Monday, November 22, 2010

“Plastisoil- Temple University Engineering Professor Turns Plastic into Pervious Pavement

“A Temple University researcher has developed a cement-like substance that could help with stormwater management while potentially keeping millions of plastic bottles out of landfills.

Cement-like creation could help the environment

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

DEP: Natural Gas Emergency Responders Locating In PA To Improve Response Times

 “CUDD Well Control’s presence in our state will ensure fast and expert response to emergency situations at well sites,” said DEP Secretary John Hanger. “Recent accidents in our state have shown that the natural gas industry lacks the training and equipment to respond quickly to accidents. This creates a tremendous danger to the public and the environment.
            “When an accident occurs, we cannot wait 10 or more hours for a crew to fly in from halfway across the country. Pennsylvanians must be confident that highly trained emergency services are available nearby to respond to a gas well emergency as quickly possible.”

Friday, August 13, 2010

Walsh, president and CEO of Bozeman-based Simms Fishing Products, traveled to Washington, D.C., to watch the president sign the U.S. Manufacturers Enhancement Act.

"In short," she wrote, the new law "supports quality Montana workers, making quality Montana products. Just ask President Obama -- he wore Simms fishing gear last summer while fly fishing on the East Gallatin River and stayed warm and dry the entire time."

From, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Bozeman, MT

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pipelines and tax dollars

I have watched Texas and Eastern tear up the countryside in Montgomery County a few years ago. I was to widen a transcontinental gas line from 30 inches to 60 inches. It’s not pretty. Although it’s a rare occasion we also need to keep in mind that high pressure gas lines, mostly old high pressure gas lines do sometimes explode. When they do go up it looks something like a B-52 bombing run.  Just look for those little warning signs along road ways that indicate gas lines. Or maybe there is a dotted line on your subdivision plan indicating an easement for a pipeline. The 16 inch line in the Daily Local News article Another gas company plans pipe expansionis tiny for a high pressure gas line.

The cozy relationship of BP and Federal Regulators was revealed when journalists reported on BP’s Gulf disaster.  Keep in mind that the person who set up regulation in the Minerals Management Service was President Regan’s Secretary of the Interior James Watt. See Tracking down Minerals Management Service's dysfunctional history of drilling oversight” Denver Post. James G. Watt Speaking before Congress, once said "I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns, whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations."  Watt is quoted in another Denver Post article "Watt applauds Bush energy strategy" as saying;  "Everything Cheney's saying, everything the president's saying -they're saying exactly what we were saying 20 years ago, precisely, …Twenty years later, it sounds like they've just dusted off the old work." Also in the Denver Post article Tracking down Minerals Management Service's dysfunctional history of drilling oversightis a quote "If you went into one of their offices, you'd probably find them watching 'Leave It to Beaver' and rubber-stamping permits.".

State and local governments might have good regulations but may have a difficult time enforcing their mining and drilling regulations, mostly because they are underfunded. What I mean is, the mining and drilling operations don’t even bother paying off inspectors because they know there are not enough inspectors to make a difference in their operations and they can ignore the laws.  Extraction industries ignoring our local environmental laws is something that I believe from my personal experience is routine in Pennsylvania. They assume, mostly correctly, that nobody is watching them.  And there is also the Richard Legree axiom “If no one knows it’s a law, the law ain’t broken”. 

The mining, drilling and pipeline construction will permanently mar the landscape and negatively affect endangered species. Drilling for gas in PA using fracking endangers our drinking water supply in two ways. The first is immediate infusion of poisons into well water and local headwater streams. The other is more pervasive and long lasting. The drilling platforms, pipelines and roadways are constructed in forests that are in the headwaters of the Delaware River that supply water for many downstream municipalities including Philadelphia.  Think of each of thousands of drilling platform as a new housing subdivision within our forests and you will have an almost accurate picture of the drilling operations.  The drilling operations are and will degrade the forested headwaters of the Delaware River and affect our drinking water.

