Thursday, January 26, 2017

Environmental Legislation Links and Links for Homework

For Homework #1

League of Conservation Voters Score Card

Open Secrets 114th Congress List

From Class 

Library of Congress  (this is where you follow the progress of Bills)

United States Code Office of the Law Revision Counsel  (official one)

United States Code Cornell Law Library  (easier to search)

Supreme Court 

Executive Orders (which are published in the Federal Register) 
or go to

Treaties (on Senate Website) 

Federal Register 

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 
CFR at Cornell Law Library

Key Terms

• Bill – proposed legislation under consideration by a legislature

• Guidance Documents – documents that allow government agencies to provide technical guidelines and background information without the content becoming law. This allows more governmental discretion in applying the standards delineated and makes it easier to update and alter them.

• Regulation - a form of delegated legislation typically created by federal or state administrative agencies. Statues (laws) are usually written in very general terms and administrative agencies, such as the EPA, must provide the technical details in the form of regulations - regulations have the force of law. Also referred to as rules or administrative law.

• Statue – a formal written acts of a legislative body such as Congress or a state legislature. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Feeling very cranky

'cause National Parks and holding lands in trust for the public is totally a 
waste of exploitable resources! 

Obviously clean water costs too much and impedes business growth! 

And clean air regulations are a huge impediment to growing the economy  

Blow up more mountains, drill more holes, get at those fossils fuels! Regardless of the costs

Bring back those great jobs! 

* like I said - feeling very, very cranky. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Hoyt Lake Closed to Recreation

According to the news, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) has confirmed the presence of a harmful algae bloom in Hoyt Lake at Delaware Park. Yesterday, Buffalo's Department of Public Works began installing signs in Delaware Park notifying park patrons that "recreational water activities have been suspended until further notice. That includes no swimming, no boating, no fishing and no pets in the water."

First question - who in their right mind would have been trying to swim in Hoyt Lake even *before* they announced the existence of the algal bloom?? The dead fish and the horrible smell at the Forest Lawn end of the lake should have put anyone off long before this.

And then WIVB had this puzzling statement "The algae still has to go, but fixing the water in Hoyt Lake will require fixing the Scajaquada Creek, which no longer runs continuously through the city."


I have no idea why this Google map image shows the Lake as dark brown. That is really, really weird.

The creek still runs through the city - I took the bridge right over it this morning on the way to campus. I assume that this is an utterly mangled reference to the fact that Hoyt Lake is an artificial feature that is disconnected from the creek. The Scajaquada flows through Forest Lawn Cemetery then enters a short tunnel through a debris-collection grate. The tunnel runs through the park, bypassing Hoyt Lake, and the creek reemerges at the western end of Hoyt Lake, where is separated from the Mirror Lake section of the Lake by a cement wall. During high precipitation events water from the lake overflows the wall into the creek.

Smelly section of creek where it enters the tunnel that goes under the park

Apparently when Frederick Law Olmsted originally designed 'The Park' his 'Gala Lake' feature was connected to the creek and there were small wetlands at either end. But during construction of the 198 expressway (I think - the story is actually quite hard to follow) the Lake was cut off.

Aerial view of Delaware Lake and North Bay in 1938, before
reshaping and construction of the Scajaquada Expressway

A $50k fountain was installed at the Forest Lawn Cemetery end of the lake in 2013, partly in order to help aerate the water in the lake. It is refilled using a fire hydrant when the water level drops so there is extremely limited flow in the lake. However, the pump for the fountain broke (again) this summer which lead to an earlier period of algae and stink.  The lake was reportedly blue again at the end of August, but now - more algae.  I confess - I usually don't notice if the fountain is going or not.  I am usually to busy paying attention to traffic there so most of this summer's drama played out unnoticed by me.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Over 400ppm permanently ?!?!

Just noticed this depressing news - CO2 readings from the Mauna Loa Observatory for the month of September haven't dropped below 400 part per million. If you remember the Keeling Curve, the graph that shows how carbon dioxide levels fluctuate with the seasons but overall are increasing through time, you might already understand how this is important.
Keeling Curve
Normally near the end of September measured CO2 readings reach their annual low point. The low point reflects the annual transition between summer and fall, when the uptake of CO2 by vegetation slows and is overtaken by the release of CO2 from soils.

