CAA (Canadian Automobile Association) results for Worst Roads in Atlantic
Canada 2014 are here:
Today at 10AM is a talk on the dangers of genetically-modified food at the
Robert Cotton Youth Centre off Bunbury Road in Stratford. Folks who were
at the talk last night thought it was excellent and *very* eye-opening.
All welcome, for the background on the whole issue will be informative, and learning anything more about what's happening here will be enlightening.
If you haven't seen the non-profit Young At Heart Theatre musical production of
"Dr Magnificent's Magical Medicine Show" yet, there are still a few
more opportunities: Wednesday, April 30 (tonight) at the Farm Centre (dinner
and show) at 6:30PM (892-3419),
A correction: The talk about genetically modified food is at 6PM tonight, at the Robert Cotton Centre, in Stratford, off Bunbury Road.
A reminder: The publicly-called meeting regarding a proposed development in Hampton-DeSable is tomorrow night, 7PM, at the Bites Cafe (Hampton Hall) on the TCH, west of Bonshaw.
The Legislature resumes today, from 2-5PM, and 7-9PM.
Fuerunt quondam in hac re publica viri magnae virtutis.
There were once, in this republic, men of great virtue.
in the theatre at Westisle High School, near Elmsdale on Route 2, 7PM.
informative letter from Tony Lloyd:
Published on April 25, 2014
Thus, from a hydraulic standpoint, unconfined aquifers are generally preferable to CAs for water supply, because for the same rate of water extraction there is less draw down over a smaller area with an unconfined aquifer than with a CA.
The Winter River abstraction well fields have been drilled into a Permian CA with gravel beds of high lateral conductivity. Over the past 50 years, the area of depressurization has increased to such an extent that the CA has consumed the Stanhope ponds and bogs and has induced anoxia on Covehead, Brackley, Rustico and Winter bays. The area of infiltration may now be greater than 200 square kilometres, extending as far west as Hunter River.
In the sandstone layers of the aquitard, which separate the CA from the water table (unconfined) aquifer, the vertical permeability of sandstone is two to three times less than its horizontal permeability and this suggests that there is more joint permeability than inter- granular permeability.
However, as water pressure is reduced (de-watering) in the CA, stresses between solid grains of the aquitard matrix will increase because of the overburden pressure of land above and compaction of the aquitard sandstone will occur; hence, its permeabilities will decrease; hence, the area of infiltration must increase.
Compaction is an irreversible and permanent change to the sandstone matrix. The CA was primed during the last ice age. Now man has pumped the CA to a steady state standoff and the land and ocean are crying out. The recharge time of the upper CA may be rated in centuries while deeper CAs may be rated in millennia and for this reason CA waters are often classed as a non-renewable resource.
The water table is stable but its lateral flow, waters destined for marine environments, now have a large downward component into the CA. The horizontal (lateral) flow, now largely stopped, of such waters are a renewable resource and are necessary for the survival of many marine plants and animals.
Tony Lloyd, Mount Stewart
Permian: 250 - 300 million years ago
"Aquitard - A confining bed that retards but does not prevent the flow of water to or from an adjacent aquifer; a leaky confining bed. It does not readily yield water to wells or springs, but may serve as a storage unit for ground water (AGI, 1980)."
This article, "Fresh Water and the Water Cycle", looks like a good background.
illustration from Steve Altaner's article "Water Cycle and Fresh Water Supply."
This illustration and link are from Connexions (or cnx.org), a "global repository of educational content provided by volunteers."
Link to Wikipedia article on CNX or Connexions organization
Issues old and new, but with a lot in commom:
Two years ago, on April 26, 2012, a Stop Plan B rally was held on a
brilliant, crisp Thursday afternoon in front of Province House. It was
from about 1-2PM, so all the MLAs had to pass through it to get into the
Legislature for the afternoon session.
The rally poster with fantastic logo by a Bonshaw resident; a young speaker at the Rally, April 26, 2012, with lots of wonderful people attending; we know many others wished they could be there.
We had lots of help planning it, and learned a great deal: It is good to have many, *short* speeches, and someone as a ruthless timekeeper. It is good to have music, and good-hearted musicians are something the Island specializes in. It helps that they often have sound equipment, too, and generally they are unflappable, able to fill in all sorts of gaps and work in all sorts of combinations, and calming to everyone around them (Roy Johnstone, Margie Carmichael, Doug Millington). Balloons are good, and ours were not helium-filled! Signs of all sorts. And a big fat petition to sign and turn in.
The speakers hit at why Plan B was wrong from about every angle -- an economist discussing our debt and the fallacy of 50cent dollars (Jim Sentance), leaders of every political party on PEI at the time (James Rodd, Sharon Labchuk, Olive Crane, and Robert Ghiz; we couldn't reach an Island Party person), a kid who called out the hypocrisy and the reckless handing of money saddled on her generation (Liese Ortenburger): "We are going to have to pay for this debt and everything it is made of...like roads we don't want. We have no choice; we are chained to it.") The safety monkey-business (Peter Bevan-Baker). A business owner and grandmother (Lynne Douglas), a business owner and dad (Bruce MacPherson), a couple of mothers who looked at thier children and wonders what this means for them (Tracey McG and myself). Environmentalists (Irene Novaczek, Tony Reddin, Jackie Waddell), each eloquent. I am forgetting people, and I apologize for that.
Yes, the premier was booed, and Minister Vessey, and we sang little ditties like "Quit the Road, Ghiz"; but it was all part of the day. Too bad instead of listening to the speeches those two found people to talk loudly to, and Plan B's own MLA Valerie Docherty was whisked inside and didn't make any sort of comment until after Question Period when she lashed out at Opposition MLA James Alyward.
For being very serious about a very bad government decision which has longterm ramifications, we also had a great deal of fun. We (all of us) made our point.
Later, in the Legislature, Question Period focused on Plan B, the concerns about the nearby shale pit and who knew what when, and finally the Opposition tabled the petition, and also a motion to scrap the project. The motion was defeated, after lengthy speeches on why Plan B was bad by the Tories (including then-Tory Hal Perry), and why it was just dandy from several Ministers who repeated from the same crib sheet of safety and 50cent dollars. It's hard to remember what was the most ridiculous statement, but runners up were Tourism Minister Robbie Henderson saying basically it would be great for tourists to see those old trees more closely from the new safe road, and Minister George Webster saying completely odd things like:
Thirty years ago I probably went out and planted more trees than anyone in this room. I’m not saying that from a boastful perspective at all, but I planted about 10,000 trees on land that I had that I harvested some trees that were mature. Trees grow up, trees mature and trees die and fall over. On top of all of that, I had what we call a plush tree. Forestry folks walked through the forest and they found this perfect tree. It was a black spruce tree, it’s still standing today. Every year the F.J. Gaudet tree farm, tree nursery, would come out and they would shimmy up the tree, and they would take the, I think, scones or something, they’d take off the tree. That was the breeding stock for next year. They did that for many years to multiply their stocks and produce trees for other woodlots.
As minister of forestry, we planted about 650,000 trees last year, and I believe we’re planting about that this year again. It’s a good thing.
I think, if we do have some super good high quality hemlock stock out there where this road may interfere with some of them, I think we should go out and harvest the material.
Hansard links for Spring 2012 Legislature sitting
pick April 26 for the pdf.
...which was most nauseating of
The CBC article focused on the booing, and most of the coverage was about Valerie's meltdown in the lobby of the Legislature.
April 27th, 2012
About 350 people gathered in front of Province House Thursday to protest realignment plans for the Trans-Canada Highway in Bonshaw. Premier Robert Ghiz was booed when he came out to speak to the crowd. People gave speeches, chanted, held signs and brought in baby Hemlock trees, hoping to block Plan B.
Plan B is the provincial government’s $16-million plan to reroute the highway, which would run through private forest lots on the other side of the current highway, eliminating steep grades and numerous driveway accesses. The province has said the decision to reroute the highway was the result of public input about the safety of the current route. But many who oppose the plan say it was unfair that plans moved ahead without public consultation, and that other options to make the highway safer haven't been considered.
