Monday, July 18, 2005

Protecting California tiger salamander to cost $367 million, study says

Is this a good use of the people's money?

Protecting the California tiger salamander as a threatened species will cost the state $367 million in lost development opportunities over the next two decades, federal wildlife officials said Friday. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service analysis estimated the economic impact of designating about 382,000 acres in 20 California counties as the salamander's "critical habitat" where development would be restricted.

The critical habitat designations for the California tiger salamander's central population - which includes populations in the San Joaquin Valley, Central Coast and San Francisco Bay area - were proposed in August last year, and a final rule is due by Aug. 10. The Fish and Wildlife Service sent the analysis, prepared by Oakland-based Charles River Associates, to the Federal Register, opening a public comment period that will end Aug. 3.

According to the study, about 94 percent of the projected economic loss would be in urban counties with fast-rising housing prices. Critical habitat designations would cost $131 million in Alameda County, $91 million Contra Costa County and $67 million in Monterey County. Santa Clara, San Benito and Fresno counties would also face significant economic loss.

Scientists say the tiger salamander, a terrestrial amphibian that lives mostly underground in grasslands and woodlands, has lost 75 percent of its native habitat to urban sprawl and the invasion of nonnative species.



For years, Democrats and their environmentalist allies have been accusing the Bush administration of "ignoring the science" they claim shows humanity is warming the planet.... What's not debatable is the utter hypocrisy of the Democrats, who ever since the Clinton administration have successfully forced pesticide regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency to ignore the science when establishing pesticide regulations. They nearly derailed the appointment of the new EPA Administrator this spring over this issue and now they're advising the Bush administration to defy a 2003 Federal Appeals Court order requiring that the EPA consider human toxicity data if available.

Without reliable exposure and human toxicity data, EPA regulators must rely on worst case assumptions and are required to apply additional 10-fold "uncertainty factors" to their risk calculations. All too often this means elimination of specific uses of pesticides, hurting farmers and consumers by making it harder and more expensive to protect our food supply and homes from pests.

To fill our knowledge gaps, the EPA had been planning a two-year study of Florida families to assess exposure to pesticides in and around the home. The agency chose Florida because of the tropical climate and abundance of termites and other creepy crawlies, hence residents have a greater exposure to pesticides than other states. Participant households were to be paid less than $1,000 and given a video camera with which to record their families' activities. Not surprisingly, the New York Times misreported that this "would have paid parents for allowing tests on their children." Rather, the study would only have assessed the family's current exposure to pesticides and would not have required or encouraged any additional pesticide use.

The Democrats apparently could not tolerate the possibility of less-restrictive pesticide regulations, so they placed a hold on the nomination of EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson until he cancelled the planned study in April. Then in early June, California Democrats Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Henry Waxman released a report objecting to the EPA's consideration of data from already-conducted human testing of pesticides when assessing their risks -- data that the Federal Appeals Court said the EPA must consider. Sen. Boxer said the report "proves the Bush administration is encouraging dangerous pesticide testing on humans with no standards."

The reality is that these tests are not dangerous. They only occur after the chemicals have been exhaustively tested in several other animal species and the purpose is merely to confirm the pesticides are as non-toxic to humans at a specific dose (called the No Observable Adverse Effect Level) as they are in the test animals. The Democrats would prefer that the regulators be kept in the dark to ensure overly stringent regulations.

More here


By Philip Stott

Since the Rio Conference in 1992, the Greens and their camp-following Guardianistas have tried, with Cromwellian zeal, to employ the threat of 'global warming' to induce Protestant guilt in us all, to cap growth, to change lifestyles, to attack the car, industry and the Great Satan of America. Now it is surely time to face the facts: there isn't a snowflake-in-hell's chance of this altering real life. Indeed, it would be disastrous for the developing world, the other plank of the G8 agenda, if it did. Without increasing demand in the countries of the North, there is no way in which the poorer countries of the South will be able to grow out of their poverty. The attempt to cap growth through the environmental proxy of 'global warming' is a sleight of hand too far. Luckily, it appears that the general public has no intention of being conned.

