November 20, 2017
It seems that two dead sturgeon larvae and one adult were found in one of Dominion’s power station water intake system in 2015. No mention in the article I read about whether this is a continuing problem, but Dominion is seeking an “incidental take” permit from NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. What that entails is that more than 800 sturgeon larvae and perhaps two adult fish PER YEAR could clog up their power plant’s water intakes over the next decade, and be lost forever.
October 30, 2017
But what this retired teacher does NOT understand is how the current health of the James River earned a "B-" from these great watchdogs of the James when the overall score had just risen to 62% of its goals. No student I ever had earned a "B-" for a 62. That is a "D" in most classrooms.
OK, so 14 out of 19 "indicators" had improved. And wastewater pollution controls have helped a LOT. Plus a recent speaker I heard talking about the growing numbers of tagged sturgeon in both the James and Chickahominy.
Check out the James River Association website for more ways to help the James.
October 16, 2017
Florida firms have successfully treated wastewater to irrigate golf courses. Even purifying it to drinking standards too! But "toilet to tap" has its skeptics.
That has not stopped James City County from looking at this technology. A recent headline proclaimed that the county was "to get its first aquifer plant." Further reading explains that James City County feels the pressure to do something to allow it to keep drawing down our groundwater supplies.
A pilot program in Yorktown to treat wastewater to drinking standards has begun; another pilot in Suffolk to inject a million gallons per day into the aquifer. But the entire project (seven plants) has a $1 billion price tag.
Why do we look at this "ground-breaking" effort? Local areas in Tidewater are sinking or "subsiding." And this, along with sea level rise, are not making many waterfront homeowners happy. Or anyone in flood-prone neighborhoods for that matter.
More permits are needed before the project proceeds. But watch local papers for updates.
September 22, 2017
So Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality is proposing that JCC be allowed to draw up to almost 17 million gallons of water PER DAY and send it to a new desalinization plant to convert it to drinking water. That amount is three times more than what the county draws right now from groundwater wells and aquifers. But this project may not even see the light of day until 2028 to 2032. And its cost of $120 million is nothing to sneeze at.
Why this initiative now? We thirsty folks have been drawing down our Potomac aquifer for decades.
So stay tuned.
September 15, 2017
The lowly menhaden is the Rodney Dangerfield of Chesapeake Bay fish. It gets no respect except from the residents of Reedville, Virginia whose economy depends on it. And the Omega Protein Company whose odoriferous processing plant will offend your nostrils if the wind is blowing your way on their processing days. Menhaden do NOT show up in fine restaurants--except possibly in ladies' lipstick. Most of this baitfish end up in fishmeal and animal feed.
August 4, 2017
Sierra Club Virginia just released their annual report, naming the top 25 Virginia cities with the highest toxic air emissions. And James City County earned the dubious honor of 12th most toxic air, Yorktown 18th. Not the kind of honor roll to boast about.
The report, using 2015 EPA data, focuses on the major industrial corporations (and federal facilities) that hurt our air. And that doesn't even include coal particulates or auto emissions that are not reported. For example, Ball Metal Beverage Container Corporation released more than 400 thousand pounds of toxic chemicals in 2015. A total of more than 2.4 million total pounds of the "stuff" in five Hampton Roads areas; 19.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals throughout the entire state of Virginia!
On the positive side, James City's toxic air went down by 6 percent since 2014.
The sad thing is that many of these toxic-spewing industries are near poorer neighborhoods. Environmental Justice again loses.
July 15, 2017
Also, Dominion must apply for new permits from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to determine how coal ash must be handled in the future. And that does NOT mean capping it in place.
"Clean coal" still remains an elusive goal. or an "alternative fact."
June 29, 2017
The approval for this mega-project now has only one more hurdle (James City County Supervisors) after Virginia Marine Resources Commission members gave it unanimous approval this week. Their only caveat was to avoid installing pilings for the towers between February 15 and June 15 in consideration of any impact on fish. The toxic chemical kepone still lurks deep in the river bottom, so this may help a bit. But recent VIMS studies of the fish in the James River showed that kepone still lingers in them.
It really isn't easy being green these days as the EPA is neutered and clean water is threatened in numerous ways.
June 16, 2017
Recent progress on the health of the Bay has been promising, but the threatened lack of funding (out of D.C.) for cleaning up the Bay is not the only thing that might compromise the Chesapeake. The heavier than normal rainfall in recent months is washing all sorts of "stuff" into the bay and its tributaries. And that could mean more algal blooms this summer because algae loves nitrogen and "stuff." Most of this enters the Chesapeake from the Susquehanna River because Pennsylvania has less economic interest in the Bay and farmers there continue to allow their cows to wander into streams. Plus other initiatives that Maryland, Delaware and Virginia policy makers and legislators have supported receive less interest in Pennsylvania.
