Category Archives: Rural
Energy policy, defining how we use energy to power our economy and our lives, is among the most pressing issues for the next four years. In this special edition of BURN, stories about the power of one: how, in this election season, a single person, place, policy or idea can — with a boost from science — affect the nation’s search for greater energy independence.
We are in the four day period of the ACFF, now celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary of presenting conservation and nature support films here in Shepherdstown.
We saw two films this afternoon, but tonight we saw two films accompanied by live discussions and question periods with the filmmakers.
The most interesting to me was Marion Stoddart whose life and career spent saving the Nashua River was so well presented in the short film “The Work of 1000.”
Filmmaker Susan Edwards broached the subject Can one person truly make a difference? This film tells the inspiring story of how a remarkable woman saved a dying river–for herself, for the community and for future generations–and became an environmental hero honored by the United Nations.
Mrs Stoddart, now in her 80s spent decades getting a very polluted river clean… petitioning, demonstrating, approaching manufacturers and politicians directly, and getting her husband and children involved. Her live presentation with the audience was very involving.
Our Nation’s River: A System on Edge was the second film we saw this evening. Ten minutes long and made by Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of historic natural filmmaker Jaques Costeau. This piece was particularly meaningful for us, since it is about the Potomac River, the water body that forms our northern border and flows from us down to Washington DC.
Ms, Cousteau answered questions but also presented a discussion panel of professionals from the Nature Conservancy and the Potomac River Foundation.
The House was pretty full at Reynolds Hall, Shepherd University, with a number of standers who wanted to catch everything as well. Among the folks there tonight were most of the officers of Sustainable Shepherdstown (My wife is in that bunch, of course), our current State Delegate John Dolan whose work for us has been spectacular and who is leaving office at the end of the session. Steve Skinner, the Democratic candidate for Delegate who, hopefully, will take John’s place, was there as well. Both men realize the importance the Potomac is to our community. Of course, Republican Candidate Elliot Spitzer was NOT there this evening. Preserving our environment is just not a Republican issue… after all, don’t they all think that Climate Change is a joke?
We’re going to some more films tomorrow.
- Worst Potomac River Flooding in 16 Years Expected (washington.cbslocal.com)
- Flooding a Major Concern for Potomac River, Chesapeake Bay (washington.cbslocal.com)
- Water still concerns Cousteaus (toledoblade.com)
- Flood Warning Continues For D.C., Coastal Md., Va. (baltimore.cbslocal.com)
Elly works late today, so the dogs and I will be ready to greet any costumed kids who come to the door with a bowl of miniature candy bars. I know this is going to drive my dogs crazy, but I’ll put up with it.
It looks like the rain has finally stopped outside. Hopefully it will stay this way. It would be very unfortunate for kids to have to go house to house in the rain. Out here in rural Harper’s Ferry the houses are spread pretty widely apart and it would be a very wet walk.
So I’m wishing all of you a happy Halloween out there. Let it turn a Wednesday evening into fun.
- Who Says Halloween Candy is Just for Kids? (berries.com)
- Happy Halloween!! (mattdantodd.com)
- PICTURES: Truly Terrible Halloween Costumes (fox4kc.com)
- halloween treats (simpleandchicblog.com)
But the animations the weather shows are presenting have rainstorms crossing over us… apparently we’re about as far to the west as any of this will reach and I can’t imagine it will be like a nor’easter or a tropical hurricane.
To make sure what’s happening however, I’m hanging out the Weather Forecasting Stone:
I have absolute confidence in the stone’s accuracy. Don’t you wish you had one?
- Hurricane Sandy: Likely To Make Landfall On East Coast Monday Afternoon (boston.cbslocal.com)
- Hurricane Sandy Still Holding Strong (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
Sitting around the house now that I’m not allowed to drive due to my seizures, I’ve been thinking about my life and trying to figure out what I’ll do now. I don’t know why, but I started thinking about my father and the airplanes he had when I was a kid. The first plane he owned and the second, too, as a matter of fact, werea 1946 Stinson 180’s.