"I feel that there was false inclusion in the decision-making process," said protester Walter Wilkins. "It's basically a waste of my money, of taxpayers' money."
Opposition leader Olive Crane said her party wants to hear from Islanders. "We're going to ask one of the legislative committees ... to go the next step — start public consulations on this project and give it back to the government. That's the work that the House is supposed to be doing," Crane told the crowd. (Chris's comment -- Olive is about the only one who really knows the work that the House *should* be doing.)
NDP leader James Rodd also spoke out against the Liberals' plan. "If the government doesn't speak for those majestic trees, or the ecology, or the environment, then it's up to you," he said.
The rerouting involves 34 private properties, including 10 homes. The province has said affected residents will be compensated. About $4 million has been set aside to purchase all of the affected properties, including the large, forested New Haven Campground, which used to be the amusement park, Encounter Creek.
Area residents are concerned about the environmental impact of the new road. The Island Nature Trust also sent a letter to Transportation Minister Robert Vessey saying the group is strongly opposed to the rerouting of the Trans-Canada. Jackie Waddell, the executive director of the group, said the project will cross a number of deep ravines and stream systems that support lots of fish and wildlife. The minister responded to the group, saying the changes are needed to bring that section of the Trans-Canada up to current safety standards, Waddell said. "From what we've heard to date, this is a project that's being bullied through, and we think it's just not necessary and it's going to ruin these systems," said Waddell.
Opponents are presenting a petition to the legislature with more than 3,000 signatures, with hopes the government will soon respond. An environmental assessment is underway, and construction will likely begin once that’s completed.
"Very rarely does the result of an environmental impact assessment stop a project," Waddell said. "While there may be threatened species, it's very unlikely we'll find anything endangered, or they're going to find anything endangered in the path. However, there are sites of provincial significance that should be considered."
Ghiz spoke at Thursday's protest, saying the reroute was an opportunity to improve a dangerous section of highway through the Atlantic Gateway Fund.Ghiz did say he expected opposition. "This is an opportunity for us to improve highway safety, to save lives, and we also have the opportunity to improve the highway," Ghiz said amidst several boos from the crowd.
buffet of events in the next week:
On Monday, April 28 at 7:00 PM at Westisle High School in Elmsdale.
"The Western Prince Edward Island watershed improvement groups are
sponsoring a presentation by Professor Daryl Guignion outlining threats to
aquatic ecosystems and water resources on Prince Edward Island. The
presentation “Silent Springs: Potential Impacts of Deep Water Well
Extraction on Prince Edward Island” will relay important background
information on how cool, clear and abundant water in our Island streams is
critical for a balance in our estuaries’ eco-systems. Mr. Guignion will talk
about the importance of and the relationship between the quality and quantity
of water and the health of the fish populations and aquatic life in the
7PM, Robert Cotton Park, 57 Bunbury Road in Stratford, lecture:
"Genetically Engineered Foods and Your Health". Dr. Thierry Vrain is
a retired genetic engineer who now speaks out against GM technology.
that's enough of things going on. Here is an interesting food (well,
How Organic Farming Can Reverse Climate Change - Rodale Institute
Published on April 22, 2014
Rodale Institute announced yesterday the launch of a global campaign to generate public awareness of soil’s ability to reverse climate change, but only when the health of the soil is maintained through organic regenerative agriculture. The campaign calls for the restructuring of our global food system with the goal of reversing climate change through photosynthesis and biology.“We could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices, which we term ‘regenerative organic agriculture.’” Photo credit: Shutterstock
The white paper, Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change: A Down-to-Earth Solution to Global Warming, is the central tool of the campaign. The paper was penned by Rodale Institute, the independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit agricultural research institute widely recognized as the birthplace of the organic movement in the U.S.
The white paper states that “We could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices, which we term ‘regenerative organic agriculture.’”
If management of all current cropland shifted to reflect the regenerative model as practiced at the research sites included in the white paper, more than 40 percent of annual emissions could potentially be captured. If, at the same time, all global pasture was managed to a regenerative model, an additional 71 percent could be sequestered. Essentially, passing the 100 percent mark means a drawing down of excess greenhouse gases, resulting in the reversal of the greenhouse effect.
Regenerative organic agriculture is comprised of organic practices including (at a minimum): cover crops, residue mulching, composting and crop rotation. Conservation tillage, while not yet widely used in organic systems, is a regenerative organic practice integral to soil-carbon sequestration. Other biological farming systems that use some of these techniques include ecological, progressive, natural, pro-soil and carbon farming.
“The purpose of our work is singular; we are working to create a massive awakening,” said “Coach” Mark Smallwood, executive director of Rodale Institute.
“Our founder, J.I. Rodale, had a vision so ambitious that many people wrote him off at the time. Almost 75 years later, the organic movement is exploding with growth and fierce determination. But the stakes are much higher in 2014. J.I. saw that agriculture was heading in a dangerous direction by way of the wide-spread adoption of the use of synthetic chemicals and the industrialization of farming. He attempted to prevent that transition. We no longer have the luxury of prevention. Now we are in the dire situation of needing a cure, a reversal. We know that correcting agriculture is an answer to climate chaos, and that it hinges on human behavior. The massive awakening itself is the cure. The future is underfoot. It’s all about healthy soil.”
The Rodale Institute supports its claims by explaining that if sequestration rates attained by the cases cited inside the white paper were achieved on crop and pastureland across the globe, regenerative agriculture could sequester more than our current annual carbon dioxide emissions. Even if modest assumptions about soil’s carbon sequestration potential are made, regenerative agriculture can easily keep annual emissions to within the desirable range necessary if we are to have a good chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C by 2020.
“The white paper is to encourage new research, new policy and the rapid expansion of regenerative agricultural methods,” said Smallwood.
“The media campaign brings the broader vision to the public much faster. The idea is to stoke the public outcry that already exists and to validate those who demand these changes be made now. By engaging the public now, they build the pressure necessary to prevent this call to action from sitting on the desks of scientists and policy-makers, or worse yet, being buried by businesspeople from the chemical industry. We don’t have time to be polite about it.”
Below are three excerpts exemplifying the call to action set forth in the white paper:
Since its founding in 1947 by J.I. Rodale, the Rodale Institute has been committed to groundbreaking research in organic agriculture, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating people about how organic is the safest, healthiest option for people and the planet. The Rodale Institute is home to the Farming Systems Trial, America’s longest-running side-by-side comparison of chemical and organic agriculture. Consistent results from the study have shown that organic yields match or surpass those of conventional farming. In years of drought, organic corn yields are about 30 percent higher. This year, 2013, marks the 33rd year of the trial. New areas of study at the Rodale Institute include rates of carbon sequestration in chemical versus organic plots, new techniques for weed suppression and organic livestock.
have a lovely university here, but I am left feeling some of its
decision-makers aren't quite living up to the standards we wish they would.
An honorary degree is an
academic degree for which a university has waived the usual requirements, such
as matriculation, residence, study, and the passing of examinations. The degree
is typically a doctorate and may be awarded to someone who has no prior
connection with the academic institution.
UPEI honorary degrees are intended to recognize outstanding provincial, national, and international contributions in any field(s) of endeavour. Whether these are made by Prince Edward Islanders, or by individuals with strong PEI connections, their contributions should reflect extraordinary intellectual or artistic achievements or significant service to society set at a standard of excellence that merit the University's highest honour.
At UPEI, two honorary degrees are conferred at each the morning and afternoon Spring Convocation in May. (Comment: not counting "Special Convocation" or in 2003 when they conferred a baker's dozen.) One of the honorary degree recipients at each convocation usually presents an address. The tradition of granting honorary degrees at UPEI dates back to the Convocation of its founding institution, St. Dunstan’s University, in 1960.
Selection of Honorary
Below is a list of past honorees; just last year the two
women selected made (make!) significant contributions to our Island community
UPEI Honorary Degree Recipients 2013-1968
(I thought James E. Carter was, you know, Jimmy Carter, maybe for his work for Habitat for Humanity and I wasn't paying attention that he came here; but no, the James E. Carter is: "Mr. James Edward Clarke Carter, also known as Jim, P.Eng. served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Syncrude Canada Ltd. from October 1, 1997 to April 30, 2007. " -- Bloomfield Business Report)
Wayne D. Gray
St. Dunstan's University
A letter from the time capsule, that still rings true, from two years ago:
Published on April 18, 2012
The P.E.I. government, with taxpayers' money, has in the past designed, built, inspected, and accepted, among others, the portion of highway between New Haven and Bonshaw, through one of the most forested parts on the Island.
