This is the 662nd edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue). Here is the Jan. 9 edition. Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.

OUTSTANDING GREEN STORIES

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—As Rats Flee Trump’s Seditious Sinking Ship, Climate Deniers Lash Themselves To The Mast: “In the wake of Trump’s deadly white supremacist insurrection last week, it seems that the revolving door between the energy industry and the Trump government may finally be closing. Ben Lefebvre and Zack Colman reported yesterday for PoliticoPRO that even oil and gas companies are now cutting ties with members of the Trump administration, with one (anonymous) executive telling them that they ‘have discussed this explicitly… we’re not going to hire any Trump people. We’re just not going to do it.’ Another energy company executive said that the ‘administration didn’t even start out with the best of the best. They started out with the best of the rest. Now it’s the rest of the rest. It’s not the greatest talent pool.’ For example, the story closes with a lobbyist saying that after a former EPA staffer wasn’t really able to say what they did at the agency, he asked them what they wanted to do now. Their answer? ‘Make six figures.’ Even given all of that, and even without any real qualifications or talent or intelligence, that may not be an out-of-reach goal for them and others who have recently left the EPA in the wake of the violence.”

I got a warm welcome from one of the friendlier wolves who lived at the St. Francis Wolf Sanctuary in 2011.lostintheozarks writes—The Daily Bucket – The Ghosts of Januaries Past: “Douglas County, TX. January 14, 2021. I have been sitting here thinking about what topics I could use for a new diary — I have no new photos to share. Could there possibly be a way to look at earlier photos and make them seem new again? Or maybe some photos I have never shared?  The next photo was taken in January 2011 when we visited the St. Francis Wolf Sanctuary in Montgomery County, TX. These wolves and hybrids were brought to this place after being rescued from people who had no business owning a domestic pet — never mind a wild one. Their stories were sad, and they were not eligible for release into the wild. They will live out their lives at this place. The people who take care of them are good to them.”

CRITTERS AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Ojibwa writes—Some California Sea Lions: “From late August until early June, California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus) spend time hanging out and barking in the Newport, Oregon, Bayfront area. Male sea lions can grow up to eight feet long and weigh up to 1,000 pounds. Females, on the other hand, grow up to six feet long and weight up to 250 pounds. An adult sea lion will eat 5-8% of its body weight daily. Their diet includes fish, squid, and octopus. All marine mammals, including sea lions, are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. In studying these mammals, researchers have marked some of them with numbers. This helps in tracking their migration patterns.”

funningforrest writes—The Daily Bucket. Gaggle of Geese, Bevy of Buffies, Mob of Mallards, Coterie of Coot: “JANUARY 14, 2021.  QUINCY, CA. The weather forecast called for partly cloudy.  Eyes out the window were telling a different story; mostly cloudy.  Mind and feet were vacillating and strenuously debating.  Get up, go out, might get nice.  Stay put, stay warm, drink more coffee, veg out.  Nothing to see anyway.  A glimmer of almost blue sky flung itself like a fool into the fray. The faux blue fool won the argument, ipso facto. There were two choices of where to go.  Out on the ranch or over to the wastewater ponds. Both.”

Norwegian Chef writes—Insurrectionist Desecrates Live Manatee by Carving Trump’s name into the Poor Creature: “There are no words to describe a person who would do such a thing. If it is with my last dying breath on this beloved Planet, I will not yield another inch to these bastards not in America nor anywhere else around the world.  I have had enough, and I am going to fight this insurrection with every ounce of strength I can!!” 

Today, the USFWS & #Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission reported they are opening an investigation after a #manatee was discovered with severe scarring spelling “TRUMP” on its back in the Homosassa River in Citrus County, Florida. https://t.co/4tXkIM9vzf pic.twitter.com/DO4WUpomB8— Defenders of Wildlife (@Defenders) January 11, 2021

Pakalolo writes—Officials appeal for the public’s help in locating whoever carved the word TRUMP in a Manatee’s back: “Florida’s iconic and beloved manatees are not immune to the cruelty of Trumpists.  In the Homosassa River North of Tampa, a manatee was found with injuries to its back. The word Trump was etched into the slow-moving sea cow. The Center For Biological Diversity has offered a reward leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The Center for Biological Diversity today announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction for the cruel and illegal mutilation of a threatened Florida manatee in north Florida’s Homosassa River. Someone carved the word TRUMP into the animal’s back.”

Walter Einenkel writes—Federal investigation opened after endangered manatee found with ‘TRUMP’ scratched into its back: “The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is investigating a report that a manatee was discovered this weekend with “TRUMP” scratched on its back. The animal was filmed in the Homosassa River in Florida. The Citrus County Chronicle was the first to report the story, speaking with senior federal wildlife officer Craig Cavanna, who said he could not comment on an ongoing investigation. He did say that the manatee is protected by the Endangered Species Act, which would make harassment of the animal a ‘federal criminal offense punishable by a $50,000 fine and/or up to one-year in federal prison.’ The manatee was discovered on Sunday and recorded, photographed, and reported to authorities by Hailey Warrington. Warrington is a boat captain for a fishing charter company. Warrington told local news that she was ‘sickened, her stomach turned’ when she found the animal. West Indian manatees are seasonal visitors to the coast. Warrington says she believes that there were no superficial wounds to the animal, a silver lining in a truly deplorable act.”

American Robin feeding on privet. CaptBLI writes—The Daily Bucket – First snow of 2021, A Mississippi moment: “A silent white from the sky last night left a soft dust of quiet on the ground over the Mississippi hills.  I walked a few miles before many things began to wake.   I had my camera, eyes and ears open to record any thing I found.  The childish feelings of wonder filled me again with every slow footfall. I saw a Robin feeding on Privet drupes.  Ignoring me and the blanket of white.” 

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – birds in winter dusk: “January 2021. Salish Sea, PacificNorthwest. The sun sets around 4:30 pm these days. That’s when there was a break in the rain Thursday and Friday last week so that’s when I went down to the bay. A few birds were still busy, eking out the last of the light to forage for food before settling in for the night. A Kingfisher missed a strike on a flight over the dim surface, but still made it clear this is his territory, scolding from a cliff beside the water. This end of the beach is his.”

Oystercatcher feet are very flexible and have great traction on irregular ground.

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – angling for an assemblage of Ancient alcids: “Yesterday was a rare winter day of sun and calm up here so we jumped on the opportunity to go out onto the water. I decided to take my new lightweight camera to try for photos out there. Turns out it’s not suited for sea — and this excursion is now part of my learning curve for its use. It wasn’t up to capturing images of a small alcid which is uncommonly seen in my part of the county but which was abundant that day. Ancient murrelets are winter alcids, coming into relatively sheltered inland waters for this season after which they head back out to the open ocean for the breeding season. I could see them out on the water and flying in their characteristic fashion: in groups, fast, just above the surface, all dropping at once to snap up unsuspecting fish. Ancients also hang out in flocks while Marbleds are most often seen in pairs, with a lot of space between sets of pairs. Problem was getting a decent picture for proof!”

