Nine more states join seismic blasting lawsuit against the Trump administration

December 27, 2018 by  
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  Several conservation groups and South Carolina coastal communities sued the Trump Administration earlier this month for allowing companies to conduct seismic blasting surveys in the Atlantic Ocean as a precursor to offshore drilling for oil and gas. And now, a coalition of nine states has joined the lawsuit and added their clout to the claim. Last week, a coalition of attorneys general from Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit because the seismic surveys will expose marine life to repeated sound blasters louder than 160 decibels, and that could lead to dangerous consequences. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, the leader of the coalition, says that the Trump Administration continues to make the interests of the fossil fuel industry a top priority over our natural resources . Therefore, attorneys general along the Atlantic Coast will continue to fight the efforts of Atlantic shore drilling. Diane Hoskins, the campaign director for Oceana— one of the nine groups suing the Trump Administration— applauded the AG coalition for standing up for their states. “Putting our oceans, marine life and coastal economies at risk for dirty and dangerous offshore drilling is wrong, and we are not backing down. Seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic defies law, science and common sense. They acted unlawfully, and we’re going to stop it. Oceana is pleased so many states are joining this critical fight,” said Hoskins. Related: Study finds microplastics in sea turtles around the world This lawsuit comes less than a month after the National Marine Fisheries Service issued five Incidental Harassment Authorizations that permit companies to use airgun blasting off the Atlantic coast. During the seismic blasting process, ships fire blasts of air to the bottom of the ocean every ten seconds for weeks or months at a time. They do this to map the contours of the ocean floor with the goal of finding oil and gas deposits. However, the loud, continuous noise can damage the hearing of marine life, or possibly disorient and kill the animals . It can also negatively impact commercial and recreational fishing by decreasing catch rates. And, because burning fossil fuels is causing rapid climate change, these conservation groups, along with these nine states, are trying to stop the federal government’s “flat-out wrong” decision to allow offshore drilling on the Atlantic coast. Via EcoWatch Images via wener22brigitte

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Nine more states join seismic blasting lawsuit against the Trump administration

Man creates spectacular topiary garden with plants saved from a compost pile

May 4, 2017 by  
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When Pearl Fryar bought his home in Bishopville, South Carolina forty years ago, his neighbors worried he wouldn’t be able to maintain the expansive grounds. Since then, Fryar’s gardening skills have put those fears to rest – he’s created a stunning topiary garden made up of plants rescued from a local compost pile . When Fryar was looking to buy his current house, he was met with resistance because some neighbors assumed that, as a black man, he wouldn’t be able to keep up the yard. Fryar took those words as a challenge, aiming to disprove the local racists with his talented green thumb, “I figured that if I won Yard of the Month, then the person who made that statement could understand that you can’t judge people by one person.” Related: This mobile transforming prep station helps urban foragers turn weeds into tasty meals Recently featured on CNN’s Great Big Story , Fryar began to collect his plants from the compost pile of a local nursery. Over the years, he has rescued over 300 trees and shrubbery – including a few trees that were over 30 feet high. The ambitious man tends to his garden every day, but he doesn’t use fertilizer, sprays, or any type of chemical in the upkeep. In fact, he doesn’t even use water. He says that the plants are all natural and grow organically. The amazing home garden became so popular, that Fyar opened it up to the public in 2006. Today, the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden sees an estimated 10,000 visitors a year from all over the world. Fryar enjoys the attention, explaining that his garden is all about love. In fact, the last thing visitors see as they leave the grounds are the words “love, peace, and goodwill” mowed into the lawn. + Pearl Fryar garden + Great Big Story Via Boing Boing Images via CNN video

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Man creates spectacular topiary garden with plants saved from a compost pile

New NOAA tool shows how climate change will affect your neighborhood

May 4, 2017 by  
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We’ve all seen the projections: Sea-level rises, hastened by a warming planet, will be nothing short of catastrophic for the world’s coastal communities. Even so, climate change can still be a nebulous concept for those of us who aren’t immediately affected by the havoc rising temperatures can bring, whether it’s longer periods of drought, more powerful storms, or the increased risk of flooding. To see what you have personally at stake, tinker around with Climate Explorer , an online tool developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help community leaders, business owners, municipal planners, and residents understand how environmental conditions may alter local conditions over the next several decades. Launched in 2016 as part of the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit , the Climate Explorer leverages two global climate model scenarios to predict how heat-trapping gases in Earth’s atmosphere may shape variables such as temperature and precipitation through 2100. Related: Earth’s climate hurtling towards warmth unprecedented in nearly half a billion years The site is able to serve up observed and modeled data for every county in the United States. Simply enter your zip code for a snapshot of parameters such as the number of days over 95 degrees Fahrenheit and the number of days with heavy rain. “The Climate Explorer is designed to help users visualize how climate conditions may change over the coming decades,” David Herring, communication and education program manager at NOAA’s Climate Program Office, said when the tool first debuted. “Projections of how much and how fast change is happening is crucial to help communities prepare and become more resilient.” Related: CO2 levels just reached 410 ppm—the highest in millions of years NOAA’s timing couldn’t be more apt. 2016 marked Earth’s hottest year since modern record-keeping began in 1880. It had the equally dubious honor of being the third consecutive year to set a new record for global average surface temperatures. + Climate Explorer + National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Via International Business Times