This project created infrastructure for Trans-Canada Highway traffic as well as lucrative work opportunity for the selected construction industry. Now the same government declares its commissioned road unsafe, based on one fatal accident, in order to justify duplicate road construction through more of the pristine lands.
The existing road contains gentle hills with gentle curves and appears in acceptable unfailed condition. To make such road responsible for traffic accidents is false argumentation, unworthy of being used as justification. If road and vehicle have not failed, then traffic safety always depends on all drivers' ability to correctly read road conditions, to be alert and undistracted for making good judgments and to operate their vehicle in a courteous and safe manner. In these times of restraint there is no need to spend some $16 million for a section of bypass road. If the government wants to improve on its design, shave off some hills and cut some corners, one lane at a time.
The government's unsophisticated plans require the destruction of pristine natural lands in the area. Well-managed woodlands, some of them rare hemlock and white pines, estimated to be 300 years old. Steep slopes with vegetation now hold the water and balance the watershed. Wide ravines with sizable creeks are destined to be filled in. Despite the strong objection by the concerned public, and likely pressured by a hungry construction industry, the government is arrogantly and stubbornly determined to ram this project through, without a thorough and detailed environmental impact assessment.
Consideration for economic gain must not simultaneously destroy environmental value. We all have to learn to become ecologically literate. The environment must be seen as a most valuable asset with an extremely high cost, and that cost must become part of the monetary equation.
Karl (Carlo) Hengst, Summerside
The Paris United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2015 meeting will be very important, and we have time to get ready for it.
This editorial is of course very American-centric, but interesting.
Published on April 20, 2014
Next year, in December, delegates from more than 190 nations will gather in Paris to take another shot at completing a new global treaty on climate change. This will be the 21st Conference of the Parties under United Nations auspices since the first summit meeting in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
For the most part, these meetings have been exercises in futility, producing just one treaty — in Kyoto in 1997 — that asked little of the big developing countries and was never ratified by the United States Senate. But if the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report is to be taken seriously, as it should be, the Paris meeting may well be the world’s last, best chance to get a grip on a problem that, absent urgent action over the next decade, could spin out of control.
The I.P.C.C., composed of thousands of the world’s leading climate scientists, has issued three reports in the last seven months, each the product of up to six years of research. The first simply confirmed what has been known since Rio: global warming is caused largely by the burning of fossil fuels by humans and, to a lesser extent, by deforestation. The second, released in Japan three weeks ago, said that profound effects were already being felt around the world, including mounting damage to coral reefs, shrinking glaciers and more persistent droughts, and warned of worse to come — rising seas, species loss and dwindling agricultural yields.
The third report, released last week, may be the most ominous of the three. Despite investments in energy efficiency and cleaner energy sources in the United States, in Europe and in developing countries like China, annual emissions of greenhouse gases have risen almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century as they did in the last decades of the 20th century. This places in serious jeopardy the emissions target agreed upon in Rio to limit warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above the preindustrial level. Beyond that increase, the world could face truly alarming consequences.
Avoiding that fate will require a reduction of between 40 percent and 70 percent in greenhouse gases by midcentury, which means embarking on a revolution in the way we produce and consume energy.
That’s daunting enough, but here’s the key finding: The world has only about 15 years left in which to begin to bend the emissions curve downward. Otherwise, the costs of last-minute fixes will be overwhelming. “We cannot afford to lose another decade,” says Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and co-chairman of the committee that wrote the report. “If we lose another decade, it becomes extremely costly to achieve climate stabilization.”
The report does not tell governments what to do — presumably, that’s for them to decide in Paris — but it lists approaches, mostly familiar, some technologically advanced. The most obvious, and probably the most difficult to negotiate, is to put a global price on carbon, either through a system of tradable permits like that adopted by Europe (and rejected by the United States Senate) or through a carbon tax of some sort, thus driving investments to cleaner fuels.
A more plausible pathway is to get each country to adopt binding emission reduction targets and then allow them to choose how to get there — ramping up nuclear energy, phasing out coal-fired plants in favor of cleaner natural gas (though natural gas itself would have to someday give way to low-carbon alternatives), and vastly increasing renewable sources like wind and solar, which still supply only a small fraction of the world’s energy (less than 5 percent for wind and solar combined in the United States). All this will require a huge shift in investment, both private and public, from fossil fuels.
Governments have an enormous amount of work to do in devising emission reduction strategies by next year. As always, American leadership will be required, meaning leadership from the top. Confronted with a hostile Congress, President Obama has commendably moved on his own to reduce emissions through regulations, first with cars and now with coal-fired power plants. And he has done so without a great deal of public support. However compelling the science, global warming has not generated the kind of public anxiety and bottom-up demand for change that helped win the big fights for cleaner air and water in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This makes his job harder but no less urgent.
Today is actually Earth Day, but it sounds like the Easter
Monday break yesterday was too good to miss for activities at the Family Earth
Day Expo at the Farm Centre. Hats off to Jordan MacPhee and other for
their work organizing a great event, and being concerned about our Earth every
day of year.
The play Inherit the Wind is being performed Thursday through Sunday. It is a joint production of Trinity United Church (where it will be held) and ACT, A Community Theatre. (The cast includes some wonderful Plan B friends :-) ) For more information, see:
The title comes from a comment made by conservationist Aldo Leopold (who was mentioned in a letter to the editor last week by Island biologist Ian MacQuarrie). It is one hour long, and includes five parts, and clips of Rachel Carson, Wangari Maathai from Kenya (her efforts were documented in the movie Taking Root), Bill McKibbon of 350.org, and many, many others. The trailer gives just a taste, but it shows a whirlwind history, with the parts narrated by people concerned about our Earth and with good speaking voices, including Robert Redford, Ashley Judd, and Meryl Streep.
Easter Monday, not April Fool's Day, I think, but here is an article from last
week's Guardian where the Agriculture Minister has declared any water
concerns are over:
P.E.I. agriculture minister says snow has recharged province's water table - The Guardian article by Dave Stewart
Published on April 16, 2014
The last couple of years has seen little snow, at least that stuck around, and hot, dry summers.
“Weʼve had a significant amount of snow and, of course, the snow protects the soil from frost. What has happened over the past two to three weeks is weʼve got a nice slow melt . . . and itʼs actually being absorbed in the soil and percolate down to the water table,ʼʼ Webster told The Guardian following question period.
“This is the kind of spring you want. It may be a little hard on winter roads and so on but itʼs excellent for the land and excellent for the water table. If you drive through the countryside you can see water percolating out of the ground. Weʼve got a great recharge this year.ʼʼ
Webster said heʼs not basing it on any science. There are no studies or numbers to back up what heʼs saying. The minister said itʼs his opinion, based on years farming the land.
“I donʼt have any readings from the Department of Environment. Theyʼre probably
monitoring that but if you drive by the countryside I can see springs actually
percolating up through the ground in places and thatʼs a real good sign that
the water table is really high,ʼʼ the minister said.
The Winter River-Tracadie Bay watershed is the only source of water for Charlottetown right now.
“We donʼt really have a way of measuring the groundwater but there is no question that the springs are flowing very well,ʼʼ Smith told The Guardian in an email.
The Department of Environment does have what is called reference wells. Smith
said he heard levels in those wells are close to what they were last year but
that more information will be available sometime in May.
“Thatʼs no oneʼs fault. Charlottetown has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 20 years and the need for water is growing, too.ʼʼ
Work on a second water source for the capital city is currently underway in Miltonvale.
Webster said while the snow helped prop up the water table, the weather can
still help out over the summer.
A few events to make note of:
Today is the Earth Day Expo, from noon to 4PM at the Farm Centre, free
admission and a myriad of activities, information booths, and performances,
going on. There is also a film screening at 7:30PM at the Farm Centre,
too. The Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club organizes it, (and is
cosponsoring the movie with Cinema Politica, and kudos to them all!
