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The Nature of Things

A blog about nature and the environment

Archive for September, 2007

Clearing some space


A couple of our area Congressional reps want the federal government to tighten security in the air around Indian Point.

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-Harrison, and Rep John Hall, D-Dover Plains, have secured a a promise to examine the issue from James Oberstar, D-Duluth, Minn., the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Oberstar agreed to “address air security� over the nuclear reactors in Buchanan.

Lowey and Hall noted that terrorists flew directly over the nuclear reactors prior to attacking the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, and the area’s dense population presents a unique target for attack.

Lowey and Hall are pushing for legislation that would authorize the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to designate a no-fly zone in the vicinity of any nuclear power plant within 50 miles of which there reside more than 15 million people – a criterion met by only Indian Point among the nation’s 104 working commercial reactors.

Posted by Greg Clary on Thursday, September 20th, 2007 at 9:14 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Bear on the parkway


Never mind the deer that routinely flank the Taconic State Parkway. One driver this morning spotted a black bear near Route 301, in the midst of Clarence Fahnestock State Park.

Add that to the Sunday night bear in Patterson.

And, if anyone may have taken a photo of this morning’s bear along the Taconic, drop us a line. We’re looking for pictures.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Thursday, September 20th, 2007 at 10:57 am |

Gassy bovines


Need a primer on how gassy cows are contributing to global warming? Then check out this short explainer in the fall issue of the Natural Resources Defense CouncilOn Earth” magazine. (The section titled “Nasty Gas Attack”, not the piece about saving monkeys.)

Oh, and hang onto your garlic.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, September 19th, 2007 at 5:04 pm |


More on bees


Colony collapse disorder may not be the only cross being borne by honeybees. Seems the tiny insects have something to say about climate change. CCD, by the way, has been linked to a virus.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 at 4:53 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

The Raging Grannies’ protest song about Indian Point


I got this via e-mail today and thought it was creative enough to put up on the blog. Perhaps the other side will compose a ditty of their own – in the interests of equal time and all.

I don’t believe these ladies have a record deal, but the song’s lyricist, Sunny Armer of Croton-on-Hudson, said she added a verse (on retraining) at Pete Seeger’s suggestion after singing the song with him at Clearwater. She said she also changed it a little to fit the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s meeting on re-licensing the plant tomorrow night.

So start humming “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” and sing along with the bouncing ball. (Opps. I guess they don’t have those in the IPod world.)

Thank you, NRC, for this meeting.

We know what you don’t want to hear.

Don’t dare to extend this plant’s license

By even as much as one year.

Yes, Entergy promises safety,
But sometimes their sirens don’t blow,
And strontium leaks are polluting
So Indian Point has to go!

No nukes,
No nukes,
Indian Point has to go
Right now!
No nukes,
No nukes,
Yes Indian Point has to go!

This plant is unsafe for employees
But we don’t want anyone fired.
Retrain them for alternate energy
And make sure that they get rehired.

This plant is a terrorist target.
Why not use much less toxic fuels?
Convert to a natural gas plant!
Secure those nuclear waste pools.


Once Indian Point was reviewed by
An expert whose name was James Witt.
He proved that evacuation
By Entergy’s plan was worth . . .

Thanks, NRC, for your attention.
We’re glad that you all stayed awake.
Security guards we could mention
Sometimes take a long coffee break.


Shut it down!
Shut it down!
Indian Point is unsafe, we know!
Shut it down!
Shut it down!
Indian Point has to go!

Sunny Armer
221 Cleveland Drive
Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520

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Posted by Greg Clary on Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 at 4:29 pm |

Speak your mind on Indian Point


If you’re interested in giving the Nuclear Regulatory Commission food for thought on another 20 years of Indian Point, they’re going to be in Cortlandt Manor Wednesday for two public meetings – 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. – in the Colonial Terrace catering hall at 119 Oregon Road.

You won’t get to talk about the nuclear plant in general, but are asked to confine your remarks to environmental issues surrounding giving the company until 2035 to produce electricity.Since there will be a transcript made of all comments given and the ability to write additional comments to the NRC, the public at least gets a chance to bring up topics that the feds may not have thought of.

Posted by Greg Clary on Monday, September 17th, 2007 at 4:34 pm |


Bear in Patterson


Seems there was a black bear wandering through Patterson last night. The bear ambled through the yard of Ken Harper, who lives on Couch Road, and disappeared into the night. What follows is his recollection:

I was standing on my back deck and heard something large coming through the woods from up the hill to the south. It stayed on the edge of the light but I could see it was a large, dark shape. I went back inside and grabbed a flashlight and when I got back outside it had moved to the front of the house near the cars and the woodpile. I turned the flashlight towards it and it looked back at me, at which point my wife decided it was a good time to get back in the house and lock the doors (smart wife). I called the Sheriff’s Department just to give them a heads-up and they directed me to the State Police who pretty much repeated what the Sheriff’s Deputy said – no response unless it posed a specific threat which it didn’t seem to. I called some of the neighbors to let them know they should probably stay inside and get their animals in if they could. By the time I went back outside the bear had moved down near Couch Road and I saw a few cars slow down as they drove by. The whole thing took about 15 minutes, about 9:45pm or so. No sign of anything in the morning. It never stood up on its hind legs at all but it was a fairly decent size, around 5 &1/2 or 6 feet I’d guess and it looked quite healthy. Never made a sound except for snapping twigs and knocking over a garbage can.”

Here’s a link to the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s bear information.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Monday, September 17th, 2007 at 2:46 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Gone but not forgotten


Composting dead deer. That’s the plan by Cornell University researchers on how highway departments, including the state Department of Transportation, can deal with the thousands of road-killed deer found on the state’s byways. Yes, composting.

It seems that composting the dead animals can be cheaper and more effective than cremating or burying them in a landfill. This is my favorite part of the university’s announcement on the practice: ” . . . it takes about a year to turn deer carcasses into compost that can be used for landscaping purposes along the very roadsides that were the animals’ death sites.”

Click on the link above, too, to see the nifty illustration on how to bury the deer (a.k.a. “carcass placement”).

Posted by Mike Risinit on Monday, September 17th, 2007 at 12:54 pm |
| | Comments Off on Gone but not forgotten

Floods and nature


Various ways of using nature to address flooding problems in Westchester will be the subject of the next Conservation Cafe. Municipal planners, planning board members, students and the general public can listen to experts weigh in on how maintaining natural stream corridors will help reduce flood damage, what factors in Westchester contribute to flooding and what actions citizens and communities can take to limit flooding. A question-and-answer period will follow.

This Conservation Cafe session will take place Sept. 28 at the Westchester County Center. Reservations are required. Call the county parks department by Sept. 25 at 914-864-7047.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Monday, September 17th, 2007 at 11:59 am |


Hungry, hungry deer


Munch, munch, munch is the sound deer may make when they’re eating your garden down to stubs. But it’s also the sound of deer eating their way through some of the Hudson Valley’s forests – leaving them without an understory and open to colonization by non-native species. Check out this story in today’s Poughkeepsie Journal, TJN’s cousin to the north.

The writer, Ray Winchcombe, is a wildlife biologist at the Institute for Ecosystem Studies.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Sunday, September 16th, 2007 at 8:08 pm |