My mother was scared to death of airplanes and eventually my dad got rid of the first one. I was really sad, since I loved to go flying with him.
Eventually he bought the second Stinson and it was not one he kept for a long time…primarily because he had to make a forced landing on a farm in northeast Connecticut while flying back from Cape Cod. My mother, my sister and I drove back… and when we got home we got the phone call. When he made the forced landing it was downhill and the propeller ended up twisting barbed wire around itself from the fence it rolled into.
Needless to say, this was enough to make my Mother totally certain that she’d make him sell the plane… and she did.
I was 12 or 13 during our couple of flying years and I remember buzzing over Connecticut small towns, flying near the shoreline and then bringing it to the little airport in Plainville. Every kid should have a flying experience!
- Pilot walks away from emergency landing (stuff.co.nz)
- Up, up, and away~ (cassh20.wordpress.com)
- 10 Annoying Airplane Behaviors That Should Probably Be Illegal (thefrisky.com)
- Overnight search for missing Qld plane (bigpondnews.com)
This is pretty stupid for the Tea Party… and female bodies when subjected to rape do not have ways to shut the whole thing down.
This is not the situation that is defined by response by women to the Tea Party view.
- Todd Akin: Claire McCaskill was like a “wildcat” in debate (washingtonpost.com)
- Todd Akin’s wife to GOP: Stop raping my husband! (dailykos.com)
- “The Arbiter For Women”: Todd Akin Just Can’t Seem To “Shut It Down” (mykeystrokes.com)
- Rep. Todd Akin’s comments prove need for sex ed in schools (suntimes.com)
- Rep. Todd Akin Says It’s Rare Women Get Pregnant from ‘Legitimate Rape’ (theatlanticwire.com)
- Todd Akin: ‘Legitimate’ rape victims don’t get pregnant (dailykos.com)
- Claire McCaskill: Todd Akin ‘Makes Michele Bachmann Look Like A Hippie’ (huffingtonpost.com)
You know that this blog has a long history of exposing and criticizing Monsanto for the chemical destruction of what once was our fresh food products —Monsanto, whose dark history features scandals involving PCBs, Agent Orange, bovine growth hormone, NutraSweet, IUD, genetically modified (GM) seed and herbicides, reaching back to the 1970s and ’80s.
Those of us who support the remaining organic food growers, and who grow our own out of necessity, have set Monansto as the most evil of challenges.
If we go way back to Romney’s beginnings with Bain Capital when he was 30 years old, who do you think his largest client was, and who remains his friend today? You guessed it. Monsanto. This matters for a number of reasons: it sheds on Romney’s self-ballyhooed business experience; Romney helped create Monsanto corporate objectives that clash with planetary concerns; If Romney is elected, this enemy of environmentalists will have a very old friend in the White House.
Monsanto’s former CEO John W. Hanley is in fact the only business executive outside of the Bain founding family to so shape Romney’s career—jumpstarting the two companies, Bain & Company and Bain Capital, that account for all but two years of Romney’s much-ballyhooed business experience.
Monsanto, who currently produces Genetically Modified corn, soybean, alfalfa and other seeds, which are engineered to resist Roundup and increase yield, faces many global disputes, and has lost two recent, at least $2 billion, court decisions in Brazil – 5 million soy farmers sued them. The Brazilian farmers’ issue is also a source of frustration for US farmers—the contracts farmers are forced to sign pledging not to save seeds for future harvests, a common farm custom that resale-fixated Monsanto has hired a seed police army to stop.
“Roundup Ready” seeds, of course, are completely responsible to the success and safety of Roundup itself. However,“super-weeds” are developing a Roundup tolerance, requiring more and more spraying to work. This is harmful both ecologically and financially for farmers.The seeds, introduced in the Bain years with Bain boosting, Roundup’s supposedly “biodegradable” and “nontoxic” claims, have led to false advertising findings. This is part of Romney’s business trustworthiness and acumen.