Lenny Flank writes—Photo Diary: A Turtle Lays Her Eggs–Well, Almost: “While taking one of my daily walks at Sawgrass Lake Nature Preserve in St Pete FL (which is conveniently across the street from my house), I happened to see a female Peninsula Cooter (a fairly common species around here) on land a good distance away from any of the local ponds. That is kinda unusual for them, so I crossed the driveway to have a look, and saw that she was engaged in digging a  nest. So I sat myself down on a hill about 10 yards away to have lunch and to watch. For those who don’t know, I lived in a converted campervan and traveled around the country, posting photo diaries of places that I visited. But the pandemic has clipped my wings, and I am now holed up in Florida until I can begin traveling again. 🙂 Alas, she had not picked a particularly good spot for a nest—she was right off one of the main pathways in the park, and she was interrupted several times by people walking by. (Some of them stopped to watch, and some of them never even noticed her and walked right on by.)” 

Red-tailed Hawkgiddy thing writes—Dawn Chorus: Advice from a Hawk: “Years ago, a friend gave me a book with a bookmark tucked in its pages, still treasured and used to this day. The bookmark offers Advice from a Hawk — a collection of inspiring and metaphorical life lessons we mere humans might learn from these fierce and noble birds of prey. Today seems like a good time to channel our inner hawk as we begin a new year and celebrate the imminent inauguration of Biden/Harris, a new Senate majority, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, and our resilience through the last dark and turbulent 4 years. Let’s admire some hawk photos (some mine, some public domain) and contemplate how we might apply ‘advice from a hawk’ to our own lives in 2021.” 

Angmar writes—Regenerative Culture: “Trump Opens Habitat of Threatened Owls to Timber Harvesting”: “The Trump administration said Wednesday that it would slash millions of acres of protected habitat designated for the imperiled northern spotted owl in Oregon, Washington state and Northern California, much of it in prime timber locations in Oregon’s coastal ranges. Environmentalists immediately decried the move and accused the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under President Donald Trump of taking a parting shot at protections designed to help restore the species in favor of the timber industry. The tiny owl is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and was rejected for an upgrade to endangered status last year by the federal agency despite losing nearly 4% of….www.oregonlive.com/…” 

CLIMATE CHAOS

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—For 2021’s Energy Report, API Goes Back To ‘Energy Futures’ Report For Denial Tactics: “It’s been 40 years since API’s deceptive ‘Energy Futures’ report was used to downplay public concern about the fossil fuel industry’s role in the climate crisis. Maybe they’ve abandoned the carefully parsed language of climate denial, and grown and changed organizationally so that the fossil fuel industry can now be a credible and reliable ‘partner’ in seeking the best ways to reduce fossil fuel pollution. Or… maybe they’re still mostly just trying to dodge the issue and distract people from its severity and causes, pointing back to more of their own materials instead of outside experts to justify their threadbare claims. The report barely says anything about climate change, for example, aside from the fact that ‘Even if the United States participated in meeting the aggressive sustainability goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, natural gas and oil would be needed to supply close to half of the world’s energy in 2040’.”

Pakalolo writes—Trump’s trashing of the climate is more severe than previously thought, says Biden climate team: “A senior Biden climate team transition official alerted E&E News that the damage Trump and his fossil fuel grifters (that have held power over the agencies tasked with protecting the climate system) have been successful in hollowing out the EPA of staff and resources at a time when the “ability to address climate change” is dire. Red code alerts from the scientific community, just in the past week alone, have shown shattered records on ocean surface temperatures. They warned that 2020 was the warmest year on record, despite a cooling La Nina event in the Pacific, in a virtual tie with 2016. Thus ends the warmest decade on record. This past year alone saw, one of the “hottest years on record, also saw extraordinary wildfire activity in the Western United States and Australia, a Siberian heatwave with record high temperatures exceeding 38 degrees C (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) within the Arctic circle, a record low for October Arctic sea ice extent of 2.04 million square miles, an Atlantic hurricane season resulting in more than $46 billion in damage, and deadly floods and landslides in South Asia that displaced more than 12 million people.” And so much more, unfortunately. The climate criminal occupying the oval office has denied humanity the geological time necessary in the fight against extinction-level consequences of our dying biosphere.”

OCEANS, WATER, DROUGHT

bilboteach writes—BREAKING: Former Michigan Governor and Others To Be Charged Over Flint Water Crisis: “Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, his health director and other ex-officials have been told they’re being charged after a new investigation of the Flint water scandal, which devastated the majority Black city with lead-contaminated water and was blamed for a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in 2014-15, The Associated Press has learned. Two people with knowledge of the planned prosecution told the AP on Tuesday that the attorney general’s office has informed defense lawyers about indictments in Flint and told them to expect initial court appearances soon. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.” 

Dan Bacher writes—Chinook Salmon Are Able to Ascend Upper Auburn Ravine to Spawn: “Chinook salmon have spawned for millennia in Auburn Ravine Creek, a tributary of the Sacramento River in Northern California northeast of Sacramento, but biologists have been uncertain if salmon could get past the Chaparral Cascades. ‘As a result, some people have flatly stated that those cascades are a total barrier to upstream migration,’ reported Friends of Auburn Ravine in today’s announcement. ‘They have used that judgement to downplay the potential need to provide a way for salmon to get past the Gold Hill Dam which is about ½ mile further upstream.’ The cascades are about 25 miles upstream from where the creek enters the Sacramento River near Verona. The cascades are steep, and the water runs fast there, according to the group. ‘Now there is proof that salmon can get through the cascades to spawn upstream. A local resident noticed salmon spawning about 375 yards upstream from the Chaparral Cascades on November 5, 2016 and preserved video proof of that,’ the group said.”

CANDIDATES, STATE AND DC ECO-RELATED POLITICS

Michael Brune writes—Our Movement for a Strong, Multiracial Democracy Is Winning: “On Wednesday, we learned that Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock had won their Senate races, clinching Democratic control of the House, Senate, and presidency. After months of intense work to elect climate champions up and down the ballot, we finally have leaders committed to climate action in the White House and both houses of Congress. Now, President-elect Biden can carry out the big promises he made during his campaign to supercharge our clean energy economy, green our infrastructure, clean up environmental injustices, address racial inequities, repair our democracy, and ensure a just and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. These victories in Georgia, and across the country, would not have been possible without years of hard work and organizing by women of color–led grassroots groups like Fair Fight Georgia and the New Georgia Project, as well as the efforts of Sierra Club members and supporters. In the face of voter suppression and racist campaigning, we worked to make sure that the people’s desire for bold, transformational change won out. But on Wednesday, our well-deserved celebrations were marred by a group of violent, right-wing insurgents who broke into the US Capitol to halt the counting of electoral college votes. As horrifying as it was to watch neo-Nazis and Proud Boys rampage through the Capitol at the direction of the sitting president, I don’t want to dwell on that here. Because our victory in Georgia shows that our movement for a strong, multiracial democracy and racial, economic, environmental, and gender justice is winning. We are the many; they are the desperate few.”

