Environment

Debate over plastic bag ban or fee has many layers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green City Council Chambers was packed Tuesday evening with people who have disdain for single-use plastic bags, and people who rely on them to do their jobs. The hearing was held by City Council’s Community Improvement Committee, made up of Mark Hollenbaugh, Bill Herald and John Zanfardino. Hollenbaugh explained the city is exploring a myriad of options for single-use plastic bags. Nine citizens voiced their support or opposition to possible plastic bag regulation in the city. Seven were in support, and two were against. Another hearing will be held March 4, at 6 p.m., in city council chambers, to give more citizens a chance to share their feelings. James Egan suggested that any fees raised be used to track the effect of a ban, since little data is available. Madi Stump said the plastic bag debate is a sustainability issue, and communities can learn to adapt to changes in their consumer cultures. Joe DeMare estimated that 150 municipalities across the nation have banned or charge fees for single-use plastic. The problem may seem overwhelming, but that doesn’t mean that communities should give up. “Plastic bags can be at the top of the list,” DeMare said. He mentioned the problem with blowing plastic bags at the Wood County Landfill, west of Bowling Green. An ordinance on bags can be an attempt to deal with a highly visible part of the overall problem. “Eventually, we’re going to have to deal with the entire iceberg,” DeMare said. Zanfardino said he was glad to see places like Cuyahoga County tackling the plastic bag problem. “I’m heartened to see other cities looking at this in Ohio,” he said. Tom Klein’s only reservation on the possible plastic bag ordinance is that it doesn’t go far enough. “We’re drowning in waste,” Klein said. And banning plastic bags makes people feel as if they are solving a problem. “They’re deceptive. They make us feel like we’re dealing with the problem.” But Robin Belleville, owner of BG Frosty Fare, said her business relies on the bags to send food orders home with customers. “I come to you urging a ‘no’ vote,” she said. A five or 10 cent fee per sale would have a “huge impact” on her business. “Each and every sale matters to my bottom line,” Belleville said, saying a fee would make her reconsider operating a business in…


Toledo Museum to host National Geographic Live speaker series

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART National Geographic Live, National Geographic’s touring speaker series, and the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) are proud to announce an inaugural three-part speaker series that will take place the Peristyle Theater throughout 2019.   “We are excited to see the Peristyle stage come alive through a combination of first-hand accounts from National Geographic Explorers and their amazing imagery,” said Brian Kennedy, the Museum’s Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey director. “We believe the National Geographic Live series provides an engaging format for the community to learn about the world around them.” The three events for the inaugural series are: Birds of Paradise Revealed Saturday, April 27: 7 p.m., Peristyle Tim Laman, a renowned photographer and forest canopy researcher, and ornithologist Ed Scholes, authors of the major National Geographic book, “Birds of Paradise Revealed,” will take visitors deep into New Guinea to observe these astonishing avian creatures. Evolved to attract mates with their extraordinarily colorful feathers, which they display in dances executed with ballerina-like grace, these birds are a living laboratory of evolution. Meet all 39 species and enjoy their secret lives, bizarre displays, and dazzling courtship antics in breathtaking visuals. When Women Ruled the World Thursday, May 30: 7 p.m., Peristyle Dr. Kara Cooney, professor of Egyptology, explores the reigns of powerful ancient queens to illuminate a time when women ruled the world. Often neglected in the history books, these strong female leaders were considered exceptions to the rule, but their power and influence is undeniable. Standing at Water’s Edge Saturday, July 27: 7 p.m., Peristyle Cristina Mittermeier learned the concept of responsible earth stewardship from her indigenous nanny as a child growing up in Mexico, and she explores that calling through the ways of life of four communities and their individual relationships with water—the Kayapó in the Amazon, the Inuit of Greenland, the First Nations people of British Columbia, and native Hawaiians. “We are thrilled to be bringing some of National Geographic’s most dynamic and entertaining explorers to TMA,” said Yulia Petrossian Boyle, Senior Vice President for Global Media and Experiences at National Geographic. “National Geographic Live events are a unique opportunity for people in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan to meet these visionary individuals in person, and to be inspired by the fascinating stories and breathtaking images they will share from their expeditions to the far corners of our planet.” The National Geographic…