Exxon got a tax refund last year.

I think the bigger question is, why do we keep throwing our tax dollars away on the dying energy extraction industries and instead invest tax dollars in new non-carbon based industries?  OK, I guess I know the answer. The Republican Party and Conservative Democrats are wholly owned subsidiaries of the energy extraction industries.

To separate conservative politicians from liberal or centrist politicians in the United States you need only to look in their wallets.  Conservative politicians will have money from extraction industries and or health insurance companies in their very heavy wallets. 

Conservatives count on low voter turnout combined with Fox News to win. We can challenge it by voting but the overwhelming majority of us don’t bother to vote.         

A 36-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline, Line 20, owned and operated by Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation (TETCO), failed catastrophically on March 23, 1994

Before and After in Delaware River Headwaters

Drilling in Dick Cheney Wyoming- the same type rigs are used here

Friday, July 30, 2010

An article about “Deadly Cow Attacks in Switzerland Trigger Fears on Hiking Paths” triggered a memory an event from my distant past.

I grew up in a house on Blackhorse Hill Road in Coatesville. Through the woods and over the hill from my house was our “baseball field”. We shared our field with steers from Spackman’s farm. We had special rules for ground balls. The steers were docile, maybe because they were around people a lot and it because they knew us and we didn’t bother them. Ok, my collie dog herded them a little too. I knew that bulls were dangerous but I regarded steers as docile.

I was a student at an art school in York, PA. In a field near Stewartstown, PA I sat down in a pastoral setting to sketch an interesting tree that would go into a painting later. There were nine young steers or yearlings about one hundred fifty yards away on a ridge. I was there about twenty minutes when one of the steers, who assumed leadership of the herd, made a sort of high pitched moo while holding his head up and back. And then the group of them charged down the hill. Just playing, I thought.

It began to look more serious when they came to a stop about fifty yards away and spread out in a line like cavalry getting ready to charge the enemy.

I still did not get out of my position seated on the grass. I thought, I'm less threatening that way and they’re only playing.

They walked slowly towards me still in their cavalry charge formation then some of them fanned out behind me. They formed a circle with me in the center and then slowly walked towards me closing the circle. The cavalry lieutenant leader steer stopped now and then to paw at the earth and snort.

I thought it was time to go to the fence. The fence was about thirty yards away. By the time I started to pick up my stuff the circle of steers closed and they were about five feet away, still moving towards me. There was only about three feet of space between each steer. As I was completely surrounded I chose to slooowly walk between the cavalry lieutenant steer and one of his more docile looking troopers. I moved through them at a controlled slooow pace being careful not to touch them. Once I got past the steers I could feel them breathing behind me. When I climbed the fence their leader who was close enough for me to touch, gave another high pitched moo and short. I turned to watch them gallop off.

I was in a fairly deserted area. There was no one in sight. It was a little scary but I didn’t feel that threatened. Maybe I should have.

Deadly Cow Attacks in Switzerland Trigger Fears on Hiking Paths

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Preserving “chasing the hounds” and preserving “open space”

Some people say what the Chester County Republicans really are doing with land conservation efforts is preserving fox hunting for their wealthy benefactors. Maybe that’s what it is; but as long as the land is preserved as open space, especially the land surrounding waterways, its fine with me. Just remember that everybody living in Chester County benefits.

Even if the only people that actually use it are billionaire horse people living on endowments from their ancestors us “commoners” have a real “trickle down” benefit from cleaner air and water.

The recreations of 18th Century bucolic English countryside are very nice to look while driving through the Chester County countryside.  You might even catch the billionaire endowmenteers accompanied by their social climber groupies “chasing the hounds” in red jackets.  

If watching billionaires playing let’s pretend we’re  English Lords and Ladies makes you feel like a member of the “great unwashed” keep in mind that the alternative is watching suburban tract housing.