Dem writes—Breaking News: Rick Snyder charged for Flint water crisis! “

Finally, at long last, former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was charged for the Flint water crisis. Unfortunately, it is only a misdemeanor. He did a lot of damage. Based upon what I read, I am not optimistic about the outcome. LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was charged Wednesday with willful neglect of duty after an investigation of ruinous decisions that left Flint with lead-contaminated water and a regional outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. The charges, revealed in an online court record, are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The charges are groundbreaking: No governor or former governor in Michigan’s 184-year history had been charged with crimes related to their time in that office, according to the state archivist.”

Pakalolo writes—Cool, the Science advisor is elevated to a cabinet position; the first woman will lead FEMA: “Elevating (the science adviser) role to member in the President’s Cabinet clearly signals the administration’s intent to involve scientific expertise in every policy discussion. Sudip Parikh, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Our next president is a science geek, how cool is that? The dark days of science denial in the White House these past few years will end when Joe Biden is sworn in as president. Biden has chosen a Harvard and MIT mathematician and geneticist, Eric Lander, as his science advisor and the president-elect boosted this role to a cabinet-level position. Lander was the lead author of the first paper on the details of the human genome. He will be the first life scientist ever to hold the position of science advisor.”

ENERGY

Fossil Fuels & Emissions Controls

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—API’s “Energy Futures” Report Shows Big Oil’s Denial Propaganda in 1980: “While many in the Trump administration are concerned about their next job — ‘member of a violently seditious racist’s government’ doesn’t look great on a resume, after all — apparently the American Petroleum Institute has no qualms with hiring terrorist-adjacent staff, and has hired Energy Dept press secretary Jessica Szymanski. Despite a tweet from an API executive condemning the violence (less than even other pro-polluter groups who issued full statements) given that API bankrolls Republicans (including insurrectionists) it’s not exactly a surprise to see they’ve rescued Szymanski from unemployment. Because as a new study shows, API has been embracing denial for decades now. Dr. Ben Franta’s latest, in Environmental Politics examines an archival report published by API in 1980 that shows how ‘commercial fossil fuel interests played a more obstructive role in climate change discourse and policy throughout the 1980s than previously understood.’ In a twitter thread last week, Dr. Franta explained how the ‘Two Energy Futures’ policy report lays bare three key aspects of the oil industry’s long-term denial campaign. It ignored conclusions of its own internal reports showing an impending climate crisis, and instead deliberately downplayed the climate science’s certainty of negative impacts by invoking a false balance claiming that ‘scientists were more or less split’ on the CO2-climate change link and misrepresenting Carl Sagan’s views on the issue.” 

Renewables, Efficiency, Energy Storage & Conservation

gmoke writes—Solar Decathlon Webinars: “The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition, comprising 10 contests, that challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy. It’s been going on since 2002 and has produced hundreds of model houses built by student teams from all over the world.  This year they are doing a webinar series as well.  Should be lots and lots of good information here. Resilient Home 411: Strategies to Weather and Recover from Natural Disasters, Thursday, January 21, 2021, 1–2 p.m. E.T., RSVP here. 
Zero Energy Ready Homes: New and Growing Fast, Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 1–2 p.m. E.T., RSVP here.” The Future of Solar: A Tour of Cutting-Edge Solar Research with the U.S. Department of Energy, Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 1–2 p.m. E.T., RSVP here. Solar Decathlon Build Challenge Team House Tour
Wednesday, April 28, 2021, 1–2 p.m. E.T., RSVP here. More here. 
 

TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE

Mokurai writes—Yesterday with Renewable Charlie, 1/10/2021: “Cars, car battery swap stations, trucks with solar-powered refrigeration, e-bike parking, 107 meter wind turbine blades, carbon-neutral rocket fuel. And we can look forward to the Biden climate agenda starting in less than two weeks, assuming that we survive that long. Hyundai and Apple are in talks to jointly develop self-driving electric cars. Hyundai has confirmed it’s in the running to provide the underpinnings and battery tech for an Apple car. The Much Rumored Tesla Model Y Standard Range Is Here. Rumors have been swirling for the past several months that Tesla would soon offer a single-motor Standard Range version of the Model Y to go with its SR+ Model 3 sedan. Elon Musk seemed to cool to the idea, but last week the company pulled the trigger on the Model Y Standard Range. Why I Would Buy A Used Tesla Model 3 Instead Of A New One — Free Full Self Driving! I came up with the idea for this article after I noticed that Tesla is enabling the $10,000 Full Self Driving (FSD) capability on every Model 3 that it is selling used. I spoke to a couple of salespeople and verified that is the case (note that it could change at any time) and that you can’t lower the price by having the option removed.” 

AGRICULTURE​, FOOD & GARDENS

GCNY writes—Saturday Morning Garden Blogging, Vol. 17.03: A Gardener’s Inheritance: “First, a little family history (I have shared some of this in comments in other SMGB diaries.). I remember my father, who grew up on a small family farm in the NYS Finger Lakes Region, relaxing in his padded rocking chair next to the fireplace to browse the seed catalogues of his day.  He would set up sprouting flats on his basement work tables by east facing windows with overhead fluorescents adding to the available light. When planting time arrived, he rototilled the garden plot. Plenty of horse and sheep manure could be had for free from farms up the road. The ditches along the roads needed periodic clearing and the county workers would dump the rich black soil in our yard if my father was home at the time they came by. Dad would set up his rows using two sticks with a heavy string attached keeping things nice and straight. I have seen this on old WWII victory garden videos and here I thought he invented that!  Out came a nifty hand plow (maybe a family garden heirloom) that would dig a nice seed trench and till the soil, too. It was a lot  like the newer one in this video. Hand Tiller/Plow  I remember how beautiful his rows of vegetables looked all in perfectly straight rows. My rows? Well, I have to work on that.” 

