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July 11, 2012 03:42 PM

How hot has it been? According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has just confirmed what you already suspected: Americans are enduring the hottest weather in our recorded history.

 

The following was sent out his week by the EDF:

 

The past 12 months have been the warmest 12 months in the continental U.S. since record-keeping began back in 1895. NOAA says the odds of our record heat being a random event — rather than part of a global warming trend — are about 1 in 1.6 million.

 

How hot is it, really? Consider these facts from NOAA:

• From June 1t through July 10 of this year, the U.S. broke 147 all-time high-temperature records.

• In June 2012, communities across the U.S. broke 2,284 daily maximum temperature records. In the week of July 1 through July 9 of this year, they broke another 2,071.

• The average temperature in the contiguous U.S. was 71.2 degrees F – two full degrees above the 20th century average.

• Our miserable June followed the blistering heat from last year. (See NOAA’s new report, “State of the Climate in 2011” at http://wkly.ws/1bo.)

 

Take a look at this partial list of cities that broke records from June of 2011 through May of 2012:

Detroit — 101 degrees, (daily record)

Syracuse — 101 degrees, (daily record)

Mitchell, SD — 102 degrees (daily record)

Minneapolis — 103 degrees (daily record)

Bridgeport, CT — 103 degrees (all-time record)

Denver — 105 degrees (all-time record)

Newark — 108 degrees (all-time record)

Houston —109 degrees (all-time record)

Miles City, MT — 111 degrees (all-time record)

Wichita — 111 degrees (daily record)

Little Rock — 114 degrees (all-time record)

Childress, TX — 117 degrees (all-time record)

  

The blazing temperatures have led to other problems as well:

• The U.S. Drought Monitor says more than 56 percent of the contiguous U.S. is now under drought conditions — the highest level since record-keeping began in 2000.

Wildfires destroyed 1.3 million acres in Colorado and across the U.S. last month.

• Wyoming recorded its driest June ever this year; Colorado and Utah recorded their second-driest Junes.

• At the same time, Florida recorded its wettest June ever — thanks in part to Tropical Storm Debby, which dumped more than two feet of rain on some towns, and spawned flash floods and almost two dozen tornadoes. Duluth, Minnesota also had record floods last month. Large parts of the East Coast got hit by a killer Derecho storm that killed more than two dozen people; more than three million lost electricity, some for more than a week. And Washington, D.C. broke its record for worst heat wave ever, according to the Washington Post.

 

Unfortunately, these bad weather trends are not unexpected. For a long time now, the world’s top climate researchers have told us about the strong evidence of links between dangerous weather and climate change.

 

Greenhouse gas pollution traps heat in our atmosphere, which interferes with normal weather patterns. That means we can expect more — and probably worse — weird weather in the future.

 

Climate change doesn’t just mean higher heat. It means more severe and damaging weather events across the country – including more frequent and heavier rains in some areas, increased drought in others, a potential increase in the intensity of hurricanes, and more coastal erosion because of rising sea levels.

 

Changing weather patterns changes will affect our agriculture, water supplies, health and economy.

 

Source of this information is Steve Hamburg, chief scientist for EDF. He can be contacted at shamburg@edf.org

July 11, 2012 04:12 PM

This just in from the Oregon Marijuana Policy Initiative folks. Two pot-related initiatives were gathering signatures for the November ballot, but the OMPI effort failed.

 

The Oregon Marijuana Policy Initiative (OMPI) today filed suit in Oregon Circuit Court against Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown in response to her office’s disqualification of tens of thousands of valid signatures on petitions for Initiative Petition 24. IP-24 is a constitutional amendment to end marijuana prohibition for adults.

 

The suit was filed by attorney Ross Day on behalf of Wolfe and OMPI in Marion  County Circuit Court.

 

The OMPI lawsuit challenges a range of specific methods and reasons used by Brown’s office to disqualify individual voter signatures and entire sheets of up to 10 voter signatures each in a sampling process conducted in June, before the final deadline for signatures on petitions last week. That sampling process invalidated nearly 48 percent of the 122,000 signatures submitted by May 25 for IP-24, resulting in a historically low validity rate and damaging the initiative’s chance to make the ballot. Other measures submitted at the same time are suffering similarly low validation rates.

 

“Under the policies of Kate Brown, the Oregon Elections Division works hard to remove every possible signature from initiative petitions and for reasons that make no sense,” said Wolfe. ”Instead, they should be working to include as many signatures as possible, thus preserving citizen access to the ballot through the initiative system, as demanded by the Oregon Constitution.”

 

The OMPI lawsuit seeks to reopen the state’s validation work on IP-24 so that the measure can legitimately qualify the November ballot based a fair count of valid signatures from Oregon voters.

