I’ve been watching and listening to Guy McPherson for the last few years, but I’ve rarely recommended him to others, because his conclusions — on a scale from “EVERYTHING’S GONNA BE FINE” at one end to “KISS YOUR ASS GOODBYE” at the other — are at the KYAGB end. But now I hear that credible climate scientists are taking his ideas seriously enough to critique them. Thom Hartmann interviews McPherson here (12 min, skip ad after 4):


McPherson quotes Albert Bartlett as saying, “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”

And McPherson adds, “We’re beyond the linear with respect to climate change.”

McPherson thinks we’ve “already fired the methane hydrate gun.”

Here’s my response to his message:

G’mornin’ this beautiful spring day! Aren’t the budding flowers … beautiful? I’m not asking this ironically or sarcastically, but with complete sincerity. It’s the only way that I can respond to McPherson’s message at this particular moment.

Later in the day — when I’m fully awake — I’ll think again about how to work on the problem, with others.

Environmental Impact Report Needed for Blue Lead Mine

By J. Pelton

The owners of Blue Lead Mine have proposed a 20-year gold-mining operation covering 74 acres in the Red Dog/You Bet area which is still in recovery after the devastation of hydraulic mining.  They refer to this mine as a Mom and Pop operation, and say they will be using “only” 20,000 gallons of water each day for 10-12 months each year, about the amount required to fill a swimming pool.  How many people do you know who re-fill their swimming pool every day?

Neighbors of the mine have challenged Blue Lead’s water consumption estimates as too low, citing rapid rates of evaporation from the on-site ponds in the summer heat that would need to be re-filled from wells.  California’s drought adds weight to their concerns.

The Nevada County Planning Commission dropped the ball on this one. A mining operation of this size without a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) would be precedent-setting.  Other similar mining projects will undoubtedly follow, increasing the impacts exponentially.  Charles Watson of Advanced Geologic (the apparent PR arm for Blue Lead) is doing all that he can to make sure that happens by hawking mining claims on his website.

A full EIR would assess the totality of impacts to the neighborhood and property values when (not if) other mining operations are proposed for that area.  A full EIR would, among other things, include independent hydrologic studies to answer the questions raised by neighbors about the impact on their wells.

The owners of Blue Lead have already shown their hand with a pattern of offenses that cannot be dismissed by saying that they were “confused”, or waived away as Planning Staff tried to do by saying they just got off on the wrong foot.

The Blue Lead Mine was in the news as recently as four years ago for a long history of mining violations.  Nevada County, the Bureau of Land Management, the Office of Mine Reclamation, the Water Quality Control Board, and the Forest Service, all have case files on Blue Lead for mining-related offenses, including: 1) Water pollution 2) Alteration of stream bed 3) Non-compliance with their plan of operation 4) SMARA violations 5) Building a road and settling pond on public land without permission and 6) neighbors have accused Blue Lead of trespass on adjacent property by grading and widening a private road without permission, and destroying timber and drainage in the process.

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors is responsible for protecting Nevada County taxpayers from the cost of cleaning up failed mining ventures.  They must show leadership and vision by first requiring an Environmental Impact Report in order to have complete and independent information about the proposed project before deciding on a use permit for a phased project expected to last for 20 years, and before piece-meal re-zoning to accommodate mining.  Given the still visible scars from past gold mining in the Sierras, they must set the bar high for new projects. If a permit is ultimately granted, the Supervisors must make the permit conditional on frequent inspections by County officials, and include firm enforcement provisions for stopping the work at the first sign of trouble.

Nevada County Board of Supervisors Delays Decision on Blue Lead Mine

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors was surprisingly receptive to those appealing the recent decision of the Planning Commission to grant Blue Lead Mine a “mitigated negative declaration” in lieu of a full EIR (environmental impact report).

After a full afternoon  (1:30 to 7:30) of testimony and deliberations before a completely packed chamber, the Board voted 3-2 to delay the decision on the appeal until after further study of the water issue (the Blue Lead project plans to use 20,000 gallons of water per day in its mining activities, with impacts on local wells completely uncertain).

My impression is that most of the pro-mine comments came from owner Robert White and his family, Blue Lead employees/consultants and recreational miners.

Most of the comments critical of the proposed mining project came from people living in the vicinity of the mine, whose arguments in favor of the appeal and in favor of an EIR, were compelling, The process  could still (after some months of further study?) end up in an EIR, depending on the results of the water study.

More details can be found here on Yubanet (the first to report on this BOS meeting):

Red Flags for Blue Lead Mine – Decision Postponed


Could This Explain the George Washington Bridge Scandal?

Ryan Lizza, writing in a long article about Chris Christie in The New Yorker, describes George Norcross III, “New Jersey’s most influential Democratic political boss.”

When Norcross introduced Christie at the ceremony, he teased the Governor openly. He reminded the audience that, despite Christie’s impressive reëlection, he failed to win any new Republican seats in the legislature. Then he touched on a sensitive issue. Norcross sponsors an annual ten-kilometre race across the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, connecting Philadelphia and Camden. “There’s one thing the Governor, with all his power, has not been able to achieve,” he said. “I’m the one who’s able to shut down a bridge.”

What? You think he’s not that petty?

On January 24, 2013, Christie’s top political advisers compiled a private list of twenty-one Democratic mayors whose endorsement they coveted. Mark Sokolich, the mayor of Fort Lee, was the second name on the list. “We should get the targets to ‘sign on dotted line,’ ” a top aide wrote in an e-mail.

Watch This, You’ll Be Glad: “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey”

This looks fascinating .. the follow-on to Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.

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