NAT’L FORESTS, PARKS, MONUMENTS & OTHER PUBLIC LANDS

Cliven BundyMeteor Blades writes—Bundy warns he will ‘walk toward guns’ if Biden tries to collect 28 years of unpaid grazing fees: “Remember Cliven Bundy, the stubborn Nevada rancher whose decades-long refusal to pay grazing fees for cattle he runs on federal land led to a 2014 armed stand-off at his family ranch and in 2016, another armed stand-off led by his son Ammon Bundy in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge? The latter had been home to the indigenous Moapa Paiute until they were forced out at gunpoint off in the 1870s. The elder Bundy claims ancestral rights to that land because of his libertarian views and, he claims, because his ancestors came on The Mayflower. Bundy wound up in pre-trial detention for 18 months over the 2014 stand-off, but because of prosecutorial misconduct, he was released and his case adjudged a mistrial. New charges weren’t filed. He and his large family continue to run cattle on federal land without paying the modest grazing fees. By 2014, 21 years after he began refusing to pay for this use of public land, the back fees had accumulated to more than $1 million. Currently, 24,000 permit holders are charged $1.35 per animal per month for grazing—a very good deal. But not as good as Bundy’s steal. Now the 74-year-old rancher has advice for President-elect Joe Biden’s administration: It better not come trying to collect those unpaid fees, because he and his militant supporters are willing to “walk towards guns” again if that happens. While the new administration has more than a full platter of priorities to deal with when it comes into office Wednesday, some environmental advocates hope that action is taken to stop this scofflaw.”

Crashing Vor writes—A Request for the New Director of the National Park Service: “As with many other federal agencies, Donald Trump has corrupted the National Park Service by appointing loyalists as acting directors. In fact, the Service has not had a Senate-approved director in Trump’s time in office. His four acting directors have enabled atrocities great and small, from environmental rule easements to using Park facilities like Mount Rushmore for political rallies. The incoming director, who I assume will be nominated and confirmed in the usual, legal manner, will have a lot of messes to clean up. But there’s one minor task, a literal ‘housekeeping’ function, I’d like to see the director get right on. The steward, housekeeper, or such other employee of the Executive Residence at the White House as the President may designate, shall under the direction of the President, have the charge and custody of and be responsible for the plate, furniture, and public property therein. A complete inventory, in proper books, shall be made annually in the month of June, under the direction of the Director of the National Park Service, of all the public property in and belonging to the Executive Residence at the White House, showing when purchased, its cost, condition, and final disposition. This inventory shall be submitted to the President for his approval, and shall then be kept for reference in the office of the Director of the National Park Service, which shall furnish a copy thereof to the steward, housekeeper, or other employee responsible for the property.”

MISCELLANY

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Enviro Policy Advice From Free Market Fanatic: Just Marry Rich, Then Buy Land: “It’s still early in the year, but we’ve already found a strong contender for Stupidest Take of 2021. It’s courtesy of Joakim Book, the Koch-y covid and climate denier, who you might remember from October, when he wrote about how selfish it is for parents to bring their monstrous children into public places like coffee shops where he’s trying to work in the sort of privacy, peace and quiet one apparently expects when one leaves one’s own home. (Book’s feelings about children would have probably been better addressed by talking it through with a therapist, but we digress…) In a blog post for the Cato Institute’s HumanProgress project, the anti-human-child writer explains that ‘those who care about nature’ should stop with the ‘mass mobilization’ and instead simply marry into wealth and then buy up and conserve land. Now, Book doesn’t exactly say it like that. Instead, he frames it as (well-deserved) praise for Mrs. Rosalie Edge, whom he describes as a ‘New Yorker of the Gilded Age who married into wealth, and a veteran suffragette who in her 40s and 50s discovered a love for birds and conserving the environment’.”

Petey2 writes—New findings: living “off the grid” leads to security vulnerabilities in the super-ego: “Stumped trying to understand how so many seemingly intelligent people — not utterly stupid anyway — could continue to believe, and act upon, such utterly obvious lies (surely this QAnon bullshit is just a cynical inside joke, right?), I’m now flashing back to the early 90s, when I spent a lot of time in the Pacific Northwest with EarthFirst! tree-sitters attempting to prevent the destruction of our old-growth forests, often standing valiantly (and peacefully) against the furious denizens of tiny logging communities like Dixie, Idaho, hoping not only to prevent or delay the clear-cutting of what we considered Nature’s cathedrals. We felt righteous enough to leave behind homes, jobs, even families to fully commit ourselves to the cause. Awakened young bankers, artists, bureaucrats, etc, embraced an entirely new lifestyle, mentored by craftspeople, hikers, climbers, travelling musicians, hippies, and anarchists, learning to live, cook, and screw outdoors, bathing in streams — the most rudimentary existence off-the-grid — temporary to some, but adopted more or less permanently by many happy warriors who recharged at country fairs and festivals in between live-in protest camps.* Our commitment was not based on lies — and I certainly carry no regrets from those years. But, honestly, most of us had very little interest in following the forestry debate in The New York Times or on NPR. We had already digested the gravity of the old-growth destruction, and we didn’t need to hear more. It was time to act. ” 

Meteor Blades writes—Earth Matters: Haaland to ditch racist place names; ZETA pushing Biden on 100% EV sales by 2030: AS INTERIOR SECRETARY, HAALAND COULD CHANGE RACIST NAMES ON FEDERAL LANDS. “If Rep. Debra Haaland, the Laguna Pueblo woman who has been nominated as the next secretary of the Interior, is confirmed by the Senate, she will be in a position to replace racist names of rivers, lakes, and mountains. Renaming has been underway for decades, but that very fact shows how slow the process is. The 131-year-old Board on Geographic Names (BGN) doesn’t come up with names itself but picks from those proposed by others on a case by case basis. For instance, in fiscal year 2019, the BGN scrutinized 165 proposed replacement names, approving 138 and rejecting 27—a typical year. One name change made at the request of the Georgia Senate: Runaway Negro Creek in Chatham County, which was renamed Freedom Creek. In 2016, BGN approved renaming Harney Peak, South Dakota’s highest mountain, to Black Elk Peak. This pleased the state’s Native population as Black Elk was a highly respected spiritual leader of the Oglala Lakota. But it irked Sen. John Thune and then-Gov. Dennis Daugaard, with Thune calling it a ‘unilateral decision’ done without consulting South Dakota leaders. Army Gen. William S. Harney was known for his ruthlessness in engagements with the Indian resistance from Florida to the Dakotas. In 1855, under his command, soldiers killed about half of the 250 Lakota they had cornered in a cave, including many women and children, resulting in the Grattan Massacre. Last year, Haaland introduced the Reconciliation in Place Names Act that would establish a 16-member advisory board with the purpose of renaming places with offensive names. The bill collected 15 co-sponsors, all of them Democrats. Michael Doyle at GreenWire notes that at Interior Haaland might follow in the footsteps of Stewart Udall, secretary of Interior under JFK. He ordered that a racist slur against Black people used in many place names ‘shall not be used on any new Federal maps or publications as part of a geographic name.’ Changes began right away, but it took a decade before “Jap” was replaced by ‘Japanese’ or ‘Nisei’ in place names. In 2015, a survey found 1,441 federally recognized places with questionable names.”