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New NOAA tool shows how climate change will affect your neighborhood

President Obama proclaims state of emergency due to Hurricane Matthew

October 7, 2016 by  
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President Obama announced a state of emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew’s arrival in Florida . His declaration includes federal aid and authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security ” to coordinate all disaster relief efforts .” Meanwhile, Hurricane Matthew hurtles towards Florida with maximum sustained winds of around 120 miles per hour . Scientists from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) call Matthew ” extremely dangerous ” even as the hurricane diminished to a Category 3 storm during the night. NHC said there could be “potentially disastrous impacts.” Florida has not been hit with many storms that have winds as forceful as Matthew’s. About 1.5 million people have left the Atlantic coast, fleeing inland as the hurricane approaches. Around 300,000 homes in Florida have already lost power. Related: How to Prepare Your Home and Family for a Hurricane or Superstorm White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said according to scientists , Hurricane Matthew could be “largest and most powerful hurricane to hit the United States in a decade” and that it is a storm “people should take seriously.” He said if anyone doubts the severity of the storm, “they need only look at the images that are coming back from Haiti.” According to U.S. National Weather Service , Matthew could be the most forceful storm to hit particularly northeast Florida in 118 years. Florida governor Rick Scott urged residents in potentially affected areas to evacuate at once. In a news conference, he said, “You need to leave now. Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate…Your safety, not comfort, is the most important thing.” President Obama’s state of emergency applies to Florida, and according to CNBC in phone calls with state governors he also offered federal resources if necessary to South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. The hurricane center is likely to move “near or over” Florida’s east coast tonight, according to NHC, and could move over South Carolina and Georgia coasts on Saturday. “Maximum sustained winds” could still be 120 miles per hour. Via The New York Times and CNBC Images via Wikimedia Commons and screenshot

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President Obama proclaims state of emergency due to Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew causes largest mandatory US evacuation since Sandy

October 6, 2016 by  
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As Hurricane Matthew continues building strength and heading north toward Florida’s east coast, residents of Haiti are struggling with downed communications, massive flooding, and widespread structural damage. The National Weather Service has recommended more than 2 million people in coastal Florida, Georgia and South Carolina leave their homes, making this the largest mandatory evacuation since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Hurricane Matthew is expected to make a “direct hit” in southern Florida early Friday. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgWgMvrtES8 So far, Hurricane Matthew’s death toll has risen to 15, all residents of Caribbean countries which have suffered massive flooding from storm surges and heavy rain. As the storm heads to the US, President Barack Obama issued a statement on Wednesday warning those living in the path of the storm that the hurricane could have “a devastating effect,” urging residents to heed evacuation warnings in order to protect their lives. Related: Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti as Category 4 hurricane en route to Cuba Florida Governor Rick Scott has issued evacuation orders for many counties in Florida starting at 6 a.m. ET, stretching from the Miami area north to the Georgia border. Commercial flights have been cancelled, state offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, and many hospitals have begun evacuating patients in anticipation of a potentially devastating storm strike. As is par for the course in the hours before a hurricane hits Florida, grocery store shelves are empty as people stock up on water, food, and batteries. Although the storm was downgraded to a Category 3 yesterday, Hurricane Matthew currently has sustained winds of 125mph, putting it at the upper end of that category, and it is expected to gain strength before reaching Florida as a Category 4 storm. Meanwhile, much of Haiti is underwater in the wake of the storm, which is the biggest natural disaster to affect the impoverished island nation since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Massive flooding has caused widespread structural damage, and a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at least 350,000 people are in need of immediate assistance. Communication lines are down throughout the nation (as well as in the Bahamas), so it has been difficult for authorities to get updates on the extent of the damage. With so many people impacted by the storm, the net result is expected to be a tremendous loss of residential structures, businesses, infrastructure like hospitals and state offices, as well as devastating losses in agriculture and other industries. Many first responders have already been deployed, including representatives of UNICEF, the Red Cross, and the US Coast Guard. In the months and years following Hurricane Matthew, Haiti will need support from the international community in order to survive. + How to help Haiti Via CNN Images via NOAA , UNICEF and  UNDP

