Is it more important to ship grain or save terns?

Oooh. Two in one day. Sucker fish are more important than farmers.

I''m sorry, if you''re trying to sell me on the idea that industry is more important than an indiginous/displaced environment, it''ll never happen.

I''m sorry, if you''re trying to sell me on the idea that industry is more important than an indiginous/displaced environment, it''ll never happen.

I agree with you Elysium. While I was in law school, my law library was displaced for the filming of the simian classic, ""Dunston Checks In"". Poor baby lawyers had to swim upstream to USC for nourishment.

The Horror!

""Dunston Checks In""? Maybe you should take the filmmakers to The Hague and get them tried on war crimes.

Problem is that we frequently mess with systems that we barely have any understanding of. For example.

I am all for localized protection of the environment. But when you paint with broad strokes, the costs can be unreasonable.

I''m not supporting changing the environment, necessarily, but that''s not the original topic at hand, or really the question you posed. In fact, in this case it''s the changes being made (diverting the river) that are endangerin the habitat. So when I see you respond with:

Problem is that we frequently mess with systems that we barely have any understanding of.

I wonder ... are we agreeing again?

But, let''s have a look at your link ...

Commentary:

Environmental Blame Game Is Rigged Against Humans

Oh, this''ll be unbiased, and scientific

Sadly, not even if Georgia implemented every conceivable environmental precaution would all the state's waterways meet federal standards

Fine. I believe that''s true. Not sure what that has to do with not interfering with nature. I do like the vaguely insulting tone of the article though. It makes reading it objectively a special challenge.

When the migratory population of Canada geese declined in Georgia in the 1970s, the Department of Natural Resources began a restocking program. Today, more than 45,000 Canada geese are so enamored with Georgia's climate that they no longer bother to migrate.

In the 1930s women wore flappers and the Lindey Hop was all the rage. Fine, I''ll concede that environmentalism of the 1970s was probably not a banner time. Again, I wasn''t really talking about restocking. I was talking about not damaging the environment either way in the first place.

Thanks to state and federal conservation measures, the gator population has grown from virtually none in the 1960s to a nuisance population of 200,000.

Damn, should''ve kept it at zero while we had the chance? And, nuisance to who? Probably not the alligators. People who live near swamps, I assume? Hey, I got a crazy idea...

Today, the state struggles to shrink a hungry, 1.2 million-strong herd to 1 million and prevent more than $5 million in crop and vegetation damages and 71,000 deer-auto collisions. In Dahlonega, heavy rain and tunneling gophers recently produced a spectacular mudslide.

Said it before, I''ll say it again. I don''t care. Wildlife isn''t an obstacle, something to be admired only when convenient. Oh God, deers getting in the way of automobiles, it''s like the friggin'' apocalypse or something. Again, I''m not suggesting we overpopulate just to do it (and I don''t know either way if 1.2 million is way too many deer for Georgia or way too few), but don''t come crying to me when you tear down part of a forest where deer live, put up a whole bunch of tasty fruit, and then look shocked when deer start eating your fruit. I don''t care.

Anyway, JM, I''m not really arguing against you up there, more against the article which, I''m afraid, really missed the mark on me. Not to put too fine a point of it, but introducing that to the question of whether displacing wildlife and physically disrupting the environment in the first place is ... well ... do you like pie?

Ah Elysium. You actually got me to cackle at the screen. I do like pie. And thank you for pointing that out.

Then today was an unqualified success!

Environmental protection can''t be only local. The Mississippi Delta in Louisiana is fed from water from the entire watershed from the Rocky Mountains all the way to that eastern mountain range, whatever that''s called. All the nutrients from farms and livestock creates lots of phosphate and nitrate run off...it''s resulted in a giant dead zone off the coast of Louisiana. Nothing lives there because there''s not enough oxygen due to all the nutrients.

If you''ve ever been to New Orleans, you know it''s a toilet bowl. Environmentally, it is the toilet bowl of the United States. It''s where everything gets flushed. The whole ecosystem is falling apart right now, and the governor wants a national plan. The amount of material coming from the rest of the nation has effects so great that Louisiana can''t deal with it all.

Louisiana constantly hits nonattainment for Clean Air standards because of all the smog that blows over from Houston and the Beaumont/Vidor region. Baton Rouge last time I checked was about to get hit hard with a designation of Severe non-attainment.

Environmental regulation cannot be local. Political borders almost never consider what''s down stream, down wind, and nobody wants anything in their own backyard. It''s problematic, but it can''t be local.