In the presidential campaign, Romney is deliberately vague . He’s moved publicly in Monsanto’s direction on the company’s genetically engineered ethanol and farm subsidies, appears aligned with it on labeling (Monsanto wants to avoid labeling its fruits and vegetables with the 5 digit code, different for organic competitors), and his spokesman Shawn McCoy said this month that the candidate was “concerned by the effect that the Obama administration’s crushing onslaught of regulations is having on agriculture.” Read from this what effect the Obama administration will have on one of his largest campaign contributors.
- mitt is a monsanto man (thegreenhorns.wordpress.com)
- Protesters Blockade Monsanto Seed Facility in California (earthfirstnews.wordpress.com)
- Monsanto Allowed to Put Genetically Modified Food on Your Plate (blogs.lawyers.com)
- GMO Update: New Study Shows Increasing Rootworm Resistance to Monsanto’s Bt Corn (eatdrinkbetter.com)
- Walmart Signs Deal With Monsanto to Sell Un-Labeled GMO Corn (friendseat.com)
- Lisa Cerda – Monsanto: A Modern Day Plague (prn.fm)
- Sept 16: Global Week of Action Against Monsanto (occupyventura805.wordpress.com)
Tomorrow and Sunday is the reenactment of the Battle of Antietam over the river from us in Sharpsburg. It is the 150th anniversary of the battle and this is drawing reenactors from all over the country, judging by the large amount of out-of-state license plates showing up here and over in Washington County.
Elly and I are going over to her friend Joan’s at some point to sit in front of her house on Main St. and watch the downtown activities.
Getting from our place to Hagerstown is going to be a mess tomorrow, since many of the main roads will be closed around the Battlefield National Park. Anyone trying to get from Shepherdstown to Hagerstown is advised to go a little out of your way and take Interstate 81.
- Park Service kicks off Antietam anniversary events (miamiherald.com)
- Park Service kicks off Antietam anniversary events (kansascity.com)
- Md. Scouts Sell Tickets For Antietam Re-Enactment (baltimore.cbslocal.com)
- Antietam battle so big, there are 2 re-enactments (ktvb.com)
- PA Civil War Road Show to make special appearance in Maryland (whptv.com)
- Antietam battle so big, there are 2 re-enactments (heraldonline.com)
Take a look at this WaPo article:
“A ‘lost’ landscape thought to have been painted by Pierre-Auguste Renoir will go on the auction block Sept. 29 on behalf of the Baltimore-born woman who purchased the artwork at a West Virginia flea market for $7. ‘Paysage Bords de Seine,’ a 6-inch by 10-inch canvas dating from about 1879, is expected to fetch $75,000 to $100,000, according to … the Alexandria, Va., auction house overseeing the sale. She said that it’s one of several depictions of the river Seine that the French Impressionist master created near the towns of Bougival and Chatou.
“The Virginia-based buyer, who prefers to remain anonymous, purchased a box of odds and ends at a flea market just across the West Virginia state line and near her home in the Shenandoah Valley in late 2010 or early 2011. She didn’t much care for the painting and said she would never have bid on it if the other stuff in the box hadn’t caught her eye.
“There was a plastic cow that grabbed me, and a Paul Bunyan doll,” said the woman, who lived in Baltimore until she was 4 years old. “And I liked the frame. It was gold and ornate. I thought I could use it for something else if I cut out the painting.”
– Mary McCauley of the Washington Post
And here’s the assumed Renoir:
I don’t think I would even have bought it FOR the frame. But a PLASTIC COW! That should have been worth something!