Picture book author Lindsay Moore lets young readers travel along with polar bear

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Drawing cadavers might not seem like the way to become a children’s author. For Lindsay Moore, though, medical and scientific illustration helped her hone the drawing skills needed to produce her first children’s book, “Sea Bear.” Lindsay Moore Moore, of Bowling Green, will mark the publication of “Sea Bear” on Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, with an appearance at the Wood County District Public Library, Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. The book for ages 4-8 follows the journey of polar bear through the Arctic.  Her inspiration came from a visit to the Toledo Zoo with her three children. Moore found herself fascinated by learning how far a polar bear travels along the edge of ice and sea to keep itself alive. “I thought that was very remarkable.” That was in 2014.  While her background was in medical and scientific illustration, writing children’s books seemed a good fit for her life as a stay-at-home mother. Moore, 35, has children 5, 6, and 8 years old. She moved to Bowling Green with her husband, Tim Davis, who teaches in the biology department and is a lead researcher in the Lake Erie Center for Fresh Waters and Human Health.  “Sea Bear” was not her first foray into writing for children. Her first book about a lobster made the rounds publishers with no success. But she gained experience and insight from the effort. In writing “Sea Bear,” which has the subtitle “A Journey for Survival,” she wanted to present the facts, but keep the story from getting too dark for your readers. So image of the carcass of the seal pup was taken out. Writing about animals, she said, requires care to make it possible for people to relate to them without giving them human traits. “We don’t know why they do certain things,” she said. Moore said she’s been pleased with the early reviews of the book. Moore grew up in northern Michigan. When she was in third grade, a teacher “pulled me aside and told me ‘I think you could be a writer.’” Moore believed her. She loved the work of Madeleine L’Engle. Then as a teenager she learned about how hard it was for even this great author to get her first work published. So Moore redirected her efforts into art and science. She double majored in fine art and marine biology. But…


Parks district offers winter activities

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT The Wood County Parks District is offering a full slate of programs to help young and old to get the most out of winter. Polar Parks Mini-Camp Wednesday – Friday, January 2 – 4; 9:00 am – noon W.W. Knight Nature Preserve 25930 White Road, Perrysburg Experience a wild Wood County winter through this 3-day mini-camp! Each day highlights a different educational theme and seeks to explore through hands-on and outdoor activities. Cost: $12/$10 FWCP per day, or $30/$25 FWCP for all three days. Ages 8-13. The registration deadline is one week before the beginning of the camp day. Leaders: Jim Witter and Craig Spicer Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Introduction to Orienteering Sunday, January 6; 1:00 – 3:00 pm Bradner Interpretive Center 11491 Fostoria Road, Bradner Find out what else the magnetic compass can do besides show you which way is north. This reliable low-tech tool can help you get from point A to point B. We will learn the basics indoors and then take it outside on a short orienteering course. Leader: Bill Hoefflin Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 EcoLit Book Group Meeting Thursday, January 10; 7:00 – 9:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve: Hankison Great Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg For this meeting, please read The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen. Discussion leader: Cheryl Lachowski, Senior Lecturer, BGSU English Dept. and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN) Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Homeschoolers: Project Feederwatch Friday, January 11; 10:00 – 11:00 am Bradner Interpretive Center 11491 Fostoria Road, Bradner Learn how Wood County Park’s volunteers count birds at our windows on wildlife and how you can help scientists learn about bird populations in Wood County. Leader: Jim Witter Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Native American Moccasin Making Workshop Series Saturdays, January 12, January 26, February 9, February 23; 10:00 am – 2:00 pm Carter Historic Farm 18331 Carter Road, Bowling Green Learn the skill of making authentic Native American moccasins over the course of four sessions. The Plains two-piece style will be featured. Cost for series: $30. Leader: Stewart Orr Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Arctic Open Archery Saturday, January 12; 12:30 – 3:00 pm Arrowwood Archery Range 11126 Linwood Road, Bowling Green Arrows fly in the crisp winter air! Arrive anytime between 12:30 and 3:00 to give this cool archery a shot….