This is the 662nd edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue). Here is the Jan. 9 edition. Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.

OUTSTANDING GREEN STORIES

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—As Rats Flee Trump’s Seditious Sinking Ship, Climate Deniers Lash Themselves To The Mast: “In the wake of Trump’s deadly white supremacist insurrection last week, it seems that the revolving door between the energy industry and the Trump government may finally be closing. Ben Lefebvre and Zack Colman reported yesterday for PoliticoPRO that even oil and gas companies are now cutting ties with members of the Trump administration, with one (anonymous) executive telling them that they ‘have discussed this explicitly… we’re not going to hire any Trump people. We’re just not going to do it.’ Another energy company executive said that the ‘administration didn’t even start out with the best of the best. They started out with the best of the rest. Now it’s the rest of the rest. It’s not the greatest talent pool.’ For example, the story closes with a lobbyist saying that after a former EPA staffer wasn’t really able to say what they did at the agency, he asked them what they wanted to do now. Their answer? ‘Make six figures.’ Even given all of that, and even without any real qualifications or talent or intelligence, that may not be an out-of-reach goal for them and others who have recently left the EPA in the wake of the violence.”

I got a warm welcome from one of the friendlier wolves who lived at the St. Francis Wolf Sanctuary in 2011.

lostintheozarks writes—The Daily Bucket – The Ghosts of Januaries Past: “Douglas County, TX. January 14, 2021. I have been sitting here thinking about what topics I could use for a new diary — I have no new photos to share. Could there possibly be a way to look at earlier photos and make them seem new again? Or maybe some photos I have never shared?  The next photo was taken in January 2011 when we visited the St. Francis Wolf Sanctuary in Montgomery County, TX. These wolves and hybrids were brought to this place after being rescued from people who had no business owning a domestic pet — never mind a wild one. Their stories were sad, and they were not eligible for release into the wild. They will live out their lives at this place. The people who take care of them are good to them.”

CRITTERS AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Ojibwa writes—Some California Sea Lions: “From late August until early June, California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus) spend time hanging out and barking in the Newport, Oregon, Bayfront area. Male sea lions can grow up to eight feet long and weigh up to 1,000 pounds. Females, on the other hand, grow up to six feet long and weight up to 250 pounds. An adult sea lion will eat 5-8% of its body weight daily. Their diet includes fish, squid, and octopus. All marine mammals, including sea lions, are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. In studying these mammals, researchers have marked some of them with numbers. This helps in tracking their migration patterns.”

funningforrest writes—The Daily Bucket. Gaggle of Geese, Bevy of Buffies, Mob of Mallards, Coterie of Coot: “JANUARY 14, 2021.  QUINCY, CA. The weather forecast called for partly cloudy.  Eyes out the window were telling a different story; mostly cloudy.  Mind and feet were vacillating and strenuously debating.  Get up, go out, might get nice.  Stay put, stay warm, drink more coffee, veg out.  Nothing to see anyway.  A glimmer of almost blue sky flung itself like a fool into the fray. The faux blue fool won the argument, ipso facto. There were two choices of where to go.  Out on the ranch or over to the wastewater ponds. Both.”

Norwegian Chef writes—Insurrectionist Desecrates Live Manatee by Carving Trump’s name into the Poor Creature: “There are no words to describe a person who would do such a thing. If it is with my last dying breath on this beloved Planet, I will not yield another inch to these bastards not in America nor anywhere else around the world.  I have had enough, and I am going to fight this insurrection with every ounce of strength I can!!” 

Today, the USFWS & #Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission reported they are opening an investigation after a #manatee was discovered with severe scarring spelling “TRUMP” on its back in the Homosassa River in Citrus County, Florida. https://t.co/4tXkIM9vzf pic.twitter.com/DO4WUpomB8

— Defenders of Wildlife (@Defenders) January 11, 2021

Pakalolo writes—Officials appeal for the public’s help in locating whoever carved the word TRUMP in a Manatee’s back: “Florida’s iconic and beloved manatees are not immune to the cruelty of Trumpists.  In the Homosassa River North of Tampa, a manatee was found with injuries to its back. The word Trump was etched into the slow-moving sea cow. The Center For Biological Diversity has offered a reward leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The Center for Biological Diversity today announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction for the cruel and illegal mutilation of a threatened Florida manatee in north Florida’s Homosassa River. Someone carved the word TRUMP into the animal’s back.

Walter Einenkel writes—Federal investigation opened after endangered manatee found with ‘TRUMP’ scratched into its back: “The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is investigating a report that a manatee was discovered this weekend with “TRUMP” scratched on its back. The animal was filmed in the Homosassa River in Florida. The Citrus County Chronicle was the first to report the story, speaking with senior federal wildlife officer Craig Cavanna, who said he could not comment on an ongoing investigation. He did say that the manatee is protected by the Endangered Species Act, which would make harassment of the animal a ‘federal criminal offense punishable by a $50,000 fine and/or up to one-year in federal prison.’ The manatee was discovered on Sunday and recorded, photographed, and reported to authorities by Hailey Warrington. Warrington is a boat captain for a fishing charter company. Warrington told local news that she was ‘sickened, her stomach turned’ when she found the animal. West Indian manatees are seasonal visitors to the coast. Warrington says she believes that there were no superficial wounds to the animal, a silver lining in a truly deplorable act.”

American Robin feeding on privet. 

CaptBLI writes—The Daily Bucket – First snow of 2021, A Mississippi moment: “A silent white from the sky last night left a soft dust of quiet on the ground over the Mississippi hills.  I walked a few miles before many things began to wake.   I had my camera, eyes and ears open to record any thing I found.  The childish feelings of wonder filled me again with every slow footfall. I saw a Robin feeding on Privet drupes.  Ignoring me and the blanket of white.” 

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – birds in winter dusk: “January 2021. Salish Sea, PacificNorthwest. The sun sets around 4:30 pm these days. That’s when there was a break in the rain Thursday and Friday last week so that’s when I went down to the bay. A few birds were still busy, eking out the last of the light to forage for food before settling in for the night. A Kingfisher missed a strike on a flight over the dim surface, but still made it clear this is his territory, scolding from a cliff beside the water. This end of the beach is his.”

Oystercatcher feet are very flexible and have great traction on irregular ground.

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – angling for an assemblage of Ancient alcids: “Yesterday was a rare winter day of sun and calm up here so we jumped on the opportunity to go out onto the water. I decided to take my new lightweight camera to try for photos out there. Turns out it’s not suited for sea — and this excursion is now part of my learning curve for its use. It wasn’t up to capturing images of a small alcid which is uncommonly seen in my part of the county but which was abundant that day. Ancient murrelets are winter alcids, coming into relatively sheltered inland waters for this season after which they head back out to the open ocean for the breeding season. I could see them out on the water and flying in their characteristic fashion: in groups, fast, just above the surface, all dropping at once to snap up unsuspecting fish. Ancients also hang out in flocks while Marbleds are most often seen in pairs, with a lot of space between sets of pairs. Problem was getting a decent picture for proof!”

