27 August 2013

Support for Scott Yoos in the Wake of Traumatic Experience

Two years my friend Scott A. Yoos, Scotty, had a run in with local law enforcement that resulted in a lengthy ordeal in the local court system. Scotty recently took a plea bargain under an Alford clause, which allowed him to maintain the cause of innocence, while accepting a plea deal in order to avoid jury trial. He was being charged with felony assault of a police officer, after one of the arresting officers filed a report (a month after the incident took place,) in the report, the officer claimed that Scott had kicked him. Anyone who knows Scott knows that he would only kick in self-defense and when very scared. Since the incident, many questions have been asked about how police resources have been spent, and about the training police officers receive so that they are sure to be able to handle difficult situations, for example, like in the case of Scott, who is mute, and also suffers from TBI and PTSD in the wake of a vicious attack in 1984, that almost killed him and left him without ability to speak.

Now after the lengthy court ordeal, there is need for more funds to cover fines, fees, and legal expenses.

Find out more at www.scottysupport.blogspot.com

25 August 2013

Eagle Creek Trail Scene Video

I like the way the tree branches move in the breeze in this video. It's the scene from high bridge, about 120 feet up over an Eagle Creek box canyon sort of ravine.

Here's another video with a couple other scenes from the hike (it also includes the scene from the box canyon, as well as about 5 other scenes:

05 August 2013

Visit to Colstrip Generating Station

Updated 3 September 2013, http://olyblog.net/local-power-sustainability-and-democracy

The second largest coal fired power plant in the lower 48, West of the Mississippi river, is Colstrip MT. It is capable of generating nearly 2,100 MW at peak capacity.

I had a chance to visit last week, as I was driving cross country from Twin Cities, Minnesota, to Olympia, WA. I made a very brief visit, and was able to snap some photographs.

The landscape is immense, the scale of the plant seemed somewhat lost amongst the surrounding country of the Big Sky. When I read that the stacks are 792 feet tall, I was surprised. They don't look that big.

The country surrounding the plant was absolutely awesome and gorgeous. And the company town of Colstrip seemed quaint and well kept. The devastation that has been wrought by the massive development has been well hidden from the roadway. Most of the open pit strip mines and lagoons were hidden from sight on the highway. The destruction has been, however, well documented, notably so in the 1986 collection of photos by David T. Hanson, which is referenced in the updated link, posted at the top.

Here are some photos, and another comment or two:

Colstrip 9 image composite
9 image composite panorama Welcome to Colstrip from hwy 39

Beautiful hills adorn the landscape of Rosebud County, nearby the Colstrip mine to mouth electrical generating station.

Rock formations in the hills

Ribbons of road in Rosebud County

Geological Temples

First view of the station

Smoke stacks on the horizon

Evaporator steam with stacks in the distance

A view of some of the strip mines, most of the views from the road were obstructed by neighboring hills.

excavator at work

smoke stacks

wideview plant

medium view plant

close-up 1&2

conveyor belt

close-up 3&4

big shed

coal pile

on site facilities

The facility is operated by PPL Montana, and Puget Sound Energy (which is owned by MacQuarie Group international) has a controlling stake in ownership.

This plant is capable of yearly producing as much atmospheric carbon as 3 or 4 of the 1980 explosions of the mountain known as St. Helen's.

A mine to mouth operation, several open pit strip mines dot the hills surrounding the plant.

One question that came up for me was how did the land come into ownership — in particular the strip mines. To whom were the parcels sold, and when, and for how much...

One group, Coal Free PSE, has formed to oppose the plant. A project of the Sierra Club, their website is coalfreepse.org/.

It is my belief that technology exists so that human society could be powered completely with sustainable, clean, renewable energy — and that the work to phase out fossil fuels should have begun in earnest in the 1970s or sooner, perhaps from the very start of industrialization — the pollution and harm that is intrinsic to fossil fuel extraction and consumption should always have been attempted to be kept to a minimum. Efforts always should have been made to live in harmony and balance with the tremendous diversity of life that has evolved on this planet. As a result of 100+ years of intensive industrial growth, the world is being pushed toward a much degraded landscape, where the richness of life will likely be greatly diminished for future generations (see climate science twitter posts embedded below,) unless major efforts toward urgent action are undertaken as soon as possible. I like to think of it is as an international "race to the Moon" type effort.

There is a part and a place for everyone to play in this necessary effort to save the world from wholesale onslaught of industrial destruction.

Sustainable and living in harmony with nature are very much necessary components to the development of world justice and peace.