Wintergarden in winter light

One of the joys of favorite parks is experiencing them throughout the year. The foliage buds, then blooms, then fades, and dries. The light changes throughout the day and the year. Here’s scenes from Wintergarden/St. John’s Preserve during a recent Christmas Week walk in the afternoon.  Those looking to do more walking in the new year need not look any further than the parks in our own backyard. — David Dupont


Panel dips its toe into water options for northern Wood County

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News No one brought a dowser’s rod to the meeting on finding a solution to regional water needs Tuesday night. PowerPoint presentations were the tool of choice. The Northwestern Water and Sewer District hosted the Regional Water Informational Meeting at the Holiday Inn French Quartet in Perrysburg to inform officials and residents of some of the possibilities being considered to provide water to the district’s 6,500 water users in northern Wood County. Three options were discussed, though several others exist. Audience members included citizens concerned about tapping into the Michindoh Aquifer. The district’s search was prompted by the Toledo water crisis in summer of 2014, and then by the upcoming end in 2024  of the district’s contract with the City of Toledo to provide water. Toledo is undertaking a massive rebuild of its water treatment system. It has invested $500 million already with another $300 million in planned spending, explained Rex Huffman, the district’s legal counsel. Huffman discussed the ongoing negotiations about forming a Toledo Water Commission. The commission idea hatched in the wake of Toledo City Council’s rejection of another proposed joint entity the Toledo Area Water Authority. The authority, which would have included Toledo and eight largest entities, would have taken control of Toledo’s water system. City officials balked at the authority because of that, and fear that those who buy Toledo water would have too much control over the rates. Under the commission, Toledo retains ownership of the plant and is responsibility for financing improvements as well as retaining ultimate control over rates. However, as Huffman explained, the commission would establish the rates, and then Toledo City Council would have final say. But in order to overturn the commission’s action it would take a super majority. That arrangement, Huffman said, would result in uniform rates, long-term stability, and a regional approach to emergency management of water resources. Commission would also provide a forum to explore redundancy in the water sources, so entities would not be left high and dry in the event of another water crisis. “The dialogue between the city and the suburbs has never been better,” Huffman said. That was demonstrated by the overwhelming support for the commission by Toledo voters in November, he said. Theodore Bennett, an engineer with Jones & Henry, discussed the possibility of Maumee, Perrysburg and northern Wood County communities getting their water from Bowling Green. …


BG to consider sending plastic bags packing

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green City Council is bagging the idea of assessing a fee for plastic sacks, and instead will study an outright ban. At Monday’s City Council meeting council member John Zanfardino said after his talks with other city officials including Mayor Dick Edwards and City Attorney Mike Marsh, it was clear that the fee was a non-starter given the rapidity with which state legislation forbidding such fees was moving.  “Even if we were to pass something the likelihood is it would be preempted,” he said. A ban on plastic bags, though, apparently is not covered, so the city will looked into that, said Zanfardino.  The issue was then assigned for study to council member Mark Hollenbaugh and the Community Improvement Committee. Council member Greg Robinette, however, questioned whether the language of the legislation moving through the state legislature wouldn’t also preclude a plastic bag ban. Marsh said the question is what the language will be if the legislation eventually makes its way to the governor. Robinette said the city would be better off focusing on education efforts. Letting people know what they could do to help the environment would be “a step in the right direction.” This would be a good job for the city’s sustainability coordinator, he said. Hollenbaugh said he had reservations about the fee because it would be “regressive,” affecting lower income residents more. It is important for council to “hear from all the stakeholders” before taking action, he said. Council member Bill Herald urged community hearings. Those may show “overwhelming support” for the ban or they may show “a different weighting of the trade-offs.” After the meeting, resident Joe DeMare, who originally called for the plastic bag fee, said the ban would “be preferable to a fee,” though, it meant “ducking” the issue of the state overriding home rule. DeMare also said education isn’t the issue. People are aware of the damage done by plastic bags. “The problem is the bags themselves,” he said. Taking steps like banning bags is important, he said.   “Every time we have progress, it encourages people  to keep moving forward.” Hollenbaugh said the committee will likely meet on the issue in January.


