selenium

Ocean Selenium Influences Evolution?

'Eureka moment' research into ocean selenium levels asks: Did mountains control evolution of humans?

 

 SEE:  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-31/utas-core-sample-research-challenging-evolution-mass-extinction/7800878

Drainage Deal Imminent?

A tentative agreement is near in secret talks between the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation,the U.S. Justice Department and the Westlands Water District to settle three long-simmering drainage lawsuits, according to Interior Department sources. The settlement could be a bonanza for Westlands, which has been searching for half a century for a solution on how to safely dispose of farm drainwater containing salts, heavy metals and the trace element selenium. Westlands drainage triggered deformities in birds at evaporation ponds at the Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge in Merced County more than 30 years ago. According to one source, Westlands will only have to retire a minimum amount of selenium-tainted soils even though a safe drainage solution has not been achieved. A current Reclamation plan to reduce or eliminate toxic drainwater will cost an estimated $2.7 billion for Westlands' 600 growers. Geologists say more than 300,000 acres of land in Westlands and adjacent water districts (state and federal) have elevated levels of selenium, a trace element highly toxic to birds and fish. Environmentalists have called for a cessation of farming on these tainted soils.  READ MORE »

Federal Judge gives Westlands and Reclamation six more months to pursue settlement talks on drainage problem

Federal Judge Lawrence O’Neill in Fresno has signed an order allowing the Westlands Water District and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation another 6 months to pursue settlement talks without any further implementation of the 2007 Record of Decision regarding Westlands' long-standing farm drainage water problem.

The key final paragraph of O'Neill's order reads as follows:  READ MORE »

Selenium impacting health of honey bees

Selenium, a trace element that can be toxic under certain circumstances, has been linked to adverse health impacts in honey bee populations, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California-Riverside.  To read the full report click here:http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/18085. Selenium in farm drainage water generated on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley poisoned  birds at the Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge 30 years ago.  Despite the potential dangers from farming high selenium soils the State Water Resources Control Board has continued to allow these lands to be irrigated and drainage waters to be dumped in the lower San Joaquin River.

 

Kesterson Whistleblower Felix Smith's letter to the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service goes unanswered

Editor's Note: Felix Smith, who suffered political harassment from his superiors during his 34-year federal career, was the federal biologist who in 1983 leaked to the news media that deformities in birds nesting at the Kesterson National Refuge had been poisoned by selenium-tainted, toxic drainwater from the Westlands Water District.

    The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, for several months, kept secret the Kesterson bird deformities until Smith leaked the story to Fresno Bee reporter Deborah Blum.  Smith took early retirement in 1990, tired of the harassment.

     Smith wrote the following letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe four months ago.  Ashe has not answered Smith.  USA Today environmental columnist Dan Vergano wrote an article on April 6, 2013, which indicated federal biologists continue to be intimidated by their superiors in speaking out about selenium pollution from phosphate and coal mines in several states. 

 

December 17, 2012   READ MORE »

USA Today environmental columnist Dan Vergano writes about selenium problems and muzzling of government scientists

USA Today environmental columnist Dan Vergano ran an article in the nationwide newspaper on Saturday (2013/04/06) about the harassment of federal biologist Joe Skorupa who wrote a critical report about selenium impacts at an Idaho phosphate mine, including two-headed fish.  He mentioned my website and the previous coverage I did of the harassment of Skorupa, who, in the late 1980s, confirmed selenium impacts on wildlife using farm wasterwater evaporation ponds in the Tulare Basin of the Southern San Joaquin Valley.  Vergano's article can be read here:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/vergano/2013/04/06/hansen-federal-scientists-communication/2053077/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+usatoday-TechTopStories+(Tech+-+Top+Stories)

   READ MORE »

Build Another Kesterson? You're joking, right?

 

By Lloyd G. Carter

           A southern San Joaquin Valley water district is proposing to build an 1,800-acre evaporation pond to dispose of toxic subsurface drainage water in a scenario eerily reminiscent of the Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge poisoning in the early 1980s.  READ MORE »

EPA releases San Francisco Bay Delta Action Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released an Action Plan today (Aug. 27, 2012) that proposes seven measures for improving water quality, restoring aquatic habitat, and improving the management of the San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary. The release of the Action Plan follows the agency’s analysis concluding that existing federal and state water quality programs are not adequately safeguarding the ecosystem. “California’s economic security depends on a healthy Bay Delta,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “By upholding the goals of the Clean Water Act, we can ensure that our water is fit for drinking, farming, recreation, and for fish and wildlife.”

 

The Action Plan responds to findings and recommendations made following EPA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in 2011 that sought public input on the effectiveness of existing federal and state water quality protection programs. The Action Plan prioritizes the following seven actions to be pursued in partnership with the State Water Resources Control Board, the Regional Water Boards for the Central Valley and San Francisco Bay, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, and numerous other state and federal agencies:

• — By 2013, propose a standard to curb selenium discharges from cities, farms, and oil refineries;  READ MORE »

Kesterson Whistleblower Felix Smith comments on my "Two-Faced Fish in a Barrel" story

Editor's Note: Nearly 30 years ago Felix Smith, an employee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), leaked information to then Fresno Bee reporter Deborah Blum that selenium-tainted farm drainage water from the Westlands Water District was causing embryo deformities in migratory birds nesting or feeding at the Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge evaporation ponds in western Merced County.  FWS biologists were initially barred from publicly speaking about the bird deformities by Reagan Administration Interior Secretary James Watt.  Smith and another FWS biologist, Harry Ohlendorf, had discovered the deformed birds in the Spring of 1983 when they opened eggs in nests at the so-called wildlife "refuge."   The Fish and Wildlife Service purportedly was preparing a press release on the issue but after months, Smith got angry and impatient at the stall tactics and let Deborah  Blum (who later won a Pulitzer Prize) know what was going on. Within 18 months, following continuing national publicity on the issue, the State Water Resources Control Board ordered Kesterson cleaned up or closed.  READ MORE »

Two-faced Fish in a Barrel

By Lloyd G. Carter
      "They are putting the heat on me. I was dumpin' in the river for years and years and I got by in good shape but now I've spent millions cleanin' the water up. I did it in Washington. I had to do it in Oregon. It's the law of the land now. Mighta killed a few fish and suckers but never hurt anything. They're blowin' holes around the feedlot in Washington to see if I'm pollutin' the goddamn water. Maybe we won't be able to feed cattle anywhere any more, I don't know. The problem is there's too many goddamn regulations.  Now, if you build a manger you got to go to town and ask 'em for permission to do it."
     Idaho potato, livestock and fertilizer kingpin J.R. Simplot talking about pollution at his feedlots in a 1998 interview with Range Magazine ["The Cowboy Spirit on America's Outback"]. Simplot died in 2008 at the age of 99, with a worth estimated at $3.8 billion.  READ MORE »
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