It''s the same sh*t we in Holland have been struggling with for decades, heavy industry in Germany and Belgium polluting the Rhine and Meuse rivers while we depend on them for drinking water. Who should pay the environmental cost? It wasn''t until EU policies kicked in that the situation could be resolved and it still isn''t the way we would like to see it. Bottom line, I fully agree with Bosephus, environmental problems are rarely only local, they stretch over a wider area.

with the steel industry in the ruhr area on their last leg, you can expect the rivers to be a bit less polluted some years from now ;).

Jokes aside, I am wondering why we still have so many industry areas like coal mining and steel in our area. But then each coal miner gets national support of 76k€ a year. Not him directly but his job. No wonder these people are screaming murder as soon as someone speaks of giving up the coal mining industry.

How many people work in the German coal and steel industries anyway? I know that Germany historically has a larger industry than most other European countries but would giving up coal and steel really be that bad for the German economy?

What I mean by local protections are that the systems involved are so complex, with so many unknown interdependencies, that it is impossible to create large scale plans that actually do anything. But, on a local level, I can make sure that local companies are behaving responsibly.

It''s unfortunate that Louisiana is at the mouth of the Mississippi, but the good done up and down the Mississippi by those farms and livestock more than justifies a ''dead zone''. Again, this is an issue of trade-offs. There is not a ''solution'' to this kind of problem. Would rising food prices and the resulting economic hardship that would cause be better than the LA ''dead zone''?

That''s not to say that this is fair. It isn''t, but neither is life. But I think it would be sufficient for the government to buy the affected land from the current owners and let them move.

It''s unfortunate that Louisiana is at the mouth of the Mississippi, but the good done up and down the Mississippi by those farms and livestock more than justifies a ''dead zone''.

Wow! That''s an interesting philosophy. Just to be clear we''re talking about a dead zone that ""swells each summer to about 18,000 square kilometers--roughly the size of New Jersey."" - source (NOAA, 2000)

It''s called hypoxia, and as described from that same source cited above it is caused by nitrates washing collectively from the midwest into the Mississippi. ""... excess nitrogen allows algae populations to explode. Dead algae in turn feed bacteria, which gobble up most of the oxygen in the water. Shellfish suffocate, and fish must swim for more healthful waters. ""

You want to talk about Liberals throwing their hands in the air and giving up. Wait for it ... here it comes.

That''s not to say that this is fair. It isn''t, but neither is life.

Yeah! Platitudes.

C''mon JMJ, we''re not talking about turning the midwest into a dustbowl, we''re talking about local governments who aren''t directly affected by this, and thus not willing to put unpopular restrictions and safeguards in place. Fixing the issue of hypoxia would not leave LA a dead zone - though if you want to write some really bad science fiction, you could try that route - it would leave farmers in the midwest with a few more costs and steps in the process that would be unpopular. Necessary restriction that won''t be passed any time soon, because, when it gets right down to it, I understand unless it''s about themselves, most people really don''t give a sh*t. Fundamentally, when it comes down to most operations choosing to save some money, or choosing to help curb hypoxia, people choose the selfish route.

And because of that, we have a dead zone the size of New Jersey in the Gulf of Mexico. But ... that''s just the give and take of it.

I''m fixing you with a stern look to counterpoint the sarcasm of my last comment. You''d have been pretty impressed if you''d seen it.

But again, you are refrring to a system that is so complex that it is almost impossible to comprehend, much less make a plan for fixing. The problem with liberal politics is they see a ''problem'' and rush to fix it, consequences be damned. How do you know that the hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico is caused or even increased by man? I''m not saying it isn''t, but environmentalists typically suffer from ''dominant theory'' syndrome. They observe something and have a preconceived notion of what causes it, and then set out to find evidence to prove it. ''The temperature is higher this year than last year'' equates to ''greenhouse gasses will melt the polar caps.'' and ''Alar causes cancer in rats'' equates to ''Pesticides are bad! Ban them!''. In reality, the average temperature today is 0.5 degrees warmer today than it was 100 years ago, and 25 years ago, those same environmentalists we crying about the new ice age. And yes, Alar causes cancer in sufficient doses. Of course, they forgot to mention that for a human to get an equiviliant dose he would have to eat 600 apples a day for 11 years. But, hey, they went looking for evidence to prove their observation or belief and found it.

