Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Hope Blogging

The EPA has vetoed a mountaintop-removal mining project:

The Environmental Protection Agency today denied a crucial Clean Water Act permit for the largest-ever proposed mountaintop-removal coal mine in Appalachia. The agency’s veto of the permit for the controversial Spruce Mine in Logan County, W.V., is the first-ever retroactive denial of a mining permit. The permit had already been approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but the EPA had authority to overrule that decision. Its permit denial means the mine cannot go forward as planned.
Iowa will permit Planned Parenthood to use telemedicine:
Medical regulators for the state of Iowa announced yesterday that they will not punish a Planned Parenthood doctor for prescribing mifepristone, also known as RU-486 or the abortion pill, remotely through telemedicine. Last year, Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion group, filled a formal complaint with the Iowa State Board of Medicine arguing that the video method did not meet the state law requiring medical doctors be present for the administration of the pill.
Researchers have identified a farming method that may reduce nitrous oxide emissions:
One field was “strip tilled” with nitrogen fertilizer placed in a band in the soil, while another field was left untilled with a surface application of nitrogen fertilizer. The research team found that strip tillage and banded fertilizer significantly reduced the amount of greenhouse gases emitted per bushel of corn grain production, when compared to that of surface applied no-till treatments.
Gila National Forest in New Mexico is proposing to ban ORVs from the San Francisco River:
Gila National Forest officials are proposing to keep off-road vehicles out of the San Francisco River, a move that would provide important protection for endangered fish, frogs and birds that use the river habitat. The proposal — which is likely to be fought by off-roaders — is part of a new draft “travel management plan” that will determine where ORVs will be allowed. The public can provide input on the draft plan at a series of meetings this month in New Mexico....

The Gila National Forest’s plan is in stark contrast to a similar plan released by the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona in late 2010. Each alternative in the Arizona plan would permit all types of vehicles, from ATVs to monster trucks, to drive directly in a section of the San Francisco River that runs from the confluence of the Blue River to Clifton, Arizona.

A federal court has ruled against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's attempt to reduce habitat for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat:
Monday’s decision resolves a lawsuit filed in 2009 by the Center for Biological Diversity, San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society and Friends of the Northern San Jacinto Valley challenging the 2008 “critical habitat” designation for the kangaroo rat. U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson threw out the 2008 decision, which provided just 7,779 acres of critical habitat, and reinstated a 2002 decision, which set aside more than 33,000 acres for the species.
And a federal appeals court has upheld the addition of a U.S. Magnesium plant in Utah to the Superfund list:

EPA officials say the site is heavily contaminated. Company officials have said the EPA overstated any hazards. But the appeals court says the agency's decision was not "arbitrary or capricious."

Six frog species have been rediscovered in Haiti:
The species, some of which were last seen two decades ago, were discovered during a biological survey in the remnants of the country's severely degraded tropical forests.

"It was incredible", said Robin Moore, a biologist with Conservation International who co-led the October expedition to a remote mountain area in Southern Haiti. "We went in looking for one missing species and found a treasure trove of others. That, to me, represents a welcome dose of resilience and hope for the people and wildlife of Haiti."

Photo © Robin Moore/iLCP
Apparently, we're better off not making left turns:
A new study from North Carolina State University says that superstreets are actually more efficient than traditional intersections. The researchers collected data from three superstreets in North Carolina that had traffic lights and looked at travel time for both right and left turns as well as passing straight through. They also examined collision data from 13 superstreet intersections in that state that didn’t have traffic lights.

“The study shows a 20 percent overall reduction in travel time compared to similar intersections that use conventional traffic designs,” says NCSU engineering professor Joe Hummer, one of the researchers who conducted the study. “We also found that superstreet intersections experience an average of 46 percent fewer reported automobile collisions—and 63 percent fewer collisions that result in personal injury.”

The Los Angeles MTA has retired its last diesel-powered bus:
The last diesel bus in the 2,228 vehicle fleet of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) was recently retired, making Metro the first major transit agency in the world to operate only "alternative" fuel buses. They now have 2,221 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses, one electric, and six gasoline-electric hybrid buses.
Toyota claims to be developing a motor that does not require rare-earth minerals:

The motor could help cut Toyota’s dependency on rare-earth materials from China, which controls more than 90 percent of the global market for the metals. China’s government cut export quotas for the first half of 2011 by 35 percent last month. That follows a 72 percent reduction in the second half of 2010, causing the price of some of the metals to more than double.

Bayer will phase out production and storage of methyl isocynate at a West Virginia plant:

Bayer officials said the moves are a result of the company's agreement last August to phase out the pesticide aldicarb because of concerns it posed "unacceptable dietary risks," especially to children. Company officials also cited a 1995 pledge by Bayer to move away from products that global public health officials believe are especially dangerous.

Floriated ornament. Words of five syllables, including "fornication." Book Worship. Photos by Magnús Ólafsson ljósmyndari. A visit to Donbass. And photos by Sarah Moon.

Swiss images (via things). This City Called Earth (ditto). Overhead wires. The periodic table engraved on a human hair. And via wood s lot, photos by Harold Cazneaux and scenes from Spitalfields Life.

Medium religion. Photos by William Darhy. Reinhabited Circle Ks. Transit symbolism. The domestic life of alchemists (via Peacay). Gaslight images. And old pastimes:

And the inevitable short film.

(Painting at top: "Laguna" by Guido Cadorin.)


liliannattel said...

Hurray for the frogs!

chris said...

I wonder what the Texas board of Education would do with B, Franklin's "The New England Primer."
Fornication is bad bad bad but on the next page it says,"The idle Fool Is whipt at School."
Tough choice.

Lars said...

I had not realized that the Michelin Man was a cult figure in the early 20th-century West Coast area.