Elizabeth Kolbert gracefully sums up the situation:
Published April 14, 2014
The chemist F. Sherwood Rowland is one of the few people in history about whom it can accurately be said: he helped save the world. In 1972, Rowland, a chemist at the University of California-Irvine, attended a talk on the compounds known as chlorofluorocarbons. At the time, these were being used as refrigerants, cleaning agents, and propellants in aerosol cans, and they had recently been detected in the air over the Atlantic. CFCs are unusually stable, but it occurred to Rowland that, if they were getting blown around the world, at very high altitudes they would eventually break down. He and one of his research assistants began to look into the matter, and they concluded that in the stratosphere CFCs would indeed dissociate. The newly liberated chlorine atoms would then set off a chain reaction, which would destroy the ozone layer that protects the earth from ultraviolet radiation.
Industry groups ridiculed Rowland’s findings—Aerosol Age accused him of being a K.G.B. agent—but other scientists confirmed them, and Rowland pressed for a ban on CFCs. As he said, “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” The discovery, in the mid-nineteen-eighties, of an ozone “hole” over the South Pole persuaded world leaders, including Ronald Reagan, that the problem was, in fact, urgent, and a global treaty phasing out CFCs was approved in 1987.
Rowland’s question came to mind last week. At a meeting in Yokohama, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest update on the looming crisis that is global warming. Only this time it isn’t just looming. The signs are that “both coral reef and Arctic systems are already experiencing irreversible regime shifts,” the panel noted. Composed in a language that might be called High Committee, the report is nevertheless hair-raising. The I.P.C.C.’s list of potential warming-induced disasters—from ecological collapse to famine, flooding, and pestilence—reads like a riff on the ten plagues. Matching the terror is the collective shame of it. “Why should the world pay attention to this report?” the chairman of the I.P.C.C., Rajendra Pachauri, asked the day the update was released. Because “nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.”
Talk about standing around and waiting. As in the case of the destruction of the ozone layer, much of the key research on climate change was completed in the nineteen-seventies. (The first major report on the subject from the National Academy of Sciences was requested by President Jimmy Carter.) And, once again, it’s been clear since that time what needs to be done. Global warming is a product of carbon emissions produced by burning fossil fuels, so, if we want to limit warming, these emissions have to be phased out.
Economists on both sides of the political spectrum agree that the most efficient way to reduce emissions is to impose a carbon tax. “If you want less of something, every economist will tell you to do the same thing: make it more expensive,” former Mayor Michael Bloomberg observed, in a speech announcing his support for such a tax. In the United States, a carbon tax could replace other levies—for example, the payroll tax—or, alternatively, the money could be used to reduce the deficit. Within a decade, according to a recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, a relatively modest tax of twenty-five dollars per metric ton of carbon would reduce affected emissions by about ten per cent, while increasing federal revenues by a trillion dollars. If other countries failed to follow suit, the U.S. could, in effect, extend its own tax by levying it on goods imported from those countries.
Currently, instead of discouraging fossil-fuel use, the U.S. government underwrites it, with tax incentives for producers worth about four billion dollars a year. Those tax breaks are evidently ludicrous, and they should be repealed. According to the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. is the world’s largest single source of fossil-fuel subsidies; the I.M.F. has estimated that eliminating such subsidies worldwide could cut carbon emissions by thirteen per cent. Meanwhile, the tax credit responsible for much of the recent growth in wind generation in the U.S. has been allowed to lapse. This is more lunacy; that tax credit should be reinstated. On a state level, public-utility laws need to be revamped so that utility companies are rewarded for promoting energy efficiency rather than energy consumption. Building codes, too, need to be rewritten; according to the previous I.P.C.C. update, released in 2007, significant cuts in emissions from buildings could be achieved through measures, like improved insulation, that also save their occupants money.
When the first I.P.C.C. report was issued, back in 1990, George H. W. Bush was in the White House. Each of his successors, including Barack Obama, has vowed to address the problem, only to decide that he had better things to do. Obama had an opportunity early in his first term to make a real difference; legislation to impose a price on carbon emissions, through a cap-and-trade system, was approved by the House in 2009. But the President put little political muscle behind the bill, and it died the following year in the Senate. The White House is now trying to bypass Congress and reduce emissions through regulations. In January, the Environmental Protection Agency published rules governing emissions from new power plants; effectively, they prohibit the construction of coal-burning plants. In February, the Administration announced plans to tighten fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles like garbage trucks and tractor-trailers, and, this spring, it is expected to propose new regulations limiting emissions from existing power plants. These are all laudable efforts, but the last set of regulations, which should be the most consequential, are coming so late in Obama’s second term that they will be left to the next President to implement—or not, as the case may be. And, unfortunately, the Administration is undermining its own best efforts by pressing for more domestic fossil-fuel production.
The fact that so much time has been wasted standing around means that the problem of climate change is now much more difficult to deal with than it was when it was first identified. But this only makes the imperative to act that much greater, because, as one set of grim predictions is being borne out, another, even worse set remains to be written. ♦
Of course, it helps to get local food, than food trucked in
from somewhere else, as much as possible. Local meat, sweet, white and
red potatoes, fresh greens and the last winter root vegetables, flour for
baking -- all are grown in the Maritimes and more will be if the demand is
there. (Chocolate is another story, but a big chain drug store has a few
items from the fair trade company Cocoa Camino.)
Published on April 10, 2014
The food industry and government agencies that tell us this or that ingredient is safe for human consumption. However, there are many ingredients still in use in Canada that have been banned in other countries, why?
One example of this is azodicarbonamide, also listed as ADA on labels. This is found in many commercial breads, donuts and hot dog buns, etc. When the bread is baked at high temperatures, the AFA causes two other chemicals to be released: “urethane, a recognized carcinogen, and semicarbazide, which causes cancers of the lung and blood vessels in mice but poses a negligible risk to humans” (Center for Science in the Public Interest). However the ingredient list will only include the ADA and not the other two released carcinogenic chemicals.
In this day and age, the Internet provides us with an encyclopedia of
information on anything we want. You do have to sift through a lot of it and
check out the source of the information. The food producers will give you all
kinds of data telling you how safe these chemicals are because they need to
preserve their product on the shelf until it sells, it is all about money.
Have a great Easter weekend,
a couple of days ago, a letter that says a lot in a short space.
Published on April 14, 2014
Marion E. MacCallum, Charlottetown
Saturday is a Sea Plants workshop at the Farm Centre, 2-5:30PM, another
in the wonderful series the Food Exchange is offering to introduce and share
food knowledge and food accessibility with everyone.
is the revised Owl Prowl schedule, and I would guess the paths are less
snow packed that last week:
Come celebrate the wonderful world of owls this weekend at the
Macphail Homestead in Orwell on Friday, April 18 and Saturday, April 19. The Sir Andrew Macphail Foundation will be
opening up the Great Room of the Homestead at 6:30pm each evening and serve
light refreshments. Visitors can warm
themselves by the fireplace and enjoy the historic beauty that surrounds them. There will be no cost but donations to the
Foundation will be gratefully accepted.
At 7:30pm on both evenings, the Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project will hold Owl Prowls starting at the Nature Centre. There will be a third Owl Prowl held on April 26. Visitors are asked to only attend one of these events.
events are excellent opportunities to learn more about a fascinating family of
rarely-seen birds. From the tiny “saw
whet” to the large “great horned”, owls have long been birds of mythology and
misinformation. The workshop will
separate fact from fiction, combining a slide show with an outdoor walk.
The owl prowls kick off an extensive series of outdoor activities at Macphail Woods, a project of the Environmental Coalition of Prince Edward Island. For more information on this or upcoming tours and workshops, please contact Gary Schneider at 651-2575, visit the website (www.macphailwoods.org) or find us on Facebook.