- Collector finds $75k Renoir painting at flea market for $7 (investmentwatchblog.com)
- Renoir Painting Found at Virginia Flea Market (shoppingblog.com)
- Flea Market Art May Be Renoir (drudge.com)
- ‘Renoir’ painting appears at Virginia flea market (telegraph.co.uk)
- This $7 Flea Market Find May Be A Renoir (huffingtonpost.com)
- Woman Finds Renoir Original at Flea Market (newser.com)
- Possible Renoir found at flea market (upi.com)
- Renoir painting found at Shenandoah Valley flea market (wjla.com)
Elly and I are in the planning stages of our earth bermed house project which we hope to be living in in a year or so. About a mile or so from our current house is an “Earthship“, a particular style of earth bermed house, originally designed and promoted by New mexico architect Mike Reynolds. It is built with walls made out of earth-filled automobile tires that are then covered with clay and cement.
It uses south-facing solar windows and a number of other things (like greywater cisterns) which we are planning on.
While this is not the method of building we are looking at, it has enough of the same features that we felt it would be a source of information for us. Owners Larry and Karen spent four years doing much of the building themselves and they were a fountain of information answering all of our questions and giving us advice. We have a number of leads to look up that they have directed us to.
I’ll be getting into more stuff about our new house plan as we go along.
- Earthship Houses: Michael Reynolds (universalwordsofinspiration.wordpress.com)
- Earthship Codes, Permits, Regulations and Laws (taketochange.com)
- Earthships: Off-grid, zero-emission, recycled-content homes (mnn.com)
- Earthships Could Transform Philadelphia (sierraclub.typepad.com)
- Garbage Warrior (Full Version) (undergrounddocumentaries.com)
- Earthrise: Earthships + North Aral Sea Revival (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
If this doesn’t convince them, suggest they go live in the grain producing areas of the midwest. That should back up their belief (but don’t laugh too hard.)
- Local weather patterns affect beliefs about global warming (environmentalgeeksunited.com)
- Global Warming At The London Olympics (stevengoddard.wordpress.com)
West Virginia Coal Mine Jobs Rise Under Obama
Despite the lies told by Sen. Joe Manchin (Joe Manchin) and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (Joe Manchin) and the Friends of Coal Barons Who Kill Miners, President Barack Obama’s EPA has not spelled doom to coal jobs. In fact, the opposite is true:
While the Obama administration and the EPA may be taking a harder look at mountain top removal mining permits, a quick look at coal mining employment in West Virginia reveals that since Obama took office in the winter of 2009 coal mining employment has grown by over 1,500 jobs or by 7.4%. If we measure from the end of the national recession in June 2009 (or the 2nd Quarter of 2009) to the third-quarter of 2011 (the latest available data), employment in the coal mining industry has grown by 3,100. For comparison, total employment in West Virginia has only grown by 2.9% over this period.
People have to really hate Obama to push the lies that come out of the coal industry, out of Manchin’s office and out of the Romney Campaign. It’s possible that the West Virginia politicos (even those claiming to be “Democrats”) have other goals in mind for this pathetically poor state.
- May 22 News: Coal Country Jobs At Two-Decade High, But Industry Campaigns Against ‘Job Killing’ Regulations (thinkprogress.org)
- The real war on coal (underthelobsterscope.wordpress.com)
- W.Va. coal-mining jobs on rise under Obama (blogs.wvgazette.com)
- Coal politics: What W.Va. doesn’t want to talk about (blogs.wvgazette.com)
- Second West Virginia Dem unsure about Obama (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
Just got back from releasing the groundhog I trapped at our aging and unoccupied chicken coup into the wilds of the Potomac River woodlands. Elly is thrilled, I’m thrilled, the garden is safe again (unless there are more groundhogs (woodchucks?) living under the coup.
This afternoon I have to rebait the trap with cantaloupe and give it another shot.
Score do far is me 1, critters 0.
- 10 Things You May Not Know About Groundhogs (prweb.com)
We’re in some kind of direct thunderstorm path out here in rural Harpers Ferry. The thunder from last night’s storm, which woke me up, was incredibly loud… as it had been the night before.