But the failure of the Greens is not just with the public. While playing the climate-change card at the G8 Summit, the final Gleneagles' declaration shows that the leaders of the developed world have no intention of sacrificing growth and economic success for an ascetic 'global warming' religion.

First, there is the clear recognition that global energy demand is expected to grow by 60 per cent over the next 25 years, especially in China and India, and that this will require the maintenance and development of 'secure, reliable and affordable energy sources' that are fundamental to economic stability and development, because 'rising energy demand poses a challenge to energy security given increased reliance on global energy markets'. The declaration also correctly acknowledges that around two billion people lack modern energy services. As the document states: 'We need to work with our partners to increase access to energy if we are to support the achievement of the goals agreed at the Millennium Summit in 2000.'

Secondly, the idea of capping 'greenhouse gas' emissions is cleverly replaced by an emphasis on technological innovation and imaginative development. The Kyoto Protocol is effectively dead. To quote Michael McCarthy, the environment editor of the Independent: 'The failed agenda that Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the World Wide Fund for Nature and others were complaining of - that the US has still not agreed to cut its carbon dioxide emissions - was the green groups' own agenda, not the British government's. Tony Blair never remotely saw this meeting as an occasion where George Bush would rejoin the Kyoto protocol.'

The new emphasis is thus to 'promote innovation, energy efficiency, conservation, improve policy, regulatory and financing frameworks; and accelerate deployment of cleaner technologies, particularly lower-emitting technologies', working with 'developing countries to enhance private investment and transfer of technologies, taking into account their own energy needs and priorities'.

Thirdly, and perhaps most important of all, there is a clear shift in emphasis from the control of 'global warming' to the socioeconomic adaptation to climate change: 'Adaptation to the effects of climate change due to both natural and human factors is a high priority for all nations, particularly in areas that may experience the most significant change, such as the Arctic, the African Sahel and other semi-arid regions, low-lying coastal zones, and small island states also subject to subsidence. As we work on our own adaptation strategies, we will work with developing countries on building capacity to help them improve their resilience and integrate adaptation goals into sustainable development strategies.' This is something that I, and many other scientists and economists, have been arguing for a long time, and it is rewarding to witness the move in this direction.

Indeed, the whole Gleneagles climate statement is encouraging. Its true focus, quite rightly in my opinion, is on energy rather than on climate change, and the document even concludes with the statement: 'We welcome the Russian decision to focus on energy in its Presidency of the G8 in 2006 and the programme of meetings that Russia plans to hold.' It would thus appear that neither the public nor their leaders have been taken in by 'global warming' hysteria. There will be no capping of dynamic growth for mistaken and misguided environmental aims. Instead, there will be a much-needed reappraisal of nuclear power and of clean coal, the latter a genuine Canadian contribution....

Luckily, the Green dogma has failed and common economic sense is beginning to prevail. Perhaps, quite unexpectedly, the Gleneagles Summit may prove to have been a turning point. In the words of an editorial in The Australian on 13 July: 'As the G8 Gleneagles summit proved, there is no consensus on how to combat global warming today or tomorrow but the bell now tolls on a decade of illusion.'

More here

China to build more nukes: "A state-owned utility plans to build 10 nuclear power plants in eastern China as the country tries to reduce its reliance on coal, a state newspaper reported Friday. Six of the 1,000-megawatt reactors will be built in Shandong province in the east and four in Liaoning in the northeast, the China Daily said, citing Liu Changqing, a senior director of the state-owned China Power Investment Corp. China is struggling to meet surging power demand amid economic growth that exceeds 9 percent a year, while also trying to cut its heavy reliance on dirty coal, which has left cities choked in smog. Construction dates for the new power plants are still unknown, the China Daily said. No decision has been made on what technology the reactors will use, Liu was quoted as saying. China's first commercial nuclear reactor began operation in 1991."


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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