BG Council urged to adopt plastic bag fee while it still can

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The City of Bowling Green may consider enacting a plastic shopping bag fee before the state takes away the city’s right to adopt such a fee. Joe DeMare, co-chair of the Wood County Green Party, approached City Council Monday evening, urging the body to act quickly to impose a fee on items such as styrofoam containers and plastic bags. The Ohio House recently passed a bill, that is now under consideration in the Senate, that would prohibit municipalities from imposing a fee on such items, DeMare said. “Around the country, small fees of a few cents per bag have been effective both at raising revenue and reducing the amount of plastic pollution,” DeMare said. “Studies have shown that being charged as little as a nickel per bag is enough to remind people to bring their own, reusable bags to the store.” But the state legislation could prevent that from happening, he said. So DeMare suggested that Bowling Green council members enact a fee before the state acts to prohibit them. According to DeMare, this bill is the latest in a series of anti-environmental bills being passed by the state legislature. Among them is an “unreasonable setback law” which outlawed many wind farms in Ohio, he said. The setback law would not have allowed Bowling Green’s wind turbines, which are currently producing electricity at half the market rate, DeMare said. “Bowling Green showed great foresight when it installed those turbines,” he said. “We are asking the council to show foresight again.” DeMare suggested the city establish a plastic bag fee quickly, before the state law goes into effect. “We might be able to argue in court that it could be grandfathered in, since it was in place before the law went into effect, just as we have not been forced to take down our turbines,” he said. “At the very least, it could give our community standing in a court challenge against a law which violates the principle of home rule, hurts the environment and blocks us from a potential source of revenue,” DeMare said. Council member Bruce Jeffers said some groceries are planning to stop using plastic bags in a few years. “I understand one of the local retailers is going to be phasing out plastic bags,” Jeffers said. But that wasn’t soon enough for council member John Zanfardino, who met with…


Park district celebrates winter & the holidays throughout December

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT Poinsettia Tour Tuesday, December 4; 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Bostdorff’s Greenhouse Acres 18862 N. Dixie Hwy, Bowling Green Take a tour of new premarket poinsettia varieties at Bostdorff’s Greenhouse. Evaluate these new varieties and vote on the one you like best. You may be one of three lucky people to take one of these “winter roses” home with you! Leader: Stewardship department   EcoLit Book Group Meeting Thursday, December 6; 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. W.W. Knight Nature Preserve: Friends’ Green Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg For this meeting, please read The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks by Terry Tempest Williams. Discussion leader: Cheryl Lachowski, Senior Lecturer, BGSU English Dept. and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN) Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   A Heritage Holiday December 8; 1:00 – 4:00 pm Carter Historic Farm 18331 Carter Road, Bowling Green Join us to share some seasonal cheer at the farm’s open house. We’ll have carols played on the player piano, cookie decorating, ornament making, and other activities for the whole family. This festive community event is open to all.   Winter Reptiles Wednesday, December 12; 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. W.W. Knight Nature Preserve: Friends’ Green Room 25930 White Road, Perrysburg When the weather turns white and chilly, what do all of our scaly neighbors do? Migrate, hibernate, or put on a sweater? We’ll learn these things and more as we meet two of our animal ambassadors. Leader: Craig Spicer Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   The Geminid Meteor Shower Thursday, December 13; 9:30 – 11:00 p.m. Cricket Frog Cove Area 14810 Freyman Road, Cygnet The Geminids are considered one of the best annual meteor showers because they are easily and frequently seen. Bring a thick blanket or reclining folding chair and appropriate clothing for an evening under the stars. Emerge: This shower peaks around 2 a.m., but meteors will be visible beginning between 9-10 p.m. Cancelled if skies are cloudy.  Leader: Bill Hoefflin Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   Homeschoolers: Old Time Games Friday, December 14; 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. W.W. Knight Nature Preserve: Hankison Great Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg Learn how Native American and pioneer children had fun, and how play helped them develop skills for adulthood. Leader: Jim Witter Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   Rudolph Christmas Bird Count Saturday, December…