A regional pollution diet is needed. And voluntary goals, without funding, may not be reached.
May 23, 2017
|Torn favorite t-shirt|
No man is an island,
Entire of itself. . .
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
|2017 Jimmy Buffett Virginia Beach concert|
I'm hoping that Jimmy follows up his recent Virginia Beach concert with the release of another shirt for those of who love his annual concerts here as well as hope to enjoy our beaches for generations.
We definitely need "Changes in Attitudes."
May 1, 2017
This is only part of today's message from the White House:
"We need an America-First energy plan. This means opening Federal lands for oil and gas production; opening offshore areas; and revoking policies that are imposing unnecessary restrictions on innovative new exploration technologies.”
And this less than 24 hours after an announcement about the Chinese demand for seafood that is pushing them to illegally fish off African shores because they have exhausted their own waters.
Science as well as the historical facts about oil spills and pipeline leaks are not the only truths that are morphing into "alternative facts." Opening offshore areas is a threat to Virginians, especially those in Virginia Beach. Fracking for oil in Virginia's federal forests threatens our waters. And this Virginian is not happy.
An "American First" energy plan that included a major push for innovative wind, solar and tidal power could have provided jobs too. But those are not the ones favored by lobbyists and the prevailing corporate bottom line. A sad day indeed.
April 22, 2017
The only bad news in a recent Daily Press article focused on the shortage of skilled crab pickers in the crabmeat packing houses. If you have ever witnessed a crab-picking contest (yes they do have them), the amble dexterous fingers of these pickers is amazing.
April 15, 2017
March 30, 2017
Our elected folks in DC are putting barriers in our way:
- A neutered EPA with employees now forbidden to even use the term "climate change"?
- Coal returning as a positive energy source? *
- Clean water no longer a major goal?
- Higher gas mileage regs being rolled back?
- Recently banned pesticides getting back onto our crops?
- And now. . . the return of Twinkies?
* No word yet on whether Dominion's two coal-burning units at their Yorktown Power Plant will indeed be closed down on the anticipated day, April 15. Or does the latest executive order breathe new life into them? Either way, the plant's oil-fired unit is still allowed to burn up to 8% of the time.
My postings to this blog have dropped in frequency, but I WILL PERSIST in spite of these threats to a healthy future world for my grandkids.
March 10, 2017
I just phoned Congressman Wittman's office to convey those thoughts. His office staff confirmed that Wittman would NOT support a budget with cuts such as these. Hope he didn't have his fingers crossed. There are sufficient "alternative facts" coming out of D.C. Without any more Pinocchios.
March 8, 2017
March 1, 2017
In his first address to Congress (and the Americans watching), President Trump sounded so promising when he touted he would "promote clean air and clean water."
Guess he conveniently forgot that just hours before that statement, he had signed an executive order to roll back a 2015 "Clean Water Rule." NOT a promising claim, in my humble opinion.
January 12, 2017
These sites are also a big blessing to the three farming families who formerly grew strawberries and other crops. No more second-guessing the whims of Mother Nature since they lease their lands to Dominion and get guaranteed incomes now.
January 11, 2017
Sure makes our Virginia chiggers seem more benign.
January 6, 2017
The end of that article explained that the Bay in John Smith's time would have received an A, based on 100 points. Four hundred years and 18 million people later, the Chesapeake receives a score of 34, based on 70 for a "fully restored Bay." And the goal for 2025 is only 40.
So an "A" in Bay terms is only 70? Grade inflation by my definition.
No wonder area schools have so many students on their honor rolls. It might have been easier and a waste of less paper to print the names of those NOT on the honor rolls.
November 29, 2016
The Isle of Wight economic director recently supported a lateral line off the main pipeline that would connect to his county's industrial park. Other counties see it as an economic boon as well.
But others see the pipeline as a threat to their historic areas and much too close to their schools. All seems to be in various stages of negotiation.
November 8, 2016
September 24, 2016
September 15, 2016
June 16, 2016
May 21, 2016
May 19, 2016
May 7, 2016
April 29, 2016
April 18, 2016
According to a recent Daily Press article, "Dominion spokeswoman Bonita Billingsley Harris said the company has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for permission to keep the Yorktown coal units running until June 2017.
She said the company understands that the EPA will issue its permission on or shortly after its current exemption expires. The plant, which runs only at times when demand is high, is not currently generating power."