Lenny Flank writes—Photo Diary: A Turtle Lays Her Eggs–Well, Almost: “While taking one of my daily walks at Sawgrass Lake Nature Preserve in St Pete FL (which is conveniently across the street from my house), I happened to see a female Peninsula Cooter (a fairly common species around here) on land a good distance away from any of the local ponds. That is kinda unusual for them, so I crossed the driveway to have a look, and saw that she was engaged in digging a  nest. So I sat myself down on a hill about 10 yards away to have lunch and to watch. For those who don’t know, I lived in a converted campervan and traveled around the country, posting photo diaries of places that I visited. But the pandemic has clipped my wings, and I am now holed up in Florida until I can begin traveling again. 🙂 Alas, she had not picked a particularly good spot for a nest—she was right off one of the main pathways in the park, and she was interrupted several times by people walking by. (Some of them stopped to watch, and some of them never even noticed her and walked right on by.)” 

Red-tailed Hawk

giddy thing writes—Dawn Chorus: Advice from a Hawk: “Years ago, a friend gave me a book with a bookmark tucked in its pages, still treasured and used to this day. The bookmark offers Advice from a Hawk — a collection of inspiring and metaphorical life lessons we mere humans might learn from these fierce and noble birds of prey. Today seems like a good time to channel our inner hawk as we begin a new year and celebrate the imminent inauguration of Biden/Harris, a new Senate majority, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, and our resilience through the last dark and turbulent 4 years. Let’s admire some hawk photos (some mine, some public domain) and contemplate how we might apply ‘advice from a hawk’ to our own lives in 2021.” 

Angmar writes—Regenerative Culture: “Trump Opens Habitat of Threatened Owls to Timber Harvesting”: “The Trump administration said Wednesday that it would slash millions of acres of protected habitat designated for the imperiled northern spotted owl in Oregon, Washington state and Northern California, much of it in prime timber locations in Oregon’s coastal ranges. Environmentalists immediately decried the move and accused the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under President Donald Trump of taking a parting shot at protections designed to help restore the species in favor of the timber industry. The tiny owl is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and was rejected for an upgrade to endangered status last year by the federal agency despite losing nearly 4% of….www.oregonlive.com/…” 

CLIMATE CHAOS

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—For 2021’s Energy Report, API Goes Back To ‘Energy Futures’ Report For Denial Tactics: “It’s been 40 years since API’s deceptive ‘Energy Futures’ report was used to downplay public concern about the fossil fuel industry’s role in the climate crisis. Maybe they’ve abandoned the carefully parsed language of climate denial, and grown and changed organizationally so that the fossil fuel industry can now be a credible and reliable ‘partner’ in seeking the best ways to reduce fossil fuel pollution. Or… maybe they’re still mostly just trying to dodge the issue and distract people from its severity and causes, pointing back to more of their own materials instead of outside experts to justify their threadbare claims. The report barely says anything about climate change, for example, aside from the fact that ‘Even if the United States participated in meeting the aggressive sustainability goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, natural gas and oil would be needed to supply close to half of the world’s energy in 2040’.”

Pakalolo writes—Trump’s trashing of the climate is more severe than previously thought, says Biden climate team: “A senior Biden climate team transition official alerted E&E News that the damage Trump and his fossil fuel grifters (that have held power over the agencies tasked with protecting the climate system) have been successful in hollowing out the EPA of staff and resources at a time when the “ability to address climate change” is dire. Red code alerts from the scientific community, just in the past week alone, have shown shattered records on ocean surface temperatures. They warned that 2020 was the warmest year on record, despite a cooling La Nina event in the Pacific, in a virtual tie with 2016. Thus ends the warmest decade on record. This past year alone saw, one of the “hottest years on record, also saw extraordinary wildfire activity in the Western United States and Australia, a Siberian heatwave with record high temperatures exceeding 38 degrees C (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) within the Arctic circle, a record low for October Arctic sea ice extent of 2.04 million square miles, an Atlantic hurricane season resulting in more than $46 billion in damage, and deadly floods and landslides in South Asia that displaced more than 12 million people.” And so much more, unfortunately. The climate criminal occupying the oval office has denied humanity the geological time necessary in the fight against extinction-level consequences of our dying biosphere.”

OCEANS, WATER, DROUGHT

bilboteach writes—BREAKING: Former Michigan Governor and Others To Be Charged Over Flint Water Crisis: “Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, his health director and other ex-officials have been told they’re being charged after a new investigation of the Flint water scandal, which devastated the majority Black city with lead-contaminated water and was blamed for a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in 2014-15, The Associated Press has learned. Two people with knowledge of the planned prosecution told the AP on Tuesday that the attorney general’s office has informed defense lawyers about indictments in Flint and told them to expect initial court appearances soon. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.” 

Dan Bacher writes—Chinook Salmon Are Able to Ascend Upper Auburn Ravine to Spawn: “Chinook salmon have spawned for millennia in Auburn Ravine Creek, a tributary of the Sacramento River in Northern California northeast of Sacramento, but biologists have been uncertain if salmon could get past the Chaparral Cascades. ‘As a result, some people have flatly stated that those cascades are a total barrier to upstream migration,’ reported Friends of Auburn Ravine in today’s announcement. ‘They have used that judgement to downplay the potential need to provide a way for salmon to get past the Gold Hill Dam which is about ½ mile further upstream.’ The cascades are about 25 miles upstream from where the creek enters the Sacramento River near Verona. The cascades are steep, and the water runs fast there, according to the group. ‘Now there is proof that salmon can get through the cascades to spawn upstream. A local resident noticed salmon spawning about 375 yards upstream from the Chaparral Cascades on November 5, 2016 and preserved video proof of that,’ the group said.”

CANDIDATES, STATE AND DC ECO-RELATED POLITICS

Michael Brune writes—Our Movement for a Strong, Multiracial Democracy Is Winning: “On Wednesday, we learned that Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock had won their Senate races, clinching Democratic control of the House, Senate, and presidency. After months of intense work to elect climate champions up and down the ballot, we finally have leaders committed to climate action in the White House and both houses of Congress. Now, President-elect Biden can carry out the big promises he made during his campaign to supercharge our clean energy economy, green our infrastructure, clean up environmental injustices, address racial inequities, repair our democracy, and ensure a just and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. These victories in Georgia, and across the country, would not have been possible without years of hard work and organizing by women of color–led grassroots groups like Fair Fight Georgia and the New Georgia Project, as well as the efforts of Sierra Club members and supporters. In the face of voter suppression and racist campaigning, we worked to make sure that the people’s desire for bold, transformational change won out. But on Wednesday, our well-deserved celebrations were marred by a group of violent, right-wing insurgents who broke into the US Capitol to halt the counting of electoral college votes. As horrifying as it was to watch neo-Nazis and Proud Boys rampage through the Capitol at the direction of the sitting president, I don’t want to dwell on that here. Because our victory in Georgia shows that our movement for a strong, multiracial democracy and racial, economic, environmental, and gender justice is winning. We are the many; they are the desperate few.”

