I was reading some trash today. It was one of the slick mailers new Congressman Pete Olson sends to constituents. The theme of this one is debt, (last time it was about the poor oil companies not being able to drill in the Gulf until they get the rules and liabilities straightened out.) and he’s not talking about the massive debt run up by GOP presidents since Reagan by expanding federal spending while cutting the top tax rates. He has listed seventeen items proposed by the states that were selected for funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 0f 2009.
I thought that I might check his sources, see if maybe he was simply sending out the latest Frank Luntz ‘Talking Points for GOP Dummies.’ First one I picked was a $1.239 million deer underpass in Wyoming. The first reference I found was Fox News, which figures, maybe that’s where he’s getting them. Oh yeah, here it is in fine print, from ‘Waste 102’: The Final List –foxnews.com. I don’t trust those Rupert minions, so I found a bit from the Wyoming Dept of Transportation, here’s some..
”On US 189, the project is located at the Dry Piney Creek area southeast of Pinedale; where10 crossing structures with deer fencing would be installed from MP 85.69 to 101.43 north of LaBarge. Between 2004 and 2008, WYDOT removed 1 moose, 1 pronghorn, 1 white-tailed deer and 349 mule deer carcasses from this road section.
”The plans calls for the placement of an overpass and seven underpasses structures to be placed on US189 between I-80 and Kemmerer, along with 26 miles of deer fencing. Between 2004 and 2008, WYDOT removed 1 elk, 18 pronghorn and 238 mule deer carcasses from this road section.
”On I80 between MP 18.56 and 25.23, six wildlife underpasses would be installed along with 10 miles of deer fencing. This project has the potential for improving the interchanges at the Bar Hat (MP 23.11) and Coal Road (MP21.75) on I80 with the placement of the wildlife underpasses. Between 2004 and 2008, WYDOT removed 3 elk, 3 moose and 80 mule deer carcasses from this road section.
”Also on I80, two underpass structures would be placed in the Elk Mountain area and two underpass structures in the Wamsutter area. Between 2004 and 2008, WYDOT removed 1 black bear, 2 white-tailed deer, 6 moose, 32 antelope, 42 elk and 275 mule deer carcasses from these sections.
”The risk to motorists is an important concern. Every year, about 1,800 collisions with wildlife are reported on the state’s highways, causing an average of 149 injuries and 2 deaths a year during the past decade. The number of animals killed is in the thousands, and unknown amounts of collisions go unreported each year.”
-So rather being some outrageous boondoggle, this is a project wanted by local people to save lives of themselves and that of local wildlife, which they value too.
Next I looked at the first on the list, “$2.4 billion to demonstrate how carbon greenhouse gases can be safely removed from the atmosphere”
• Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage ($1.52 billion): Funding will be available for large-scale demonstrations of carbon capture and storage; concepts to reuse the captured CO2 for beneficial purposes, such as growing algae for biofuels; and concepts to capture CO2 from the atmosphere.
• Clean Coal Power Initiative ($800 million): This existing program will get a major infusion of government co-financing for projects to cut emissions from power plants
-is how MSNBC described it. Fox is preaching to the climate change denier congregation, of course. The folks who were scoffing last winter when all that snow fell, maybe not realizing that global warming means climate instability, not just warmer temperatures. Haven’t heard much of that this summer with triple-digit temperatures along the east coast. Europe too is sweltering under a record heat-wave, as Chili and Bolivia have a record cold snap. The big story is Moscow, where the July average high temperature is 73 degrees. A month of 95 degree days has sparked hundreds of wildfires that have killed dozens of people, creating smog that has tripled the level of air pollution as it grounds air traffic. Authorities have warned people to stay out of confined spaces where elevated levels of carbon monoxide can kill. Scores have drowned while trying to cool off by swimming.
Climate scientists have estimated the “tipping point” for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to be, variously 350 to 450 PPM, above which the climate would be expected to rapidly change in unpredictable ways. As the arctic sea ice is melting already, it appears that the present level of 390 PPM is bad enough.
And the U.S. Senate, lacking sufficient supermajority to close debate, has given up on passing a cap on carbon emissions. Maybe when the greens turn brown at John Boehner’s country club..
When Pete Olson ran for Congress, he said he was a good fit for the 22nd district. Maybe he was looking at the Fox news ratings when he said that.