Friday, June 18, 2010

Retreating Ice

Over all, the floating ice dwindled to an extent unparalleled in a century or more.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Protecting and Preserving

Washington Wilderness Coalition Conservation Director Tom Uniack and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) unveiled a new sign near the town of Index this May at a celebration of the passage of the Wild Sky Wilderness Act.

June 6, 2010

The Honorable Senator Patty Murray
173 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

RE: Amon Creek Natural Preserve

Dear Senator Murray;

I am writing to ask for your help in protecting the Amon Creek Natural Preserve here in Eastern Washington. The city of Richland is planning two roads and two bridges to service a new housing development in the area. The roads and the bridges will cut through the heart of the Preserve and destroy the remaining habitat buffer that adjoins it (

The Amon habitat is home to the Black-tailed jackrabbit and the American Badger; both are listed as species of concern in Washington State. Amon Creek and the Amon Basin buffer are interlocked as one habitat supporting over 100 species of birds, river otters, beavers, raptors and unique reptiles. The proposed development will devastate the Amon Basin ecosystem forever.

You have written that, “I believe that environmental protection and healthy natural resources are compatible with long-term economic growth.” I share that belief, but I am concerned that city managers often do not. Economic growth is their first priority and they see environmental conservation as a competing, rather than a complementary undertaking.

I am a member of a local group here, the Tapteal Greenway Association, that’s been active in promoting sensible habitat preservation, trail development, and environmental education. The Association is working hard now to protect the Amon Creek Natural Preserve (, but it’s an up-hill battle.

We could really use your help.


 / s /

Richard V. Badalamente
Kennewick, Washington

American Power Act

On October 24, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), joined NOAA representatives at a kickoff event for the Fisher Slough Marsh Restoration Project in Fisher Slough, Washington. NOAA awarded The Nature Conservancy $5.2 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to restore Fisher Slough Marsh, critical to Chinook, Chum, and Coho salmon, in the Skagit River floodplain.

June 4, 2010

The Honorable Senator Maria Cantwell
825 Jadwin Avenue, Suite 205
Richland, WA 99352

RE: Energy and the Environment

Dear Senator Cantwell;

I am writing to urge you to support legislation to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels and foreign sources of oil, and encourage the development of alternative, i.e., “green” sources of energy, including nuclear power.

There are currently no alternative energy sources – solar, wind, nuclear, or what have you – that, as things stand, are more economical than fossil fuels, because, as you know, their true costs are not reflected in the price we pay for electric power, gasoline, or the many other petroleum-based products we consume. Those costs are familiar to anyone who pays attention: catastrophic health effects, including death; constraints on our foreign policy options; degradation and destruction of the environment; and a real and growing threat to the livability of our planet due to global warming. Even nuclear energy, which many consider a green alternative, has unresolved cost, indemnification, and waste disposal issues.

We seem only to pay attention when 29 coal miners die in West Virginia, or massive amounts of oil spew into the Gulf, but the sad fact is that the long-term consequences of our profligate, wasteful, and just plain stupid use of resources has seriously and perhaps irrevocably degraded the environment and, in turn, our quality of life.

Until the true cost of fossil fuels is reflected in their price, there will be no inherent, and therefore sustainable incentive for the development of alternative sources of energy in the U.S. Other countries, including China, are investing in green energy sources and technology, and leaving the U.S. behind in what will become a green revolution. We must move forward on intelligent and far-reaching energy legislation NOW.

The Kerry-Lieberman “American Power Act” isn’t perfect, but it’s a start. Please work for its passage.


 / s /

Richard V. Badalamente
Kennewick, Washington

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Record Low Snowfall

According to NOAA, “Across North America, snow cover for April 2010 was 2.2 million square kilometers below average—the lowest April snow cover extent since satellite records began in 1967 and the largest negative anomaly to occur in the 521 months that satellite measurements are available.” (from the Earth Observatory, 5/27/2010)