Quality Table Salt Occurs Naturally in West Virginia

by Duane Nichols on November 26, 2015

Natural Fine Salt for Specialty Meals

Fine Brine From Appalachia: The Fancy Mountain Salt That Chefs Prize

PHOTO: Nancy Bruns, CEO of J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works, gathers fine salt from an evaporation table in Malden, WV

From an Article by Noah Adams, NPR, WV Public Broadcasting, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving feasts are always in need of something special. Can a sprinkle of artisanal salt noticeably pump up the experience? Let’s meet a new Appalachian salt-maker in West Virginia and find out.

J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works is nestled in the Kanawha River Valley, just southeast of the capital city of Charleston in the small town of Malden (not to be confused with Maldon, a sea salt brand from the U.K.). It’s mostly pasture land, with cows nearby.

Amid the livestock, there’s a new, small — you could call it micro — salt works. ”This is our well, in the field over here. It goes down 350 feet,” Nancy Bruns, CEO of J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works, says.

The wellhead is simple, white and about 2 feet high. It took a couple of weeks to drill, and then came the salty water. ”It did gush; it absolutely did gush. We went through a lot of fresh water on the way down. And we all had cups, we were tasting it on the way down, and I just said no, keep drilling, it’s not salty yet.”

She’s a seventh-generation descendant of salt workers who started the original J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works in 1817. This is a revival of that company.

Long ago, when the mountains rose up, an ancient ocean went underground. But some of it stayed near the surface. The pioneers needed salt and the meatpackers in Cincinnati did, too. There was only one choice: drill deep. Fifty companies did, burning timber and coal to evaporate the water. Slaves were brought in for much of the labor. It was a big, noisy, extractive industry.

At the new Dickinson Salt-Works, an almost-worn-out electric pump is the only real industry. There are two large and peaceful greenhouses — here they call them sunhouses. ”It gets up to around 150 degrees here in the summer,” Megan Parker, the operations manager, says.

Megan Parker is happy to be using sunlight instead of burning fossil fuels.

The salt water is stored in large trays lined with black polyethylene. You can see the beginning of white salt crystals — they’re in graceful, almost mystical patterns.

“It is magic. It’s my favorite part of the process, to see a bed that, like this on our right, that’s completely clear, clear liquid, and then the next day you come in and you start to see these beautiful crystals forming,” Bruns says.

Finished salt crystals are spread out on an evaporation table before being raked and packaged. A 3.5-ounce jar of finished salt from J.Q. Dickinson is shown in the original Article.

Bruns uses a wooden rake to gather finished salt crystals into a pile. Her company will produce about 10,000 pounds this year to be dried, sorted, put in small jars and shipped out to top restaurants like The French Laundry in northern California, Husk in Charleston, S.C., and Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore.

“I think of salt as like wine, so the minerality of our salt is different from the minerality of any other salt, kind of like a pinot noir grown in California is different from a pinot noir grown in France. Could be exactly the same vine but because of the earth that it’s grown in it gives you a different flavor,” Bruns says.

A suggestion from the expert salt-maker for your holiday feast? Whisk up some dark caramel sauce, sprinkle away and approach cautiously with a small spoon.

WARNING — Don’t try this with toxic Marcellus brine.  Actually, fracking activities would very likely contaminate the naturally occurring salt veins overlaying drilled and fracked shale deposits. These issues have arisen with the brine wells of the Axiall chemical plant at Natrium in Marshall County, WV, where Gastar has drilled and fracked in the Marcellus shale.


Morally Wrong to Pay Millions in Denial

Bolstering Case Against Exxon, New Study Confirms Vast Damage of Denial Campaign

‘The contrarian efforts have made it difficult for ordinary Americans to even know who to trust.’

From an Article by Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams, 11/24/2015

Corporate-backed groups “consistently promoted the same contrarian themes—casting doubt, for example, on whether higher levels of man-made carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere were harmful to the planet.” (Image: Shutterstock/alphaspirit)

Corporate dollars intensify ideological polarization while sowing mistrust on the issue of climate change, with ExxonMobil and the Koch family foundations driving the phenomenon through the creation of climate disinformation think tanks and dissemination of coordinated contrarian messaging in mainstream media and public discourse.

So finds a new study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (PNAS) journal and based on an analysis of more than 39 million words of text produced by 164 organizations active in the coordinated campaign to deny the existence of human-caused climate change between 1993 and 2013.

