What has the EPA done for NY23?

Last week, as Scott Pruitt tried to defend the proposed decapitation of the EPA in front of the House Appropriations Committee, both Democrats and Republicans made it clear that the elimination of 50% of the EPA’s programs and 31% of its budget wasn’t going to fly. Lawmakers on both sides cited the damage to their home districts that would be done by removing federal support for environmental protections and programs. Projects countering chemical contamination, water pollution, and ecological degradation are popular, like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a multi-state program which was slated for elimination earlier this spring. A bipartisan group of representatives from districts around the Great Lakes signed a letter calling for the GLRI’s continued funding, but missing from the list of signatures was Tom Reed of my district, NY 23rd. Reed, a well-entrenched and vocal supporter of 45, has a long history of opposing environmental protections in favor of industry (more at the New NY 23), and of opposing his constituents’ best interests in favor of his own.  In light of this, it seems like an appropriate moment to take stock of what the EPA has done in this district.

The map above shows the grants disbursed in the NY 23rd since 2007. In the last ten years, grants from the EPA to cities, towns, school districts, tribal nations, and universities in our district have totaled almost $40 million. Continue reading “What has the EPA done for NY23?”


Excavating the News

Reading the torrent of news this week feels like fishing in a firehose. It’s difficult to pick out any but the biggest stories from the stream when every hour brings a new exposé from the NYT or WaPo, but as Sen. Schatz of Hawaii puts it:

I want to do a better job keeping track of the science and environmental attacks  “issues” going on around us, so I’m going to start putting together a roundup of the main science-related news stories from the week, focusing on the ones having to do with the current political situation, and posting summaries here. I won’t pretend to be comprehensive, but I will put funny stories from the NY DEC newsletter at the end in case the rest of the stories are too depressing. Continue reading “Excavating the News”

AGU2014: Frack Quakes, Black Riders and Failing with Grace

Like wildebeest through the Serengeti, the common Homo geologicus make their way through San Francisco International Airport in droves, identifiable by ever-present poster tubes, hiking boots, and a tendency to flannel. It is once again that time of year, for the long migration known as the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union.


Or rather, it was that time of year, since the conference was before Christmas. About 25,000 geoscientists come to this every year, including myself this year; I was presenting a poster on my undergrad research in Tanzania. The posters and talks available are innumerable, so the first challenge is figuring out what to go to first, but the main themes I followed this year were energy, climate, and induced earthquakes related to energy projects.

Continue reading “AGU2014: Frack Quakes, Black Riders and Failing with Grace”

The Weather Outside is Frightful

~ And Denial is So Delightful ~

100_0255 (2)

I’d like to give a warm shout out to all my friends soldiering through in Buffalo with your literally above my head levels of snow – at this point you should probably consider giving in and hibernating through the rest of the year. No one will judge. Even for upstate and our beloved lake effect, this week’s storm was intense for this time of year, though sadly Ithaca remains almost entirely snow free. The weather was quite apropos considering the activities this week at Cornell, which was a busy one so far as climate change and its effects were concerned. The president of Iceland was visiting, and hopefully felt right at home. The weekly department seminar was as relevant a topic as you could hope to have for a presentation: “Has a warming Arctic contributed to colder winter weather in the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes?”

Continue reading “The Weather Outside is Frightful”