Earth Day Expo Facebook events page
The melting of a winter with a whole lot of snow has led to
a lot of runoff at Plan B and everywhere else. The West River has dealt
with a lot, from the parts near Emyvale and down. The little wooden
footbridge in Bonshaw was overwhelmed and pulled off the banks yesterday
Megan Harris of the West River Watershed (Central Queen's Wildlife Federation) reiterated that the Province is not doing enough to prepare for these intense weather patterns we are experiencing.
One small but significant example of this is the culvert underneath what is now the old TCH in Churchill. It is supposed to drain both Crawford's Brook (the box culvert at Plan B) and Crawford's Stream (the arches culvert and Hemlock Grove) into the West River by Strathgartney, but is partially blocked/collapsed/eroded under and around. The Department of Transportation knew that this culvert should be replaced, but instead trumpeted about fixing a much smaller hanging culvert upstream as part of Plan B. People communicated the concern -- it could have been incorporated into Plan B and some small good would have resulted for the fish and other aquatic life; TIR ignored the concerns, or shrugged that it was very low on the list of culverts needing replacing.
Here is what the culvert flow looks like where the Crawford's Stream and Brook meet and attempt to go under the old TCH culvert:
April 16th, 2014, at the old TCH in Churchill: The two swirling eddies show the lack of progress of water under the double culvert.
And a map from the past:
An old and busy map of culverts near the West River. The blue-labeled culvert with the yellow circle is the one badly needing replacing. The little footbridge in Bonshaw that was swept away was far left in map.
Todd Dupuis, of UPEI and the Atlantic Salmon Federation, has been named to the newly created position of Assistant Deputy Minister of the Environment. Todd was vociferous in his opposition to the lifting of the moratorium on high capacity wells for agriculture, and clearly explained the concerns with the flimsy studies and slack interpretation that the Department of Environment used to write its 2013 Water Extraction Policy.
For the past year and a half, Todd has been serving as co-chair of the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee, and in that and other work has spent time with various government people. Let's hope he brings much to them.
to know that one of our most eminent biologists makes the effort to write, and
with such gravitas:
Published on April 15, 2014
Fumigation kills almost everything in the soil, not just pests. It changes the extremely complex topsoil into an inert substance that I can only call ʻnot-soil.ʼ It reduces species diversity to a tiny fraction of that found in well-managed topsoil. This topsoil, which takes hundreds of years to form, can be extinguished in a day. Is it necessary to sacrifice our soil to produce large, attractive and tasteless strawberries, following the California approach?
I am quite aware that farmers, in order to produce a crop, are in a constant battle with pests. While there have been successes, there have also been well-known failures, such as in the widespread use of DDT (or again in warfare) Agent Orange. I think that the lesson is to be extremely careful with the use of synthetic chemicals, not only for human safety but also for ecosystems in total.
There are many thousands of kinds of living things in soil. I firmly believe that there are good biological reasons for such diversity, and that we should be aware and appreciative of such complexity. As my hero Aldo Leopold once said: “To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”
CBC and The Guardian had stories on how bumpy Plan B is earlier this week. Minister Vessey said he "expected it," which is what engineer Steven Yeo said when asked the same thing early in the New Year. I think they should tell us if they are expecting anything else! The Minister assures that after the final coat (late June, likely), there will be no other problems. We can quote him on that.
You can still vote for the Atlantic Region's worst road. TCH New Haven (Plan B) is number 10.
much melting yesterday on Plan B. Spring is great, but a lot of water
Richard Raiswell's 4-minute CBC Radio Mainstreet's political commentary from
Monday on Premier Ghiz's bill to change the Order of PEI requirements is here.
Note that the new bill doesn't go back and authenticate what the Premier did at the post-Olympic party, so presumably the deserving Miss Moyse has been nominated in the regular fashion.
But Bill No. 40 will insist on not less that three awards, and to be given any time during the year; this is a huge change to the spirit of the Order of PEI. To paraphrase Mr. Raiswell, it's all about the vanity of the Premier, cashing on other people's achievements.
Will any of his Caucus say that? Are they hearing from their constituents, now the bill has been introduced? Will the Opposition speak against it? If so, they would likely be brushed as not giving proper honour to deserving people. And eventually the Opposition might make up government and want the changes so they could have the photo-op-abilities??
It might be worth contacting your MLA is you have concerns on this. A contact list is here.
Plenty of sediment-rich water flowing into West River and tributaries today from plan B and other sources: roads, ditches, farmlands - good luck aquatic creatures! And was opening day of Fishing season - does anyone know how fish find food when it is muddy water? — with Daneb Jeffrey at Churchill PEI.
Monitoring the monitor! erosion/siltation at old Fairyland site
Gulley formation but springs flowing out 1/2 way down them
We sit on guardrail for thee!
“Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is
party to all our deals and decisions,
Published on April 14, 2014
The central role that family farms play in feeding the world will be the
subject of a meeting hosted
The event will feature a keynote presentation by Island farmer Sally Bernard, a presentation about community gardens and the screening of a short documentary.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has chosen 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming. It has been estimated there are 500 million family farms worldwide, and that they produce almost 60 per cent of the worldʼs food.
Bernard farms with her partner, Mark, in Freetown. Their farm, Barnyard Organics, is a certified organic farm begun in 2003, where a vision for a self-sustaining and environmentally sustainable farm continues to be the goal.
The meeting will also feature a presentation by Adam MacLean, about the Farm
Centre's legacy community garden project.
Tuesdayʼs meeting will run from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Farm Centre, which is
located at 420 University Ave.
effects on the land:
A Department of Environment person was out yesterday, and apparently Transportation will be out to look at the situation today and decide what they can do.
The Legislature sits at 2PM to 5PM, and 5-7PM. After the usual welcomes and questions, they are likely to be focusing on the submitted budget ("the estimates") by departments, currently in the Department of Health and Wellness.
Live coverage here (follow links)
They will sit tomorrow afternoon then be off until next Tuesday for the Easter holidays.
Plan B below boxes at Crawfords Brook
This interesting article, from The Nature Conservancy
science blog, describes the reason Monarchs are in a terrible downward spiral,
why this likely is, why this is important, and what you can do about it.
tr.v. gild·ed or gilt (gĭlt), gild·ing, gilds
1. To cover with or as if with a thin layer of gold.
2. To give an often deceptively attractive or improved appearance to._____________________________________________________________________________________________
There are a few events coming up this week:
Tonight is a Citizens' Alliance planning meeting, 6PM, at the Bonshaw Community Centre, and you are most welcome to attend, especially if you would like to be involved in the organization.
It will be over supper time, so please bring an easy snack to share.
Some of the topics we'll be discussing are monitoring Plan B during the spring melt and rains, what's going on with the high capacity well moratorium, and other issues related to environment and democracy.
Tuesday, April 15th, is the Food Security AGM at 4PM at the Farm Centre,
7PM both a CSA information session by RJR Farm at the Farm Centre
and a Pesticide Free PEI meeting at 7PM in Stratford
Wednesday, April 16th, is Green Drinks after 7PM at the Olde Triangle Pub
(I may have some times from but will correct tomorrow if needed.)
news we want to hear, really, but what we suspected:
An Environment Canada summary report released quietly Friday shows that energy production has now surpassed the transportation sector as the largest generator of the climate-change causing gases.
Analyst P.J. Partington with eco think tank the Pembina Institute says the change further underlines the need for the Harper government to bring in long-delayed regulations for the oil patch.
The report covers the period from 1990 to 2012, and states that crude oil production and the oilsands were behind the energy sector's 70 per cent emissions jump in that time span.
Oil and gas is now responsible for one-quarter of Canada's greenhouse emissions, narrowly edging out transportation, while reductions in electricity and manufacturing cut overall emissions by under one per cent between 2011 and 2012.
The report shows that Canada's emissions have dropped five per sent since 2005, meaning the country still remains far off from meeting its Copenhagen accord commitment of a 17 per cent reduction by 2020.