This year - with only a day to go - CO2 levels have remained above 400ppm (the daily average or yellow circles - not the red dots which are hourly averages and vary greatly over the course of the day).

Though it is highly unusual, there have been 4 years (2002, 2008,  2009, and 2012) in which the monthly value for October was actually lower than the value for September. However, the decrease from September to October those years was at most 0.45 ppm, which probably isn't enough to pull the overall average for October below 400ppm. So, um, EEK!  Because this probably means that we are now permanently above 400ppm. Not good news.

And in related EEK!

NASA Global Climate Change reported today that 2016 is on track to set a new global temperature record.

Swell news, huh.

For more information see:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I get to be a Cybils Elementary/Juvenile Non-Fiction Judge

Yippee!  I can now announce that I have been chosen to be a Round 1 Elementary/Juvenile Non-Fiction Judge! This is such a great honor, and an unexpected one really since I haven't been very active on the blog since last years Cybils.  Work took over my life I and just had no energy for blogging. I am trying to fix that now. 

This category is a bit different than in the past few years. Middle grade has been split off and grouped with Young Adult Non-fiction, though thankfully two Cybils will be awarded - one for a middle grade book and one a YA book.

The Elementary/Juvenile Non-Fiction group will also give two awards one for Elementary Nonfiction and one for Juvenile Nonfiction. Overall I am really glad about the changes. From my perspective, I think that the middle grade titles were getting overwhelmed in our old grouping and partly due to that I believe Guts & Glory: The Vikings by Ben Thompson got robbed last year. I thought it was the best book we read in terms of content plus kid accessibility. On the other hand, now I don't get to read the middle grade books!  Pout!

The Elementary/Juvenile Non-Fiction Category Description is as follows ... 
Kids are curious about the world around them and nonfiction is the perfect way to introduce them to that amazing world. History? Biography? Art? Science? Math? Animals? Sports? It's all here and more besides! We love text and illustrations or photographs that will wow kids and adults alike and topics so fascinating that kids will want to go digging for more, more, more nonfiction!

Nonfiction Elementary/Juvenile includes titles with factual content and informational titles. At least 50% or more of the book should be narrative nonfiction (as opposed to experiments, activities, instructional, or collections of facts without a strong narrative thread like encyclopedias). Mythology, folklore, poetry, graphic novels (including nonfiction), and historical fiction should be nominated in the appropriate category (which isn’t this one). We are currently accepting nominations only in print (no ebooks or books containing additional materials like kits) for this category.

How do I decide which category to nominate in?

Elementary Nonfiction
Intended for preschool through beginning readers (picture books, easy readers,
 and early chapters).

Juvenile Nonfiction
Intended for elementary age readers up through 5th grade. May include picture
 books with more complex text and themes and chapter books.

I love reading the entries - there are some really great non-fiction books out there for kids and they deserve to be celebrated.

Nominations for all Cybils categories open October 1st and close on the 15th. The guidelines are here.

Submissions from publishers and authors will be accepted October 16-26 and information for that is at the publisher section.

The mission of these awards is as follows ... "The Cybils Awards aims to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal. If some la-di-dah awards can be compared to brussels sprouts, and other, more populist ones to gummy bears, we’re thinking more like organic chicken nuggets. We’re yummy and nutritious.

So if you have read a great picture book, early reader, chapter book, middle grade or young adult novel, graphic novel, poetry or nonfiction book this past year please nominate them!

This year, the Elementary/Juvenile Non-Fiction Chair is Jennifer Wharton Jean Little Library (Yeah!  Woot! Woot! Go Jennifer!) 

The First Round Judges are (in alphabetical order):
  • Sara Ralph                     Two Nerdy Sisters                             @sralph31
  • Joanne Roberts            Bookish Ambition                               @BookishAmbition   

The Second Round Judges are:
  • Terry Doherty           The Reading Tub           @readingtub                    
  • Michelle Leonard   The Winged Pen               @MGYABookJunkie and @WingedP
  • Debbie Tanner      The Booksearch                @imtanner2

So Excited !  I hope you all have some amazing nominations to make!