Saturday, December 25, 2004


To all those who come by here on this great day

And may all those who recognize Jesus as Lord always walk in his wisdom


"A group of Connecticut second graders was bused to New York last week for a well-publicized protest to save the rainforest. And the field trip has some up in arms. The kids wielded posters they made in school as part of a contest sponsored by an environmental group called the Rainforest Action Network. 'Today we have rainforest heroes, kids the earth can count on are here today to visit J.P. Morgan Chase, the world's second largest bank, to ask them to save the rainforest,' said Michael Brune, executive director of the network. 'I celebrate the world, I celebrate the rainforest, and I care [about] the reality of what is happening with my students, which is only fair, and I let them make their own choices,' said teacher Paula Healey. ... But when 6 and 7-year-olds stage a demonstration, questions arise as to who is behind the event and whether the children are being manipulated and exploited to serve someone else's agenda."

More here. There are some more comments on the story here and here.


The Bush administration agreed yesterday to pay California farmers $16.7 million to compensate for water the government held back to preserve two imperiled fish species in the early 1990s, a pact that some legal experts said will make it harder for the federal government to protect endangered species. Property rights advocates hailed the settlement between the Justice Department and several thousand farmers from five San Joaquin Valley water districts, who lost as much as a third of their water deliveries in 1992 and 1994, when a long drought threatened the survival of the area's chinook salmon and delta smelt populations. The agreement affirmed a federal judge's 2001 decision that federal authorities' decisions to conserve water for the fish violated farmers' property rights.

The farmers' lawyer, Roger Marzulla, who served in the Justice Department's environmental division under President Ronald Reagan, said the government will no longer be able to deny citizens use of their land or water without compensation, even if a species is in trouble. "The principle has been established that if the federal government does take water rights . . . then the federal government must pay for that water," Marzulla said in a telephone interview. "It is now on the books."

Both California authorities and lawyers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees efforts to protect the fish, had urged the Justice Department to appeal the 2001 verdict on the grounds that a settlement would spark new legal challenges to state and federal water policies. Judge John Paul Wiese ruled the government owed the farmers $14 million, a figure that ballooned after the court added in attorneys' fees and accrued interest. Tom Dresslar, spokesman for California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, said that "the claims court decision will present problems for the state, and hinder its ability to manage water to protect the environment and meet other public interests."

At the Justice Department, spokesman Blain Rethmeier did not explain why the administration decided to forgo an appeal, aside from saying, "This settlement is the result of careful and deliberate negotiations between the parties."

John D. Echeverria, who directs Georgetown University's Environmental Law and Policy Institute, said an appeals court could rule differently on the matter at some point, but "in the meantime, the United States government has given a great big stocking stuffer to California's cotton industry."

It was unclear how much of a legal precedent the settlement might establish. Sue Ellen Wooldridge, an Interior Department lawyer, said many federal and state water contracts include language that protects the government from liability when it acts to protect species. The three-page agreement between the administration and the San Joaquin Valley farmers also says the settlement should not "be interpreted to constitute a precedent or argument in this or any other case." But Marzulla said government officials had already begun to accommodate private property interests because of his lawsuit, and experts across the political spectrum said it could affect government decisions involving water used for public recreation and navigation.


California Farmers have until year's end to turn in plans to clean the air

Suddenly country air is bad for you! Let's all go and take a deep breath of that healthful city smog!

The Central Valley's dairy, cotton, fruit and vegetable farms are the newest front in the fight to clean up one of the nation's dirtiest air basins. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is requiring farmers with more than 100 contiguous acres and dairies with more than 500 cows to submit plans by the end of the year showing what they're doing to reduce the microscopic particles of dust, chemicals or other substances that come from their land. More than 6,400 farms and dairies in the 270-mile-long valley between San Francisco and Los Angeles meet the requirements to participate in the plan. The farmers can choose from dozens of dust-fighting options. They include measures many already practice, such as watering unpaved roads, switching to organic farming and working at night when winds are lighter.

Environmental activists lauded the new requirements, saying it was about time farmers joined local governments and other industries in controlling dust. But critics said the requirement asks for too little and gives farmers too much room to count measures they already were taking as part of their improvement package. The requirements are "really just a sham," said Brent Newell, an attorney with the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment. Farmers are turning in plans in which they give themselves credit for actions they might have been taking for decades, he said. That would include growing permanent crops such as almonds and peaches.

Some farmers also have been critical of the program, although for different reasons. They say air regulators are focusing on agriculture because it's an easy target, while the other big source of particulate matter - vehicle emissions - goes unchecked on the local level. "We have less land in agriculture today than we had 40, 50 years ago, and the pollution is worse," said San Joaquin Farm Bureau program manager Joe Petersen, who farms 50 acres of cherries and wine grapes in San Joaquin County. "That says for me that ag isn't the problem." Despite the concerns, more than two-thirds of farmers with enough land or cows to fall under the new rules had complied and submitted their two-year plans by early December, said Rick McVaigh, the regional air board's permit services manager.

Health advocates said asking farmers to do their part is an important step in addressing the region's pollution problem. Farms raise 51 percent of the tiny specks of dust that help give the valley one of the nation's highest asthma rates.

Farmer John Pucheu said the requirement has raised farmers' awareness of the need to keep dust down. Like many farmers, however, he said the air among the cotton fields where he lives feels a lot cleaner to him than what he sees when he goes into Fresno, the valley's largest city. "In these urban areas, you have hundreds of thousands of cars," said Pucheu, who farms 3,500 acres in the west Fresno County town of Tranquillity. "Out here, most days the fields are just sitting there, growing."

The latest cleanup plan proposes reducing particulate pollution by 23 percent, or 34 tons a day, by 2010. To date, the region has missed a series of federal deadlines to reduce pollution - and residents in the area are paying for it with the nation's highest asthma rate. Medical research has shown that the particles that concern the air regulators and health workers- called PM10 because they are under 10 micrometers, or one-seventh of a human hair in width - can lead to chronic respiratory problems. According to the American Lung Association, the tiniest particles - those smaller than 2.5 micrometers - can lodge themselves deep inside lung tissue. They have been linked to heart attacks, strokes and a shorter life expectancy. The particles can consist of diesel exhaust, soot, ash and organic compounds from dairies such as ammonia, in addition to the dust that can rise from fields during harvest or tilling. "No one likes to get regulated," said Josette Merced Bello, chief executive officer of the American Lung Association of Central California. "Ag is not the only source, and this is not the only solution. But it's important for everyone to get involved."



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.

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