Daily Local News
Published: Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Good post on fishing the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone

The photo of me fishing at the top of the blog is on a tributary of the Lamar Creek in the Lamar Valley. It's not far from the area described in the attached post. The fish is a cutthroat that came to a size 12 beaded nymph. We saw hikers and horseback riders on the trail that goes by the creek. My nephew, brother and me saw no other fisherpersons in the Lamar Valley that day. It was late August. The major tourist season was just over.

Below is a good post from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:
Paradise found

Vice President Joe Biden in Gallatin Valley today and Yellowstone Monday

Biden to tout stimulus projects in Yellowstone

Are RoRos for USA?

The article below is about the Department of Transportation increasing commercial shipping traffic and introducing new shipping traffic on inland waterways.
European shipping lanes on inland waterways are compared to inland waterway shipping in the USA.
The Ro-Ro roll on roll off small transport ships caught my eye in this article. It looks like a good idea, for the Pacific Coastal Waterway.
I can see one major difference in operating Ro-Ro ships here and also in increasing general ship traffic on waterways here in the USA. They don’t have the extremely violent weather in Europe that is common on the Atlantic Coastal Waterways of the USA, the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi Valley. And Climate Change will gradually bring even more violent weather to those areas.
DOT to Turn Underused Waterways Into Marine Highways

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gas pipelines have a very good safety record, so the gas pipeline people say

Something that I believe you will hear from the gas pipeline people is how very safe the gas lines and gas storage facilities are.

Just keep this report in mind when you hear about how safe gas pipelines are:

Cleburne Texas Gas Explosion: Fatalities Reported
ANGELA K. BROWN | 06/ 7/10 11:52 PM |

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

About the new regulations for the Chesapeake Watershed and its effect on lawn care

“New” standards for lawn care that may come as a result of enforcement of water quality rules might make it easier to care for a lawn and at the same time have a lawn that is safe for pets and small children.

In the Victorian times that many people have nostalgia for in Currier and Ives prints and such; lawns had tiny flowers. Violets and clover plants and even dandelions grew along with grass.

The chemical industry knew that the nerve gas they stockpiled in case it was needed for chemical warfare would, if used in smaller quantity, kill insects without causing much harm to humans. After WWII the chemistry used to produce nerve gas for chemical warfare was converted for insecticide, herbicides and chemical agriculture. At around the same time power mowers started to replace hand push mowers. A new lawn care industry was born and the old Victorian lawn standard began to fall to favor "modern" force fed lawns that looked more like outdoor carpeting than real plants.

If you are willing to accept a few tiny flowers, clover, in the springtime dandelions and also cut your grass long enough to have a leaf to produce the nutrients it needs and leave the cuttings in the lawn; your lawn will need no fertilizer or poisons to kill insects and weeds. Your lawn will be healthy and grow well mostly on its own. In my experience the Japanese Beetles will affect your neighbor's around you that use chemicals and ignore your lawn. Just check the ph and add limestone to bring it up if necessary.

The lawn care industry exists almost entirely for the purpose of selling petro chemicals. You don’t need to have the fake lawns that petro chemical industry says that you need.

And you can eat the dandelion in a salad; it won’t have harmful petro chemicals in it that were derived from nerve gas.

The Daily Local (, Serving Chester County, PA
Lawsuit settlement to change rules, enforcement for local water quality
Changes expected in Chester County municipalities linked to Chesapeake Bay watershed
Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dam Removal on the Manatawny Creek in Pottstown

Dam removal does not only benefit fish migration. It also restores habitat.

Only a few months after the orphaned dam on the Manatawny Creek in Pottstown was removed the macro invertebrate (aquatic insect) population began to rebound. We found Stoneflies a few hundred feet upstream of the former dam site. It was previously a too warm, low oxygen, muddy bottom (dead) area of the water. Stoneflies are generally a more sensitive aquatic insect than Mayflies.

Faith Zerbe of Riverkeeper Network 

Posted by Picasa
Manatawny Stonefly

Dam removal is a public safety project not just to decrease the danger of floods but also to prevent accidental drowning. The majority of drowning deaths in flowing water locally have been at dam sites. 