Dem writes—Breaking News: Rick Snyder charged for Flint water crisis! “

Finally, at long last, former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was charged for the Flint water crisis. Unfortunately, it is only a misdemeanor. He did a lot of damage. Based upon what I read, I am not optimistic about the outcome. LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was charged Wednesday with willful neglect of duty after an investigation of ruinous decisions that left Flint with lead-contaminated water and a regional outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. The charges, revealed in an online court record, are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The charges are groundbreaking: No governor or former governor in Michigan’s 184-year history had been charged with crimes related to their time in that office, according to the state archivist.

Pakalolo writes—Cool, the Science advisor is elevated to a cabinet position; the first woman will lead FEMA: “Elevating (the science adviser) role to member in the President’s Cabinet clearly signals the administration’s intent to involve scientific expertise in every policy discussion. Sudip Parikh, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Our next president is a science geek, how cool is that? The dark days of science denial in the White House these past few years will end when Joe Biden is sworn in as president. Biden has chosen a Harvard and MIT mathematician and geneticist, Eric Lander, as his science advisor and the president-elect boosted this role to a cabinet-level position. Lander was the lead author of the first paper on the details of the human genome. He will be the first life scientist ever to hold the position of science advisor.”

ENERGY

Fossil Fuels & Emissions Controls

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—API’s “Energy Futures” Report Shows Big Oil’s Denial Propaganda in 1980: “While many in the Trump administration are concerned about their next job — ‘member of a violently seditious racist’s government’ doesn’t look great on a resume, after all — apparently the American Petroleum Institute has no qualms with hiring terrorist-adjacent staff, and has hired Energy Dept press secretary Jessica Szymanski. Despite a tweet from an API executive condemning the violence (less than even other pro-polluter groups who issued full statements) given that API bankrolls Republicans (including insurrectionists) it’s not exactly a surprise to see they’ve rescued Szymanski from unemployment. Because as a new study shows, API has been embracing denial for decades now. Dr. Ben Franta’s latest, in Environmental Politics examines an archival report published by API in 1980 that shows how ‘commercial fossil fuel interests played a more obstructive role in climate change discourse and policy throughout the 1980s than previously understood.’ In a twitter thread last week, Dr. Franta explained how the ‘Two Energy Futures’ policy report lays bare three key aspects of the oil industry’s long-term denial campaign. It ignored conclusions of its own internal reports showing an impending climate crisis, and instead deliberately downplayed the climate science’s certainty of negative impacts by invoking a false balance claiming that ‘scientists were more or less split’ on the CO2-climate change link and misrepresenting Carl Sagan’s views on the issue.” 

Renewables, Efficiency, Energy Storage & Conservation

gmoke writes—Solar Decathlon Webinars: “The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition, comprising 10 contests, that challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy. It’s been going on since 2002 and has produced hundreds of model houses built by student teams from all over the world.  This year they are doing a webinar series as well.  Should be lots and lots of good information here. Resilient Home 411: Strategies to Weather and Recover from Natural Disasters, Thursday, January 21, 2021, 1–2 p.m. E.T., RSVP here
Zero Energy Ready Homes: New and Growing Fast, Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 1–2 p.m. E.T., RSVP here.” The Future of Solar: A Tour of Cutting-Edge Solar Research with the U.S. Department of Energy, Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 1–2 p.m. E.T., RSVP here. Solar Decathlon Build Challenge Team House Tour
Wednesday, April 28, 2021, 1–2 p.m. E.T., RSVP here. More here
 

TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE

Mokurai writes—Yesterday with Renewable Charlie, 1/10/2021: “Cars, car battery swap stations, trucks with solar-powered refrigeration, e-bike parking, 107 meter wind turbine blades, carbon-neutral rocket fuel. And we can look forward to the Biden climate agenda starting in less than two weeks, assuming that we survive that long. Hyundai and Apple are in talks to jointly develop self-driving electric cars. Hyundai has confirmed it’s in the running to provide the underpinnings and battery tech for an Apple car. The Much Rumored Tesla Model Y Standard Range Is Here. Rumors have been swirling for the past several months that Tesla would soon offer a single-motor Standard Range version of the Model Y to go with its SR+ Model 3 sedan. Elon Musk seemed to cool to the idea, but last week the company pulled the trigger on the Model Y Standard Range. Why I Would Buy A Used Tesla Model 3 Instead Of A New One — Free Full Self Driving! I came up with the idea for this article after I noticed that Tesla is enabling the $10,000 Full Self Driving (FSD) capability on every Model 3 that it is selling used. I spoke to a couple of salespeople and verified that is the case (note that it could change at any time) and that you can’t lower the price by having the option removed.” 

AGRICULTURE​, FOOD & GARDENS

GCNY writes—Saturday Morning Garden Blogging, Vol. 17.03: A Gardener’s Inheritance: “First, a little family history (I have shared some of this in comments in other SMGB diaries.). I remember my father, who grew up on a small family farm in the NYS Finger Lakes Region, relaxing in his padded rocking chair next to the fireplace to browse the seed catalogues of his day.  He would set up sprouting flats on his basement work tables by east facing windows with overhead fluorescents adding to the available light. When planting time arrived, he rototilled the garden plot. Plenty of horse and sheep manure could be had for free from farms up the road. The ditches along the roads needed periodic clearing and the county workers would dump the rich black soil in our yard if my father was home at the time they came by. Dad would set up his rows using two sticks with a heavy string attached keeping things nice and straight. I have seen this on old WWII victory garden videos and here I thought he invented that!  Out came a nifty hand plow (maybe a family garden heirloom) that would dig a nice seed trench and till the soil, too. It was a lot  like the newer one in this video. Hand Tiller/Plow  I remember how beautiful his rows of vegetables looked all in perfectly straight rows. My rows? Well, I have to work on that.” 