From Bradley Walters in New Brunswick (and I think I posted the YouTube from Mark Jacobson a while back, but worth the time on a Sunday to see it again):
Solutions Project: Achieving 100% renewable energy by 2050
This ambitious proposal developed by Standford University Engineering Professor, Dr. Mark Jacobson, is getting lots of attention. If this is doable in the US, it is certainly doable in Canada given our greater renewable resource potential and smaller population size.
is a link to Jacobson's Solutions Project.
is YouTube (12 min.) of Professor Jacobson presenting on the study:
And instead of bemoaning that PEI don't have fossil fuels to supposedly provide revenue (not mentioning anyone in particular), let's look at working towards the Don't Frack PEI motto of -- "Wind, Water, Sun -- Energy for the Long Run".http://dontfrackpei.com/web/
it is Saturday, many of us will be out getting food.
"RJR 100 Acre Farm will be holding a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) information meeting April 15th, 7pm at the Farm Centre, University Avenue, Charlottetown.
You are invited by RJR 100 Acre Farm, to discover how you can receive flavourful, fresh, locally grown food.
Learn how you can become a member or a sharer of a CSA and in the process contribute to local food security.
A CSA connects you to the land, your food and to the farm family that produces it. So, why not come out to an information session at the Farm Centre April 15th, 7pm and learn how you can become a CSA sharer and support a local farm family in the process."
100 Acre Farm is run by Rita Jackson and James Rodd. For more info call
892-8575 or write: firstname.lastname@example.org
Guests for Victoria Day -- itinerary lists Charlottetown, Cornwall, and...Bonshaw....
Cornwall, as in "Duchess of", I can guess. But Bonshaw? I hope the Royal Limo has good suspension, someone quipped. We'll see.
Published on April 11, 2014
The official dates for the tour were announced Friday and the royal couple will be in P.E.I. (Monday) May 19 and (Tuesday) May 20th, which will include Victoria Day.
In a news release, Premier Robert Ghiz said the province was delighted to be included in the royal coupleʼs tour this year as P.E.I. celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference.
“The royal tour is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the history, natural beauty, vibrant culture and people of our province,” he said.
During their stop in P.E.I. the royals will visit Charlottetown, Bonshaw and Cornwall.
Islanders will have several opportunities to see Charles and Camilla, including Charlottetownʼs Victoria Day celebrations and fireworks.
Few other details about their trip to P.E.I. were released Friday, but their visit to the Island will fall between stops in Nova Scotia and Manitoba.
The couple will spend May 18 and 19 in Nova Scotia and May 20 and 21 in Winnipeg.
While in Nova Scotia the couple will have an official welcome to Canada at the
Grand Parade in Halifax on May 19.
Canadian Heritage Minister Shelly Glover announced the tour dates and in a news release she invited Canadians to join in the royal tour celebrations.
“The 2014 Royal Tour of their royal highnesses will not only highlight Canadaʼs
achievements and our shared heritage, but will also look to the future of
Canada and how we will continue together to build a country that is the envy of
In 2011, the royal family was front and centre when William and Kate spent two days in P.E.I. as part of their first official visit to Canada after their marriage.
William and Kate crammed a lot of activity into their short visit, including a water bird training exercise in a Sea King helicopter and a dragon boat race on Dalvay Lake, along with a few public appearances that drew thousands of people.
Charles and Camilla were in Canada in May 2012 when they visited New Brunswick,
Ontario and Saskatchewan.
was rather funny that as I was heading out to chat with the man who assisted
Horace Carver with the Commission on the Lands Protection Act, Minister
Wes Sheridan was in the Legislature introducing for first reading Bill C-43, An
Act to Amend the Prince Edward Island Lands Protection Act. The
papers were handed to Clerk of the Legislature Charles MacKay, who read the
title, and Minister Sheridan (after throwing a furious silencing look at a
Minister behind him who was joking to his neighbour) talked about the work of
"the very esteemed Horace Carver," and that the Bill would "...
bring forward a number of these changes that will be enacted this Spring."
Saturday, April 12, 2PM: Seniors Active Living Centre, Cari complex, UPEI ( for advance tickets call 902 628-8388)Owl Prowls at MacPhail Woods
from Gary Schneider: "Come celebrate the wonderful world of owls with the first of three Owl Prowls at the Macphail Homestead in Orwell on Saturday, April 12. The Sir Andrew Macphail Foundation will be opening up the Great Room of the Homestead at 6:30pm and serve light refreshments. There will be no cost but donations to the Foundation will be gratefully accepted. Then at 7:30pm, the Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project is holding its first Owl Prowl of the season at the Nature Centre. There will be a second owl prowl held on April 18 and a third on April 19, but visitors are asked to only attend one of these events. There is no admission for the workshop and everyone is welcome. This is a very popular event and visitors are advised to come early as seating in the Nature Centre is limited. For more information on this or upcoming tours and workshops, please contact Gary Schneider at 651-2575, visit the website (www.macphailwoods.org) or find us on Facebook. "
Tuesday, April 15th, Food Security AGM,withIslandGreenscreening, 4PM, Farm Centre
Tuesday, April 12th, Pesticide Free PEI meeting,7PM(I think), Sobey's in Stratford
Dec 4 2013 will help us understand what is happening April 9 2014
and Plan B
-- too much coursing over too much exposed land.
A huge thank-you to the environmental monitors who have been out despite other employment and family responsibilities.
Water and groundwater:
When the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Environment, Energy and Forestry tabled a report to the House last Friday, many of us were relieved that they had several recommendations, including:
2. Your committee strongly recommends that Government develop a Water Act.
3. At the present time, your committee does not recommend any changes to the 2002 moratorium on new high capacity wells for agricultural irrigation.
Your committee wishes to continue its investigations into this matter, including hearing from the witnesses that were prevented from appearing due to bad weather, and additional individuals and organizations that have expressed interest. This has proven to be a complex issue and your committee does not wish to make recommendations prematurely. Witnesses to date have made compelling arguments both for and against the lifting of the moratorium, and your committee continues to consider these very carefully. The interest of so many individuals and groups and the capacity attendance at committee meetings to date speak to how important this issue, and water in general, is to Islanders. Your committee’s work is not done on this issue. The report can be found on this page.
Yesterday's Guardian, sometime giving you editorial waffles with your breakfast, has the temerity to chastise the Standing Committee for not being decisive.
(italics and bolding are mine)
Published on April 09, 2014
(from a Facebook posting April 9, 2014)
With the release of the standing committee’s report on high-capacity wells on
Friday, there was a deep sense of relief felt by the huge number of Islanders
who had expressed concerns about the potential lifting of the moratorium.
A pretty good take on the issue, which perhaps The Guardian editors should read, especially the last paragraph:"Environment Minister Janice Sherry has said the provincial government will not make a decision on deep-well irrigation and the moratorium will not be lifted until there is further proof that such practices would not diminish the quantity or quality of Prince Edward Island’s groundwater."
Problems will only exist until the grass grows they say.. doesnt look like the hydroseed worked well
The deep snow in ditches helps to cover up the problems, water rushes under the snow to resurface further down in Strathgartney park waterway
A familiar sight red running into the Bonshaw River at footbridge from an overwhelmed silt pond above along plan b, it keeps happening so I guess they can say they expected this too
Video: April 9 2014, flowing from plan b into the bonshaw river at foot bridge at: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10154002455290557&set=o.220834614673617&type=2&theater
Yesterday afternoon mitigation breaches were already taking
place along parts of Plan B -- no surprise, just sooner than other sources of
sediment in the river (fields, clay roads).
We'll have more photos later today, likely.
It's been a confusing couple of weeks with the snow days and all, but CBC Compass showed footage of the parked excavator that was working Monday evening and said that an official with Transportation said they were getting work done along Plan B today Tuesday. They showed a close-up of a trickle of beautiful running clear water. About 6:45 into the broadcast.
Compass link from Tuesday night
A note before the exhibit is over! The Seniors' College Art Exhibit is at the Arts Guild daily from noon until 6PM Saturday. A fantastic collection from fantastic people, including Marion Copleston of Bonshaw.
Regarding the Legislature:
There are moments in our life when one wishes that they
had just stayed in bed. Well today was certainly one of those days. The NDP PEI
team attended the budget lockup this afternoon at the Confederation Centre, and
we left disappointed and frustrated with the government’s lack of understanding
and commitment to all Islanders. Has this government become so arrogant they simply do not understand that our communities
are dying and people are going hungry?
