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December 2014 coastal scuttlebutt

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Live oak trees pardoned by arguably the least green governor in Louisiana history, Bobby Jindal.

Live oak trees pardoned by arguably the least green governor in Louisiana history, Bobby Jindal. (Pjoto by Bryan Tuck in the Advocate)

When science goes bonkers

After seeing the popular movie Interstellar, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was quoted as pointing out that if residents of our increasingly chaotic, warming and unstable Earth had sufficient resources to make an extraordinary effort to escape to a safe extraterrestrial haven they should logically invest those resources first in fixing our home planet.

That’s similar to my reaction to the ongoing bizarre and grossly misplaced effort to recreate the wooly mammoth that was exterminated by our ancient ancestors. Earthly species are becoming extinct at an unprecedented rate, mostly because of the elimination of habitat to accommodate an exploding human population, climate change, desertification, deforestation, ocean warming and acidification. In the context of global warming in the emerging Anthropocene Epoch why in Hell would we attempt to bring back a species particularly adapted to the Pleistocene Epoch?

The effort to conserve what’s left of America’s Delta exemplifies the challenge to sustain sufficient habitat to protect us from the predictable consequence of ignorance and greed. Absent credible science, this is a wasted effort, much like recreating a species particularly unsuited for the Anthropocene Epoch. Why not recreate the Carolina parakeet, a species that may actually fit into and complement what’s left of Louisiana’s coastal ecosystem?

Unfortunately, the post midterm Congress is poised to undercut credible science at every level. A November 27 essay in Poltico.com by Maggie Severns addresses the ongoing and strenghtening war on science by the new GOP dominated Senate as well as the House of representatives.

Edwin Edwards raises issue of BP sand berms in debate with rival Garret Graves

On December 3 Mark Ballard reported in the Advocate on the sole pre-runoff election debate between Louisiana congressional district 6 candidates Garret Graves and Edwin Edwards, that was held in Denham Springs on December 2. Based on Ballard’s description of a post-debate exchange among the candidates and reporters on the scene a press release was sent out to various media outlets by LaCoastPost with the following text:

Baton Rouge – Congressional candidate Garret Graves has repeated a myth about the Bobby Jindal Sand Berms following his debate with former Governor Edwin Edwards.

As quoted in the Baton Rouge Advocate, Graves responded to criticism from Edwards that the berm project was a waste of hundreds of millions of dollars by saying “the berms were backed by all the experts at the time.” This is demonstrably untrue and a falsification of the history of the project.

Governor Jindal made the attempt to build a 100-mile long wall of sand the centerpiece of Louisiana’s response to the 2010 BP oil disaster with no scientific or engineering review. There was no support from Louisiana coastal scientists, and a number of them joined coastal scientists from around the country in publicly calling on Jindal not to pursue the project.

“Stop the Sand Berms, Scientists Plead” in the July 22, 2010 New York Times was just one of numerous articles that ran in national and state media showcasing expert opposition.

Governor Jindal grants amnesty to live oak trees

In an uncharacteristic gesture with positive environmental implications, Governor Bobby Jindal made a last minute phone call to his DOTD secretary and granted pardons to sixteen mature live oak trees along Louisiana highway 182 in St. Mary’s Parish. Details of this reprieve are reported  hy Lanie Lee Cook he December 3 Advocate,

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