Posted by Picasa

Restoring America’s Rivers: Preparing for the Future from American Rivers on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Posted by Picasa
My brother Joe is in Belize right now. This photo is of Joe with a bonefish from January of 2005. 

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Russians are Coming-with explosive liquefied gas and/or will hydrofracking ruin our drinking water

There are no easy answers to heating with gas.

The Sparrows Point large-scale liquefied natural gas marine import terminal all by itself could be a disaster. The liquefied natural gas tankers have been called “floating bombs” with the explosive potential of a Hiroshima sized atomic bomb sans-radiation. A large scale leak could also “fast freeze” a large area at −260 °F.

Drilling in Pennsylvania’s forests for natural gas is both an environmental problem and could endanger water supplies.

Gas pipelines themselves have exploded with deadly results.

If we are going to use natural gas there are no easy answers.

In order to minimize the risk, very strict regulations with strong teeth are a must. But right now we have soft regulations and an extremely sparse regulatory staff. 

Have a glass of methane

Danger at our doorstep

LNG storage facilities outside Baltimore and Washington would be tempting targets

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Activeion spray bottle uses water as a disinfectant

This appears to be a good product.

When we tested antiseptic cleaners at a place where I worked we started by washing down a surface with water. The chemist that was there said, “well now you washed away all of the pathogens”. 

Keep in mind that water alone will remove most pathogens by just washing them away. But you do need some kind of soap or detergent to clean some crud or stains.

Anti-bacterial hand soap can be overkill. It can kill skin friendly microorganisms. 

gizmag Activeion spray bottle uses water as a disinfectant

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

About David Brooks' column, "Relax, We'll be Fine"

David Brooks’ optimism is well founded, but he leaves out one very important element, the real world or what most people call nature.

Sounds great until you throw in the fact that the "sunbelt" could be along the US Canadian border within 50 years.

Most of Florida could disappear under water and the American West could be hot dry and combustible. If New York, NY is around, it could have dikes surrounding it. Maybe the name will be changed back to New Amsterdam. The Gulf Coast and Mid-west could be too hot and stormy to be habitable.

David Brooks’ column concerns social and economic conditions and leaves the real world aside.

I call nature the real world. Being the narcissistic human centered animals that we are, we call the made for humans construction we devised the real world. The construct we made is comfortable and enjoyable but we live and survive here by the Grace of God or of the real natural world.

Maybe we can overcome an earth heated to temperatures not seen in at least 15,000 years. But it most certainly won't be pretty.

2010 is shaping up to be the warmest year on record. I don’t think it will be too long before even the Teabaggers are forced to admit to global warming.

If the ocean dies from too high temperatures and stops producing the oxygen we need to breathe, the earth will still be here and life will be on it but humans will be extinct. Hopefully, we will act before it’s too late to be reversed.

New York Times

Relax, We’ll Be Fine

Published: April 5, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ain't no fish there

Any flyfisherman and especially the men I know who catch and release wild trout in the 3000 per year and up have experienced rising temperatures and aquatic insect emersion periods come earlier in the year. Mayflies could be renamed Marchflies. It happened between 1980 and the present time. Since the early 1900 you could set your watch to the first emersion of a particular mayfly. People booked reservations to hotels near streams years in advance. It all began to change about 1980. I think that anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors and appreciates wildlife would bet their house that global warming is and has been happening since 1980.

I think the people that believe the climate change denier propaganda from the coal industry don’t get out much in the real world. I would bet that they can’t see one fish in a stream full with 2 trout per square yard where a flyfisherman sees 50 or more trout. The climate change deniers would say there’s no fish here. I would bet they can’t see 10 deer in a woods edge that a seasoned deer hunter does see. The climate change deniers would say there’s no deer here.

Scientists' use of computer models to predict climate change is under attack

By David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


What happens upstream determines the effects downstream. Water physically binds communities together whether their separate governments link together or not.