Both our dogs were upset and I had to come out into the living room and pet them and calm them down. Byron, the smaller of the two, crawled behind my recliner and put his head under the seat… I presume so he couldn’t see the lightning flash in the windows. Nestle, my big old boy, moved back and forth from couch to couch unable to rest comfortably.
We have even more of these storms projected by the Weather Channel for this afternoon… 60% chance, which is usually pretty good.
I hope my dogs are up for it.
- Explosion? Earthquake? No, just thunder. (bangordailynews.com)
- Thunderstorms (bonesinmyheart.wordpress.com)
- Safety in the Storm (live-your-best-life.me)
Volunteers across California are making history. On May 2nd, the California Right to Know campaign turned in nearly 1 million signatures to place a ballot initiative to label GMOs on the November 2012 ballot.
But this is only the beginning. We know that Monsanto and their minions will do everything in their power to spread lies and confuse voters. They have proven this time and again and most recently in Vermont and Connecticut where citizens in those states overwhelmingly supported bills to require labeling of genetically engineered foods.
Only a few days after voters in California qualified the historic initiative to label GMOs, Monsanto and biotech lobbyists were working behind closed doors in Connecticut to kill the bill that would have made it possible for the residents in that state to know what’s in their food.1 In the final hours of the 2012 legislative session, the biotech industry succeeded in getting Connecticut’s governor and House leaders to strip the bill of its labeling requirement as it was on the verge of passing with bipartisan support. Now, this year alone, governors in Vermont and Connecticut have both caved under the biotech industry’s threats to sue them if they pass a bill to label GMOs. This is an outrage!
While these backroom shenanigans can’t happen in California, since the ballot initiative will be put to a vote of the people, we know that Monsanto’s minions will be up to their usual dirty tricks. Already, a powerful biotech front group is starting to spread misleading stories in the media and distorting the real facts about the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act of 2012.
This has been called “the Food Fight of Our Life” and we need your help in making sure that we succeed in November.
Will you chip in to make GMO labeling a reality? Only with your help can we win in November!
We can win in California, but we need your help today! Here’s how. Between May 1 and May 26, a broad coalition of food, farm, health, public interest, and environmental groups all over the country, joined by leading organic food companies, will attempt to raise one million dollars to support the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, a citizens’ ballot initiative, and other state GMO-labeling campaigns.
In an extraordinary gesture of support and solidarity in the fight for GMO labeling in California, Mercola.com, the largest alternative health website in the world, along with a group of leading organic companies including Nature’s Path, Lundberg Family Farms, and Eden Foods, and other nonprofit organizations, have pledged another one million dollars to the “Drop the Money Bomb on Monsanto” campaign – but only if we reach our goal of $1 million by May 26.
Please help us raise $1 million by May 26 for the California Right to Know GMO Labeling Campaign so we don’t miss out on this $1 million matching gift!
Thank you for contributing what you can today – Together we can win!
Now’s the time. Let’s drop the money bomb on Monsanto and take back our food supply!
Thanks for participating in food democracy,
President, Food Democracy Action!
P.S. All money raised for this campaign will go through Food Democracy Action!, a 501(c)4 allied organization of Food Democracy Now!, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action. Donations are not tax-deductible. Thank you for your support!
1. “GMO ‘Right to Know’ campaign in CT fails — Lawsuit threatened”, Digital Journal, May 5, 2012
- You’ll Probably Accidentally Eat This Toxic Food Today (articles.mercola.com)
- Food Manufacturing Editorial – Don’t Run from GMO Labeling (foodidentityblog.com)
- GMO Legislation Update: Monsanto Trumps Democracy in Vermont, Connecticut (eatdrinkbetter.com)
- GMO Labeling Initiative WILL Be On The Ballot In CA (12160.info)
- Something Historical is About to Happen – But Your Participation is Critical (articles.mercola.com)
- California Wants to Label GMOs (eatdrinkbetter.com)
- The Toxin So Dangerous It’s Causing Catastrophic Birth Defects (foodfreedomgroup.com)
- Millions against Monsanto: The food fight of our lives (blogginghounds.wordpress.com)
- California public to vote on GMO Label Act; Biotech lies begin (blacklistednews.com)
As long as there are people who believe the unreal, we will have a hard time progressing into the future…
Here is an article from The Texas Observer that caught my attention. I’ll give you part of it here, but it is much, much longer and I encourage you to read it. If you scratch your head with wonder, then you are just like me:
In the beginning, God created dinosaurs and humans, and they walked together in Texas.