NAT’L FORESTS, PARKS, MONUMENTS & OTHER PUBLIC LANDS

Cliven Bundy

Meteor Blades writes—Bundy warns he will ‘walk toward guns’ if Biden tries to collect 28 years of unpaid grazing fees: “Remember Cliven Bundy, the stubborn Nevada rancher whose decades-long refusal to pay grazing fees for cattle he runs on federal land led to a 2014 armed stand-off at his family ranch and in 2016, another armed stand-off led by his son Ammon Bundy in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge? The latter had been home to the indigenous Moapa Paiute until they were forced out at gunpoint off in the 1870s. The elder Bundy claims ancestral rights to that land because of his libertarian views and, he claims, because his ancestors came on The Mayflower. Bundy wound up in pre-trial detention for 18 months over the 2014 stand-off, but because of prosecutorial misconduct, he was released and his case adjudged a mistrial. New charges weren’t filed. He and his large family continue to run cattle on federal land without paying the modest grazing fees. By 2014, 21 years after he began refusing to pay for this use of public land, the back fees had accumulated to more than $1 million. Currently, 24,000 permit holders are charged $1.35 per animal per month for grazing—a very good deal. But not as good as Bundy’s steal. Now the 74-year-old rancher has advice for President-elect Joe Biden’s administration: It better not come trying to collect those unpaid fees, because he and his militant supporters are willing to “walk towards guns” again if that happens. While the new administration has more than a full platter of priorities to deal with when it comes into office Wednesday, some environmental advocates hope that action is taken to stop this scofflaw.”

Crashing Vor writes—A Request for the New Director of the National Park Service: “As with many other federal agencies, Donald Trump has corrupted the National Park Service by appointing loyalists as acting directors. In fact, the Service has not had a Senate-approved director in Trump’s time in office. His four acting directors have enabled atrocities great and small, from environmental rule easements to using Park facilities like Mount Rushmore for political rallies. The incoming director, who I assume will be nominated and confirmed in the usual, legal manner, will have a lot of messes to clean up. But there’s one minor task, a literal ‘housekeeping’ function, I’d like to see the director get right on. The steward, housekeeper, or such other employee of the Executive Residence at the White House as the President may designate, shall under the direction of the President, have the charge and custody of and be responsible for the plate, furniture, and public property therein. A complete inventory, in proper books, shall be made annually in the month of June, under the direction of the Director of the National Park Service, of all the public property in and belonging to the Executive Residence at the White House, showing when purchased, its cost, condition, and final disposition. This inventory shall be submitted to the President for his approval, and shall then be kept for reference in the office of the Director of the National Park Service, which shall furnish a copy thereof to the steward, housekeeper, or other employee responsible for the property.”

MISCELLANY

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Enviro Policy Advice From Free Market Fanatic: Just Marry Rich, Then Buy Land: “It’s still early in the year, but we’ve already found a strong contender for Stupidest Take of 2021. It’s courtesy of Joakim Book, the Koch-y covid and climate denier, who you might remember from October, when he wrote about how selfish it is for parents to bring their monstrous children into public places like coffee shops where he’s trying to work in the sort of privacy, peace and quiet one apparently expects when one leaves one’s own home. (Book’s feelings about children would have probably been better addressed by talking it through with a therapist, but we digress…) In a blog post for the Cato Institute’s HumanProgress project, the anti-human-child writer explains that ‘those who care about nature’ should stop with the ‘mass mobilization’ and instead simply marry into wealth and then buy up and conserve land. Now, Book doesn’t exactly say it like that. Instead, he frames it as (well-deserved) praise for Mrs. Rosalie Edge, whom he describes as a ‘New Yorker of the Gilded Age who married into wealth, and a veteran suffragette who in her 40s and 50s discovered a love for birds and conserving the environment’.”

Petey2 writes—New findings: living “off the grid” leads to security vulnerabilities in the super-ego: “Stumped trying to understand how so many seemingly intelligent people — not utterly stupid anyway — could continue to believe, and act upon, such utterly obvious lies (surely this QAnon bullshit is just a cynical inside joke, right?), I’m now flashing back to the early 90s, when I spent a lot of time in the Pacific Northwest with EarthFirst! tree-sitters attempting to prevent the destruction of our old-growth forests, often standing valiantly (and peacefully) against the furious denizens of tiny logging communities like Dixie, Idaho, hoping not only to prevent or delay the clear-cutting of what we considered Nature’s cathedrals. We felt righteous enough to leave behind homes, jobs, even families to fully commit ourselves to the cause. Awakened young bankers, artists, bureaucrats, etc, embraced an entirely new lifestyle, mentored by craftspeople, hikers, climbers, travelling musicians, hippies, and anarchists, learning to live, cook, and screw outdoors, bathing in streams — the most rudimentary existence off-the-grid — temporary to some, but adopted more or less permanently by many happy warriors who recharged at country fairs and festivals in between live-in protest camps.* Our commitment was not based on lies — and I certainly carry no regrets from those years. But, honestly, most of us had very little interest in following the forestry debate in The New York Times or on NPR. We had already digested the gravity of the old-growth destruction, and we didn’t need to hear more. It was time to act. ” 

Meteor Blades writes—Earth Matters: Haaland to ditch racist place names; ZETA pushing Biden on 100% EV sales by 2030AS INTERIOR SECRETARY, HAALAND COULD CHANGE RACIST NAMES ON FEDERAL LANDS. “If Rep. Debra Haaland, the Laguna Pueblo woman who has been nominated as the next secretary of the Interior, is confirmed by the Senate, she will be in a position to replace racist names of rivers, lakes, and mountains. Renaming has been underway for decades, but that very fact shows how slow the process is. The 131-year-old Board on Geographic Names (BGN) doesn’t come up with names itself but picks from those proposed by others on a case by case basis. For instance, in fiscal year 2019, the BGN scrutinized 165 proposed replacement names, approving 138 and rejecting 27—a typical year. One name change made at the request of the Georgia Senate: Runaway Negro Creek in Chatham County, which was renamed Freedom Creek. In 2016, BGN approved renaming Harney Peak, South Dakota’s highest mountain, to Black Elk Peak. This pleased the state’s Native population as Black Elk was a highly respected spiritual leader of the Oglala Lakota. But it irked Sen. John Thune and then-Gov. Dennis Daugaard, with Thune calling it a ‘unilateral decision’ done without consulting South Dakota leaders. Army Gen. William S. Harney was known for his ruthlessness in engagements with the Indian resistance from Florida to the Dakotas. In 1855, under his command, soldiers killed about half of the 250 Lakota they had cornered in a cave, including many women and children, resulting in the Grattan Massacre. Last year, Haaland introduced the Reconciliation in Place Names Act that would establish a 16-member advisory board with the purpose of renaming places with offensive names. The bill collected 15 co-sponsors, all of them Democrats. Michael Doyle at GreenWire notes that at Interior Haaland might follow in the footsteps of Stewart Udall, secretary of Interior under JFK. He ordered that a racist slur against Black people used in many place names ‘shall not be used on any new Federal maps or publications as part of a geographic name.’ Changes began right away, but it took a decade before “Jap” was replaced by ‘Japanese’ or ‘Nisei’ in place names. In 2015, a survey found 1,441 federally recognized places with questionable names.”

Daily Kos