Study author Justin Farrell, a Yale University sociologist, told the Washington Post that this “birds-eye view” revealed an “ecosystem of influence” within the corporate-backed groups.

Within this anti-science echo chamber, the Post reports, “[t]hose that received donations consistently promoted the same contrarian themes—casting doubt, for example, on whether higher levels of man-made carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere were harmful to the planet. There was no evidence of such coordination among the non-funded groups.”

Still, as Farrell told the Post: “The contrarian efforts…have made it difficult for ordinary Americans to even know who to trust.”

As Brendan DeMelle at the DeSmog Blog pointed out on Tuesday, the research “confirms once again the central thesis of industry-funded attacks on climate science”—a thesis that is at the heart of the escalating #ExxonKnew campaign, aimed at probing the corporation’s climate cover-up.

Not only do the study’s findings raise questions about how corporate media outlets will cover such misinformation campaigns in the future, wrote DeMelle, but the research also “provides further evidence of the public deception orchestrated by the fossil fuel industry, and should prove valuable to investigators examining ExxonMobil as well as other current and future efforts to hold polluters accountable for their PR pollution.”


Strong Earthquakes Rattle Oklahoma Again & Again

November 24, 2015

http://ecowatch.com/2015/11/19/oklahoma-earthquake-fracking/ Strong Earthquake Rattles Oklahoma, Felt in 7 Other States From an Article by Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch.com, November 19, 2015 A 4.7 magnitude earthquake struck northern Oklahoma Thursday night, followed by two more. Kansas and other neighboring states also felt the quakes miles away. Oklahoma City’s KOCO 5 News reports that the first and strongest [...]

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A Guide to Personal Divestment and Reinvestment

November 23, 2015

Extracting Fossil Fuels from Your Portfolio This summary is edited and condensed from the original guide prepared by 350.org, Green Century Capital Management, and Trillium Asset Management. Climate change is one of the most serious threats of our time. Scientists agree that carbon emissions and pollution from burning fossil fuels like coal and oil are [...]

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The Role of Culture in Understanding Climate Change

November 22, 2015

What Makes Climate Deniers Tick? How culture shapes the climate change debate From an Article by Jake Aberhamson, Sierra Magazine, September/October 2015 No matter how many scientific papers point toward climate change, some people refuse to be convinced. A Pew Research Center poll in June found that Americans’ views on whether the planet is heating [...]

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Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) Subjected to Rational Analysis

November 21, 2015

Consilience and Consensus: Why Climate Skeptics Are Wrong From the Skeptic Column of  Michael Shermer, Scientific  American, December  2015 At some point in the history of all scientific theories, only a minority of scientists—or even just one—supported them, before evidence accumulated to the point of general acceptance. The Copernican model, germ theory, the vaccination principle, [...]

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Carbon Dioxide from Fossil Fuel Combustion is Huge Problem for Society

November 20, 2015

Job loss concerns seem real, but Congressman McKinley’s facts aren’t Letter to the Editor by Larry Harris, Morgantown Dominion Post, Opinion Page, November 19, 2015 <<< Rep. McKinley’s estimate of the coal emissions compared to deforestation is inaccurate >>> Rep. David McKinley recently made comments minimizing the effect of burning coal on the environment (DP-Friday), [...]

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Seventy (70) Homes Evacuated in Fracking Chemical Fire at Leetsdale, PA

November 19, 2015

Fire at Leetsdale chemical plant leads to 70 homes being evacuated, five injured Leetsdale, PA – WTAE, News 4, Pittsburgh, Nov. 17, 2015 A fire at the Leetsdale Industrial Park that reached three alarms and prompted a hazmat response and local evacuations Tuesday morning is now being reported as mostly under control. Sky 4 video [...]

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The Future Depends Upon New Energy: Economy, Health & Environment

November 18, 2015

Future economy, not to mention, health and environment, depend on new energy Guest Editorial by S. Thomas Bond, Charleston Gazette Mail, Sunday, November 15, 2015 Now would be a great time for West Virginia and national politicians to wake up and see the sunshine. The world is on the threshold of a new day, and [...]

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Marcellus Shale Drilling, Fracking, & Pipelines can Impact Rivers, Streams, Wetlands

November 17, 2015

Study indicates gas drilling can impact rivers, streams & wetlands From an Article by Elizabeth Krapits, Citizens Voice News, November 16, 2015 Depending on where and how it’s done, natural gas drilling does have the potential to impact Pennsylvania’s waterways, an independent study reveals. Kenneth M. Klemow, professor of biology and environmental science and director [...]

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