I had not
heard about the contest to name the park of land leftover from and very near to
Plan B, the one referred to as the...umm... "wilderness" park.
The Premier responded with rhetoric seemingly annoyed about our Island's lack of resources (regarding, of course, nothing but fossil fuels), and pretty much taunting LaVie with questions that if he thinks there are resources in his district, he could have fracking take place and have energy security: "Come see me about any proposal about fracking you may have." (I am paraphrasing and the Assembly link is down this morning for maintenance so I can't verify exactly what he said.)
I am not sure what kind of message he was sending. It sounded loud and mean and indicated if there were tax revenues to be make on fracking, he would go for it.
I think the Leaders of the Island Political Parties need to state (or restate) their policy regarding fracking in PEI -- a simple "for it" or "never", please.
of the sediment ponds along Plan B had a wall blowout Monday due to the melting
snow and flow of the cut-into springs. It was along the northern part,
east of the arches at Crawford's Stream (Hemlock Grove), across from Eric's
Crossroad. TIR apparently noticed it and got a crew in with a
"long-reach" excavator and a dump truck of gravel. Close to 6PM
last night, the driver rebuilt the wall so clearer water crosses over and the
more sediment-dense water stays in the pond. That is the idea.
Fixing a sediment pond, corner of Plan B and Eric's Crossroad, April 7th, 2014.
Excavator dumping rocks into breach in retaining wall, April 7th, 2014.
We'll hope forecast holds for not too much rain in the next day, both for Plan B and for people's basements.
Today the Provincial Budget is introduced, starting at 2PM. Shoes,
bombast, and a document that bears close scrutiny.
Published on April 07, 2014
The Plant Breedersʼ Rights Act (PBRA), adopted in 1990, confers to a breeder of
a new plant variety, a form of intellectual property rights similar to a
patent. The Plant Breedersʼ Rights Office receives between 300 to 400
applications per year with about 100 coming from Canada. This office has no
role in enforcement of a breedersʼ right once granted. It is up to the rights
holder to pursue infringements through the court system.
At present, a PBR holder only has the exclusive right to produce and sell seed.
The proposed amendments grant PBR holders the exclusive right to produce and
reproduce, condition, sell, export or import, and to stock propagating material
for 20 years (to “condition” means to clean and/or treat seed and to “stock”
means to bag or store seed). This is a significant expansion of intellectual
property protection and expands the legal avenues for seed companies to pursue
royalties. Further, the ability to collect end-point royalties on the whole
crop following harvest if not previously collected on the seed would be
permitted with these changes. These powers would only apply to varieties
introduced after the new Act comes into force. Existing varieties would
continue to be subject to the UPOVʼ78 rules and conditions.
Maritime Connections, a Sunday afternoon CBC Radio show
focusing on local issues, featured callers describing the "Worst Roads in
the Maritimes" and apparently people called in about Plan B,
Today is the last day I think to register for the Sunday afternoon (April 13th) workshop (2-4PM, Our Lady of Assumption Church in Stratford) for an afternoon workshop on "Two World Views: CETA and Pope Francis"
LAMP invites you to this workshop which will identify the motivation behind the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and contrast it to the Pope Francis' view of the world. Workshop participants will single out the consequences of both opposing views and identify appropriate action. Workshop leaders are Kevin Arsenault and Marie Burge
Call 894-5845 to register or email burgeirene@Hotmail.com
Tomorrow, Leadnow meeting, Tuesday, April 8th, 7PM, Haviland Club:
Spring Melt has started, fortunately fairly gently along Plan B, and I'll
update tomorrow what plans the Department of Transportation has for dealing
DeSable land sales - CBC Compass
The Guardian (copied below) focused on the IRAC ruling.
Published on March 22, 2014
A successful appeal to IRAC by a cottage owner has quashed plans for commercial development in Hampton.
The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission has allowed Gary McLure's appeal that quashes plans to renovate and relocate existing rental cottages and locate nine additional cottages in Hampton.
McLure argued there was no authority under the Planning Act or the regulations to append a lot.
He submitted that section 30 of the regulations would not apply to allow the subdivision to be rescinded as the developer is not the original owner.
McLure also submitted that there is nothing in the minister of Finance, Energy and Municipal Affairs' file to establish that an entranceway permit was issued by the minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.
The appellant argued as well that the development permit would create a detrimental impact with respect to safety at the highway access point and with respect to surrounding land uses.
McLure also submitted that parking and drainage matters were not considered, and the minister's decisions reflect approval of a premature development with a lack of sound land use planning.
David Wu of Hampton Beach Resort Developments had told The Guardian in October big plans were in the works. He was eyeing development of almost 80 cottage units as well as looking at building a driving range and a nine-hole golf course.
Wu could not be reached Friday but McLure's successful appeal would appear to
put an end to those development plans.
IRAC decision in Hampton may have consequences for land use in P.E.I. - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
Published on April 02, 2014
I want to explain why I appealed, and discuss the possible ramifications of my successful challenge of the decision made by the minister of finance, energy and municipal affairs to issue a development permit for the expansion of Blue Spruce Cottage rental business in Hampton on July 23, 2013, because of the perceived change of use of a lot from cottage use only to a commercial use. The permit was issued on the premise that the change of use of the lot was permissible under the provisions of the Planning Act and the subdivision and development regulations. This was not the case as ruled by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission in an order issued on March 17, 2014.
The approval was given by the minister, to append the existing summer cottage-use-only lot, to the larger commercial Blue Spruce property, thus changing the lotʼs use to commercial. This change allowed the developer to place eight rental mini homes on the area of the said lot.
The commission found that the designation of cottage use became concrete when the lot was first sold for the purpose intended and thus could not later be altered without a formal change of use process. The commission could not find any regulation that supported the ministerʼs position.
The authority to append must exist either in the planning act or the regulations in order to be lawful. In conclusion, the lot consolidation or appending process needs to be supported by the planning act and regulations. Accordingly the appending decision was quashed for lack of legal authority. Since the lot is only approved for summer cottage use only, the presence of eight commercial rental cottages is not permitted on such a lot and thus, the development permit was also quashed.
Since the minister has no legal authority under the planning act for the appending of property, then the question arises, as to the legality of all approvals given to append properties in the past. This may have consequences in respect to land use within the province. Property owners that have had approval for appending should be asking this question.
The commission also made several observations and recommendations, due to the facts presented by the appellants.
1. Raised concerns with the policies, directives and statutory tools, or lack thereof, given to those who just deal with applications on a day-to-day basis and appear on the ministerʼs behalf before the commission.
2. It was not made clear that all aspects of section (3) of the regulations
There was little evidence in the file that indicated that much attention was placed on section 3 of the regulations. The commission recommends that these provisions must be followed.
It had become evident during this appeal that approvals are given by the minister in cases where the highway access regulations are being ignored. I know of numerous approvals for developments that havenʼt taken this into account.
The government is putting itself into a libel position. If entranceway permits
are not issued and registered with the deeds to the properties than access
would be deemed illegal under the Road Act Regulations. These irregularities
are being ignored by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure and
they have the responsibility to enforce the highway access regulations.
It should also be noted that the minister has placed government in a position of legal action by both the developer and the appellant.
If people are interested and wish to read the decision go to the website www.irac.pe.ca, McLure versus Minister.
Gary McLure, of Crapaud, is the appellant who appealed the Blue Spruce property development permit issue to IRAC.
OK, a lot of work went into a private citizen having to
point how government is not following its own rules. What about what Compass
mentioned about the DeSable side of things?
and a closeup of the area:
The former pizza place is just east of where the TCH crosses the DeSable River.
Old pizza plant with new name, in early April 2014,
And the name on the plant is:
ADMUND CASTLE RESORT LTD.
which was listed as being at 18876 Trans Canada Highway, DeSable, PE C0B 1X0 and the
Incorporation Date as October 30, 2013, in Executive Council Order-in-Council.
I hope your day is pleasant. For something completely different than hidden land development plants, the PEI Symphony Orchestra plays at Zion Presbyterian Church at 2:30PM, and The Vinland Society talk is at 7:30 at the old Benevolent Irish Society Hall on North River Road.
