Dominion fires oilfield worker after he saved 50 waterfowl

Dominion fires oilfield worker after he saved 50 waterfowl

SOURCE: WyoFile DATE: January 7, 2020 SNIP: Dominion Energy fired an oilfield worker in Rock Springs after the employee saved an estimated 50 waterfowl from wastewater ponds. Adam Roich said he’s rescued about that many waterfowl in the last five years after they landed in tainted ponds at his worksite about 50 miles south of Rock Springs. He would take the oil-slicked birds to a company facility, wash them with Dawn household soap, warm them in his truck, then set them free on clean water, he told WyoFile in an interview. “I got fired a couple days before Christmas for rescuing these guys throughout the years,” he posted recently on Facebook above many photographs of his avian patients. “I only did what I thought was right.” Dominion terminated Roich on Dec. 19 for violating company policy, according to a letter obtained by WyoFile. His firing followed an internal investigation, the seven-sentence letter read. Dominion wouldn’t say why it fired Roich, calling the issue “an internal matter.” Roich described a sad scene at the water’s edge: “They’d get oil on their feathers,” he said. “They’d just go to the bank and sit there. They’d freeze to death if I didn’t grab them.” Four ponds, the largest about the size of a football field, dot the Canyon Creek energy field complex along the southern border of the state, Roich said. “It’s really toxic water,” he said. “Slicks of oil on them accumulate over time.” A net covers one of them, Dominion’s Porter wrote. A BirdAvert system uses radar to deploy plastic falcons, strobes and falcon screeches to scare waterfowl away from...
Russia announces plan to ‘use the advantages’ of climate change

Russia announces plan to ‘use the advantages’ of climate change

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: January 5, 2020 SNIP: Russia has published a plan to adapt its economy and population to climate change, aiming to mitigate damage but also “use the advantages” of warmer temperatures. The document, published on the government’s website on Saturday, outlines a plan of action and acknowledges changes to the climate are having a “prominent and increasing effect” on socioeconomic development, people’s lives, health and industry. Russia is warming 2.5 times faster than the planet as a whole, on average, and the two-year “first stage” plan is an indication the government officially recognises this as a problem, even though Vladimir Putin denies human activity is the cause. It lists preventive measures such as dam building or switching to more drought-resistant crops, as well as crisis preparations including emergency vaccinations or evacuations in case of a disaster. Possible “positive” effects are decreased energy use in cold regions, expanding agricultural areas and navigational opportunities in the Arctic Ocean. Russia is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, with vast Arctic regions and infrastructure built over permafrost. Recent floods and wildfires have been among the planet’s worst climate-related disasters. Moscow formally adopted the Paris climate accord in September last year and criticised the US withdrawal from the pact. Putin, however, has repeatedly denied the scientific consensus that climate change is primarily caused by emissions deriving from human activity, blaming it last month on some “processes in the...
Water-guzzling demands of Trump’s border wall threaten fish species

Water-guzzling demands of Trump’s border wall threaten fish species

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: December 29, 2019 SNIP: The survival of eight endangered and threatened species, including four kinds of endemic fish, is in doubt in Arizona, as massive quantities of groundwater are extracted to construct Donald Trump’s border wall. The 30ft-high barrier is under construction on the edge of the San Bernardino national wildlife refuge in south-eastern Arizona, where rare desert springs and crystalline streams provide the only US habitat for the endangered freshwater Río Yaqui fish. The region’s water reserves are already depleted due to prolonged drought and record high temperatures linked to the climate crisis. The expansion of water-intensive crops such as alfalfa and pecan farms is also draining aquifers in the arid region. Now, experts fear that construction of this 20-mile stretch of Trump’s wall, which began in October, has reduced spring flow and groundwater levels in San Bernardino which provide scarce habitat for the Yaqui topminnow, chub, beautiful shiner and the most vulnerable, the Yaqui catfish. “There’s good reason to believe that the Yaqui fish’s only US habitat is drying up as a result of tens or hundreds of thousands of gallons of groundwater being pumped to build the border wall,” said Laiken Jordahl, a borderlands campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity who recently visited the area. In September, the Trump administration pledged to erect 450 to 500 miles of the wall by the end of 2020, an ambitious undertaking to be partially funded by $6bn previously earmarked for defense and counter-drug programmes. Construction in Arizona and New Mexico is under way, despite multiple ongoing lawsuits challenging the constitutional basis of Trump’s executive...
Chinese company approved to run water mining operation in drought-stricken Queensland

Chinese company approved to run water mining operation in drought-stricken Queensland

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: December 27, 2019 SNIP: A Chinese-owned company has been granted approval to run a 96m litre a year commercial water mining operation in severely drought-hit southern Queensland, where locals are on water rations and communities at imminent risk of running dry. Last week the Southern Downs regional council approved a development application for the company, Joyful View Garden Real Estate Development Resort Pty Ltd, to operate a water extraction and distribution facility at Cherrabah, a large property at Elbow Valley near the Queensland-New South Wales border. The following day the council implemented extreme water restrictions for residents at the nearby towns of Warwick and Stanthorpe, limiting residents to 80L a day. Stanthorpe is expected to run out of drinking water within weeks. Neighbours of Cherrabah have told Guardian Australia they have not had a reliable water supply at their properties for more than a year, and have been trucking water in on a regular basis. Some cattle properties have removed all their cattle. “I don’t understand how it is allowed to happen,” one resident says. Joyful View is ultimately owned by Chinese investors Wenxing and Wenwei Ma. The company had attempted to build a large-scale luxury resort at the remote property but pulled the proposal in 2016 after planning and environmental difficulties, including concern for a local population of spotted-tailed quolls. The water extraction licence for the property was first issued by the Queensland government in 2008 and extended in 2016 to allow Joyful View to pump 96m litres from the aquifer until 2111 – another 92 years. Council documents show the company plans to...
A Trump Policy ‘Clarification’ All but Ends Punishment for Bird Deaths

A Trump Policy ‘Clarification’ All but Ends Punishment for Bird Deaths

SOURCE: New York Times DATE: December 24, 2019 SNIP: As the state of Virginia prepared for a major bridge and tunnel expansion in the tidewaters of the Chesapeake Bay last year, engineers understood that the nesting grounds of 25,000 gulls, black skimmers, royal terns and other seabirds were about to be plowed under. To compensate, they considered developing an artificial island as a safe haven. Then in June 2018, the Trump administration stepped in. While the federal government “appreciates” the state’s efforts, new rules in Washington had eliminated criminal penalties for “incidental” migratory bird deaths that came in the course of normal business, administration officials advised. Such conservation measures were now “purely voluntary.” The state ended its island planning. The island is one of dozens of bird-preservation efforts that have fallen away in the wake of the policy change in 2017 that was billed merely as a technical clarification to a century-old law protecting migratory birds. Across the country birds have been killed and nests destroyed by oil spills, construction crews and chemical contamination, all with no response from the federal government, according to emails, memos and other documents viewed by The New York Times. Not only has the administration stopped investigating most bird deaths, the documents show, it has discouraged local governments and businesses from taking precautionary measures to protect birds. In one instance, a Wyoming-based oil company wanted to clarify that it no longer had to report bird deaths to the Fish and Wildlife Service. “You are correct,” the agency replied. In another, a building property manager in Michigan emailed the Fish and Wildlife Service to note...