Scientific evidence also indicates clearly that oxygen stress, hypoxia and ecosystem changes in the Mississippi delta may have been progressing for at least 200 years. There appears to be little consistent evidence from soil and sediment analyses that oxygen stress and hypoxia have increased markedly since the advent of large-scale applications of fertilizer in the mid-20th Century. Matter of fact, some of the hypoxia indicators show hypoxia to be no more severe in recent years than in 1900.

Whatever is causing hypoxia in the Gulf is complex, has a long history of evolution, and cannot be related over this long time span to the application of fertilizer.

But even assuming that farmers do cause hypoxia, it is should be noted that major fish kills in the Gulf, even bigger than those of today, have been reported for centuries prior to the widespread use of fertilizers.

In 1993 there was a huge flood, and peak summer discharge occurred in mid-August in the Mississippi Delta. A satellite image in August showed the plume of the Mississippi River to be flowing eastwards towards the Florida Keys, not westwards into the Louisiana hypoxic zone. Given that, it is difficult for me to relate the summer Mississippi floods to the increase in the intensity and areal extent of the hypoxic zone in 1993 like the NOAA says.

If you would like sources, I would be happy to provide them.

Very interesting. This is one of those times that I''ll retract my conclusions until I have more information. (I can''t read all that at once).

edit: Hey, I was looking at those sources!

Well, JMJ, what about my second example above? Smog in Louisiana that comes from Texas? It was my second glorious example of how local controls won''t always work. You can go ahead and brush away the Mississippi problem for debatable science, but the Baton Rouge severe nonattainment is strictly from two sources: smog from the facilities in Baton Rouge (or Red Stick, for those of you that don''t speak French), and smog that blows over from Houston (Numero Uno for smog, beating out Los Angeles) and the Beaumont/Vidor region of East Tejas, where they do chemical processing.

Because of the blow over, Baton Rouge must restrict its own industry and vehicular usage of its own local activity because they have all this crap in the air to begin with.

In this case, we''re not dealing with endangered animals or undersea creatures. We''re dealing with people who live in one of the highest per capita areas of cancer. While we can''t pin down what all the reasons for cancer are (I''m sure a lot of it is the fried food), the air particulate matter is considered a substantial factor.

It''s just another example of just like Elysium said, ""if I don''t got to deal with it, I don''t got to give a crap."" If all environmental regulation was just local, people in Texas wouldn''t give a crap about the stuff they let blow over to Louisiana.

Now, keep in mind, I''m not really weighing whether we should be valuing human life over the rest of the ecological system. I''m pointing out that certain types of behavior have causal effects that extend beyond the local source. Local regulations overlook those extended effects. And because of self-interest, those local regs will not change unless somebody from downstream raises a stink.

Local regulation has been acknowledged to not work. That''s why we have an EPA, the CAA, CWA, CERCLA, RCRA. The states don''t want to regulate it because they don''t want to affect local industry. They also cannot afford to do it. It''s only when federal money is pooled in can effective environmental regulation be created.

but the Baton Rouge severe nonattainment is strictly from two sources: smog from the facilities in Baton Rouge (or Red Stick, for those of you that don''t speak French), and smog that blows over from Houston (Numero Uno for smog, beating out Los Angeles) and the Beaumont/Vidor region of East Tejas, where they do chemical processing.

Because of the blow over, Baton Rouge must restrict its own industry and vehicular usage of its own local activity because they have all this crap in the air to begin with.

No, actually, that is a perfect argument as to why broad, sweeping programs don''t work. Economically hurting Baton Rouge because of national guidelines is punative in the extreme. I''m not saying that there isn''t a problem. I''m not saying that actual man-made problems should be ignored. I''m saying that the way to fix these problems is not through the mandate of a bunch of faulty science and thinking of taxpayer dollars as a limitless money tree.

Also, if you think that Baton Rouge has bad fallout from TX, how bad must it be living right there? I am pretty sure that local controls would help the locals, and by association, help Baton Rouge.

In case after case, providing positive economic incentives for cleaning the environment has worked. Privatized endeavors to clean the environment are much more effective than publicly funded ones. Plus, it builds the economy rather than hurts it, and the single biggest contributor to man''s cleaning up the environment is affluence. The richer the population, the better they are able to bear the higher costs associated with cleaner industry. Which is why China and India produce significantly more pollutants than the US.