Gardner talks funding, water, guns and abortion at town hall

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Since the lame duck session of state government usually brings some hasty legislative decisions, State Senator Randy Gardner spent Saturday morning conferring with his constituents. Always a history teacher at heart, Gardner tried to put the present in perspective by explaining past decisions. For two hours, he answered questions at his town hall meeting, then spent another hour talking with citizens individually. Though they didn’t always like his answers, the citizens at Saturday’s town hall meeting appreciated the willingness of the senator to hold a public gathering. “The next three weeks will be a really challenging time with big decisions,” said Gardner, a Republican from Bowling Green who has rotated between the state representative and senate seats since 1984. Adding to the unpredictability of the lame duck session will be the number of amendments tacked onto bills at the last moment. “Amendments will change the outcome of bills,” Gardner said. And it’s not unusual for amendments to present competing interests in the same bill, he added. Gardner has two of his own issues pending in the lame duck session. The Sierah Joughin bill creates a statewide database for law enforcement listing convicted violent offenders living in their jurisdictions. The bill is in response to the death of a 20-year-old woman from Fulton County, who was killed by a convicted violent felon. “I’m pretty optimistic,” this will pass, Gardner said. This bill has its critics, he said. Some feel the database could impede the rehabilitation of convicts. To better understand that criticism, Gardner said he met with Eddie Slade, who spent 31 years in prison for murder and burglary. “I have extra respect now for people who struggle to turn the lives around,” he said. But Sierah’s Law is in the best interest of communities, he said. Gardner’s other pending bill would “finally” see movement to get funding for the preservation of a healthy Lake Erie and help the agricultural community at the same time. Following are some of the other topics Gardner was asked about during the town hall. Hot button issues – guns, abortion and petitioning Marilyn Bowlus, of Pemberville, asked Gardner about pending house bills on “Stand Your Ground” gun laws and abortion rights. “It seems like Ohio is going backward,” Bowlus said. States that make it easier for people to justify…


Park District offers November events

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT The Wood County Park District is offering a variety of programming during November including events tied to Native American Heritage Month. Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Certification Program Tuesday, November 6; 7:00 – 9:00 pm Park District Headquarters 18729 Mercer Road, Bowling Green This informational session will explain the details of this excellent natural resources education program. Beginning in April, this certification program is coupled with community-based volunteer service. Sessions include many topics such as birds, interpretation, ecology, native plants, mammals, insects, geology, and more! Certification co-sponsored by OSU Extension.Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   Turkey Tomfoolery Thursday, November 8, 6:00 – 7:30 pm Otsego Park Thompson Stone Hall 20000 W. River Road, Bowling Green Wild turkeys are being seen much more frequently here in Wood County. Bring the kids out to learn about one of the largest birds in our parks, we will finish the evening with some games and fun activities. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   EcoLit Book Group Meeting Thursday, November 8, 7:00 – 9:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve Friends’ Green Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg For this meeting, please read Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich. Group meets once a month. Register for any or all. Discussion leader: Cheryl Lachowski, Senior Lecturer, BGSU English Dept. and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN). Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   Wild Skills: Shelter-Skelter Saturday, November 10; 10:00 – 11:30 am W.W. Knight Nature Preserve 25930 White Road, Perrysburg Be prepared for when your adventure turns south. Having a shelter to get out of the elements can be a life saver! Get hands on and learn to build one using only the nature around you. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   The Native American Experience Tuesday, November 13; 7:00 – 8:00 pm Otsego Park: Thompson Stone Hall 20000 W. River Road, Bowling Green What was life like for Native Americans as they coped with pressure from European settlers? Join guest speaker Taylor Moyer, Toledo School of the Arts humanities teacher and living historian, as he describes the interaction between the two cultures from a Native American perspective. Details of clothing, tools and other artifacts will be woven into the narrative.Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   Fly tying by Wildwood Anglers Thursday, November 15, 6:00 – 7:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve Friends’ Green…


