In the Pipeline: 6/5/13

It must be so convenient to have an explanation for everything. The Guardian (6/3/13) reports: “Piraino said at least 150,000 people were treated for jellyfish stings around the Mediterranean each summer… Global warming, overfishing and human intervention – especially breakwaters that protect sandy beaches but provide a home for larvae – are all blamed. As predators disappear, population surges are happening with greater frequency.”

The EPA is clearly devoted to the development of a “strong” workforce. After all, these folks are America’s front line of defense against the rising tide of jellyfish. National Journal (6/3/13) reports: “Employees at an Environmental Protection Agency warehouse in Landover, Md., worked out in a makeshift gym while conditions inside the facility ‘were rotting and becoming potentially hazardous,’ according to an EPA inspector general report issuedon Monday… ‘Deplorable conditions existed in the warehouse,’ the report by Inspector General Arthur Elkins Jr. states. “Door jambs were corroded; dirt, dust and vermin feces were pervasive; and several items were rotting and potentially hazardous.” The report found that the 70,000-square-foot warehouse—one of EPA’s largest—was storing large amounts of expensive, unused equipment, ranging from computers to pianos. It also found numerous security and safety issues… They also created a makeshift gym spanning an area larger than 30 feet by 45 feet. While exercising, employees apparently listened to music and used EPA steno pads to record workouts, according to the report.”

Tom Kiernan makes the sky blue. Of course, he also kills birds for a living. With taxpayer money. Huffington Post (6/4/13) reports: “This latest move reflects a feeling I’ve had since childhood that I want to make the biggest difference I can to preserve the natural environment. I spent a large portion of childhood exploring the woods across the street from my house and then seized the opportunity in high school to take an environmental chemistry class. It was there I learned about acid rain, which inspired me to create a college major in Environmental Computer Modeling… Years later, when I was a deputy of the Air Office in EPA working on the Clean Air Act, my four-year old son asked me what I did. I explained that I helped to get dirt out of the air. My son looked at me and simply replied, ‘You make the sky blue.’”

This administration is so bizarre. They act like we can learn something from Brazil on how to produce energy. WSJ (6/4/13) reports: “Joe Biden: The Americas Ascendant: For Brazil, as for the U.S., one of the most important frontiers is energy. From biofuels to deep-water oil reserves to shale gas to hydroelectric, Brazil is energy-rich, and that has tremendous implications globally. Brazil already is a leading expert in renewables and deep-water extraction, but both of our countries can advance further if we work together. I know from my meeting with President Rousseff that Brazil is equally committed to an energy partnership.”

This is confusing. We’re meant to believe that fossil fuels are part of the “old energy” economy, and you ain’t cool if you like things that are old. But now we learn that the Romans were hip sustainable guys, so is it cool to like things that are old again?Either way, the Romans would probably agree that it is not wise to organize entire industries because something is fashionable. US News (6/4/13) reports: “Monteiro and his colleagues may have found an alternative: “sea” concrete used by Romans for harbor installations in the Mediterranean is made with a different concentration of materials than today’s mix of limestone and clay, which allowed it to be baked at a much lower temperature (about 1,650 degrees, compared to 2,640 degrees for modern “Portland” concrete). The result is a strong concrete that is less harmful to the environment.”

One of the Facebook bazillionaires is getting slammed for his tendentious, albeit indirect support for Keystone XL. But apparently the crazies give Facebook execs a free pass to bulldoze old growth forests for what sounds like an extravagant wedding. And to be clear, it’s the double standard that bothers us, not the rather ostentatious wedding affair. The Atlantic (6/4/13) reports: “Hey, if a billionaire couple wants to spend $10 million on their wedding, it’s neither all that surprising nor interesting, as far as I’m concerned. So, when news and statistics started to trickle out about Sean Parker’s wedding here in California — namely that it’d cost millions of dollars to create Kardashian-level over-the-topness — I was ready to chalk it up to the standard excesses of crazy rich people… But that was before I read the California Coastal Commission’s report on the Parker wedding’s destructive, unpermitted buildout in a redwood grove in Big Sur. Parker and Neraida, the LLC he created to run his wedding, ended up paying $2.5 million in penalties for ignoring regulations. (Move fast. Break things.)”

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