No one is saying that industry shouldn''t be responsible. But to say that environmental observations, without actual evidence to back it up, is sufficient reason to kneejerk laws and agencies to the detriment of man and industry is just as shortsighted. Businesses that do bad things should be punished, no disagreement. But those violations are relatively easy to spot...you know, rivers catch fire and stuff. But complex interactions between complex systems deserve more study before jumping to conclusions.

I''m sorry, but maybe I wasn''t clear. Or I don''t understand. Um...Baton Rouge must keep its own production down because they have too much stuff in the air already. If Texas were to decrease its own emissions, that would give Baton Rouge more room to play with its own industry.

It''s because of the lack of local controls in Texas, that Louisiana cannot do its own thing, and in fact must increase local controls. A program that looked at the region would ask that Texas not emit so much, that way Louisiana can play also. It''s this distinct lack of a regional outlook that the Baton Rouge area is being reclassified [not sure if they did it yet] as a severe non-attainment area. Yes, it is punitive that Baton Rouge must inflict more local controls, but they wouldn''t have to do so much if it wasn''t for Texas.

As a strict aside, and to be used in no way but anecdotally, I used to live in New Orleans. Baton Rouge is okay to visit, but they call the place Cancer Alley. There''s a strip of low income residential neighborhoods where the rate of cancer is multiple times over the national average. They believe that it''s from lack of local controls over chemical manufacturing.

"JohnnyMoJo" wrote:

No one is saying that industry shouldn''t be responsible. But to say that environmental observations, without actual evidence to back it up, is sufficient reason to kneejerk laws and agencies to the detriment of man and industry is just as shortsighted. Businesses that do bad things should be punished, no disagreement. But those violations are relatively easy to spot...you know, rivers catch fire and stuff. But complex interactions between complex systems deserve more study before jumping to conclusions.

I''m not suggesting knee jerk laws. Most of these laws have been on the books for a long time. It''s also more along the lines of glacial-jerk response time to get EPA to recategorize a region. They take the science very seriously and don''t change anything very quickly. And the 1990 Clean Air Act revisions were passed under Bush I, so I would hardly think they were a liberal conspiracy to undermine business.

I''m just suggesting that regional considerations would work better than local controls, which tend to be narrow in scope.

Edit: to fix the quote box

Sorry if I wasn''t clear. What I was saying is ridiculous is the law mandating the amount of air pollution. If you look at the link I posted above, they could stop all man-made pollution in GA and still be unable to meet legal guidelines because of the natural contributors to air pollution. It is a problem with the kneejerk reactions of the environmental lobby.

The Cancer Alley example is a perfect example of my point about local controls. I would wager the local chemical companies are within legal guidelines. But if they are still producing an environment that causes greater incidence of cancer, change will come from local sources, not federal ones. But, I have to tell you, if I lived at a place called Cancer Alley...I''d move.

At the end of the day, incentives matter. Costs born by others will always have less of an effect on our choices than when we bear them directly. Provide polluting industries with tax credits for meeting certain cleanliness standards, and I''ll bet it would have a better impact than impossible to apply penalties.

And the 1990 Clean Air Act revisions were passed under Bush I, so I would hardly think they were a liberal conspiracy to undermine business.

No, I don''t think it is a liberal conspiracy to undermine anything. I think it is a lot of good intentions that sometimes go awry because people aren''t smart enough to comprehend all of the implications of Green policies.

Incentives work. Markets work. People as a whole are much better about bringing about the right sort of change systemically as opposed to the government trying to do the same thing intentionally.

I understand your point about regional controls for this. I really do. Air doesn''t care about state lines and all. I am saying that the federal law that forces this situation in the first place is the problem.

I want to live on a beautiful planet as much as anyone else. But environmentalists typically take it way too far. As a rational human being, I think it is idiotic when taxpayers have to spend $4.5 million to move construction of a new hospital 250 feet to protect Delhi Sands flies. Or, in the case of the story that started the thread off, to hurt farmers and cost millions of taxpayer dollars to ''encourage'' sturgeon to spawn more.

The Endangered Species Act is an utter failure. It is idiotic to say that animal species are so incapable of adaptation that they can only survive in their original habitats. Or that where they are living now is actually their ''original'' habitat. Of the 1,524 species listed as either endangered or threatened during the ESA''s more than 20 years of existence, only 27 had been delisted by the end of 1995. Seven of the 27 had become extinct, eight others had been wrongly listed and the remaining 12 recovered with no help from the ESA. Not one species recovery can be definitively traced to the ESA.

Like I said. There are no easy decisions.