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Hurricane Matthew causes largest mandatory US evacuation since Sandy

South Carolina kills millions of bees while spraying for Zika mosquitos

September 2, 2016 by  
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The Zika virus is now officially spreading within the US , so it’s understandable that public health officials are doing all they can to try to stop the spread of the disease before it can gain a foothold. Unfortunately, in the case of one South Carolina county, those efforts have unintentionally resulted in the deaths of 2.5 million bees. Dorchester County generally uses ground-based sprays in order to combat mosquitos , deploying clouds of pesticide by truck in order to keep the insects at bay. However, last Sunday, officials made the decision to switch to an aerial spraying method instead. With little more than a Facebook post on Saturday and a newspaper announcement on Friday to alert locals of the change in plans, an airplane traveled across the county in the early hours of Sunday morning dispensing a mist of the pesticide Naled. Most people seem to have missed the memo from the county, and that included the beekeepers at Flowertown Bee Farm and Supply in Summerville. After the pesticide hit the farm, it wiped out a whopping 46 hives and a total of 2.5 million bees. One visitor to the farm described the scene as “ like visiting a cemetery .” There’s a simple reason why Dorchester County didn’t consider the short notice a problem: Naled is not considered a serious hazard to human beings due to how quickly the chemical dissipates in the air. However, it’s highly toxic to a variety of pollinators, including bees. Normally, if beekeepers are aware of aerial spraying nearby, they’ll cover their hives in order to protect the bees. Moreover, many counties spray for mosquitos at night, because honeybees are primarily active during the day. Related: 44% of US honeybee colonies died off last year Dorchester County officials claimed in an interview with the Washington Post that they had attempted to call all beekeepers in the county, but had made some errors. For one thing, their registry was apparently missing many local beekeepers in the area, particularly hobbyists. Other beekeepers who were on the county’s list apparently slipped through the cracks and weren’t contacted at all. Related: EPA finally admits popular insecticide threatens honeybees While it’s understandable that public officials would want to do everything possible to keep mosquito populations down, in this case, no one followed any of the best practices for protecting local pollinators. Given how colony collapse disorder has already devastated bee populations, it’s incredibly irresponsible to spray when bees are likely to be out and about. Hopefully the negative publicity and backlash from this incident will cause administrators of mosquito control programs across the US to act more carefully in the future. Via TreeHugger Images via Wikipedia and Flowertown Bee Farm and Supplies

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This breezy island home may look like a giant screened-porch but it’s so much more

February 21, 2016 by  
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South Carolina braces for another onslaught of flood waters

October 8, 2015 by  
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Hurricane Joaquin is long gone and the heavy rains have subsided in South Carolina, but flooding continues to devastate areas of the state , as rivers run over and dams threaten to burst. Two more people were killed Wednesday in the flood waters, bringing the death toll for the coastal state to 17. Although federal aid has been approved for the region, the storm’s damage isn’t yet complete. And now additional flooding is expected in the coming days as dams become weak, threatening even more residents with an onslaught of flood waters. Read the rest of South Carolina braces for another onslaught of flood waters

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Giant bags full of biogas provide 4 hours of cooking fuel

October 8, 2015 by  
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A boy walks down the middle of a busy street in a small country town in Ethiopia , carrying an enormous backpack. He doesn’t fold under its weight because this special backpack is filled with biogas. The pack is part of a project by German start-up (B)energy , which helps people create small businesses making and selling methane gas. In regions where traditional cooking fuel, such as wood and charcoal, is expensive and rare, the biogas serves as a cheap and clean-burning alternative. Read the rest of Giant bags full of biogas provide 4 hours of cooking fuel

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SC Sen. Lindsey Graham requests federal aid for flood victims, despite denying the same after Sandy

October 7, 2015 by  
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In South Carolina, at least 11 counties have requested the declaration of a state of emergency following the floods caused by Hurricane Joaquin over the weekend. Torrential rains forced thousands of residents to flee their homes across the state’s low-lying areas, and at least 14 people have lost their lives as a result of the high waters. Senator Lindsey Graham (R) was quick to ask the federal government for aid following the floods in his home state. His request doesn’t seem all that unreasonable, given the extent of the flooding and devastation to local communities that were unprepared for the torrential rain. The troubling thing about Sen. Graham’s request is that he adamantly opposed similar federal aid to New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2013. And he doesn’t remember it. Read the rest of SC Sen. Lindsey Graham requests federal aid for flood victims, despite denying the same after Sandy

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