RENewsletter | March 28, 2010


The Free environmental newsletter from

“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”

[3/21/2010 – 3/28/2010]


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Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Environmental Site of the Month | Take Action |


*** The March 2010 Environmental Site of the Month Award goes to NOFLAC National Organization Firing-range Lead Abatement and Containment  | Go to Award.


[Hyperlinks work by CTRL + click to follow a link]




Opening Salvo:  “Forced Energy Choices”


Are natural gas and nuclear power going to be our energy future?  They probably will be, but not because they are our best energy solutions.  Despite all the controversy about how we should power our existence as our population grows and our planet warms up, at the end of the day we’ll be scared into bad energy solutions.


Our best energy solutions are conservation and renewable energy sources like wind and solar. They could compete for our baseload energy needs if our government subsidized, stimulated, and greased the political wheels for battery storage research like our government does for nuclear, oil, and gas production.  If we approached our future energy needs according to the most prudent solutions for our precarious future—climate change, pollution, and health concerns—we could have a bright future for everyone.


Instead, we’re probably going to focus on natural gas (because there’s lots of it underground) and nuclear (because of a perceived desperation).  I say perceived desperation because nuclear power, given enough power plants, can provide baseload power without contributing to greenhouse gases.  And many groups, as well as the President, are heralding this power source as our savior. Endless power from a whiz-bang source.


But it’s a dangerous gamble. Simply saying that nuclear power is dangerous and equating it with falling wind turbine blades or solar power bugaboos is misleading.  In truth, nuclear power is dangerous in a way that is factors beyond the dangers of any other power source.  Radiation from a nuclear power plant gone bad, for whatever reason, has the potential to mess up chromosomes—ours and other life forms unlucky enough to get in the way.  Putting back together a broken and radiated Humpty-Dumpty is beyond anything our best and brightest can handle. 


And though an ocean of natural gas lies at our feet here in the Northeast (and not the Mideast), it still emits greenhouse gases when burned.  Fracturing chemicals and poisoned wells aside, this energy source won’t bring us a secure future because we cannot be energy independent from the laws of thermodynamics. When we use it on a grand scale that we now use oil and gasoline, our atmosphere will warm to the tipping point. 


However, as I have said, we’ll probably go with nuclear and gas because they’re convenient.  We won’t upset the economic, political, and corporate system already ensconced—even though, like our banking and health systems, they are driving us out of existence. Wind and solar get dismissed as minimal players in our energy future not because they cannot take on the job (given the backing that other energy sources have received), but because we don’t have the will to change direction. To say we must bend to the political, cultural, corporate, and economic realities and go with these imperfect energy sources shows how little we actually comprehend our present environmental reality.  (Click on my email for feedback)




NewsLinksEnvironmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]





UpdatesDaily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments.]





EventsRochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.]  If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: with (EV event) in the subject line.


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ActionTake Action - Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date. 





AwardEnvironmental Site of the Month Award – [On the last Sunday of each month, we present an environmental award for the Rochester-area environmental web site or blog that best promotes the need to protect and offers solutions for our area's environmental issues.]



The March 2010 Environmental Site of the Month award goes to the “NOFLAC National Organization Firing-range Lead Abatement and Containment.” Whether or not you care about guns, I think that all can agree that lead bullets are made out of lead.  This said, not all bullets, however well intended or expertly fired, make it to their intended destinations.  Some, perhaps many, lead bullets fall to the ground and do not get picked up and this means lead from bullets can contaminate the ground, the way heavy metals do.  And, while you may not think that an expended bullet a very large piece of metal, you must admit that a lot, really a lot, of guns are being fired around the country and those expended bullets fall someplace.  That place should not be on the ground leaching into our waters and soil.  So, this group formed in the Rochester area to encourage existing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) laws to reduce lead contamination from firing ranges and comply with best management practices is spot on for our environment. 


NOFLAC National Organization Firing-range Lead Abatement and Containment | was conceived in Rochester, NY in 1999. While visiting friends who lived near a gun club, we were drawn to the fact that bullets and shot are generally made of lead, but we learned that there were no laws against discharging lead shot into the environment. This led us to further investigate this gun club and find out what preventive measures the gun club was using to keep lead and other metals from leaching into the soil and groundwater. What we found out shocked us. Gun clubs do not have to follow ANY rules, laws or even recommendations with regard to containing lead and metals contamination.”