I think that''s a pretty good stance. Incentives are nice. But, incentives alone don''t cut it. Most localities create all sorts of fiscal incentives to get industry to set up factories. Regulated industry already gets lots of incentives.

The system that seems to work well is where you mandate a cap and then create incentives. SO2 regulations created a cap and trade system. Believe what you want about the science of acid rain, the system did reduce the amount of SO2 in the atmosphere. All because of fiscal incentives, with a mandated, top-down, threat of a stick ceiling imposed from up high.

Those incentives, work better where the system is regional in scope, not local. The way that SO2 system works is that facilities trade credits with each other, so that some can pollute more because they can''t improve their machanisms, while others that can implement better systems get cash for their credits. But it''s a regional system, because of the impacts of all the facilities and also because you have to allow all the facilities to work with each other...outside of local jurisdictions.

As for Cancer Alley, they say it''s like that because the local chemical companies aren''t being regulated. They''ve been given lots of incentives and priorities by the government to create jobs in the area.

I''m not sure if this all makes sense...I''m at work right now and somewhat busy, but I thought I''d just throw that out: incentives good, but depends on who creates them and with what goals are in mind (environmental protection or job stimulus).

I also think there are fundamental differences at work here. Given a clear choice between the market, economics, and environmental protections, I''ll pick the green every time and twice on Thursday afternoons. It also seems to me, much like the Conservative position on terrorism, that the stakes are high enough that sometimes you have to push forward without knowing every subtlety and nuance. No one will ever agree completely in a topic as complex as ecological interdependencies ... eventually, as you Republicans like to say, you have to do _something_!

Yeah, I''ll go with the market. One thing that has been proven time and again is that the situation that causes man to inflict the most damage on the environment is poverty. The betterment of man economically invariably leads to improvements in all other areas: living conditions, the environment, retirement age, education, etc.

One thing I know is that the earth will be here long after any of us, or any of our children. Our ability to negatively impact the Earth is microscopic next to the damage that it routinely does to itself (Mt. Saint Helens kicked more pollutants into the atmosphere than the last 100 years of man''s industry).

I think holding onto the concept that nature somehow requires our protection is egotistical in the extreme. In small microcosms, yes, but overall? Not a chance. Any damage done by man can be undone. History has proven that.

Mt. Saint Helens kicked more pollutants into the atmosphere than the last 100 years of man''s industry

Now that would be a reassuring fact! Just like the things I read up on about nuclear weapons, not even a least of bit of harmful like the media would want you to think.

All true JMJ. I think, however, that the argument is not on saving the planet, but on keeping things nice for the next twenty years. Like not having to sell beachfront property because of rising coastlines [not directly attributable to man], or shortening our own life expectancies.

The market will often work things out, but some things, like the prohibition of lead in gasoline, are just good ideas, even though the laizzes-faire forces think that lead is good in gasoline. Sometimes the big stick has got to swing from up high. And sometimes you gotta go green even though it ain''t St. Patty''s day.

Bo, I agree with that. I am not saying that there is no need for government. I am just against Elysium''s ''blanket green'' policy.

Like I said: I like living in a pretty place as much as the next person. I just think we have to be careful before swinging the big stick, especially when the systems involved are so very complex. (Removing lead is pretty easy...attributing causation to smog is much harder.)

I think we fundamentally agree though. Now if we could just convert Elysium....muhahahahaha....

Our ability to negatively impact the Earth is microscopic next to the damage that it routinely does to itself

Maybe it''s just what you were saying, but in my head this instantly read:

Our ability to negatively impact the Earth is microscopic next to the power of the Dark Side.

Of course, I''m not talking about destroying the economy to a level of abject poverty. Let''s not be ridiculous. I am saying that massive polluting industries are never getting sympathy from me when they claim it''s expensive to be ecologically friendly or call for further study.

I think holding onto the concept that nature somehow requires our protection is egotistical in the extreme.

Ah, but you''re miscasting what I''m saying. I''m saying we have a responsibility to protect against the environmental changes we make. I''m not an idiot ""We''ll destroy the earth type"". Even in the face of absolute and inconceivable nuclear holocaust the damage we can do is momentary on geologic time. I''m just saying I take value in the protections of natural resources that we can affect. It''s ideological, and changing my mind would be like beating your head on a brick wall.

I am saying that massive polluting industries are never getting sympathy from me when they claim it''s expensive to be ecologically friendly or call for further study.

I''ll agree in principle on that and call it a night.