Lessons from Another Year of Flooding Around Puget Sound | The Seattle Times…….


In order to prepare for stronger and more frequent storms, the Puget Sound region must rethink how it manages stormwater by encouraging low-impact-development solutions which enhance the land’s natural ability to absorb,cleanse and manage run-off. This new approach will benefit the environment, reduce costly flooding, and protect our communities

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I’m absolutely shocked, I tell you.

Who, after all, could have predicted heavy rainfall coupled with unsustainable forest practices and continued back-fill on the flood plains–all to make room for more sprawl along Interstate 5–would result in epic flooding.

It’s not like this happened last winter or anything.  Oh that’s right, it did happen last year.

According to statistics, published in the Seattle Times and compiled by the Lewis County Emergency Management and Friends of the Lewis County Animal Shelter, last years flooding was a costly affair.  Here are the numbers:

$450 million is the estimated total flood losses to families, businesses and government agencies

5,000 the estimated number of cows, sheep, goats, horses, dogs, cats and other domestic animals that died

1,300 homes damaged

500 people rescued

100 homes destroyed

60 families are still receiving help from Lewis County Long Term Recovery

Surely, government officials in Lewis County now understand the true cost of development on the flood plains, and don’t expect the state to continue to subsidize their poor judgement.

After all, this is the land of all of those self-reliant Dino Rossi supporters.  You know, the ones who want lower taxes and don’t want the state wasting its money on pork barrel projects.

“The local authorities are still focusing heavily on development in the flood plain,” said Jim Park, a state Department of Transportation hydrologist. “And the hydrological data is suggesting that the magnitude of the flooding along the Chehalis is getting worse.”

Oh wait, scratch that.

Video: Flooding in Chehalis, Wa, 2009 by Acatron

An Open Letter to the Obamas Concerning Climate | The Guardian…….

The United State’s top climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, believes it is still feasible to avert climate disasters, but only if the next administration’s policies are consistent with the actions the science indicates to be required. The solutions demanded by science are as follows: a moratorium and phase-out of coal plants, a rising price on carbon emissions, and urgent R&D on fourth generation nuclear power.

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For a rocket scientist who holds seven degrees, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin sure doesn’t seem to get the basic concept of cause and effect.

First, he refused to cooperate with the Obama transition team because they were “not qualified” to judge his pet project.

Now, worried that his job might be in jeopardy, Rebecca Griffin has decided to launch a public marketing blitz to help her husband keep his plum position at the top of NASA.

Is anyone really surprised?

After all, Mr. Griffin may have a scientific background, but as any lackey in the Bush knows, spin always trumps science, no exceptions allowed.

Remember when Mr. Griffin sacrificed his integrity by secretly editing the NASA mission statement to exclude the phrase to “protect the home planet” so he could later claim that his agency’s work did not include fighting global warming.

Hmmm, and what about his very unscientific comments on NPR’s Morning Edition.

In an interview broadcast yesterday on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” program, Griffin was asked by NPR’s Steve Inskeep whether he is concerned about global warming.

“I have no doubt that a trend of global warming exists,” Griffin told Inskeep. “I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with.”

“To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth’s climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn’t change,” Griffin said. “I guess I would ask which human beings — where and when — are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that’s a rather arrogant position for people to take.”

Right, nothing could be more arrogant than trying to maintain a planetary climate which sustains about 6.7 billion people, countless ecosystems, and wildlife.  Talk about elitism.

If Obama truly wants to put science at the top of his agenda and “restore America’s place as the world leader in science and technology” then political hacks like current NASA administrator Michael Griffin have to go.

No exceptions.


Why are newspapers dying?  Could it be that reading the paper is a lot like paying for yesterday’s news at today’s prices.

Don’t believe me.  Check this out.

The Seattle P-I’s environmental blog Dateline Earth just discovered a real 52-mpg car which they breathlessly describe as the “car of the future”.

Of course, anyone who spends less than five minutes with the google will soon discover the car of the future has been available in Europe and Japan for many years now.

This turned up on my very first search in an article entitled Why automakers don’t sell a car that gets 50mpg from an article printed in Newsweek on April 4, 2008.

So gas just hit another miserable milestone. Unleaded regular is averaging a record $3.30 a gallon and seems likely to blast past $4 by Memorial Day. Wouldn’t it be great if you could drive a car that gets 50 miles per gallon? Well, you can. Just hop on a plane and fly to Europe, where all new cars average 43mpg, or Japan, where the average hits 50mpg. Here in the United States, we’re stuck at 25mpg in our considerably larger and more powerful cars, trucks and SUVs. So why can’t we do better? Here’s the dirty little secret: we can. “If you want better fuel economy, it’s just a question of when auto companies want to do it and when consumers decide they want to buy it,” says Don Hillebrand, a former Chrysler engineer who is now director of transportation research for Argonne National Labs. “Auto companies can deliver it within a year.”

Ouch.  Just because Detroit refuses to build cars that get 50 MPG, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Intrepid reporters for Dateline Earth, please take note.