At least, according to many people in Glen Rose.
The small town about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth is home to some of the best-preserved dinosaur tracks in the world; it’s also a heavily Christian community where many locals interpret the book of Genesis literally.
Their belief is bolstered by a phenomenon in the riverbed. Alongside the dinosaur tracks are what resident R.C. McFall and others call “man tracks”—tangible proof of biblical creation accounts and a refutation of the theory of evolution.
McFall walks along the Paluxy River, careful not to place his cowboy boot in a dinosaur track. Muddy water fills the fossilized footprints embedded in this rocky ledge.
“There’s a track right there,” he says in a deep Texas drawl, pointing. “That hole is where my dad dug one out.”
If the river weren’t up, McFall explains, we’d see man tracks just a few feet away, in the same strata of rock as the dinosaur tracks.
The 113-million-year-old dinosaur tracks, first discovered in 1909, are an important part of Glen Rose’s livelihood, bringing thousands of visitors a year to attractions like Dinosaur Valley State Park and Dinosaur World. The town’s tourist industry, accounting for $23 million in annual revenue, was built largely on the jaw-dropping fact that fossils this old are still present today. Visitors can park their trailers at the Jurassic RV Park (the tracks actually date to the Cretaceous period) or stay at the Glen Rose Inn & Suites, where the sign features a cartoon dinosaur.
“The dinosaurs are what drive us,” says Billy Huckaby, executive director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Glen Rose. “You can’t develop a town of 2,000 into this kind of tourism revenue unless you’ve got something really special to promote.”
Tourist literature describes the tracks as millions of years old, but not everyone buys the science.
“I believe in the Bible,” McFall says. “I don’t believe the world’s over 6,000 or 7,000 years old. Course, everybody’s got their own interpretation.”
Go HERE for the rest of the article.
- Remind me to Never Visit the town of Glen Rose, Texas (educationclearinghouse.wordpress.com)
- Tracking Creation In Glen Rose | Robyn Ross | Texas Observer | 09 April 2012 (texasobserver.org)
- Quote of the Day (chiefwritingwolf.com)
- Top 5 Lies Taught By Accelerated Christian Education (leavingfundamentalism.wordpress.com)
- When Jesus Was a Dinosaur Cowboy (bigthink.com)
- The varieties of disbelief (economist.com)
- Human Footprints and Dinosaur Tracks – On The Moon? (kenneturner.wordpress.com)
- Andrew Sullivan gets all militant about religion and creationism! (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
- Which Came Last, Dinosaur or Egg? (abcnews.go.com)
I have said many times in this blog that, with the exception of Shepherdstown and most of the Eastern Panhandle, I dislike being identified with West Virginia. Whether it is a supposedly Democratic senator who acts and votes like a Republican (Manchin) or the hillbilly stereotype other states see us as, being in West Virginia is no place for a liberal. We are victims of tons of jokes told in other states, like:
Q. Why do ducks fly over West Virginia upside down?
A. There’s nothing worth crapping on!
Well, we topped ourselves again, In yesterday’s Democratic primary, a man in prison in Texas got 4 out of 10 votes for the Presidential nomination.
Keith Judd, is serving time at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution in Texas for making threats at the University of New Mexico in 1999. Obama received 59 percent of the vote to Judd’s 41 percent. He got on the ballot by paying a $2,500 fee (don’t know who paid it for him…but I am not surprised that some West Virginian did) and filing a form known as a notarized certification of announcement with the Secretary of State’s office.