Friday in the provincial legislature was informative (the high capacity well
issue) and parts just a bit bombastic (the HST accounting questions during
Do look at the whole five page report when you
get a chance. Note both the fact that Minister Webster is listed as
having made a written submission, and the line in the report (bold is mine)
shows that no final decision has been made is in bold here:
Your committee wishes to continue its investigations into this matter, including hearing from the witnesses that were prevented from appearing due to bad weather, and additional individuals and organizations that have expressed interest. This has proven to be a complex issue and your committee does not wish to make recommendations prematurely. Witnesses to date have made compelling arguments both for and against the lifting of the moratorium, and your committee continues to consider these very carefully. The interest of so many individuals and groups and the capacity attendance at committee meetings to date speak to how important this issue, and water in general, is to Islanders. Your committee’s work is not done on this issue.
And it is likely there will be more ad-ucation from the Potato Board in the paper in the coming weeks...
But, overall, people taking notice of this issue, and coming to committee meetings, writing letters (which is key!), planning and attending public information events like the forum with Maude Barlow, and urging organizations to take a stand on this, and a group like the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water forming -- all make a huge difference for the future of this Island.
Perhaps there is a change in the season.
Have a great day dealing with mud and slush, and consider buying some local food this weekend -- it is all part of the change.
A Friday smile (kind of):
Lot of) Events:
The Legislature sits from 10AM to 1PM today,
and of course there's lots of music today and this weekend.
News from various sources:
title: “Corporate Conservatives”)
It is not unusual for elected governments to support industrial development in their jurisdictions. Conservative political parties, in particular, are more likely to champion big business, but this is not a hard-and-fast rule because pro-corporate policies can alienate the “populist”-wing of the party and voters that hew to populist sentiments. What is unusual today is the degree to which conservative politicians — both in Canada and the United States — have become beholden to corporate interests, especially those in the oil and gas sector.
The United Nations Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just released its latest scientific assessment. Its findings are dire and an urgent call for action. In fact, a large majority of the public in both Canada and the U.S. support government leadership on climate change. But they are unlikely to get it from either Canadian Conservatives or their American, Republican-party counterparts, whose respective commitments to the oil and gas industry border on the scandalous. It is not much exaggeration to suggest that the Harper Conservatives and the U.S. Republican Party have become the political front for the fossil fuel industry.
Closer to home, New Brunswick Conservatives have lately demonstrated a similar drift that extends deeper into the clutches of big industry. For example, Premier Alward’s recent policy reversal on forestry is astonishing in the extent of its capitulation to industry interests. By sharply increasing the allocation of wood from already heavily cut public lands, the government has ignored not only the expressed wishes of the public (as measured by various opinion surveys) and the expert advice of many scientists, but also the past recommendations of Brunswick Legislative Assembly’s own select committee on wood supply.
The Alward government’s unshakable support for shale gas development is even more troubling given the seriousness of the risks, and the evidence that supports such risks, and the fact that the corporate interests involved appear to have no long-term vested interest in the welfare of the Province and its people. In fact, corporations rarely do have a vested interest, despite their spin to suggest otherwise. That the Minister of Energy now publicly disparages (almost daily) any and all critics of shale gas re-affirms where this government’s loyalties lie. And yet, this same government insists it will protect the public interest from harm once the oil and gas multinationals get down to the risky business of drilling and fracking. The minister will have to forgive the many New Brunswickers who view such assurances with skepticism.
One can debate and speculate whether the public interest is likely to be served in the long run by these unabashedly pro-corporate policies. I am inclined to think it is not. Either way, this government’s complete disregard for current public interest is very disconcerting. The government knows that the majority of New Brunswick citizens wants policy leadership on climate change, views a diverse forest and forest economy as desirable, and prefers a halt to further shale gas development (at least until the risks and benefits can be more truthfully assessed).
The government knows where public sentiments lie, but just doesn’t care. Instead, bargains with industry are being struck behind closed doors without proper independent scrutiny or due consideration of the public interest. Perhaps it is time for the people of New Brunswick (and of Canada) to remind their governments who it is they really work for.
DR. BRAD WALTERS is a professor of Geography & Environmental Studies at Mount Allison University.
If you are interested in being on Brad's list (1-4 e-mails per day), contact him at : email@example.com
If you are interested
in a daily news service regarding environmental issues, you could subscribe to
the homepage is here:
there is always The Guardian locally (bold mine):
Published on March 28, 2014
A U.S. government scientist warned in a report 15 years ago of a potential massive landslide near Arlington, Wash. However, Snohomish County officials permitted homes to be built in the area known as “Hazel Landslide,” which had a history of mudslides over the past 50 years.
The current county public works director and previous county officials should be held directly responsible for people killed in the recent landslide because they did not rezone the area and stop the building of new homes. They claim ignorance of the 15-year-old report but they knew the sloping area was very risky but took no action.
We have a similar problem on the Island because the P.E.I. government continues to ignore several excellent land use studies because they donʼt want to do proper zoning due to controversy with farmers. Thousands of subdivision lots have been approved without proper soil and water testing so we now have enough lots to do us for the next 100 years.
However, many of the subdivisions should be retested and removed from the market but the government is loath to do it because they are owned by party supporters and farmers. Land use planning and proper zoning is a specific responsibility of government; however, it is being ignored and avoided like the plague which is a disgrace and a cop-out.
David Steeves, CharlottetownTonight is the Heritage MEAL (Meet, Eat A Learn) at the Farm Centre, 6:30PM. It's lots of locally-made appetizers, and with speakers on local food-related topics. https://www.facebook.com/events/1391966857730912/
(You may have to cut and paste this link.)
The Legislature opens today, 2PM,
often happens when storms have events postponed, tonight has two very
interesting water issue events:
Published on March 31, 2014
I was talking to friends in Covehead when someone said: “If you ask me the real problem is flushing. The land is not being flushed the way it was. Last year they had the longest plumb ever in Covehead Bay. It lasted a whole month. Brackley Bay is dead. Gone. The aquiculture is gone; itʼs no longer a commercial bay.” I asked, “What kind of plumb?” “Algae plumb. Anoxia.” was the reply.
In Nature magazine, April 18, 1996, an article appeared titled: An underground route for the water cycle; with subheading: Water flows from the land to the sea in rivers but there is evidence that a comparable amount may flow underground directly into coastal waters.
The research was done in South Carolina and the evidence is quantitative — based upon measurements of Radium, 88Ra226, with a half life of 1,620 years. The flow underground is called submarine groundwater discharge (SGD): estimates are 40 per cent SGD, 60 per cent surface discharge. The SGD acts as a climate regulator and provides temperature stability to coastal bays and estuaries: warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer. The SGD carries trace nutrients into and metabolic waste products out of the bays and estuaries.
Rain falling on land and entering the ground is called recharge. Recharge over the confined aquifer (CA) region of infiltration moves vertically downward until it's in the CA channel; whereas recharge over the CA region of exfiltration moves horizontally once it's in the saturated zone and forms the SGD. In short, SGD is flushing; SGD flushing our bays and estuaries.
We can reason by the missing ponds and bogs that the region of exfiltration has been shrinking, hence the SGD has been shrinking. This shrinkage is an expropriation of the SGD into the Winter River well fields and is the source of many problems in our North Shore fisheries.
Tony Lloyd, Mt. Stewart
The Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Agriculture,
Environment, Energy and Forestry finally just let "Winter" win and
cancelled the Committee meeting that was scheduled for this
morning. I appreciate all that the clerk has done to
communicate the changes, and I personally was looking forward to the update
about the Lands Protection Act Commission from Commissioner Horace Carver, in
addition to the presentations about the high capacity wells moratorium from
diverse groups such as the PEI Potato Board, Cavendish Farms, and the Atlantic
Canada Chapter of the Sierra Club.
And I can't believe I am saying, "Follow us on Twitter", but there you are.
It's likely useful for announcements such as those about the Standing Committee meeting cancellation.
(I had troubles with fitting "Citizens' Alliance of PEI" in such size-restricted lines, and I appreciate greatly the help of another certain tech savvy woman in getting the whole thing set up a while back.)
February 2014 >