carry out certain kinds of research projects or reach conclusions that an energy corporation might not like.
This kind of coercion is fatal. In certain areas of interest to the energy corporations, it will eventually drive away the legitimate researchers and replace them with the sort of scientists who used to work for the cigarette companies. However, if energy corporations need to not be offended, then their needs are not the same as the needs of the state. Why not? Because corporations sometimes lie or obstruct the search for the truth, because one of the duties of a university is to reveal the truth, and because one of the rights of its citizens should be to have access to the truth. Wyoming is not well served if it requires its own university to lie to its own citizens. [Shive, Corporations lie. So what? WyoFile with permission, links ip added]
When Black Hills Corp. greases candidates like Heather Wilson while South Dakota's Board of Minerals and Environment makes conflicts of interest harder to find and the Public Utilities Commission is stacked with Republicans, the blur of the revolving door is head-snapping.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Anthropocene threatening extinction of Earth Day


Elizabeth Harball and ClimateWire wrote about findings cited in a report published in the journal Nature:
Compared with a watershed where a beetle infestation's impacts were less intense and occurred less recently, a watershed with more beetle-killed trees absorbs about 30 percent more groundwater, the researchers found. In fact, the study was motivated by a paper published in Nature Climate Change in October of 2012 that found that Colorado water treatment facilities in beetle-impacted areas dealt with higher organic carbon concentrations in their source water — along with significantly more disinfection byproducts in the drinking water, which can be harmful to human health. [Scientific American]

The scale of carbon emissions associated with industrial activity and land clearing is leading to a rise in atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHG) at a rate unprecedented in the Cainozoic record, excepting events triggered by global volcanic eruptions, large asteroid impacts and methane release. Such an evidence is leading to attempts at classification of a new geological era—the Anthropocene. The era has been defined in terms of the onset of the modern industrial age and its acceleration since about 1950.
On one hand, it could be from the onset of Neolithic agriculture and gradual rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) since ∼6000 years ago and methane since ∼4000 years ago. On the other hand, it may be an amalgamation of factors in an era referred to as the Palaeoanthropocene. This paper suggests the defining point leading to the Anthropocene and subsequently the 6th mass extinction of species hinges on the mastery of fire and thereby the magnification of energy output and entropy in nature over which, in the long term, the species has no control. The discoveries of ignition of fire and its transfer have rendered Homo a unique genus from the minimum age of >1.8 million years (Ma) ago, regarded as a turning point in biological evolution and termed here Early Anthropocene. The onset of the Neolithic, allowed by stabilization of the Holocene climate, is referred to as the Middle Anthropocene, while the onset of the industrial age since about 1750 AD is referred to as the Late Anthropocene. [Andrew Glikson, Fire and human evolution: The deep-time blueprints of the Anthropocene]

Monday, April 21, 2014

Quinnipiac: over half of Colorado voters have tried cannabis

Luke Runyon of KUNC, produced a radio story on Colorado's cannabis industry: businesses are rebranding product offering organic strains while still being challenged by banking laws.

Data released by Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University pollsters show cannabis trends across seven states in which they had conducted polls last February and March.

A Pew poll reflects American acceptance of cannabis becoming more universal.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Lederman linked to Bendagate, too

On the anniversary of the BP ecocide in the Gulf of Mexico, South Dakota's Bendagate just gets weirder.

State Senator Dan Lederman and lawyer Joel Arends have teamed up to run Annette Bosworth in the earth hater US Senate primary in South Dakota to deflect attention from former governor Mike Rounds, the current cash leader in the race and to siphon resources from viable candidates: it's likely there are two fraudulent runners. Rounds is stained by the EB-5 Bendagate scandal as are his successor, Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Attorney General Marty Jackley.

Jonathan Ellis writes in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:
SDRC Inc., a South Dakota company that managed the state’s EB-5 immigrant investor program, wanted to supply financing to TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, a project that ignited a fierce national political battle between environmentalists and pro-business groups. A state investigation revealed that Richard Benda, the former secretary of economic development and tourism under Gov. Mike Rounds, diverted $550,000 of a $1 million state grant to Northern Beef Packers shortly after Benda left state government to work for SDRC. [Ellis, Documents link state-sponsored company, Keystone XL]
Scott Waltman from the Aberdeen American News:
Dennis Hellwig was answering a series of questions in February 2013 about the plant’s financing and a $2.11 million mechanic’s lien filed against the plant by Scott Olson Digging five years earlier, in March 2008. He also testified in the deposition that he once tried to call Rounds’ office to discuss the plant and left a message for the governor. A couple of minutes later, Hellwig said, Benda called him back and said, “You go through me to get to the governor." [Waltman, Beef plant deals fired up, froze]
Bob Mercer sez:
And for what it’s worth, the public-affairs trio whose firm is running the U.S. Senate campaign of former Gov. Mike Rounds — the former governor’s former chief of staff Rob Skjonsberg, former senior aide Jason Glodt and former state Sen. Bob Gray — also are involved in the effort to put together the money to get the line west to Lyman. It all might be a coincidence, but it’s also worth noting that the former governor’s father, Don Rounds, was a long-time lobbyist for the petroleum industry. The Obama administration will be in office through 2016. With a new South Dakota permit becoming necessary, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the next move would be proposal of rail shipping that could send trains of oil in any direction from South Dakota. This matter bears watching. [Bob Mercer, Pure Pierre Politics

Josh Lederman wrote an overtly partisan piece the Mitchell Daily Republic. He is standing left in the twitter photo below while Dan Lederman is on the right.
The 1,179-mile pipeline, which has been waiting for more than five years for approval, would travel through Montana and South Dakota to a hub in Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines to carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day to Texas refineries.