Interviewing a WV resident, the AP published a statement:
“I voted against Obama,” said Ronnie Brown, a 43-year-old electrician from Cross Lanes who called himself a conservative Democrat. “I don’t like him. He didn’t carry the state before and I’m not going to let him carry it again.”
When asked which presidential candidate he voted for, Brown said, “That guy out of Texas.”
Now it’s a question whether Judd will have a representative at the Democratic National Convention (15% of the vote or more usually gets you a rep.)
So, West Virginia has embarrassed me once again. Where will it end?
- Against Obama, even a jailbird gets some votes (hosted.ap.org)
- ELECTION 2012: Texas Inmate Gets 40% of Vote against Obama in West Virginia Democratic Primary (pumabydesign001.com)
- 42% Of West Virginia Democrats Vote For Federal Inmate In Presidential Primary (theamericanteaman.com)
- Federal Prisoner Nabs 40% of Early Vote Against Obama in West Virginia Primary (treeofmamre.wordpress.com)
- Federal Prisoner Gives Obama A Run For His Money In West Virginia, May Earn Delegates At Convention (mediaite.com)
- OBAMA LOSES WEST VIRGINIA DELEGATES TO PRISON INMATE – Unexpectedly! “An obscure federal prison inm… (pjmedia.com)
- Federal inmate’s sizable West Virginia presidential vote tally (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- Manchin wins Democratic primary in West Virginia, CNN projects (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- President Obama embarrassed by inmate No. 11593-051 (twitchy.com)
I received the most awesome gift yesterday for my birthday, from the (local) government – Approval for our Conditional Use Permit to build Morgan’s Grove Market – An Agricultural Campus and Health Collaborative! I want to Thank Everyone who came out to support our project. What a great community we live in!
– Peter Corum
I’m thrilled to hear this from Peter, since Elly and I have been more or less involved in the Morgan’s Grove Market project since it’s start. I was one of the public statement makers (reading a letter from Elly, who couldn’t be there) at the Zoning Board of Appeals the other night with a roomful of other supporters and speakers. It’s nice to know that something positive can still happen locally.
The boys we had expected from Shepherd to help us carry out more boxes were kept away by a combination of sports practice and a paper assignment, so the two old people (me and Elly) who need the carrying strength lost another weekend of mass moving.
We’ll do more of the “this ‘n that” level of packing and moving by carload during the week and hope to get our carriers next weekend.
Meanwhile, our kitchen is pretty much set up and operating in the new house:
Anyway, maybe we’ll be done before the end of April and can get the Town House on the market.
So help me, moving again is going to take more will than I think I have. We’re still hauling boxes and artwork and clothes and other stuff from 322 Starkey’s to the new house and it is an ongoing exhaustion creator.
To top it off it is raining this weekend and our helper students have football practice for much of it. When this is all done I’m going to sleep for two days straight and then get on with my life.
This morning on my radio show I was stumped for the first time on a play challenge, but, in general it went pretty well. Except, of course, that we weren’t on the internet due to a problem with the provider that the station is having. I’m sorry my regular out-of-town listeners couldn’t tune in today.
I received this e-mail today from Josh Fox at Gasland. I hope you will read it and follow his suggestions.:
I want to call your attention to some critical news and ask you to quickly take action:
FIRST: USDA GATE!!!
BREAKING NEWS: USDA Reverses Itself and Exempts Rural Properties with Gas Drilling Leases from NEPA
ACTION: Call President Obama and tell him:
“Please do not allow the USDA to exempt housing loans from a full NEPA review.”
White House Phone numbers: 202-456-1111 and 202-456-1414
Here’s the background and the reasons why you should call:
In a move that has angered hydrofracking opponents, the USDA did an about-face and reneged on earlier statements that its popular rural housing loans on properties with gas drilling leases would have to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and today authorized an Administrative Notice stating that rural housing loans would be excluded from NEPA. On Monday, The New York Times had reported the USDA was planning on issuing an Administrative Notice to the opposite effect, telling staff that loans on properties with gas leases must undergo a full environmental review as required by NEPA before mortgage loans are made or guaranteed by the agency.
