Day: March 27, 2007

Tuesdays with Turtles – New US Regulations

The National Marine Fisheries Service protects turtles in the US. Here, bycatch, or the accidental capture of adult sea turtles, is one of the biggest causes of adult turtle mortality. So, it is good that the NMFS is bucking all other recent trends with endangered species (check this salon article about the gutting of the endangered species act) and actually proposing stronger regulation on reducing bycatch.

NMFS issues this advance notice of proposed rulemaking to announce that it is considering amendments to the regulatory requirements for turtle excluder devices (TEDs). Specific changes NMFS is considering include increasing the size of the TED escape opening currently required in the summer flounder fishery; requiring the use of TEDs in the flynet, whelk, calico scallop, and Mid- Atlantic sea scallop trawl fisheries; and moving the current northern boundary of the Summer Flounder Fishery-Sea Turtle Protection Area off Cape Charles, Virginia, to a point farther north. The objective of the proposed measures would be to effectively protect all life stages and species of sea turtle in Atlantic trawl fisheries where they are vulnerable to incidental capture and mortality. NMFS is seeking public comment on these potential amendments to the TED regulations. NMFS is also soliciting public comment on the need for, and development and implementation of, other methods to reduce bycatch of sea turtles in anycommercial or recreational fishery in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico where sea turtle conservation measures do not currently exist.

Well, that’s good news, and since I read the whole regulation twice over and did not change my mind about it, it must be good news, really!! Apparently, I write good news stories too!

Sea turtles are lucky to be so accessible, beautiful, completely harmless, long lived and loved, they would not get half the attention they get otherwise!

Corn Can't Solve Our Problem –

A must read for anyone who likes articulate scientists writing very approachable articles about important subjects!
Corn Can’t Solve Our Problem –

If every one of the 70 million acres on which corn was grown in 2006 was used for ethanol, the amount produced would displace only 12 percent of the U.S. gasoline market. Moreover, the “new” (non-fossil) energy gained would be very small — just 2.4 percent of the market. Car tune-ups and proper tire air pressure would save more energy.

Proper tire pressure is not sexy, and does not lead to billions of dollars of profits!

The net effect is that ethanol from corn grown in the Corn Belt does increase atmospheric greenhouse gases, and this increase is only about 15 percent less than the increase caused by an equivalent amount of gasoline

Corn is such a boondongle, it’s amazing what the ADMs and Monsantos of the world can do.

This means that when tropical woodland is cleared to produce sugar cane for ethanol, the greenhouse gas released is about 50 percent greater than what occurs from the production and use of the same amount of gasoline. And that statistic holds for at least two decades.

Brazil will not solve all your problems (unless they’re samba related!). Increased demand for ethanol from Brazil could lead to clearcutting of the rain forest/other fallow grassland.

Across the full process of growing high-diversity prairie hay, converting it into an energy source and using that energy, we found a net removal and storage of about a ton and a half of atmospheric carbon dioxide per acre. The net effect is that ethanol or synthetic gasoline produced from this grass on degraded land can provide energy that actually reduces atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.

It’s a very well written article.