 

In total, including the final signature turn-in on July 6, IP-24 sponsors have submitted more than175,000 signatures to the secretary of state, far above the 116,284 valid voter signatures required to qualify the constitutional amendment. If just 66 percent of the signatures were deemed valid, IP-24 would hit the November 2012 ballot. But with just 54.1 percent of signatures found valid in the June sampling process, IP-24 is facing an uphill battle.

 

“The recently developed policies of the state and of Kate Brown reduce access to the initiative process and make it the province of only the wealthiest special interests,” Wolfe said. “A win for IP-24 would help restore ballot access to all petition sponsors. It is time to shine a bright light on the undemocratic policies and actions of Oregon’s Secretary of State.”

July 11, 2012 11:56 PM

An email alert from Oregon Wild tonight warns that 1.5 million acres of public lands logging might get pushed through the Farm Bill by Rep. Kurt Scrader tonight. The email is below:

Oregon Wild has just learned that tonight *Rep. Kurt Schrader will offer a stealth rider to the Farm Bill currently being debated in Congress that would open up 1.5 million acres of public lands to clear-cut logging.* The rider drops the limited Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers protections promised in previous legislation, and provides no public notice or hearings. Call Rep. Schrader right now to voice your opposition to this surprise attack on Oregon's forests. Washington, DC office: (202) 225-5711 Salem office: (503) 588-9100. http://www.oregonwild.org/oregon_forests/old_growth_protection/westside-... ]">Recall that earlier this year Reps. Schrader, DeFazio, and Walden unveiled so-called "logging trust" legislation.

Their bill proposed to transfer 1.5 million acres of publicly-owned Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in western Oregon into a logging trust. These lands would be exempt from strong federal environmental rules that protect endangered species and clean water, and instead be managed under the weak Oregon Forest Practices Act. The plan would open the lands to greatly expanded clear-cut logging. Backers of the bill argued that the environmental damage it would cause would be offset by linking it to Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers designations for special places like the Wild Rogue and Molalla River.

 

UPDATE: Oregon Wild says that thanks to public outcry the "stealth rider" was rejected.

July 10, 2012 09:43 AM

The spoofs on Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me, Maybe" have begun, from rescue dogs wearing tags with their ID numbers on them — what's cuter than a little dog saying "Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, here's my (ID) number. Adopt me maybe?" (FYI Greenhill and the shelter formerly known as LCAS have some cuties that need homes). 

 

Well, Cookie Monster might give the pups and kitties a run for their money.

"Hey, me just met you, and this is crazy, you got cookie, share it, maybe?" Only Cookie and the folks at Sesame Street could make a rhyme with snickerdoodle.

And duly noted, Sesame Street isn't just spoofing "Call Me, Maybe," It's spoofing the Jimmy Fallon instruments you would find in an elementary school classroom version.

July 9, 2012 12:36 PM

PCRM reports that new, reportedly healthy kids meals that fast food joints are rolling out are just ... not so healthy.

Click through to see the other worst offenders.

July 9, 2012 03:04 PM

Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson is holding a town hall meeting this week to discuss Lane County’s future and the tough issue of taxes. The meeting will run from 6:30 to 8 pm Tuesday, July 10, at Harris Hall, 125 E. 8th Ave. in Eugene. 

 

Sorenson has asked a panel of speakers to address issues related to Lane County and taxation: Anette Spickard, Lane County tax assessor; Jason Gettel, policy analyst for the Oregon Center for Public Policy; and Dave Rosenfeld, executive director of the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG).

 

Sorenson says Gettel and Rosenfeld “will be talking about Oregon’s income tax system and how it can be improved and made more fair.”

 

Sorenson can be reached at Pete.Sorenson@co.lane.or.us or call  606-9173.

July 9, 2012 04:11 PM

Jim Evangelista is organizing an ambitious event in the Whiteaker Tuesday, July 10, and needs some help.

July 6, 2012 03:28 PM


 Supporters and organizers of Initiative 9, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA), submitted 165,000 signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office this morning, and more signatures are expected to be turned in later today, the deadline for initiatives to qualify for Oregon’s November ballot.

 

“With nearly double the signatures needed, we’re confident we’ll qualify for the ballot and we’re excited to start reaching out to common-sense Oregon voters across the state,” says chief petitioner Paul Stanford in a press release.

 

The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act would regulate cannabis for adults 21 years of age and older, with sales through state-licensed stores only and 90 percent of the tax revenue would go to the state’s general fund. The measure would also approve and help kick-start an agricultural hemp industry in Oregon, say supporters.

 

“Taxing and regulating cannabis and agricultural hemp will create thousands of Oregon jobs, from agricultural jobs in hard-hit rural counties to manufacturing and engineering jobs in big cities and small towns. With countless applications in fiber, medicine, biofuel, food and consumer health products, hemp is a natural fit for Oregon world-leading sustainability economy,” reads the press release.

 

“A regulated hemp and marijuana industry in Oregon is about jobs, it’s about economic development,” says Jeff Anderson of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 555, which recently endorsed the Cannabis Tax Act. “We need to stop wasting time and allow Oregon’s entrepreneurs to create living-wage jobs. The time is now.”