“The proposal by the Agriculture Department, which has signaled its intention in e-mails to Congress and landowners, reflects a growing concern that lending to owners of properties with drilling leases might violate the National Environmental Policy Act, known as NEPA, which requires environmental reviews before federal money is spent,” the Times wrote. The article quoted the program director for rural loans in the Agriculture Department’s New York office saying that, “We will no longer be financing homes with gas leases.” “Approval of such leases would allow for a number of potential impacts to possibly occur which would need to be analyzed in a NEPA document that would be reviewed by the public for sufficiency,” another USDA official was quoted as saying.
See the full New York Times article HERE.
But in an email statement yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reversed those positions and said, “USDA will not make any policy changes related to rural housing loans…The information provided to Congressional offices on March 8, 2012 was premature and does not reflect past, current or future practices of the department. Tomorrow, I will authorize an Administrative Notice reaffirming that rural housing loans are categorically excluded under the National Environmental Policy Act.”
Friends, this is a very important development and one that we need to speak up about. A full NEPA review, like the type the agency was talking about affirming, would have been more transparent, more rigorous and comprehensive. USDA staff experts in the NY office as well as in DC made clear in emails that the law and the science require that mortgages with drilling leases shouldn’t be exempt from NEPA. This 180-degress turn by Secretary Vilsack contradicts both science and law.
Excluding NEPA review of fracking’s environmental impacts is a significant move. It means that environmental review of rural housing loans would be limited to the EPA‘s far less comprehensive national study of fracking, which is focused exclusively on drinking water and does not admit public comment. Doing a NEPA analysis would have ensured that federal agencies issuing loans are complying with the law. In fact, officials expressed concern the agency would be vulnerable to lawsuits if they didn’t conduct the NEPA reviews thoroughly enough. But exempting rural housing loans from NEPA means that gas drilling leases will also be exempt from legal recourse and other basic public interest protections the law was meant to provide. It also means that when property values drop precipitously due to contamination from gas drilling, sometimes to as low as 10% of their original value as we’ve seen in Pennsylvania, the American Taxpayer is going to be left holding the bag.
Not only is this is unlawful, it’s just not right.
Call President Obama and tell him:
“Please do not allow the USDA to exempt housing loans from a full NEPA review.”
White House Phone numbers: 202-456-1111 and 202-456-1414
SECOND: EPA VINDICATES DIMOCK FAMILIES!!!
BREAKING NEWS: EPA confirms Dimock water is unsafe. The Gasland team and I provided Pro-Publica with the unreleased water tests. The families in Dimock, PA have high to explosive levels of methane as well as chemicals known to cause cancer and heavy metals that exceed the agency’s “trigger level” in their water wells. The families have been vindicated. Science triumphs over spin.
Please read the full Pro-Publica story HERE.
Thanks for taking action and being a part of a profound movement to stop fracking!
The USDA seems to be in the pocket of the gas companies. It should be the representative organization of the American rural citizenship.
As Josh says: “Science triumphs over spin.”
Sunny day, warm weather and I spent the last half hour sitting out on my porch with my next door neighbor, Francis, talking about lawn mowing, hay growing, birds nesting, different kinds of tree blossoms…etc,etc. This is nice.
If you are going to be retired, I can’t think of a better place. It’s a great place to write and develop theatre projects (John Case and I are working on an updated
version of Odets’ “Waiting for Lefty” which will include contemporary references and some music… we’ll be performing it at The Folly sometime this summer.) It’s also wonderful for gardening and other outdoor activities.
There’s a whole different kind of concerns out here than there is in the closer suburbs… the weather relates more to how the land operates than to what you’ll wear and how you will move around. Rain out here is is a prized phenomenon (and we expect some this afternoon and tomorrow.)
And now that winter has been eliminated by an early spring, it looks like things will get even better.