Thursday, June 4, 2015

Environmental News Roundup

It has been quite a while since I did one of these!  Just some items to pass on ...

California is still in drought

The New York Times has an interesting graphic concerning water use in the state ...
How Has the Drought Affected California’s Water Use?
It shows Change in Consumption (some districts esp. around Los Angeles have increased consumption!), Size of Proposed Cuts and Daily Gallons Per Capita.

Cool National Geographic Story - Seven New Mini-Frogs Found—Among Smallest Known. Look at this little guy !

One of the miniature frog species found recently in Brazil. NatGeo

ARGH!!!  From Nature News

US lawmakers approve controversial spending bill

Proposal for NSF and NASA would take from Earth and social sciences, and give to planetary exploration.
The House plan would set NASA’s budget at US$18.5 billion in fiscal year 2016, roughly 3% above the current level. But the legislation would chop 5.7% from the space agency’s Earth-science research programme, setting its funding at $1.683 billion. That is almost 14% less than the White House request of $1.947 billion, which also proposed transferring some climate-satellite programmes from NOAA to NASA.
The NSF’s budget would grow by $50 million in 2016, to $7.4 billion. But the House bill would reshuffle the agency’s main research programmes. It includes unusual language that directs 70% of the agency’s $6-billion research spending to programmes in biology, computer science, engineering, mathematics and physical science. That would effectively impose steep but unspecified cuts on the NSF’s social-science and geoscience directorates — probably around 15%, according to an analysis by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

NOAA would see its budget cut by 5.2%, from $5.5 billion this year to $5.2 billion in 2016. The Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research would take a 3.2% hit, dropping to $432 million.

Noooo!  Not good, not good at all !  You know, not looking is NOT going to make global warming go away!

From NBC News - since, of course there is an oil spill going on, ...

A pipeline rupture that spilled an estimated 101,000 gallons of crude oil near Santa Barbara last month occurred along a badly corroded section that had worn away to a fraction of an inch in thickness, according to federal regulators. 
The preliminary findings released Wednesday by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration point to a possible cause of the May 19 spill that blackened popular beaches and created a 9-mile slick in the Pacific Ocean. 
The agency said investigators found corrosion at the break site had degraded the pipe wall thickness to 1/16 of an inch, and that there was a 6-inch opening near the bottom of the pipe. Additionally, the report noted that the area that failed was close to three repairs made because of corrosion found in 2012 inspections.
The findings indicate 82 percent of the metal pipe wall had worn away.

Along the same lines ...

The Center for Biological Diversity has a couple of interesting videos ...

First is pipeline incidents in California since 1986 (you might want to mute or turn down the volume - the music is pretty loud and gets annoying fast)


And the second one shows pipeline incidents in the contiguous US since 1986.

The really, really scary part is that pipelines are the safer way to transport oil in comparison to train or truck transport. Yikes.

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