Planned Pipeline near D.C. Putting Potomac River at Risk

by Duane Nichols on November 20, 2017

Protesters gather Saturday to pressure Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to block TransCanada’s proposed Potomac pipeline

Protesters Target Proposed Potomac River Pipeline

From an Article by Emily Wells, Truthdig, November 8, 2017

More than 100 people gathered Saturday on the banks of the Potomac River to protest a proposed 3.5-mile underground natural gas pipeline that would cross far below the river in the DMV area—a local abbreviation that stands for Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. The pipeline project, which has gone largely uncovered by mainstream media, would be built by TransCanada, a company behind the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

“This fracked gas pipeline would go through very porous bedrock under the Potomac River. When—not if—the pipeline leaks, it would be dangerously easy for any pollutants to get into our drinking water, putting 6 million people’s health at risk. DMV residents came together today to stand up for our water and against reckless, unnecessary fossil fuel projects,” said Ntebo Mokuena, a member of 350 DC, one of the groups that sponsored Saturday’s protest, in a press release.

Sebastian Medina-Tayac, an event organizer and a​ member of the Piscataway Indian Nation and a group called Rising Hearts, added, “As the original people of this region, we depend on the river for our spiritual and material sustenance. Any threat to the river is a threat to our way of life and the future of our nation. Our elders tell us we come from the river and that it flows through our veins, the same way it flows through this great land now known as Maryland and Washington DC.”

The press release continues:

​​DMV-area groups and concerned residents have been building pressure on [Maryland Gov. Larry] Hogan to follow the lead of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has rejected Clean Water Act water quality certificates for several proposed pipelines, blocking their construction. A similar water quality certificate rejection from Hogan would stop the Eastern Panhandle Extension from being built.

“This pipeline and fracked gas pipelines in general are becoming the new threat to this country. … It’s not going to benefit Marylanders whatsoever,” Denise Robbins, spokeswoman for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, told the Sun.

H. Wood Thrasher, West Virginia’s secretary of commerce, says the pipeline is vital to the economy of eastern West Virginia, which has no underground natural gas reserves.

But Brent Walls, an advocate for the protection of the river, says that any potential leak could prove a serious health hazard for residents of the area. “There have been plenty of [incidents] across the nation where there have been gas lines that have leaked into their well water, into their drinking water,” he said. “That’s what we are mostly concerned with.”

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CH4 and CO2 are greenhouse gases

Reassessing warning issued 25 years ago, the “second notice” to humanity warns of “widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss” unless business-as-usual is upended

From an Article by Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams, November 13, 2017

“Humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere,” over 15,000 scientists warned in a letter published November 13th.

Over 15,000 scientists hailing from more than 180 countries just issued a dire warning to humanity:

“Time is running out” to stop business as usual, as threats from rising greenhouse gases to biodiversity loss are pushing the biosphere to the brink.

The new warning was published in the international journal BioScience, and marks an update to the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” issued by nearly 1,700 leading scientists 25 years ago.

The 1992 plea, which said Earth was on track to be “irretrievably mutilated” baring “fundamental change,” however, was largely unheeded.

“Some people might be tempted to dismiss this evidence and think we are just being alarmist,” said William Ripple, distinguished professor in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, and lead author of the new warning. “Scientists are in the business of analyzing data and looking at the long-term consequences. Those who signed this second warning aren’t just raising a false alarm. They are acknowledging the obvious signs that we are heading down an unsustainable path.”

The new statement—a “Second Notice” to humanity—does acknowledge that there have been some positive steps forward, such as the drop in ozone depleters and advancements in reducing hunger since the 1992 warning. But, by and large, humanity has done a horrible job of making progress. In fact, key environmental threats that demanded urgent attention a quarter of a century ago are even worse now.

Among the “especially troubling” trends, they write, are rising greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, agricultural production, and the sixth mass extinction event underway.

Taking a numerical look at how some of the threats have grown since 1992, the scientists note that there’s been a 26.1 percent loss in fresh water available per capita; a 75.3 percent increase in the number of “dead zones”; a 62.1 percent increase in CO2 emissions per year; and 35.5 percent rise in the human population.

“By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere,” they write.

Among the steps that could be taken to prevent catastrophe are promoting plant-based diets; reducing wealth inequality, stopping conversions of forests and grasslands; government interventions to rein in biodiversity loss via poaching and illicit trade; and “massively adopting renewable energy sources” while phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.

Taking such actions, they conclude, are necessary to avert “widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss.” “Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. ”

The goal of the paper, said Ripple, is to “ignite a wide-spread public debate about the global environment and climate.”

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The Active Study of Geology in Pennsylvania Includes Shales

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