Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Systematic Corruption in the Department of Interior

Can we trust the BLM, the National Park Service, the BIA, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the USGS? Well... they take orders from the Department of the Interior. And the Department of the Interior (DOI) is having a very serious image problem:

  • The DOI was responsible for the water diversion from the Klamath River, which led to the largest fish kill the West has ever seen.

  • A judge in Idaho blocked new BLM rules loosening restrictions on Federal land that would have violated the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and The Federal Land Policy and Management Act.

  • DOI Assistant Secretary, Mark Limbaugh, who headed a conduct board, has hired on with a Washington-based water policy lobbying firm.

  • DOI officials have received free golf outings, dinners, hunting trips, and box seats at sporting events from companies they have monitored.

  • Independent investigator Earl Devaney has testified “Throughout the department, the appearance of preferential treatment in awarding contracts and procurements has come to our attention far too frequently.”

  • Officials from the Department of Interior have regularly hired on with the very companies they used to regulate. Recently, Jason Peltier went from Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water through the revolving door to hire on with Westland Water District in California. And Susan Ramos, a former Assistant Regional Director at the US Bureau of Reclamation has recently joined him. It may not be a coincidence that politically connected farmers may get a million acre feet of water grants in California.

  • Julie MacDonald, who was Assistant Secretary of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, had to quit in disgrace for her callus disregard for numerous species eligible for the Endangered Species Act. However, her case was just one of many.

  • Since Dirk Kempthorne has become Secretary of the Interior, not one species has been added to the Endangered Species list – although the US Fish and Wildlife Service has classified 279 species as candidates – and two species have already gone extinct without ever making it to the list.

  • The highly publicized Jack Abramoff lobbyist scandal had involved buying influence from the Department of Interior.

  • A audit has found that the National Park Service has for decades allowed members-only beach, yacht, and sports clubs to monopolize public lands.

  • A jury found Kerr-McGee had underpaid $7.5 million in royalties in a case the Department of Interior claimed had no merit. And the Department of Defense was overcharged tens of millions of dollars in procurement operations involving the DOI.

  • The DOI has somehow omitted charging royalty payments on oil and gas contracts that have amounted to tens of billions dollars.

  • And after over a hundred years, close to a hundred billion dollars in royalties managed by the Department of Interior have still not been paid out to Native Americans.

When it comes to the water grab and the coal-fired power plants, can we trust the USGS BARCAS study and BLM oversight?

We can trust these Government Agencies to do what they're told.

Can we trust the Department of Interior?

We can trust them to do what they can get away with.

It was the Department of the Interior that ordered the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to stand down on protests to the Southern Nevada Water Authority water applications for Spring Valley water – on the day before the water hearings started. There has still been no reasonable explanation given for this act. All that the DOI has basically told us is that they have made other arrangements.

No. We can't trust the Department of Interior.

We should trust our common sense.

And exporting water from the desert just doesn't make sense.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Instant Hurricane

Launce Rake, from PLAN (Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada), has informed me that; Hurricane Humberto (now tropical storm) shocked the meteorological community with its extremely rapid development, from a minor low-pressure system on the gulf to a hurricane in less than 48 hours. Verbatim from the Federal NOAA discussion today: “To put this development in perspective... no tropical cyclone in the historical record has ever reached this intensity at a faster rate near landfall. It would be nice to know... someday... why this happened.”

Launce has an exceptional blog worth checking out - rakesgreenvegas

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

This Much Carbon Dioxide

There may be those of you who are wondering where I got a couple of numbers I've been using. There also may be many of you who trust me and don't really care to check my math. For those of you who are math averse, you may want to read a different entry.

For those of you who wouldn't mind helping me by checking my math, read on.


LS Power has informed us that they intend to burn 7 million tons of coal a year in the White Pine Energy Associates plant.

Sierra Pacific has informed that they intend to burn 8 million tons of coal a year in the Ely Energy Center plant.


7,000,000 tons/year + 8,000,000 tons/year = 15,000,000 tons/year

The plants are expected to operate between 40 and 60 years (although they could operate up to 75 years). I will assume a conservative 50 years.

15,000,000 tons/year x 50 years = 750,000,000 tons of coal burned

Conclusion A:

In the next 50 years, these two coal plants will burn 750 MILLION TONS of coal.


carbon atomic weight is 12

oxygen atomic weight is 16


CO2 molecular weight = 12 + 16 + 16 = 44

the ratio atomic weights of carbon and CO2 = 44/12 = 3.66

since coal is primarily carbon, but not purely carbon, I will round down the ratio to: 3 to 3.5

750,000,000 tons of C x 3 tons CO2/tons of C = 2,000,000,000 tons of CO2

750,000,000 tons of C x 3.5 tons of CO2/tons of C = 2,600,000,000 tons of CO2

Conclusion B:

In the next 50 years, these two coal-burners will emit over TWO BILLION TONS of Carbon Dioxide.


The density of carbon dioxide is 1.977 grams/liter

and conversion factors:

there are 454 grams/pound

there are 0.0353 cubic feet/liter


the volume of CO2 is 1/1.977 grams/liter = 0.506 liters/gram

0.506 liters/gram x 454 grams/pound = 229.7 liters/pound

229.7 liters/lb x 0.0353 cubic feet/liter = 8.109 cubic feet/pound

8.109 cubic feet/pound x 2000 pounds/ton = 16,218 cubic feet/ton

16,218 cubic feet/ton x 2,000,000,000 tons =

3.244 x 1013 cubic feet

the cube root of 3.244 x 1013 cubic feet is 31,891 feet

31,891 feet / 5280 feet/mile = 6 miles

Conclusion C:

If the total Carbon Dioxide emissions from the two coal-fired power plants planned for White Pine County, Nevada were evenly distributed at one atmospheric pressure, it would fill a square box 6 miles a side!

(And if a higher proportion of carbon in the coal is estimated – along with a 75 year operating life; the box would be over 11 miles a side.)