We are making an effort here in the Coatesville area to link our communities together. This is a possible tool to aid in developing stormwater management for our area.

EPA Releases SUSTAIN, A Complex Modeling Tool to Answer Critical Stormwater Management Questions

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Porsche Electric or the death of oil made visible

Oil is dead folks. All the wars in the Middle East will soon be over water only. And Osama bin Laden will have to find a new way to finance his “death to America” campaign.

How you know the V-8 Detroit engine is dead and electric power will dominate vehicles:

This is all happening as we come out of the “warmest winter on record”, no really:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Warm winters mean more snow

Anyone with 60 year memory can recollect that the heaviest snowstorms came in relatively warm weather. Looking back through records you can see that many of the most severe storms were in near freezing conditions.

What made the 1996 storm devastating was the way it ended. Warm weather brought rain, floods and huge chunks of ice coming down rivers and streams. I witnessed the ice that came from the ice dams upstream of Collegeville take out the Perkiomen Inn in 1996.

Global warming is upon us, but don’t put away the snow blowers. My advice is; if you use a snow blower or plow keep it running or updated, you will most likely get more use out of it in warmer winters.

The Pennsylvania weather book
By Ben Gelber

An amazing, though clearly little-known, scientific fact: We get more snow storms in warm years!
February 15, 2010

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The specter of a “Silent Spring” has not diminished.

We could have only a few decades to go. Understand what the worst case scenario of a “Silent Spring” is: no birds, no bees, and no flowering plants; no grazing animals, no farm animals. The only food available for human consumption may be ferns, molds, algae, bacteria and possibly some form of fish.

Bees are diminishing rapidly the world over. If the bees disappear most of our food will also disappear.

There is something anyone who has a lawn can do for the bees.

“In his book The Creation, the world’s most celebrated biologist, E O Wilson, has spelt out what would happen if the vortex swallowed insects. “People need insects,” he says, “but insects do not need us. If all humankind were to disappear tomorrow, it is unlikely that a single insect species would go extinct, except three forms of human body and head lice… In two or three centuries, with humans gone, the ecosystems of the world would regenerate back to the rich state of near-equilibrium that existed ten thousand or so years ago… But if insects were to vanish, the terrestrial environment would soon collapse into chaos.”

Flowering plants would go first, then herbaceous plants, then insect-pollinated shrubs and trees, then birds and animals and, finally, the soil. Wilson corrects the generally held misapprehension that the principal “turners and renewers” of the soil are worms. That distinction more properly belongs to insects and their larvae. Without them, bacteria and fungi would feast on the decaying plant and animal remains, while — for as long as it was able to support them — the land would be recolonised by a small number of fern and conifer species. The human diet would be wind-pollinated grasses and whatever remained to be harvested from a fished-out sea. It would not be enough. Widespread starvation would shrink the population to a fraction of its former size.

“The wars for control of the dwindling resources, the suffering, and the tumultuous decline to dark-age barbarism would be unprecedented in human history.” Wilson concedes that we might survive quite happily without body lice and malarial mosquitoes. Otherwise, he says: “Do not give thought to diminishing the insect world. It would be a serious mistake to let even one species of the millions on Earth go extinct.”

February 1, 2009
Plight of the humble bee

There is something that every homeowner in the USA can do to slow the extinction of the honey bee. The largest agricultural crop in the USA is lawn grass. A contributor to the extinction of honey bees is the excessive use of chemical fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides.

If most of us will accept a Victorian style lawn with tiny wildflowers, dandelions and clover our honeybees could benefit. Along with it you would save money on lawn chemicals and not endanger small animals and children.

If you mulch cut your lawn and maybe add limestone to make the soil less acid you don’t need to do anything else I have tended my yard this way for decades with good results. And for some reason my yard was not infested by Japanese Beetles during a particularly bad Japanese Beetle year.

At least in my little yard the bees and birds are not going to get any human made chemicals.