Spotlight on green news & views: Maria’s aftermath; loyalty at Interior; WA coal permit nixed

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

This is the 527th edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) usually appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  Here is the Sept. 20 Green Spotlight. More than 27,850 environmentally oriented stories have been rescued to appear in this series since 2006. Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.


DocDawg writes—Cold Comfort: Trump’s refusal to send hospital ship tips his plan to abandon Puerto Rico (UPDATED!) A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. – U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper. Eight hundred and ninety-four feet long, 106 feet wide, and weighing 69,360 tons, USNS Comfort is a complete ocean-going medical facility with 1,000 patient beds including 80 for intensive care patients. Along with 12 operating rooms she boasts a complete dental clinic, optometry lab and pharmacy, X-ray machines, CT scanners, oxygen and fresh water production plants, capacity to store 5,000 units of blood, laundry operations, and a morgue. She’s the size of a 20th century supertanker. Indeed, she was a supertanker — the SS Rose City — until purchased by the Navy in 1987 and converted to serve her current lifesaving mission. She and her sister ship in the Pacific, USNS Mercy, are among the rare few assets of the obscenely wealthy US military devoted exclusively to saving, rather than to taking, lives. But today, as Puerto Rico and its 3.4 million American citizens slowly die with the island’s hospitals without power and in ruins, Comfort remains snugly berthed in her home port of Norfolk, Virginia.

SWalkerwillgotojail writes—The People of Puerto Rico Deserve Better: “When  I travel to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, I see the US/American flag flying the same as I would in Houston Texas and Florida.  Why is it that the urgency of providing care and services was so much greater in Texas and Florida? Actually why is there no urgency to help the citizens of the United States that live in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico? • Is it because many people are not White? White Enough? • Is it because Puerto Rico voted for Hillary Clinton? • Is it because Puerto Rico is in Debt? If that is the case with the amount of debt that US has, how could be help our Florida and Texas? • Is it because neither Puerto Rico and the Virgin islands have a vote in the US House or have an electoral vote in US Presidential Elections?”

A Siegel writes—“Have you no sense of decency, sir?” Trump Cabinet member slanders 20,000 civil servants: “Yes, Secretary Zinke said that 30 percent of the 70,000 Federal employees in the Department of Interior are in violation of their Oath: in essence, asserting that they merit prosecution of disloyalty to the nation. This sort of ’30 percent’ attack is eerily reminiscent of McCarthy’s anonymous ‘lists of commies’ and other attacks that created questions about whole blocks of civil servants, dedicated federal employees, with that slandering typically not directed at individuals (though that occurred too often as well) and without any real basis. I wonder when and where America’s civil servants will have their chances to emulate Joseph Nye Welch in challenging such slanderous attacks on those who have dedicated their lives to serving the American people. Zinke made these comments to an oil industry conference. As with EPA Administrator Pruitt, Team Trump is spending its time with those seeking to privatize profit while socializing costs, socializing with those seeking to ravage public lands with minimal attention to those who seek to protect them.

Blue Dasher dragonfly
Blue Dasher

Desert Scientist writes—Dragons on the North Pacific Coast: ”In late June I drove to Scriber Lake State Park, a few blocks east of Highway 99, in Lynnwood, Washington.  The park is a very wet one and the paths are often muddy. The lake is bordered by spatterdock, reminding me of the boat ramp area of Steven Foster State Park in Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp. My visit this time was sort of random — I had some shopping to do nearby and thought I would stop and see what photos I could get. As I worked my way down the path I spotted a tiny damselfly with blue dots on the thorax. This pattern was new to me and I later discovered that this was the Pacific forktail, a species that I had never seen before. I spent the next few minutes trying to avoid getting my shoes muddied (I had already gotten my pant’s knees wet taking photos of the forktail) and arrived at Scriber Lake itself and the boardwalk that is often used by fishermen. The air was full of dragonflies!  I had never seen it like this in Washington, but then I had not visited the lake in June. There were at least three species of dragonflies involved, plus at least one damselfly species that was not a forktail. The most numerous dragonfly seemed to be my old friend, the blue dasher, followed by the blue-eyed darner and the eight-spotted skimmer. The damselfly seemed to be the northern bluet, but could have been its close brother, the boreal bluet. Add to these my own discovery of several autumn meadowhawks last fall, and there is a respectable fauna!”