So much for clean water in the Trump Era

❝ The Environmental Protection Agency is set Thursday to announce the repeal of the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule that extended federal authority and protections to streams and wetlands, according to a source familiar with the details of the announcement.

The announcement took place at the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group in Washington, DC, that has lobbied against the Obama rule and whose legal arm previously sued to block it.

❝ President Donald Trump has repeatedly called clean water a priority for his administration. “We want crystal clean water and that’s what we’re doing and that’s what we’re working on so hard…”

Just another Trumpublican lie. Anyone surprised?

2019 “Dead Zone” in Gulf of Mexico may be the second largest on record

❝ A recent forecast of the size of the “Dead Zone” in the northern Gulf of Mexico for late July 2019 is that it will cover 8,717-square-miles of the bottom of the continental shelf off Louisiana and Texas. The unusually high Mississippi River discharge in May controls the size of this zone, which will likely be the second largest zone since systematic measurements began in 1985. The water mass with oxygen concentrations less than 2 parts per million forms in bottom waters each year primarily as a result of nitrogen and phosphorus loading from the Mississippi River watershed, which fertilizes the Gulf of Mexico’s surface waters to create excessive amounts of algal biomass. The decomposition of this plant material in the bottom layer leads to oxygen loss…

❝ The low oxygen conditions in the gulf’s most productive waters stresses organisms and may even cause their death, threatening living resources, including fish, shrimp and crabs caught there. Low oxygen conditions started to appear 50 years ago when agricultural practices intensified in the Midwest. No reductions in the nitrate loading from the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico have occurred in the last few decades.

Cows and soybeans continue to be more important than shrimp or fish.

Or clean water.

Same as it ever was


Click to enlarge

This goes along with the “noble savage” school of utopian naturalism. Surviving nature still requires potable water, shelter from the elements – especially in a climate with seasons. Everything you can purchase or rent in civilization you now have to build or provide on your own.

First thing I always remember with images and expressions like this is completing an idyllic couple of weeks hiking through a stunning, isolated region in the highlands of Scotland. I was OK living within the boundaries of carrying everything I needed for protection from the elements + a fair amount of sustenance on my back for that time period.

And a week after I returned to urban America I learned some wandering sheep must have pooped just at the right time upstream in some delightful mountain stream where I filled my water bottle. And I needed another month to recover from a less-than-happy critter named giardia I had consumed – probably in that mountain stream.

I would have been a lot worse off if I wasn’t back in a city with easy access to a physician, etc..

Thanks, Ursarodinia

A new way to clean and recycle waste water from industry

A startup called Axine Water Technologies has developed a new low-cost way to clean the waste water created by industries like oil and gas extraction, chemical processing and chip manufacturing. The idea is that if the waste water is cleaned at a lower cost and with a simple process it can be more easily reused, and thus less fresh water is required in the industrial processes.

Axine makes modules that are filled with cells that use electricity to create a reaction. The waste water flows across the electrified cell, and any particles in it are oxidized. The byproduct is pure hydrogen, which can be collected.

The startup, which is based in Vancouver, says the technology costs five times less than competitive solutions and is also beneficial because it uses no chemicals and doesn’t produce any sludge. The modules can scale up to create larger multiple container-sized systems.

The company is still in the ramp-up phase. Axine intends to deliver pilot projects to customer sites early next year, and this week announced that it’s raised a $5.6 million Series A funding round from new investors the Roda Group, and including current investors Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital and BDC Venture Capital…

While water technology hasn’t traditionally been easily funded by venture capitalists and investors, some promising water startups are finding backers, through accelerator programs like Imagine H20.

As usual, Katie Feherenbacher manages to find productive green tech which actually might be commercially affordable.

Why do Republicans hate clean air, clean water?

Last month President Obama finally unveiled a serious economic stimulus plan — far short of what I’d like to see, but a step in the right direction. Republicans, predictably, have blocked it. But the new plan, combined with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, seems to have shifted the national conversation. We are, suddenly, focused on what we should have been talking about all along: jobs.

So what is the G.O.P. jobs plan? The answer, in large part, is to allow more pollution. So what you need to know is that weakening environmental regulations would do little to create jobs and would make us both poorer and sicker…

Do you really need that explained to you? Are you as delusional as the Republican Party?

The important thing to understand is that the case for pollution control isn’t based on some kind of aesthetic distaste for industrial society. Pollution does real, measurable damage, especially to human health.

And policy makers should take that damage into account. We need more politicians like the courageous governor who supported environmental controls on a coal-fired power plant, despite warnings that the plant might be closed, because “I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people.”

Actually, that was Mitt Romney, back in 2003 — the same politician who now demands that we use more coal.

How big are these damages? A new study by researchers at Yale and Middlebury College brings together data from a variety of sources to put a dollar value on the environmental damage various industries inflict. The estimates are far from comprehensive, since they only consider air pollution…

For it turns out that there are a number of industries inflicting environmental damage that’s worth more than the sum of the wages they pay and the profits they earn — which means, in effect, that they destroy value rather than create it. High on the list, by the way, is coal-fired electricity generation, which the Mitt Romney-that-was used to stand up to.

As the study’s authors say, finding that an industry inflicts large environmental damage compared with its apparent economic return doesn’t necessarily mean that the industry should be shut down. What it means, instead, is that “the regulated levels of emissions from the industry are too high.” That is, environmental regulations aren’t strict enough.

Republicans ignore studies like that, the overwhelming body of industrial environment studies, BTW. Why start letting facts get in the way of profits for their largest contributors? Mining, power production industries are among the largest contributors to congressional Republicans. Simple-minded politicians who live the country-club life.

Their families, their kids are OK, Jack. The rest of us can go scramble for clean air and clean water whether we can afford it or not. There hasn’t been a Republican in office that I can recall fighting against pollution since that era before Ronald Reagan. Someone like that certainly wouldn’t be supported by today’s RNC or the KoolAid Party.