Federal funds put BGSU at the center of Lake Erie research

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University Monday announced the launch of the Lake Erie Center for Fresh Waters and Human Health. BGSU will lead the collaboration with nine other universities and research institutions. The project is being funded by a $5.2 million federal grant from the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation. The physical hubs for the research will be the University of Toledo’s Lake Erie Center and Ohio State University’s Stone Lab. BGSU faculty member George Bullerjahn will direct the center and serve as lead researcher. Bullerjahn said the center is an outgrowth of the collaborations that started after the Toledo Water Crisis of 2014. That event “brought a bunch of scientists together who found they had complementary interests, and they liked each other,” he said. “What this does is it allows a very talented team of diversely trained scientist to work together for a long period of time and with more resources.” Though the research has been ongoing in many different institutions since the Western Basin of Lake Erie captured national attention, many questions remain. “One gap we have is we know the water turns green, but we can’t predict how green the water will get or how toxic it may get,” Bullerjahn said.   Researchers will be looking at what causes algal blooms, and what kills them, and the mechanisms that turn them toxic.  “You can look at a body of water that’s quite green, and it may not be toxic at all,” Bullerjahn said. “If you look at the 2014 Toledo Water Crisis, the water was not that green. It was a minor bloom. But it was toxic as hell. How do you sort that out? So that’s one of the things we’re working on. … Can we predict when the bloom forms and when they decline?” Bullerjahn described himself as “optimistic and patient.” The problem cannot be solved in a year or two, but “we’ll be in better shape in 10 years,” he said.  “I think we’re understanding more and more  about the terrestrial issues and what land use practices  need to be modified to limit nutrient runoff.” Other areas of the country are in much worse shape, he said.  “These types of responses are reactionary. Blooms started to occur in mid-‘90s and have gotten worse,” said Tim Davis, another member of the BGSU faculty in biology. The…


Neocles Leontis: A vote for Galbraith for Congress is an important step in combating the nightmare of climate change

The 5th District deserves Michael Galbraith as people’s Representative in the U.S. Congress. He will work to protect our children from the ravages of climate disruption, unlike Bob Latta, who takes thousands of dollars every year from the outdated fossil fuel industry and shields his donors from the full cost of the harmful pollution they cause. Latta and his party provide wasteful subsidies to Big Oil, Coal and Gas, distorting our free market system, so we can’t transition as quickly as we must to a 21st century economy based on clean, cheap renewable energy. Unless we start to bend the curve on carbon emissions downward, by no later than 2020, global warming, already 2°F above average levels of the 20th century, will quickly surpass 3°F and then 4°F under the business-as-usual scenario promoted by the inaction of Bob Latta and his cronies. Our children will be condemned to a dangerous nightmare world, in which one climate tipping point trips another, like dominoes, starting with disruption of the jet stream, happening now, to complete melting of Arctic Ice in summer, coming soon, to more rapid melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet into the North Atlantic, collapse of the Gulf Stream current, loss of mountain glaciers that people rely on for drinking water all over the globe, eventual drying out of the Amazon Forest, the “lungs” of our atmosphere, which we rely on to replenish the oxygen we breathe, and uncontrollable release of carbon into the atmosphere as the vast tundra lands of Canada and Russia melt, threatening “runaway” global warming. As a result, the oceans are warming rapidly, causing more and more powerful and “very wet”* hurricanes, think Harvey, Maria, and Florence. Sea levels are rising ever faster and will flood our coastal cities – Miami, Norfolk, Baltimore, Washington, Boston, New York, Seattle and Los Angeles. Our farmlands are already experiencing hotter more unpredictable weather and longer, more frequent droughts, threatening food supplies. Hotter and more destructive wildfires, “fire tornadoes,” are ravaging our western states, destroying entire neighborhoods and towns, killing Americans in their beds before they can escape, and destroying vast forests. In short, the Earth will enter an irreversible “hothouse” trajectory, if we do not act decisively now, to transition our economy to clean, cheap, non-polluting technologies — that we already have at hand, including solar and wind energy for electricity, geothermal heating and cooling for buildings, and electrification…