July 6, 2012 01:11 PM

The EPD  has started to release its exclusion zone requests to the media as they occur, and we're compiling them on the blog for those interested. This is the second we've received.

 

Around 9:00 p.m. on June 29, a police sergeant was bicycling through the park blocks when he noticed a subject smoking marijuana. The suspect, when contacted by the sergeant provided a name that officers later learned was false. The subject was arrested for violation of City of Eugene park rules (possession of less than an ounce of marijuana) and placed in the county jail.  Jail personnel learned his true identity and found that warrants had been issued for his arrest for Possession of Less than an Ounce of Marijuana, and Delivery of Marijuana within 1000 Feet of a School.  The subject was also in possession of a syringe and exhibited symptoms of recent heroin use.

The subject has an extensive local record that includes arrests and citations for possession of heroin, possession of marijuana, criminal trespass, consumption of alcohol on unlicensed premises, Failure to Appear, unlawful delivery of marijuana to a juvenile, theft, harassment and disorderly conduct. He is a white male, age 26, no address.

July 6, 2012 03:53 PM

And we've got another one. Exclusion case summary requests that EPD released before this are here and here.

 

 

The evening of June 14 a visitor from Washington State was walking through the Park Blocks with his two daughters when he witnessed an unprovoked assault and reported it to police.  The defendant, a 29 year old man who is 6’8” tall and who weighs 270 pounds, was sitting on a park bench while another adult man walked into the area of the park.  The defendant yelled and cursed at the second man who did not respond but continued walking.  The visitor watched as the defendant stood and attacked the second subject.  The defendant knocked the victim to the ground, punching and kicking him as he fell.  The victim fled and could not be located by responding officers.

Officers spoke with witnesses and identified the defendant who officers learned was in the park in violation of a park exclusion.

The defendant has previous arrests for Criminal Trespass, Theft, Menacing and Violation of Park Rules.

The subject has been arrested a number of times in Eugene.  He is a white male, age 29, no residential address.

July 5, 2012 10:24 PM

Lane County Commissioner Faye Stewart was interviewed this morning by conservative radio talk show host Bill Lundun on KPNW. He got a little snarky about fellow commissioner Rob Handy. http://m.soundcloud.com/bill-lundun-kpnw-news/fstewart

July 3, 2012 12:43 PM

The Institute for Public Accuracy, which is in part based in Eugene with David Zupan, sent out quotes from climate change experts today under the heading,  "Media Miss the Forest for the Burning Trees."

 

Neil deMause is a Brooklyn-based journalist who has written extensively about climate change coverage, including the article "The Fires This Time: In coverage of extreme weather, media downplay climate change." See http://wkly.ws/1bg

 

deMause said today: "Despite overwhelming evidence that climate change is causing dramatic changes in weather patterns — from increasingly deadly heat waves and wildfires to hurricanes and tornadoes — media coverage has bent over backwards to avoid making the connection between extreme weather events and the warming climate. Instead, reporters have largely hidden behind the truism that there's no way to say that any given event was caused by climate change. Yes, in the same way that it's hard to show that any given person wouldn't have gotten cancer without smoking cigarettes -- but that doesn't mean that journalists should avoid reporting that smoking kills."

 

Joe Romm is a senior fellow at American Progress, edits Climate Progress and holds a Ph.D. in physics from MIT. He recently wrote the piece "Hell And High Water Strikes, Media Miss the Forest for the Burning Trees." See http://wkly.ws/1bf

 

Romm said today: "It is a basic conclusion of climate science that as the average temperature gets warmer, heat waves — which are extremes on top of the average — will get more intense. For the same reason, heat waves will last longer and cover a larger region. Recent research further links Arctic warming, and especially the loss of Arctic ice, to more extreme, prolonged weather events 'such as drought, flooding, cold spells and heat waves.'

 

   "Since droughts are made more intense by higher temperatures, which dry out the soil, and by earlier snowmelt, more intense droughts have long been predicted to occur as the planet warms. Since wildfires are worsened by drought and heat waves and earlier snowmelt, longer wildfire seasons and more intense firestorms has been another basic prediction.

 

   "We also know that as we warm the oceans, we end up with more water vapor in the atmosphere — 4 percent more than was in the atmosphere just a few decades ago. That is why another basic prediction of climate science has been more intense deluges and floods.

 

   "Scientists have already begun to document stronger heatwaves, worsening drought, longer widlfire seasons, and more intense downpours. Global warming has 'juiced' the climate, as if it were on steroids. The question is not whether you can blame a specific weather event on global warming. As Dr. Kevin Trenberth, former head of the Climate Analysis Section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research told the New York Times, 'It’s not the right question to ask if this storm or that storm is due to global warming, or is it natural variability. Nowadays, there’s always an element of both.'"

July 3, 2012 02:02 PM