Greetings and salutations from the sand, sun and surf of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and the soon to be snowy island of Nantucket! Great to be with you on this Wednesday morning, the 29th day of February, 2012, a starry beginning to the day, with the sun rising beautifully, only to be overtaken, so to speak, by the ever darkening skies, as snow slowly begins to cover this sand bar created 11,500 years ago by the Last Great Ice Age. Thankfully, there are no ‘tar sands’ under these shores, and WE can all enjoy Cape Cod National Seashore, one of the many National Parks created by a republican visionary named Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, our 26th President of the United States of America, who KNEW that ‘all the trees were the right height’ (credit Reverend Al Sharpton, of ‘Politics Nation’, six p.m., sharp, every week night, only on MSNBC, crediting Ernest Hemingway, honoring the wilderness in simple, understandable English), creating the National Park system, that today, would not be on the ‘agenda’ of ‘not your grandfather’s GOP’, far from it, rather, those lands would, like the public lands that were opened up for natural gas FRACKING in Wyoming in 2005, by then Vice President Dick Cheney, be on the chopping block, sold to the highest bidder on the international market of this never ending SPECULATION of oil, natural gas, and other natural resources, an irresponsible exercise in GREED that is systematically DESTROYING natural wonders around the world–wonders like actual glaciers in Glacier National Park, or marking up GRAND CANYON National Park, mining for uranium, great!, creating toxins streaming on into that mighty Colorado River!!! Hallelujah! In a must read article in the National Wildlife Federation Magazine–highly recommended reading material, January 2012 edition, please Google nwf.org for more information–entitled “Tar Sands Trouble”, by Daniel Glick, the TRUTH is revealed…”Increasing production and transportation of low-grade oil from Alberta threatens a wide range of North American wildlife, from endangered whooping cranes to woodland caribou.” Well, boo effing who. Who cares right? Real men like Teddy Roosevelt did I can assure you of that. If he were alive today you can bet our bottom dollar that he would take that “BIG STICK”, speak softly and change policy, putting the PUBLIC back in public. Here was a MAN who brokered the peace in 1906, only 48 years of age at the ‘time’, between Russia and Japan, winning the Nobel Prize for Peace. The question most republicans will be forced to one day ask themselves will be, how the hell did we all get hoodwinked by a few ‘Greedy Bastards’ (a must read new book by Dylan Ratigan, of the “DR” show, week days, four pm. sharp, again, only on MSNBC), who are using our PUBLIC LANDS as their own piggy banks, emphasis on the piggy, while they simultaneously destroy OUR God given free clean air, water, and land with a poisonous chemical cocktail that is getting EVERYBODY sick, man and beast alike. Here are just a few excerpts from Daniel’s article, a subject that WE should all, assuming we care about our kids and grand kids futures, i.e. clean water=LIFE itself, take very seriously in the upcoming months as this painful election process concludes in November. For who is truly on the side of 99.9 percent of US? And who is not, not really? “In a lobbyist-packed room on Capitol Hill last spring, lawmakers from the House committee on Foreign Affairs convened a hearing with a portentous title: “Rising Oil Prices and Dependence on Hostile Regimes: The Urgent Case for Canadian Oil.” The topic was whether the federal government should accelerate approval of a controversial pipeline to transport liquefied Canadian tar sands crude across the U.S. heartland. Representatives heard from a parade of industry boosters who, while acknowledging some downsides to tar sands production, reassured lawmakers that the industry was improving its environmental record by employing vigilant monitoring techniques and high-tech solutions. The last witness presented a different take. NWF Senior Vice President Jeremy Symons, who had recently returned from Alberta’s tar sands region, told the hearing room that the super-sized scale and speed of developing this thick, low-grade petroleum defied meaningful environmental safeguards. Already, tar sands development had produced devastating ecological ripples. Massive toxic tailings ponds, open-pit mines, chemical-belching smokestacks and processing plants now stretched along hundreds of square miles that were once part of an intact boreal forest wilderness. This far northern wilderness provides critical breeding habitat for millions of North American birds, including migratory songbirds, waterfowl, and shorebirds. A single square mile of boreal forest can support 500 nesting pairs of migrants. Toxic tailings ponds have killed thousands of these birds, particularly waterfowl that spend the winter in the United States. Symons noted that Alberta’s tar sands development also lies smack in the middle of a flyway that serves the endangered whooping crane and other species. He then showed the hearing room a photograph of one of the high-tech solutions the industry employs to prevent cranes and other birds from dying in toxic ponds: a scarecrow draped in a yellow rain slicker, looking very much like the Grim Reaper, pointing ominously to the sky.” Dirty Business “Ominous is a good word to describe the Canadian tar sands industry. Billed as a fix for U.S. dependence on Middle East oil, tar sands are instead another example of this country’s “desperate quest for more extreme oil,” Symons says–a nightmare vision of an inefficient, toxic and greenhouse gas-spewing energy future. Tar sands contain low-grade hydrocarbons mixed in with sand and clay, which must be mined by the megaton, processed, liquefied, transported and refined to make transportation fuels. It takes 4 tons of tar sands to make one barrel of a black, viscous, raw form of oil called bitumen, and the process of transforming tar sands into one barrel of oil can take up to four barrels of water–not to mention vast quantities of natural gas to power the process. Some estimates suggest that mining, producing, transporting and burning oil produced from tar sands emit three times more carbon dioxide than conventional oil production. Already, the industry is the fastest growing source of carbon dioxide pollution in Canada. Thanks to Canada’s burgeoning tar sands production, the country is now the largest crude oil supplier to the United States, selling more than each of our previous top exporters–Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Venezuela–according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. If tar sands mining continues apace, industrial development eventually will encompass an area of boreal forest and wetlands the size of Florida. Tar sands development impacts not only birds but fish, forest mammals and humans alike. In Alberta, First Nations locals told Symons they no longer eat fish from the Athabasca River for fear of contaminants. Subsistence hunters now have to range great distances to find game like woodland caribou as herds scatter and the animals’ numbers decline. President Obama may yet have something to say about the tar sands’ future. The project in question during last spring’s congressional hearing is the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline, proposed to run from Alberta to south Texas. This conduit would carry 830,000 barrels a day of liquid bitumen. Because it would cross international borders, the pipeline requires presidential approval after a series of environmental assessments of the project. A decision is expected by the end of 2011. (still up in the air, so to speak) Conservationists say it will be one of the most important–and far reaching–environmental decisions of the Obama presidency. That’s because the pipeline has an expected lifespan of 50 years and will, among other things, lock the nation into a dirty, carbon intensive and expensive fuel for generations as well as sanction a long-term, international pollution delivery system. The project would cross some of the heartland’s most sensitive environmental areas, including the Ogallala Aquifer, the Sand Hills and the Yellowstone River–already contaminated by a tar sands pipeline spill last June!”… PRESERVE THE WILDERNESS! Peace~M
February 29, 2012
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