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Monthly Archives: July 2016

La Paz Group

weimerskirch3hr_860 Photo © AURÉLIAN PRUDOR/CEBC CNRS

Who enjoys flying? I do (on planes, of course) and birds certainly do as well (they better because they do a lot of it)!  According to recent study, frigatebirds can drift in the skies for up to two months without landing (I think this makes them the biggest fans of flying, along with albatrosses, another ocean-faring flier). In order to do this, the seabird seeks out routes with strong and upward-moving currents to save energy on its flights across the ocean. By hitching a ride with favorable winds, frigates can fly more than 400 kilometers a day (which is the equivalent of a daily trip from Boston to Philadelphia) and avoid having to flap their wings as much.

For instance, the birds skirt the edge of the doldrums, windless regions near the equator. For this group of birds, that region was in the Indian Ocean. On…

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Council for all wildlife

IMG_9016

Our comments for the Federal Coal Review are due this Thursday, July 28, 2016. (The original deadline of July 23 was changed to July 28.)

This is our last best chance to let Sally Jewell, the Department of the Interior, and the BLM know how we feel about continuing to rely on coal as a source of energy in the U.S. – and specifically to let them know our views on the Alton Coal Mine and the devastating harm it could do to wildlife and wild land if it is allowed to expand on to 3,000 acres of public land near Alton, Utah. We do not want to see this happen, so this is our chance to speak up.

The key points below were compiled by Jim Shelton, of Wild Kane County. Surely, any one of these points would be enough in itself to mean that the Alton Coal Mine…

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The Secular Jurist

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the US Navy was wrongly allowed to use sonar in the nation’s oceans that could harm whales and other marine life.

The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision upholding approval granted in 2012 for the Navy to use low-frequency sonar for training, testing and routine operations.

Continue reading:  Federal appeals court rejects Navy sonar-use rules

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La Paz Group

A tower of salt, surrounded by sunlight-sensing and -reflecting mirrors. Photo © SolarReserve

Two months ago we posted about non-photovoltaic solar power via a story from Scientific American, and this week they’re exploring the subject again, this time in the desert of Nevada with the first utility-scale “concentrating solar” plant that can provide electricity even at night. Concentrating solar involves storing heat from the sun rather than converting light into electricity, and apparently molten sodium and potassium nitrates can do this very effectively. Knvul Sheikh reports:

Deep in the Nevada desert, halfway between Las Vegas and Reno, a lone white tower stands 195 meters tall, gleaming like a beacon. It is surrounded by more than 10,000 billboard-size mirrors focusing the sun’s rays on its tip. The Crescent Dunes “concentrating solar power” plant looks like some advanced communication device for aliens. But the facility’s innovation lies in the fact…

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Council for all wildlife

791px-Bobcat2 A bobcat in California.

This is Part Two of a comment sent to the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management.

By Sharon St Joan

To read Part One first, click here. 

 

Destruction of wildlife corridors and wilderness

Furthermore, these public lands being considered for new coal expansion are right on a wildlife corridor that runs up through the Grand Canyon, through the Kaibab forest, through Kane County, Utah, and farther north on up to Canada. This is a key wildlife corridor for the annual mule deer migration, along with the animals that travel with them – including cougars and coyotes.

The western U.S. is one of the last remaining unspoiled areas on our planet. Even though in recent years, it has been heavily impacted and many areas have been damaged, destroyed and overrun by human activity, there do still remain some of the…

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Council for all wildlife

IMG_9020 A stream that runs by the Alton Coal Mine.

The Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management are conducting a three-year Review of the Federal Coal Program. Around 40 percent of U.S. coal is produced on public lands. These are the same lands which are the homes of wildlife, magnificent trees, and beautiful wilderness. Coal and other industrialization pollute and harm these lands and the wild animals and plants that live there.

 

The DOI and the BLM are accepting comments on the future use of public lands to produce coal. For the email address where you may send your comment, please see below. The deadline for comments is July 28, 2016. The following has been sent in as a comment. It is published here in two parts.

Part One

By Sharon St Joan

Thank you to the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land…

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La Paz Group

Dabancheng wind farm in China’s Xinjiang province (Source: Bob Sacha/Corbis, via Dailytech.com)

Wind power, as we’ve written before, has great potential as an alternative energy source, although there are certain issues to take into account. China is installing the most new wind turbines per year, but has yet to produce the most wind-generated electricity given barriers by the coal industry. Prachi Patel reports for Conservation Magazine:

China is the world’s top wind energy installer. The country’s wind installations have a capacity of generating 145 Gigawatts, twice that of the United States and about a third of the world’s total wind power. Yet the country produces less wind electricity than the US. Last month, researchers from Harvard University and Tsinghua University argued in the journal Nature Energy that this underperformance is due to deliberate favoring of coal over wind by grid operators, delays in connecting new wind farms to the…

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