Dec 15, 2015

Listen to Rockland city council giving preliminary approval to a 6 month moratorium on Big Energy projects 12/14/15

Rockland city council gives initial approval to 6 month moratorium on Big Energy projects 

On  December 14, 2015 Rockland city council gave preliminary approval to a 6 month moratorium on Big Energy projects    Read draft moratorium (jpeg)                                                                            Second reading and final approval will take place on January 11, 2016

Tonight the Rockland city council passed - in first reading- a  6 month moratorium on considering any ten megawatt or bigger power plant applications. 

  Proposed moratorium was introduced by Councilman William Jillson. This is the first ordinance proposed by Jillson, who defeated Rockland's pro-gas councilor/mayor Frank Isganitis in the recent election.. 
So far...So Good!, Bill!
The moratorium still has to have a second reading and final vote.

But it seems clear that the needed three council members:  Jillson,  Valli Geiger and Larry Pritchett  have looked into the concerns their People have been raising about the weakness of city ordinances to take on big gas  industrial operations coastal natural gas power plant, and found them compelling.  
Moratorium opponents were either vague on why - Rockland's new mayor Louise MacLellan-Ruf. 

Or as in Councilor Will Clayton, repeating  the absent gas guy Evan Coleman's talking points: 

* What if Coleman came up with a super duper proposal two months from now?  He'd have to wait 4 months more while the city developed its big gas ordinance.

* What if some unknown would be gas power applicants suddenly appeared and had a super duper good proposal -  but then had to wait until the city drafted an ordinance? 

* What if  some UNKNOWN CITY  INDUSTRIAL LANDOWNER has to wait 6 months until regulation are developed before submitting his application?    

One supposes these frustrated corporate persons would  take their polluting industry elsewhere.  Suffice it to say no new applicant has arisen, and no new property owner eager to turn their property into a gas plant. has been identified. "Thomaston" some have said. 

Dec 3, 2015

Lobster larvae: global warming could have bigger impact on their survival than ocean acidification

Gulf of Maine water warming: bigger danger to lobster larvae than ocean acidification?
On November 23, 2015   at an Ocean Acidification gathering of scientists, NGOs and state and municipal officials, held in Augusta Maine, meeting co-host Susie Arnold of the Island Institute, read a several  reports from researchers who couldn't attend that day. 
Among them, a report by Jes Waller a UMaine marine biology graduate student . Waller compared the effects on maine lobsters of increased acidification of seawater with the effects of increased tsewater tempersure. Here's the report  read by Susie Arnold  
The word from Bigelow Lab: Lobster larvae may be  affected more by ocean warming than by ocean acidification. Jes Waller, a UMaine grad student doing her research at Bigelow, compared the impacts of water warming and acidication on larval lobsters in the lab. 
This according to an update from her that was read out to the participants at the recent ocean acidification meeting in Augusta. Listen to that reading a 2min 37sec mp3 
Waller extrapolated environmental conditions out to the year 2100, apparently by increasing the amount of acid-forming carbon dioxide in some of the larvae's environment to 750ppm, and increasing water temperature to 66 degrees in others. 
(1) Boosted acidification DID NOT appear to affect the lobster larvae's metabolism nor their behavior.
(2) Elevated water temperature DID affect them.Their respiration sped up, their motions increased , and their development through life stages sped up. (They have 3 larval stages, and one postlarval stage before becoming juvenile then adult lobsters.)
Waller's paper will be published soon, but it suggests that what appears to prove lethal to these superhungry larvae is that the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water and  abundance of their tiny prey doesn't increase along with their needs. Not enough for their increased respiratory and food demands  So they strangle and starve.
A legislator raised the question: does elevated acidity have impacts on lobster larvae's prey? 
No one knew. Food for the little ones include animals like water fleas , zooplankton copepods, crustacean larvae, eggs of about any fish or shellfish; and on the salad side: diatoms, dinoflagellates & filamentous algae.

Which of those are acid-sensitive and which are warming sensitive - and which are both?

Dec 2, 2015

George Bank area oil drilling - a look back at how CLF fought them in the 1970s & 1980s

While the proposed oil drilling may be off Canada, It is helpful to helpful to look at  three of Conservation Law Foundation's court battles with the feds  & oil industry over Georges Bank  from the 1970s and 1980s when the US was trying to drill on Georges.  Yes they were American companies but Canada got involved back then because spills from these could harm the sealife  of their waters and shores too.

Com. of Mass & CLF . v. Andrus481 F.Supp. 685 (D. Mass., 1979), a notice of sale was issued by the Secretary of Interior on October 5, 1979 scheduling the opening of bids for Tuesday, November 6, 1979 in the State of Rhode Island.  The State of Massachusetts and the Conservation Law Foundation brought suit to stop the sale and the matter came on for hearing before the Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts on a motion for preliminary injunction and cross-motions for summary judgment.   Andrus won

March 28, 1983 Federal District Judge David A. Mazzone issued a temporary restraining order  stopping the sale of oil drilling lease rights on 2.8 million acres of the Georges Bank The offering, the largest of its kind ever proposed by the Federal Government, was to go up for bids in New York City  on the 29th. The ruling was the latest development in a five-year effort by the New England states and various environmental groups to restrict the Government's plan to lease almost all of the continental shelf for oil and gas exploration by 1987.

End of Judge's decision: On November 21, 1984, the Secretary filed a notice of appeal. On December 21, over two months after a decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) determined that the tracts in question belonged to Canada, he cancelled Lease Sale 82, Part II. On March 5, 1985, after the Secretary represented by affidavit that no new sales would take place until February 1987 at the earliest and that the administrative record for Lease Sale 82 would be abandoned, the court dismissed the case.