Utopia pipeline uses existing line to cross Wood County

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   One of the three pipelines crossing through Wood County found a different route – allowing it to transport its product without digging a single new trench through local fields. Rather than plowing its own route through the county, the Utopia pipeline built by Kinder-Morgan ended up using an under-utilized existing pipeline to pump ethane from the east side of Ohio to Sarnia, Ontario. “You’re not going to see that,” Allen Fore, Kinder-Morgan public affairs vice president, said recently as he sat in Kermit’s Restaurant and looked outside at the torn up pavement for the Columbia Gas project in downtown Bowling Green. The $540 million Utopia pipeline, which is capturing the gas being flared away from fracking in southeastern Ohio, has been in operation since January. But before Kinder-Morgan officials found the existing line to use, its route for the Utopia pipeline ran into court battles from Wood County landowners. Last year, local landowners who dug in their heels against Utopia’s eminent domain efforts won the battle to keep the pipeline from crossing their properties. Maurice Thompson, of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law which represented 26 Wood County landowners, said the use of existing pipelines is the best solution. “That’s what we’ve argued all along,” Thompson said. “Use existing pipelines instead of taking more land.” The proposed Utopia line would have run 21 miles through Wood County – south of Pemberville, then north of Bowling Green, then crossing the Maumee River south of Waterville. It would have affected 67 landowners on 117 tracts of land. “Sometimes these things start as adversarial and end in a good way,” Fore said. Meanwhile, two other new pipelines have been constructed through Wood County in the past year. The Rover pipeline cuts through the southern portion of the county, and the Nexus pipeline runs north of Bowling Green. The repurposing of a pipeline worked well for Kinder-Morgan and local landowners. The project started with 147 miles of pipeline being constructed from Harrison County to Seneca County. There the new line connected with the repurposed pipeline for 77 miles through Sandusky, Wood and Lucas counties. “It can work,” Fore said. “This was a real win-win for everyone.” There are more than 2 million miles of pipelines already buried across the U.S., according to Fore. “If you can utilize existing infrastructure, there’s a benefit. There’s more certainty,” he…


Hold the tuna — ocean explorer Sylvia Earle offers recipe for saving the sea

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Sylvia Earle wants to take tuna off the menu. The same with swordfish and orange roughy. The appetite for fish is depleting the fish population, and that disrupts the ecosystem of the ocean, and that’s a threat to the human population. Large scale commercial fishing is one of many attack on the oceans. “We’ve become so skilled at extracting wild life from oceans, streams and lakes that we’re seeing an unprecedented decline in population,” the marine biologist and explorer said. Earle was at Bowling Green State University Tuesday to give a talk based on her book “The World Is Blue.”  When she was a child, she said, people couldn’t see Earth from outer space. Now children grow up knowing the photo of the blue planet. Yet humans are just coming round to understanding the importance of protecting those vast blue stretches. “No ocean,” Earle said,” no us. No blue, no green. We need water.” Those oceans, whether saltwater or the vast freshwater bodies such as Lake Superior, rely on intricate systems. Just like a computer, removing one small part means it doesn’t work so well. “The attitude has been the ocean is too big to fail,” Earle said. But “never before has the change happened so rapidly or as comprehensively.” Except, she added, 65 million years ago when a comet hit Earth. Those changes have brought increased prosperity for humans, but not so much for wildlife, except cockroaches and rats. That period has also been a great age for exploration. Only in the last several decades could people venture beyond where light penetrates, into the dark depths of the ocean. Earle was on the forefront as the first woman aquanaut. She had to convince officials that a woman could handle the job. Now she’s one of the most prominent explorers. In 1986 when she went on her first mission she was the only woman among 79 men. Recent photos she projected as part of her talk included a larger number of women. The vastness of the ocean leaves much to explore. The average depth is two and a half miles, the deepest parts are seven miles deep.  An enthusiast for marine exploration she urged her listeners “to take the plunge” if they have the opportunity. The over fishing of large species is not the only problem. The decline of algae plays a part in the…